Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simplify Sunday: Sweaters

I did another mini Simplify Project this week. This time I decided to tackle my sweater shelf.  It has been overflowing for months and I seriously forgot about some of the sweaters that were at the bottom of the piles.  This first photo is of the shelf when I was about to start laundry, with a large portion of the sweaters already in the laundry hamper.

As you can see, even without the third that is hanging out in the hamper, my shelf is totally full. So, since I obviously wear the ones that were in the hamper, I started in on the remaining sweaters and sorted them into one of four categories:

1. Wear a lot (keep)
2. Doesn't fit (donate)
3. Don't really like (donate)
4. Totally forgot I had, but still kind of like (keep, at least for now)

The fourth category was not one that I had originally planned on having, but I found a couple sweaters that had managed to remain hidden away for far too long. I wasn't sure if the reason that I hadn't worn them in a long time was because I just don't like them, or because I just couldn't see them, so I have put them on probation - if I wear them in the next three months, they can stay.

Left - sweaters I am donating, Right - sweaters on probation

I didn't get rid of many sweaters this time around, I tend to wear sweaters often, so I actually do use most of the ones I own. I do plan on being a little more conscious of my sweaters though, it's so easy to forget that I dislike something about a sweater when I am no longer wearing it.

Once I had finished laundry I organized my remaining sweaters on the shelf. There are still a lot, but at least it's a bit more tidy!

Have you completed any mini organization projects lately? What do you want to simplify? I'd love to hear!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What's in My Carry-On Bag: Ottawa December 2013

I am headed back to Ottawa! Actually, as I type this I am in the airport after having been on my 6 am flight, sitting on the plane for nearly two hours, and being asked to de-plane. In about 20 minutes I would have been arriving in Toronto and waiting to make my connecting flight to my final destination of Ottawa. Saskatchewan winters, I tell you.

I am headed to Ottawa for the annual conference that Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) puts on over New Years, Rise Up, and it starts tonight at 7 pm. Originally I was slated to arrive around 2:30 in the afternoon, now I'm not sure I'll even get there today.

So, while I wait I figured I would share what I have in my carry-on bag.  I took these photos before I packed it up this morning (at 4 am!), so don't worry, I'm not that crazy girl in the corner of the airport taking photos of the entire contents of her bag. Although, I wouldn't judge if I encountered someone doing just that.

I'm carrying my Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote with me today, just like I mentioned in my Carry-on Essentials post.

I am continually surprised by the amount of stuff this bag can hold!  This is what I have packed today:

Eagle Creek Pack-it Cube filled with chargers and cords; iPod touch; headphones; macbook

Pens; iPad Mini; Current read; Journal; Small Moleskine

Makeup bag (Origins gift set); liquids and aerosols; hairbrush

That's all! I actually had to pack a second carry-on last minute when my suitcase was overweight right before I left. I did not overpack, but I have my cousins Christmas gift coming with me for the second part of my trip when I leave Ottawa and it adds a lot of weight.  Thankfully you are allowed a personal item AND a carry-on. 

Have you done any traveling lately? What did you bring in your carry-on?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simplify Sunday: Purses

I have been in this place lately where I really feel the need to simplify. Simplify my surroundings, simplify my schedule, simplify my stuff - just simplify.

The thought of simplifying everything that I want and feel I need to simplify leaves me feeling extremely overwhelmed, so I decided I would tackle things one little piece at a time. Some of them I know will still be larger projects, but others just sort of happen.

That's what happened with this Simplify Project. I was actually tidying up the house to get ready for a party I was hosting and ended up being distracted by my completely unorganized shelves that hold my purses, wallets, clutches, and such.  I was about to start re-organizing them when I realized that I hardly use anything on one of the shelves and the other shelf housed pieces that I used to use on a regular basis, but that my current style just doesn't really have room for anymore. I knew I needed to simplify.

So, aside from my bags that I use on a seriously constant basis and that don't even live on my shelves, I looked at each piece and asked myself a few questions to help with my decision making:

1. Do I like this?
2. When did I last use this?
3. Does this fit my current style?
4. Is this ruined or worn out in any way?
5. Do I have anything super similar to this that I use more?

I didn't ask myself "Do I need this?" because, really, I don't need any of these things. So that would just cause more of a sense of feeling overwhelmed.  I tried my best to remain objective and be completely honest with myself.  This was a nice start to my Simplify Project because I really am not that much of a purse girl, so I don't have as strong of an attachment to these pieces as I know I do to other things. Baby steps.

As I mentioned, I have some bags that I use at least once a week, but most of them are more than 3 days a week.  These are my purse, my dance bag, my Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote, and what used to be my school bag, but now serves as the the tote I use when I need to take my laptop with me - usually if I'm heading to a coffee shop to write.

My Everyday Bags

This Simplify Project took me less than ten minutes to complete, but I am really happy with what I decided to keep and what I decided to get rid of.  My shelves are much more organized now and this is one less thing that adds to that overwhelming feeling for me.

I ended up choosing to get rid of four purses, two wallets, and one clutch.  It doesn't seem like that much, but considering my small(ish) collection of purses it was a large chunk for me.

What is one area of your life that you feel you need to simplify? Do you plan on completing your own Simplify Project? Be sure to share it with me if you do!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Last Ballet Exam

My first-year pointe students from last year

On Wednesday I danced my last Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Graded Ballet Examination.  It was the Grade 7 examination, but RAD actually goes until Grade 8.  I finished Grade 6 and all the prior examinations by the time I graduated high school. Then, in my first year of university, I was living in Muenster so I took some classes at a studio in Humboldt, SK. Since I didn't have a lot of time to devote to dance, the studio owner (also my instructor) recommended taking Grade 8 instead of Grade 7 because there was less content to learn. It wasn't necessarily easier, but it is definitely structured differently.

So, what made me decide to take my final examination five years later? Well, I was taking some classes this summer from one of my favourite local choreographers and the topic of ballet exams came up so I mentioned I still needed to finish my Grade 7 examination. Long story short, we decided to start this fall and four other ladies joined in!

I have never prepared less for an examination.  I wish I had more time to devote to practicing, but we started learning the syllabus mid-September and I danced the examination on December 4, having missed many of the October practices while traveling or attending to other, previously arranged, commitments. Some of the other ladies were able to get together other times between practices, but I was either at work, French class, volunteering, traveling, or teaching my own students.

Being less prepared than I am used to made me extra nervous for this exam.  It was in a studio that I have only ever danced the RAD Vocational examinations in (which brings about memories of extremely-heightened nerves) with the pianist that I had been fortunate to have play the examination that I danced in Humboldt. She is from the Humboldt area, so I actually got to practice my Grade 8 exam with a live piano more than I was used to while dancing in Saskatoon throughout my previous grades, but I went into my piano rehearsal not knowing it was her playing for us - it was a shock but a good one. This exam was such a mix of old and new that the whole experience was different from any other dance memory I have.

I made some mistakes, some pretty silly ones actually, but the exam went really well.  There were two other ladies dancing with me, so many of the exercises were done 2 people then 1 person, with the examiner rotating through who danced alone.  It was nice to have a moment to breathe and let my aching feet relax (only a little!).

Have you ever taken a dance exam? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Carry-on Essentials

Carry-on Essentials

A lot of my adventures involve flying and over the years I have developed a list of my essential items that I like to have available while I am flying or hanging out in the airport.  The list I have compiled here does not include typical things such as a wallet, identification, passport, money, travel documents, etc. Instead, these are the things that can sometimes get forgotten but are totally noticed when they are not there, at least for me.

1. Tote: Essential to any travelling for me is a tote.  It acts as my purse for the day and usually pulls off many purposes throughout the trip: pool bag, beach bag, shopping bag, purse, overnight bag - really, a good tote can serve many purposes.  This Le Pliage Large Tote from Longchamp is one of my favourites and is large enough that it can hold all of my in-flight essentials while being classic enough that I can use it as a purse once I reach my destination.

2. Pashmina/Scarf: I always have a scarf with me when I travel. I actually usually layer one on as part of my outfit and have another in my carry-on. Pashminas are great because they are large and rectangular so they can be used as a personal blanket, a scarf, a head-wrap, over your shoulders, as neck support, and as a pillow.  This green pashmina can serve all of these purposes while adding a beautiful pop of colour to your outfit.

3. Notebook: I feel so lost without a notebook. I usually have one for jotting down random thoughts or lists and another that serves as my journal.  I find that I especially need somewhere to write things down when I am travelling.  Moleskin makes fantastic notebooks that are great for recording memories, compiling contact information, or planning adventures.

4. Hand Lotion: Airplanes are so dry. I'm sure you've heard it before, but it's true.  I am constantly putting lotion on my hands while I fly.  Hempz has a wide range of lotions that come in a travel-friendly size.

5. Lip Balm: Just as my hands feel dry when I travel, my lips tend to do the same.  This Nivea Lip Butter smells lovely and nourishes my lips perfectly. 

6. Face Powder: This is more for when I land or when I'm travelling all day long. I tend to get a bit shiny throughout the day and I like to freshen up when I get to my destination or while I am on a lay-over.  My absolute favourite face powder is Rimmel's Stay Matte Powder. It is finely milled, long-lasting, and doesn't have bulky packaging.

7. Lipstick: I don't really wear too much makeup when I'm travelling, but I find a statement lip can change up your entire look by making you look pulled together and like you've put more effort in than you really have. My favourite lipstick lately has been Crème in Your Coffee by MAC.  It is bold enough to be a statement, but can also be worn everyday, especially if you layer it overtop of the Nivea Lip Balm for a more sheer look.

8. iPod and Earbuds: I cannot travel without my iPod and with that comes headphones.  I like these Sony Earbuds, they are great for listening to your own music or for watching an in-flight movie.  I have pink (of course), but I really like the light blue ones as well.

What are your carry-on essentials? 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday Morning Cupcakes

Maria and I have kind of started up a new tradition that is pretty great. It's simple, really: we get cupcakes together on Saturday mornings.  It's not every Saturday, but we've done it a few times now and we definitely plan on continuing this decadent habit.

This actually started before we went to Halifax for the summer of 2012.  We had wanted to spend some time together and decided to meet on Broadway Avenue. We didn't originally plan to get cupcakes, but after a visit to the Broadway Diner we ended up sticking around Broadway to browse the shops and found ourselves wandering into Crave.  We had such a wonderful morning that Saturday, talking and getting excited about the upcoming adventure we were about to embark upon.

We have been home from Halifax for over a year now, and that day still stands out to us. It was just so wonderful. While we see each other quite often, we finally decided to meet up for cupcakes again a couple months ago and we did again just yesterday, with our friend Rebecca joining us as well.

Saturday Morning Cupcake days (or Cupcakes with Sarah, as Maria likes to call it) are simply happy days. We talk about anything and everything. We remember our adventures out East, dream about the future, plan events, and just enjoy spending time with each other. 

What sort of traditions do you have with your friends?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vancouver Comes to Saskatoon!

Wandering the University of Saskatchewan campus with Maria

While I was off gallivanting in Minot over the Remembrance Day long weekend, my friend Elizabeth made a trip to Saskatoon from Vancouver.  Fortunately I returned home the night before she was flying back home, so we managed to spend the afternoon together on the Monday.

Elizabeth is one of the many wonderful people that I met while spending summer 2012 in Halifax, NS.  We actually spent almost a week after Impact ended visiting PEI with another wonderful friend Maria.  Maria and I were the only two people from Saskatoon on the mission trip, and Maria and Elizabeth were in the same house for the summer.

(Check out this post where Elizabeth and I, along with some other friends, went down to the Halifax Harbour at sunrise!)

On Monday I picked Maria and Elizabeth up and we headed off to find a coffee shop that was open on the stat holiday.  We ended up making a pit stop at the University to give Elizabeth a bit of a tour (and to take photos, of course) before we actually made it to a coffee shop.  We took turns in the photos, there was absolutely no one else outside on campus (it was pretty cold, even for Saskatoon).

Elizabeth and Maria

Elizabeth and myself

Maria and myself - I know, the sun! 

Myself and Elizabeth at a very typical "U of S" spot. Can you tell who is a dancer?

It was nice wandering around campus again, even though it was quite cold. I haven't been a student since April 2012 and I have to admit, I miss it!  This beautiful campus is where I was fortunate enough to spend the majority of my days from September 2009 to April 2012.

Walking along the edge of the Bowl

When we were finally too cold to continue we made our way to City Perks, my favourite coffee shop in Saskatoon, only to find it too full to find a seat. So, we decided to head downtown and ended up grabbing some dinner at a restaurant on 2nd Ave.  There we were joined by Carissa, who recently moved to Saskatoon from Vancouver, and Veronica.  We all were a little too impressed by this clock, as evidenced by the many SnapChats (which I don't have) and my Instagram post.  It's pretty clever, don't you think?

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere - Photo by me

It came time for Elizabeth to make her way to the airport, but we all decided we wanted to see her off.  

Carissa, myself, Elizabeth, Veronica, Maria

Until we meet again! - Photo by me

I am so thankful to have been able to spend the day with Elizabeth and the other ladies.  Hopefully I will be able to see her again soon!

What do you like to do when a friend from another city comes to visit?

Note: All photos are from Elizabeth's phone unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Minot, North Dakota - November 8-10, 2013

Last weekend my best friend, Santana, and I drove down to Minot for some shopping and to celebrate her recent birthday.

I'm going to stop myself right here, because it feels so strange to refer to her as 'Santana.' Yes, it is her real name, but I call her Tann, which is short for Tanner, which is what I thought her name was until I was somewhere in the range of 8-10 years old. Yep. I have known her since I was born (literally - our moms were pregnant together and Tann came out exactly 6 weeks before me) but I did not know her real name until then. EVERYONE called her Tanner, so that's what I thought her name truly was. You learn something new everyday.

Anyway, Tann and I have known each other since we were born, but other than the year and a bit that we lived in the same small Saskatchewan town when we were first born we have never lived in the same city. Even the year that Tann spent going to school in Saskatoon. I spent that year living in Muenster. Some sort of cruel trick, if you ask me.

So, Tann and I wanted to go on a shopping trip. Partially because Tann never shops (and I always do) and partially because we realized that we have never been on a road trip together! We have always had to make road trips to see each other over the years, so I guess a road trip together just never really happened. Even this time, I drove down to Regina to pick Tann up before we headed off across the border south of Regina.

We had a blast, and did a lot of shopping. Tann more so, but we both left with excessive bags and large dents in our bank accounts. We had originally thought we would want to go out both nights, but on the Friday night we realized that we just wanted to get some dinner and go to bed after driving the whole way there. The drive was about 4 hours from Regina, so I had another 2.5ish before that from Saskatoon. We were just tired and wanted to get rested up for our big day of shopping on Saturday.

And what a big day of shopping it was. We got to the mall bright and early and stayed there until almost 5 pm. Even though I'm a major shopper, I never do that. We pooped ourselves out so much that Tann told me "I wouldn't be upset if we decided not to go out," and I nearly grabbed her and hugged her because I had been thinking the exact same thing, but didn't want to be the boring one. After dinner and a bit of relaxing we hit some of the nearby box stores before calling it a night.

Shopping, Round One

Shopping, Round Two

On Sunday I got up bright and early to head to Mass at Our Lady of Grace parish which was a short drive from the hotel. After Mass Tann and I checked out of our hotel and went for a drive around Minot while we waited for stores to open at noon for some last minute purchases and returns. We finished up around 3:30 pm and then hit the highway back to Saskatchewan.

It was a really quick trip but I had a lot of fun spending some much needed time with Tann. The long drives allowed us to catch up on our lives and to reminisce about times we've had together. Since we don't often spend time together I really appreciate the moments that we do.

What sort of trips do you take with your best friend?

P.S. It's strange that I call Santana 'Tann' because I usually refer to people in their full name. Daniel instead of Dan, Benjamin instead of Ben, Elizabeth instead of Liz… It's just what I do. What about you, do you use full or shortened names?

Monday, November 4, 2013

French Class

My first day of French Class back in September

I have wanted to learn to speak French for a long time. I mean, I live in Canada. We have two official languages, not just one. I sometimes use the excuse that I am in the Western part of Canada and French isn't as prominent here, which is somewhat true, but it's really just an excuse.  We have many many fully French areas in Saskatchewan and a lot of people I know are fully fluent in French, some of which it is their first language.

Originally I had wanted to learn French because I always found myself interested in men (well, mostly boys at the time actually) that had French roots and spoke French. They spoke English too, but French is just so beautiful. My desire to learn French then took on a new meaning when pretty much every job that I wanted to apply to within my industry that was located east of Manitoba required a bilingual designation.  Finally, my desire to travel, even within Canada, calls for at least some basic French language skills.

So, after about 3 years of always looking into different programs and classes in Saskatoon that offered French language training, I finally signed up for a class! (That I had been one click away from signing up for about 30 times in the past year - no joke).  I kind of knew all along that I needed to wait until I was done my degree to take on this new learning, but I still always had that desire and almost caved, even while I was still in school.

The class that I am taking is a conversational class. I am not learning how to perfectly spell or write, I am not learning proper grammar or why we say things a certain way... I'm just learning it. I am learning to recognize French and I am learning to speak French. Very slowly. I know that if I truly want to be able to apply on those bilingual jobs then I will have to take on French in a much more academic way, but right now, for the purposes that are more within my immediate future, being able to understand and speak a little bit of French is more than enough for me. I'm sort of treating it as my trial run - if this and perhaps the next couple of levels go well, then I'll look into something more intensive that will help me work towards a bilingual designation.

The problem is, I've found that I'm really not that great at learning a new language. Now, this could certainly be helped with reviewing and practicing daily, but let's be honest, I don't have that kind of time. I should make the time, but I don't. I still haven't quite found the methods that work best for me to really learn this new language, but I'm getting there. I know my final goal is to be fluent in French, I'm just breaking it down into VERY manageable portions for me to tackle, one at a time.

Have you ever learned a new language? Do you speak French? Any tips or tricks?!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jet-setter: Ottawa, Ontario - October 25 - 28, 2013

I spent this past weekend flying off to Ottawa, ON to be present at the wedding of my friend David and his beautiful wife Flora.  David was my Parish Team Leader during the summer of 2012 while I lived in Halifax from May to August for a mission trip with Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO).  The summer mission was called Impact Halifax 2012.

I stayed at the house of two of my friends who were also in Halifax with me, Angèle and Maria, and so did my friend Adriana, who - you guessed it - was in Halifax too.  Angèle and Maria have three other roommates, so it was a wonderfully full house for the weekend with seven women.  About four doors down from the women's house is a men's house, where two men that were also in Halifax with us - Zachary and Jeremy - happen to live. A large portion of the people who were on Impact Halifax were either from Ottawa (or nearby), going to school in Ottawa, or had moved to Ottawa after the summer mission, so I was super excited that I got to see so many wonderful people whom I hadn't been able to see for over a year.

(Check out this post where Maria and I, along with some other friends, went down to the Halifax Harbour for sun rise)

Our first night in Ottawa happened to also be the night that CCO was hosting men's and women's nights, so Adriana and I joined Maria, Angèle, and many other young Catholic women in Ottawa for the evening that consisted of a potluck, testimony sharing, a talk, and then a girly evening of chatting, painting nails, and just hanging out.  After women's night a bunch of us went to a house party that was spread out over two houses that are connected through the corner of their backyards. One house had a live band and the other was full of people with a dance floor in the basement.  I ran into so many people I knew there, it felt like I had already been to Ottawa before.

Saturday was wedding day! Maria, Adriana, and I quickly walked to a nearby mall to get cards and some makeup before getting ready for the wedding.  The ceremony was so beautiful. I just love witnessing people that are important to me take part in the sacrament of marriage!

As I am living in Saskatchewan and the rest of the people who were on my parish team are all living in Ontario, the last time we were all together was the very last day of mission, August 11, 2012.  It was so awesome to see Jeremy, David, Beverly, and Marie all in the same place. Actually, it was the first time I had seen any of them since Impact ended.

Our parish team got a little bit bigger this weekend!

I'm actually a little disappointed that I didn't get more photos, but I was totally enjoying myself as I caught up with everyone, met new people, and danced the night away.  

P.S. I wore the same dress to this wedding as I did to Brandi & Kyle's wedding, and I am totally okay with it! Do you wear an outfit to multiple events? I certainly try to, it just seems so wasteful not to!

My weekend didn't end there! I decided to make a little vacation out of the weekend and booked Monday off of work. Since Friday was my EDO I had a nice little 4-day weekend to enjoy Ottawa for the first time ever.  On Sunday morning I slept in then Jeremy, Maria, and I dropped Adriana off at the airport to catch her flight back to Halifax. After we left the airport we stopped off at the Farmer's Market across from Carleton University. It was pretty chilly and we decided that we wanted to sit down somewhere warm to eat, so we didn't stay long. I did manage to snag some macarons, however, and they were delicious. Jeremy had one that was mocha-flavoured, Maria chose pistachio, and I got raspberry, vanilla, and two salted caramels (there was a deal for 6 that I just couldn't pass up). YUM.

There were three others, but they didn't quite last until the photo was taken.

We made our way to the ByWard Market and grabbed some lunch at Cafe 55 before heading towards Parliament Hill.  We decided to head inside to see if there was a tour time that would work.  We hung around inside for a little bit before deciding that we didn't want to wait. I'm heading back to Ottawa at the end of December anyways, so I can take a tour then when I have a bit more time. 

I really wanted the typical tourist photo in front of Parliament Hill, so we went outside to do just that. As we walked outside and towards the steps we saw a bunch of people in strange costumes and makeup walking towards us (towards the building really, but it totally felt like they were walking right. to. me.). Oh lovely, Ottawa's Zombie Walk had to happen right when I was first experiencing Ottawa and Parliament Hill.  I'll tell you, I doubt I will ever forget it!  I managed to get my photos and you really cannot tell that the people in the background are all dressed as zombies, it just looks like a bunch of tourists.

After my tourist moment was over we hopped back in the car and headed off to Jeremy's parents' place for a belated Thanksgiving dinner and then went to evening Mass at St. Monica's where Jeremy was playing in the band. We were there early for the band to set up, so Maria and I went on what ended up being a very long walk on the path that winds through the surrounding trees. It was quite beautiful, but we really didn't realize how far we had gone until we figured we should turn back. We still made it back with plenty of time to spare before Mass though :).

That's about it! The next morning I had the cab pick me up shortly after 4:00 am so that I could get checked in and through security before my 6:00 am flight back home.  Even though the trip was quick, I had a wonderful time. I cannot wait until I get to head back at the end of December!

Have you ever been to Ottawa? What was your favourite experience while there?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Lethbridge and Okotoks, Alberta - October 11 - 14, 2013

This past weekend was spent on the highway headed to Lethbridge, AB for the wedding of two of my friends, Brandi and Kyle. I drove up with Amanda and Micah, but since I can barely keep my eyes open in a moving vehicle (other than when I am the driver of course!) I don't really have much to say about the drive.  We did stop in the town of Kyle, however, to take some photos - we were headed to his wedding after all!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful! Truthfully one of the absolute best I have ever been to. The ceremony and Mass showcased their love and faith so wonderfully, I couldn't imagine something more "them."

The dinner and dance were just as great. Kyle and Brandi really know how to throw a party! I really enjoyed being able to see friends that I don't have the opportunity to see very often. Everyone seems to either be living in a different city or town or we're all too busy with our "grown up" (still don't quite fit that one) lives that we just don't get to see each other much.

I have some of the most amazing women with beautiful souls in my life. I really wish every one of you could have the chance to know them all! I am constantly in awe of how blessed I am to be able to call them my friends.

On Sunday Amanda, Micah, Masson, Rebecca, and I headed out to Okotoks, AB to stop in at Amanda's parents' house to spend the evening celebrating Thanksgiving with her family before heading off in our different directions on Monday.  As always, spending time in Okotoks was a blast. I don't have any photos to share but a few things I'll throw out there are: mullets, turkey, wine, South America, living room jam sesh, cards, late night lake walks, girl talk, and sleep talking.  Intrigued, right?

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? Or, if you're living somewhere that celebrates Thanksgiving at a different time, what are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Update December 2014: Check out Brandi's blog, for one day!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Miss Europe

I get this feeling sometimes, it's more often than not actually, where I just want to go. I want to go to an airport, I want to go on a plane, and I want to go somewhere. Somewhere I've never been before, somewhere that I visit frequently, somewhere other than here.

I love my city and the people that are a part of my life, but there is nothing like the adventure of going.

Today, I miss Europe. I want to be back in Barcelona, or riding a train through Northern England. I want to be on a cruise ship off the coast of Croatia, or attending morning Mass in Rome.

I've been consoling myself by flipping through photos of my last European adventure, and I thought I would share a few.

 Tapas in Barcelona

A bicycle in Pisa 

 The Colosseum in Rome

Blackpool North Pier

 Picture perfect scene in London

Tourist shot capturing both Big Ben and the London Eye

Crossing the London Bridge

Where would you like to go?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Muenster, Saskatchewan - September 20-21, 2013

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to head out to the town that I lived in for my first year of university. Muenster, Saskatchewan is home to St. Peter's Abbey and St. Peter's College, where I was a student right after high school.  The abbey is a wonderful place to visit, especially in the fall. The grounds are expansive with beautiful trees, fields, lanes, and little buildings spotting the property.

The reason for my visit this time was a youth ministry planning retreat, I am part of a team at my parish that plans and runs the youth group for the high school students at our parish. We've had a planning retreat at St. Pete's before and I'm glad we decided to go back.

On my down time I decided to take a walk through the trees. The weather was so beautiful and I realized that I had actually never taken a walk on the paths that wind through the grounds. Never. I lived there for a solid eight months and have been back to visit numerous times in all of the different seasons and I had never walked the trails. Once I made this realization I had to rectify the situation immediately.

I put on my sweater and grabbed some seeds and nuts for the chickadees (there is one lane that the birds will come and eat right out of your hand - they have been doing this ever since the monks from the abbey came to the property). I had actually never fed the birds before a visit this past winter, so I was excited to try again. Unfortunately, the birds never came to me... I think it had something to do with the fact that right around now they still have access to pretty much whatever food they want, whereas the last time I was there was in the dead of winter, with extremely cold temperatures and, therefore, very little food for them. Anyway, once I realized I wasn't going to see the birds I continued on into the trees. The leaves had just started to change, making my path a colourful one.

This actually leads down to the cellar that can also be accessed through the kitchen

 Stunning flowers in the abbey garden

 Breaking in my new oxfords while exploring the trails at St. Pete's

I have been extremely fortunate to be able to head back to visit St. Pete's in the years that have passed since my days as a student at the college. Sometimes I feel as though I really didn't make the most of my surroundings. I rarely stayed the weekend, with the city being only a little over an hour away, but I so wish I had.  I don't have regrets about my time there, but not really experiencing the school and the abbey and the atmosphere that they offer is something that I would say comes pretty close. I guess I've grown a lot in the past few years since my time there, so I'm just able to appreciate what St. Pete's has to offer more than I was able to at the time.

Do you have a "St. Pete's?"

P.S. I was super excited to be able to stop by the town of Bruno, SK on my way home from St. Pete's to pay a visit to Amanda. I always love seeing her!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jet-setter: Las Vegas, NV - August 31 - September 3, 2013

Ready to take off on our adventure!

Over the Labour Day weekend Jessica (whom you met here and here) and I took off for Vegas! We had talked about going for quite a long time and then some friends of ours had began to arrange a group trip a couple months ago. When I told Jessica I was in we decided that no matter how the planning turned out we would go, even if it was just the two of us. Well, it ended up being just the two of us - and it was such a fantastic time!  

We shopped, we went to shows, and we even bumped into some people we know from Saskatoon that were also there for the weekend (I know this is over-used, but what a small world!).

Instead of sharing tales through writing, I'll stick to the "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" mentality and just share a few photos.  Enjoy!

 We had pit tickets to the Brad Paisley Beat This Summer Tour

I didn't even zoom in

In front of our hotel, Mandalay Bay, after church on Sunday

We went to Love, the Cirque du Soleil show to the Beatles music

 And later in the evening we found ourselves back at the entrance to Love and had to rock the light up "runway"

Have you been to Vegas? What was your favourite part?

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