18 for ’18



Lethbridge overlooking the Oldman River


I have been scouring the podcast world for new and meaningful content, well, meaningful for me. I spend a lot of time on the road lately and use podcasts as a way to spend my time. On my way home from Lethbridge, Alberta, I was listening to SuperSoul Sunday. SuperSoul is my church. I spend Sunday mornings listening to thought leaders and their perspective on things. On this particular episode, Gretchen Rubin was a guest and was talking about finding joy in little things. This is something I have been intentional about. So I listened just a little bit harder. I am always looking for easy things to do that will increase my joy. For example, when someone asks me how I am, I used to say the truth. More often than not I would get trapped in a spiral of dark depressing feelings. I now say, “I am great!” or some other positive adjective whether I am or not. I did this as an experiment.  I found when I said great and smiled, I did feel a little bit great or happy or whatever adjective I used. The more I said it, the truer it became. I also decided to say affirmations before bed. I always say “I am happy” along with a few other ones. Every time I say to myself “I am happy’ I  smile involuntarily. Going to sleep happy made me wake up happy. Not happy…more like joyful. It is a far better way to start the day than dreading the rest of it.

I digress…

So back to the podcast. I looked up Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast. She co-hosts it with her sister Elizabeth Craft. I discovered Liz Craft is my Spirit Animal. She gets me on another level. This led to Liz Craft hosting another podcast called Happier in Hollywood with her writing partner Sarah Fain. Again, these are my people! Regular moms who work and aim for happier outlooks in a world that is more dark and depressed than ever. Liz and Sarah introduced me to By the Book. If you do nothing else this year but listen to this podcast, it is worth it. They read a self-help book and follow it for two weeks. It is inciteful and hilarious. You’re welcome. So Oprah led me to 3 new (to me) podcasts and that gives me hours of joyful listening on the road. YAY!

One listener on Happier decided to do a list for 2018 of things she wanted to do. It was called 18 for 18. On this list of non-resolution type things were clean out the junk drawer, hike once a month. Try the new cafe. All things that people say they want to do but never get around to it. She posted the list in her bathroom where she sees it every day. When she feels down, she does something on the list then crosses it off. A simple way to create happiness in her life. It is now a thing or movement, the community is doing it.

I LOVE LISTS! I especially find crossing things off my list super satisfying. I pulled out my Bullet Journal – best moment of my life was finding about this type of journaling, okay so I exaggerate, but it has revolutionalized my work projects and achieved my goal of becoming less tied to technology. I am the type of person who goes big. So I created two lists, an 18 for me filled with new recipes I want to try, little declutter projects and classes I want to take, as well as some private items that I have been meaning to do. The other list is for my Edmonton Tourist Project.

I have been struggling with what is left for the tourist to explore. I had visited all the River Valley Parks in Edmonton – except one. I have been to all the festivals at least once and some I plan to never repeat. I found my favourite cup of coffee – shout out to Mandolin! I know where I love to eat breakfast most often but there are little things I still want to explore. I get lots of recommendations that I should try from you guys and from other friends whose opinion I value. This leaves lots of things to do the Edmonton!


I made the list. The rules for my 18 in 18: Edmonton Tourist are simple. Do something on the list, blog about it then cross it off. Deadline is December 31, 2018.

  1. Visit Ice Castles √
  2. Have brunch at Café Linnea √
  3. Wine Tasting – ambiguous but there are lots of places to try it including the big Wine Expo.√ In Deep Cove
  4. Have brunch at the Workshop Eatery √
  5. Visit Muttart Conservatory’s Adult Night √
  6. Go to the last park on my list Hermitage Park
  7. Explore MacKinnon Ravine
  8. Explore MacKenzie Ravine
  9. Walk from Fort Edmonton Bridge to Terwillegar Bridge (it’s about a 5k walk)√
  10. Go to a board game café like Table Top or something similar
  11. Have Brunch at Rockin Robyn’s Diner√
  12. Funicular √
  13. Visit 2 small towns in the Edmonton Area and see what they have to offer(bonus points if I find a farmer’s market!)
    1. Lacombe√
    2. Calmar√
  14. Visit the Royal Alberta Museum (when it finally opens)
  15. Go to the Farmer’s Market in the French Quarter this is no longer a thing! What??? So I am revising this and bring over an item from my personal list Photography: The Totem Project  √
  16. Visit the St. Albert Farmer’s Market√
  17. Visit the Callingwood Farmer’s Market
  18. Visit the Millwoods Farmer’s Market

I will be visiting this page from time to time to cross things off the list and link to the blog post. It should be a fun year!


365 Days of AWESOME!

awesome-meter3 years ago I started off as the little girl who said no more than yes and played it safe with most life decisions…or made poor choices out of fear. The one day I woke up and decided to change my life. And change it I did!

I went to University to prove to myself that I was smart, that I could learn and to change the direction of my career. I went into teaching because I knew I would be good at it, and I was, but it never filled my passion cup. Yesterday at 8:34 pm MST, I submitted my final project and my last paper for University. If I end up getting zero on both of them, I will finish the class with a 70%. Cool. Yet I am worried sick about handing them in too soon.

I finished the number one most important goal I have ever set for my personal self. Sometime in January, I will see my marks and know I am a University Graduate. That is cool, shocking and overwhelming. I cried when I hit send yesterday. I worked hard, I completed 6 classes this year. SIX! That is stupid. That was MORE THAN FULL TIME. I am that girl who goes big or goes home. I tend to go big. AND I finished a month early. Why?

I start my new career on Tuesday and I wanted some down time with me. That’s right, with me. I will go for a run, do some planks, read Joseph Boyden (new favourite author!!!), bake cookies – I have not baked for fun in forever! I use to love to bake! I will make Chocolate Chips cookies for my kiddos and my new boss told me to make him some too. Oh…I work for men. SCORE! A new challenge! I have only ever worked for women. I have lots of new things coming up but I know from my very firsts half marathon, it is important to avoid the marathon blues.

Always have a ‘next thing’ in the wings.

I am on it!


I am the project manager for a Do Away with SMA. We are  turning it into a foundation that will do some great work. It has become my passion and I love what it teaches me and I love the team I work with. So that is a start (please please please go like us on Facebook and follow our adventures on our blog!). It is huge and I have big plans for it, but for now we are small and just getting started.

I am also starting my new career, it is a combination of management and fitness (seriously if you had asked me 3 years ago where I thought I would be…it would not be in the fitness career field!!). That will be a huge learning curve that I am super excited about!

Then I have nights and days off. Wow…what the hell is that? I think that is where I do fun stuff with friends and family. When my cousin finished Grad School, she started a project call 365 days of fun. She went wild with cool and fun things. Well…I will too.

My friend asked me if pre-scheduled stuff counts. Is it fun? If the answer is YES, then it counts!! I want to spend the next year, 365 days of them, making them count – being thankful and enjoying every single minute! I have worked hard for this moment and now I am going to celebrate. BIG TIME.

I have some pre-scheduled things like 4 destination races…how exciting is that?? I will be in Florida, Calgary, Hawaii and Los Angeles. There maybe a Vancouver in there, we will see.  So I know I am travelling and that is always fun!

Check list, Travel? Check! New career? Check! New Doctor on Doctor Who? Check! AND I find him kinda sexy too…finally a doctor who isn’t young enough to be my son prrrrrrrrrr.

I bought an Annual Pass for Disneyland AND Walt Disney World. That means I am going back for SURE next year…that is AWESOME!

Today I had a celebration with my Aunties. They gave me gifts for finishing school…WOOT! Who doesn’t find presents fun???  Oh, and I  bought an iMAC. I KNOW!!!! I hate Windows 7 so I quit the PC world and went full on Apple. I don’t know much yet, but let me just say this….WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG???

Tomorrow is day 2 of 365 days of awesome. Then Monday is day 3. Then my new job starts.

Welcome to the Edmonton Tourist’s 365 Days of Awesome! I can guarantee it will be interesting and it feels great to be able to write – ready – JUST FOR FUN! I am going to finish my book, I am entering Canada Writes with a sad tale from my past, fingers crossed they pick it!

Seriously…I cannot begin to tell you how happy I feel or how amazing it feels to accomplish hard goals that you set for yourself.

I recommend it.

Go out and be Awesome!



Happy Easter all! I was inspired to write this post because of a new blogging friend. You can read her inspirational happy post here. In my quest to be happy, she makes a lot of great points, but this one in particular really struck me:

I looked for ways to celebrate and lighten up life.

I try to do that, but lately things really seem to bog me down. This weekend, paying homage to spring and re-birth, I decided to really and truly put my day to day struggles on the shelf for later and just focus on HAPPY.

My cousin was in town for the weekend to visit with Mrs. Stadler. She had sent a email earlier in the week saying she would be here and it would be great if we could catch up. First of all, I was touched that she wanted to get together! The women of my family were planning a girls only dinner. That would include 4 generations of awesome. That was taken care of. I thought it would be great to go shopping. Here in Alberta, there is no sales tax, so things are cheaper for my cousin, who enjoys shopping as much as the next gal! The shopping expedition was cousins only. My daughter and her cousin came, as well as my sister and cousin. We had a great time trying on designer shoes and sunglasses, buying clothes and just laughing. HAPPY was a huge part of yesterday. I miss Happy, but was thrilled to feel that way again!

In our quest for HAPPY, we stumbled upon the most unusual roses. HAPPY definitely described them.

HAPPY took a melancholy  turn. My offspring are now teens who sleep in. This was the first Easter where whispering didn’t happen in my ear to wake me up. There was no “Mooooommmmmmy, the Easter Bunny came..” Just soft snores from closed bedroom doors. Waiting for them as they stumbled down for breakfast was chocolate and jelly beans sitting at their spot on the counter. Included in that bundle was some lovely Bunnies from Belgium, a gift from their Grandparents who just returned from Europe…again.

I am HAPPY for my parents, being able to travel with such regularity. But deep down, that envious jealous monster rears her ugly head. I wanted to go too! My father teases me about how often I travel to Disney destinations. He says stuff like “there are other places in the world to see, you know” …Oh Really? Isn’t that a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black? How many times in the 7 months did YOU go to Belgium? Ask me how many times I have been to Disneyland in the past 7 months.  He has been twice as many times as me…just saying.

This time last year, I had no idea what the rest of my year would look like. I had no plans, no real goals, and no real direction in my life. A year later, I went to Europe, started University, decided on a career goal, training for a half marathon, changed my eating habits, engaged in social activities that I would typically say no to,  and met some incredibly amazing people along the way. Looking back, I can see I have made a real difference in my life and I know I have made a difference in other people’s lives too. I often get emails and lovely private notes about being the inspiration to certain things. That makes me HAPPY too.

I am looking forward to HAPPY being part of my daily life. I am excited to see all the new things this year will bring.

So HAPPY Easter to my 53 awesome subscribers and the 200+ people who read my blog every day. You have become my cheering section and make moving forward much easier and way more enjoyable. Let me share some Belgium Chocolate Bunnies with you. I’m not eating them either, but we can look together and be HAPPY.



Happy New Year!!  I know think I have gone totally bonkers now. For as long as I can remember, September 1 has always felt like the start of the new year. It  has everything to do with the school year and nothing to do with my fiscal year-end. My house is buzzing with excitement, school bags are loaded and filled with crisp white paper eagerly waiting to be filled by a freshly sharpened HB. Flash drives are empty, waiting for those projects. Most importantly, phone calls are being made about what to wear, in spite of the school uniform rule.  The weather is cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, apples are fat and juicy and hanging on the tree. It is definitely a new year. So Happy New Year!!

Everyone does a New Years resolution, well almost everyone. I never have because I knew wouldn’t see it through. But this year is a little different. I just came off of a really difficult year on a personal front. A couple of things happened that made me turn inward and away from people. I am not going to get into it here other than to say, I am crawling out of it and can see the sunshine at the end of the horizon. Part of that is my decision to be a Tourist in my own life. So far so good! Blogging about it makes me accountable to myself, and I have some loyal readers that privately tell me they are with me for the journey because they need the encouragement too. Well people, its time we make our New Years list – not resolution!

Classic lists are 10 items long. Why 10? I listen to a podcast where his lists are a top 7. That doesn’t seem long enough. I am a little off centre, so I am doing a Top 11 list. Why 11? I hear my friends laughing already because they know. 11 has always been a significant number in my life. The biggest one of course is my not so secret crush on Mark Messier. 11:11 pm always seems to be the time when I look at my clock. The 11th month is when winter really starts kicking in here and I love the change of seasons. 7-11 is the maker of Slurpees and summer memories. I could go on but will just say 11 is my favorite and is my lucky number, so my list will be 11 items long. I shall call it:

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 things that make her happy.

Now at this point I want to add that there is a Buddhist saying that goes something like this; if you want to be something else, act like you are something else. One day it will be true – or something like that. You know what I mean! Coming out of a tough year, I need to act like I am happy in order to be happy. You know what? It works! I have no idea when it happened, but I realized I was happy. Which is great news, because for so long I was not. The other side of the coin is true too. Only YOU can make yourself happy.  I also want to add that it is a given that my family and close friends (you know who you are) are not on the list because you don’t make me happy, you make euphoric and that is a different list. This is a list of  daily things I can do to make me smile. So here we go in no particular order!

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things That Make her Happy 

  1. Hockey Smack. Nothing is more fun to me then engaging in Hockey Smack with other hockey fans. Its fun, thought-provoking and makes me laugh.
  2. Andy Williams.  As a kid my mom would listen to him all the time. His Christmas music puts me in the mood for Christmas preparations. His specials on TV were fun and so “retro old fashion family values” and his song Music to Watch Girls By just makes me want to shake my shoulders with happiness.
  3. Diet Coke. It is more of an addiction really but the sound of the sffffffffft as you crack it open sends tingles down my spine. I love it!
  4. Facebook. Whatever, you like it too! I have reconnected with old friends, made new ones, learned from strangers and laugh on it everyday.
  5. Hidden Mickey’s. The attention to detail that imaginears use in theming at The Disneyland Parks puts a HUGE smile on my face! Disney Geeks need no further explanation. If you are not a Disney Geek, feel free to pat me on the head and continue to think I am crazy, My DisFriends get me.
  6. Ink. The smell of a new book or newspaper brings back such strong and wonderful memories for me. My family knows why.
  7. Tom Hanks. From Sleepless in Seattle to That Thing You Do and Woody. I love him. Enough said.
  8. Singing. I love to sing always have and I am pretty good at it when I take it seriously. Beatles Rock Band with my family is one of the most fun ways for me to spend an evening. Karaoke with my sister is more fun then should be legal.
  9. Smelling Flowers. I use to have a great big flower garden. I can’t be bothered anymore to take care of it. However, I will stop to smell flowers growing in your garden. So thank you for growing them.
  10. Bubble Baths. I come from a long line of women who have perfected the bubble bath ritual. delightful!
  11. My iPhone. If you own one, you know why. If you don’t, get one.

What is on your happy list? I would really like to know! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!