August 30, 2013

Little girl, all grown up.

This summer my baby sister turned 18.
And on Sunday she is moving in to her university dorm room.
(Can we just hit PAUSE for a second here?!)

It seems like just yesterday we were this small, using step stools to see over the counter:

Anyway, today I'm spending this special day with my little sis. But first, a little walk down memory lane...

Picnics on the front lawn. Baking with mom. Reading upside down in the easy chairs in the living room. Brewing a spell in the "witches cauldron" out back. Splashing in the kiddie pool. Snow ball fights, ice skating, snow fort building, and snowman making. Training the dog. Catching caterpillars. Trying to teach her computer basics. Playing hide and seek with a chocolate dollar and losing it in a fern in the garden.

Sharing tents, books, genes, beds, and hearts.

Every time I come home, from school at Western or from faraway in France, we spend about 24 hours all lovey dovey... then the fighting starts about who's turn it is in the bathroom, or who sprayed perfume all over the hall, or did you take my favourite tank top from the wash? I cannot count the number of times we've fought. But... we always know it's not serious.

The times we've said "I love you," killed each other with laughter, or spent an evening laying in bed together are way more frequent than any number of fights. She always makes me the most special memory/photo books. She borrows the best books from the library and lets me steal them. She never judges me for being boring, nerdy, anxious, or weird. In fact, she usually joins in.

There's nothing like a sister. And because I'm failing miserably at articulating this, a few words from one of my favourite authors, Sarah Dessen:

"Some things don't have to be said. Some things, between sisters, are just understood."

I seriously cannot imagine life without you babe :-)
Good luck on this crazy new adventure!



August 16, 2013

August Rush

So it's that time of year again... at least for us school-age kids. Summer has felt so long and luxurious, up until this week, when all of a sudden I was hit with a sudden panic. It seems like there's hardly any time left to get ready. (And considering how much stuff I still have to get ready... that's concerning.)

As I've been thinking about what I need to pack to move back to school with me, I have been hit with the sudden urge to go shopping for some back to school clothes. As kids, my sister and I always got to pick out a few new outfits. And, probably not coincidentally, I've been receiving emails from some of my favourite stores with new looks for fall. I wanted to share some of my favourites.

These are kind of the perfect transition pieces for going from summer to fall. Still bright and cheery, but with more rusty/earthy colour tones... and there aren't too many layers so you won't get too hot. (Don't you hate when you dress for fall fashion but it's still way too hot out?)

I've always been a pretty simple girl when it comes to fashion... I can manage pants, a top, shoes, and maybe a belt, but any more accessories than that is usually too much to handle. So I love the simplicity of these outfits- and the fact that they're still super cute. 

What are your favourite outfits for the back-to-school season?


August 15, 2013

look around pick yourself up off the ground

Last night on the way home from the movies, my mom said something that really stuck with me. I've actually read blog posts on this before (most recently Carly's), but for some reason it never stuck until my mom said it. (Why is moms always seem to know how to get through the best?) She said, "You can't let these hard times in life define you."

I am extraordinarily blessed to live a very privileged life. I have been able to get a good education, I have many friends and family who love and support me, and I have grown up in a community that is safe, beautiful, and friendly. I think I'm a grateful person and I do spend time thinking about these blessings from time to time.

However... I have had struggles in life, and I am (unfortunately) a person who holds onto these moments. I tend to punish myself over and over with mistakes. I tend to dwell on bad encounters, playing them over and over again in my mind. I come up with impossibly high standards and leave no room for error, flexibility, or a change of plans. I could go on and on- but everybody has both blessings and struggles in life, so I am willing to bet everyone would know, to some extent, what I am talking about.

I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes it is so, so hard to pick yourself up out of a dark place.
But it is also so, so important.
No one else can do it for you.

And once you are out of that dark place, you have to know...
IT'S OVER. And it's not important anymore. You just can't let it control you now that you've finally broken free. And while sometimes it feels like you're just treading water, just keep swimming until the memories of that dark place are far, far behind.


P.S. Yes... I did just quote a Spice Girls song in the title of this post. #sorryimnotsorry

August 13, 2013

Welcome to the South of France

As many of you may know, I studied abroad from August 2012-May 2013 in Aix-en-Provence, France. While I would like to write about those days (eventually), right now my May-June 2013 UK Trip is more at the forefront of my mind. To kick off my very first Travel Tuesdays post, I'm going to start with my last day in Aix, where I played "tourist" for the last time while showing around my good friend, Laura.

Aix-en-Provence is the typical southern French town. It's not quite a city, but not quite a village either. It is a university town, so it's bustling in the winter. (As bustling as a French town gets, anyway.) Considering it's a pretty popular tourist destination, it's quiet and sleepy in the summertime.

Not a cloud in the sky and they're bright and blue. The sun is hot and dry, making meandering strolls in and out of the trees' shade the ideal balance between too hot and too breezy.

The markets are one of the most interesting and most popular "attractions" in Aix. From clothing to textiles to wood carvings to fresh lavender to artisan work to fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and fish, you can find almost anything for a great price at the market.

Below is my favourite quiet spot in Aix. This square doesn't get a ton of traffic, and the mossy cobblestones are quaint and fun. It's a perfect spot to duck into while enjoying a slice of pizza and a Coca on a hot summer day.

Have you ever been to the south of France? What were your favourite parts?
What "attractions" in your current city would you love to show off to a friend?


P.S. Today I'm linking up with Found Love, Now What? and A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesdays!

August 12, 2013

Slow Turtle

So, a rather random post....
I just had to share this cute AT&T commercial.

I really love this "It's Not Complicated" ad campaign.

As a side note, I am kinda jealous of all you Americans with your mobile phone providers. Here in Canada, the current going rate for a phone and monthly plan is, frankly, ridiculous. I am struggling to find anything under $80/month... which is sort of unbelievable, after spending about €10/month on my phone for the past year. #reversecultureshockprobs


P.S. I recently installed Disqus to replace the built-in Blogger commenting system. Would love your opinions on whether or not you like it!