A Summer of Firsts [and some fan girl moments]

"I never have time to do anything, let alone try anything new." This is something I often hear friends, family (even I use to be guilty of saying this) about doing things, let alone trying new things outside of the usual 'life schedule' of work-sleep-eat-repeat. Now, my life schedule goes a little beyond the work-sleep-eat-repeat mentality (throw in a bit of commuting-travelling-attending Board meetings--working out-side hustling'-time with the hubby/friends - enjoying myself with a good book) and that is my daily 'life schedule.'

Some would call it overwhelming and it can be a little too much sometimes I know, but for the most part, I love it. I'm getting all I can out of this thing called life.

I am always surprised at the number of people who comment on how their busyness is why they can't try new things. We as humans make excuses for a lot of things - not working out, not making our own meals at home, complaining about things out of our control, not volunteering because we think we're busy at work, or not pursuing a side business or passion project because we're sometimes not only scared, we're simply lazy.

After reflecting on what I hoped 2016 would be, this summer has proven to be one of those summers that exceeded my expectations. Beyond the eight weddings we attended (yes, I said eight), this summer was a summer of many firsts where I tried and experienced so many new things.  summer-of-firsts

What were some of these 'new things'?

  • My family and I finally went through lock 18 in my hometown of Hastings with our boat as part of the Trent Severn Waterway, something we had never done before, even though we have lived a few minutes down the road from the locks our entire lives
  • Took trips to see new places that Andrew and I had never visited before including Petroglyphs Provincial Park  in my parents backyard
  • I'm running again, something I haven't did since high school
  • I've tried new craft beers including Lake of the Woods Brew during a visit to Kenora, ON (my first time visiting during the summer!) and new, local craft brewers in Rockwood, Four Fathers Brewing Co (you have to try their beer, its so good!)
  • I've embraced red wine, something I use to think was repulsive but as I guess as my taste buds have matured, so have my tastes in wine
  • I've taken up a sport I've never played before...  tennis. Can't say I'm great yet but at least its a start (Serena seriously makes it look so easy!)
  • I tried my hand at painting and came up with his (simplistic) masterpiece pictured above that I now have proudly displayed above my desk in my office.. thanks to Instagram for the inspiration, I tried my hand at painting.. and thanks to a little cheap paint from Michaels, it didn't turn out all that bad!

Another cool moment this summer was meeting fellow #girlbosses at various events who follow my work and have been followers on Twitter. Can you say #fangirlmoments?! It has been so awesome meeting fellow women in agriculture who are as passionate about their work and have the same zest for life. Thanks for following along, enjoying and sharing your positive feedback,  Alison and Emily :)

To say I've gotten the most out of 2016 so far is an understatement. I've loved every minute of embracing this 'new change' I've felt to try and explore new things. For those who think age is a limitation to trying new things, you are absolutely wrong. You can be a child at heart for as long as you'd like as long as you're open to the idea of trying new things AND finding (or carving out) the time to make it happen. Adjust that 'life schedule' so you can welcome  'new' things into your life, the feeling is liberating.

Adios summer 2016, you were a slice.

When best friends are your inspiration

  IMG_1891 IMG_1898   IMG_1894I love that every two years, the Olympics are a time when our entire country comes together to agree on one common thing: PRIDE. I am always amazed at the immense pride that everyone has for the athletes that so proudly represent us at the games, but also how united it makes us as a country. It is a feeling I wish we could feel more often.

While I would say I am an avid viewer (and tweeter) throughout the Olympics, these 2016 Summer Olympic games in Brazil will go down as a special one because this past weekend, I got to witness and watch one of my best friends, realize her dream of competing in the Olympics, in the Women's 8 Rowing finals representing Canada.

To say I was proud while watching the finals and what Team Canada did as a team is an understatement. I was shaking with nerves watching Cristy (the last woman on the far right in Team Canada's boat in the first photo above) knowing that the finals I was watching was something I would never forget.

Knowing the heart and soul that Cristy has poured into her rowing career over the last decade; the sacrifices she has made to train and compete at the world level; the physical injuries she has sustained because of the tremendous strength she has asked of her body; the situations that her mental toughness has helped her endure; and all the roads that led her to making the boat and representing Team Canada with such pride is so admirable.

At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, one of my best friends can forever call herself an Olympian - one whose friends, family, supporters and entire country were behind, throughout this journey leading up to the finals at the Olympics.

Cristy my friend, you are a fierce competitor - so mentally and physically strong- and such a source of inspiration (and PRIDE) for not only me but so many of us who watched on Saturday knowing that we were so proud to know someone competing in the Olympics the way you did.  Congratulations in accomplishing everything you have!

I am continually amazed at the incredible people I am so fortunate to have in my life who I call friends and who act as a continued source of inspiration for me.

This ones for you, Cristy. To the lifetime of memories that culminated in the epic race of your life at the Summer Olympic Games of 2016. #Rio2016 

Where is the Pause Button At?

Say it with me... where is 2016 going?! Can we just push the pause button so we can slow this year down? And then on the other hand, I think of all the things I've did so far in 2016 and I'm not surprised we're already into August.

2016 has been an incredible year of travelling and 'firsts' for me including trips and experiences enjoyed in Mont Tremblant, Quebec; Banff, Alberta; wine tours to NOTL and discovering new little towns across Ontario like Jordan. And there are so many more towns and adventures I want to see and do before the summer begins to wind down.

My husband and I typically get a chance to visit my in-laws over the holidays back home in Manitoba but this summer, we were able to head to the prairies to take in the beauty of the western skies and canola/sunflower fields during the beautiful summer months.

Another first I got to experience with my in-laws was visiting their cottage on Lake-of-the-Woods near Kenora, Ontario. The views were spectacular.. as fellow blogger and friend Jen commented on my social media accounts when I posted the top photo, it looks like a photo from the group of even artists. Experiencing the beauty of the wilderness in the heat of the summer was so refreshing.

One of the best parts about my recent trip to Manitoba and cottaging in northern Ontario, besides seeing family and friends of course, was enjoying Lake-of-the-Woods and the outdoors without internet connection. I'll blog about this in a follow up post to elaborate more but the thrill of not having to answer emails and social media accounts was a healthy blessing in disguise for a society of people that now depend on these devices and mediums to keep us stimulated throughout the day.

Because of that, I was able to fish, canoe, finish the summer-fiction best seller 'The Nest' in two days, enjoy Ontario craft beer at the local famous brewhouse, Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, hike to Rushing River provincial park, and see the Northern Lights for the first time in my life! The pictures don't do these moments justice.

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful summer... I think I can smell fall in the air already!

 Manitoba 2016