Monday, August 27, 2012

Five years later - Mount Royal University PR reunion

Sometimes it feels like we just graduated yesterday. In reality this summer marks five years since we crossed the stage at Mount Royal University (then College) with newly minted public relations degrees. Five years, many miles, job changes, life changes and all - we met in Calgary to celebrate.

Thank you so much to my classmate and good friend Andrea for helping organize a fantastic Saturday. While the Team Jim and Team Janice slow-pitch tournament never saw the light of day it was so fantastic to plan this event with you.

Thank you Lindsey, Elana, Kelsey, Sarah, Jason and Amanda for traveling many miles to get together. To the rest of the class who couldn't make it, your presence was truly missed. I hope we can all get together sometime in the near future.

To another five years and even more personal and professional success!
Amanda and Mat

Andrea, Jason and Amanda

Elana and Sarah

Kelsey and Lindsey

The two Andreas

Lindsey and Joshua

Mat, me and Will

Monday, August 20, 2012

Village of the Fringed

Fall is in the air in Edmonton. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting chillier and back to school signs are everywhere.

This city leaves the best for last when it comes to festivals (in my honest opinion). Last Thursday the Fringe Festival kicked off in Edmonton and we've been celebrating near record-breaking temperatures (+34 with the humidity today) along with greasy sweet food, buskers, street operas, plays and all things weird and on the fringe.

I spent the weekend Fringe'ing away with my good friend Leisa - she graduated high school with my sister and we used to hang out together when I lived in Calgary. We had two very full days of plays, street performers, streetcar rides, elephant ears, mini-donuts and all other things to delight the eyes, ears and taste buds.

One of the main characters in this play was my server the other night. A must see!

I'll be Fringe'ing all week as well (I scored tickets to some great plays - thanks @MarlowMoo) and already Leisa and I are scheming how we can either volunteer for the Fringe next year or plan a week of holidays so we can see all the plays we want to.
Buskers beat boxing and rapping

The ladies in yellow in the background have "Free Hugs" shirts on!

BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) - this was the Holy Trinity Church

Somehow Leisa ended up participating in this show

Our ride downtown was on this streetcar

Our ride back was on this beauty - a 1912 Edmonton original

I never tire of this view

This is probably my favourite time of year. One last kick at summer enjoyment before fall, school work and winter start to close in.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fourth annual Meatfest

Another gorgeous weekend in Alberta and another new camping destination for me. It was the fourth annual Meatfest gathering with my friends Mike and Angie and their family, and my friends Jody and Elaine and their family. We met at Marie Lake this year which is just a stone's throw away from Cold Lake, our usual Meatfest home.

This year was extra fun because we had baby Beck along for the fun. Even teething this little guy is the most good-natured baby I've ever seen. He was such a good boy and it was neat to see him exploring his surroundings.

Beck likes to drive the boat
Bubble time
We tried fishing and while there were lots of bites for some, not one of us ended up catching a fish big enough to keep. What a bummer! No matter - we still had fun swimming, going for walks, sitting around the campfire and playing games with the kids.

I always enjoy these camping get-aways to catch up with friends I don't get to see often. I am really looking forward to the fifth Meatfest installment next year - Hawaiian luau here we come! Thanks again Jody, Elaine, Mike and Angie for a fabulous weekend.

 Sunrise through the trees, truly gorgeous
S'mores a new way - in a waffle cone!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down home vacation

Once I returned from Vermont I still had a week of vacation to look forward to and I headed home to the best place I could ever imagine vacationing - Saskatchewan.

First order of business on the vacation was sitting down for a visit over some fresh garden veggies with my brother and sister-in-law when I arrived home. It's so lovely to have all of my immediate family so close by.

The second order of business was the most important during summertime in Saskatchewan - going to a football game. I hadn't been to a Roughriders home game since Labour Day Classic in 2007 so I was thoroughly looking forward to the match-up between the Riders and the Hamilton Ti-Cats at Taylor Field. The score wasn't what I'd hoped for but I sure had a great time at the game with my parents. Thanks again mom and dad!

From football in Regina I headed back to Saskatoon to spend a few days with my little sister and her boyfriend. We talked, we shopped, we did lunch, we laughed - we did all the things sisters are supposed to do. Love my sister to death and I'm so glad we could hang out together. I even got to spend some time catching up with old friends from high school - we all used to work at the same restaurant together!

Finally from Saskatoon I headed back home to the farm and then into Prince Albert to visit my grandparents and play a few tunes on my violin with my grandfather. We wrapped the week by heading up to my parent's new lake property at Emma Lake. We enjoyed the long weekend between the trailer and out boating on the lake. THIS is the kind of vacation that I love taking!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beautiful Burlington Vermont

My sincere apologies for lagging on the blogging. It's been a crazy summer, but it's a good crazy if that explains things at all. I've been traveling quite a bit lately, for work and for pleasure, and it's high time I shared where I've been.

It all kicked off with a four-day visit to Burlington, Vermont, nestled on the edges of Lake Champlain. I was attending a summer institute on alumni relations held at the University of Vermont. I learned so much from my American neighbours and I made some great friends!
 Dorm living

We spent our first night at Echo Aquarium getting to know one another, share our work stories and enjoy gorgeous sunsets. 

The next two nights found us enjoying downtown Burlington's gorgeous architecture, the lively scene on Church Street, excellent shopping, amazing boutiques and delicious restaurants. We even stopped for a little bit of what makes Burlington famous - Ben & Jerry's!

 These frat houses are just gorgeous!

Church Street at night is magical!
Our final evening in Burlington was spent cruising Lake Champlain on The Spirit of the Ethan Allen III. It was a low-key, celebratory evening of taking pictures, swapping business cards, talking about work, lots of dancing and thanking the faculty members for all they shared with us. I made great friends, I saw a new part of the world, I relaxed, I learned and I had fun. I can't wait to get back to Burlington and the rest of Vermont very soon!