Timeless Gifts

There are two tiers of gifts in my eyes, the first tier being gifts that will serve a purpose aside from decoration that are long lasting. The second tier are trinkets or short term gifts. Flowers, wine, food, cards and things of that nature just aren’t lasting gifts. The value of lasting gifts is more than just a good gift, but something that can be used often and enjoyed is a wonderful thing to both give and receive.

Blankets

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Homemade or purchased, a blanket is a long term hug. People grab blankets when they are cold, sad or need comfort. A blanket never loses its usefulness, as it can be used every day for many years. The receiver of a good blanket will think of you often, and be grateful to have such a wonderful thing. Making blankets can be quite time consuming and expensive, but if you have the skills and motivation, it will mean a lot to someone.

Tools

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A good knife, multitool or even a set of tow straps can not only be a great gift, but can get someone out of a bad situation. A good knife will open gifts, cut ropes, pick out splinters and so much more. A multitool can do most of the necessary maintenance inside your home. Tow straps and cables can get someone out of the ditch or get their car started.

Mittens / Scarves

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Very much like blankets, these are great useful gifts that help keep you warm and safe! No one will say no to a good pair of gloves or mittens as they are supremely useful and do need to be replaced every couple seasons.

French Press / Teapot

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Not everyone has these items, but make sure to check if they do before getting them one. French press coffee is simply divine and a good teapot will last a lifetime, not to mention it allows them to make delightful hot beverages!

Paintings / Photography

Painting – Eva Blakeman

A good piece of artwork can change a whole room! You can often find great, unique art pieces from local artists at reasonable prices, or paint something yourself! Blow up a good shot or get a framed landscape piece!

Books

It’s important to know what kind of books your gift receiver enjoys before picking one out, but a good story can be re-read until the binding gives out. There are some great books I would recommend for creatives here.

Camera

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This is a costly gift, but one that can bring a lot fo joy to the receiver. With the popularity of modern polaroid cameras (which cost much less than a DSLR) they make a great gift for those who like to keep visual reminders of happy time, scrapbookers, and the people who still keep photo albums.

Re-usable Coffee Mug / Water Bottle

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This gift is great for two reasons. The first being that they are environmentally friendly gifts, the second is that it can help reduce costs to your friend down the line. Not to mention how much it hurts to burn your hands on thin coffee cups!

Cute USB Stick

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I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need portable storage these days, and with the variety of interesting designs for USB sticks these days you can match their interests, TV shows or hobbies when picking out USBs!

Framed Photograph

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For a more personal gift, framing a photo of the two of you together or in the case they are married, a photo you have taken of the couple, is a very sweet gift. Facebook photos just aren’t the same as one on your desk, so I would strongly recommend this one.

I won’t say not to buy your lady flowers or bring a bottle of wine to a party, but for birthdays and holidays, these make great gifts! If you have more suggestions for great gifts, leave them in the comments!

Why A Date Is More Important Than A Gift

This Valentines Day Ryan and I re-created our first Valentines Day from many years ago and it was wonderful. We wandered around a mall together, established what kind of refrigerator we would like to own in the future and went to dinner at Moxies. We had such a lovely time laughing and talking together while eating spicy food and enjoying a few drinks. I valued this time with him much more than the flowers and chocolate he got me.

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Yes flowers are a nice gesture for your partner, but walking hand in hand feels more loving. Chocolate is delicious, but a sweet kiss lasts longer. It is always nice to receive a gift, but time is worth a lot more. Making sure you have time for your partner is much more important than giving gifts. Even just sitting on the couch together watching a show is time spent together, and that time is going to stay in your mind and heart.

Being able to be emotionally available to your partner, present in your conversations and engaged in your relationship is key to being happy together. Flowers will wilt and be thrown away, but memories last in a way a petal never can. Being intellectually engaged by your partner can help you grow and adapt your own mindset.

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What I am ultimately saying here is that time spent together is always worth more than a romantic gift.I am not saying you should never grab your partner a nice present, in fact little gifts can be the most considerate. I remember having a bad day where I was groggy and disinterested in everything around me and Ryan came home with my favourite coffee. It wasn’t a big gift, it wasn’t something intricate or romantic, but it was considerate and kind. It felt to me that he had picked up on my mood in our limited texting that day and knew that a little motion would help make me happy. I remember that little gift better than every time he’s brought me flowers or chocolate.

As well as I remember that coffee, I remember us cooking together better. I remember us going for afternoon walks and playing around with a football more than gifts. I can clearly see us dancing at a friends wedding and wandering through shops downtown. I truly believe time spent together is the best gift he can give me.

Things My Family Taught Me

To start this off, everyone I’ve shared my story with has informed me my family is a little different from the usual. Things I thought were normal turn out to be not so common, but I love that I got to learn them.

When I was fairly young, my mother, father and grandfather all taught me a variety of knife safety and skills. I believe that this was a good thing. I got to practice my knife skills while camping, whittling wood with an adult keeping a close eye on me. The phrase I still sing in my head is “cut your chum not your thumb” which just means, cut away from yourself.

How to jump off a quad. Before I was allowed to drive quads, I had to be able to do up my helmet properly, had to be wearing leather boots, good quality denim and a sturdy jacket. Once I got to drive the quad, my father ensured I knew how to jump off the quad in case of emergency. We practiced on a soft sand bar and he taught me how to push my body as far away as possible from the machine off to the side and roll. They all drove the message into me “we can replace a quad, we can’t replace you.” This meant, abandon the machine if you are going to crash.

How to make soup. My mother taught me how to make soup from scratch and for many, many years I would make my own soup every day. The basic vegetable soup I would make was chicken stock, celery, green onion, white onion, carrots and potatoes. That is a quick soup recipe, a lot of recipes can be made a head of time and frozen, and this is great for tomato based soups that are much easier to make in large batches. It’s much less expensive than buying cans and you ensure there is no sugar or salt in your soup. Yay healthy eating.

How to clean almost anything in my home with two ingredients. My mother taught me how to clean an entire house with just baking soda and vinegar. It keeps a home pet safe and baking soda can get just about anything off any surface. It’s a very inexpensive way to care for your home. One of the best uses of vinegar is to use it diluted as a rinse for your carpets!

How to sharpen a blade. Chainsaws, hunting knives and kitchen knives all have to be treated differently, but all can be done quickly at home. Just getting your chainsaw blades sharpened can cost 45.00$ when you could just do it at home. I believe a lot of my success in the kitchen comes from knowing how to maintain my knives. Having a simple sharpening rod in your kitchen, a good set of oil stones and a chainsaw sharpening rig will keep you in a better position.

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How to budget. My mother sat down with me many times over the years to help me understand taxes, compound interest, loans, lines of credit and how to manage my money. Without her I think I would have had a much harder time when I left the nest. I had a student loan just long enough for the freeze on interest to expire, then locked it in to a line of credit, to save myself from crazy amounts of interest and help build my credit score. She taught me the importance of keeping my credit card payed off, to always pay ahead of time, not to fall behind on my bills and to this day, the second money hits my account, I pay my bills and rent. Anything left over goes to daily living or savings and that has made sure I have always had my finances in order.

How to stand up to bullies. When I was a little kid I would come home with new bruises all the time. Because of this the staff in the school tried to keep a very close eye on me, and I often got a little extra attention because they were worried about me. They made sure the boy who was hurting me was in a different class and often spoke to my mother about the situation. The boy had some mental disabilities and even at a young age I knew it wasn’t fair to have him be punished constantly over this issue. He had a lot of issues at home and he was already seeing a counsellor daily. So my mother and my brothers taught me how to stand up to him, and teach him how his behaviour was affecting me. Once he understood what his actions were doing to me, he stopped and later we became friends. The ability to stand up against someone who is mistreating you is a skill everyone needs, and I am thankful to that boy, because I learned how to do it very early in life.

How to use computers. When I was three years old, I wanted to be like my brothers and do what they did. They were often on the computer so I would try to use it too and would cause issues with the programs they were using or mess up the homework they were doing. Instead of getting angry with me, my brothers taught me how to get onto the computer, get to barbie.com and how to use Microsoft Paint. Please remember this was in 1999, back when we used a house phone and the computer looked like two massive boxes, and when small children did not use computers. It didn’t take me long to learn how to get through the computer and I found Microsoft word. I loved typing, and considering how the world went, I think that early exposure to technology benefited me.

How to rebuild the soles of your boots. Instead of buying new work boots when your soles wear down (it happens very quickly with ironworker boots) or paying a cobbler to replace your soles you can bake a new sole onto the boot. Shoe goo can be used to rebuild your sole really early. During this time we also bake oils into the leather to make it last a lot longer. I think about how long my boots last I am happy to know these tricks. Work boots cost about 220.00$ CAN, so you can imagine why I don’t want to buy a new pair every six months.

How to express my emotions in a healthy way. All teenagers go through angst and sadness. It’s part of puberty, and unfortunately it can’t be avoided. Thankfully I had spent my entire life in the arts and had an outlet to help me cope with my emotions. My grandmother had ensured that I saw theatre shows often, that I could hear the orchestra play and she and my mother made sure I always had art supplies. My grandfather had a beautiful music room with excellent speakers and he taught me to see music flowing, not to just hear it. He taught me how the fluidity of the music made people react, and how the arts were emotion made into something beautiful. With all of this combined, I learned to equate emotions with art. When I was happy I would paint and draw, when I was sad I would write poetry and music, when I was anxious I would make videos for YouTube, when I was angry I would dance. To this day I still use the arts to help me deal with my emotions when they begin to boil over, and I am so grateful to have this coping mechanism in my life. I think it’s important to remember that we need to feel every emotion to have a full life, and every emotion has a valuable part in your life, but not to let them run your life for you.

Bullet Journal Ideas

Like many people, I adopted bullet journaling into my routine. I started a few years ago, but I found that if I tried to schedule myself to write in it and track daily I was unable to do it. Perhaps it’s a character flaw, but I don’t do well with self-imposed deadlines, so I started journaling when I wanted to, and I have found that to be a very efficient system for myself.

My Journals

I have two books I run, one is my personal journal, where things aren’t so organized, the other is my work and budgeting book, where I log hours worked on different agreements, notable work events and sites (I work construction, so I jump around a lot on different contracts, so it’s important to keep track of each one come tax time.)

For obvious reasons I am not going to share pages from my work section of my book, but I will share the budgeting side. I started with a very simple way of writing out my budget, and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t great. I didn’t give myself enough information or context to be able to easily go back through later and understand why amounts were what they were. I realize the amounts seem a little strange ( one day I’ll write down how I have managed to budget months out of a couple weeks work ).

Here ( above ) is the set up of how I am writing my budget these days. Yes it is a calendar, a simple structure that is easily filled in with amounts due and payable. At the end of every month I fill in the credit card debt, loan amounts, chequing, savings and RRSP as of the final day of the month for personal tracking.

Let’s move forward to the big lists of ideas!

Doodle Banners & Dividers
  • An Index Page – ( Add a legend to keep your symbols consistent )
  • Weight Loss / Gain Tracking
  • Recipes
  • Meal Prep Plan
  • Cocktail Recipes
  • Workout Schedule
  • Running Milestones – ( 1Km, 5Km, 10Km )
  • Body Measurement Tracking
  • Daily Food Log
  • Netflix Shows To Watch
  • Movies To Watch
  • Books To Read
  • Places To Travel
  • Daily Travel Log
  • Date Night Ideas
  • Restaurants To Try
  • Car Maintenance Log
  • Fuel Milage Tracking
  • Fuel Cost Tracking
  • List of Things That Bring You Joy
  • Where Do You Want To Be In 10 Years
  • Rainy Day Quotes
My Rainy Day Quotes
  • Things That Brought Your Joy This Month
  • Contacts Page
  • Birthdays Page
  • Christmas Wish Lists
  • Disney + Watch List
  • Cosmetic Inventory / Collection List
My Disney + Tracker Page
  • New Years Resolutions
  • Weekly Spreads
  • Monthly Spreads
  • Video Game Tracker
  • Mood Tracker
  • Blog Post Tracker
  • Youtube Views / Subscriber Tracking
  • Instagram Tracker
  • Christmas Gift Wishlist
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Monthly To-Do List
  • Your Pokedex (Pokemon Go List)
  • Gratitude List

I really love using my journals. I love tracking, scheduling and keeping myself accountable. On the other side, journalling brings me a sort of serenity and calmness that I need in my life. I would love to hear how you guys use your journals and what cool ideas you have brought to life in them! Please let me know in the comments down below.

  • Happy Quotes
  • Inspiration Quotes
  • Funny Things Your Husband Says
  • Funny Things Your Kids Say
  • Favourite Memories
  • Doodle Page
  • Pen Test Page
  • Addresses Page
  • Friend & Family Allergies
  • Important Phone Numbers
  • No Spend Days
  • Savings Tracking
  • RRSP Tracking
  • TFSA Tracking
  • Investment Tracking

I swear by keeping my journal near me at all times. I’ve found writing out my day or things I wanted to say helps me keep my cool at home and helps me deal with conflicts around the house more calmly and respectfully. It may seem like a little thing to write a little note in your journal, but it has far reaching effects in your life.

Please leave your awesome ideas for bullet journal pages in the comments down below! I really appreciate hearing back from you guys and I love feeling like a community here.

Great Cosmetic Gifts This Christmas

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning.

I’ve always looked at make up as “one size fits all”, and while for the most part that is true, there is a way to shop for others that makes it inclusive. For example, buying baby pink lipstick or neon blue eyeshadow for individuals who tend to stay to more neutral tones makes the gift less useful for the individual receiving it.

This list is filled with easy gifts, guaranteed to be used and enjoyed!

Going Coconuts Collection – Colour Pop

This beautiful collection is comprised of a 9 shadow pallet filled with neutral tones, three pressed shadows that glimmer and shine, two bronzers, four lip tints and a two piece lip care kit! These beautiful, neutral toned items are great for medium-dark to light skin tones! It comes in at $67.00 CAD and you can find it right here.

Love Lust Disco Shadow Palette – NYX

This ten colour palette boasts his high impact shimmer in its gold and bronze tones. There are two other palettes in this line as well. One is your rose palette, the other is an icy tone with shimmering blues and cold whites for that high glamour glow. Each palette is $25.00 and can be found here.

Spray Your Grace Baking Spray – Beauty Bakerie

This setting spray is paraben free and incredibly cute! It has ginger and aloe extracts to soothe the skin and it comes from a smaller, independent cosmetic company that not only creates beautiful cosmetics, but is very devoted to charity work and contribution. This spray comes in at $18.00 and can be found here.

Rose All Day Palette – Karity

This $25.00 palette has a lot to give, coming hard with a combination of fine shimmer, matt and sparkling powders. This could easily be a go to palette for just about anyone. The company boasts that their products are cruelty-free, long lasting, ultra pigmented and have minimal fallout! You can find this palette, right here.

Rose All Day Kit – Winky Lux

This lovely little kit comes packing with six high pigment shadows which come in four different finishes as well as a colour changing lip balm that changes to match your skins pH. Not to mention an adorable bag to go with them! This kit comes to $30.00 and can be found here.

12 Piece Elite Set – Firma Beauty

These brushes will blow you away. With firm handles, the softest bristles and great quality, anyone would happy to receive them. This twelve piece kit + the brush box comes in at $74.99 and can be found here. I have to say I own a few firma brushes and they are my favourites.

In The Nude Eyeshadow Palette – Makeup Geek

This nine shadow palette hosts matts, shimmers and foiled textures that compliment most skin tones. It comes from a cruelty-free company and is vegan. It comes in at $29.99 and can be found here.

Jolly Holiday Mini Velvetines Set – Lime Crime

These beautiful red toned liquid lipsticks come together to give beautiful coverage and bold colour. From more nude to bright red these will be suitable from the office to the dance floor to a wonderful date night. Coming in at $47.99, they can be found here.

Bright Lights, Big Hollywood Glamour Kit

This little kit packs big glamour with its deep shades of red, a lip pen, a wonderful mascara and a light grey and silver shimmer shadow that will pull a winter look into the spot light. It comes in at $57.00 and it is an online only pack. You can find it here.

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning. If you have any other products you want to share, please do in the comments.

How To Keep Clutter In Check

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I live in a two bedroom apartment with my loved one, and I am constantly trying to reduce clutter in my home. I am not one to keep items or trinkets, but my other half is a collector of nerdy items, clothing and media. When he moved in I panicked at how much stuff was in our small living area. Thankfully I have negotiated myself through the clutter and into a more open and clean home.

Reduce Unnecessary Items

The moment he moved in, I went through my belongings to make space for all of his stuff. Any clothing item I hadn’t worn in it’s appropriate season was either thrown out or donated, I went through my cosmetics ( I had an entire cabinet full) and reduced it into a one square foot space.

In order to do this, I took everything out of the closet and only put back items I wear and that fit. I removed everything from my very full bookshelves and put a lot of the infrequently read manuals and books into a box in the closet. In the bathroom I added boxes to organize under our small sink for stackable storage of our toiletries.

Make More Space

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In apartments you can’t do renovations, but you can get more book shelves and rubbermaid containers.

We bought three new bookcases when Ryan moved in, as well as desks that took up considerably less space than my previous desk. We shifted around a lot of books to create a balance that allowed us to show a lot of sculptures, pop funkos’ and his manga collection.

We organized the kitchen to have defined regions for different foods, tools and cook ware to maximize the little space we have. We also switched to keeping our baking supplies in stackable jars rather than trying to squish all the bags together in the small cabinet.

In our bedroom we upgraded to a larger dresser and started moving seasonal clothing into storage in it’s off season. Rubbermaid containers in the office closet hold all our shorts, my summer dresses, our summer footwear and sunny accessories.

Storing Up

I stand proud at 5’7″, which unfortunately is about a foot too short to reach the top shelf of any cabinet in our home. Thankfully Ryan is taller than me, so any items that he uses that I don’t are stored at heights I can’t reach. This also goes for items infrequently used. (When he’s not around I have to stand on chairs to get things, but that minor inconvenience is much better than constantly having things coming crashing down on me.)

Purchasing or building bookcases and cabinets that reach to the ceiling instead of to the 7 foot mark really do increase your storage space without losing any aesthetic in your home.

Condensing

It’s interesting how much more room you have in your dresser when you roll your pants instead of folding them and you own stackable pot sets instead of a mismatched set.

Rolling up clothing items takes less space than a simple fold. Double stacking books on bookcases. Stacking your Tupperware, pots, plates, bowls all saves space.

Using wire hangers instead of large wooden ones increases space in your closet. Use your luggage to store out of season items. Vacuum seal extra blankets. Make your space more efficient!

Reduce Purchases

Do you really need another candle? Is it necessary to have a new toque to shove in your closet? Reduce what you buy to what you need and you will find clutter won’t collect in your home. As tempting as it can be to buy cute decorations for each season, it simply builds up a collection of stuff that has little to no value in your life.

Well that’s all for this list. Please leave any tips you have about keeping your home clean and tidy down below!

Why You Should Play Video Games With Your SO

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Growing up, my brothers played a variety of games. I remember watching them conquer Shadow of the Colossus, the Spyro trilogy, JACK, Ratchet and Clank as well as countless Final Fantasy games. I enjoyed sitting as quietly as I could watching characters and worlds move wildly before me. As I grew older, I got to play some of the easier games. Mostly Need For Speed Underground, as I could win “money” for my brother, which allowed him to upgrade his vehicles.

Through my teen years my video game life consisted of Roller Coaster Tycoon, Wii Fitness and World of Goo. As you can tell at this point, I was not an avid gamer, and I didn’t have a lot of experience.

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As an adult I purchased a PS4, so that I could play Rocket League, GTA 5 and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. To one ones surprise, I am not very good at any of those games, but I do enjoy playing them nonetheless.

What I didn’t expect was that my boyfriend and I have spent countless hours playing games together. Not all of them difficult or requiring skill, in fact we often play Mario Party together, as you can play as a team and it’s nice to win and lose together. We play CTR together, and we celebrate each others achievements and progress.

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Gaming together has given us another thing in common, and an inexpensive activity to enjoy together.

We get to cheer for each other and bring up each others spirits when someone loses and that is a wonderful feeling to behold. We have discovered over the last year or so that there are two games I am actually better at than my partner is, they are Mario Party and Slay The Spire. It is no coincidence that those two games are the ones I’ve put the most hours into.

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No matter who’s winning or losing, or even if I’m merely watching my partner play, we are spending down time together, and in a life with hectic schedules, many social appointments and highly erratic shifts at work, I cherish those hours we spend with controllers in our hands and smiles dancing on our faces.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Camping

Camping is one of the greatest things. Relaxing in nature is the best but there are things to keep in mind to keep you and your family safe …

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Camping season is possibly the greatest time of the year, but unfortunately it is plagued with critters, rain, wounds, infections and bears. Thankfully all of these things can be dealt with whether you go camping in provincial camp sites or out in the woods.

Dealing With Bugs

I live in Alberta, Canada where mosquitos, ticks, brown recluse spiders and a plethora of other pests live. Mosquitos are actually the most difficult to deal with out of all of them, but a steady smokey fire, deep woods bug spray, long sleeve loose shirts and denim can reduce your bug bites to nearly zero from those pesky buggers. Ticks in my province now carry lime disease so ensuring they don’t settle into your skin is essential. To reduce exposure to ticks, walk in the centre of paths, avoid brushing up on foliage, wear loose long sleeve shirts, full length pants and shoes and socks that cover the gap between your pants and feet. Before settling in for the night, do a tick check! Their bites are not always noticeable as they do numb the area they bite so double check and remove them before sleeping. It is also essential that you check your dogs paws, coat and mouth throughout the day as they easily get between the pads of their feet and into their coats. Brown recluse spiders are not usually an issue, as they do not like to be around people or loud noises. Should you run into one of them, leave it alone and walk away. (We were lifting up our boat to pack it onto the back of the truck and found a nest of them that had settled in the boat overnight, we wound up flipping the boat into the sand and leaving it for a while before checking it again and actually loading it.) It may be annoying to walk away from what you are doing, but their bites are nothing to laugh about. Both my mother and I now have permanent holes in our limbs due to their nasty little venom. Seek medical help immediately if you are bitten, as people react differently and the time lines change with each individual. Bears are a well known hazard up north, but not one many people are actually trained to deal with. I’ve had to take two separate courses on bears, and I have personally had a few run ins with them. The best course of action with bears in PROACTIVE ACTION. Carry bear bells, talk loudly, air seal food, don’t leave scraps out, burn all food packaging or store it in bear proof garbage cans. Play music, have fires, use the buddy system and never approach a bear. Black bears are generally curious of humans and frighten easily, unfortunately they tend to attack when scared so avoid sneaking up on black bears. Grizzlies are much harder to type cast in their behaviour, the best advice I can lend is to take every precaution not to come into contact with one, and if one is spotted, leave the area.

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Keeping Food Cold

We all know that an ice chest is only efficient while closed and out of direct sunlight. To keep your food cold, freeze any item you can before packing it (freeze all your meats), fill any empty space with ice or ice packs, store it in a dark area and open it as little as possible. If you are bringing foods and beverages that should both be cold, keep them in separate containers and opt to fill the beverage container with more ice as it will be opened more often. If you can cool the ice chests in the fridge over night before leaving, do it!

Camping First Aid Kit

When going into the bush, hours away from medical care or even to organized camp sites in the country, first aid is essential. You should have a full first aid kit, which you can purchase at Cabelas, Walmart and most outdoor stores. Added to that, have a bag with After Bite, Polysporin, a sharp blade, burn cream, sterile water (multiple bottles), a lighter, matches, a needle, medical grade suturing thread, anti inflammatories and (if applicable) an epi pen. Yes I realize that list is an investment, as all together it isn’t inexpensive, but it is the basic supplies to perform first aid. A first aid book would also be advisable.

Fireworks

We all love fireworks, and camping is a great opportunity to enjoy them, but taking a moment to plan out to ensure you do start a forest fire is important. The best place to use them is over a river or lake, as the shore where they are being lit is already a moist environment where the bodies of the fireworks won’t cause issues, and any misfires from the body that may not reach where it’s supposed to will harmlessly fall towards the water. If a body of water is not a possibility. Please ensure you are not shooting towards dry forests and that the local fire hazard signage is reading low possibility of forest fires.

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Fires

I’ve taken a lot of pride in my ability to start fires without accelerants, because my family tends to quick start fires with diesel and I wanted to do it the old fashion way, and to this day I continue to build fires the low tech way. The advisory here, is should you chose to use an accelerant, please chose a slow burn and not an explosive like gasoline. Diesel fuel and two stroke oil and citronella oil are all good slow burns fire starters. I give this advice as I have watched a few men blow off their eyebrows starting fires with gas.

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I love camping, it’s been an essential part of every summer of my life and I appreciate the years of patience my family had teaching me how to get by in the woods. Let me know your favourite camping spot in the comments!

Kiss The Scaly Ankle

We have come to the misconception that romantic relationships are picture perfect moments stringed together with gold and silver. This just isn’t realistic. Relationships are messy, difficult and emotionally draining at times. Men are not perfectly coifed with bulging muscles, huge bank accounts and varied interests that are tailored to impressing women. Women are not naturally hairless, their nails take work and high heels are painful to wear. Everyone is just another person who eats, sleeps, burps and wakes up with morning breath.

Once we move past these illusions we can really see the value of individuals. A crooked tooth can be endearing, freckles are cute, scars tell stories and everyone has stretch marks. These things seem to be forgotten as we try to fit into smaller sizes, cover our blemishes, seek out cosmetic surgeries and do our best to become the ideal cover model. We are perpetually being told to be thinner, have whiter teeth, shinny hair and perfectly manicured fingers. We don’t promote the image of a normal human who’s living a normal life, we promote lavish lifestyles and in order to fit that bill your life has to be centred around appearance and wealth.

This lifestyle that is constantly portrayed often comes with the “perfect partner”. An individual of equal wealth and beauty, manicured and styled to perfection. This isn’t a healthy way to portray and seek out relationships. Finding the right partner doesn’t centre around appearance and wealth. Though attraction and financial stability do have a level of importance, those criteria are determined by the individual and not the marketing industries.

The saying “there’s a lot of fish in the sea” does not account for the fact that a lot of those fish just don’t fit your life. Finding a compatible partner can be difficult and it can be tempting to try to adapt or change to better fit them in your life. This is necessary to some extent but must be kept in moderation. No matter how much face cream, waxing and coffee scrub, you will still wrinkle, have body hair and cellulite. In the end, you and your partner need to be comfortable and happy with your own bodies and accepting and loving of each others.

It’s incredibly important to be accepting of your partner and their body. Over time we age, we wrinkle, we get rashes, scars start adding up and our bodies get beaten up. Though these things may make us self conscious or seeing these changes in your partner may be some what unpleasant, you have chosen each other to spend your life with. No one stays young and beautiful forever, and the relationship and respect you have for each other is ultimately more important than appearance. Try not to make your partner uncomfortable or self conscious of the changes in their body, learn to love those changes or at the very least, don’t criticize them.

Let me give you an example. I have a dry and scaly ankle from sitting on it for the past five or so years. It’s embarrassed me and for years I’ve tried to exfoliate and moisturize it to make it go away. No matter what I do the ankle remains as dry and scaly as ever. My partner, Ryan, goes out of his way to kiss that scaly ankle, because he knows I’m not fond of it and that his actions make me feel less self conscious about it. In turn, Ryan has a perpetual ingrown toe nail. which we trim to keep manageable. Never once have I complained about his toe. I just help him keep it from returning to an ingrown state. It’s not about the issue with the nail, it’s about my partner being comfortable and healthy. That toe nail is something he appreciates having help with, the same way I appreciate a kiss on my ankle.

The point I’m making here, is that we as people are riddled with “imperfections”, and though we may not be in love with every nook and cranny of our or our partners bodies, they are the bodies we have. Love your body, respect your partner, and remember not to sit on your ankle, it really dries it out!

If you gave any stories you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below.

Great Dates In Edmonton

Just about a year ago, Ryan (my man) and I created the Date List. All the dates we wanted to go on the we could reference when we are trying to plan our dates. I thought I could share some of them on here with you guys.

The Muttart Conservatory

We’ve gone quite a few times to the conservatory to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of the exhibits. It’s always been a nice way to spend a chilly day without freezing our butts off. We often bring a camera with us and get some nice profile shots of each other while we wander through the plants. Going into the Muttart is a date well under $50.00 but the cafe attached is a rather pricy place to grab a bite to eat.

West Edmonton Mall Water Park

This is another date we’ve actually gone on. It was fun to be silly and act a little younger together. Though I have to say I was a little uncomfortable being in a bathing suit with so many people around, as I was a little heavier at the time. The looping slide was absolutely terrifying, there was no count down and I lost half my bathing suit by the time I reached to end of the slide. Otherwise it was a really fun day together and certainly a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Rocky Horror Picture Show Live

I have heard tales of the audience participation screenings of Rocky Horror, and in Edmonton we do have a theatre that promotes exactly that. We have yet to be able to go, but friends who have gone have told me it’s a hoot and a holler to go. Don’t wear your nicest clothes though, apparently it gets pretty messy in there by the end.

Bowling

Surprisingly something we have yet to go out and do. I would say this is probably better for a double date or group event but bowling is always a great time. Bronx is always fun but Gateway has some massive lanes to enjoy. I can’t wait to go out on this date.

The Rec Room

I have been to the Rec Room, its a little pricy compared to most dates on this list, but it is a lot of fun if you like arcade games. I have to say most of the games are just larger versions or spinoffs of cellphone games but they are still fun. The Photo Booth there is a lot of fun to play in as well. We haven’t gone on a date there yet, I went with a friend of mine. When we go on a date I hope to try the food, I hear it’s pretty tasty.

Hardware Grill

The Hardware Grill is on the East end of Jasper Avenue and it’s one of the nicest restaurants in Edmonton. We’ve been waiting to go there for a special occasion as it is not an inexpensive dining experience. From all the reviews I’ve read it may well be the best dining experience in the city from ambiance, quality of food, service and expertise. I can’t wait to try it for myself!

Archery Tag

We kept seeing ads for Archery Tag and it looks like a ton of fun. Again I think this would be better for a group activity or double date. Who doesn’t want to shoot their loved one with arrows?

Galaxy Land

We had a lot of fun at Galaxy Land. I’ve been many times in my life, but on our date there I went on the Mindbender for my first time. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There have been new rides installed in the last couple of years that give a new experience to the beloved Edmonton Amusement Park. It is not an inexpensive date either I am afraid. In our case we bought the 2 Day passes for ourselves and spent a weekend at West Edmonton Mall enjoying all of the attractions included. It was around $200.00 for the two days for both of us but we got to go to the water park, Galaxy Land, Glow In The Dark Mini Golf, The WEM Golf Course, The Caves and the Santa Maria.

Airport Outlet Mall

We were curious about just how great the deals here would be. I wasn’t overly impressed, there didn’t seem to much discount at all on most women clothing there, though for mens wear there was more discounts. It was cool to see it all and fun to go out on a shopping date together.

There are more to come, so keep an eye out for the next post! Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places in the comments!