WHY CAN’T IT BE SUNNY

Like many people, I suffer from a completely made-up illness called “I need the fucking sunlight otherwise I am a huge bitch-itis”. It’s very serious, and it effects 1 in every 5 people (not true). Common symptoms include:

-waking up, seeing it’s rainy/cloudy, groaning loudly, rolling over and going back to bed

-letting your leg hair grow free like a baby dire wolf because why shave your legs if they aren’t going to be in shorts

-Having dry af skin because it hasn’t seen any Vitamin D, damnit

-Lethargic general attitude because you’re cooped up inside all day

-Obsessive googling of warmer places you can’t afford to travel too

-Obsessive weather-creeping of places you are not currently in to see how hot it is

-Closet cramp because you have your short sleeves AND your long sleeves in your closet BECAUSE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HOT BUT IT ISN’T

You get the point.

Basically, I am not a nice person when it is cloudy for a number of days. And, if you’ve lived in Saskatchewan for the past few weeks, you know exactly what I am talking about. Every time I say, “Gee, I sure wish the sun would come out”, someone ALWAYS replies “Yes, but the farmers needed it to rain” or “My garden needed this moisture”.

I DO NOT CARE.

I do a little bit, but not right now. I’m just out here, trying to get a base tan.

That’s all for this week, my last week of classes has me VERY distracted 🙂

 

 

Little Arm: The Best Campsite You’ve Never Heard Of

I love camping. Honestly, it is one of my favourite things to do. The fire-cooked meals, one too many campfire drinks, and starry skies are the ingredients for a perfect weekend, if you ask me. And none of this “camper that has more square footage than my house” bullshit. I’m talking tents, hot dogs, MAYBE a floor mat if you’re feeling bougie. Maybe.

When I was little my parents used to set up our tent in our backyard from May long weekend to September long weekend just because we preferred sleeping outside to our rooms. Now that I’ve gotten older, I still love tenting, but somewhere between age 12 and 22, the backyard has lost most of its magic.

Living where I do, it can be more difficult than it needs to be to book a camping site, drive 2-3 hours after work and get there by the time the sun goes down. And that’s just if you want to stay in Saskatchewan. If you’re hoping to make it to the mountains, almost an entire extra day is necessary to get the most out of your camping weekend. So lately I’ve made it my mission to find some sites a little closer to home, and here is my post about my very first one.

Little Arm: which is basically Kinookimaw, which is basically Regina Beach. It’s maybe a five minute drive west of the Regina Beach Main Street, but it feels a little bit more like Grasslands National Park. It is about a four kilometre stretch of hills and beach that is hidden off of the highway. The road to get there is a little bit worse for wear, and I DEFINITELY would not recommend it if you are in a car, or if you have a trailer. But if the road gets too rough, there are many places that you can pull over and leave your car for a few nights. Walking along the path is beautiful, and you can pretty much stop where ever you want to set up camp. There are biking and quading trails for those of you that like those types of things, there is a beach for us sun-worshippers, and it is a great spot for fishing that not many people know about (the secret’s out, sorry!). The beach itself is a little inlet from Last Mountain Lake, protected by land and trees so it is almost always perfectly calm.

There aren’t real designated camping spots, or entry fees, or bathrooms, but who needs those things anyway? Just pitch a tent and set up camp where ever your heart desires! It takes a little bit of planning to make sure you’re comfortable, as there isn’t running water or services, but that is half the fun! Watching the sunset on top of one of the hills is one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in the last few months, and the peace, quiet and tranquility there cannot be matched. If you forget something critical, the Bigway grocery store is only a five minute drive away!

So this summer if you are looking for a beautiful tenting adventure without having to drive very far, Little Arm is your spot!

8 Things to Do in Regina Beach this Summer

Regina Beach is a bustling summer town located just 30 minutes from Regina on Highway 54. It is scenic, it is fun, and it is a hidden gem of the province, in my opinion. Coincidentally, it is also a my hometown! I’ve lived here for sixteen years now, and all the while have felt that this place is more than a little underrated. It is so much more than just a beach. As such, I have compiled a list of things to do/see while you are here!

  1. Regina Beach Farmer’s Market-Located in the parking lot of the lovely Rudy’s, our Farmer’s Market has pretty much everything you could need. Organic veggies, handmade jewelry, wine, food and so much more. Happening 11am-4pm every Sunday throughout the summer months, this is a must-see at the beach. It is VERY easy to find-just look for the horde of people tryin’ to get their shop on.
  2. Blue Bird Cafe- Truly a historic icon at the beach, the Blue Bird is celebrating their 89th year in business! Using the same recipe for its legendary fish and chips since it’s opening in 1928, the Blue Bird is a must see (and eat!). If you’re not a fan of fish and chips, don’t worry-they have something on the menu for everyone. If you REALLY want to blend in with us “beach kids” try a 50/50 (half lemonade, half iced tea) and a side of buffalo sauce (we really do put that shit on everything).
  3. The Ugly Mug Cafe- If there is three things I love in this world, it is humour, good food, and amazing coffee. The fourth thing is booze, and luckily for us the Ugly Mug has that too! Homemade baking, soups, sandwiches, a patio to die for, and a killer insta feed make my inner hipster oh-so-happy. A personal favourite is their French Onion Soup and Vanilla Frappe. I also love their fresh rolls. Literally everything is delicious.
  4. Regina Beach Golf Course-A nine-hole golf course perfect for us beginners or those among us who are intermediate/advanced. Honestly, I am not much for golfing, but even I enjoy sitting in the sun, drinking a Twisted Tea and hitting around a golf bar. To make things even better, the Golf Course is home to some of the best pasta I have ever put in my mouth. Red sauce, white sauce, whatever your heart desires, the golf course is the perfect place to satisfy your inner carb-aholic.
  5. Biking Trail- Spanning nearly (I’m too lazy to Google) a bunch of kilometres, the path spans from Lumsden Beach, Buena Vista, to Regina Beach and Kinookimaw. No motorized vehicles are allowed, but it is perfect for biking, running, or walking alongside the beautiful Last Mountain Lake.
  6. Rudy’s- every small town needs a cute gift store, and Rudy’s takes it even further by carrying products that are as unique as they are beautiful. Jewelry, home decor, and clothes perfect for the beach are only the beginning here!
  7. Waterfront Beach Bar- Known for hometown karaoke, trash can drinks (fair warning: only recommended for the advanced drinker), and Wing Nights. Grab a beer, grab some food, and watch the sunset go down on their patio directly up from the beach!
  8. Chachalacas-two words: patio. drinks. Another word: mojitos. Chachalacas is a Mexican food restaurant that is new at the beach, but has quickly become a favourite. Fresh ingredients, authentic cuisine and yummy cocktails all make you feel like you are a few feet away from the beach. Oh ya, that’s because you are!

There is so many more businesses that will be on my next list of things to do in Regina Beach that will make your inner foodie, explorer and adventurer satisfied. So if you need something to do this summer that is a short distance from the city, I urge you to come and check out Regina Beach! The people, the food, and the unique local businesses will keep you coming back for more. And more. and more.

You get it!

Taking the Next Step

With my undergrad nearly completed (41 days but who’s counting) I am getting the itch to get out there and actually start DOING things. Now that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, my brain has gone into overdrive thinking of all of the free time and money I will have not spending nearly every waking moment either worrying about school, or figuring out how to afford it. Sometimes, I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

The plans, oh the plans! I have an entire folder in my computer dedicated to trips I’ve planned in my head. All of this money saved on school can now be going towards travel, I mean, what else am I going to do, get a full-time job related to my field? (HA).

But, as with anything, despite this huge milestone in my life, my brain is constantly wracked with doubt and second-guessing.

My undergrad is in Business, but I’ve had many nights in which I’ve lain (word?) awake, wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake, wasted $50,000 going into the wrong field. I’ve always loved working with children, so naturally I considered becoming a teacher, but after great deliberation, decided on business. Yet, there has always been that part of me that thinks maybe I made a huge mistake.

And then, lo and behold, I made a discovery. Something that would allow me to pursue my passion for travel with my passion for teaching and interacting with children. That something, my friends, is the TEFL (or teaching English) certification, in which you are paid to teach English all over the world.

After a lot of research, I decided the best company to get certified with was i-to-i (not LoveTEFL). One of the things I LOVED about this company is that they have travel options built right in to the site. You are able to get the certification (which is Ofqual regulated, btw) alone, OR you can get your certification combined into an internship in a variety of locations. The course itself was not easy, in case you were thinking this is something you could get done in one night. I spent many hours studying and preparing for the exam, but the layout of the course is extremely user-friendly and easy to understand, which is so so important!

In addition to my certification,  I chose to also take part in an internship to Surin, Thailand, which is 50% teaching, 50% travel. I leave in July and will be gone for 37 days teaching, touring and traveling! After working in a small town teaching English for three weeks, myself and the other teachers on the trip head to Cambodia AND Koh Phangan to relax, explore, and party!

I was extremely relieved to find this option of an internship available, as not only will it be an amazing adventure, it will also provide me with valuable, hands-on experience that I can take forward with me in life if I decide I would like to travel to other parts of our world.

As someone who is usually extremely indecisive and relatively risk-averse when it comes to money and the “unknowns” associated  with travel, I cannot recommend getting this certification enough! If you decide to visit their website, they also regularly have sales on their certifications which is essentially the cherry on top.

So I encourage you to take the next step, and go ahead with that trip you’ve been on the fence about. For me, that was getting a certification and setting dates for an internship, for others that may be booking a plane ticket or a hostel. Whatever it is, do it-the experience is invaluable and the things you are likely to learn about yourself along the way are worth it!

 

When in Doubt: Don’t Be!

As someone who has recently started a blog, it can be EXTREMELY difficult to not be intimidated and discouraged by the thousands of other travel or lifestyle bloggers/photographers that are out there. They’ve traveled more, they’re strong at writing, and they have more social media followers than you have people in your small town.

This is definitely how I am feeling today, but instead of being discouraged, I decided to shine a little light on the subject in case someone else is feeling the same way, and needs a little motivation.

It’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere.

Even the best and the brightest bloggers once started with nothing and struggled to get their first 100 followers. For me, having so few followers can be somewhat embarrassing, and I am sure I am not alone in this feeling. If someone checks out my page and sees that I am slightly over 200 followers, what are the odds they are going to think I am someone worth looking at, much less following? Sometimes it’s very tempting to just shut down my account and that way I can stop feeling vulnerable and self-conscious.

But I haven’t done it yet, and here’s why. Thinking that maybe someday, I can be one of those bigger bloggers that new people look up too is extremely motivating. And the fact that even now, I have (granted very few) people that like what I write and what I take pictures of, is something that I would be stupid to not appreciate. I am still very young, and I have YEARS ahead of me to grow a following, travel more and become a better blogger and photographer.

So if you too are struggling with feelings of self-doubt, I urge you to shake it off and keep doing what you are doing. Follow more travel accounts or just blogger accounts in general. It’s better to look at these people as inspiration and tips on how you can improve instead of direct competition with you personally.

The “blogging market” (in quotations because that is not a real thing) may seem very saturated at this time, but I’m fairly confident there is no cap on how many there can be in the world. There is no limit to how many accounts one can follow on Instagram or an imaginary glass ceiling that needs to be broken before you are accepted.

Keep doing you!

CMAH: A Story

In case you didn’t know, Canadian Mental Health Awareness Week is May 1-7. This is an extremely important week for me, and it should be for you too, if you are a living, breathing, functioning human.

Short disclaimer: this blog is on a more serious note. BUT that shouldn’t deter you from reading it.

I am someone who is extremely positive and good natured (not a word?) 85% of the time. 15% of the time, however, I retreat into a place that is so unlike me that it truly feels like I am not myself. EVERYONE has these times, whether they want to admit it or not, but I believe that it’s important to talk about them because that 15% of the time, you feel so lost, alone, and isolated it seems like no one can possibly understand what you are going through. And that prevents you from talking about it, isolating yourself even more in your silence.

Here is what that 15% looks like for me:

A single thought crosses my mind, and related to what I am doing or not, it quickly becomes all-consuming because I am rendered unable to think about anything else. I quickly become sweaty, and shaky, and retreat inside myself. Usually these thoughts are so far-fetched they probably aren’t even possible. But that thought doesn’t occur to me until hours later. The crushing sadness of futility and the inability I have to do anything about my situation is defeating, especially given my personality that is usually so upbeat and positive. If I can’t help myself, how can I do anything, really? It is dark, it is scary, it is incapacitating and it is overwhelming.

But these feelings don’t last forever. Sometimes you are able to escape, and sometimes you just need to ride it out. But if you are looking for an escape, here are some things that have worked for me:

  1. Listen to music that you can sign along too- Sad or happy, upbeat or relaxing, whatever works for YOU-just be sure you know the words and can sing along. Somehow, singing releases some of the pressure that is built up inside of you. I’m sure there’s some real science backing this up, but I’m too lazy to look, so just take my word for it, ok?
  2. Hang out with kids-This is easier said than done. I live in a daycare, so it is something that I have been around all of my life. Kids don’t care about your grades, your relationships, or whatever is stressing you out. They just want you to be happy, and their moods are infectious! If you can’t physically be around children, just watch some videos of kids doing funny things on YouTube!
  3. Get outside-whether you live in the city or a small town, everyone could use a little more nature in their lives. A short walk can do a world of good. (Again, I’m sure science plays a role here but I can’t be sure)
  4. Write-This is something that I do often. I know that having conversations with real people can be beneficial as well, but sometimes it’s difficult to open up, especially if it is something you are embarrassed about (you shouldn’t be!!!). I find that writing is a happy medium because you are still expressing what you need too, without having to feel awkward. Writing is judgement-free, and allows you the ability to say EVERYTHING you want to say. More often than not, I rip up and throw away what I write during these times because looking back on how lost or alone I was feeling makes me really sad-but that is just a personal preference!
  5. Plan a trip-Can’t handle where you are at the moment? That’s FINE! Make a plan to go somewhere, anywhere else. And when I say plan a trip, I don’t mean a hypothetical “If I Had a Million Dollars” fantasy trip. Get into it! Look at Airbnb’s, check out flight prices, look at places you’ve always dreamed of going. The more consumed in your task you become, the further away your current state goes. Planning a trip doesn’t necessarily mean booking a flight and leaving tomorrow, but you never know! One of my trip planning escapes is taking me to Thailand this summer, so never say never!

On a final note, these are tips that work for ME, and ones that I have learned after years of trying other options. A sixth and final tip I have is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. I didn’t include this tip because it isn’t one that I use as much as I should. I find it very difficult to open up to people about how I am feeling because I have tried and experienced failure with it in the past. If I tried to talk to someone and they didn’t respond exactly how I hoped that they would, I immediately became angry and frustrated and even more distant than I was previously, and that’s not fair to anyone. It’s not fair to pre-plan what someone else SHOULD say in your head before you have a conversation, because you have no idea what is going on in their world. However, this is something that I hope to get better at in the future, and you should too-the benefits far outweigh risks. Maybe the first person you talk to isn’t going to become your #1 confidante for life. But that’s okay-you’re making progress by even opening up about it in the first place. Keep trying!

Keep trying, keep talking, and keep listening! Not just this week, but every week-I encourage you to try and make this week your stepping stone into being more engaged with your mental wellness, and the mental wellness of others.

Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone needs help sometimes.

When in doubt, always be kind.

 

 

Stu-DYING

The title says it all.

I have a final in less than 48 hours and yet here I sit, procrastinating and thinking of literally ANYTHING I could be doing that is not studying.

To make matters worse, I finally booked my flight for the trip I am taking this summer, so my attention span has decreased even more (if that is possible). I’ve changed my background to pictures of Cambodia and Thailand thinking that would help to motivate me, but it has actually made me more distracted.

This should be easy. I have TWO finals left in my entire University career. I’m over the hump! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Yet instead of working that much harder, I’ve mostly just fallen off the wagon and find myself coasting.

Which is fine.

It seems like most other people are in the same mindset as I am, so overwhelmed with the idea of re-learning an entire semester or worse, teaching yourself an entire semester because you decided to stay in bed pretty much every day that you had class. So reaching out to your friends for motivation at this point in the semester is useless because let’s face it: they don’t have enough positive vibes for themselves let alone to share with others.

SO

Amidst my procrastination, I have decided to create some positive aspects of finals for you to think of, if you too are studying and wanting a brief distraction/motivation.

  1. Just think, in a few short semesters you’ll be graduating, degree in hand, and posting a “HELL YEAH” style Insta which is guaranteed major likes (you can act like you don’t care, but we both know you do).
  2. Once you’re finished school, you can get a full-time job and start digging yourself out of that student-loan hole you’ve dug yourself tits-deep in to
  3. When everyone else is stressing about finals in a few years you can laugh to yourself as you pour yourself a whisky because at least that studying part of your life is over and done with
  4. You’ll sleep way better in a few weeks when finals are over and the impending sense of dread isn’t keeping you up at night. Unless of course you are taking spring/summer classes. Then, I’m sorry.
  5. You can play beer darts carefree in mere weeks knowing that you passed all your finals and that you don’t have to study for a few months (unless, again, you are in summer school and then you just cry most days probably?)
  6. You can have a really beautiful bonfire with all of your notes and textbooks that you probably won’t be able to sell because the version is outdated because it’s an entire three months old.

Is this helping?

I hope so.

If not, then some good news you can take to the bank RIGHT NOW is that a real life doctor once said that a glass of wine is helpful to studying and retention. So go ahead, YOU decide what constitutes a “glass”…and get studying!

Long Weekends: The Marathon

Currently writing this in sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on; which sounds WAY more glamorous as a Drake verse instead of saying I haven’t changed out of the clothes I slept in and also probably won’t for the rest of the day. Why is this acceptable, you ask?

  1. Because I am home alone so there is no one to judge me
  2. Because it’s still part of a long weekend

I know that Easter Monday is *technically* not a stat holiday, but for some it is, and some is good enough for me!

Now I know that most people look forward to long weekends because of sleeping in, and in the case of Easter, getting to visit family and eat lots of food. Come Thursday, they leave work relaxed, and float into the weekend ahead.

That is wrong.

Long weekends take preparation, and pre-planning. Prepping your body and mind for the days ahead is an important step in making the most of your long weekend. It is here that I make the comparison to a marathon, as that is something one must prepare for in advance as well. I have never done a marathon, but this is what I’m told.

As marathon runners begin training slowly, running a little more each day in order to prepare their bodies for the longest run yet, as one should while preparing for Easter suppers. I recommend eating more and more in the five days leading up to the “big event” AKA Easter Sunday. Why you ask? Well, to prepare your stomach of course. Instead of ruining your evening by over-eating at Easter, condition your body to be USED to overeating in the days leading up; and your after-supper condition will be one of familiarity and comfort instead of unpleasant.

Now don’t call me a visionary just yet, because I haven’t even gotten to the best part.

The drinking. Can we talk about the drinking? I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but my Easter weekend feels like one long binge. So while you might think you have to write off a day to being hungover this weekend, I encourage you to take matters into your own hands and be proactive.

You can’t get hungover if you never get sober.

I encourage you also to write that down, it is something that has gotten me through many a rough morning. Kahlua in coffee, orange juice in beer, mimosas, your options are endless and it’s best to get started early to best ward off that pesky headache-y feeling we are all familiar with.

I know that Easter weekend is technically over, but this is advice that you can carry with you as you move forward in your life-just think of all those long weekends you have in front of you!

Enjoy your week everyone, and if you’re like me and are considering this day a holiday, then join me in having one (or two) last long weekend mimosas.

Self Care: Winging it Since ’06

No, I am not eleven years old, born in 2006. I just didn’t include the years of my life that I was a young’in and didn’t have a damn clue what self care was because my mom took care of that for me.

ANYWAY.

Nowadays my feed is full of #SelfCareSundays or calming bubble bath Insta squares. Which are both beautiful and aesthetically pleasing although I’m not sure how people’s legs look that damn good in the tub from such a weird angle but IT’S FINE.

There is a massive market for self care that includes charcoal teeth whitening, peeling foot masks, bubbling face masks, and the like. And then there is the food/teas/vitamins that are also somehow classified as “self care” despite their rigorous social media efforts that reek of a pyramid scheme. But I digress…

The point is, there are tonnes of options out there that appear to help a lot of people and that’s great. But I AM troubled by the fact that I have yet to find one of these methods that works for me (because I am self-obsessed, obviously). A massive factor in this is that this is a VERY profitable industry, which means there are lots of players looking to make a buck. I, being a cheap (thrifty?) lil B, frequently find myself gravitating towards the cheapest option. However the cheapest option is also usually the ones that make those terribly painful-looking videos on Facebook where the charcoal mask is actually black glue and while it probably does pull out some blackheads it also may cause some of your face skin to be removed. So now I’ve begun to look for more options.

It’s important to say here that I do realize self care is more that taking care of your physical, outer shell well-being, and also definitely includes your mental and emotional well-being too. But if a bath bomb from LUSH can make me smell like your grandmother’s garden AND calm me down after a long day, then I’m two birds with one stoning this bitch, all while watching the new episode of Riverdale SO THERE.

While I think there are certainly some things we all do that classify as “self care” (sleeping in, long hot showers, rage-crying at 13 Reasons Why) it’s important to note that everyone does it differently.

So while you’re spending your dolla dolla bills on some wild bubble mask, I’ll be over here with the cheapest wine I can buy (or steal from my parent’s house), eating peanut butter from a spoon and STILL calling it self care.

Wingin’ it, as usual.

 

Spring Cleaning: A Guide to Not Doing It

With warmer weather, new buds opening on trees, flowers poking precariously out of the newly sun-warmed earth, comes the feeling we all know: SPRING CLEANING.

Now, there are two types of reactions when you hear these words:

The first, is similar to the joyous scene in Snow White when the birds and deer are helping her clean her cabin; or in Cinderella when the woodland creatures are helping turn her rags into a beautiful dress. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and you are ready, nay, inspired (!) to begin your spring cleaning journey.

The second, of which I am a member, is also reminiscent of some popular movie scenes. Think the unknowing swimmer in Jaws when the creepy “coming-from-the-depths-to-eat-you” music begins to play. Or in Camp Crystal Lake when Jason Voorhees stalks his unwitting prey from the woods. Dread and anxious anticipation are the basic themes here.

I am famous (with myself) for getting SO excited about spring cleaning because I get intensely, obsessively motivated for about twenty minutes until I find something that is even remotely more interesting and then it is game over. So 1/16 of my life will get sprung (a word here used to describe “spring cleaning”, OR used to describe getting drunk in the spring-context is everything, people) and then it’s back to my regular disorganized chaos. And then I become disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and my similarities to Doug in Up! who is distracted by squirrels.

I know there are feeds of bloggers and Pinterest addicts that have amazing tutorials of how to get organized (Follow @neatmethod on Instagram if you need some inspo) but this is not what I am here for. I am here to say that I am a victim of Insta-jealousy and an ultimate failure at spring cleaning and THAT IS FINE. Own your own strengths-you’re probably really good at other things! Like making a passable supper with three (expiry dates questionable) ingredients, or coming up with a new cocktail recipe completely by accident.

So who is the real winner here?

Someone who stresses about spring cleaning only to have a messy house in one week, or someone who doesn’t sweat it, puts her feet up, and watches one more episode of Girls with a Sunday mimosa?