WHOA lansi

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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?

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:


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!


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!

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

bridesmaid hugs

father daughter pre-wedding

bride gift

text jokes


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.




bride and grandmother

bride and parents


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? 

January In Instagram

It always takes me at least a month to get used to writing a new year & even then, I still do a bit of a double take when I see it. I’ve said January 2014 countless times this month & considering how quickly it went by, I’m not sure that’s going to change anytime soon. I do the same thing with my age right after my birthday. I’m sure my friends won’t let me forget how old I am turning this year though. Yikes! As usual this month was filled with friends & food. Surprise, surprise! Welcome to our lives. Here’s what we got up to:

1. We rung in the New Year with our closest friends & a lovely bottle of Prosecco.
2. Taking advantage of one of my best friends being in town. Her visits are always too quick, but we saw a lot of eachother & I’m so grateful for that.
3. My MOH celebrated her birthday on the first Friday of January. We took the day off to celebrate, grabbing brunch at a favourite spot in the morning, getting manicure, & chatting on my couch over wine & cheese. Happy Birthday, D!
4. Fratello opened a new restaurant where the iconic Melrose Bar used to be so we met up for brunch to check it out. Corbeaux is quickly becoming a favourite. We highly recommend…everything.
5. Putting a Wedding Shower gift to good use with a trip to Peasant cheese shop for some abondance, roquefort carles, & duck mousse with pink peppercorn. New favourite spot for cheese or
pâté – they’ll even let you sample before you buy!

6. The days are getting longer so my walks home aren’t in the dark anymore. This skyline is my favourite part of my walk home. 
7. We had some unseasonably warm weather last week – so warm, we did a 10 km walk that ended with beers on a patio. Yes, it’s still January.
8. I’ve been including the Crescent Heights on every walk home from work in hopes that they’ll get easier to run. I registered to run the Calgary Half Marathon at the end of May & despite the course being flat, I find hill/stair training helps. 
9. Testing my arm strength at Wurst with a stein holding competition. A litre of water gets real heavy, real quick!

Wedding \ The Weekend

I’ve been meaning to blog a little bit more about our Wedding, but have been going back & forth about how I want to discuss it. At first, I thought it would make sense to try & give some tips based on what we learned. As I’ve distanced myself from the day, however, I’ve realized that that’s never been the intention of my blog. I’m not an expert on wedding planning by any stretch, just a girl with a lot of opinions. & this blog has never been of the advice-giving kind. I’m more about sharing stories. So let’s get back to that.

Many of our wedding guests had to travel to our wedding. In fact, the majority of our guests had long drives or flights to join us. While it wasn’t what you’d typically picture when you hear “destination wedding”, it really was one. & it’s for that very reason that we had things planned for the whole weekend. Our Sunday wedding worked out perfectly for organizing a true summer weekend in Kelowna.

N & I set out for the interior the Wednesday before. We would leave on our honeymoon immediately following the wedding, so we were pretty eager to say goodbye to work for a few weeks & start our vacation. We couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off than by joining our friends for a quick visit in the Shuswap. We spent Thursday boating & hiking & learning new skills behind their beautiful boat. Our lovely hosts provided the perfect start to our weekend with good food, amazing company, & our favourite lake activities. We were so grateful for their invitation, & so glad we decided to take the extra vacation day.

A day on the Shuswap with some great people – photo from H

Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing
H showing off her skills while I’m just happy to be up!

The boys had a golf game scheduled early Friday morning in Kelowna, so they packed up the car & set out pretty early. We couldn’t check in until the afternoon, so we took our time packing the cars & making the drive. Friday was pretty low key. We had lunch & drinks on a patio, settled into our accommodations, met extended family, & enjoyed the perfect Okanagan weather.

Saturday was a bit busier for the wedding party. We started the day at our venue, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, for our rehearsal. My parents, our commissioner, our party joined us to rehearse the ceremony for the first time. I blubbered through our I do’s in typical Alanna fashion. It was ridiculous, but no one there was overly surprised. We left with explicit instructions to drink a lot of water & the knowledge that we were definitely going to forget parts of what we’d just practiced.

We had most of the rest of the day free to enjoy the weather (or finish up some last-minute crafts, as I think my mom did…) so N & hit the pool at his parents for a couple hours before convincing my dad to take us out on the boat. We both wanted to have one last wakeboard before the wedding, so a bunch of us loaded into the boat & went for the tamest wakeboard ride of my life. I don’t think there could have been a more perfect way to spend my last day as an Adair.

Just hanging out inside the wake

Our rehearsal dinner that evening was on Earl’s patio downtown. N’s brother had worked at that location so he was able to get us good spot for dinner. N’s mom even got to come by early & add some decorations. It was a great choice, as the patio overlooks the marina downtown. It’s got one of the best views in Kelowna!

We shared a bunch of appetizers, & had some great summer drinks & a lovely meal. There were even a couple little speeches. I was so impressed with N’s. He has a way with words that surprised most of the Wedding Party, since that’s not a side he often let’s anyone see. I even managed to get through the majority of mine without many tears. The entire Wedding Party still had money on me crying through the ceremony. I can’t really blame them.

After dinner, N’s mom had planned a party for everyone at the house they rented. She wanted to give everyone a chance to meet each other & mingle before the Wedding. We arrived to find the backyard set up with lights, coolers full of drinks, & even the cutest s’more roasting station. It was a really relaxed evening with everyone before the big day & gave us a chance to welcome our guests to Kelowna.

Adorable Smores by N’s mom

At the end of the night, I said goodnight to N & caught a ride back to my parents place. We’d decided to spend our last night apart.

(Some of these photos are mine &some of them are from Instagram or Facebook albums. All of them are marvelous!)

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