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!!!


Before Breakfast....


I don't know about you, but I'm getting to be quite good friends with 4:00am.

I travel quite a bit with my "9-5" and that travel includes hitting the road well before sunrise and early morning meetings (the photo above is from a trip into Toronto one morning, for an early meeting...I/we always leave extra early to miss traffic!) . Luckily, I've always been a morning person (I'm also an evening/night person...let's just say sleep and I don't really get along all that well). When I was younger, I would be on the ice for figure skating practice well before 7am and having grown up in the country, you had to be at the end of the lane way nice and early to catch the bus to school...and we were one of the first pick ups of the day.

I'm also quite a breakfast fan (thankfully) because as we all know, it really and truly is the most important meal of the  day...for many reasons (we'll get into that in a later post). If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see my Saturday morning breakfast ritual that includes a leisurely start to the day of heading to the Guelph Farmers Market, picking up my favourite Fairly Frosted Vegan Bakery Cupcake(s) and then heading back home to sit on the deck/patio to have my cupcake and latte breakfast (with the odd mimosa, donut and fresh fruit mixed in) and enjoy this somewhat lazy start to the weekend.

IF ONLY this could be every morning!!

In reality, my typical breakfast includes items such as homemade protein-rich smoothies or Greek yogurt with fruit/berries....and OF COURSE a latte (made with skim milk and Truvia...an all natural sweetener). 

Now...as important as breakfast is, I read an article in the Globe and Mail a few months ago that talked to the "Twelve Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast".

Yes, that's right, BEFORE breakfast! Around my house, that usually includes walking Charlie and mayyybeee heading to the gym for a workout ( I tend to do my early morning workouts on an empty stomach). 

This article lists things/activities/tasks such as:

  • Waking up early
  • Exercising
  • Working on top a priority business project
  • Working on a personal passion project
  • Spend quality time with family
  • Connect with their spouses
  • Network over coffee
  • Meditate to clear their minds
  • Write down things they're grateful for
  • Plan and strategize while they're fresh
  • Check their email
  • Read the news

When I look at this list, I would say that throughout the week, I would actually do most of these, depending on the day. How about you?

I wake up early, exercise by walking the pooch, make lists for the day ahead and most days, before I even get out of bed, I take a few moments to just lay there, clear my head and ease into the day. Once I'm out of bed, I'm checking my phone(s) for emails and to get caught up on the news that occurred while I was sleeping......

I also keep a journal beside my bed to jot down new project ideas, things I'm grateful for  and items I want to remember from that day. This is something I generally do before I go to sleep, but I'm going to start adding it to my morning routine too! I'll admit that Monday - Friday, the business projects take priority but the weekends are generally mine to work on my passion projects....and I definitely do find that the first few hours of the morning (ie. 6:30-9:00am) are my most productive.

So...overall,  I would say that I do 8-9 of these things on a regular basis.

I'd also add one more item to that list......

  • Watch the sunrise......

There's something about witnessing the sun coming up over the horizon that puts a different and extremely positive perspective on things....it's a sign of the new day beginning....and is one of the most beautiful times of day to get outside and enjoy the outdoors!

I hope this post inspires you to add a few more items to your morning routine....items that may only take a few minutes to complete, but that will only add to the goodness....the greatness...of your day!


2014 - The Year of the Bucolic Lifestyle!

I'm so excited for 2014 and all the opportunities and possibilities yet to unfold! 

A fresh start...A clean slate... This is the year I've decided to get back to basics and get back to being me! 

I went downstairs, dusted off my vintage chalkboard and started to put together what 2014 will be for me... Words, phrases, ideas, lifestyle choices.... All things I currently try to embody and want to continue to, to keep improving on, to holistically integrate into my life!


Bucolic: of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life. 

The country life...the life I grew up in and with.  Rolling fields, acres of trees, babbling brooks, horseback rides, long walks, lying in the grass under the stars....A life of quality, not quantity...where less truly is more.

A life of happiness, laughter, dreaming and believing....Calm.......

I will continue to purge the unnecessary, to set goals, to believe, to breathe....to LIVE!

Ancora Imparo...still I am learning...but... Tout Sera Incoyables...everything is amazing!

As I'm still learning, still hunting for who I've not yet become....I decided it was time to take the next step and launch this new website. It is a work in progress and it has been the perfect opportunity for me to look inside myself and re-visit who I am....the true and honest ME!

I welcome you along on my journey this year....and I encourage you to continue on your own journey....

Orenda: a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to effect the world, or to effect change in their own lives.

Embrace that force, effect change in your life..... 2014 is going to be an AMAZING year...I can just feel it!