Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016-11-30 Three Things - Holiday Light Edition

With the final day of November upon us, I can't help but think about the holidays. The cookies, the hot chocolate, the rum... I mean the trees, the lights the stockings. 

This weekend I am decorating my house. I currently have a wide variety of hand-me-downs that I try to place sparingly around the house without it feeling too cluttered but still cozy. I don't think I will ever give up these decorations (sentimental value) but if by chance I was starting a new, here are three light decorations (cozy and festive!):

Deer or Tree light
I've loved these for a long time - they would make a great little bedside light. And now I think they would make the most amazing Christmas decoration. Imagine going to bed every night looking at this little cutie?
Large Modern Reindeer lamp, concrete deer lamp, christmas reindeer lamp, deer night light, woodland decorative lamp
From SturlesiDesign
Modern christmas tree lamp, concrete table lamp, concrete night light, Christmas decorative lamp
I wonder if I could get this in 5 foot tall form? Most modern Christmas Tree.

SNOW Marquee Letters
I love how simple they are, and how they capture exactly what I love about the season. Wouldn't these be great outside, with snow on them?
I would make these in white and 3x larger and have them on my front porch... Via 13ozor
Star Lights 
This is a simple, cheap idea that really spruce my place. I put these in my front window so everyone knows, I'm in the spirit. Plus, I put them on a timer. No better sight to come home to than these glowing!

STRÅLA Lamp shade   Create your own personalized pendant or table lamp by combining the lamp shade with STRÅLA cord set or base.
Via Ikea

Monday, November 7, 2016

Minimalism Motivation

While running with a friend two Mondays ago, she said something very profound. (Well she says a lot of profound things but this one stuck, given my Fall Goals (and my total failure to start number 3.)) 

She said (I'm paraphrasing) "...Decluttering has the most impact on your life and free time but it is the most difficult to do..." 

The second part of her statement ("but is the most difficulty to do...") had never crossed my mind. I just thought I was being lazy by not getting to my piles of 'stuff'. But in reality that stuff has meaning to me, it represents a feeling, a sentiment, an event, a part of my life when I decided to acquire the item. The process of getting rid of items is admitting that what you thought would be useful is no longer. You have changed your mind, your viewpoint, your priorities. 

My realization is: Decluttering is an emotional process. It requires reflection, contemplation, decision making and it is a physical realization of poor decisions made in the past, or that you have outgrown your past decisions, emotions, sentiments. 

Mari Kondo says it best  "...when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.” And to be honest, that is a lot of work. Especially if you haven't been putting your affairs and past in order for a while. (Here is where I admit I have craft projects that are over 10 years old! And i'm still convinced that I will get to them. Seriously. Still convinced.)

All of this means that I have to look at 'decluttering' as more of a process, rather than a task. I've decided on a three prong approach to this process:
  1. Provide myself with end product goals - describe in detail what the benefits from this process will be, find realistic images of what I would like my living situation to look like, and express the feelings I have felt post previous decluttering sessions
  2. Research tools, tricks and skills required to most efficiently complete the decluttering
  3. Reward myself of successes, big or small
Believing that I am going to go home after work and spend 2 hours going through my piles of stuff in my basement is unrealistic. 

End Product Goals
There are two end goals for me 

  1. A beautifully simple and minimal home - so that I can relax in it, and not feel like I have to fix something, or clean, or that the walls are coming in at me
  2. A simpler, less stuffed life - This means I will have more freedom to be spontaneous, to be outdoors and sleep more

While images of these types of rooms really help....
Image result for minimal mid century house interior
When a place is removed of stuff, my eyes can float towards the outdoors.
Fabulous midcentury modern home with inviting warmth How To Give Your Home A Captivating Mid Century Modern Style
Via Decoist - I love the warmth, it's not stark but not cluttered. Everything seems like it has a purpose. Very zen. 

Image result for minimal vintage interior
I have stuff. I will always have stuff (Sorry Mari Kondo). But if it all has a place, and there is more space than items - then rooms can look like this. - Speaking of which - Mari Kondo's apartment does not have stuff.

Tool, Tricks & Skills


Before Starting
  1. Get all of my bins in a row - Donation, toss and to be organized later
    • The ‘to be organized later’ bin is important in the Mari Kondo method where you organize items with the same purpose, rather than by where they are currently located, it will allow you to collect all of the writing / arts and craft items into one area and then clean those
    • Image result for decluttering boxes
      Via
  2. Clean out my car and check when your donation centers are open
    • I believe the most demoralizing part of decluttering is still having donation boxes around after a full day of decluttering. It works better for me if I finish my day with a drive to my local charity to drop off boxes - while this is not always possible, putting them in my car to be taken away the very next day also helps clear the space
  3. Get ready the week before
    • Make sure I have the bin/boxes I need to sort
    • Tidy up my house (dishes!), it is very daunting to start a big clean when a little clean hasn’t been done
    • Get other tasks out of the way – bills to pay? Need to get my car serviced? Have to return some items? Make sure that those are done because they will nag on me, and I will likely do them in advance of a large decluttering session
  4. Know my most productive time of the day
    • Making sure that I start in my most productive time of the day is important to having the decision making power required to go through the volume of items in a decluttering session
  5. Music
    • Download a CD or a few songs I currently love – Having those beats going on in the background really helps me get into my groove. Sometimes I listen to one song on repeat, belting out the lyrics and I move around the house. I also like listening to the radio, nothing like a bit of CBC Radio 1 or 2 to get you through a Saturday. Alternatively, I also have been getting into podcats. The one problem with them, is that if they require concentration, I typically stop my task and sit and listen. But they are good for doing sedentary organizing, like going through my receipt drawer. Or putting printed photos into chronological order
  6. Water & food
    • How many times I have been a few hours into cleaning or organizing or garden work (or even today) when I look up from my task and realize that I have yet to eat anything or drink any water? (a lot) This is a total energy killer
    • I also have to remember to have a good meal before starting the whole decluttering – not just a few crackers and an ice cream sandwich (what I currently have in my house) but a cooked / prepared meal
  7. Exercise
    • This may not make sense give my comments about how draining I find decluttering, but I also know that I do my best work on the mornings after I go for a pre-work run. Plus it gets me out of slow weekend mode and into go-go gadget mode. It works, well

While Decluttering
There are only a few things that I need to remember while in decluttering mode

  1. Do not turn on the TV
    • When my energy starts to wane, I usually get some food, and decide to take a little break and turn on the TV. Then three hours later I look up across my house with piles everywhere and a dinner party to get to in less than an hour
    • TV is a black hole. Never ever ever turn it on while decluttering
  2. Do not get sucked into a deep dive
    • Decluttering sessions #1 – 5 is about getting through as much stuff as possible, it's tempting to reminisce while sorting through all your high school grad photos(well not really – my sequin purple dress is something I really don’t need to see again) that can be done when you feel like overall your house is decluttered. Additionally, you may make a decision after decluttering session #2 that you want to get rid of that whole group of items, even if they are organized from least to most flattering angle of the purple sequin mess
    • Also – the way to never want to declutter again is by spending 5+ hours decluttering to see that only the back right corner of your guest room is decluttered
  3. Multi-task
    • Laundry to do? (if I did #3 of the Before Starting list, then I don’t, but haha, I always do) but this could be a good time to wash your technical sports gear in that special washing solution. Lasagna to cook? Does something need to be delivered to your house with a 12 hours arrival window? Do you have to let your craft project dry for intervals of 4 hours?
  4. Leave time
    • This is the most important and hardest for me to do – I have to learn to leave time to put away the items I’ve decided to keep, package up the items I am donating and put them in my car, and deal with all the other disasters that have come up from this whole process
    • Leave time to get to the donation center if it is still open
    • Then leave time to relax. Sit down with some wine, have a bubble bath, read a book, dance in on my new found floorspace. Whatever. But I need a few moments to sit down and chill before I head out and tell everyone about the bags of items I managed to remove from my house!
Reward Myself
I struggle with rewards - I never seem to convince myself that I will only be able to have my reward if I complete my task. It's not like I won't buy myself a pair of ski pants only if I clean my house. I'm not going to allow myself to freeze all winter! But smaller rewards do help. Like ice cream sandwiches, manicures, chocolate. 

But what about bigger house items? I know this sounds ridiculous, I've just cleaned out my house and I want to buy something else? But what happens if it is a light I don't need, but have been coveting for a specific spot for the last year? I can and definitely will just keep on using my IKEA light because I haven't been able to justify buying the coveted light. Then every time I look at that light, I'll go - man I need to do another decluttering session so I can get something as cool as this light? 

The other thing I was contemplating as a kind of reward is showing it off. Weird and narcissistic right? But on the other hand - having a clean basement storage area would likely impress everyone who has ever been in my basement. 

Lastly, what if my reward was the declutter itself? The knowledge that I will have more free time? I will smile every time I enter my house. Maybe my goal should be a nice hot cup of tea and a good book and a cozy blanket 2 nights a week?

Anyway - I'm still working on this one.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016.10.17 Three Things

Did you know we are in the 42nd week of the year? Where did time go? We only have 10 weeks left of 2016. Here are a few things I have been googling lately.

Breakfast 
I'm in need of new breakfast ideas. I like these ones:


Look at all the Seeds and Nuts!

Make breakfast for all week in 5 minutes?
 kamut dark chocolate energy bar1.jpg
Delicious Looking on the Go option!
I also still make Pantry Granola and love it! I'm just trying to cut down my dairy intake and the granola goes just so well with yogurt!

Pillows

It's the season to get cozy, so I have been searching high and low for pillows (aka. I have bought and returned over a dozen). These are my favs:
Love the design and the muted colours.
Shibori all day

Pattern and pink? Yes please. 
Come on Hmong


Fair Isle Colorblock Pillow Cover
Ski Sweater Pillow

Winter Boots

Here I'm at a total loss. How many boots are too many? What do you look for in winter boots? What do you wear to work? I really like the following boots, but I'm not sure which one(s) are the most practical...
Image result for CHENERY boots
For getting around the city... and to work?
Image result for kork ease velma bootie
Are these considered winter boots? Mild winter boots maybe.


Northridge Star Suede WP + Insulated
Snowshoeing Adventures?


Image result for WOMEN’S LEA™ WEDGE BOOT
Wedge Winter Boots? Are these allowed?
Image result for cougar pillow boots
I can't decide if the fact that these are called pillow boots make up for the look?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Plank

With fall here I should start to focus on getting fit for ski season. But for some reason the only planks I want to be looking at are wood ones. 


Scandinavian interior design
Love the light boards - allows for a darker pallet to not make the corner too dark


Rustic Interior Rustic Scandinavian
White washed but you can still see the grain. A modern version of the wide plank. - Also I'm in love with those pillows!
Image result for warm scandinavian interiors cabin
Never too much wood. Especially with those windows.
The floor planks add a bit of warmth to the black and white (and green) space.

Also - I think I've found my new favourite blog: Scandinavian Retreat. I want to live in all the places! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Baby Boy's DIY Decorations

I just finished helping my cousin with a little DIY for her son's room (more on that later) but here are some of the other options we were looking at.... 

1) Fabric Banner - This would be a simple sewing DYI, and you can use all those extra fabric pieces! Alternatively Baby Bump has a great selection...
Baby Bump Bedding

2) Talk about another simple DIY - I love this IKEA hack - Spice rack to secure book shelf! (this would also work great in my trailer). A little paint and attach to the wall. 
Via - Here

3) This one is a bit far fetched (aka more work and skill), but because I love wood walls. I was trying to create accent wood wall. This one is adapted from the talented Vintage Revivals who used this technique on her trailer floor. I would see attaching this wood pattern to a thin piece of plywood and then attaching the plywood to the wall. I think a narrow column of this would look great and not overpower the room!
Via Vintage Revivals

Friday, September 30, 2016

Stockholm Minimalism

While I try to muddle my way through cleaning up and organizing my house this fall, I thought I would post some inspirational places as motivation to let go of more material items. 

This apartment in Stockholm looks pretty perfect if you ask me. Clean, uncluttered, but still full of personality. Warm leathers balance the cool blues and greys. White walls contrast the warmth of a wood fireplace. Solid fabric colours but enough throw pillows to have a bit of fun! And the thoughtful clusters of personal items cut the sterility. 


As linked
Cozy fire nook
Just what you need, and a touch of beauty
Minimal everywhere but one nook. 
That fig tree. *heart*

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Goals

This fall I am feeling a sense of nostalgia mixed with urgency and denial. Nostalgia for the days of after work bike rides, sitting on my sunny porch, and getting my fingers dirty in the garden. An urgency to make the most of the last days with temperatures above freezing and sunlight past 5pm. Denial that another fall has come to pass and I feel none the wiser, like I have not grown since last year. 


Image result for fall sun set calgary crescent
Via Hiking Photography

As I watch the sun slowly cast an enchanting glow over the city as it falls behind the horizon, I can't help be feel a pang of sadness. An ache in my heart even the best ski videos cannot remedy. I envy those who love this season for all of its golden glory without a sense of foreshadowing.

This fall is definitely better than the August Angst I felt last year. In part because I got out and did a lot this summer. My summer goals focused my attention and allowed me to experience so many wonderful things! But also because I am trying to own it. Own these feelings of nostalgia and sadness and sit in them. Understand a bit of where they are coming from and try to be ok. Recognizing what works for me, what are healthy responses to these feelings. 


But it's easy to allow these feelings to pass without much thought. Soon it will be holiday season, and these feelings that swirl around will be swept away with the fall leaves. So I have decided to try three things to help me focus and try and catch some leaves while they are still in the air. 



  1. Reflect - This means slowing down, allowing myself to just be, be alone, be with my feelings, be in the moment. Be alone without being lonely, feel without dwelling, be in the moment without planning for the next moment. To have faith that spending alone with my feelings will not result in a negative spiral out of control. That it will bring me closer to the person I want to be. 
  2. Conquer Long-Standing To-Dos - This may seem like a simple task that doesn't deserve a spot on this list, but most of my to-dos remain undone because of my fear of failure. They are difficult tasks with no obvious solution, or method to execute. Thinking about them creates a sense of disappointment and pulls at the strings that are keeping my self-confidence blanket together. Before I unravel, I want to face them head on, and try my hardest to solve them. To look the fear of failure in the eye and at least try. To really believe that the only failure is to not try. The top three that nag at me are:
    1. Complete my night side tables - One is half built, the other one remains under my couch, in pieces. Where it has been for 1.5 years. I ran into a problem that the copper pipes did not withstand the weight of my side table top. I've found a solution. I am just not sure it will work, or I will implement it correctly.
    2. Image result for copper c tables
      Ideal final product
    3. Install my wood stove - I have owned the wood stove for over 6 months. It is clearly the season to install it (impending winter). I want to cozy up in front of a fire more than anything. But playing with fire is scary. Installation requires a lot of decisions. The method on how to install is ambiguous and likely very time consuming. I struggle with ambiguity and I don't have all the time in the world. 
    4. Fix my sink and drawer - They work, but poorly. They bother me. Every time I think about them, I cringe. I worry about them, I am embarrassed. They aren't hard fixes, but they are wreaking havoc on my mind.  
  3. Clean Out my House – This includes the basement, my computers, my mind and my soul. A clean house = a clean mind? Not only is this task something that I have been putting off, but it is also something that bothers me every.single.day. I discussed how organizing makes me happy almost a year ago! Having unaddressed clutter conflicts with my wholehearted desire to live streamlined. I have a theory that a streamlined life is a free life - one that allows me to do the things I love without the distractions or time consumption of stuff. Right now, my life is not even close. I pack it all away in the basement, hoping that out of sight equals out of mind. But that is never the case. The cobwebs that are collecting on my piles in my basement are also collecting in the baggage in my mind and soul. I need to physically and mentally / emotionally clear out and find what works for me.
Fall in High Prairie Alberta by Questa-Durron
Not a bad time to lay back and relax.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peg It

This weekend I came across these leather and wood peg hooks in a new store's change room. I thought they were ingenious: Hangers would lay flat wonderfully in the leather and the wood peg is just perfect for a purse. I would use these all the time to lay out my outfits for the week. If I did that... 

And then today - I found this hook round-up. And I swear I wasn't looking for it. I can't put holes in my walls so I definitely am not looking for hooks. 


But I found the source for my beloved wood and leather hooks. Not to mention so many more awesome hooks. Now if only I could convince my landlord to let me put a few holes in the walls!



Peg And Strap Wall Hook - Natural Maple
And I imagine it would look better with time! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

It seems that my posts recently have been more list a little less design. That was slightly intentional (focus on what I'm doing rather than dreaming about what could be). But list get long after a while... so let's talk about inspiration...

For anyone who has been to my house - I have a secret. The design/decor of my living room may seem original, and in general it was (especially since a lot of my furniture was inherited, not purchased). But, I did draw inspiration from another living room, no, full disclosure - by draw inspiration, I mean copied another living room.

It was just so beachy and airy and generally inviting - everything in that room I wanted - and well half consciously and half unconsciously I have pretty much made a dolperganer. So now is the time to come clean, well half clean. Here are some imagines from Bri Henderson  (DesignLoveFest)'s remodeled living room. I'll refrain from showing you my living room - for now.

Emily_Henderson_Bri_Emery_Design_Lovefest_Living_Room_Makeover
Yes, we have the exact same rug.

Henderson/Emery
I need more plants. I was just looking at fig trees today at Plant

proud_mary_gold_coasters_white_vessel
I've scoured the internet for that navy blue fabric to no avail. 

Henderson/Emery
Teak dining room table? Check. Wax Wagner Tulum photo? Check.Seriously,  I'm just an imposter!

So essentially what I am saying is that if you would like to know how I am going to decorate the rest of my house? Just check out the Emily Henderson, the room's designer, and also my design, hilarious writer, life idol.  

Also - Christine - thanks for the content comment.
.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Goals - September Recap

Ok, so there is snow on the mountain tops and my furnace has kicked in - but I'm still not willing to admit that summer is over! 
  1. Plant a garden at the lake and at home
    • Status: I just dug up my garden at the lake and ate potatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, and had wonderful spices all weekend long! It was just wonderful. Now I am thinking about how to improve my soil for next year! 
  2. Spend 7 days at a lake, especially shoulder weekends 
    • Status: 7 nights down! I was lucky enough to have access to the cabin on the September long weekend, so I took full advantage. It was such a great way to decompress and relax after quite a busy summer! The weather wasn't great but it was a blessing in disguise since it allowed me to really do nothing except for stoke the fire, read my book and cook (and eat) food! I'll likely be up there for one more night when I put the cabin and garden to bed, so I may even beat my 7 nights!
  3. Camp in my Siesta for 10 nights
    • Status: I've spent 4 nights in it so far. The last two nights were out of the blue and so much fun! The trailer isn't 100% complete STILL but it still worked great! With another trip planned for September, I'm at least going to get 1/2 way there! 
  4. Overnight camp in the backcountry for 5 night
    • Status: No change from last time - only 4 nights down - all from one trip!
  5. Go on 10 hikes / back country mountain bike rides
    • Status: Completed! My day hikes were  - Three sisters (Fernie), Bourgeau Lake (Banff), Lone Pine (Tofino), Barrier Lookout (Kananaskis), Bertha Lake (Waterton); my mountain bike rides were: Castle Mountain (Fernie); my multi day trip was to the Enchantments (Washington State), and I have 1-2 more in the planning stage!
  6. Have 3 BBQs at my house 
    • Status: Fail - it's hard to BBQ when I'm never in town! I've had one person BBQs, and people over for breakfast but nothing more... I am hosting book club this week, so if BBQs = people over then I can maybe sneak by. 
  7. Bike over 200 km on my road bike 
    • Status: After reaching 500 km, I kind of slowed down my riding, but did manage to go on a great road biking trip near Millerville, until the road became gravel! I really do love riding, but have noticed that it is quite hard on my hips. I'll have to be sure to keep on stretching them!
  8. Go to Waterton Lakes National Park 
    • Status: On an impromptu trip I went down in my trailer with a friend from out of town. It was way easier than I anticipated, and while the week leading up to the trip was very busy and I was hesitating on going... I'm so glad I did! I feel quite rejuvenated this week and it was great to see a place I've been dying to get to! 
Views from  the Price of Whales Hotel
Overall, I've done better than I anticipated for the summer, but I'm also exhausted, which makes me re-think my list for next year. I'm so happy I pushed to do all these things -  because it really got me out and didn't allow for any indecision, but I'm not sure that going at break back speeds is also what I want (the grass is always greener...) - As the leaves turn to yellow, I hope to take a few weeks to reflect, collect my photos and memories from the summer and take away some learnings from this summer's to-do list! 

The major up side is that even though the weather this summer has been less than ideal (thundershowers almost everyday), I managed to get out a lot. I feel like this list helped motivate me get out despite the weather - it's so easy to pull the plug when the forecast looks gloomy and plans aren't set in stone, but making plans and having a list to tick off really helps me get out there! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saucy.

Life mission 3,496: Find the best Spaghetti Sauce.

The leaves are changing colour - there is a crispness in the air and there has even been snow in the mountains. Fall is definitely here. And with fall comes my desire to cozy up, tuck in and eat a lot of pasta! 

Years ago I discovered this lasagna recipe from Gluten Free Goddess which was to die for! 
This is what got me hooked on the sauce - by far one of the best lasagna recipes I've tried!

I realized that it was the sauce that had all the flavours I loved. Since then I have been trying to adapt it into a meat spaghetti sauce with moderate success. Until last night! (Thanks to Jo Mama) I think I finally cracked the nut, and now have to pen the recipe before I forget all the random ingredients I threw in. 

Ingredients

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 can tomato paste
1 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers 
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (I forgot this but imagine it would be great)
4 very large garlic cloves (2-3 tablespoons of cut garlic)
2 lbs of ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 a white onion diced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp or more of red wine
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons sage
2 teaspoons basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese
Spaghetti noodles

Directions

  1. Dice onion and garlic, keep separate
  2. Place onion in skillet and cook on medium to high heat
  3. Add ground beef to onions, add half the garlic to the skillet and continue to cook at medium to high heat until meat is fully cooked
  4. In a blender / food processor - add diced tomatoes roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes - blend until pureed
  5. Pour tomato / roasted red pepper mixture into a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, the remaining garlic, balsamic vinegar, molasses, olive oil, red wine, and the spices, less the salt and pepper, put on a low simmer
  6. When meat is cooked add to the pot of sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Either keep pasta sauce simmering for hours (adding extra water if need be) or let it simmer for another 40 minutes (so it has simmered for about an hour total) and then boil some water for pasta 
  8. Spoon onto pasta, top with parmesan cheese (you can also add parmesan to the sauce)
  9. Lastly - I think this could be used for meat lasagnas as well. It goes great with Portobello mushrooms!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Packing List - Day Hike Summer

I'm excited to be going on my 10th hike / mountain bike of the season! Knocking off another summer goal

Since I'm usually scrambling to get my sh*t together - I made a list of everything I had on my last hike which had us going through rain/hail/sun and wind and got me through it! 
After the rain out came the sun
  1. At least 1.5 liters of water, I like to have two containers and put electrolytes in one
  2. Hiking boots – runners are also good - or even trail runners  - see this article
  3. Hiking socks – not cotton, and two pairs - just in case one gets soaked 
  4. Gators – for mud and scree
  5. Hiking Pants - I usually wear lulu lemon ¾ length pants with no cotton, I sometimes bring shorts, but as I get up high in altitude I typically find it gets cold enough that I don’t need them
  6. Rain pants – I rarely use them, but always bring them
  7. Wick away T-Shirt x 2 – I like to change into one for lunch, typically a long sleeved T-Shirt, I lean towards a T-Shirt instead of a tank top because of backpack straps
  8. Light down jacket/ warm lightweight layer 
  9. Rain jacket
  10. Mitts & Toque (always)
  11. Sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, lip sunscreen/chap (always) 
  12. First aid kit (I make my own so it is lightweight
  13. Food: Lunch (sandwich), snacks (homemade trail mix!!) and 2 extra bars in case its longer than I anticipated
  14. Water purification tablets, again a good to have in case I run out of water
  15. Knife because I usually don’t bring my lunch pre made and have to cut cheese on the trail
  16. Rope - not always but sometimes, I feel like it will come in handy
  17. Bear Spray, especially with the current berry situation!
  18. Hiking poles - Some science is still out as to if it alleviates pressure on your joints, but I would rather play it safe. I typically only use them on the way down.
Other things I bring for the car are:
  1. Coffee for the drive out, I leave a little for the drive home
  2. Cooler with beer/soda/cold water
  3. Sandals for changing into when returning to the car
  4. Snacks for the ride home
  5. Good tunes! 
 Let's hope this list helps my packing tonight! 


Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Goals - July Recap

With July almost here - So I thought I would recap on my Summer Goals...
  1. Plant a garden at the lake and at home
    • Status: Completed - I've planted a garden at the lake, some pots and a very modest garden at home. I could plant more in my backyard at home, but I'm happy with the amount I have planted - Plus I just LOVE coming home to my plants every night. I even re-planted my terrarium that I over watered and killed this winter! My garden at the lake has even held up (kinda) with the crazy weather we've been having! (but the deer ate the beet tops!)
      Starting to Grow!
  2. Spend 7 days at a lake, especially shoulder weekends 
    • Status: 4 nights down, 3 to go - I'm finding it hard to find time to get out there and just bailed on one night.. I have to keep on remembering that it's less than a 2 hour drive! However, I just spent the long weekend up there - and could have stayed for days!
      Nothing like a lake sunset.
  3. Camp in my Siesta for 10 nights
    • Status: I've spent 2 nights in it so far. I have fixed it up to 80% complete, but I know that if I put the finishing touches on it, I will want to use it more. But getting 10 nights will be a challenge. I just have to go camp by myself one Friday night and realize how simple it is!
  4. Overnight camp in the backcountry for 5 night
    • Status: 4 nights down - I went on a backcountry camping trip for 4 nights and 5 days - it pushed the limits of my comfort zone but was awesome and is inspiring me to get out more!
  5. Go on 10 hikes / back country mountain bike rides
    • Status: 6 days down - that 5 day camping/hiking trip really helped me with my summer goals! I just went to Barrier Lookout the other weekend, and it was just perfect - not too far, not too long, but great views! I also have some planned for when I'm on the west coast!
      More hikes & more waterfalls!
  6. Have 3 BBQs at my house 
    • Status: What is the definition of a BBQ? Does brunch count? I had some friends over for that and then BBQed at a friends house... Ok, none of that counts. But I'm trying! It will have to wait until August - which may be a good thing since a) I don't have a couch at the moment and b) we've been having some wicked thunderstorms
  7. Bike over 200 km on my road bike 
    • Status: As I arrived to work today (on my bike) I was over 500 km. So for the first time ever, I will have to increase my goal! Whoa, this is a new experience for me! Signing up for the Grand Fondo Badlands was a great motivator to get in the saddle!
  8. Go to Waterton Lakes National Park 
    • Status: Well I didn't get there this spring, but there is hope for some time in August - or I'll put it in my Fall to dos. I imagine the colours would be stunning in October!
Overall, I'm happy with my progress. They are really helping motivate me to get out and just do it! My weekend indecisiveness which leads to staying at home has really dropped since I always have a list of amazing things to fall back on! Plus I really am enjoying the summer - I kind of feel like its half over, when really it has just started! 

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!