Friday, October 20, 2017

white water, black sand (and other adventures)

So... I guess it was kind of a fun time.

At the end of August, I was at the cottage with some friends, and we ended up talking about Iceland in that random sort of way that summer conversations meander back and forth over all kinds of little things ... trips other people were taking, dreams from years ago, and plans made around a campfire that dissipate quickly in the morning light.

Except that this particular plan didn't float away like last night's smoke ... it grew.

That's the simple version, of course, but really, that's how I ended up on a plane to Keflavik, Iceland (and then on a bus to the capital city). It was just an idea, and then it was a plan, and then suddenly it was plane tickets and calendar dates and suitcases and boarding passes and the ground dropping away beneath us faster than I could blink.

And then ... Iceland!

We walked the colourful streets of the capital city, rode horses across stone-broken lava fields, hiked up waterfalls, and road tripped across the Southern part of Iceland ... we saw snow at the top of Glymur, sheep upon sheep upon sheep by the side of the road, and rainbows every 30 seconds in Reykjavik, where the weather changes faster than you can pull a hood over your head. It was the most "adulting" I've ever done, all the way across the ocean from everything that I'm used to, and as beautiful as it was, it made me realize how much I love living in Canada, too.

It truly was a wild trip... in every sense of the world! Would you be interested in seeing another post about tips and tricks for traveling Iceland? let me know in the comments!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would YOU go?


Friday, October 13, 2017

an Icelandic adventure

If you've been following along on my instagram account, you'll know that I've mysteriously vanished from Canadian soil and reappeared in another gorgeous place ... but I've been keeping the location a secret (mostly for my own amusement). Anyway ... if you haven't figured it out already, I've spent this week in ICELAND!

I'm hoping to get a more detailed post up next Friday (with photo edits so the LIGHTING will be fixed help), but until then, enjoy these cell phone snapshots from my week!


Friday, October 6, 2017

things that make me happy // 612-630

In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving (which is this weekend!) my insta posts this week have been focusing on the theme of little things that make me happy ... and I thought this Friday was a perfect time to follow suit on the blog, too! So, without further ado...

612. getting lost for hours in bookstores
613. watching the way sun speckles the walls of my office, and then shivers when the wind blows tree branches outside
614. buying tea, esp if it's for other people
615. my little elephant teapot (his name is Freddie and he was my 20th birthday present)
616. plaid scarves (red ones are my favourite)
617. waking up to rain against my window after a week of sunny, hot weather (in October?? no thank you)
618. walking out of an exam room after handing my work in
619. turkey and pie and stuffing with my family (but especially pie)
620. red shoes and blue vests
621. that "ohmygosh I totally do that oh NO" moment when reading and identifying a little too much with a few of the characters
622. sleek black passports and packing lists
623. suitcases and deciding which pants to wear on an airplane 
624. learning new languages
625. heartbeats
626. baby smiles that show off their new teeth
627. writing poetry
628. wine glasses (obviously I like the wine that goes in them, too, but the glasses themselves are so very pretty) 
629. clear skies when you can see the stars
630. travel plans and airplane views and counting down the sleeps until I leave...

What makes you happy this month? Is anyone out there actually getting Fall weather, or are we all equally bereft? Also, I am going on an adventure THIS WEEK which means you should keep your eye on instagram (and next Friday's post!) for more info...


p.s. apparently "parenthesis" should have made this list ... when proofreading this post, I realized I used them FIVE times in quick succession. I have a problem.

Friday, September 29, 2017

5 ways to recharge a tired soul

Happy Friday, friends! As we slip deeper into Autumn (my most favourite of all the seasons!) and start to take on more assignments, it's easy to wake up feeling tired without really knowing why. These days I'm working hard at striking a balance between pushing through and knowing when to sit back and take a break ... here are 5 of the ways I like to help myself recharge without completely letting go of all my other responsibilities(!)

1. Take a night off
If your work or school schedule is super intense, this doesn't mean cutting back on your working hours ... there's no pressure to take every single evening to yourself if that's not reasonable for you. But what about taking one? Bump your social plans (or study plans, if you have the margin) to tomorrow, or the weekend, or next week, and plan to spend the night in. Even if you're an extrovert (like me!), having a little quiet time can be powerful ... plus, it opens up a little space for you to do what YOU want to do, not what you feel you should be doing or need to be doing for others. (For me, this could be cleaning the bathrooms, reading a novel, or working on my book! It all depends on what kind of week I've had).

2. Bake something
Sometimes when I'm tired, I just want to feel like I've accomplished something - baking (or cooking, if that's what you prefer) is a quick and easy way to satisfy this itch. Making something with your hands is intensely rewarding, and the payoff is almost instant ... you can have cookies sitting on the counter about half an hour after first reaching for the mixing bowl.

3. Go for a walk
This one is simple and easy to fit in anytime, anywhere! If I'm feeling worn out (or stressed out!) I sometimes walk across the church parking lot while I'm on my lunch break, or do a loop around campus if I'm at school. The fresh air will perk up your mood, and the exercise will help you feel more awake, too.

4. Allow yourself the luxury of a 20 minute nap
Set a timer, shut the blinds, and lie down for 15 or 20 minutes ... you don't have to fall asleep to reap the benefits of a little relax time! (If you don't have a private space to sleep in, the back seat of your car will work, too!)

5. Stop feeling guilty
There is nothing that will suck your energy away faster than guilt. Whether it's anxiety over a paper you think you should have spent more time on, the bedroom that you needed to tidy but didn't, or just a nagging feeling that you're not doing enough ... guilt will get you every time. Try to let go of feeling like you "should be" doing something else. Try to get rid of that ugly voice that says you're not doing "enough". I'm not great at it, either ... nor can I give you a 30-second quick fix to erase all guilt from your life. But I can encourage you to start trying! Remind yourself of what is true (example: it is OKAY to take a break and bake cookies from time to time) instead of living in the lie that says you always need to do MORE.

I hope these 5 suggestions offer you a little time for rest this fall! What are your favourite ways to carve out recharge time for yourself? Are you good at resting, or do you feel guilty when you stop for a break? Let's chat. :)


P.S. the cwtch is now on Facebook and Instagram! I'd love it if you popped by to say hello! ♥ 
P.P.S. photo from my trip to Montreal last spring ... credit to Madi for the gorgeous b&w 

Friday, September 22, 2017

my blue castle

"They never knew that Valancy had two homes - the ugly red brick box of a house on Elm Street, and the Blue Castle in Spain.... Always, when she shut her eyes, she could see it plainly... everything wonderful and beautiful was in that castle."  - The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery

If I had an imaginary Blue Castle, mine would be by the lake, so I could watch the storms roll in, heavy clouds and white-capped waves hurled against the shore. I'd have a house with lots of East-facing windows, so I could watch the sun rise and see the morning light speckle the walls. I would plant trees out front and back with low branches perfect for climbing, and I'd throw open all the windows to hear the birds sing.

I think my Blue Castle would be right on the edges of a small town with shops lined up on Main Street - the kind of town where people walk to the grocery store, and the cashier remembers your name when you go to pay. I'd live in a house with a small piano in the living room, even though I don't play very often, and I would have a room in the back of the house with nothing in it but books (and maybe a very comfortable chair)! If I was allowed to choose, I'd find myself someplace with a yard and a swing (or two), and a little wicker couch on the front porch. I'd have a big kitchen so I could throw loud, happy dinner parties, and have my grade 11 students over to make cookies.

Valancy's Blue Castle was a glorious, dramatic mansion, but I think if I had the choice, I'd settle for a little less. I'd choose somewhere that looks a lot like the house I grew up in... somewhere like my grandparents' small little beach town. If I could live anywhere at all, the only place I really want to be is somewhere I can call "home" ... and mean it.

I daydreamed a little bit yesterday ... in your wildest dreams, where do you find yourself? If you had all the choices in the world, where would you like to live forever? What does your Blue Castle look like?

p.s. this lovely photo was brought to you by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash

Thursday, September 14, 2017

university in the morning

I had my first class on Monday morning, and when it let out early I found a park bench to sit on and study while I waited for my sister to get out of her first class (mine was Family Studies and hers was Stats, so I think we know who got the better deal). In the shadow of an old, elegantly-bricked building, with my notes spread across my lap, I was happy to be back in school ... and that kind of surprised me.

Every semester when classes start again, I have a bad habit of looking at it as an opportunity to fail, like this is the year I'm going to drop the ball and miss assignments and blank on the exam ... like this is the term I'm not going to be able to keep my schedule together, and get all the readings done, and actually write the term paper due at the beginning of December. But, you know, it's usually fine, and by the end of the year after final exams, maybe there were a couple of marks I wasn't totally happy with, but I made it.

So I'm hoping that this will be the year that I just learn to relax a little bit (!!!) and stop overthinking things, and maybe expect for once that things will go well. I like to prepare for the worst (which isn't always a bad thing!) but often with me becomes being terrified of the worst and refusing to believe that the best is even possible. And that's not such a great place to be.

Here's to setting kinder expectations and upholding the highest of hopes ... and here's to the knowledge that it's just school, after all, and we can so do this.

what are your biggest school fears? biggest school dreams? what hopes are you holding onto this fall?


Friday, September 8, 2017

things that make me happy // 593-611

593. long drives under a full moon
594. writing poetry on the beach in my favourite little town
595. selling my used textbooks!
596. planning trips to faraway places (more on this ... eventually)
597. water and sky
598. the start of school (which equals the start of youth group at my church!)
599. bonfires after church
600. thrift shopping with COUPONS
601. the little bit of nip in the air the past few days
602. morning sunshine patterns on the walls
603. the smell of Starbucks through the drive-thru window
604. writing love poetry
605. Pumpkin Spice Lattes (terribly cliche, but I do love them)
606. high schoolers - how young and old they are all at the same time
607. sudden cloudbursts (and the fact that we call them "cloudbursts". what a great word)
608. staff breakfast with my church coworkers
609. the way Aslan talks to Susan
610. seagulls
611. doing yoga under a blue sky

 what makes you happy these days?


~pictures from a trip to Ottawa