Ted and Nisa said ‘I do’

So I’m still working on this blog catch-up thing, but I’m staying committed to it – so won’t you come along with me for the next instalment?

At the end of May, pretty much right after I had finished hiking to Grey Owl’s Cabin, I took a week of vacation and went on an epic road trip. From Saskatoon to Calgary to Lethbridge, all the way down to Bigfork, Montana – to gorgeous Flathead Lake.

The trip was two-fold. I was on vacation, and I was going to a totally new place, but the reason for the trip was to see Ted and Nisa get married. In fact, it was to marry them! It was a fantastic week, just the four of us, Ted, Nisa, me and their friend Aric.

There were hours lounging in the sun by the lake.

There were day trips to Kalispell and Whitefish (with plenty of breweries to stop at along the way).

IMG_5429There were spectacular sunsets each night.


And there was the most delicious view to wake up to each and every morning.

Then there was the big day – June 1, 2016. The day that Ted and Nisa said ‘I do’. I am humbled to have been a part of their special day. Their love for one another runs so deep.

I look forward to watching their relationship grow and see where the road takes them throughout the years. Thank you again Ted and Nisa for the most memorable week ever!

Dolls Profile: Kate Toogood

So happy to see my fantastic friend Kate thriving in Shanghai!

Hi Kate! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What brought you out to Shanghai?

I came to China the way many people come to China – as an ESL teacher. In early 2014, my boyfriend Mike and I found ourselves smack in the middle of our quarter-life crises so we packed up our lives and moved to Suzhou to teach. Mid-way through the year I realized that I wanted to get back to my career in marketing/communications, and applied for jobs in Shanghai and was fortunate to be offered a position as a copywriter. That was almost a year ago, and I’ve now changed my path again! I’ll be studying Chinese and working freelance, but that’s what I love about Shanghai, and China. There are just so many opportunities – as long as you’re open to them.

What’s your favorite part about being in Shanghai?

I love…

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Hiking to Grey Owl’s Cabin

So three weeks into my treatment from my bicycle vs. SUV accident, I was given the OK by my doctor to spend May long weekend hiking into Grey Owl’s Cabin in Prince Albert National Park.

Kerry and I drove up Friday afternoon before the long weekend started, registered and paid for our back-country hiking passes in Waskesui, and then headed out the trail head to start the first leg of our journey.

That Friday we hiked 6.7 kms to the second campsite on the trail, Chipewyan Portage. We were the only hikers/campers in the campsite that night and our dehydrated lasagna tasted so good for supper!

The next day we were awake by 6 a.m. and packed up and hiking by 7 a.m. which was good because the bugs were horrendous and it was pretty hot and sticky going through the bush. We made our next campsite (Northend) by noon, so we quickly set-up camp and then hiked the 3 kms further in to Grey Owl’s Cabin.

What an experience. To finally cross off some Canadiana history from my bucket list….it was truly amazing. To see where Grey Owl lived, to see the upper cabin that he built for his wife (Anahareo), and to see the final resting place for him, his wife, and his daughter (Shirley Dawn) – it blew me away.

Sunday we were awake bright and early again, and did the 16.7 km hike from North End back out to the trail head. I won’t lie, it was hard for me. I was still battling sprains and bruises, then one of the dehydrated meals didn’t agree with me. I have also learned that I suck at descents. Still, at the end of the day, I did the whole hike, all 40 kms of it, and I’m proud of myself for doing it. It was my first taste of back-country hiking and camping (well at least since outdoor education in Grade 11), and I think I like it. I look forward to more adventures!

April and May were big months

So big that it’s taken me a while to actually catch up and blog about it all. Expect a lot of catching up from me – there are many posts to come after this one!

First off – I finally moved into my first home ever in the middle of April. I took possession on April 15, and I did the walk-through and key hand over with my realtor over lunch.

Little did I realize that I had a surprise landing in Saskatoon that afternoon – my friends Courtney and Paisley flew in from Calgary to help me move into my new place on the weekend!

We had the best weekend laughing, moving, setting up, and taking in the Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse game. That was definitely the highlight of my April!

Moving on to May – I was so excited to have a new home and a new neighbourhood to explore. I was definitely looking forward to learning a new bike route to work and had big plans of using pedal power to get to work all summer long. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

On Monday, May 2nd, on my inaugural bike ride to work from my new condo, I was hit by a SUV in the middle of an intersection, about one block away from my condo. I was able to get up and walk away from the accident, but I still ended up with bad sprains, bruises and road rash to a lot of my body.

I’m so thankful to my family, friends and co-workers for helping me out over the slow recovery process. I’m also thankful that I got access to the health care I needed right away. After the first three weeks of intensive massage, acupuncture and chiro I looked and felt almost normal. It was an ordeal I tell you. One thing I’ve learned, don’t assume anybody can see you when you’re cycling. I’m now hyper-sensitive as a driver and a pedestrian. I hope someday soon to get on the bike again and not let this accident set me back. I also cannot say this enough – WEAR A HELMET when you bike!!!! It literally will save your life someday. It did for me!

Family Day get-away

So last month Kerry and I snuck away for the Family Day long weekend and headed to Edmonton to spend some time with friends Ted and Nisa to talk about their upcoming wedding this summer.

While we were there we visited the Ice Castle and later that evening we enjoyed a visit with Chef Matt Phillips and dinner at Lux Steakhouse + Bar. Perfect weekend start to finish!


So…I bought a home!

January started off on such a strong foot, and gave way to a nasty winter cold and lots of work travel. Somewhere, sandwiched between getting back to healthy and hopping a plane to Edmonton for a conference, I managed to buy a condo! I’d been working with a realtor and looking since late November and never thought it would happen so quickly but I couldn’t be happier.

I won’t take possession until April 15, and I’ll be doing a slow move in as my lease on my rental apartment won’t expire until May 31. But sometime around mid-May I’ll have a spare bedroom ready for visits! I can’t wait to have my own space.

I want to say a huge thank you to realtor Miranda Ardell – she is absolutely amazing at matching people with their homes. More than that she is real people and one of the best human beings I know. If you’re looking for a solid realtor I would recommend her in a heartbeat.

New Year, Old Habits

It’s 2016! A fresh, shiny new year filled with so much potential, opportunity and awaiting adventure.

My resolution for this year? Get back into some of the old habits that used to bring me the most joy, mostly blogging. It’s been months since I last posted, but I realized recently how much I missed writing and sharing. So, to kick off the new year and this great resolution I thought I would share how I spent New Year’s.

New Year’s Eve had me Alberta-bound with new friends Kerry and Ashley. After a brief vehicle break-down in Kindersley (some unwanted stress but plenty of laughter) we managed to make Calgary by late-afternoon to drop off Ashley while Kerry and I continued on to Canmore. We were going to be spending the next four days with my excellent friends Dave and Amy, ringing in the New Year with their friends.

IMG_4629New Year’s Day saw warming temperatures and bright blue sky, so after breakfast at Summit Cafe, Dave, Amy, Kerry and I met up with more friends in Banff for some skating. I can’t describe how lovely and storybook perfect it was to be outdoors, enjoying winter in the mountains.

Later on that evening Amy, Kerry and I went a night ski on a lit trail at the Canmore Nordic Centre. I think cross-country skiing is truly my happy place, and with the mild winter we’ve had in Saskatchewan, this was our first opportunity to get out on the sticks. We ended the evening back at Dave and Amy’s enjoying some charcuterie, wine and Lip Sync Battle.

Saturday in Canmore kicked off with brunch with Dave, Amy, me, Kerry and four of my other favourite people – Courtney & Rodney and Paisley & Jamie! I am so fortunate to have such great friends like Courtney and Paisley, who would take time out of their schedules to come to Canmore and meet with me. I’m so glad we could spend some time together. After brunch Kerry and I decided to don our snowshoes and tackle the trails at a favourite hike of mine – Stanley Glacier.

We weren’t the only ones on the trail that day and our snowshoes gave us great purchase on the steep hike up the mountain. We made it as far as the creek at the top – basically where the forest slips into rocky mountain, but we had done half the hike so we considered the day a super success!

Not quite ready to call it a day, we stopped at Johnston Canyon to do a quick hike to the Lower Falls. I can’t believe in all of my trips to the mountains I have never visited Johnston Canyon – it’s spectacular! I can’t wait to go back and do the full hike there.

Saturday evening was spent at the “Canmore condo” with Paisley and Jamie catching a quick visit before we all packed up and headed home the next day. Thank you Dave and Amy for your wonderful hospitality – I always appreciate time spent with you. Thank you Rodney and Courtney, Paisley and Jamie for making time to visit with us, and thank you Ashley and Kerry for making the trip to and from the mountains a lot of fun! To the next adventure!!!