tod mountain ranch

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August 2014 was a busy month for me, perhaps even busier than August 2013 which was the final month before my wedding. This August was full of other wedding related activities such as bachelorette parties, bridal shower and dress fittings for two of my best friends. It’s been a blast to say the least.

The most recent bachelorette party of the two took place at Tod Mountain Ranch near Sun Peaks in BC’s interior.  This dude ranch, which we came to learn was used often in the past to describe a guest ranch (as they are called now), that primarily catered to urbanites or ‘city slickers’, was a setting for what was a great bachelorette getaway. The ranch is situated in the Louis Creek Valley whose surrounding mountains provided incredibly scenic views. The cozy cabins feature hade-made wooden furniture and offer luxuries such as a mini fridge and super soft housecoats.  The main lodge includes a giant square table where guests can sit down with the hosts who provide full (and delicious) meals 3 times a day, a pool table, TV and DVD’s, games and more to entertain you between rides.  The lodge is open 24 hrs, which made it the perfect place for us to YouTube line dancing instructional videos and practice our skills at 1am.

The horses of course, steal the show.  You are matched up with a horse according to experience level, height and weight (and in my case at least it seemed, personality).  I had the pleasure of spending my time at the ranch with Charlie.  Charlie (seen above) was one of the newest horses at Tod Mountain, and the youngest in our group.  His need to be in the lead and his quick pace in combination with his stubbornness meant a perfect match.  We were both happy to take the first spot behind the wrangler, however Charlie’s stubbornness meant I often wandered off instead of waiting for the group to catch up.  By the second day we became fast friends and he seemed to enjoy the trail much more. Below is a collection of photos from our experience at Tod Mountain Ranch.
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in the right place

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From left to right.

Forest walk in Harrison Hot Springs.
Christmas tree sniffing at the office.
First snowfall enjoyment.
Riverside dog walk in Derby Reach.
Ocean tide splashing in Tofino.
Rest time, post snowshoe in North Van.
Frosty walk for breakfast and dog park fun.
Beach playtime at Harrison Lake.

the ocean

and let me breathe the salty air-3

There are times in my life when my soul craves the mountains, and there are times when it craves the sea.  In one month I’ll be storm watching on the west coast of Vancouver Island with some great friends.  Nature is a calming presence in my life, one of the few.  Being surrounded by the towering, majestic peaks of the Canadian Rockies is a feeling I wish I could describe accurately.  Although the mountains hold my heart, the sea sets it free.  I have had some breath-taking experiences on the Pacific Ocean, which is what inspired me to design the above quote.  I plan on sharing a few of these experiences over the next few months, while hopefully creating new ones.

First up, Tofino.

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quarry rock & deep cove

Yesterday my husband and I ventured to the jewel of the North Shore, Deep Cove.  It’s a cozy little town located at the base of Mt. Seymour, and it also lies on the shores of the Indian Arm which is a branch of Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver.  In autumn, the tree-lined streets glow orange in the sunlight and the sailboats, kayakers and paddleboarders fill the harbour with quiet activity.  It’s a very beautiful place to spend a sunny day, whether you’re out on the water, hiking the hills, or walking the streets.

We spent the afternoon hiking one of Vancouver’s most popular hikes – Quarry Rock. The trailhead marks the beginning of the famous Baden Powell Trail and the Douglas Fir and Hemlock tree forest is thick, but light seeps through the trees highlighting the creeks and mountainside. It was a beautiful, and at times strenuous 45 plus minutes of climbing up and down, and back up again.  The elevation is 100 metres and you pass over four different creeks before you reach the huge rock overlooking the Indian Arm and mountains surrounding the community of Belcarra across the inlet.  The view from Quarry Rock is phenomenal and I highly suggest checking out this hike if you’re ever in the area.

autumn adoration

b2d3ab36c133b059d1c3de8e06f6a979I don’t know if it’s the cooler air we’re experiencing on the West Coast, the fact that a friend informed me that Starbucks is bringing back the Pumpkin Spice Latte very soon, or just the need to have a distraction from our wedding preparations, but whichever the reason, I felt the need to immerse myself in the impending spectacle that is Autumn.  Don’t get me wrong I love Summer just as much as everyone else – the sun, the heat, the beaches, the water, the bikinis.. it’s great.  Winter is a magical time for me too. I can’t get enough of fresh fallen snow, and Christmas is definitely my favourite holiday.  Spring… I’ve never enjoyed Spring all that much.  I think this is because I grew up in a place which had very long winters, and all Spring meant was a dirty city.  Melting, gravel filled snowbanks are not pretty.

So by far, Autumn is the most glorious season in my books.  There are so many things that I love about the season, I thought I would share some of them to keep me satisfied until September 22 (when I’m actually allowed to celebrate it).  First off, there’s the clothing – cute jackets, chunky scarves & mitts and leather boots make up my ideal outfit.  The layering of dark, neutral, earthy tones is what I long for.  Besides the clothing, Autumn comes with amazingly beautiful landscapes.  Multicoloured deciduous trees which blanket the area make for gorgeous scenes.  The cool, crisp air, spooky Halloween festivities, harvest foods, apple cider, piles of leaves, and the anticipation of the Christmas season all contribute to a very happy time of year.

welcome the weekend

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No matter what your plans are for the upcoming Canada Day long weekend (or any summertime long-weekend for that matter), the above are some of my favourite items to enjoy with a little sunshine, a little road trip, a little car camping, or a little backyard patio relaxation.  I never leave the house without my aviators, and the light seaside scarf is my new favourite summertime accessory.  A cute maxi dress is a great way to stay cool in the heat, but can also be dressed up for the evening if you’re in need of one outfit that can do it all.  I have the scarf, it’s from Target and the dress is quite a bit longer on me than this girl, from Macy’s. Cheers to three days off!

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If you’re not sure how to spend this west-coast long weekend, I have a few historic small town suggestions for you! They are great places to go to do some window shopping, to find unique antiques, have a delicious bite to eat, and enjoy a waterfront trail whether it be ocean or river. Small towns are my favourite places to visit because they are sure to be full of local flavour, historic architecture, and unique shopping. Happy Travels!

Fort Langley, BC
Steveston, BC
Fairhaven, WA
Anacortes, WA
Gibsons, BC

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a wine-y weekend

6845821ac0d911e2866d22000a9f137d_7Two weekends ago was the Victoria Day Long Weekend which loosely marks the beginning of summer for many in BC.  It has always been my favourite long weekend, namely because my birthday often falls on it.  When we were younger we usually celebrated both my brother’s birthday (which is ten days earlier) and mine on this weekend while camping at a nearby lake with family and friends.

Although this weekend we didn’t take out the tent, we did have the chance to get away and visit friends in their new home in Kelowna, BC. It was a wonderful weekend full of wine tasting at a number of the Okanagan’s famous wineries, a picnic lunch, sunbathing on a grassy knoll beside Okanagan Lake, games of Frisbee, delicious meals out and great company. Continue reading

strolling in steveston

Last weekend BC experienced record high temperatures around the province.  I decided the best way to take advantage of the heat was to head to the beach.  Silly me I forgot that ocean winds mean I can barely see with a face full of my hair that’s being blown all over the place, and the chilly winds kept me in a zipped up sweater for most of the day.  Despite the wind, the Steveston area of Richmond, BC is beautiful.  I absolutely love the ocean and the little fishing town is full of enough character to keep you interested all day long.  PS I dumbly left the Canon in the car so it’s just smartphone photos today.

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travel memories

86ff787549a1a8dd2f5c8dd619e6288fI’ve recently been inspired to do some organizing in my life.  Now I like organization, I like being organized, and I like boxes, bins, baskets, labels, and coordination, so when I came across this image on Pinterest of a great D.I.Y. box that you can use to keep all those tidbits that are collected in your pockets, wallets and luggage during a trip, I thought it was genius!  Working in the tourism industry, picking up maps, brochures and keeping ticket stubs has become kind of an addiction of mine.  Needless to say this project was very much needed.

So far I have only made one box for an upcoming trip I’m taking in the fall, but my list of past trips to make these for still includes: Japan, Haida Gwaii, and Hawaii.  The key is to find all the travel mementos that I have saved over the years first, as they are very much -not- organized at the moment.  Once I do I will definitely be making more of these boxes.  Ashley Paige’s recent Wanderlust Wednesdays post includes this and other great ideas for how to savour and display the keepsakes you’ve collected while traveling.  As you can see I also added the month and year that I visited the place (in this case, will visit) on the top of the lid, and obviously I painted it mint – my current most favourite colour!  I’d love to hear about ways you collect and store your travel memories!

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glamping essentails

As a followup to my previous post international glamping weekend, below are some essential items for your upcoming glamping trip. The key to any glamorous camping trip is to bring along a few comforts of home. A lidded travel candle, fluffy throw, and comfy cushions are prime examples of how to make your outdoor living excursion just a tad more glamorous.

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tent lanternboots pillow kitchen candleblanket1blanket2

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