It’s about time to start writing my wedding thank-you cards, so I’m warming up by practicing my watercolouring. Jerry the cat proves to be good inspiration.
It’s about time to start writing my wedding thank-you cards, so I’m warming up by practicing my watercolouring. Jerry the cat proves to be good inspiration.
It’s with a bit of relief that I step into January. December was an incredible month, but it was also a little bit of insanity.
It’s nice to breathe again.
My wedding was incredible. Despite some mishaps with the catering, everything went smoothly.
The hall that we used as our venue is by no means fully renovated, but we managed to get the last few essentials done the night before the wedding (phew!). It looked incredible and everyone finally understood why we were working so hard to make this venue work.
Most importantly, everyone enjoyed it, and it was the perfect celebration with the very closest of family and friends.
Then once that was over, it was time for Christmas. More roaring fires, family, friends, and delicious food.
December rather felt like one long celebration.
Of course I think I have some residual stress that I haven’t quite gotten rid of. I’m still having a bit of a hard time fully relaxing. So much of my time and energy went into planning the wedding and making sure it went smoothly (I can see why some people opt to just hire wedding planners) that it’s kind of hard to believe it’s actually over. It’s done. I’m married, and life can finally move forward again.
And now it’s 2017. January. And I come freshly armed with a new camera and a fresh excitement for the new year.
January will be a recovery month, but also a month to start getting back into the groove of real life and my goals.
I hope you Christmas and New Years were wonderful, whether eventful or relaxing.
Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately, what with the wedding coming up and all.
Most weekends have been spent away from home, helping with venue renovations. The rest of the time has been spent either working or doing something wedding-related.
It’s a small wedding, but wow do these take a lot of time and effort.
It will all be worth it, of course, and as it gets closer, I keep getting more and more excited about it.
And I have to admit that I love spending time at the venue. The farm is gorgeous and the people are wonderful. It’s busy and tiring, but I always leave feeling refreshed.
The other weekend I had the task of shining up a bunch of antique window locks. They were incredibly rusted, so I scrubbed and oiled and baked and they turned out gorgeously.
Little by little the venue is coming together. I feel like there’s something special about a place that both my fiancé and I have worked on together. A place filled with the hard work, dedication, and love of so many people.
We’re almost there, and I couldn’t be more excited.
In the whole of October we had three days of sunshine. Quite dreary. Constant cloudy weather can be rather depressing. November hasn’t been much better.
Still, I wanted to add a bit of brightness to my mood. I miss summer dresses once the season is over, so I figured I’d try and transition a bit more slowly from summer to fall.
Summer dresses are light, but fall means layering. Adding tights, a leather jacket, and boots to a dress makes it warm enough for fall.
I chose a dress that has muted colours. Softer, and easier to match.
The bag that I’m wearing is 100% Canadian. Lowell is a company based in Montreal, and all of their products are locally made. The leather is incredibly soft, yet durable. The designs are classic and functional. I’m absolutely in love with this bag.
If you’re looking for a bag that will last you years, I highly recommend this brand. It’s a bit of an investment, but well worth it. There will definitely be more on this bag in the future!
I hope you’ve been enjoying your fall! Winter is just around the corner…
Our last day in Zurich, we decided to actually go hiking this time. We went on a short hike up a local mountain, and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and the far mountains. It really is beautiful.
We also met up with a friend I’ve known since elementary school who happened to have moved to Switzerland recently. It was really nice to catch up, since I hadn’t seen her since I graduated high school.
We took our time hiking, since my sister had previously managed to pull a muscle, but it was nice not to be in a rush. It was a popular trail, and the locals also used it for jogging. Definitely felt a lot like home.
Afterwards we decided to go into the city to do a little bit of shopping. And of course, since we were in Switzerland, we had to go get some Swiss army knives! And kitchen knives. Because it was about time we upgraded from cheap Costco knives to proper knives that cut rather than squish tomatoes (no more sad salads).
The store was quite big, and had very impressive displays. I decided to get a cute little Swiss army knife to put on my keychain, and Ryan decided to get the actual Swiss army knife. A little bit of his and hers, I suppose.
We also got some delicious Sprungli chocolate. The white chocolate was my favourite. It wasn’t overly sweet, as most white chocolate is. And it had a hint of a grassy taste from the type of cows they use. I should have bought more than one bar. It’s not cheap, but well worth it.
Then we had to say goodbye to my friend as she headed home and we wandered back to my sister’s apartment to get ready for dinner. We went to her friend’s place for a barbecue dinner which consisted of lots of meat, bread, and delicious homemade garlic butter. Also two salads and tons of ice cream. (We tried to make oreo milkshakes but ended up with a kind of soft serve. Wasn’t complaining.)
It was a wonderful day to be out and about, and a great way to end the trip. A week was way too short, but I’m glad that we went. Seeing family is always worth it.
Now that I’m home, I definitely miss Europe, and I miss the family I have there. But it’s also nice to be back in my own place, still surrounded by family and loved ones. It’s quite incredible, to be able to have important people in so many different places. There are so many trips to be had. So many places to see, and never enough time.
Until next time, Europe.
On our second day in Zurich we had big plans to go hiking, but instead we ended up lazing around the apartment all day and relaxing. It was nice to have a day where we did not need to do much at all.
In the evening we decided to go out for a delicious pizza dinner. According to my sister, you have to reserve ahead of time, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to get a table.
It’s also a lot more expensive to eat out in Zurich than it is in Vancouver. If you’re planning on visiting Switzerland, make sure you have a decent amount to spend on lodging, transportation, and food!
It was delicious pizza – some of the best I’ve had. Well worth the money.
It was also warm and sunny, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the weather.
Afterwards we decided to walk to the lake with some ice cream. Zurich, apparently, has the worst ice cream in Switzerland. Still tasted pretty good to me, though.
It was really nice to see public chairs available for people to relax with friends or on their own in the big plaza. There was a beautiful view of the sunset and lots of space for everyone.
The sky in Zurich was filled with jet streams from planes. It created some beautiful artwork in the sky.
We listened to a very talented violinist who was busking nearby, and then slowly meandered home. A wonderful and relaxing day to recuperate from the busy days we’d been having.
Photos, and even words, cannot do justice to the beauty and power of nature. But I’ll try anyway.
We arrived in Zurich Thursday morning and dropped our luggage off at my sister’s apartment. We also took a bit of time to rest and recharge. Taco salad was on the menu, and home-cooked food while traveling is always extremely welcome. I am blessed with sensitive digestion, so the simpler the food the better.
It was a hot day in the sun. Both Germany and Switzerland seemed to be warmer than Vancouver. I wasn’t going to complain, though. Much prefer it to a rainy vacation.
After eating and resting for a while, we decided to go to the Rheinfall. These are incredible waterfalls right next to a castle on the hill. It was about an hour train ride from the city, so we got to see gorgeous countryside go by along the way. (Also wasn’t complaining about the air conditioned coolness in the train.)
We decided not to go to the castle, since there was a tour group of schoolkids, and it looked incredibly busy. We were all a little bit tired, and did not feel like dealing with large groups of people.
Luckily, since it was a weekday, the waterfalls were not half as busy as they would have been on the weekend. We took a boat across the river to get a view from all sides.
It had been raining a lot, so the waterfall was rushing and strong, roaring at full strength. The sound could drown out all else, and the sight could hold me, mesmerized, all day.
Once we had taken in our fill, we considered walking to a nearby town for delicious ice cream (apparently the ice cream in Zurich is mostly sub-par, according to my sister), but it was so hot, and already getting on in the day, that we decided to forego the 50 minute walk and to go home and go for dinner at Tibits, a healthy salad buffet. It ended up being delicious, and I highly recommend it. We also got Ovaltine ice cream bars, which brought back my nostalgia in full swing, since Ovaltine was a very common dessert drink when I was young.
And after such a long day it was nice to get back to my sister’s apartment and just relax. Though it was not as private as a hotel room would have been, it felt much more like home.
My grandmother lives in a small town call Bergedorf. It’s just outside of Hamburg, so it’s easy to travel to and from the city centre.
I have been there many times, so I have my familiar places, restaurants, and shops that I regularly like to visit.
My grandmother, of course, always likes to take us for steak. She was horrified when I contemplated getting a burger. (We are at a steakhouse! You must get a steak!) And one does not simply refuse her. She is very stubborn. In the end I did not regret getting steak.
Sitting outside in the pedestrian-only area of Bergedorf is always a treat. The buildings are gorgeous, and it is full of the murmurings of people.
There is a level of detail in the architecture that we do not get here in Vancouver. The intricate railings, the carved decor, the tower-like roof points.
It’s very suburban in Bergedorf, but it’s comfortable. There are many open plazas where people sit and drink coffee and eat ice cream (eis). On Tuesday we sat with my cousin well into the evening, eating eis and drinking Hugo – a wine cocktail that she insisted we try (she could not fathom how we had never heard of it before).
You don’t see too many people rushing around with coffee in their hands. Here they sit and take their time sipping. There was a Starbucks in Bergedorf at one point, but after the initial hype fell away, so too did its popularity. Compared to the incredible bakeries and cafes, it fell short.
There are so many bakeries and cafes, in fact, that I sometimes wonder how they all stay in business. On every block there are multiple bakeries. Every train station has at least one. And they’re always bustling.
And during the summer everyone eats a lot of ice cream. Like, a lot. Which is fair, considering it’s delicious.
Bergedorf also has its own little castle. Everyone is, of course, very proud of it. First used in the 1500s, it remains today, now a museum and cafe.
Small as it is, this city will always have a special place in my heart. Spending weeks here during the summer was a huge part of my childhood. And I think this town will always remain important to me.
One of the nice things about having family that lives far away is that it provides excellent reasons to travel.
It’s always such a treat to be able to visit my family in Germany. It’s tough not being able to see them very often, but it’s always so special when I do.
And while I don’t tend to visit very many tourist attractions, I get to live and soak in the culture. I get to establish memories and remember where I used to love buying chocolates, or go walking with my grandmother, or where I went for a boat ride when I was younger. A world away from home, but in a way, still home. A part of my history that has made me who I am today.
While I have been to Germany a fair number of times, and while often my travels take me to the same places to see family, this trip I am also visiting Switzerland for the first time!
It’s about time I visited my sister, who has been studying here. It’s a short trip, but a fantastic one, and one that will, for sure, inspire more posts!
I love bold patterns. I often opt for solid colours out of safety, but once in a while there’s something too incredible for me to pass over.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s clothing or decor. Sometimes something more is needed to create a stronger contrast, and a more daring image.
Too much, of course, is overpowering and overly busy. The eye cannot settle and everything clashes.
I love a balance. Which is, ultimately, a philosophy I try and follow in most aspects of my life.
The perfect touch in the bedroom. A bright splash of colour that’s not too distracting.
How do you incorporate patterns into your every day life?
And sometimes I think that I can understand, just a little, the longing sailors feel when separated from the ocean.
I grew up next to the sea.
I know the sound of waves, of gulls, of water slapping the side of boats.
I grew up watching the sea.
To be inland, I feel a sense of loss. As if a vital part of me is missing. That sense of endlessness has disappeared.
Welcoming the summer with open arms. The seasonal changes in my city are not dramatic. Ever the odd child, Vancouver has mild winters compared to the rest of Canada, and our summers are much cooler.
But still I get to enjoy the changing seasons. I get to see new life in spring, the warmth of summer, the colours of fall, and the coziness of winter.
And right now I eagerly step into summer. One that I hope will be filled with days at the beach, in the forests, and out in the sun.
What do you love most about summer?
There’s an old train track that spans much of my neighbourhood. It’s in the middle of being taken apart, which is good because it means much-needed infrastructure is going to replace it.
On the other hand, there was something nice about the old, overgrown tracks. Walking along the wild, untamed plants and exposed metal. They will be missed.
Staying home sick means time to browse through photos. In this case, some photos of me and my fiancé, taken by the incredibly talented Kelly at Lensandlash.com. Her photography is amazing and her posts are inspiring and if you have the time, you should take a peek at her blog!
So recently she took some photos of me and Ryan, and they turned out beautifully. In a very West Coast fashion, we went to the beach. It was cloudy, but it didn’t matter. The sand, the driftwood logs, the mountains in the background… all of it added up to a huge reason we love where we live.
There was something perfect about the day. A quintessentially Vancouver spring day with overcast skies and a cool breeze. It was cozy and familiar.
It also meant I didn’t have to squint with the sun shining in my eyes.
All in all we had a blast. And can’t thank Kelly enough for all of the photos.
Sometimes it’s in the every day things.
The grand entrance to the apartment building. Ornate carvings, handsome doors, and glowing light.