The Mid-Week Anthology ~ August 2016 ~

Can't get enough of the AESTATE wall tapestries.
Can’t get enough of the AESTATE wall tapestries.

I miss doing these curated lists. But frankly, the interwebs cruising has not happened much these days. We’re settling into our new place, developing in our new life rhythms and hanging out with old (visiting) friends and getting to know new island buds. This summer has been fantastically, exhaustingly, excitingly busy. Our neighbour warned us that there was literally a-festival-a-weekend here on Haida Gwaii, and she was not joking.

My summer highlights so far? Swimming at Gray Bay,  remembering my inner activist during the Buffy St. Marie set at Edge of the World, watching the Clan Together Born pole go up and watching our son scramble for parade candy. We thought we would be doing a lot more campfire cooking this year but believe it our not our rainforest-fringed island home is experiencing a level 3 drought. It’s green here with pretty major swatches of brown, so there are not a lot of campfires these days.

And now onto some sweet stories, recipes and fixations.

We found a sweet off-grid glamping getaway during a misty, fun weekend in Masset, BC. More about our stay at North Beach Cabins coming soon.

My new favourite Society 6 shop the AEState: think tropics, cacti & buffalo.

Story-listening: thanks to Jallian at Savoir There for her podcast recommendation for The Moth.

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Head to the Rockies: 10 Reasons to Love Stunning Jasper, Alberta

So many reasons to stop on the way to Jasper to bask in the scenery.
So many reasons to stop on the way to Jasper to bask in the scenery.

Sometimes you just need to go to the mountains. The Rockies specifically. You need to heed their call, fill your psyche with John Muir quotes, gulp clean air and enjoy weekend full of sweaty, outdoor, family fun. Jasper is this place.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

~ John Muir ~

A town of 4,000, Jasper is in the middle of Jasper National Park and hugged by the Rockies and bordered by train tracks. It’s the slightly more granola, woodsy version of Banff. A popular escape for Edmontoninans (like us!) and folks from Grande Prairie and Prince George, Jasper is a year-round outdoor adventure destination. While the shoulder seasons are a less busy, Jasper buzzes in the summer with tour buses, hikers and campers and swells on winter weekends with waves of downhill, cross country and snowshoeing crowds.

Recently, our little family escaped to Jasper for some cozy cabin time, a downhill adrenalin rush or two and a morning cross country ski workout that would’ve made any of my Cross Fit/P90x buddies proud. BUT besides all the magical, mountain-y stuff Jasper offers,  the mountain town also boasts a fantastic restaurant scene, cute, indie shops and a walk score of a million (okay, or 100).

I’ve been lucky enough escape to the Rockies and Jasper twice this year and write about it a couple of times (like here and here). This time I’m sharing more photographic evidence of Jasper’s awesomeness rather than my words. Herewith, my 10 reasons why Jasper is the stuff of John Muir quotes and Oprah-esque opportunities to connect with both yourself and your loved ones.

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Outdoor Eats: Tips for easy Camping + Cooking

Campfire cooking: a little prep goes a long way. Pictured: my recipe for paprika/onion potatoes. Don't you love my fire engine red Coleman enamel plates?
Campfire cooking: a little prep goes a long way. Pictured: my recipe for paprika/onion potatoes and essential mug of camp beer.

As these dog days of summer scorch on, I can’t stop planning daydreaming up more weekend camping trips.

So far, my little fam has escaped to the bush for two mini-camping-esque trips: a woodsy sleepover just outside of Edmonton and a quick glamping stay at the CUTEST cabins in Drumheller.  Now it’s time to graduate to a two night camping adventure: we’re headed to Lesser Slave Lake (one of Alberta’s biggest lakes) to camp with friends. We’re hoping to play on the beach, watch some meteor showers and eat delicious food with great friends making the trek from Northeast B.C. This weekend’s meals won’t be all hot dogs and s’mores. Instead, we’ll be cooking up some of our awesome backyard bounty and farmers market finds.

Earlier this summer, before all our fantasy camping trips were becoming reality, I contacted a chef and avid camper for some camp cooking pro tips. Canadian Tire camping Ambassador Chef Josh Wolfe** is a Vancouver-based camper and chef (of Good Wolfe Kitchen and Fresh Local Wild food truck fame), who loves to demonstrate his love of fishing, cooking and eating outdoors.   Read more

Motivation Monday ~ Sometimes the last minute is the best minute

Horse Thief Canyon near Drumheller, AB.
Hiking trails in Horse Thief Canyon near Drumheller, AB.

A lifelong friend who lives 22 hours away and two land masses away from you calls on a Thursday. She said she would be a mere three hour drive away on Saturday.  “Do you want to try to get together?”

Heck yes.

Because sometimes a last minute, 24-hour trips to a tiny, hoodoo-filled, dinosaur town is the best place to rendezvous with a lifelong pal and her family.

We all have to make long and medium term decisions all the time. They require planning, calendar marking, preparation. Adulting. Read more