Friday, June 10, 2016

Packing List - Overnight Hiking Trip with Snow

Packing List


Lay it out. Pack it up.
Here is what I took on a 5 day, 4 night backcountry trip. I would say it worked out pretty well (surprisingly - I'm a notorious over packer). The most unexpectedly enjoyable/well used items were: Scarf, two water bottles (vs one), pen and paper and crampons.

I will definitely reference this list again!

Kitchen
  1. Stove & shield
  2. Stove Fuel
  3. One 2-person pot
  4. Knife (not a multi-tool)
  5. Multi-tool (I didn't use)
  6. Spork
  7. Fair Share Mug
  8. Two water bottles (2L worth of water total; 1-1.5L, 1-0.5L)
  9. Wash Cloth
  10. Camp Suds
  11. Waterproof matches & lighter
  12. Water purification system
  13. Rope for hanging food
  14. Food
Clothing
  1. Extra pair(s) of underwear - brought one merino wool one - amazing!
  2. Long underwear (top and bottom)
  3. 3 pairs of socks (1 - wool, 1 - hiking, 1 - silk liner)
  4. Sports bra
  5. Non-cotton long leggings 
  6. Merino wool T-shirt - I like t-shirts so my backpack straps don't rub my skin
  7. Long sleeve base layer - I use my lulu lemon running shirt 
  8. Mid-weight base/mid layer
  9. Light puffy (non-down filled) sweater 
  10. Rain Pants
  11. Gore-tex shell
  12. Hiking boots (not waterproof but comfortable)
  13. Gaiters (I used short ones)
  14. Scarf (and neck warmer for winter camping)
  15. Digital watch with alarm
Living
  1. Tent (shared)
  2. Tent ground cover (shared - we used an emergency blanket)
  3. Thermarest (R 3.4 for sleeping on snow)
  4. Sleeping bag (good for -7C)
  5. Headlamp
  6. Hiking poles
  7. Extra baskets for poles (important for snow)
  8. Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, comb
  9. Ear plugs
  10. Lip chap, gum
  11. Sunscreen and lip sunscreen
  12. Hat
  13. Sunglasses
  14. Backpack rain cover
  15. Repair kit (for Thermarest, and tent - or just put duct tape on your hiking poles)
  16. Toilet paper
  17. Ziplock bags (although likely your food will be in these)
  18. Map (in ziplock bag) and compass
  19. Whistle
  20. Pen / paper
  21. Cards
  22. Book(s) - I brought an ereader with back light - really great!
First Aid Kit (homemade - based on Clever Hiker)
  1. Carabiner
  2. Pain/sleep/diarrhea
  3. Bandaids 
  4. Moleskin & second skin
  5. Antiseptic
  6. No stick gauze
  7. Sports tape
  8. Scissors
Winter Gear
  1. Large Down Jacket
  2. Down mitts
  3. Crampons
  4. Snow Shoes
  5. Ice Axe
Things to note: 
  • I rented my ice axe. Given the number of times I'll use it and the cost (cheap!) to rent, I opted for the rental.
  • I no longer wear hiking pants. They are too thin to provide any significant warmth, don't always allow you to move with as much flexibility, and the fabric/cut are generally quite unflattering. Leggings all the way.
  • Learning from my friend, having a change of clothes for 'night time' really improves comfort level and helps me feel warmer. Whenever we get into camp and have everything set up we would change out of our 'day clothes' and into our 'night clothes' - I would even take off my bra which really helped when it came time to go to bed!
  • Ear plugs (and I wish I would have had an eye mask) make sleeping in a tent 10x better! Especially with someone else / during the long summer days
  • I like to follow the rule: One item per I like having one of each, but no more than one of each.
  • I like to have my stuff compartmentalized, so I can just grab one larger bag out of my pack with say all of my kitchen stuff in it. Plus it makes me misplace stuff less. 
  • When in doubt, don't take it. The weight rarely out weights the comfort of having the item (minus things that keep you warm and full).
  • I watched a lot of Clever Hiker episodes on lightweight hiking (to help with my perpetual overpacking)
  • You can do it! We are so much more capable/adaptable/resilient than we think - and it's so much fun! 
Light packing helps on the ups!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Three things... (2016.06.09)


Three things I have been loving these days:

MM Lafleur
There are so many dresses and tops I would love to wear to work... Plus the models have the most amazing poses! 
Love this feminine but not floral top

"A material so comfortable, it will give your yoga pants a serious run for their money" And it's machine washable? Sold.
So that's what I look like when when someone does something wrong...
What a great classic dress, a V neck that isn't too deep! 

They also have this service call the Bento Box, where you fill out a questionnaire and then they send you a box full of items they think you would like - including jewelry! You just mail back the items that don't work. Unfortunately it's only currently shipping to the states... Or else I would be signing up!

Block Heel Shoes

They are a great mix between high heels and flats and keeps things dressy in a no none sense kind of way, Now with a sprained ankle, getting a pair has become more pressing. I ordered the following three pairs of shoes, hoping one of them will work out

Gravity Pope

Gold Detail




Bow detail

JUL
They are sooo nice and comfortable! But quite a high heel still 

Brunch & Aquafaba
I had some friends over for brunch on the weekend and it was just the loveliest time. It was nice to get together before the temperatures soared into the 30s. I have fallen off the brunch wagon with my intolerance to eggs (it really limits the options!) so I took this opportunity to try out some eggless brunch recipes. Let me tell you Aquafaba is a game changer. 

A little icing on the top

These waffles were pretty darn delicious and fluffy, and I couldn't really tell that they were egg free! I would probably add less sugar next time.

I'm also excited to try some of these recipes. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Disconnected - Month 1 Recap

It has been over a month since I disconnected. How did it go? Well for the first bit, it was quite easy. I would go to open up Instagram and I had to sign in. That small extra step was enough to remind me to not look. I didn't miss it one bit. I did however fill my extra time with other distractions such as blogs, newspaper articles and TV. Oh how I have realized that TV is my nemesis... (more on that later) 

I was still posting pictures to Insta when I feel like it, and I would do some limited scrolling, but I was much more aware of the time that I spent looking at other people's lives. 


Then I went away for 5 days with no cell coverage. And that was a whole new experience. I found myself worrying about work, my mind wandering through hypothetical scenarios, each time increasing in intensity. The mere fact that I could not connect increased my anxiety. Most of it was work related, but it definitely spilled over to my personal connections.


Via Tech Vibes
Since then I've maintained a reasonable connectivity. When I'm offline most of the day I carve out a few set time periods to catch up on the happenings. Recently (in the last 48 hours) I've noticed some mindless scrolling starting to enter my life, but I am recognizing this and can make adjustments. (It seems that I scroll more when I am tired as a procrastination tool... Which doesn't make a lot of sense!)

But there have been a few changes I've noticed over the past month: 
  1. Overall: Limiting social media has really freed up some time and brain capacity and has me focusing on myself and my life instead of avoiding my life by looking at other people's lives
  2. The house: I have been more obsessed with keeping my house clean. While I wouldn't say my house is now spotless, I have been noticing the mess - which is the first step right? I've also been taking action on some of the lease loved items on my to do lists (you know - the ones that just keep on getting transferred to new to do lists?)
  3. Mentally: I feel like I've freed up a lot of mental processing space. Post scroll I used to feel drained of energy and mentally exhausted. Now my breaks from work consist of reading an article, getting something on my to do list done or even going for a walk.  These are contributing to a feeling of mental clarity and focus, which I hope is helping my efficiency.  
  4. Decision Making: I struggle with making decisions; I am a maximizer, so I am constantly in search of the 'best' option. And social media allows you to see what other people have done when presented with similar decision points. The options are endless really, and can send me into a spiraling alternatives search. But being removed from the options, and with increased clarity and focus (see point 4) I've been able to make some key decisions that I've been putting off for months and months! It feels empowering; I am motivated to make more decisions, which is a wonderful positive feedback loop!
  5. My life: This exercise has really freed up some time and brain capacity (and self-pity to be honest) to allow me to focus on what really matters. When on the 5 days without cell service - I did worry about life back at the office, but I had several free hours a day to read/think. I had not taken a step back from my life and thought about it in a more holistic way in a while. Spending more than a few fleeting moments reviewing things allowed me to work through some thoughts and concepts that were previously only partly formed. 
  6. Missing Events: I've definitely missed friends and family's birthdays and have felt bad about it. I've also missed events in my neighbourhood since I am no longer reminded on Saturday morning about a specific event around town. This has been both a blessing and a curse. I like not being distracted from what I am doing - but I also enjoy those random events. 
  7. Substitute Distractions: I'd like to say that with my new found time, I've spent it doing productive value driven activities like additional activities, more reading, getting to do lists done, etc. but I have found that I have been substituting other distractions in its place. Namely TV (more on that later). I realize that I need downtime every day, but I just haven't figured out what non-social media, non-TV downtime is...
  8. Prioritized Scroll: Wow, one really figures out what is important when faced with only 15 minutes to look through several days of social media. I do the rapid scroll looking for names of friends and family to look at their pictures. Seeing my cousin's kids in Instagram is way better than someone's stylized and perfectly quoted morning coffee. That being said - I haven't deleted those coffee accounts from my Instagram because they are a great resource when I'm trying to put together a Saturday brunch, but seeing them as a resource and not a required daily image is refreshing!
  9. Positivity: I have some sort of jump in my step. Maybe because I feel like I have a little secret versus all the people walking around staring at their phones, or maybe it’s because I feel like I can get more done, (I do get more done!) but I'm not sure. But I do feel generally more positive about life! (Yay!)  
Speaking of which - I tried to find an image of unplugging in the forest (because I associate nature with unplugging) and this came up - wooden megaphones in the forest. How fun would it be to come across these, especially if there was a string quartet in one of them!

This is the greatest idea! Estonia is on to something!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Three Things... (2016.04.29)

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

Disconnecting

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

City-cationing

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:

Nautical
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...(2016.03.30)

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...
Via

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
Via
3) Indigo - it feels so fresh but not too harsh with a crisp white
Love this Brushstroke Indigo Duvet Cover from Pine Cone Hill
Geometric Indigo Batik Hmong Pillow, Hand-dyed by Tribal Women, Natural Indigo, Blue, White, 14" x 24"
Love the lumbar shape, the geometric graphics and of course the colour

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!