Monday, May 2, 2016

Three Things...

Here are some things I am loving these days:

I obviously don't need any clothes, but I am a little skinny on summer tops. These ones are making me so excited for BBQ and wedding season. 
Wouldn't this be lovely at the drinks event the night before the wedding?

Is this floral simple enough to wear to work?

The lace the stripes! oh my. Oh hello BBQs,

I know I would wear this until I got a grass stain on it. 
Also - did you notice that 3/4 of the models are wearing the same bottom skirt? I am also low on skirts... 

Handmade Pottery

One day I want to live on a farm with wood interiors (not just paneling), sleek open shelves and handmade pottery dishes on every shelf. Until then, I'll just look at beautiful pottery - and on a whim buy mugs when traveling! Surprise - I bought two beautiful mugs while in Boston and it had nothing to do with the rainy weather and fighting a cold. But I couldn't be happier. I've had tea every night since being home. And I'm one one step closer to my farmhouse dream! 

I bought the 10 oz mugs from W/R/F, I'm in love, the handle is just perfect! 

But I was eyeing Farmhouse Pottery, well just the name makes me smile!
Confession: I don't just love Vintage Revivals right now, I freakin' love her all the time! But I've been struggling a bit with my vintage trailer, so I went back to her posts about The Nugget and feel so rejuvenated. 
Love x 1,000,000

Having a blogger who is honest about the renovation process and each detailed step is amazing but having one discusses the struggles, change of hearts, emotional battles and redos is so fresh, encouraging and completely inspiring! (Read the end of this post)

Tiling has been on my mind lately.
Last week, I ordered a piece of glass that was too short (i.e. I measured the wrong length), counted the wrong number of wood pieces needed and designed a support structure that was not sturdy enough to hold the weight? To say I was discouraged is a bit of an understatement. So seeing this post about penny tiles, allowed me to take a breath and feel prepared to try some projects again!
Can I just move in?

Friday, April 29, 2016


Ever have this sense that the world keeps on getting busier? 

It seems to me that my lists get longer and my ability to get them done is diminishing. I have blamed my long work hours, lack of sleep, TV watching, and my high expectations. But a while ago I tracked my time for a few weeks and what I found was somewhat surprising.


So for about a month (on and off), I categorized every moment of my life - commuting, getting ready (for work and for bed), cleaning (haha), working, sleeping, watching TV, exercising, eating. You name it, I colour coded it into a spreadsheet. But there was always a missing hour or two. I first called it down time, but then I realized that it was too much time to be called that. It was social media time. 

I'm not a huge poster on social media. I insta a bit, but only post an amazing activity, so my weekday life doesn't usually cut it. What I do is I scroll. And as I scroll, the minutes slip by. More minutes than I care to admit. In the hours I browse other people's lives, I could likely make mine significantly more productive, or relaxing, or as I am trying to convince myself, better. 

So we'll see. This post gives me a bit of an idea of what I would do with my free time, but my experience may be different - social media hours may just become TV hours. They may (please, please) become sleep hours. 

I've logged out of my Facebook and Instagram accounts on my phone. That's it. I will try to not log back in for a week, but I don't want to completely remove them from my realm. Hopefully being logged off will allow me just enough separation that it is not an automatic time filler. I will have to master my FOMO and allow my life to be better! 

Wish me luck. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Planning to Avoid August Angst

Last August I wrote about this nagging feeling I get every August - when there are few trips on the horizon, and not enough trips / activities in the rear view mirror. So this year - I'm going to try foresight and planning to help alleviate August Angst. I have been reading here, thishere, this and the book version of here to get me inspired.

First I'll set some summer goals (and talk about my 2016 goals - 3 months into 2016!) and then layout a few options for trips/activities.

2016 Goals
I should start with my 2016 goals since they kind of play into my summer goals and they are much simpler:
  1. Do a race or an outdoor adventure every month of the year
    • Status
      • January 16, MEC Siberian Slide, 10 km run
      • February - None
      • March - March 11, Catskiing (doesn't really count, but I have nothing else)
      • April - April 9, Light it Up, 10 km run
      • May - Camping - Enchantments, Washington & Icefields Parkway
      • June - Potentially Grand Fondo Badlands
  2. Make small changes for a month and then decide on if you want to keep them
    • Status  - Massive failure, January - Get up on the first alarm - success, February and March - I have been trying to go to bed before 11pm - failure, April - Workout every weekday, we'll see!

Summer Goals
The list may seem long, but I think I'm on my way to hitting a few of them, plus it keeps my options open!
  1. Plant a garden at the lake and at home - keep it simple and just let it grow!
    This was two years ago - it will be much simpler this year!
  2. Spend 7 days at a lake, especially shoulder weekends. I'm fortunate to have access to two cabins, and I'm not sure if I'll continue to be this fortunate in the future, so I would like to take advantage of them! 
    • Plan 1: I'm having friends up for the the Canada long weekend, which will give me 3 days
    • Plan 2: I have an option to go to our cabin during the September long weekend, which I would love to take advantage of, but it's definitely dependent on work!
    • Plan 3: Spending weekends at the lake during the shoulder months is so nice - I will be up there in May to plant my garden (see goal 1), so hopefully I'll get another night at the lake then, plust it's only 1.75 hours away, so even just one night is worth it!
  3. Camp in my Siesta for 10 nights
    • Plan 1: I already have a trip planned for the May long weekend to drive the Icefields Parkway, what a great time to use the trailer - the weather is still variable so having a solid shelter is much more enjoyable
  4. Overnight camp in the backcountry for 5 nights
    Who wouldn't want to spend more time in places like this?
  5. Go on 10 hikes / back country mountain bike rides
  6. Have 3 BBQs at my house 
  7. Bike over 200 km on my road bike
    One Ride Down... 
  8. Go to Waterton Lakes National Park - I have been wanting to go here since I returned to Calgary 3 years ago. And 2016 will be the Summer, or Spring (let's hope Spring!)
So this list looks daunting, but I have a few strategies to reach my goals:
  • Start early - we've been having the mildest end of our winter that many hiking trails and biking routes are already snow free - so I'm not going to delay!
  • Keep it simple - it doesn't have to be this crazy elaborate plan, it doesn't need to be a 25 km hike, the goal is just to get out - if that means hiking, biking, or just driving my Siesta to the nearest camp ground, then it all counts! 
  • Have a good planning tool - I'm slightly obsessed with excel, so I have been starting to make excels tables for easy reference. While I understand that the internet is a great source, it can be overwhelming and requires a lot of 'search time'. In having a spreadsheet at my finger tips I am able to quickly pick a locations and just 'go for it'!
  • Invite others - the best way to not sleep in on a Saturday morning is to get a group of like minded people together - if I promise to meet at the trailhead at 9am on Saturday, I will be there! (and not drink too much the night before!) 
  • Just do it - no more excuses, just get out there and try

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I'm off on my first vacation of 2016 this week and I am just over the moon! I'm off to Washington DC and Boston, not my typical destinations, but I'm very excited for a 'city-cation'. 

Previously, wanted my vacations include adventure, physical activity and something a bit more remote, but in the past while, I have been dreaming a bit more about cities. I'm so excited to spend some time exploring a city, and really being able to slow down and smell the rose scented bath soaps.

Do you ever feel like you miss out on the wonderful things your city has to offer because you have access to it every day and you take that for granted?

I find that life in my own city is consumed with seeing friends and family, visiting habitual haunts, tackling long lists of to-dos, or fitting in fitness. My desire to to have a 'productive weekend' overwhelms any whimsical yearnings to stroll through new neighbourhoods and really enjoy the city I live in. I remember one weekend where we walked to brunch in a new neighbourhood. I had never been in this area despite it being a 20 minute walk from my house! I discovered things I had only vaguely heard of and felt elation and a brimming pride for my city, I didn't know it was so cool! 

But I haven't been able to do that since that weekend well over two months ago. I remember on Sunday night feeling disappointed that I had 'wasted' time that morning, walking to brunch, rather than getting more items done. And on Monday, I was conflicted - the weekend had been relaxing, but my laundry was not done, and those items I had to return to Home Depot were still sitting at my front door. 

So how do we balance? I keep on struggling with that every day - and to be honest, I have come to realize that checking items off my list is more important than strolling through a new neighbourhood, because those items on the list represent future fun that I am not willing to give up. So I try to keep my lists to a minimum, and not dream up more low value ideas to add.  But for me, I really think that 'city-cations' are the way to enjoy cities and slow down without worrying about the loads of dirty laundry, or the half completed DIY project sitting on my kitchen table. In Washington and Boston, I'll have time to stroll and smell the cherry blossoms. 
This is for real in Washington! Via Travel and Leisure

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Baby Boy's Room

My cousin had the most adorable little boy about two months ago - and I've offered (and didn't accept no as an answer...) to help my cousin decorate. They didn't know if they were going to have a girl or boy so they have a lot of neutral items, but didn't add any touches until the met the bundle joy. 

Here are some other rooms for inspiration:

Rustic Old World
Modern Industrial
I love the idea of designing a room that can grow the the kid, so that they don't feel like they are in a baby's room when they are 2, 3, or 10 and my cousin doesn't need to keep on decorating! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Traffic Jams

Aren't these maps just the best? Simple, clean, minimalist. Allows me to see cities more like a living being with the roads as the veins, supplying each neighbourhood with the essentials. 
Calgary, Alberta Minimalist City Map Print

Toronto, Ontario Minimalist City Map Print

Tokyo, Japan Minimalist City Map Print

Amsterdam, Netherlands Minimalist City Map Print

Boston, Massachusetts Minimalist City Map Print

Sao Paulo, Brazil Minimalist City Map Print
Made By The Neighbourhood Unit
Canada sure likes their grids. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Three things...

1) Penguins - it has been a over 10 years since March of the Penguins stole my heart, but Paul Nicklen has helped me keep the love strong 
The babies! Paul Nicklen
What stunning colours in the crystal blue waters - Paul Nicklen
Standing out - Paul Nicklen
Which reminds me of this meme (even though its not the same species) which I just love, and keep next to my computer...

2) Modern/ Retro FireplacesIt may be almost April, but with snow in the forecast today so I'm still loving the idea of a good fireplace
vintage fireplace 15 Hanging And Freestanding Fireplaces To Keep You Warm This Winter
3) Indigo - it feels so fresh but not too harsh with a crisp white
Love this Brushstroke Indigo Duvet Cover from Pine Cone Hill

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Make Believe Friends

I have a slight obsession - looking at interiors online. I like real interiors rather than interior designed / stylized show houses / rooms. But it's odd - to look into someone's house and pour over the little details they live in every day. Sometimes I find myself saying - oh we'd definitely be friends if we lived near each other... Which is weird... But kind of fun at the same time. 

Anette is one of those people. I have no idea if we would be friends, but her house is any indication, I think we would! But since we can't be friends, I'm going to keep these images close, so I can emulate her apartment. She actually has so many pieces that I've wanted to purchase but have wondered how it would look. Well wonder no more!  I'm off to buy this ferm living pillow! 

Via Apartment Therapy

Monday, February 29, 2016

Vintage Skiing

I love skiing, I also love vintage anything, so when I saw these it was double love. Now how I can incorporate them into my home?...

Anyone want to see Eddie the Eagle? I've heard stories about him, so I'm dying to see the movie! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mind Games

My brain is really good at the opposite game. When I should focus on a task, I can't seem to get wandering thoughts (or more appropriately thoughts about wandering) out of my mind. And when I ask my brain to explore, it tends to focus in on one item... 

Happyolks | Shortbread Clouds, Three Ways
From Happyolks
My hometown is going through a bit of a soul searching mission these days. The economic health of the city is in serious question. Layoffs, reduced time, reduced salaries are the norm, and people are having to adjust their outlooks for new realities. 

At the moment, I am fortunate to still be employed, but every day that I leave work with my employment intact, I feel like I've bought one more day. In a scenario like this, I should really buckle down and just focus on work as much as possible. 

Have you heard about Death Valley and the flowers this year?
But with the anxiety of the unknown, it seems my brain would rather wander. Just when it is not supposed to. Perhaps this is a sign of lack of mental resilience or training, (and maybe I've found another self-improvement goal to add to my list). Or maybe it's natural... 

Whatever it is - I have been exploring here and here and here... and have been listening to this wandering playlist...

Which actually helps me come back into focus. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Rustic Modern

While I talk a lot about less is more in terms of stuff, I so obviously forget that when it comes to words. I'm not sure how to go about diminishing my word count (verbally and written). But here goes...

This apartment for rent in Whistler is a lovely balance of modern and rustic and I swoon. 

Reference to come soon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Little Campers

As a kid, I was definitely serious about my fort building. I would build them in every room in my house, in other people's houses and every summer at the cabin. One of my forts still stands today (thanks to a little pressure treated wood!). 

I just loved getting into my fort and having a little spot all to myself. I was hidden from the world, it was my little secret, all mine. 

So I just loved the idea of tents as gifts for the little ones in my family. I didn't even look at buying one - I jumped directly into looking how to make one. Obviously, my stated reason was because it would be cheaper (including labour it's debatable), but really, I think I just wanted the joy of building a 'fort' again.

Porch and Architecture - Art - Design has great posts for many different tent options, but I ended up going with a simpler version of Make-It-Love-It's Collapsible Fabric Tent and close to My Cakies tent - it was perfect for my very novice skill (straight lines, square shape). I definitely 'free-formed' a bit. (Here's another one that is very similar to mine)

The first attempt at the tent (a little over a year ago), took me a full day. I measured everything 3-4 times and had to think about things quite a bit, but I was a little taken aback by the amount of time it took.  I just finished my second attempt and I can say it was quite a bit quicker, probably a total of 5-6 hours. I spread it over three days and it really didn't feel that bad at all. 

I find that sewing is a lot like painting, its all in the prep work. I managed to measure and pin in large chunks allowing me to just sew up a storm. Doing large chunks of measuring and pinning I think really improved my efficiency.

Here is my how to (I would definitely go to Make-It-Love-It for a full step by step description and tips). 

  • 4 - 48 inch (4 feet) long 1 x 2 inch wooden boards (mine were oak, and I had them cut at the hardware store)
  • 3 - 48 inch 5/8 or larger wooden dowels (the first time I used 1 inch wooden dowels, and opted for the thinner ones the second time around, but because I use thicker fabric and make it really tight they bowed a bit, so you may want to go for 3/4 inch wooden dowels, it's a cost versus aesthetics choice)
  • 2.5 - 2.75m of IKEA fabric  (I go for the heavier canvas ones (this is the one I picked this time) just because I like the idea of it being cozier in the tent, Make-It-Love-It went for a Queen sheet which is brilliant and totally cost friendly. With the IKEA fabric, there is leftover so you can make a fun bag for the tent - if you get 2.5m, the bag is almost too short, but if you get 2.75m, you'll have extra room at the top to tie it)
  • Drill with drill bit the size of your dowels
  • Sewing machine and sewing supplies (I'm going to outline them since I didn't know what 'basic supplies' were - Good scissors or fabric cutter, fabric measuring tape, I like a ruler as well, iron if you would like,  pencil or some other marking tool, thread the colour you would like)
  • Sand paper and wood stain (optional) 

  1. Purchase materials - I like to have all the materials purchased prior to starting this project because I like to measure as I go and I need the tent frame before I sew the fabric!
  2. Drill holes in the wood boards - Drill the holes 2 inches in from the end and centered, on both ends of the boards. I learned the hard way that it is best to drill into the wood until the pointy part of the drill bit pops through the other side and then flip it over and drill in from the other side - it avoids splitting the wood at the edge of the hole when the drill bit exits on the other side. Also, I found it efficient to mark all of the boards first, and then drill all of the holes
  3. Put the tent together how you like it - then measure the distance between the wood boards along the dowel - in order to decide how wide your fabric should be. For me it was 42.5 inches 

    Definitely need a lot of floor space to measure out 8 feet of fabric.
  4. Keeping the pins outside the foot I have learned helps sewing go faster!

  5. Measure and pin the fabric -I wanted tent fabric to be 42.5 inches wide and 8+ feet long, so I measured a bit more than that ~1.5 inches per side so I could create a hem. I measured, pinned then sewed the long sides and then measured pinned and sewed the short sides, so I had a 42.5 x 96+ (mine was 12 inches longer than 8 feet) inch hemmed rectangle
    1. Measure the length of the fabric on the tent - drape the fabric over the tent to measure the length the fabric should be, I like to fold under the extra fabric to make internal pockets for the kids. I pinned one edge of the fabric on both sides of the tent so that it's tight going over the top cross dowel. I measure how much needs to be folded over and then pin it across the width of the fabric
      See the interior pockets? They just need to be helped up with some iron seam tape.
      1. Sew pocket for bottom dowel - measure how much room is required for the dowel to go through - the circumference is ~2 inches for a 5/8 inch dowel, so the pocket should be about 1.25 inches wide. Just make sure not to sew it too short
      2. Sew from the top of the dowel pocket to the top of the folded over fabric that you pinned in Step 5 
      3. Use iron seam tape to sew little pockets on the inside of the tent using the folded over portion of the fabric
      4. Take extra fabric and make a bag, fold width wise and then sew the long edges together - if the fabric is 2.5 m long, then it will be barely long enough.
      5. You're done! 
      6. Optional - can be done after you drill the holes in the wood, or after you make the tent: sand down the wood boards, around the drilled holes and along the edges, I just think about all the kid hands that could be on them and want to make sure that they don't get slivers. The wood can also be stained, but I skipped that
        Final product - A tent I want to stay in! 

      Wednesday, February 3, 2016

      Tiny but big

      I really love the tiny house movement, the innovative storage, the thoughtful minimalism, and the idea of freeing yourself from stuff and freeing your time for experiences. But I struggle with the idea of feeling too enclosed, not having full ceiling heights, and generally being cramped.
      So when I came upon this image today, I knew that there was a way to merge both small living and expansive airy interiors... And my tiny dream received new hope!

      Source: Archdaily via CocoKelley
      Actually the whole apartment merges tiny and expansive...
      Source: Archdaily 
      P.S. This apartment is in Prague. How wonderful would it be to move to a city like Prague for a year?