Apple Picking and Wine Tasting

IMG_4082 I’m usually really excited to see autumn roll into town, but this year, I just haven’t felt ready for the change in season. Summer really did come and go far too quickly, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m dreading another Montreal winter. But! I do really like fall; the chilly but not too cold temps, pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, layers, pretty colours, and wonderful fall smells. So, I’ve decided to embrace autumn and worry about winter when the {dreaded} time comes.IMG_4080We kicked off the new season with apple picking. We went to Domaine de Dunham, an orchard with a great story about two urbanites who bought and restored the abandoned farm. We picked apples and pears, ate apple Danish and wandered around in the lovely fall sunshine. Country air is so good for the soul!IMG_4079I also climbed a tall ladder…IMG_4078

…Steve did too and he really doesn’t like tall ladders!IMG_4081The drive there and back was really pretty and we even stopped at a winery near the orchard for a bit of wine tasting. It was called Gagliano Vineyards and both the red and white wine was nice. We bought a bottle of each! ;) It was a great day and I’m looking forward to a couple more day trips before the snow flies!

Thirteen!

IMG_4025Jesse Jay turned the big 1-3 yesterday. It’s not everyday you turn 13, so we celebrated in true birthday fashion, complete with a party hat and birthday cake…IMG_4026I’m not sure Jesse Dog was overly thrilled with the hat, but he didn’t seem to argue the cake made of peanut butter goodness (just in case you’re curious, I made this cake, but replaced the regular flour with whole wheat). IMG_4027Mmmmm…that smells so good…IMG_4028Maybe just a little taste…IMG_4023

I think he liked it. We had to cut him off before he ate the whole cake. A food hangover wouldn’t be good for him or us!

It’s no secret I wish this little guy was turning 3 and not 13, but here’s hoping it’s another healthy and happy year for this sweet, yet sometimes naughty little puppy. :)

Summer Lovin’

It’s been unseasonally chilly here for the past week and it’s feeling way too much like fall, way too soon. I’m usually looking forward to the change in season, but this year I want to hold onto summer just a little bit longer. Autumn is awesome, but that leads to winter and…well, I can’t talk about winter. It’s just too hard. So, for now, the last of my Nova Scotia photos and some serious summer lovin’…

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Foggy Days

I had a few foggy days when I was in Nova Scotia. I actually forgot just how magical fog can feel when you’re near the ocean. It rolls in quickly and quietly and leaves everything feeling blanketed and still…IMG_3796IMG_3793IMG_3895IMG_3897Not to mention, the foggy ocean air smells fantastic. Seriously, someone should bottle that smell and sell it as a stress reliever. I’d buy it!

Nova Scotia Highlights via Instagram

I spent ten days in beautiful Nova Scotia last month, visiting family and friends. A few highlights via Instagram…
beachThe beach! Although, the weather wasn’t super great while I was there, I did luck out and have a couple lovely days at the beach. I just love how rugged Nova Scotia beaches feel, especially in comparison to the beaches we visited in Australia.
IMG_3850IMG_3849The water was chilly, but there’s really nothing better than the feeling of sand and ocean water between your toes!
IMG_3848I’m basically in love with Lahave Bakery and went there most days for my coffee fix. Coffee while sitting by the ocean is pretty much my idea of bliss. Not to mention, the home-made treats…yum!
IMG_3899And speaking of coffee, I had one of the best coffees that I’ve had, since returning to Canada at Pavia Cafe in Halifax. Delicious, and enjoying it while chatting with my sister and brother just sweetened the deal.
IMG_3900Me, my sister, and brother climbed to the top of the Dingle Tower in Halifax and watched the fog roll in. Pretty cool to see, and a good way to work off some of those lattes! ;)
IMG_3901And, of course, it’s always a highlight to see family and friends, especially these two little monkeys, my great-niece and great-nephew.

More about Nova Scotia here. It’s such a special place. :)

Camping – Samuel de Champlain 2014

IMG_3916 We recently returned from a 5 day camping trip to Samuel de Champlain provincial park in Ontario. We went there last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to return again this year. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great this trip, pretty consistently rainy and grey. Luckily, we did have a few sunny breaks, and Steve is a master at hanging tarps, so we made the most of it and still had a great time! Camping is always a relaxing get-away for us and the rain helped to make us feel less guilty about lounging on the hammock with a book, rather than hiking or spending our time being active. Some of the highlights from the trip:

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:campfires: a very quiet campground with very few campers: swimming in the lake: canoeing:

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IMG_0088:canoeing with Jesse Dog, something we haven’t had the chance to do since he was just a young puppy (he was very well behaved!): seeing lots of turtles sunning themselves on logs while canoeing:

IMG_0087:Steve’s “Man-tee”, as he chose to call it (a carefully crafted device to help with cooking over the fire): cooking a lot of our meals, including beef stew and mussels over the fire in our new cast iron pot (best purchase ever!):

IMG_0086 :hanging with Steve and Jesse: relaxing and just getting away from the city and the noise for awhile.

I love camping. I’m most definitely a country girl at heart! :)

100 Happy Days

Remember when I made that goal of doing a photo-a-day challenge? Yeah, well, I failed miserably. I was always behind on days, always trying to catch up, and basically felt like it was just one more thing I had to do. I love the idea of it, but it just wasn’t working for me. Then I stumbled upon 100 Happy Days Challenge. Have you heard of it? You basically take a photo everyday of something that makes you feel happy. That’s it. I’m loving it for several reasons, but the main one is that it’s really encouraging me to focus on the good stuff everyday and reminds me that even on the crappiest of days, there are always things to be positive and grateful for. Plus, it’s helping me to take more photos, which is something I was really slacking off on for way too long. So, without further ado, here’s day 1 to 15…IMG_3401IMG_3404IMG_3406IMG_3409IMG_3412IMG_3425IMG_3427IMG_3431IMG_3434IMG_3436IMG_3444IMG_3466IMG_3471IMG_3475

Day 1: Playing with Jesse Dog.

Day 2: Coffee with Steve.

Day 3: Still daylight at 6pm when I’m heading home from work.

Day 4: A big hug given to me by a co-worker who received a hug card from a stranger. She passed it onto me.

Day 5: A sea salt bath after a very long day.

Day 6: Steve hard at work building WMD wheels (a photo that randomly went missing from everywhere but my Instagram feed).

Day 7: Dinner at our friends’ house.

Day 8: Car rentals make errands so much easier!

Day 9: Warm spring sunshine, blue skies.

Day 10: A cup of herbal tea before bed.

Day 11: Grass! Winter is slowly melting away. Finally.

Day 12 and 13: An art exhibition at work. I love children’s artwork!

Day 14: Tulips remind me of our wedding day.

Day 15: First day it was warm enough to sit outside in months. I think Jesse appreciated it as much as I did.

Let’s see what the next 15 days bring! :)

Valentine’s Day 2014

IMG_3352I really do love Valentine’s Day. There’s always such a special energy in the air…people carrying flowers everywhere you look, lots of people wearing red and pink, and hearts in every shop window. Corny as it may be, I love it all! What’s better than a day to celebrate love, and help brighten and bring some cheer in the middle of the dreary, dark, and depressing winter months?IMG_3340This Valentine’s Day I was pretty sick. I just can’t seem to shake this virus I’ve had for almost a month {insert sad face and whining}, but, Valentine’s Day turned out to be a pretty great day, filled with chocolate treats from the kids at work, flowers from my sweetie and a delicious seafood chowder dinner that he made. It’s the sweet little details that always make it special.

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However you spent Valentine’s Day, I hope you felt the love, and was near to those you care most about. xoxo

Bits and Bobs

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Only a couple weeks in, and January has already showed lots of ups and downs. It’s been surprisingly warm, which has been a definite up for me. I’ve spent quality time with friends a couple of times, enjoyed lots of delicious warm meals and drinks with my favourite guy, both at home and out and about, and walked Jesse without the headache of his boots, thanks to the warmer temps and lack of snow (yah!). Unfortunately, I’ve also caught a bug that’s been going around the daycare, and have felt really exhausted and run down. My Mom fell yesterday and broke her hip, so there’s been lots of phone calls with family, and me wishing I was there with her. Ups and downs, indeed, but I’m focused on staying present, taking good care of myself, and trusting that it’s all happening perfectly. Warm cinnamon toast helps, too. ;)

New Goals – 2014

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I’m a goal setting kind of person. It helps motivate me, and clarify the many, many thoughts and ideas that are always floating around in my very busy head. So, there’s no wonder I love the feeling of a fresh new year, and the fresh new goals that come along with it. This year, I’m keeping things simple. Too many goals and I set myself up to fail. I get overwhelmed. Simple is good. Perhaps this should be an overall goal…simplify.

Personal goal:
Spend more time with friends. See friends more often in person, and keep in better touch with special friends around the world.

Professional goal:
Gossip and complain less. Leave work at work/improve my work-life balance. Okay, that’s two professional goals.

Creative goal:
Follow the photo a day challenge using only my iPhone. 365 photos. Print the photos in a 2014 album at the end of the year.

A few little things I’d like to continue to work on (these are always a work in progress for me):
Eat well.
One coffee a day.
Do yoga.
Blog more.
Be present.
Worry less.
Travel more.
Save more money.
Be confident.

So, what are your goals for the new year? Do you make them? If you do, good luck with them, and be gentle with yourself. It’s a long year, there’s plenty of time. :)

Photo found on Pinterest.