A Lot Can Happen In A Year!

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A year I will never, ever forget... a lot sure can happen in a year.

A year of heartache, new beginnings, new paths being built, time spent in the country, time spent in the city, time with family, time with friends, tears, laughter and reflection...

I want to say a HUGE "Thank you" to family and friends for your love and support this year. I can honestly say that you have all been what has kept me going on many occasions this year..... Again.... Thank you! xoxo

The photo above is a snapshot of my 2015 and it not only reflects the year that has happened, but the year to come ahead too....

Time spent with friends, time spent outdoors, time at home, healthy living, my Charlie Bear, diving into home decor inspiration and liking the small joys that a simple life brings.

I plan on continuing to live a simple life, enjoying the little things, making memories and really embracing life and living it! Every single moment!

2015, you prepared me for just about anything life could throw at me.

I've grown personally and professionally. I've developed a few more life lines (ie. wrinkles) and a thicker skin. There has been much laughter and many tears. Through it all, I've remained me and have hopefully become a better version of me.

Cheers to the year ahead....2016, I'm ready for you!!



5 Years....

I can't believe I've been blogging for 5 years..... 

5 years..... Half a decade..... 

As I look back through the memories, posts and events, I experience every emotion possible. It is the ultimate roller coaster ride and I'm so grateful to have this online journal, my story, full of joy, sorrow, happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointment, hellos and goodbyes....

Blogging hasn't just been a way  for me to capture stories and memories, blogging has actually facilitated and allowed quite a few of those memory making events to occur. If I hadn't started blogging, so many wonderful people would not have entered my life and if there's one thing I cherish other than the journal of memories my blog has created, it is the friendships that have formed because of how people share the love of creativity, writing and inspiring others.


I never would have guessed that four years ago when I moved into my city cottage that there'd be 5-6 other bloggers within a 4 minute walk and these gals are some of the most amazing women you'll ever meet. I'm so blessed to have them as sounding boards,sources of inspiration and most importantly, friends.

We sit in each other's living rooms, on each other's decks or in restaurants and pubs, brunching, munching, drinking, sharing, venting, motivating, brainstorming, laughing, crying, having moments of strength, moments of weakness and most of all, we unconditionally help each other grow and get to that next step.

I can say with absolute certainty that I could not have made it through the past 4 years without these amazing women (and all of my other friends for that matter) and I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for all of the "absolute wonderfulness" you've brought to my life.

I've sat at this desk,surrounded by inspiration, and written many posts. Almost everything in that room is a source of inspiration for me, from the desk my brother made me, to notes from friends, to the quotes on the wall. I can't help but feel like creating when I'm in that space.

That's another great thing about blogging....Very few blog posts are completed without photos, so in addition to having memories in the written form, I also have them in the photographic form as well.

Whenever I need a 'pick me up', I look through my photo album on my phone and a smile comes to my face. The day at the beach, a stunning sunrise/sunset, Charlie snoozin' on the couch, a scrumptious dinner, a great home decor find at the market...every one of those photos holds some sort of significance and to be able to share them but also keep them for posterity on the blog means a lot to me.

I think I get my love of photography from my Dad. He never went far without a camera in his hand and I will cherish the photos he took forever.

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One of my favourite things about blogging is developing the story behind the post and the various ways to share that post once it has been polished to the point of hitting the "publish" button.

Most of my posts start with a photo and develop from there. For instance, the photo above is one I took on a hike in Kananaskis Alberta. The photo summed up the elements of the day perfectly (the spectacular beauty, the rugged terrain underfoot, the towering mountains still covered in snow that slowed out climb, the crisp blue sky) and the post literally just rolled out from under my fingertips. I wanted to share every minute of that day and the exhilaration I felt with every step up that mountainside.

Once the post is up, let the fun begin by sharing it with others. From posting more photos on Instagram to writing a blurb on Facebook and even 'tweeting' on Twitter, the word needs to get out that a new post is up and ready for review! To say I'm mildly addicted to certain social media platforms is a very safe statement to make. I must say that Instagram is my favourite, as a 2 minute flip through, and 'hearting' photos is one of the best mid day pick ups one could have!

Perhaps my biggest 'fan' (and the world's best proofreader - aka retired English Teacher) is my Mom. I bounce so many ideas off her; she keeps me true to the written form as it should be (though I do sneak in a few "Ardis-isms' here and there) and I value her feedback more so than anyone else. Cheers to you Ma and the next 5 years of our journey!

Thank you too to the publications, individuals, friends and fellow bloggers who have shared my work over the past 5 years. Seeing your name in print or hearing how your work has inspired others never, ever gets old...and it makes your heart beat a little faster in sheer happiness!

And then there's Charlie...My furry, four legged, tail wagging muse.... The creature that always brings a smile to my face.....The "retrieval" in Rustic Retrievals... I can't imagine the last 5 years (actually 10 years) without him as my sidekick!

At the end of the day, first and foremost, I blog for me... for myself. It is an outlet, a way to capture memories, a way I hope to inspire others, a way to share ideas...and as I mentioned above, it's my story to the world. I can't wait to see what the next 5 years have to bring and I hope you continue to join me for the ride!!!


The Simple Things...The Little Things...The Messy Things..

The little things.....The simple things...

Saturday morning lattes, cupcakes, magazines and fresh flowers....

Your day is made up of these simple, little moments and how often do you sit back and truly enjoy them?

Brunch with a friend....getting caught up on what's new and where life is going....

An evening walk with a 4 legged friend.....

Sunset over Lake of the Woods....brings back so many memories....

Sunday at the Aberfoyle Market...sooo many great finds and project inspirations! (P.S. that brass bed was only $85!!!!!!.....I'm kicking myself for not bringing it home)

Morning meetings by the water......

Sitting in and soaking up the sun....I think I may need to get him a pair of sunglasses...

Our lives can get away from us at times...Thank you to Sara of Top Knot Events for sending this through and reminding me that the messier that life is, the better! Leave your bed unmade, throw your hair in a top knot and get out and enjoy your "messy" life full of simple, little moments...take off your shoes and dip your toes in the lake, indulge in that yummy brunch or cupcake, squeeze that new project you found at the Market into the back of your vehicle...These "messes" (ie. wonderful moments) are what life truly is about....

P.S. If you'd like to order one of these "Messy" prints for yourself, go to Top Knot Weddings' Etsy Shop!


I'm FLOW Excited!!


I had posted some photos on Instagram about a book that has provided me unbelievable motivation, inspiration, direction and drive..... The Fire Starter Sessions (TFSS).

A few days later, I received an email from Catherine with the Dutch magazine, Flow. She was writing an article on TFSS and had seen my photos on Instagram. She wanted to ask me some questions for her article about what lessons I have learned from the book and how the book has helped me change, implement, focus on and continue to do the things that I do in my life!!!!!!!!!! .......... Pardon??  Lil old me!?!

I almost fell off my chair!

We emailed back and forth and she let me know that I would be included in the March 2014 Dutch issue!!

WOW .....WOW.....WOW!!!!!


I posted this (above) from TFSS on Instagram last night and ironically enough, I came home to this (below)  in my mailbox today..........

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IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it's BEAUTIFUL! What an absolutely gorgeous, artistic and thoughtful magazine! 


The 'die-cut-look' cover is stunning....it has an almost three dimensional quality to it!! 

I couldn't help but to look through it all in its entirety first, taking in the artwork, the layout, the fonts, the 'feel' and aesthetic of the magazine.... and then... anticipation building, I began the search for the article I was included in.

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It is surreal to see your name in print in a magazine like this.....So absolutely surreal! Even though I can't read exactly what was written (can anyone translate for me??), I feel incredibly lucky to have been included in this article!! 


I saw THIS:

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My name ....just below and included with Danielle LaPorte..... the author of TFSS..... OH MY GOSH!!!

To be included like this, with a woman whose work I admire so very much and that I know has changed the life of thousands of people for the better....... Wowwwwwwwww............... Speechless.......

Thank you so very, very much Caroline and Flow for including me in this issue, in an article that means a great deal to me. This issue is now available to order from Flow's website

Thank you Danielle LaPorte for writing this book, The Fire Starter Sessions, that has helped motivate me to re-focus my life, my career, my family and friends.... on what is truly important to who I am as an individual!

Wow................................you just never know what something as simple as an Instagram photo may bring to your life.......