Monthly Archives: April 2013

Music Monday’s :: A Beautiful Life

This 1st instalment of Music Monday’s.

I know that this is the same title as my last post, probably because it was much of the inspiration!  I love music, I listen to music all of the time, it’s rare that music is not playing in my house, car, or my iPod.  I find that music is way for me to relax, connect and enjoy.  I am not a huge fan of complete silence, mostly because I get distracted, but music, I love music.

Phil and I have much different music tastes, he has a style and genre he likes, where as for me… I like many things.  I like different music for different moods, different days, heck, different activities.  I also can truly, truly listen to the same album over and over again without getting bored of it.  When I’m cleaning, upbeat, fun music is a must.  When I’m reading, classical or piano music is my fave. But, there are all the in-betweens!

I have my favorite worship playlist, my Disney play list, my company’s over list, my easy listening, and many more.  I am also a big fan of Grooveshark and 8Tracks, online radio that I have been able to be introduced to all sorts of new artists and songs!

Today though, I want to share my newest acquired album – A Beautiful Life by Justin James.  I downloaded it originally because the song A Beautiful Life was played in the slide show that Karen did for us (click here to read).  I decided to buy the whole album and am glad I did.  It’s an easy listening album that seems perfect for spring, I don’t know it fits right now for me.  Lots of romantic songs, which are hitting the spot right now for me.  He has a great voice and musically I enjoy the mix too.

Something that is even more awesome – Justin James is a Canadian artist!  He has a tour coming up this summer, so if you like his music, who knows he might be playing near you!

So, if you are looking for a new album, I’d definitely recommend checking it out!

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A Beautiful Life!

I have a beautiful life.


I am healthy. I am loved. I am happy.


Often, through the mundane routines that become ‘life’ we forget about the life we are living, we get lost in schedules, plans, e-mails and being everything to everyone, that we forget that our life is beautiful. My life is beautiful.

Recently, I had many moments of clarity to make me cherish the life I have, and to remind of the desire I have to live each moment, be present each day, and make the most of it, whatever ‘it’ is.


I am blessed.


5 years ago, Phil and I, for our 1st anniversary, decided to have a photo session with Karen McKinnon of McKinnon Photography.  Our hope was that she would capture us just the way we were.  We chose the location of a park that we spent a lot of time at while we were dating, and it was perfect.  We were in our element, it was playful, joyous, and fun.  It was us.  Who we were at 22, celebrating that we had started our life together and were celebrating our 1st anniversary, celebrating that we had been together for nearly 4 years, celebrating love! (If you want to see the blog post from that session click here)

Since then, many things have change, much has not, but one thing remained, my love of Phil, my love of our life.  Some things have gone better than planned, others haven’t gone as planned at all, but we are wandering through this journey of life together and growing as we do.

On May 12, Phil and I celebrate our 6th anniversary, to many its not much time at all, to some its such an accomplishment already, to us, its perfect.  It marks the day that we started our life together, it marks a time in our life where we made a commitment to each other to grow together, and be with each other through the good time and bad, it marks when we became a family.  It marks the best day of my life, marrying my best friend.

Last Sunday, we had Karen photograph us again.  It was different this time.  This time, Karen is more than just a photographer I admire, but she is a friend.  Over the past 5 years, she has become a wonderful friend.  Someone who I have shared many wonderful conversations, laughter and time with, even more, someone who I know will be in my life for many years to come.  When we were discussing our session, I didn’t know really what I wanted, but gave her creative choice and wanted any suggestions, and I am grateful I did.  After photographing my sisters wedding last fall including my family getting ready in my home, she thought that our home was a perfect place to start.  Our home is where we live our beautiful life, where we do nothing together and enjoy the simplicity of it.  Our home is where I have worked to include precious pieces that are representative of our families; photos of our grandparents, my Baba’s china, books from Phil’s childhood all adorn our shelves.  When we were done shooting at our house, we thought it would be neat to revisit the park we were photographed at 5 years ago, but this time was different. This time, it wasn’t just about being playful, but it was about celebrating our beautiful life.  We have changed.  We have grown.  We are different. But, one thing remains, we have a beautiful life.


Tonight, Karen posted our sneak peak…. its perfect.


Click here to see the video she made, its a combination of still and moving pictures, and tells a little of our story.


I love the song she chose to accompany it ~ A Beautiful Life by Justin James, a perfect choice.


This is my beautiful life….


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I’m home and it’s wonderful. My bed has never felt so lovely and being home with my Phil and our pups is wonderful.

Yesterday, after a lazy morning, we met Shannon for breakfast before heading back to the valley! It was so wonderful to see my sister right away and it was a great (although quick) visit!

Then we drove… I think the jet-leg was getting the best of me as I felt sick the whole way home, blah! But we made it!

First stop — to meet my newest niece who made her arrival while I was in Greece! Auntie cuddles are my favorite and I’m looking forward to many more!

Next stop — to see my dad! My mom is still away, so I have to wait till Saturday to see her, 4 weeks is the longest we have ever not seen each other – in my life! I can’t wait. We also got to pick up Jasper & Banff, who were quite excited to see us!

Third stop — the Klassen crew had us for dinner! Excellent!! As I didn’t want to have to cook & was dying to see the Klassen 5. The kids even did an auntie comes home countdown!!! Melt my heart!!

Last stop — home!! Bliss!!! I was in bed by 8, I fell from awake very fast and was grateful for my bed and my snuggly pups!

Today, I felt human again, a great feeling! The sun was shining, I spent the with some of my favorite people and felt content & blessed. Phil and I had dinner at the park and enjoyed an evening walk, and I finished off the night relaxing once again.

Life is good great!





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Home (nearly)!

After 22hrs I arrived in Victoria. 1 early morning, 1 bus ride, 3 uneventful flights, 1 extremely tight connection and no luggage later I was greeted and embraced by my Phil! After 24 days, I was filled with such excitement to get home, and was thrilled when we arrived 20 mins early.

Phil brought me Starbucks – he’s perfect!!

We waited for my bag (which I know was in Toronto) only to watch the last bag be picked up & the belt turned off. The good news, my bag just wanted to extend its vacation & took a pit-stop in Vancouver, so at least we know where it is and hopefully is delivered to our hotel this morning!

To be honest, I didn’t really care (except all my finds are in there) but I was so happy to be home, so happy to be with Phil that I was just content as is!

We decided to stay at the Sidney Pier and will head home today. Europe adventure = success!!

Here’s a pic of my Phil and me at the airport!


I’ll recap about the adventure once I’m settled at home, but have many stories to share!

Until then…..

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Ireland :: Giants Causeway Tour

We weren’t staying in Belfast for long, but we knew that we should see the giants causeway. Katie found us a bus tour that was a great price, that would take us to Carrick Castle, the Carrick rope bridge and of course, giants causeway.

Funny thing – all of us get motion sick.

Funny thing – roads in Ireland are not straight and buses merely use lines as suggestions, and never question fitting around corners.

Funny thing – we all were a bit worried we wouldn’t make it through the day.

Good news: no biscuits were tossed, and we made it home safe.

The rope bridge was neat, high, and made my palms sweaty, but I did it. It’s funny. I hate those kind of things, but had no issue climbing up and down the rocks or right near the edge. It was so beautiful out there.

Side note: I wear a fitbit which counts my daily steps, and how many floors you climb, it was Katie’s goal to get 100 so we walked up every possible hill. Who let her be in charge.

Next stop – the causeway. Ok, I’ll be honest, from a distance, it didn’t look all that amazing for all the hype it got, but as we neared it was incredible. So beautiful, all these rocks perfectly formed like stairs almost. It was so neat and since it wasn’t raining we could wander around on them much easier!

At the end of the day we had 127 flights of stairs, 19000 steps, I’d say it was successful. Now for the photos… Enjoy!











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Irish you were here!

Our last leg of the trip is upon us, we arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland last night and leave for home on Sunday. Last night we were all beat from the travel day, so once we found our hotel we found a pub near by for dinner. It was relaxing and exactly what we needed. Today was going to be the start of our Irish adventure.



First stop: breakfast, we found a great place that had Irish breakfast, Katie even had beans with hers. It was a good start to our day and gave us the stamina we needed to start the day. Next we were off to the titanic museum. It was amazing. Titanic was built here in Belfast, so the museum takes you through the whole process of building it, follows the lives of some of the passengers and shares how it sunk, and shows the findings of titanic on the ocean floor. I have always enjoyed the history of titanic, but never experienced it like this. It was an incredible museum. Interesting, the shape and height on the museum is what titanic would have been like in the water – HUGE!





After the museum, we had lunch, wandered around the local shops, I found my last pandora charm for my trip and then it was time for a rest. (We love siestas)

This evening we headed out to Queens University, where Katie is studying. It’s a beautiful campus and it was great to see where she’s been this past year. After the tour, we had dinner at Maggie Mays, and then enjoyed a drink at Lawerys. A great ending to a great day. Tomorrow we are off to see the giants causeway, I’m very excited!





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Barcelona :: Sangria

When you travel to Spain, everyone talks about sangria. Like I said earlier, I’ve not quite acquired the taste of wine, I didn’t have high expectations. The 1st night in Barcelona, we did have a pitcher and I didn’t drink much. After the wine tour it seemed better, and on our last night we decided that we should probably drink sangria and eat tapas.

We stopped at 4 places total – 4litres of sangria and yummy tapas. We laughed, and celebrated our time together and agreed that Barcelona was a successful stop on our Europe adventure.







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Barcelona :: Cooking Class

Monica was responsible for most of our planned activities in Barcelona, as you know, yesterday we did a wine tour, and tonight we attending a cooking class. I have never been to one, so truly had no idea what to expect, but my experience tonight is one of my favourites of the trip.


We arrived at the class and had no idea what it was going to entail, what the kitchen would be like, how big/small the group would be, or any other details. When we arrived we were told that the class would be with 8 people, we were shown into a beautiful kitchen area where we would spend the evening. Starting off the evening right, we were offered wine (which flowed through the entirety of the glass) which is said to be the most important ingredient while cooking!




Once everyone had arrived we made quick introductions and got the cooking underway. We were learning to cook (and later eating) 5 Spanish recipes: Tomato bread, Spanish omelet, soup, Paella, and crema Catalan. We were broken into groups for prep, and then all watched and helped as we cooked. Monica and Katie worked on the Paella, Katie made the tomato bread, and I made he crema Catalan (which is similar to a Creme brûlée… Phil I definitely am in need of a cooking torch!)






As the evening rolled on, and as the wine continued, our friendships with those we were cooking its also changed, from casual acquaintances to friends who we laughed and shared a wonderful evening with. One couple was from Russia, one couple was from Australia, and we even had a local Barcelona guy in the group too, it was a perfect mix!

Chef Candido was fantastic to work with, he was very knowledgable, and shared many tips and tricks. He allowed us to be very hands on with our cooking experience and joined in the fun. He is passionate about cooking, and you can see that in how he conducts the class, how he interacts with each individual and truly makes everyone a part of the class.






Finally, it was time to eat…



After dinner, I was called back into cooking duty to finish off the crema Catalan. This is where it got fun, I was entrusted to use the kitchen torch! (Dad, don’t worry, my hands weren’t even shaking tonight!)




After dessert, we visited and relished in the fabulous evening we had, as much as it would have been fun to stay, learn more recipes, the evening had come to an end. And what an evening it was.


We walked home, laughing, enjoying the warm Barcelona evening, and are now ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow is our last day in the city, who knows what kind of adventures we’ll find next.


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Barcelona, wine tour!

Today was a fabulous day! Monica planned a wine tour for us in Barcelona! I have yet to acquire the taste of wine, but knew it would be fun, and I was so surprised by the experience, it was amazing & we had a lot of fun! The tour was 8 hours long and we went to 3 different winery’s so filled up the day nicely, especially nice, since nothing is open on Sundays.

First we had to travel to our first stop….


Which was the Jean Leon winery.


It is a beautiful winery, it was the smallest of the 3, but unique in that they grow all of their own grapes for the wine on the property. Jean Leon had such an interesting life story, moving to Barcelona with his family when their house burned down, being a stowaway to America and traveling across the states to Hollywood where his luck would change. He met Frank Sinatra who gave him his lucky break and from then he created a famous restaurant that many stars were at through the years, interesting fact, Jean Leon, knew who Marilyn Monroe was with the night she died but was a man of his word in secrets, and never told anyone.

While we were there we tasted the same red wine, unfinished and finished. We compared the color, taste, tears and smell. It was quite interested to be walked through all those little details. It was a great start to our day.

A few pictures from the winery.







The next stop on our tour was Torres Estate Winery. It was much larger – we had to take a train to tour the cellars and the property. It was a little concerning as we got on the train that the 1st question was if we were claustrophobic, not exactly what you expect, but the tunnel you you go through to get to the cellars was quite small and dark, so I guess it was fair. The drove us thought the winery where we saw the crops, cellars and where they process and bottle the wine. After the train tour we wandered through the museum until we arrived at the wine & cheese tasting room? This is where things got to be really fun!

Each table had about 8 people, at the 1st winery, we met a group of 4 ladies who we agreed if we took photos of them, they would for us. Well, when we got to our table we had room and asked them to join our table, and it was a hoot! We had 3 wines to taste, a white, merlot and Cabernet and paired with it was different cheeses, we ,axe would not only to eat what was at our table but as the other people left and had left food behind we did a good thing to clean up those things too! My favourite was the white wine, as well as Katie’s, and Monica preferred the Cabernet.

Here are some photos from stop 2,






Our last stop was Faixenet, which is a Cava winery. Cava, is like a champagne, and only in Spain, and only in this particular area. When we arrived we got to tour the estate and see how cava is made, what the process of it is traditionally, and how machines, and technology has helped along the way. It was a tour that you could easily get lost in, the caves are 20kilomoters of cellars, so it was good to stick with the group. Once the tour was over, we had cava and tapas. Yum! We got to try 2 different cavas, a Burt and a rose Burt, I preferred the rose. It they both were good. Wile we were enjoying our drinks and snacks, we were also enjoying the company of our new friends, we shared a lot of laughs together! It was a perfect day.

The last set of photos from the tour.








When we walked home, we picked up some snacks since dinner in Spain is eaten later, and headed back to the hostel for a rest. We really had a great day, and are looking forward to the rest of our time I’m Barcelona!

Until next time, adiós!

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So long, Greece, we have had a great time!

Greece was…… Amazing! When we started talking about places we would want to visit, I knew Greece was the place for me. To be honest, I never saw myself traveling much, and really up until I booked my flight in February, I never saw myself traveling to Europe for 3 weeks sans Phil, but the traveling adventures of MK2 has been nothing short of wonderful.

I truly enjoyed every part of our trip to Greece (well if I’m honest, I didn’t like how I felt after getting off of the cruise, the world was moving for a long time, but to get to see all the Greek islands, it was worth it). I loved the beautiful buildings, the Acropolis, the food, the frozen yogurt, the markets, the language, the people, I loved it all. The whole city would change from day to night, from when shops were opened and closed, so much different than what it’s like be home.

Last post I just had a ton of pictures, so Ill try and recap some moments over the past week.

Our first stop on the cruise was Mykonos, it was so beautiful, exactly what I expected.
Next we visited Kusadasi, turkey, which showed us an interesting world of bartering and being badgered to come into each and every store. They also have a neat traditional for the 1st customer of the day, you throw your cash on the floor and they pick it up and rub it under their chin for luck of more customers and money (you also get the best deal!)
Then we went to Patmos which is we’re we visited an old monastery and saw where Revelation was written.
Rhodes was all castle like, with walls surrounding the city, we did even get to tour the castle, it was so neat!
In Crete, we enjoyed a fish spa, where we sat with our feet in tanks with fish who basically eat your feet. Our feet were very nice after, and it made for great laughter as we are all incredibly ticklish.
Santorini was so beautiful, in the caldera where the ship parked is where the land just broke off and fell to he ocean floor, but so deep that there is only one place for boats to place an anchor!
It was back to Athens yesterday where we spent one more night at the excellent hostel Athenstyle. Took a tour around the city on the hop-on/hop-off bus which was a perfect way to end the evening.
This morning we had a few hours to kill before heading to the airport, so it only seemed fitting to get one more frozen yogurt, and of course, pick up a special baby gift for my newest chosen niece who arrived just a few hours ago!

We are off to Spain today, and will be there until Wednesday, then it’s off to Ireland. I have 9 more days until I go home, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, how much fun I am having, and how well I’m doing, I am going to enjoy each and every remaining day, but, I am looking forward to seeing Phil, my new niece, my pups, and my family and friends…. Oh and sleeping in my bed, that will be lovely, but until then, I’ll be seeing if the rain stays mainly on the plane in Spain, and trying my first glass of Guinness in Ireland.

Until next time!






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