WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: lake

That lake life

Lake 3

I’ve been in and around water my whole life. Growing up, my parents had a 26-foot cabin cruiser that we spent most vacations on, cruising from island to island. My love & respect for the water began there. Competitive swimming naturally followed. I spent years swimming back and forth, back and forth, & I don’t regret a single lap. I went on to swim varsity in university, which lead to coaching & teaching swimming lessons when I retired. I just couldn’t stay away from the water!

& I’m the first to admit that most water-related activities come much easier to me than those on land – I aced my scuba diving tests, for example, even though everyone made fun of me for falling asleep in the classroom portion. Stick me on a wakeboard & I’ll impress you far more than I ever could with its snowier counterpart. Frankly, I’m awkward on land, & anyone who knows me well will undoubtedly agree. At any given moment, I can point out at least one bruise from this awkwardness. (Maybe this comes as a surprise after all those super graceful gymnastics photos of me. The real gymnasts are very entertained by my attempts.)

Dock with N


As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent less & less time in the water. I’m certainly not as excited at the prospect of spending multiple hours working out in a pool anymore. & while I do love a good swim workout from time to time, I prefer to get my water fix at the lake or in the ocean.

My parents spent a few years looking for property on a lake before they settled on Columbia Lake, in the East Kootenay. They built a beautiful house &, almost a decade later, it has become one of my favourite places to get away to. Its proximity to Calgary is a huge draw. A three hour drive away, it’s an easy weekend trip. It’s quiet, relaxing, & absolutely gorgeous. There are restrictions on mooring, so it’s a lot quieter than its very popular sister, Lake Windermere (Something I’m always grateful for as a wakeboarder. Give me calm water & space!).

I usually only pop out for a long weekend, here & there, but last summer we stopped out there for a few extra days, hoping to log some hours on the boat as the season drew to a close.

Dock Alanna-2

Unfortunately, the fires put a bit of a damper on those plans. Visibility was fine by the time we got out there, but the smoke kept the temperatures low. It seemed the sun just couldn’t break through. Nonetheless, I thought these photos were beautiful in their own way. You can’t see either of the mountain ranges very clearly, & it’s not the crystal clear water & blue skies that come to mind when I think of summertime out there, but it’s still beautiful.

Lake 1

Lake 2


The always gorgeous view of Columbia Lake

I wound up sick while we were on this trip, so I didn’t take a lot of photos. As I was sorting through the ones for my anniversary post, I came across these & thought they were pretty in a different kind of way & figured I might as well share. I’m getting excited for summer & more time out at the lake. One of favourite things to do is grab coffee out on the lakehouse’s front deck. Sometimes those simple little things become my favourites.

Spent the weekend taking lots of patio naps.

Spent the weekend taking lots of patio naps.

Do you have a special place like this? What’s your favourite thing to do in the warmer months?

Family Weekend

My dad’s birthday fell on Family Day this year so we’d planned to head out to the lake for the weekend for some skiing & hanging out with the fam. Unfortunately, N injured his ankle in soccer the weekend before, so skiing was no longer an option for him. We decided to head out anyway & enjoy a relaxing weekend with my parents.

My parents still ended up skiing, while we stayed back at the house. I love being out at the lake. It’s relaxing & beautiful. My parents designed the house themselves & it’s one of the best layouts I know. Columbia Lake itself is also gorgeous. The Rockies run down one side of the lake & the Purcells the other. It’s one of my favourite spots. 

We spent most of our time eating, hanging out in the hot tub, enjoying craft brews, reading, & playing board games. Not a bad weekend if you ask me.

Sunday night we celebrated Dad’s birthday. Mom had picked up a sparkling rose from the Winery hosting out wedding this summer while she was out there, so we started things off sampling that. It was delicious. 
Mom is also the master of cold appetizers. She put out a beautiful assortment of cheeses (including blue cheese with Branston pickle), crackers, olives, pickles, & dips. It’s one of my favourite ways to start a meal. 

We sat around chatting until we’d polished almost everything off, when we sat down for the main event. Mom had made coq au vin, a delicious slow cooked, chicken recipe from France. I followed it up with a new desert recipe from Practical Paleo: a frozen berry tart.

It was a simple, delicious weekend to celebrate another year.

Happy Birthday Dad.

October in Instagram

We had a beautiful fall this year. It was amazing so I’m trying really hard not to complain now that the temperature has severely dropped and the snow has arrived. Here’s a little recap of what we got up to this month. 

1. Fall colours and light on one of my walks home. This season can be so gorgeous.
2. Coffee and wedding planning with my mom. Things are coming together quickly!
3. Fall lunch runs are my favourite. I hope we get a few more warm days before winter really sets in so I can do a few more outdoor runs.
4. We spent Thanksgiving out at the lake with my family. The in between season are so relaxing! Good food, good company, good drinks.
5. A friend helped me make some beautiful cards to ask my girls to be my bridesmaids. We got wine and chatted. It was lovely!
6. Med balls at Fitness Friday? Might as well have been Christmas. (My coworkers may have slightly disagreed!)
7. Me and my King of Hearts. Dressed up as Rosie the Riveter and the King of Hearts for Halloween.
8. I’m back at the Y twice a month. A little extra income and a gym membership is worth a couple long days a month.
9. Doing some CrossFit style workouts at the Y. The 24″ box is tough, but it’s pretty satisfying to stick with it for an entire workout.

July In Instagram

Summer is by far my favourite season and it always seems to just fly by. It’s already half over and it feel like it only just began. We’ve got lots planned for August and September, but not nearly as much as we did for July. I’m kind of excited to just slow down a bit and enjoy this season. I’m looking forward to sitting outside on patios, having barbeques with friends, and enjoying the long days before they’re gone.

The end of this month has felt slightly out of control. Anyone who knows me know that I’m not a fan of feeling out of control. Work has been full of deadlines, I’ve been trying to cram long runs into already hectic weekends, and N has been away for work. I think the last one has been making life feel particularly hectic. N and I are a pretty good team and he’s been in Northern Saskatchewan for work since July 25. He’s there for at least another week. It reminds me of when we did long distance, except at the time I was used to doing everything on my own and now I’ve been spoiled by having the extra help. Anyway, it’s only another week so we’re almost back to everyday life.

Here’s what I got up to this month:
1. Started off July with a long weekend at the lake. Nothing more relaxing.
2. Stampede Parade kicked off one of my favourite weeks in the city! Enjoying the parade with my lovely co-worker.
3. Camping in Drumheller. The sunsets on the hills are unreal.
4. Spaghetti Western 2012: L and I enjoying our company party and the awesome sillybooth.
5. Weekend at Columbia Lake with N and some great friends for my birthday. D and I look related and it’s really weird.
6. Nothing beats a calm, hot day on the lake. Seriously.
7. Folk Festing. I finally attended a full day at CFMF. It was full of great music and shenanigans.
8. D and I in the beer gardens at Folk Fest.
9. I finally got my last wisdom tooth out. And I bit the bullet and did the ombre thing. Turns out I love it!

Here’s to a wonderful, hot, sunny, dry rest of the summer! Happy Long Weekend, everyone!

Summer To-Do List

Columbia Lake
Considering yesterday Calgary and its surrounding communities and cities declared a state of emergency due to flooding from heavy rainfall, it’s hard to believe summer has arrived today. Inspired by a couple other bloggers and the first day of one of my favourite seasons (who am I kidding, I love them all!), I put together a little summer to-do list of some of the things I’d like to do. 
1. Enjoy cocktails with friends. I want to host a cocktail party but I envision this being outside and that’s not an option for us due to our lack of outdoor space. Elsie of A Beautiful Mess has been posting a ton of amazing sounding cocktail recipes that I am dying to try! 
2. Take advantage of the mountains. Go hiking and backpacking. The rockies are too close not to take advantage of!
3. Experience more Calgary events. Street Festivals, Food Truck Events, Fun Runs…Take advantage of some of the fun local things happening around Calgary. Play tourist at home a little bit. 
4. Take a road trip. I can’t wait for our trip to Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, and Kelowna. I love a good road trip and I love visiting new cities. 
5. Attend an outdoor concert. I bought tickets for Folk Fest. I’ve heard great things about it so it’s about time I did a full day at Prince’s Island. 
6. Nail a handstand. I’ve been practicing and I’m determined to nail a decent handstand. The summer I was nine, I had a similar goal, but with cartwheels. What I’m saying is that I’m an nine-year-old at heart.
7. Get away with the girls. Boys will be boys, so let’s leave them at home and have our own fun. I’m thinking some lake time is in order. Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and make up some cocktails too!
8. Rock a flip flop tan and some freckles. Nothing says summer to me better than sunkissed skin and tan lines from my havaianas. Come on Calgary, bring on the sunshine!
9. Bike to work as much as possible! We live in the perfect neighbourhood to take advantage of biking to work. It’s such a great way to start the day. 
10. Spend time outside daily. Summer always flies by. I’ll save my hermitting for winter, when darkness sets in before I leave work and the ground is frozen for months. 

Enjoy the first day of summer! What do you plan to do this season?
Nashville North
Wedding Shower

Birthday Pizza

N loves pizza so it was an obvious choice for his birthday meal. It doesn’t hurt that my parents have an incredible pizza recipe that they love to use. When I suggested we make it for N’s birthday, my dad was more than happy to oblige.

Like most recipes I love, this one just takes patience, practice, and some delicious ingredients. The sauce is Jamie Oliver’s quickest tomato sauce. It’s simple and full of flavour. You can’t go wrong with this one. We usually substitute Roma tomatoes for San Marzano type and I would highly recommend doing this if you can get your hands on them. They have a really distinct flavour and it’s become what I look for in an authentic pizza sauce.

The dough is a bit of a hybrid. My dad is always the one to make it, but I’ve borrowed his recipe and was gifted some semolina flour so I plan to try it out. You’ll have to wait for that to happen for me to post my take on the recipe, but there are hundreds of great recipes out there. I really think a lot of baking is getting to know your oven and your region anyway, so be adventurous. Experiment. I mean, the worst thing that’s ever happened to me was that I ate the ingredients off my pizza. They were still delicious even if my crust was a bit of a fail.

As we waited for the dough to finish proofing, we made up a tray of appetizers, grabbed some beers, and headed out to the deck to relax. This is something my family does often, especially out at the lake, and I love it. Olives and cheese are two of my favourite things. I’m not one to get overly excited about sweets, so to me these little appies are way better than desert. Unless it’s crème brûlée. I can’t say no to that deliciousness.

We made two large pizzas that night. The first was very traditional:  tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and basil. It’s probably my favourite pizza. The flavours seem to come together perfectly without competing with each other.

My dad named our second pizza The Kitchen Sink. Basically it had “everything but the kitchen sink”. We took a bunch of stuff we had in the fridge and piled it onto the pizza. There was asparagus, spicy capicola, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, and a couple different cheeses. I’m sure I’m forgetting some things too. It turned out delicious! I still love our simple pizza, but this one gave it a run for its money.

We chatted well into the night, enjoying our pizza and wine. That’s another thing I love about making pizza with my family: with one oven the meal lasts for a few hours, so we sit around chatting and enjoying each other’s company as we wait for the next pizza.


Talk about down to the wire eh? I said I’d get my Christmas posts in before the end of February and here I am on February 28…
It took me a while to get to organizing my photos from Christmas this year. I even took far fewer than normal and still I could not find the spare time to sit down and edit them. I just can’t help but feeling I’m always sprinting from one thing to the next lately. It’s been nice to have some downtime to relax this winter. Once I learn to stop feeling guilty about taking a day off and being lazy, I’ll be set. (Will this ever happen?) Maybe that’s why I was so intent on posting something about Christmas and showing off some of the beauty of our time at the lake – it’s one of the few places that I can actually unwind and relax without the guilt. 
I caught up on my reading, went for walks every day,  ate a lot of food, and drank a lot of wine. It was glorious. 
Family Walks

N and I in the snowy driveway

Snowy Mountains

Christmas Day at the lake is the best. There is no one to wake you up at the crack of dawn, so we all sleep in a bit. When we finally do stir, we leisurely enjoy some coffee and a light breakfast. Mom pops some bubbly, adds a little juice, and we sit down to open presents.

Once the presents are opened, it’s brunch time. This usually involves a little more bubbly and lots of delicious food. My Nana made Christmas bread as usual. Not only is it delicious, but I think it’s totally gorgeous too.

We all settle down for a while (or if you’re me, go off for a 5 km run) before dinner prep begins. This year, my parents went non traditional (again) and made lamb. I think they’ve decided they’re done with two turkeys in the span of 3 months. If that means we have lamb instead, that’s perfectly fine by me.

N and I relaxing before dinner
delicious, delicious lamb

Spring begins in March, right? Good thing I got this winter blogging thing out of the way before the end of February then.


Tree Trimmin’

It doesn’t really ever feel like Christmas until we have a tree and one of the best things about spending the holiday out at the lake is getting to pick one out from the forest. Normally, my dad and brother go out to hunt for one, but this year brother had to work. N and I went out to help Dad find one instead.

Heading out to find a tree.

The three of us piled into the truck and headed down the highway to find a nice tree. Normally there isn’t too much snow up there in December. This year there was a ton, making turning the truck around on the narrow road a bit difficult. Dad dropped us off to find a tree while he went looking for a way to turn the truck around.

Nathan sawing down our tree in camoflage. 

The snow was so deep, even my Sorels couldn’t keep it out! We were soaked, but we found our tree, successfully cut it down, and stuffed it in the back of the truck.

Snow covered Sorels
The boy

My brother arrived that evening and Mom put him right to work. We always do a pretty simple tree since we’re in the country. Mom gets the boys to put on some lights and a star and then adds a few simple ornaments.

Lots of help trimming the tree

Mom loves having us wrap our gifts in brown craft paper. She says it goes with the country feel at the lake. We all indulge her with this and it does end up looking really beautiful.

Presents all ready under the tree

I also made some home-made ornaments this year with some girlfriends. We got the idea from A Beautiful Mess (Thanks Elsie & Emma!) and, although ours didn’t turn out as well as theirs, they were pretty cute. I gave a lot away as gifts, but some ended up on the tree as well.

Joyeux Noel 

Noel Noel Noel

We haven’t had the lake house for that long (only 5 years), but our tradition of getting our own tree and setting it up together on Christmas Eve has become one of my favourites.

Well, that and my Christmas Day 5 km run. Everyone else thinks that one’s a bit crazy though, even if I did convince Dad and N to join me this year. 

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