guinness

St. Patrick’s Day has always been an extra special day in my family. My sister and I would get all dressed up in green wearing shamrock pins and necklaces and hair ties, eat pancakes for breakfast and bring homemade shamrock cookies to school. The day would always end with some kind of special family dinner and cake to celebrate. St. Patrick’s Day is important to us because we have our very own leprechaun – my mom(!) who moved to Canada for an adventure when she was just a few years younger than I am. I still have a large extended family in Dublin and I have visited twice – most recently two years ago when we spent three weeks strolling Temple Lane, eating fish and chips in Galway, walking carefully along the Cliffs of Moher, taking the Black Taxi Cab tour of Belfast, and always stopping at every single castle, tower, or church we encountered along the way!

I am so proud of my dual citizenship and I was surprised at how important it was for me to learn the history of Ireland while I was there. Ireland always feels like it has a little magic to it and I am glad that my heritage claims a small piece. So although I may be on my own for the holiday this year, I spent the weekend listening to The Corrs, baking shamrock cookies and preparing my green outfit! Tomorrow I’ll have a little (or a lot of) Bailey’s and some Irish Stew for dinner.

So please wear some green or expect a virtual blogging *pinch* from me! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Slàinte!

How are you celebrating today?

rest

The things I am learning in the last three weeks…

  • It is hard to be at your most vulnerable when you are not completely settled within your environment.
  • People will surprise you. They can be loving, thoughtful and kind in the times you need it most, but you have to be willing to show up and embrace it.
  • Maybe there is no place that can give you peace or strength, maybe you have to work for that.
  • When you make the big life decisions think them through and then let go, so when life calls them into question it will be easier to ignore the doubt.
  • Do not avoid the ones you love, “unconditional” means they are there to pick you up, dust you off, and give you a hug.
  • Eventually the happy and the humour will distract you if just for a little while.
  • Actively practice self-love.

This post was delayed for personal reasons, but it deserves to be shared. This is a Canadian blog after all! So without further ado, Friday Favourites – Olympic hockey tweets.

winter

When I announced to friends and family I was moving to Winnipeg last spring a few stereotypes came up, but none more so than the icy winter cold. In fact, this winter has been the coldest of the last 65 years. I learned pretty quickly that I had to invest in a good winter jacket (down-filled with a hood!) and mittens if I planned to survive. It’s not that the actual temperature is usually -40, but there is no point in looking at anything but the “with wind chill feels like…” because living on the prairies means there are no mountains to stop the wind from coming.

But one of the things I love about this city is how Winnipeggers truly embrace winter. From dining on a frozen river to spending endless days outside dressed as a voyageur, we know how to do the coldest months of the year. The best part is all the snowy good times take place right in my neighbourhood! Here are a few things to do in January and February to keep a smile on your face (I’m already excited to do it again!):

Spend a weekend morning “brunching” at RAW:almond on the frozen river. Winnipeg is lucky to have innovative chef, Mandel Hitzer of Deer + Almond, who came up with the genius idea to build a temporary restaurant on the frozen junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers. While dinner tickets are pricey, I dined on a five-course brunch that included bannock, Red River cereal and unlimited hot chocolate. This  frozen meal is quickly becoming known outside of the city and I am thrilled it is only a short walk from my place.

rawalmond

Take a sunny walk down the Red River Mutual Trail and keep cozy in a warming hut. I’m not quite convinced that these structures actually keep you warm, but they make for a beautiful sight on the long, frozen River Trail. Hockey rinks and skating and walking paths make it a fun walk in the sunshine down the river and dotted along the way are warming huts. Made of pool noodles, red blankets, this year there was even an enclosed library where you could trade books!

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Eat and dance the day away at Festival du Voyageur while listening to local music. No Winnipeg winter would be complete without Festival and just a few short weeks ago I finally found out why! Towering snow sculptures, an endless schedule of live music, tobogganing and sleigh rides, and voyageurs re-enacting the history – there is something for everyone. I learned about the traditional Festival foods: split pea soup, poutine, beaver tails, maple taffy, tourtiere, sugar pie, and of course a drink of Caribou. It was fun to end up in tents as one of the only anglophones and next year I will definitely invest in a Voyageur Pass so I can stop by daily.

festival

How do you have fun in the winter when it starts to get cold?

Back to our regular programming and the home stretch of my 2014 #Goalsetting series under the guidance of Lara Casey.

legacyseeds

Part 4: Get Radical

What legacy can you pass on?

This is bittersweet to think about since spending time with all my family in the past week has shown me the laughs, loyalty and love my Grandpa left behind with all of us. He was always ready with a joke and he loved to sit down and handwrite letters and cards to all of us, especially reminding my sisters and I to “stay positive”. I could only hope someday not just my children, but also my grandchildren, will know how much they were loved and miss my presence the way that we all miss his.

So with legacy, I want to keep it simple and focus on two things:

  1. Love notes: Every week I want to sit down and handwrite a letter, paint a picture, or pick out a special card to send to family or friends. I want to make them smile and let them know I think of them often. I am so grateful for the support in my life, I want to make sure I never take it for granted and let people know what makes them so special to me.
  2. Remember: When starting this goalsetting series, I paused to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in 2013. In much the same way, I don’t feel like I can create a legacy without remembering where I come from. It was nice to spend time this weekend flipping through old black and white photos of my grandpa and his parents. At Christmas time I went through our family photo albums and it is time to put those pictures up in my place.

What is my radical?

The things that have felt so impossible, but I know I can achieve in 2014…

  1. Start and maintain a healthy lifestyle, reach my happy weight: I have struggled with my body image/self-esteem/healthy habits for years. Awhile ago I managed to follow the Weight Watchers plan, attend the gym regularly and lose quite a few pounds. But as I got closer to my elusive goal, I became more extreme with my habits so when I finally did get to that all-important number, I couldn’t stay there. It was not sustainable. This time around I know how to be better and with simply work to focus on, I have the time to take care of myself.
  2. Erase my outstanding debt (and don’t let it creep back up again!): It really isn’t that much left, but with all my bills every month I always end up paying myself last or just using the leftovers for my VISA. I need to make this a priority and not only pay it off, but then remember to do that every month so that by December, I have a zero in that account.

Song for the year: Wish For You – Faith Hill

This has always been a favourite of mine, but since I decided to make my 2014 word of the year “Day” and I have a new guardian angel, it especially feels right.

A setting sun that paints a tie-dyed sky
A feather bed, an ancient lullaby
A kiss good night from one whose love is true
That’s the kind of day I wish for you

The faith of knowing deep inside your heart
That heaven holds more than just some stars
Someone’s up there watching over you
That’s the kind of day I wish for you

What would be your song for 2014?