WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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My biking commute tips

Photo by 3haus Photographics

Photo by 3haus Photographics

Let’s talk about commuting! In spite of my skepticism about the weather in Calgary, I’ve been taking full advantage of the warm, dry temperatures by biking to work every day this past month. As soon as I started, I knew I wouldn’t easily go back to walking. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to work by bike, as opposed to a 40 minute walk. I’m such a fair weather biker though that it’ll be interesting to see how I fare when we get some rain or snow. For now, I’m just reveling in these warm temperatures, & grabbing a little extra sleep in the mornings.

Calgary is getting to be such a bike-friendly place, & lately I’ve been hearing a lot of chat about how to get started. I’ve been commuting by bike for a couple years now so I figured I’d talk a little bit about getting into biking & offer some of my tips (from a non-expert point of view). So, here we go: my five tips for getting (back) on your bike.

  1. Get it tuned up for the season.
    If it’s been awhile since you’ve ridden your bike, this is especially important. For one, safety first! (I need to follow my own advice here.) Secondly, I find that if I put money into something, I’m way more likely to follow through. Maybe you just need an extra push to get out there or to talk to some people who know more about bikes & biking than you do. Either way, I think it’ll help.
  2. Plan Ahead.
    Yeah, I know I’m always advocating for planning ahead, but it seriously saves me in so many situations. The addition of the cycle track last year opened up so many options for getting around the core. I’ve been using the 7th street lane since its inception & it makes my commute a lot easier. I feel safer being segregated from traffic & pedestrians alike. It doesn’t end at with the cycle track though, Calgary has a whole network of bike paths & shared roadways. I’m lucky that I virtually never have to bike on anything but during my commute. If you’ve been driving or walking, you may not have noticed how close you are to one, so take a look online & plan out a route that makes sense. It’ll make your life so much easier.

    My lovely bike route

    My lovely bike route

  3. Wear whatever works.
    That’s a weird title for a tip. Let me explain: don’t worry about whether you look stupid. I’m an advocate for wearing what works for you in that moment. Sure, it’s probably a good idea to have a rain jacket & some other gear, but I don’t really believe in buying stuff that’s specific to something unless it’s totally necessary. Personally, I hate having to change when I get to work so I usually wear a dress or skirt & throw shorts or leggings underneath. I keep heels at my desk, but taking off my leggings at the office is about the extent of my “changing”. (I’m fortunate to have an entirely downhill commute, so I coast in without feeling sweaty, but I think we’re honestly way too worried about that kind of thing in North America. Another thought for another time.) If you have a longer commute or more hills, you may choose to wear some more fitness friendly gear. If you look a little silly, don’t worry, I’m right there with you. & you won’t hear anyone’s snarky comments as you sail past them on your bike anyway. 😉

    Helmets & Rain Jackets

    Helmets & Rain Jackets

    Tights under my dress

    Tights under my dress

  4. Act Confident.
    You may not be feeling super confident the first few times you venture out, but you have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else on the road. Don’t let others intimidate you. I’m not saying you should always stand your ground, but do where appropriate. Sure, sometimes it may be annoying for a driver to share the road with me & other cyclists, but the opportunity for them to safely pass me usually comes up quickly. Take your space when you can & be as cautious & aware as possible. Even if you’re not feeling confident in the beginning, pretending you are goes a long way to getting you there!
  5. Join Bike Calgary (or another biking community!)
    I find joining a community of like-minded people can be really helpful, especially when you’re first starting out. I generally tweet (#bikeyyc), personally, but sometimes I’ll also stop by Bike Calgary to see what’s up. There are forums where you can talk about your ride, path conditions, gear, events, or simply connect with other cyclists. They promote cycling events as well, such as this Friday’s Bike to Work Day. (Could there be a more perfect time to start riding?) So far everyone I’ve talked to online has been pretty great so I definitely encourage you to connect in some way. Make sure you say hi if you sign up for Bike Calgary – I’m sure you can guess my predictable username.

Honestly, before I started biking to work regularly I didn’t realize how much I’d come to love it. I figured I’d do it here & there, but now I can’t get enough of it! It helps that it’s the fastest way for me to get to work (meaning a little extra sleep for me!), but it’s also a really enjoyable way to start the day. My ride doesn’t really count as exercise in the morning, but it’s certainly more than I get in a car2go. If you were on the fence, I hope this gives you an extra little push.

As for everyone else, would you consider biking to work? & if you do, where you intimidated before you started?

Poutine Week 2016 : Gravy Bowl

Anju Poutine

The last couple years, I’ve been lucky enough to score tickets to the Poutine Crawl. Both times, it was a highlight of Poutine Week, which is clearly my favourite of all the food themed weeks in the city. For seven days, the sale of each creative poutine provides a meal to someone in need. Eating poutine & supporting Mealshare, how can you go wrong? If you haven’t gone out yet, you still have one more day to get down to one of the participating restaurants & grab one of their delicious contributions to this cause.

Due to my unwavering commitment to stuffing my face with cheese curds, gravy, & fries, I scored an invite to the Gravy Bowl Battle this year. Seven Calgary Stampeders were paired with seven chefs to battle for the title of best poutine. (Shout out to Karen for thinking of me! She’s the awesome lady behind this week!) 

N happened to be home last weekend, so I brought him along as my date. It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to head down a little early & grab a beer on the sunny Local 510 patio before heading over to Anju for the main event. Can I just take a moment to say that I love how many patio beers I’ve had so far this year?

Local  510 : Nathan

Local 510: A

Anju was already hopping when we arrived. We were immediately told to join everyone mingling by grabbing a drink & that Village was on the house (Thanks Anju & Village!). They’d provided many of their standbys, as well as the new (to me, at least) Village Squeeze. I can definitely see myself ordering this beer as I’m sitting on a patio this summer. It’s light & a little bit fruity without being overbearing. Totally perfect for those hot summer days.

Village Beers

Anju Gravy Bowl

Waiting for the competition to start

A & N

After a few words from our poutine week creator & from Mealshare, the competition began. Teams prepared their poutines two by two, presenting to the judges in Anju’s fabulous open kitchen, followed by the rest of us at the back, by the bar (& the drinks…).  As the poutines started coming out I had a tough time deciding between grabbing a photo of each creation & digging right in. I managed to get a photo of each (although some are a little blurry), & luckily there seemed to be enough poutine to go around so I didn’t miss a bite.

First up was quarterback Drew Tate & Blanco Cantina‘s Matt Davidson with their Blanco Poutine Burrito. It was shaved skirt steak, cheese curds, spicy Mexican gravy, & house cut fries. I really had no idea what to expect with this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s so different (a burrito? what?!) while being so familiar. Does that make any sense?

They were matched against defensive back Adam Thibault & Wurst‘s Rudy Schmid. The Smoking Duck Poutine is a longtime personal favourite & it did not fail to disappoint once again. Schmid tops ducks fat fries with cheese curds, green peas, speck gravy, truffle oil, & duck confit. This was N’s favourite poutine of the day. He’s a true duck lover. The minute he took a bite, he said, well, that’s it.

Blanco Poutine

Blanco Poutine Burrito

Wurst Poutine

Smoking Duck Poutine

N interview

N answering some questions about the first two poutines

Next we had Briggs Kitchen & Bar & Market. Running back Tim St Pierre was paired with Xavier Lacaze to create Newf’s Poutine, which had chunks of lobster & lobster cream sauce. The fries held up well to the rich & creamy sauce & well, what can I say about lobster. Can you really go wrong here? I think this might be cheating, but I have no real complaints.

Sean MacDonald of Market and running back Rob Cote we very creative with the Carbonera Poutine. I had the honour of breaking the sous vide eggs over this one. It also featured black pepper bechamel, peas, pancetta, curds, pea tendrils, & parmesan. I really liked this contribution as well, but I found myself still thinking about Wurst’s poutine. Truffle oil always lingers on my palate a bit, so I think it would have been better to have it last.

Briggs Kitchen

Newf’s Poutine

Market Poutine

Carbonera Poutine

I was starting to feel the effects of four poutines at this point, but we ordered a couple more drinks & prepared for the next pairing.

Anju‘s Roy Oh & offensive lineman Quinn Smith were up with Poutine for your Seoul. Now, we all know how I feel about Roy & his restaurant, but unless we’ve hung out, you may not know about my love of tater tots. Roy’s creation combined curds, carrots, green onion, & an incredible Korean curry with tater tots. It was a match made in heaven, if you ask me. I loved this untraditional take on an old favourite & the flavours were incredible, as to be expected with all of Roy’s food. (Who’s surprised that I loved Anju’s poutine? No one!)

Their competitors were running back Charlie Power & chef Mel LaFleur of The Unicorn. They created a tacotine with a crispy flour tortilla shell, tater tots, cheese curds, cheese sauce, chili, pico de gallo, cream fresh, cilantro, & scallions. This one had a lot going on. I definitely enjoyed it, but I kept commenting that I couldn’t find the poutine (it was a little buried). The chili was fantastic though, so I know where I’m going next time I have my next chili craving!

Anju Poutine

Poutine for your Seoul

Unicorn Poutine

Tacotine

At this point, I thought we were done. I’d told myself there were six poutines for some reason. But then this last poutine arrived on its tree stump plate & I’m glad we still had a great spot at the bar. The Oxtail Poutine was brought to us by kicker Rene Parades and Brasserie‘s Cam Dobranski. They took their amazing duck fat fries & smothered them in a red wine duck gravy and chanterelle emulsion. I loved it & only wished I wasn’t so full. I’d definitely recommend checking out any of their food. Brasserie consistently has some of the best food, but seems to pass under the radar too often! Get your butt down to Kensington & try their poutines. You won’t regret it.

Brasserie Poutine

Oxtail Poutine

With all these delicious poutines, the judges had a tough decision. They deliberated for a while before announcing the winner: Briggs Kitchen & Bar’s Newf’s Poutine! (I mean, lobster.) Congrats to all the participants though. You’re all winners in my book! (D’awwww).

Congrats Briggs!

Congrats Briggs!

We lingered for a while longer, chatting about the poutines & grabbing a few more photos. I even worked up the nerve to ask Roy for a photo. It made my day to officially meet him. You know how people get really excited when they see a celebrity? I get like that about chefs.

Wurst Poutine

Meeting Adam Thibault & Rudy Schmid

Poutine Judging

The judges deliberate

with Roy Oh

My new favourite photo

We ended up spending the rest of our evening in the glorious sun on Anju’s patio, ordering dinner & drinks with friends until it got too chilly to stay outside. It was a fantastic day! I think the Gravy Bowl was a great success & I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for next year. Thank you to everyone who made this a possibility & congrats to Karen on an incredibly successful event.

I hope you’ve had the opportunity to get out & try some of these poutines. Personally, I’ve decided it’s ok that my pants fit snugger this week since it’s for a good cause!

July in Instagram

Summer is always a much slower time on the blog for me, & this year has been no exception so far. I guess I’m just out there having too much fun. With such a short season, I always feel like I have to make the most of our summer months & get outside as much as possible. We’ve been Stampeding, picnicking in the park, taking in outdoor concerts & festivals, & spending time at the lake. August looks like much of the same & I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s what we got up to this month, according to Instagram:

july2015instagram

1 – Two of our close friends recently became parents & I got the pleasure of hanging out with them & their new addition just six days after he made his appearance. He’s adorable & we couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Congrats, T&T!

2 – My favourite band, Stars, played a free outdoor concert for Canada Day. The city made for an awesome backdrop & the company wasn’t bad either.

3 – Dancing to Cadillac Ranch with my girl, & kicking off the first day of Stampede festivities.

4 – Stampede traditions with Gaux. We had a couple drinks before heading down to Nashville North for an amazing night of two stepping, beers, & friends. I love when her visits coincide with this week!

5 – My other favourite Stampede partner came home & we partied it up at the event we wait all year for. We’re clearly enjoying ourselves here.

6 – You can barely tell, but his gorgeous lady is due in less than a month. Her friends threw her a beautiful shower that I was lucky to attend.

7 – My brother & I surprised my mom with a birthday dinner of moules à la marinière, fresh sourdough, & grilled asparagus. She had no idea we were coming over – it was a huge success!

8 – I celebrated my 30th birthday with my BFF at Folk Fest drinking sangria, listening to great music, & enjoying all the wonderfulness of the CFMF.

9 – This year we also decided to attend the Big Valley Jamboree. Three days of country music & partying aren’t terribly conducive to cooking, so I prepared all our meals ahead of time. We ate like kings all weekend!

So that wraps up July. I almost need to make my recaps bigger over the summer – we seem to be packing so much in to every weekend. You can follow along on Instagram @whoalansi though, & I’m making it a priority to get some more mosts out soon. I can’t wait to share our time in Cinque Terre (& that was almost a year ago now! Whoa!). Happy August!

June in Instagram

It’s been all party party over here for the last few weeks. Between N being back & Stampede week, I knew I wouldn’t be blogging much, if at all. I clearly went above & beyond with the neglect. We’re back though! & I’ve got some IG photos to share! & it’s truly officially summer!

JuneInsta2

1. These ingredients are some of my favourites: homemade pizza dough, basil, prosciutto, bocconcini, & wine. Buon appetito!

2. Celebrating a very belated birthday for N with amazing cocktails, a delicious meal, & great beers with friends.

3. Edmonton for the Women’s World Cup opener.

4. Checking out the new brunch menu at Anju. As expected, it was fantastic. I have so much love for that restaurant! Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – you can’t got wrong.

5. Live music & Hanging out at Lukes Drug Mart for the pre-Sled Island party. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

6. The Cycle Network officially opened mid-June! I’m so happy to have a safe bike route to 17th ave now (for all my drinking & dining needs, of course!).

7. My absolute favourite building in Calgary – the Simmons Building – has a new lease on life with three incredible delicious tenants taking up residence: Phil & Sebastian Coffee, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, & Charbar. I’m in love.

8. We celebrated a friend’s upcoming nuptials with a bachelorette weekend in Invermere. Bachelorette Olympics, Swimming in the lake, & a night out in town made for a great girls’ weekend. #GoldenInverbeer

9. There are few things I enjoy more than being on or around water. Water baby for life, I’m always keen for an excuse to spend time out on that boat.

Onto (the second half of) July – my favourite month! Get out there & do some summery things, friends!

Calgary Poutine Crawl 2015

Someone needs to start a YYC Salad Week. Seriously. Now that poutine week has come & gone, my pants fit a little tighter & I’ve been craving vegetables. We tasted some delicious poutines though so I think it’s a fair trade off. I tried to implement my own personal salad week last week to balance things out. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately?) it was Alberta Burger Fest. I spent far too much time ogling the delicious entries & gave in to Eats of Asia yesterday. The things I do for charity, right? (ha!)

This year I scored tickets to the Poutine Crawl again, taking place on the final day of Poutine Week. I wasn’t about to attempt much more than that (I’m no Kyle MacQuarrie – He ate 36 poutines over the course of 7 days!), however we did warm-up earlier in the week with Anju‘s Poutine for your Seoul. I’m always impressed with Roy Oh’s creativity & this poutine was no exception. It combined Kabayaki gravy with Kennebec fries, gochugaru salt, soft tofu, cheese curds, & dehydrated kimchi. The entire dish was a hit, but the gravy stood out as one of the best I’ve ever had. Well played, Anju.

Come Saturday, our little group met the rest of the Poutine Crawlers at Below Deck Tavern. We quickly ordered a few drinks as we waited for the event to begin. I went with a caesar since it felt a bit early for beer. Below Deck’s poutine was an East Coast Donair Poutine. The fries were perfectly crispy & flavourful,  the curds squeaky, & the donair sauce was an unusual, but delicious addition. I found myself wishing there were more curds & meat, but overall it was a great start to our crawl.

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We didn’t have to crawl too far for our second poutine. We found ourselves across the street at Mango Shiva for our next poutine. I’ve been meaning to visit this beautifully decorated Indian restaurant for a while & I know I’ll definitely be back after tasting their delicious curry. Their poutine was a Rogan Josh lamb curry with cilantro, cheese, tomatoes, & fries. The flavour in the curry was unreal. I will absolutely be back to try more of their curries after that! Unfortunately, we thought the fries could have been a bit crispier & found ourselves wishing it was paired with naan or rice instead. I guess it wouldn’t have really been a poutine then, though!

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Full of delicious Indian spices, we wandered down Stephen Avenue to City Hall, where the Joey’s Double Decker Diner awaited. We lined up at the window for our enormous Greek Poutine. This thing was seriously huge, & full of amazing ingredients. Fries, gravy, tomatoes, tzatziki, cucumber, feta, & chicken may seem like an odd combination, but we all loved it. Imagine poutine topped with greek salad & tzatziki. Delicious!

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Charcut has long held the title for my favourite poutine in the city so I was very excited to see it on the list. We arrived a bit earlier than expected – it was a bit chilly to continue hanging out outside the Joey’s bus. After three poutines, we welcomed the little break, & their delicious beer selection kept us occupied.

Before too long, they made the rounds with their contribution. Their take saw crispy fries topped with squeaky curds, a light gravy, & truffle oil. When used sparingly, truffle oil can take a dish to the next level, & this was certainly the case here. This was my favourite poutine of the day, & to top it all off, we chatted with one of the chef’s, Connie DeSousa. It was great to meet her & hear a little bit about their choice of flavours & ingredients.

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We’d reached the fifth stop on our crawl & we were stuffed. I was ready for a break…& maybe a nap. But the Poutine Crawl soldiered on; it’s not for the faint of heart. Swine & Sow served up a fondue poutine. It consisted of house-cured ham, swiss fondue sauce, crisped pancetta, & a cabernet reduction. The flavours here were incredible, & incredibly rich. I could barely finish this poutine despite thoroughly enjoying the flavours.

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Our last stop was Black Betty. By this point, we’d had a few beers & were understandably full. A few of us decided to try out their cocktails, on the recommendation of one of the guys. They had some unique options. The poutine itself was also interesting. The fries seemed to be battered & it reminded me a little bit of fried chicken. It wasn’t my favourite, but I was pretty full at that point & more interested in the upcoming Flames game.

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Once again, the Poutine Crawl was a great event. Thank you to Karen Richards for organizing it again this year – it’s pretty incredible to have an event sell out when you can only buy tickets if you purchase a mealshare item & post it to Facebook.

The votes were tallied the next day & Charcut came out on top. A well-deserved win, if you ask me!

March in Instagram

We were up at the lake for Easter Weekend so I took some time to catch up on blogging & photo editing. The photo editing went well, but the combination of a slow computer, large photo files, & slower than usual internet made putting a post together a pretty slow process. Blogger has been frustrating in other ways lately too. As much as writing your own blog code can be great, I’m looking to spend the bulk of my time writing. I’d also like an easier interface for working with photos. 
Keep an eye out for what I think will be some positive blog changes. In the meantime, here’s what we got up to last month according to Instagram!

1. We took advantage of the mild weather & borrowed N’s brother dog, Korra, for a hike up Sulphur Mountain. It’s a quick little hike up & in the winter you can ride the Gondola back down for free!
2. We celebrated our friend’s birthday with a centurion & an epic dance party.
3. I chopped a big chunk of hair off & for the first time ever, it’s shorter than D’s.
4. N & I had a beautiful lamb dish at Wine-Ohs for Big Taste this year.
5. Long runs are back! I also scored these wicked lululemon leggings & a cute top when my number was drawn during an evening of spin! The awesome pattern is a new favourite!
6. We joined a bunch of friends at Grape Escape again this year. We tried a lot of beer & wine, while checking out a bunch of food trucks!
7. Enjoying a Flames game thanks to my parents. Even though we lost to Dallas in overtime, I have no complaints about watching live hockey.
8. We took advantage of a very warm early spring day to sit outside at Container Bar. We’re pretty sure they ran out of beer, thanks mostly to our large table of friends.
9. Celebrating a friend’s 30th Birthday with a hike up Mount Lady MacDonald. She’s merciless, but the views are incredible. I’m excited to have checked another summit off our list so early in the year even if my legs have only just forgiven me.

Hope you got to spend some time with family & friends for the long weekend. Happy Easter!

Gymnastics Fun

As a child, I remember spending an entire summer learning to do a cartwheel, & then practicing every single chance I got in order to perfect it. I think that kind of dedication is pretty common in children. Many of my favourite activities involved functional types of fitness like this.  No one thought of it as fitness though so it remained fun. Recently, we’ve gotten back to those roots.

I read about Kyle Shewfelt’s latest gymnastics classes in the Herald this summer. They’ve offered non-competitive gymnastics classes for kids since they opened their doors, but last spring they added a few adult options. I immediately knew this was something I would love to do, & told N about it. When my birthday rolled around, he gifted me a class. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who thought this would be an amazing opportunity & the class was full before I had a chance to register. Members get first dibs so I missed the winter session as well. A coworker of mine did get in, however (the only non-member to make it!), & convinced N & I to come down for Open Gym after his class a couple weeks ago.

Open gym gives you supervised access to the amazing facility. We tumbled, swung, climbed, jumped, & flipped our bodies around for an hour & a half. You couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face the whole evening. It’s a little bit like being a kid again. Tanis teaches the Adult Gymnastics class from 6:30 – 8:00 pm followed by the Open Gym session.

The gym features a tumble track, ring, uneven bars, parallel bars, beams, a plyo floor, foam pit, vaults, & tons of different shaped mats like octagons & wedges. We’ve been to two sessions so far & I already feel like I’ve learned so much, all while getting great workouts. I only wish I’d started going sooner! My coworker has brought his Go Pro & recorded some of the stuff we’ve done. You can follow him to see more but I’ve posted a couple of my favourite videos below. I’m excited to see how we improve as time goes on (N & I both have 10x drop-in passes now).
Donkey kicks & a flip by me:

Nathan flips:

My coworker:

As someone who wants to get into an adult class, it probably isn’t the best idea to blog about this fun new workout find, but I couldn’t resist sharing. If you’re looking to try something new & challenging, while feeling a bit like a kid again, I highly recommend checking out Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics!

February In Instagram

No matter what, this recap seems to sneak up on me. Granted, February is the shortest month,but it still amazes me how quickly time can fly by. We got up to a lot judging from my Instagram feed. The unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in much less hibernation than usual. We got outside more than you’d normally expect. It’s a nice change, but I’m a little bit wary about what this means for our Spring & Summer. 

We also booked some exciting things. We’ve decided to go to Big Valley Jamboree this summer & we’re officially going to Mexico again next February. As we continue our house hunt & hold off on big trips, it helps to have a couple vacation plans to look forward to. 
Here’s what we got up to this month according to Instagram: 
1. Once again, we headed out to Panorama for a ski trip with some friends. Despite a rocky start, it was a great weekend. We even ventured into Taynton Bowl – a backcountry-style part of the resort I’d previously found intimidating. Overcoming that fear meant skiing some of the best powder & terrain I’ve ever encountered. 
2. Now that they’ve settled back into daily life after 3 months of travel, we presented our friends with a homemade (slightly risqué) calendar we made while we had access to their house.
3. H, Z, N, & I attended a wine tasting at Metrovino. We learned quite a bit & picked up a couple beautiful bottles of wine. This wine shop continues to impress me with every visit. 
4. N & I had a lovely Valentines Day. We started with oysters & cava at the recently opened Rodney’s Oyster House followed by an incredible dinner at Cucina. Their Chicken Liver Parfait is one of my favourite appetizers. 
5. I took in a Flames game with my dad. Always a fun way to spend an evening. 
6. N & I decided to take advantage of our proximity to the mountains & put our Banff Park Pass to use. Our first adventure was a leisurely hike at Johnston Canyon. It’s a bit icy due to our warmer winter, but still an easy hike with some unique sights. 
7. Another welcome addition to the food scene is The Nash, Michael Noble’s latest restaurant venture. N’s brother got us a gift card for Christmas so we decided to check it out with some friends. A week later, I’m already looking for an excuse to go back (despite it being a definite splurge).  
8. H & I got a sneak peek at some of the eggcellence going down for Beakerhead this year. We were visibly eggcited to learn downtownfood is involved. (Confused? Keep an eye on Twitter for more info!
9. Night riding with some friends at YYC Cycle to cap off the month. Glow in the dark paint, lululemon giveaways, Juice Because samples, & an amazing workout with two incredible motivators = a fantastic Friday night! 

Wedding \ Getting Ready – The Girls

Wedding Prep Toast

The morning of our wedding, I woke up at the condo my parents had rented. N & I had opted to spend the night apart. Our wedding party would be joining each of us at our respective parents’ houses, making things pretty easy for both of us.

There were seven of us getting our makeup done, so our day started significantly earlier than the guys did. We were all at my parent’s condo by 10 am, whereas the guys didn’t meet up until 1 pm. Until I booked hair & makeup, I had never thought about how much time goes into getting seven girls ready for a wedding. It’s a little bit crazy.

We started our day with bacon, eggs, & coffee. No surprises there! It seemed like the day flew by from there. Somewhere in there we had lunch, cracked champagne, & exchanged gifts.

Best Friends

wedding makeup

wedding makeup

I gifted each of my bridesmaids (& my mom) a kimono robe. They turned out adorable for our pictures together & were perfect for keeping our hair & makeup in place. N’s mom also stopped by as I was getting my hair done. She gifted me a tiffany bracelet (something blue!) & a favourite French perfume we had all received a few years ago (as a something borrowed). It was a really sweet surprise.

mother in law

The girls all did their own hair since they mostly prefer to wear it down. I think they all did a beautiful job. For my own hair, I wanted to look like myself so we started with loose waves, but added a couple braids for a half updo. Kris at Inspirado Designs captured exactly what I had in mind. It felt special without straying too far from my normal look. I was equally pleased with our makeup artist, Bri. Both ladies were so professional throughout my whole experience & we all looked beautiful.

wedding prep

wedding makeup

With our hair & makeup ready to go, we popped champagne for mimosas & opened the last few cards & gifts. N’s gift to me was a beautiful pair of Tiffany earrings that match a favourite necklace of mine (complete with handmade card). We moved on to some photos in our robes before it was crunch time. These are some of my favourite photos with the girls. Can you really go wrong with a mini photo-shoot with your best girlfriends? (Made even better with our mimosas!)

wedding day mimosas

cheers
cheers
bridesmaid hugs

father daughter pre-wedding

bride gift

text jokes

bridesmaids

bridesmaids bed

bridesmaids bed

We’d been pretty low key up until this point. As Carly (half of the wonderful 3 haus team) worked to keep us on track, we all got dressed. It definitely felt like crunch time by then as we were running a bit behind (of course). Right until the moment my mom zipped up my dress, I was a little bit nervous that it might not fit. Aside from a couple tricky clasps, it was perfect. That first moment in my wedding dress was really magical, but my dad seeing me for the first time was even more so. There are so many special moments on a wedding day & so many are captured here before the ceremony even began.

bride prep

bridal gown details

wedding dress

wedding dress

wedding dress

wedding hugs

wedding ceremony ready

We did some final shots with the girls & my family at the condo before it was time to get in the limo & head off to Summerhill for the ceremony.

bridesmaids

bridesmaids

bride

bride and grandmother

bride and parents

bride

Six months later, I’m still having trouble narrowing down my favourites from our day. Thanks for letting me share another bit of our wedding with you!

A new logo for an old blog

This little blog has been around for a while – half a decade, to be precise. & it’s had a lot of different designs. I figured it was about time to update my old header. I created it a few years ago & it was never truly what I wanted. I’ve been playing around with different design software, & learned how to create some different logos & banners. It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it!

Here’s a little throwback to my old design. I really did like those coffee cups, but it always felt a bit disjointed. & that left aligned menu bar drives me crazy!

I’ve fixed both of those a bit with this update. They’re still not perfect so I’ll probably fiddle more with them still. I loved blogger when I first started writing & still think it’s a great free tool for beginners, but I’m slowly getting frustrated with its limitations. I’ve played around with some other options recently & am now trying to decide which route to take. I find myself doing more coding than I’d like in order to get things to display how I’d like within blogger. Even then, I find limitations. Coupled with a rudimentary iPad app, I’m just not sure I’m sold anymore. 
On the other side, I really enjoy how connected to my other google applications this is. & there are always risks with switching to a new platform. 
Has anyone gone through any of this before? What is your prefered platform? 

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