Monday, 31 August 2015

Mountains, Sky, Seals & Goals

My first weekend back in the real world was surprisingly busy. I thought I'd spend most of it watching Netflix and snacking but I ended up venturing out into the world! Friday night I went for a walk and then came home and watched a few episodes of Mind of a Chef. I know I've mentioned it here before but I feel the need to mention it again (the third season is on Netflix) it's so interesting to see how chefs interpret ingredients and how intertwined food is with culture.

Saturday evening J. and I went to an exhibition hockey game and then out to eat. I continued my quest for delicious chicken tacos and was pretty satisfied with the ones at Boston Pizza.

Sunday J. and I were tourists at home and went for a drive. I was hoping to take lots of great photos but it turned out to be sort of a hazy, foggy day meaning the views weren't overly spectacular. 

We were lucky enough to spot some seals playing in the waves at one look off. It was definitely the highlight of my day! It was hard to snap a photo because the waves were a pretty decent size and they were pretty far away. My lens is good, but it's not that good! 

Sunday night I had a Skype date with H. & R. and was in bed by 10:30. The weekend really consisted of a lot of driving which is why there's not many photos. What I do have is September Goals! I took a break from setting goals this summer because I had enough to do without worrying about reading five books or anything above and beyond getting my work done and taking a few minutes for me every now and then. 

Now that September is here and camp is over I'm ready to set some goals and get some things done!

I'm going to participate in Blogtember  this month but I know that I probably won't write everyday or follow all the prompts. I'm aiming to participate in 20 out of the 30 days. That gives me enough flexibility not to feel guilty if I miss a few days but also enough of a challenge to get all 20 posts published.

I've been reading a lot more lately and I want to maintain that. I have quite a few books on hold at the library and a few more that are just hanging out on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

I need to get prints of all the photos I took this summer. Very self-explanatory, it'll probably take the better part of an afternoon to sort through all the photos and decide which ones to order but it's something that needs to happen!

J.'s sister is studying in Ireland so I want to add her to my usual list of snail mail recipients! I'll also send some thanksgiving mail to H. & R. since neither of them are coming home for Thanksgiving. If I get them mailed out by the end of September they should arrive on time for Canadian Thanksgiving in October.

I'm working on getting involved with Girl Guides again but if for some reason that doesn't work out I'd like to find another community organizations to get involved with a few times a week. 

Tomorrow is the beginning Blogtember so I'll be jumping in with that first thing tomorrow!

Today, I'm linking up here and here

Friday, 28 August 2015

Weekly Favourites

It's Friday! Time to celebrate some of my favourite things from this past week!

Starbucks Lime Refreshers I've only had the instant make at home version of these because the nearest Starbucks is 6 hours away but even out of a box these things are delicious. I've been scouring Pinterest for an easy (and cheaper) copycat recipe. Until I find that recipe I'll continue to splurge on a box of these things every once and a while. 

Girl Guides. I had to take the last two years off from doing Girl Guides because of work but this year I'm hoping to get involved with a unit again. I love that Girl Guides is a Girl's Only group that has a great balance of outdoor activities, STEM activities and still leaves room for more girly activities. It's the best combination of so many of the things I love. 

The East Coast. I love my little corner of the universe. At one point this week I found myself sitting at the beach eating a donut and I was overcome with both the sterotypicalness of the moment but also the awesomeness. The truth is I forget sometimes that not everyone grows up surrounded by water. I love that everywhere is a small town by most people's standards and there really isn't any other place I'd rather live.

Papermate Flair Felt Tip Pens. I love these pens. I bought myself a fresh package of them yesterday after the summer. Mine are either all dried up or gone forever after being borrowed and never returned by counsellors. I'm excited to use them to write out some Pinterest recipes and make them a more permanent part of my recipe repertoire.

Leisurely Grocery Shopping. Sometimes I can feel my blood pressure drop and my whole body relax as I leisurely stroll through the aisles of the grocery store. I love checking out new products or finding not-so new products. Yesterday I discovered one of my favourite coffee shops from university has started making pods for Keurigs. I am super excited to try these out and see how they taste!

My ultimate favourite thing is who incredibly blessed I am to have some amazing friends. It's always a struggle that they all live so far away, especially this time of year when I'm re-adjusting to life without them. The better way to look at it though is how fortunate I am to have those girls in my life. Even if they're spread out all across the country. They're only a text or call away!

Linking up here and here.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Twenty Questions

Here's a fun fact about me that you may not know. I love answering questions about myself. If you ask me a very vague "tell me about yourself" odds are I'll awkwardly stumble and stutter over some very basic facts like age, hometown and job. If you prompt me with actual questions I can quickly strike up a conversation and converse like a respectable human being. So when I saw these 20 Questions that Karli had answered over on September Farm I decided to join in the fun. 

I love donairs. I've recently developed a deep love for chicken tacos. And I love a good french fry. Also a good vegetable stir fry (without peppers).

Flip Flops. Unless it's a fancy affair then heels, but in day to day life I like to make practical life choices.

Around here I shop almost exclusively at Winners, there really isn't much in the way of clothing options at my local mall. When I have more options I'm always sure to hit up Old Navy and American Eagle. Latley I've been having great luck at Bootlegger. I'm really not all that loyal to any particular store. When you're short and have my body shape you have to remain open to possibilities. 

This actually changes pretty frequently. Sometimes I opt for black with 1 sugar. Sometimes I go for just cream (especially if it's a flavoured cream) and sometimes I really go wild and get one cream and one sugar. Never milk though. Milk has no place in my coffee. 

I'm a big fan of the classic Nacho Cheese Doritos and a cold Pepsi. 

Very much depends on the project. I know my DIY limits. Ask me to paint a room or create a gift and I'm your gal. Ask to me fix the plumbing or install a door and you can hand me the phonebook. 

1. Call the Midwife
2.  Friends
3. Grey's Anatomy (The first 8 seasons anyway)
4. Diners, Drive Ins and Dives
5. The Pioneer Woman

If really pressed to choose an absolute favourite book I think my final decision would be the The Little House on the Prairie series. I've loved them since I first read them in elementary school and every time I re-read the series I still love it just the same. I also have a special place in my Stargirl.

Walking/Hiking. I like being outdoors. I have no interest in paying big bucks to drive to a place to do the same things I can do outside. 

5 feet even (or just about).

If it's a restaurant I love and go to semi-frequently I'll try new things. If it's a place I'm unsure about then I always stick to chicken strips & fries. 


Small fan, hand cream, lip balm, lamp, 

I'll let you know when the time comes. 

Bright Eyes.

I am very happy where I am in my tiny corner of the world. I can't really imagine living anywhere else. 

I'm a really good canoeist!

18. WEBSITES YOU READ // BROWSE (besides blogs)
Pinterest, CBC News, Facebook

I've always been a night owl but lately I'm becoming more of a morning person. 

I get compliments on my eyes on a fairly regular basis. 

That was an odd question to end on, but here we are, tomorrow I have a whole list of favourite things to share and then I will most likely feel totally caught up and move on to blogging about current events. Just in time for Blogtember!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What's Up Wednesday : August Edition

It's the last Wednesday of the month (which is crazy) and that means it's time to link up with some of my very favourite bloggers for What's Up Wednesday!

What I'm Eating This Week...
Anything that I haven't been eating at camp all summer long! I have a major craving for some pasta with alfredo sauce, broccoli, mushrooms grilled chicken and maybe a side of garlic bread. It's been too hot for that though so I've been embracing BBQ hot dogs and burgers. I've also discovered a deep love for Chicken Tacos so I'm working on creating the best home version of those. 

What I'm Reminiscing About...

All of the fantastic things I've gotten to experience with H. & R. over the course of the last four summers we've spent together. We haven't done everything on our bucket list but we've accomplished a lot. Plus all of the spontaneous adventures that didn't make the list.

What I'm Loving...

Every summer it seems like I pick up one 'bad habit' this year that bad habit is flavoured coffee creamer. It started innocently enough with the carmel one, then it went to the tasty Double Double one and now it's escalated to Chocolate Mint Truffle...I mostly blame the fact that camp coffee is generally awful. The combination of the cheapest grocery store coffee available and making it in mass quantities doesn't exactly lead to a good cup of coffee. Coffee (and caffeine) is more or less an essential part of the camp day and the creamer made it drinkable. Once my current supply is empty I won't be buying more (unless it's a very special treat) but for now I'm enjoy every cup of delicious tasting coffee. 

What I've Been Up To...
As soon as I unloaded my car and took a good hard look at all my stuff I realized I needed to do some serious re-organizing. I've been researching the KonMari Method and I'm on a waiting list to borrow the book from my local library. I started with my DVDs because they're the one thing was was mostly contained in one place.

What I'm Dreading...
I'm actively trying not to dread anything. I am kind of sad that my friends are all scattered across Canada again and I have no idea when the next time we'll all be together. I'm sort of dreading another job hunt, but at the same time I'm not worried about it and I have some loose ends to tie up at camp. I'm confident that the right thing will come along with the timing is perfect.

What I'm Working On...
Getting back into blogging! I'm going to participate in Blogtember hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love and I'd love to do 20/30 prompts for the month of September. I'm not willing to commit to doing all 30 but 20 seems like an attainable goal, especially if I can get organized enough to be prepared for some of the posts. 

What I'm Excited About...
J. and I are in the very beginning stages of planning a trip in November involving a road trip to Florida and then spending some time there before driving back. It seems a little daunting but also a lot of fun!

What I'm Watching/Reading...

I'm currently reading Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin. I'm only a few chapters in but so far I'm really enjoying the story. A few years back I watched the documentary Nursery University and was enthralled by the whole concept of competitive preschool for three year olds. In some ways this book gives a little bit of backstory to the whole phenomenon. After being away from TV for so long I've mostly been rekindling my love for the Food Network.

What I'm Wearing...
The humidity here has been intense lately (at least for my part of the world) so I've been living in sundresses and when those aren't an option shorts & tank tops are a must. And of course flip flops! Camp has a strict closed toe shoe policy for staff so I spend most of my summer in socks & sneakers. Now that camp is over I'll be wearing my flip flops and sandals until the snow starts to fall. 

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...
Getting back into a routine. Hopefully getting involved with Girl Guides again and if that doesn't work finding another community organization to volunteer with during the week.

What Else Is New...
I think that covers everything!

Favourite Back To School Tradition...
I don't have littles of my own but someday in a distant land when I'm sending them off to school I love the idea of having special breakfast with them. I also LOVE when all the mom's go out for brunch/lunch once the kids are all in school, I think that's an equally sweet idea as well.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

What I Did This Summer

I had nobel plans of blogging on a regular basis this summer but the reality of blogging without a reliable internet connection is a few posts a month. The Blogging Elite is hosting an August Adventures link up today, which is the perfect chance for me to share a sort of summer recap. 

What I read this summer...

I didn't read as many books as I would have liked, it averages out to a book a month, which is pretty disappointing. Especially considering Grace's Guide was a really easy read and I skipped one or two of the chapters because they really didn't appeal to me or apply to my lifestyle.  The Poisonwood Bible was a re-read. It's one of my favourite books and I like to re-read it every few years because there's always new details I pick up on and as I age I find myself relating differently to the characters. I finally got to read Wonder and came away with a lot of mixed feelings. There were parts of it that were wonderfully written and other parts that really made me cringe. Similarly, Say What You Will (not pictured) which I was totally in love with for 80% of the book but didn't care much for the eventual plot twist. The best book I read this summer was Call the Midwife I am eager to get my hands on the other two books in the trilogy after reading the first one. I loved that it was really easy to read a chapter or two at a time and the stories were a great mix of joyful and sad.

What I ate this summer...

I've never been a big breakfast person but this summer some of my favourite memories revolve around shared breakfasts. N. and I spent a lot of time at her cottage during break and cooking breakfast each morning while we watched Canada AM and got caught up on the outside world became a ritual. Breakfast always involved bacon, hash browns and coffee. When we didn't make our own breakfast we ventured into town and ate at the local breakfast/lunch spot. When we were in the city one break I had the most delicious Pink Lemonade drink on a patio. I love how many new restaurants I tried this summer! And when there's no restaurant in sight pizza and pop at the picnic table can make for a delightful dining experience. 

What I saw this summer...

I saw countless amazing sunsets and blue skies. I spent days sitting in the sand and being surrounded by water. I hung out with adorable duckings at the near by park and watched a guinea pig family at the zoo. I watched campfire flames and roasted marshmallows with friends. 

How I felt this summer...
This summer ran the full gauntlet of human emotions. I was challenged by difficult situations and felt scared, worried, frustrated, angry, sad, relieved and happy. Taking a step back from it all I am grateful. The challenges taught me a lot about how to deal with professional/work related issues and improved my problem solving speed. I got to spend two months with my best friends. I worked with some fantastic human beings. I won't say I loved every minute of my summer but I can say that I found something to appreciate during every moment of the chaos. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Coffee Chat - Post Camp Edition

For the last four months this has been my view first thing in the morning (and often last thing at night). This summer was challenging. It challenged me to choose priorities, to carve out 'me time', and realize that sometimes I really need to say 'no' to doing more. I wasn't always successful with those things. My days started between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., those same days ended close to midnight. 

One of the head counsellors summed up this summer best when he proclaimed that the highs were really high and the lows were really low. We had some spectacular moments when campers flourished and left camp with more confidence than when they came. There were also moments involving serious medical crises that made everyone sad, stressed, scared and sometimes angry at the world. 

I was fortunate enough to spend almost two months spending time with H. and R. next summer H. will be in school and only God knows where R. and I will be a year from now. I like to think we took advantage of our time together spending hours exploring the city, an afternoon shopping and another at the beach. Multiple nights sitting around a campfire and even more enjoying some good old fashion Girl Talk. Four years ago when I set out on my new camp adventure I never would have believed that two of the people I met there would become my closest friends. The three of us are different in so many ways that all seem to balance each other out and I love every minute of sharing my life with them. Even if most of the year we share it with a lot of help from iMessage and Skype and a little assistance from Canada Post. 

I don't have any "what comes next" plans and for the first time in my life I don't feel crushing and overwhelming panic/anxiety about that fact. I'm in the process of planning a road trip with J. in November. I'm working on finding a Girl Guide group to lead again and I've also been researching how to get involved in some camps that are closer to home. 

I don't have a mile long list of goals that I need to accomplish over the next few weeks. My priority is to relax, restore and re-energize after the summer. And let's be real, that means I'm going to watch a lot of Friends DVDs, try to sleep in past 7:00 (although so far that hasn't been successful), go to the beach and read a book and get back into a routine.

Eventually I will need to write my end of summer report and check off some things on a grown up for to do list but for the next week all that can wait. And I'm very at peace with the waiting.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. - Lamentations 3:25