November 16, 2017

The simple life

If you were to ask me my favourite moments from last year - they were spending three weeks travelling around in our little trailer - eating breakfast at picnic tables surrounded by birds, reading by a mini night light listening to the sleeping sounds of my loves, skipping rocks in the river, watching outdoor movies with fellow campers under the stars and swimming wherever we could. There's something about playing cards by lantern light, playing tag in the waves, drinking that first cup of camping coffee, it all felt like we had found our perfect way to travel - just pick a spot on the map and go. We've done our share of travelling to beautiful countries, staying in lovely hotels, but this past summer felt more special - because it was simple and tapped into all that we valued - the outdoors, togetherness, adventuring.
I wanted to write about my love of the simple life because we are rapidly approaching the time of year when people forget about how important the little moments are: picking out a Christmas tree together, baking for others, making a ridiculously decorated lopsided ginger bread house, bundling up with scarves and toques to walk around the neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights, going outdoor skating, donating presents, getting together for Christmas cheer with friends.
Before you embark on your holiday shopping, I encourage you to watch Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix. I found it life changing. When you see the throngs of people fighting one another over Black Friday bargains, you wonder what have we become? Why are we giving into this materialistic, disposable culture? Do you know stores try to create 52 different clothing seasons? That's how quickly they are rotating merchandise, trying to make you think you need the latest and greatest trends. What if we paused for a moment. What if we took stock of what we value, thought long and hard about what we truly needed and only introduced quality items that served a purpose into our homes, into our lives. I can promise you that when you declutter your environment, you will declutter your mind. If you are constantly shopping, or constantly picking out the next shiny object of your affection, take a pause and ask yourself why? What level of satisfaction is it bringing? How long after you bought the latest shiny object were you starting to think about the next "must own" thing? Nowadays, when I truly like something, I wait on it for a few months, to see if that feeling is still there. And most times, it is forgotten. I really don't want to be working for "stuff". I certainly don't want to be spending my time cleaning stuff and picking up stuff. I want to put my money towards experiences, towards travelling, towards adventures. Embrace the simple things in life. When our lives are done, none of the "stuff" comes with us, only our stories. xoxox

October 17, 2017

45 things for 45

Hello sweet friends! I wanted to make a little list of 45 things I hope to do during this year of being 45. I chose the photo above because staying at this ranch in Arizona was without question, one of the biggest highlights of my past year. Waking up with horses outside our window, taking our daughter on a horseback ride through cactus dotted hills, eating one of the best dinners we've ever had under the stars on a warm desert night was an experience that I will never forget. In addition to our trip to Arizona, meeting and cheering on Baby Nash, our new (to us) Boler trailer, and the 21 nights we slept in it on various camping trips, floating down the river on inner tubes in Leavenworth, taking Stella to Mary Poppins, spending the weekend at Bowyer Island with my family, tobogganing in our beautiful local parks with friends because there was that. much. snow., ringing in the new year singing with some of our nearest and dearest were some of my memories of 44 that I will never forget.
I can't wait to see what adventures unfold for us this year.

Without further ado, here's my 45 things (in completely random order of importance):

  1. Get my blog back up and running.
  2. Organize a winter getaway with friends.
  3. Teach myself a photo editing program like Lightroom.
  4. Explore the Sunshine Coast.
  5. Reno the Boler.
  6. Learn how to macrame. (not macarena).
  7. Plan an amazing travel adventure for Craig's 50th.
  8. Create a photo book of our past year.
  9. Build a treehouse for Stella.
  10. Read at least one book a month.
  11. Camp in three spots we've never been.
  12. Paint the main level of our house.
  13. Lose 10-20 pounds. 
  14. Learn how to plant a veggie garden.
  15. Try cooking one new thing a week.
  16. Ride bikes with Stella without her training wheels.
  17. Adopt a second pet.
  18. Get my dad to travel.
  19. Buy new eyeglasses.
  20. Return to the amazing Saltspring Farmer's market.
  21. Stay at an air bnb.
  22. Take dad to My Shanti.
  23. Make money doing a creative project.
  24. Complete my 2017 - 365 photo project.
  25. Take dad to some of my favourite parks
  26. Skate with Santa.
  27. Host a friendsmas dinner.
  28. Travel to a city or country we've never been to.
  29. Take Stella to another play.
  30. Put hardwood floors on our main level.
  31. Host a dinner where everyone brings 5 of their favourite songs.
  32. Learn how to weave and make my own wall hanging.
  33. Take an art class at 4 cats with Stella.
  34. When my 365 is done, post more professional photos and participate in more photo groups.
  35. Build a back deck
  36. Update our bedroom into a dreamscape.
  37. Buy a new camera.
  38. Average 10,000 steps a day on the fitbit.
  39. Take random days off to have time for myself.
  40. Take a class/workshop in design or staging
  41. Do our little Bellingham getaway
  42. Sunset trips in our canoe
  43. Create an art corner in the playroom
  44. Daily gratitude journal.
  45. More facetime with friends and special dates with Craig.

July 10, 2017

happy camper

Hello lovelies! I've missed you. It's been so long since I've updated this space. Are you excited for the Summer ahead? I really am. I don't know about you but I found this past winter hard, capital H-a-r-d.
It felt so dark and drizzly, as if we were housebound for 8 months. Now that the beautiful, sunny stretched out days have arrived, I'm excited for adventures ahead. About a month ago we picked up a little 1970's Boler trailer. It has a basic set up - no fridge, no stove, no toilet. Sounds amazing right? But we've been having a tonne of fun fixing up our little bedroom on wheels - it has a booth table that converts into a double bed plus there's a single bed and kitchen counter. I particularly love the fact there is a lot of storage cupboards (swoon), so we can just have all of our gear loaded up and ready go. I find this to be a huge bonus, because pre-trailer, when we'd pack up for a camping getaway-I'd feel like collapsing in exhaustion on our stack of camping mats piled high in the trunk- it always felt like we were transporting a mini version of our kitchen, not to mention all of the layers of clothes for every possible weather scenario. Now with our sleeping bags stored away and dishes in their place, it's easy to just pack up and venture out. Tally Ho! For our inaugural trip we didn't travel far - we tried out the Lynden KOA. Before we were parents, we liked our camping to be more rustic and remote - close to great hiking and canoeing, but at this stage of life (super young and hip), I was thoroughly impressed by the set up in Lynden for families. There was so much for her to do - swimming, mini golf, pedal boats, a playground, outdoor movies - and our campsite was treed and quiet. It was such a great first outing. We also unhitched the trailer and ventured into Lynden. I can't believe I have never been there before - it is such a sweet little town- I fell head over heels for the Village Bookstore and Avenue Bread restaurant. I remember sipping a delicious coffee in their gorgeous cafe thinking -I could really get used to this kind of camping. :)
Have you planned any adventures for your Summer?

March 5, 2017

This is us

Hello friends! I don't seem to write on this blog as often as I'd like to. Today we drove to one of our favourite parks (Campbell Valley) and it was locked up due to the slushy/snowy trail conditions. But we parked on the side of the road and ventured in. We hiked (slid?) down a slippery "lesser known" trail and laughed when we found our way to the trail entrance and saw it had been taped up with the yellow "do not cross" tape due to hazardous conditions. Look at us being so adventurous before brunch. I apologize in advance for the sheer volume of bird photos but I just wanted to remember this moment today, where I was standing on a beautiful snow covered bridge, and everywhere I turned birds were landing all around me. I snapped all of these photos in less than 10 minutes, just taking in the sounds of their chirps and fluttering wings, interspersed with ducks and the sound of my daughter's voice asking if i'm done yet.....
But when I'm standing in nature, with my daughter and husband by my side, I think my heart is at it's fullest, which probably explains why most of my photos are taken in parks, because I want to share my happy place.
I read this article tonight and had to pass it on to you - it gives us all a much needed reminder of how precious our time is here. I highly recommend you take a few moments to read it here. After reading it, I also felt incredibly grateful that I am so madly in love with my family, and in return, have the best love reflected back. xo

January 21, 2017

Say yes

Hello loves. I hope 2017 is treating you well. I am setting out to embrace adventure this year. I was inspired after watching a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary about Important Things.  I've been going through our home, systematically removing bags of things that we don't absolutely love or use all the time. I want our time to be spent embracing the great outdoors, seeking adventures with friends, exploring new places, making fantastic memories. I don't want to be spending my precious time tidying up stuff - and moving it from one spot to another. I want us to be conscious in our choices and only introduce quality items into our home that serves a purpose. Honestly over the Christmas holidays, my biggest highlights were: adopting a cat, going to Mary Poppins with my daughter, celebrating New Years with our fantastic friends in our home, and having a cosy Christmas with my family. None of it was about stuff. If we spend our weekend getting outside and doing activities, I feel invigorated. But if we spend the weekend driving around in traffic to do errands, going from store to store, by the end I feel depleted. This year I'm saying yes to experiences over stuff, surrounding myself with like minded adventurers, and making this one of our best years yet. Just a few weeks into the new year and we've got a trip booked, I'm going to a concert with one of my dear friends and we're catching a great comedy show soon. I am so excited. I hope you chase your spark. xoxo

December 6, 2016

good grief

Hello! It's been so long since I've had a moment to write, and I've missed it. It's funny, as the year comes to a close, I have caught myself thinking, 2017, now that has to be a better year!
In 2014, one month in, my mom had to tell me she was dying - bar none, the hardest conversation of our lives. So that year, we rallied around her and watched helplessly as cancer turned our family's favourite person into a sickly skeleton. All the hugging in the world, and cancer still found its way in between us. In 2015, we had to say goodbye to her, and learn to walk through a grief I have never known, where still to this day, a few moments alone in my car, free to let out the tears, can quickly become me shouting into the sky, where are you? Give me a sign you are around! I need you! I miss you! And our family unit, as I knew it, felt like it disappeared.
In 2016, the year started with a bang, with Dad in intensive care for two months, fighting for his life. And in that time, I sat beside him, day in, day out, re-living so many hard moments from my childhood, holding his hand, when at some moments I wanted to run screaming from that hospital. I wanted to say enough! And to layer on the grief this year we had to say goodbye to our cat of 18 years, and dog of 16 years. I lied on the floor, beside my dog, holding her as she left this world. I seriously covered her in more tears than I had ever let out in my life. She died when my husband was away, and I think I cried for the both of us that day.
But I'm not here to tell you my sob story because I know several people who have endured a lot worse this year. I'm here to tell you that layered in these tragic times of life, have been these moments, of pure joy, of fall down laughing, of travelling, of meeting new friends, of being in rooms with extraordinary souls. I've become one of those people who sits right inside the happy moments now. I consciously take note of them, and could give you a big list of moments that really stand out because I took the time to observe them from every angle. I remember, when mom only had a month or so to go, I was standing on a beach with friends, skipping rocks into the ocean. The kids were running around laughing, the sun was on our faces, and I remember looking around at each of them thinking, this is it, this beautiful moment will carry me a long way. I've stopped wishing 2017 is going to be extraordinary because I know now that life will throw a lot of good and bad our way, and it's all about navigating it and living with the reassurance that incredible moments will keep coming. When I called to tell my friend I was pregnant with Stella, she found out her dad was dying. When I told my husband I was finally feeling more myself again lately, our friend found out he has cancer. So, if you find yourself thinking, it'll get better when I have a bigger home, or I'm thinner, or I'm doing my dream job, or I have more money, guess what, life is all of the good and bad happening to you right now. Seek out the beautiful moments. I take a photo a day because I want to remember a special moment I experienced each and every day. I don't even have to look hard. They are all around. xo

November 13, 2016

Mt. Baker Getaway

Hello friends! How are you? We just did a mini getaway with friends to Mt. Baker. When my weekend line up includes mountaintop hiking, eating delicious homemade food, playing games with friends, sipping delicious wine, listening to music, going on a gorgeous river walk, and having amazing laughs, well, it's tapping into everything that feeds my soul. I am a huge proponent of the mini getaway. It's such a wonderful way to reconnect with friends and to break up these dreary November days. I hope you had a lovely weekend! xo