TRAVEL // Newberg, Oregon

I recently had the pleasure (and luxury) to get away for 3 days with my BFF and Matron of Honour, Tara to a little region just outside of Portland, Oregon. What a little piece of heaven this quaint town was. The Willamette Valley is KNOWN for their Pinot Noir but little did we know that it is also the home to one of the most luxurious, beautiful Inn and Spas I've ever been to.

My BFF arranged the whole trip and I couldn't' be more grateful for the time and effort she took to plan this trip, as we both have crazy busy lives in different cities. But I'm also appreciative for her thoughtfulness. Her and I both knew it had been AGES since just the two of us went away for a girls trip. SEVEN YEARS to be exact! Her daughter is almost 6 and I now have a little 16 month old, so travelling, let alone even getting away, doesn't happen as often as we'd like it to.

CONTRIBUTED // you know you're a parent when...

The other day I had an alarm set on my phone to remind me to order concert tickets. I needed to order them the moment they went on sale because they would likely sell out fast. (And sure enough, they sold out in thirty minutes.) I had numerous browsers open, refreshing the pages multiple times until I was finally able to order four seats together that weren’t in the nosebleeds.

I used to do this for concerts like AC/DC and The Rolling Stones, and sporting events like the World Series. But not this time. Oh no. This time, it was for…The Wiggles. And not even all of The Wiggles. Just Emma and Lachy, who happen to be married. (But more on that later).

Ordering these tickets was just another moment in which I became PAINFULLY aware that I am now a parent. Don’t get me wrong, I love parenthood. But every so often something will happen that makes me realize just how much my life has drastically changed from the way it used to be.

CONTRIBUTED // the importance of living like a leader

I recently saw this quote….”When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling that they are important.  When I talk to a leader, I get the feeling that I am important.”  I have no idea who wrote this but I love it!  Having worked with a true leader, I understand just how powerful and true this statement is and what a positive impact behaving as a leader and empowering the people around him has had. 

CONTRIBUTED // manhattan beach, ca

When most people visit Los Angeles, they’re looking for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the swanky shops on Rodeo Drive and the beaches of Venice or Santa Monica. But if you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, you’ll want to visit Manhattan Beach.

Manhattan Beach is home to many athletes and even a few celebrities, although there is a good chance you wouldn’t even recognize them as they tend to blend in with the carefree locals. The quintessential California beach town, it’s common to see people walking down the street barefoot with their surfboard in hand.

a curious mind

It's no secret that a kids curiosity is at its peak when they are little toddlers. Every day, they are faced with new challenges, new objects, new people, new abilities & developments and the list goes on and on. I wish I could remember what it was like to be my son's age. The memories I could share!

But now as a parent, it's been so fascinating to watch our own child grow up. I see how Grayson observes the world and his surroundings, how he starts to copy us and how he finds the biggest curiosities in the most mundane, simple things we often just take for granted as adults. Grayson is thriving and every day it's something different for him. Any parent will say, it's like waking up to a new human because they change so much day-to-day. 

FOOD // chicken and rice, street cart style

There are two ethnicities of food Nate loves: Indian and anything Mediterranean. 

When he was single and working ridiculously long hours in the oil patch, he ordered take out shawarma three times a night from a local restaurant here in Grande Prairie. And if you mention falafel to him, he will start drooling at the mouth. This guy has such a soft spot for ethnic food.

I've made my homemade butter chicken (which I adore....or used to) at least a dozen times in the 2 years since moving here. Needless to say, I'm on strike from making that now as I've lost my appetite for it due to the copious amounts of time Nate has asked me to make it. Nate is not thrilled about this (heaven forbid he makes his OWN!) so for now, I'm happy taking this pregnant pause.

podcast obsessed // what i'm listening to

"I feel like everyone's podcasting and nobody's podlistening" was the quip accompanying a cartoon recently in The New Yorker. You can read that full article here, but there are definitely some valid points made.

As a recent podcast convert and newly obsessed listener, I understand why this article was written. It seems like everyone in their dog is podcasting (and to be honest, I've considered doing it myself). Even reality show stars are podcasting AND TV shows now have a podcast edition for each episode they air. Between streaming services and podcasting, its one more reason why TV (and prime time tv shows) is on their merry way out the door (ok, except This is Us and Life in Pieces for which I am LOYAL to!)

CONTRIBUTED // not your same old wall art

While social media often results in us spending an abundance of time looking at ridiculous things that have no real bearing on our lives (i.e. April The Giraffe), we can also discover some pretty wonderful things that can enhance our lives and, in this case, our walls.  The following are three incredible artists I was lucky to stumble upon on social media:

CONTRIBUTED // why you should be meditating

It's the start of a new year, a clean slate for self-improvement and the perfect time to finally start doing all the things we swore we would do last year (and likely the year before that too). Most new year's resolutions include becoming healthier, but we tend to focus on food and exercise while neglecting something very important – the health of our mind.

If you haven't meditated before, you're probably a little skeptical. You might think it's just for tree-hugging, kale-loving, free spirits. But would you think the same thing about someone who exercises by going for walks? No, you wouldn't. Meditation should be as common and as natural as going for a walk. And just like walking, meditation helps to clear your mind and it offers a plethora of benefits for your wellbeing.

my best purchases of 2017

Every year I look back at some of the products I've purchased. Some were impulse purchases, others were much-needed purchases and some were just a waste of my money.

Haven't we all been there?

This past year, I have been super conservative with how I've spent my money, but I've also indulged in some items I never thought I would have. Conservative mostly because I was not working and was home with our new son for the better half of the year, but we've also been forking out money for our wedding which is happening in April 2018 and we're finishing our basement.

BUT, there have been a few purchases which I have made that have changed my life! Some for vanity, some for function and others for down right NEED.

Here's the round up!

CONTRIBUTED // how my family of SIX can afford to travel around the world

I always get asked this question: how can you afford to travel with the entire family as often as you do?

The answer: we make traveling together a priority.

Traveling together is more important to us than driving a new car every few years or living in a big house. Those are two of the biggest sacrifices that we've made in order to be able to take our kids with us when we see the world. But, there are lots of little things we do day-to-day that also allow us to save our pennies. It's not magic and there is no perfect solution for all but for us, it's choosing our 'rather factors' over more frivolous items that can add up.

lessons i've learned in my first year of motherhood

It really is true that you can learn so many lessons from an infant. No matter how old you are.

We recently celebrated our son's 1st birthday. Yeah, we made it a year and he's still alive and well!

We survived the sleepless nights.

We survived (and attempted) breastfeeding. Ouch.

We kept him alive and healthy.

We nurtured him, loved him and made him the centre of our universe.

The things you do for your child but I wouldn't have it any other way. He came into our world exactly 367 days ago via c-section and life has never been the same since.

Even at 40 and 39 years old respectively, we have learned more from this little peanut than my 17+ years in business. Having a child is no joke (obvious statement, I know but I feel like I have to say this) because you not only have to be prepared physically, financially and in a solid relationship, but mentally. This was my toughest challenge. The mental exhaustion and challenges Grayson put me through each and every day, was a test and a testament that patience really is a virtue.

in good company // issue no. 14 // john ounpuu

Who: John Ounpuu, Co-founder of Modern Craft
What: strategic savant, creative by default, marketing zealot, thinker, doer, dreamer
Where: Vancouver, BC
Follow: @obviousness

Most professionals who work in an agency exude this electric, how ya doin, have-you-seen-my-work type of personality. Their all about the awards, the showcase, the thrill of poaching and winning clients. I should know, because I've been there. Twice. 

John however, is a little more subtle than that. He's the strong silent type, and no that isn't an insult. It's probably one of the best qualities he has, aside from his talent. That talent is strategy and he has the chops to prove it. His resume is remarkable but his work is even more impressive, because I am lucky to have been on the receiving end as both a colleague at Blast Radius and as a potential client when I was with Browns Restaurant Group. This guy knows his shit, but he's as humble as humble pie.