WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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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?

January in Instagram

February is finally here! I know that’s a bit of an odd thing to be excited for, but we booked a trip to Mexico for this month & have been waiting almost a year for it to arrive. So yeah, I’m pretty excited that it’s finally February.

January was an odd mix of stuff. With N working up north, I tend to spend the weeks he’s away working out & chilling at home (aka watching a lot of netflix). Then we cram a million things into the week he’s home. It definitely makes the time pass a lot slower while he’s gone & fly by while he’s here, but I think that’s inevitable. Anyway, here’s what we go up to in January according to Instagram:

Recently Updated

  1. Happy New Year! We rang in the New Year at H&Z’s house. It was a late night, followed by a very lazy to start to 2016.
  2. Have you heard of the Music Mile? 9th ave SE is home to some incredible music venues, & has even more in the works. Check out the website for events & venue information. Our friend, Brent Tyler put on a great show at the Nash Offcut Bar. Great venue, great music, & great company. I highly recommend checking it out!
  3. I’ve been getting in a weekly workout at YYC Cycle (sometimes two) & I can feel myself improving every time I get on the bike. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. I have so many favourite instructors (Andrew, Alex, Neil, Mark…) at the studio, but if you’re a first timer – check out one of Mark’s. You’ll have a blast!
  4. Selfies at Crossroads. By far my favourite market in Calgary, I’m never disappointed with the selection (or the snacks I always find myself picking up from Eats of Asia.)
  5. I hosted my sister in law’s birthday at our house. We made a day of it & it was so much fun: morning spin, OEB brunch, drinks in the hot tub, pre-party at our house, & then Wurst to end the night. (We may have made a stop at Clive on the way home too.) Happy Birthday, little sis!
  6. I’m so happy with how well my handstands are progressing. Now I’m working on landing a front handspring on flat ground. My goal is to be able to do it before our trip, but we’ll see whether that pans out. I’m SO close!! KSG runs an adult drop-in every Wednesday from 8-9:30 pm. It’s the most fun workout I’ve ever done & I definitely think you should all come down sometime!
  7. We’ve been having the most gorgeous winter. I’m sure it has something to do with global warming, but it makes my commute really lovely, so I’m not really going to complain.
  8. Our really good friend joined the military this month. I was lucky to be able to attend his swearing in ceremony. I’m so proud of him for going after his dream.
  9. It was this same friends 29th birthday this month as well. N & I hosted his Goodbye Birthday Party at our house. It was a potluck & everyone really stepped up their game. His pork belly contribution was the highlight for me, but there was so much incredible food! Well done, everyone! (& I miss you already, Alty!)

I love sharing snippets of my life on Instagram. If this is your jam, follow along @whoalansi for even more updates (& selfies…probably too many selfies).

Christmas 2015

DSC01975.JPGChristmas is all about traditions. I love learning of all the different ways families choose to celebrate. & I love my own family’s traditions.

Since getting married, we’ve spent one Christmas with my family followed by one with N’s. While we both enjoy spending the holidays with each other’s families, I think we’d both admit that our own traditions still rank the highest. It’s always a bit of a challenge when you both come from families that celebrate, but I think I’ve come to appreciate both more now that we each year is different.



Sleepy Lucky


That said, it’s hard to complain about either option. We get pretty spoiled by both sides! This year, we stayed in Calgary to celebrate Christmas Eve & Day with N’s side. We headed over to his parent’s house after I got off work in the afternoon & spent the next 24 hours eating (seafood chowder, lobster, turkey, & everything in between!), drinking, playing games, skating, & enjoying each other’s company.


Boy & his dog


Christmas Morning


Bailey’s & Hot Chocolate

On Boxing Day, we woke up (a little later than we’d planned) & headed out to BC to visit with my family. We skied a half day at Panorama before heading out to my parents place near Fairmont Hot Springs.


N & I all bundled up!




Darth Brother & I

The next few days were filled with more food, more drinks, more games… Dad & I went for a short run, but for the most part, we relaxed & enjoyed the slower lake pace. I love getting out to the mountains this time of year – it feels especially festive. We even managed to fit in a quick visit with a girlfriend in Invermere before making our way back to the city.


Dad & I being goofs


Penguin Races

Our holiday traditions differ from year to year right now, but one thing remains constant – the love that surrounds us. I hope that remains the focal point for many years to come, whether we celebrate with our individual families or create our own new hybrid traditions.

Happy New Year


Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I did in of these. I didn’t even really realize that I skipped 2015. This past year is full of great memories, but in a lot of ways I think I got off track too. I’ve always been a planner, but I let that go a bit. In some ways, I think it was good for me, but in others I don’t.

While I think of myself as very goal-oriented, I’ve also mentioned my hesitancy to post my New Year’s resolutions. I still prefer to make changes & set goals throughout the year, as I see fit, but I’d also like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past year & make a plan for the coming one.

1. Make our house our home. We’ve started this a little bit with some new furniture & hanging photos, but there is so much I want to do to make our house ours. I think it has a lot of potential & we can do a lot with the spaces. I want to start by painting our bedroom & adding a door to the walk in closet. There are a lot of 80s-style valances everywhere, so I’d also like to remove those & then paint the main floor walls white. I think both those things will go a long way to making it feel more like ours.

2. Recommit to eating 80% paleo. We still eat paleo most of the time, but we’ve fallen a bit further away from it over the last year & ate out more than I’d like. N is heading up North so he won’t have a lot of choice about what he eats, but I plan to make it a priority for myself at home.

3. Run at least 3x a week. I’ve been running at lunch lately with a coworker & I can already feel an improvement. I’m registered for the Seawheeze Half Marathon in August. Getting into the running habit early never hurts! We started last month & it’s been great to have someone to get me out there when I may not be feeling it.

4. Work on mobility twice a week. I am not flexible at all, which makes some gymnastics skills pretty difficult. I’d love to improve my back flexibility so I can one day do walkovers & my shoulders are pretty tight from years of swimming & sitting at a desk all day.

5. Blog every week. I am so hit or miss with blogging. I always have good intentions, but I also have a pretty busy schedule & a full time job. I try not to be too hard on myself, but I think one post a week is pretty reasonable. I can do this!

6. Choose Happiness. I said this in 2014 too, but I think it’s a good one (& something I still need to work on). It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative, over-react to a situation, or just feel down about life in general. There are so many external factors that I have no control over, so here’s to focusing on the one that I can control: how I react. & I’m going to try to choose to be happy.

I find the key to my success usually lies in consistency. Everything comes a lot easier if you’re consistently striving for it. Suddenly, it just becomes part of your everyday. So while that’s a pretty vague “resolution”, I also want to keep that in mind. It goes both ways so while it’s easy to slip back into bad habits, it’s also easy to create good ones.

Do you like making New Year’s resolutions? What are you working on this year?

’tis the season!

Christmas Tree

Our Christmas festivities started pretty early this year with the market & really haven’t let up all month. We’ve kept ourselves busy this December – so much so that I can hardly believe Christmas is pretty much already here. N is off until early January & my office is pretty quiet. I’m certain these last couple days will fly by.

In early December we picked up a tree from Scouts Canada. I insisted on a real one. I think they’re so special! &, of course, I wanted the first Christmas in our new house to be memorable. My parents have had several different colour schemes over the years so we inherited quite a few decorations. We really only had to pick up lights & some plain felt stockings to personalize (I love personalized stockings!). With the few extras we’ve received as gifts, we’re set up with a pretty good Christmas  collection.

We got him from a Scouts Canada lot, which was a great experience all around. He’s a beautiful tree, & almost a month after purchase, he still looks great! I’d highly recommend them if you’re looking next year. We named him Carlos (#CarlosChristmasTree).

Carlos Christmas Tree

Carlos looking just lovely!

The eggnog was flowing all month as we decorated, made Christmas crafts, watched our favourite movies, & celebrated with friends & family. Is there ever a bad reason to drink eggnog? (or your favourite holiday beverage – I’m also partial to mulled wine!) I’m hoping all the running I’ve been doing balances it out!


Eggnog + the Tree

Christmas Crafts

Ready to Craft!

Love Actually and Crafts

Love Actually + Crafts

I think it all turned out pretty great. I love our tree the best (we’ve added a few more decorations that my mom found since these photos were taken), but overall I’m quite happy with how everything turned out. Of course, I’m already thinking about fixing up the white letters on our stockings so they’re easier to read. Aside from that little detail, it looks pretty sweet. As I’m coming up the street, I can catch a glimpse of Carlos all lit up in our front window. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day!


Christmas Stockings

Poor planning with those glittery white letters…

Christmas Tree

I can’t wait to finish up work this week & spend a few days with N’s family & then mine. I’ve got a couple more gifts to organize & pick up, but I’m mostly ready to go!

Hope you’ve had a fantastic December. Are you ready for the holidays? What’s your favourite way to prepare?

Saturday morning thoughts \ House Hunting

I like to start my weekend mornings with a cup of coffee in bed, catching up on reading or a few blog posts, before I face the day. When I have the choice, I’m a slow morning girl. I suppose that’s a bit funny since I’m also the girl who wakes up before dawn for a spin class, but that’s usually a workweek thing – Even a 9 am class on the weekend feels too early for me sometimes.

This morning, I caught up with the fresh exchange and their house hunting story. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. N & I have started the daunting, albeit exciting, process of becoming homeowners. We’ve been saving for a few years & living in an inner-city condo that we have a love-hate relationship with. We love the location. We hate a lot of little details about the condo itself (such as the incredibly frustrating laundry situation). It’s time to find a place of our own.

When we first looked at buying a home a few years ago, we saw ourselves in a condo. There are many things I love about the condo lifestyle & it fit our budget for the neighbourhoods we’re interested in. As time has gone on though, we’ve fallen out of love with certain aspects of condo living & since we decided to rent for a couple years, it no longer feels like the type of place we’ll still want to be in five years. If we’re going to put this much money into something, I’d like to feel comfortable with it for at least five years.

So now we’re looking at houses – houses in inner-city neighbourhoods in this crazy oil & gas town. I know it’s going to be a huge challenge to find the right house. For one, many of the houses in the areas we like have been renovated or are infills, bumping them far out of our budget. There are also many that require the kind of structural overhaul that we cannot afford. We’re looking for that perfect blend of character home that everyone our age would like, a needle in a haystack if you will. I’m hoping that the fact that we’re willing to put some work into any home we buy will help us. While many people want a renovated kitchen, I’m actually hoping for something older. Of course, it needs to be functional since we won’t be updating it right away, but I’d prefer it didn’t have the granite countertops & new appliances yet. I’d like to be able to update a kitchen to be my kitchen.

We know this is a tall order & are expecting it will take some time. We’ll undoubtedly want to give up. (I’m sure I will throw my hands up at some point & say, alright let’s just move out to the suburbs like everyone else our age. Urban sprawl it is!). I hope when I do, I can remember both this post & Megan’s.

That’s my main reason for writing this: to remind myself that we’ll find it. We’re in that rare situation where we can take our time & find the right place & I want to remember that fact.

Happy Saturday!

Craft Beer Party

A couple weeks ago, our friends had a housewarming with an interesting theme. This wasn’t the first time they’d hosted this type of party, but it was the first time N & I fully participated.The idea is that everyone brings a six pack (or however much they plan on drinking) of craft beer. All contributions are added to the cooler, with the hope that everyone brings different craft beers so you can try a variety.

I love this idea! It’s not often that you get to sample such a variety of craft beers in a single evening. I mean, some of my favourite bars operate on this premise (National, Craft, & Beer Revolution, to name a few), but sometimes it’s hard to justify dropping $6-$8 on an unknown beer. This way, you can try at least six different beers for under $20.

I took photos of all the different beers I tasted, but unfortunately I didn’t take any tasting notes, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say they were all quite good.

My first beer was my own contribution to the party. Perhaps a little silly to go straight for the beer I had brought, but I love Anchor Brewing & was really excited to try this Liberty Ale. I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely not a bargain at the liquor store, but it’s also not unreasonably priced. I’ll buy it again soon.

Our friends apartment has this great mirror wall. It’s pretty distracting, but a fun addition to the space.

 N’s contribution was Anchor Steam. This is one of my favourite beers. I order it almost every time I see it on a menu. It’s got an interesting flavour, but is easy to drink – delicious & slightly dangerous.

I’m really never sure about IPAs. I find them really hit or miss. Sometimes, they’re great & other times, they’re just too bitter for me. I liked this one though & I think the label is pretty awesome.

I really like Village beers, so of course this had to end up in my hands at some point in the evening. If you’re even remotely into darker beers, the Blacksmith is great. It’s definitely a go-to beer for me & their growlers are fun to split with a friend.

My beer choices quickly turned pretty safe as the night continued & I moved to beers I was more familiar with. I think this is kind of inevitable, but it was fun to at least start the night out with some new finds.

All in all, it was a pretty successful evening. We started early in the evening so we all went through quite a lot of beer. Next time I’d probably try to keep it to a six pack per person, so things don’t get too rowdy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with rowdy – everyone needs a noisy party at least once in a while, right? & you have to break in a new condo at some point. Mission Accomplished.

I’m definitely looking forward to trying this idea again with another group of friends. It’s been a hit both times we’ve done it. If you like craft beer, I highly recommend this idea for your next party.

Love \ Happy Valen-times

N –

I feel like a broken record already & it’s only February, but this year is going to be a good one. We have some great (big) plans & I can’t wait to watch it all unfold with you by my side.

As usual, you’re right – we’re awesome. Happy Valentines Day, babe! Let’s eat something delicious together in true A & N fashion.


Life \ it’s only tuesday?

Do you ever just have one of those weeks where you just can’t wait for the weekend because it feels like the week is ganging up on you & you’re so grumpy even though you know it could be so much worse & then you realize…

it’s only tuesday.

Well, I’m having one of those weeks. It started with a spurt of productivity on Saturday. We’ve been living in our little condo for a year & a half & I’ve barely hung anything on our walls. I get all nervous about the commitment & chicken out. I know, I know. It’s silly.

So we have this floating shelf that I’ve been carting around from place to place since i lived in Montreal. Nope, that’s not a typo. I’ve been carting a $20 floating ikea shelf for 4 years. Stop judging me.

We hung it on Saturday though. Finally! & I got excited by how good it looked, floating there on the wall. I even bought a canvas & some paint & decided to be a little bit creative over the weekend. I was actually pretty excited about it. Sunday morning, I was arranging things on our little shelf when it came crashing down, breaking the brand new wine decanter we’d gotten as a Christmas gift from N’s brother, one of the new canvases, & an elephant – the only souvenir I’d brought back from Thailand for myself. I was pretty upset. See? This is what happens when you make a commitment with Ikea shelving.

Ok, so that’s not true. That’s just what happens when you don’t have a stud finder & you think you’ve gone far enough into a stud, but you haven’t & your drywall screws are pathetic excuses for screws. N fixed it & it’s definitely solid now (but just in case, I’m not putting anything that’s not already broken on it for a while).

Mom & I went for a drink to talk about some wedding planning afterwards & things were looking up for the week. Maybe you’re not so bad, Sunday. (Ha!) We made some delicious slow cooked Roast Beef & headed off to soccer.

Oh indoor soccer, you’re such a jerk sometimes. In his effort to avoid smashing into a girl on the opposite team, N wound up buggering up his ankle pretty good. We borrowed some crutches from friends on the way home & figured it was just a sprain. The next morning, as he hobbled to work, he slipped on the ice &landed on his injured leg. Something about how it felt (besides painful) made him think something else was wrong so he went off to the Urgent Care Center downtown.

Long story short: they think it’s broken. He’s in an air cast right now & in 10 days he’ll go back so they can take a look again & maybe have a better idea of whether it’s actually broken or just a bad sprain (something about the broken bone not matching up with where he’s having pain). We had ski plans for this weekend and a few other weekends in March so it’s disappointing, especially considering how much that guy looks forward to ski season.

I went off to work that night at the Y after my regular day at work. I usually dread these long days, but it didn’t help that N was at home alone with a broken ankle. This morning I woke up & realized I hadn’t double checked when my health & safety training for the Y was scheduled for. So I checked my email to realize it was tonight, right after work, at the other end of the city. Cue very grumpy Alanna.

All in all, none of these things is terrible, but coupled with a few other unfortunate things so far this week, they add up to me wishing for the weekend. On a Tuesday.

We could always run away back to Mexico too. That’s been my daydream for a while. I mean look at this place!

I promise there are more photos coming soon. More photos, less long winded posts about my first world problems. I’m supposed to be choosing happiness this year right? Working on it.

What If Money Was No Object?

So it’s funny when a show like Two Broke Girls gets you thinking about life. I mean, you just don’t expect that kind of show to make you stop and think, but this week’s episode did just that for me. (Stranger things have happened, but let’s talk about this particular strange thing for a minute).

What would you do if you were independently wealthy and didn’t have to do anything to earn money? In the show, one of the girls (you can tell I watch this a lot since I know their names) realized that the guy she was dating was a keeper because he never had to do anything, but chose to. He had all the money he could ever need. In his position, she would have never left her bed. Her dreams came from wanting to create a better life for herself. He pursued his interests instead of just comfortably living off his wealth, like she believes she would have in his place.

It got me thinking about what I would do. Would I be that person who just travelled the world for her own selfish reasons? Or sat around at home doing nothing just because I could? Maybe for a time I’d fall into one of those (don’t we all need a break like that sometimes?), but I’m doer. I’m rarely content to sit around doing nothing & actually usually feel guilty when I do. We all need lazy days sometimes, but I don’t like when they become the every day.

If I could do whatever I wanted I would certainly travel a lot – I’d travel, and read, and write, and eat (especially eat). I’d take photos and be creative every day. I’d probably go back to school and take all the classes that don’t combine to lead to a career or degree: photography, cooking, maybe even pastry. Maybe I’d work at a gym or a coffee shop or study nutrition in my spare time. These are things that interest me now, but that I’d never thought about in High School.

It’s funny how you think you know everything when you leave High School, but the older you get, the more you realize, there’s so much left to learn – about the world, myself, this journey I’m on…

I was chatting with a coworker about this and he showed me this video. It got me thinking so I thought I’d share.

“Better to have a short life, that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.” – Alan Watts

So, what do you desire?

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