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?!
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