Where Has This Year Gone??


How on earth is it November 19th??

This year has absolutely flown by and I can't get over how full every day is and when I say full, I mean it in only the best way!

I will fully admit that I haven't been spending as much as I would like to with the big guy (aka Lightning - my horse), but the time we do spend together is so good for my soul....and his too I think. I snapped this photo as he was eating his dinner and as he does so, I lean on him like he's a big, furry pillow. He munches away and I get to breath in the horsey aroma that has intoxicated me since I was a child. So simple, yet soooo good.


Speaking of big guys, it wouldn't be November without a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. My bestie's family shows there every year so I went in to see her daughter and uncle show on a Sunday afternoon. The day I was there her daughter showed a Clydesdale in a line class and she did a fantastic job. These gentle giants are truly magnificent creatures and Clydes will always be my first love of the equine world.


There's something magical about the first snow and as I stepped out my front door at the City Cottage on the sunny morning after ours in Guelph, I couldn't help but smile and revel in the beauty that surrounded me. 

The second photo above is the view from the end of the laneway at my Moms home (the Country House). The tamaracks are so beautiful with their rusty-burnt orange hue this time of year...I was out gathering greenery and couldn't help but snap this photo.


The greenery I was collecting was for these....I got a head start on the Winter/Christmas decor at the Country House by putting together the planter inserts at the front door. Every piece contained in the insert is from our property and I'm beyond happy with how well they turned out.

They're so full with a variety of textures, from the hydrangeas to the cone flowers to the 'fluffy weeds', I just love them!!

I wouldn't have been able to pull these together without the help of this guy.....


My Charlie Bear helps me with the outdoor decor every year and this year he was right beside me, ensuring only the best from a quality control perspective... I just love him to bits and with that face, how can you not?

I hope you've had a wonderful November too and can you believe that it'll be Christmas in 5 short weeks?? I better start my shopping!!!


Get Outside!

I love the great outdoors and every opportunity I have to get outside, I take!

I received a Fit Bit as a gift for my last birthday and it's always such a good feeling when I feel it vibrating on my wrist, notifying me that I've walked my 10,000 steps for the day! A good gal pal and I have been walking around our beautiful city of Guelph (the photo above was taken on new years day at sunset) the past few months and it's so refreshing to get out into the fresh air, spend time with a great friend, learn new things about our city, take a tonne of photos and have the instant energy boost of getting active!

A park up the street is transformed into ice rinks by local residents every winter...

To walk by and hear the laughter, the crunch of skate blades cutting through the ice and to witness a community within a community come together like this brings a huge smile to my face!

And then there's winter at the Country House. This photo was taken a few weekends ago, mid snow storm! 

Charlie (and I) love the snow but as he gets older, the deeper accumulation poses a bit of a challenge for him. As you can see however, this does not hold him back... We get outside and walk every morning and evening, though this time of year, we tend to stick to the lane way when we're in the country.

This makes for much easier walking and he'll lay at the top of the lane and watch the cars and Mennonites go by... The odd bunny or deer may cross the lane too and of course he jumps up, barks like crazy but I think the wild animals know that they'll be just fine as this almost 12 year old guy doesn't move quite as quickly as he used to.

This guy..... any time spent with him means getting outside and getting active. 

Whether it's ground work in the outdoor arena or a walk through the woods to see the mares in the back field, being outside and in his company guarantees an inspiring, energizing and fun time!

I hope you have a chance to get outside this weekend and enjoy at that the great outdoors and physical activity has to offer!


2016 - A Year in Review (Part 2) - July to December


Canada 2016 was a veryyyy chilly day, but we decided to head to the lake anyways. It was veryyyy weird to be the only people (yes, the ONLY people) on the beach in Port Elgin on the July 1st holiday. No matter the weather however, Lake Huron will always lure me to it.....always...

We celebrated a wonderful friend with a night at the races. We didn't 'win big' from a monetary perspective (we mainly placed bets based on the names of the horses), but it was a HUGE win to be able to spend her special day with her and her family.

My backyard continues to come together nicely and I was able to add some fantastic details with yard sale finds (or should I say steals?!). Last years fence looks great, the mulch settled in nicely, the plants I re-planted all survived (thank goodness) and I can now officially call this my sanctuary.


This was a much warmer day along the shore of Lake Huron in the town of Kincardine. If you walk to the very end of the boardwalk, you get to a section of beach that has HUGE pieces of driftwood.....I just couldn't help myself! (and I really wish I could have sneaked them home in my truck....but oh well, better to leave them for everyone to enjoy).


On a rainy Saturday morning, I took a wee road trip to a city I used to call home....Burlington. In between rain showers I wandered along the pier, visited the bakery that Charlie and I frequented every Saturday morning and stumbled upon this amazing store on Brant St called Centro Garden. As you can see in the photo above, from their home décor pieces, to their housewares, to their garden centre....I'll take one of each please!!


And then there's this guy....from the moment I laid eyes on that handsome face, I knew he had to be mine. This is Light the Night (aka Lightning) and he has brought so much happiness to my life, I can't even put it into words. He's a 16hh draft cross (Percheron + Paint) and I swear that somehow, Charlie's personality was morphed into this horse! Just like Char, he's so stubborn yet so smart, he's such a kind and gentle creature and those eyes...he can be trying my patience to almost the tipping point and then he gets 'that look' and I forget really quickly how frustrated I am....Welcome to the family big guy!


So you can’t have a horse without tack, therefore, I headed to Pleasant Ridge in Brantford to get everything I needed for Lightning. I grew up mainly riding Western and seeing as my guys is quite green (ie. Only been ridden a dozen times), I thought we’d start out with what I was comfortable with and go from there. Doesn’t he look dashing?!

Mom and I travelled to Stratford to see my Grama after she had surgery and on our way home, we stopped to take in the stunning gardens along the river (and maybe have an ice cream cone too). If you’ve never been to Stratford, you need to put it on your ‘to visit’ list for 2017! It’s a beautiful and historically significant town with so much to offer (shows at the Theatre, amazing restaurants, local artisans/shops and magnificent character homes).

If you’re a regular follower on Instagram, you know how much I love to photograph sunsets. This one was taken at the farm, just as the sky was clearing after a rainy day. Such a gorgeous late summer/early fall evening!


I’m not easily surprised, but these two absolutely succeeded in doing so, having me in happy tears with the biggest grin on my face for hours! Cheers to these two incredible people, their new life together and the amazing new chapter that will start for them in 2017!

I had to stop and snap this photo one the way out to the farm one morning. The sky is the most spectacular blue in the Fall and those colours popping against it….oh wow!! I just couldn’t resist capturing it!

We celebrated the most important woman in my life in October as she hit a milestone birthday and we were able to celebrate in the most idyllic and tranquil setting thanks to my brother and his amazing lady friend (her family cottage). It was a perfect way to spend Mom’s birthday (Minions and all) …Thank you soooooo much Anne-Marie and Mike!!


I attended The Royal this year and was so lucky to be able to see this vivacious gal and her pony put on quite the show in the ring! I enjoy everything about The Royal, from the horse shows, to the vendors, to behind the scenes in the barn…it was a fantastic day of experiencing ‘country in the city’.

Charlie and I really enjoy our morning walks at the Country House. This was a frosty morning, just as the sun was rising. Fall is my favourite time of year and this photo captures why.

With over 7000 photos on my phone and with some prompting from family and friends, I re-opened my Etsy shop to be able to share my photo prints with everyone. The collection will continue to grow into the new year and thank you to you all for your support!


Every year that I decorate at the Country House, I have this guy as my helper. He keeps me company as we walk around the property, collecting greenery and other décor pieces and always has to pose in the final shot, once the job is complete!

I made my rustic chic wreaths again this year and it was by far my most successful year yet! Soooo many orders allowed me to really get creative and I thank you to my returning and new clients for their support and incredibly positive feedback. I just love making people smile and creating a one of a kind piece for their home.

Oh Christmas tree….you’re always there to help round out the year and bring shimmer and shine to our home over the holidays. I really enjoyed basking in its glow this year….thanks Mom!

Looking back, all I can say is ‘Wow, what a year!’. I hope you’ve had as great a year as I have and I wish you the best for 2017! 


A Winter Wedding in the Country...

From the day my childhood neighbour got engaged, she had one dream for her wedding day...... 

.....To be married in the hay loft of the barn on their family farm.

Their farm is beautiful and as you can see from the front porch of the farm house above, every detail has been taken into consideration over the years in the ongoing development of their property.

I spent hundreds of hours in that hay loft growing up and only knew the loft to be full of hay, straw, chickens, farm equipment and a variety of other odds and sods. I will admit...knowing the loft as I did, I was having a somewhat difficult time imagining the transformation into a space for a wedding.....

The day of the wedding arrived and as we walked up the gang plank to the man door of the hayloft, the large doors monogrammed with the initials of the bride and groom and conifers & greenery lining the entry, her brother handed me a program and then, we stepped inside...

I stepped onto the barn board floor of the hay loft and as I looked around, my jaw dropped, I was utterly speechless and happy tears filled my eyes.....

It was INCREDIBLE.....absolutely PERFECT!!

The work this close knit, loving and hard working family put into making this day the day of the bride's dreams, warmed and filled my heart to no end.... 

This space, where we used to play tag over the bales of straw and built hay forts, had been transformed beyond belief to the most incredible setting for her winter wedding. 

As the sun shone in through the cracks of the barn board walls, there was a warm glow from the lanterns and fire place. The gorgeous rustic chandelier and fairy lights hung overhead. Every little detail was thought of and put in place, from the musical duet playing in the background to the hot chocolate bar to help keep the guests warm and toasty, to the cones of 'snow' that we showered the bride and groom with after they said 'I do'... nothing had been forgotten.

The bride couldn't have been more beautiful, the groom more handsome. The smiles on the face of the family, wedding party, friends and neighbours said it all.... This day, in this unbelievable setting, would never, ever be forgotten!

The ceremony was too cute and so touching. As the bride and groom walked back down the aisle as man and wife, they were absolutely showered in shimmery, glistening 'snow' ...we were going to give this couple their winter wedding whether there was snow outside or not!


After the ceremony, family and friends gathered around the fireplace and hot chocolate bar to keep warm and cozy. 

I didn't want to leave! I just wanted to stay in this space as long as possible, soaking it all in and marveling in the transformation!

No matter how much I wanted to stay....the time came to head to the reception. It was being held at the community centre where the bride and I and all of the kids in our families learned to skate, had spent countless hours volunteering at and had learned what community really meant!

I couldn't wait to see how they had the hall decorated!

We arrived and I was immediately drawn to this....

The head table!

Could there have been a more wintery  rustic-glam setting? The shimmer of the table skirts, those re-claimed doors (all from the farm house), the chandeliers, the greenery....

Again....just perfect! 

Cheers to B&B....it was an amazing day/evening and I wish you a lifetime of happiness and joy! Thank you for including us in your day!


Winter Neutrals

Not only have I been neglecting my blogging this year, but I've also been neglecting my home decor. That being said, Friday night was the night for Christmas to arrive at the city cottage!

I make a point of decorating more so for Winter versus a scheme that is 100% Christmas as I enjoy leaving the decor up as long as possible, seeing as I'm not home all that much to truly enjoy it!

This year was no different....I decided to go with a neutral, rustic theme this year, with a bit of metallics added in for some sparkle (it is Christmas after all). I put on the Love Actually soundtrack, cleared off the sideboard and raided the many rubbermaids downstairs that are overflowing with Christmas/Winter decor. The sideboard was soon transformed into a neutral, rustic centerpiece for my home.

The photo above was taken at about 9pm, shortly after I finished (my apologies for the not so great photo quality) and I just love the glow of the lights, the variety of textures, the rustic charm and natural elements.

I was so happy to wake up Saturday morning and love the sideboard as much in the daylight as I did at night. 

As you know, I have an affinity for trees and I try to use them in my decor as often as possible in some way shape or form. What better time of year to incorporate them then during the winter months? 

Fur, feathers, wood, glass, metal, burlap....all the elements that speak to me in their rustic ways and when they all come together, a little magic happens!

I've done a few little tweaks here and there since Friday and just love how it all came together!

As I'm writing this I've just come in from decorating the outside of my cottage (more to come on that soon) and I'm sitting down to enjoy a latte, an amazing cinnamon bun and just take it all in.


I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have been able to find some festive cheer to incorporate into your home!




First Day Of Winter!

December 21st....The first day of winter.

Here, our grass is green and the temperature is going to be above zero here leading up to Christmas..... Winter who?

I really do enjoy winter....the crisp air, the fluffy snow, the brilliant blue sky when the sun shines.....

There's something about bundling up in cozy coats, fuzzy scarves, hats & mitts and setting off in the snow, breaking fresh tracks and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer. 

There won't be a lot of writing in this post, but just photos to illustrate why I truly do enjoy Winter in all her beauty!

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Ski Bunny Weekend!

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This was the view I woke up to Saturday morning after being invited to an annual Ski Bunny Weekend by my friend, neighbour and fellow blogger, Carlie, of Friends In My Closet.

I headed up to Blue Mountain in Collingwood on Friday night and having never met three of the five of us, I was a tad bit nervous. Silly me....within the first 5 minutes of arriving, we all had a beverage of choice in hand and it was like we were long lost gal pals!  Then, it was time to head to the Village.  

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It is such a rustic yet pretty atmosphere at night with all the lights and decor. We had such a fun evening!!

The next morning we rolled out of bed, made a very healthy breakfast (...ok, no we didn't...it consisted of bacon, bacon and more bacon...) and then it was off to the slopes!! 

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We rode the chairlift to the top and this was the view that greeted us! The sun was shining and the air was crisp. It was such a BEAUTIFUL day! That's Georgian Bay in the far distance (with quite a bit of ice covering it) and a great view of the Village. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

We got to the bottom of one of the runs and I couldn't help but stop and take some photos of this home......

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Talk about architectural perfection......wow!! If I were to build my own dream home, it would be extremely close to this type of design. The windows, the beams, the stone work, the deck with the glass railing....even the details on the garage doors... *Mwah*! As you can see in the reflections, this home was LITERALLY at the base of the hill. 

The sun was then beginning to set, so it was time for dinner.....

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We walked through the Village to Rusty's and had our fill of really yummy food, recounting the past 24 hours...Oh..I had the Fish Tacos and highly recommend them!

While we were there, we were able to get caught up on the Olympic events for the day.... We all jumped out of our seats in horror, with tears in our eyes, when we saw the 4 man bobsled with Jesse Lumsden and Justin Kripps on board, flip onto it's side. We were just so happy that they were all okay and also so very proud that they were pushing it to the far limits of their sport!

After another night of fun in the village, it was time to get up nice and early to watch the Canadian Men go after the Gold!

It was so hard to pack up the truck after such a great weekend with new friends....but as they say, all good things must come to an end. A HUGE thank you to the gals for inviting me and making me feel so welcome! Haven't had that much fun in quite a while and am looking to our next Ski Bunny Weekend in 2015!

So..... It's back to reality....and back to a week of below normal temperatures..... BUT....Charlie and I are ready for whatever Mother Nature may throw at us!

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My Happy Place - Part 2

I introduced you to Lake Louise (the ski resort) in one of my earlier posts this month...A very happy place for me indeed! Now, onto Part 2 of my time there....at the Chateau!

We packed up our skis and headed to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise  

The drive up to the resort was stunning...the sun was shining, the snow covered mountains, trees with branches laden with fluffy white snow....Winter at its best!

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We arrived to the quintessential Lake view......I could have stood there for hours, taking it all in and just enjoying 'being'..


We walked around and had a chance to see the beautiful ice sculptures that had been done for the "Ice Magic Festival" and in honour of the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


We then went inside, found a table with a view in the bar/lounge, and said 'cheers' to an amazing day!

It was the kind of day that I didn't want to end...ever...but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. It was time to get on the road and wind our way through mountain ranges back to Calgary.


Talk about the perfect end to the perfect day....I could get used to this view! Sunset over the Rockies...


My trips out West always bring a kind of happiness and level of contentment that cannot be put into words..... I hope that you are able to travel,visit or even live in a place that allows you to experience these indescribable feelings too....We all deserve that level of bliss!