summer 2014: i want to remember

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A flower after rain at the Northern Yacht Club, in July. Taken with my Canon Rebel.

And just like that, it’s autumn again! Holy cats, time really does speed up the older you get. The adults from when I was a kid were not lying.

To be honest, I’m really pumped for Fall. I love cooler weather. I love knitted goods. I love apples and pumpkins. I’m in a “nesting” mood and so I’m thrilled to spend my spare time on our home, making it feel cozy and ours. But, just like I did last year, I want to look back at the summer of 2014 and remember all that made it good, all that made it one of the best summers ever. (It’s inspired by Elise Blaha, of course. Her post from 2012 is here.) Here goes:

I want to remember how I started the summer off with a graduation ceremony. I earned my diploma with honours in Graphic Design from NSCC and it felt so good to celebrate that with my classmates and family. I worked hard for my diploma and I’m pretty proud of myself.

I want to remember spending the long Canada Day weekend in Eastern Passage, soaking up the sun and fun times with family.

I want to remember walking on the White Point trail, down North, after visiting my friend Bob in the nursing home in Neils Harbour, and how restful the fog, water and rocks were.

I want to remember how, after some job-searching and interviews, I was excited to accept a position at the Horizon Achievement Centre.

I want to remember how excited I also was that the job didn’t start until August 4th, thus giving me a whole month off. Heaven!

I want to remember sketching a strawberry.

I want to remember meeting a blog reader from California, and spending some time with her around Glace Bay.

I want to remember an epic week in Chicago!! Hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, hugs and new friends, and three Phish shows in three nights. People, I was not a Phish fan three years ago. I didn’t dislike them, but I was certainly indifferent to them. Then I met Adam, who is a huge Phish-head. Now I can sing along to some of the songs at shows, and I get what “Page-side rage side” means. I also get why people do things like go to three Phish shows in three nights: it’s so much fun.

I want to remember planning a creative women’s retreat (held in September), and going to St. Peter’s for a day in July as part of the planning. 

I want to remember discovering bagged mulch.

I want to remember trading design services for a photo shoot, and making the most of it with helium balloons and full professional makeup/hair. SO fun!

I want to remember a morning run in a Zodiac in North Sydney harbour to take photos of the town from the water. So neat to have a different perspective of the day-to-day.

I want to remember taking time to go to the beach, and making sure to be laaaaaazy on Sundays.

I want to remember learning about new plants thanks to you readers, in my Name That Plant! posts (pink and yard editions).

I want to remember starting off paid/trade blog partnerships with a two-parter about Kiju’s Restaurant and their commitment to local food, and how much fun it was, especially since my friend Alicia Lake joined me for the delicious meal! (Meal post here, and chef Q+A here, and you can read more here about partnering with my blog or with me).

I want to remember doing lots of yoga. Streeeeetch….

I want to remember mourning the loss of Robin Williams. Rest in peace.

I want to remember starting my new job on August 4th, and the first few weeks getting my bearings.

I want to remember taking a day-long workshop on branding with the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia, and then walking in a field near my house and eating blueberries.

I want to remember doing a coaching call with Life Coach Tiffany Han and how (no joke!) it flipped my script. Woke me up. Perked up my goals and my passion. (And reminded me to take an umbrella to work.)

I want to remember spotting the first red leaf on the burning bush.

I want to remember signing up to eat 50% local food, but being honest with myself (and all of you!) about my limitations. This has meant more trips to the market than I would normally make, and most of all, delicious food and neat connections to local people.

I want to remember how the first month and a half of my new job flew by, and how it turned out that I love learning all about people with disabilities, and what the field is like.

I want to remember bringing the CBU “Happen” brand conversation to this blog, and how that blew up my stats for a few days and got me part of a CTV news story! There will be more on this, for sure.

I want to remember drinking wine in the Annapolis Valley,  celebrating a friend’s bachelorette. The wine was delicious, but oh those olives…

I want to remember a really special meal at a small restaurant in Big Baddeck.

I want to remember this as the first summer of my thirties, and the first that I spent living entirely in North Sydney. (As opposed to the last two when I still travelled to Baddeck to work.)

I want to remember this summer as truly one of the best.

 

Posted in Community, Day to Day Life, Education, Leah's thoughts, Love, Outdoors | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

multitude monday / sept 21

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Chalkboard art I saw at the People’s Climate Forum yesterday. More to come about that event, this week on the blog.

My friend and former design classmate Katie MacLennan writes a great blog called Polka Dot Soup. On it she writes a post some Mondays called “Multitude Monday.”   She writes, “Mondays are about documenting the little (or big!) things in life that make me oh-so-happy. Let’s make Mondays a day to reflect on the goodies, and not the baddies.” She writes ten at a time and numbers them consecutively, so I’m doing that too.

Also, last year I read Brené Brown’s book “Daring Greatly: How The Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead,” in which she writes, “The shudder of vulnerability that accompanies joy is an invitation to practice gratitude, to acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us.”

(The last Multitude Monday post I wrote, last week, is here.)

The ten things I’m most grateful for right now:

181. Abundant, abundant, abundant life. I’m feeling so lifted, so filled, so happy these days.

182. Mother Earth. I take her for granted all the time. I forget so often to whisper “thanks” for the grass, the trees, the sky, the water.

183. Community — all the beautiful faces in it, of all ages.

184. The crows for squawking from tree branches, for picking for worms in my manure pile (even though I don’t want them to — rascals!), for swooping through the air, for being crows.

185. Laughter, and its healing power.

186. The little things like buying some frames for art, and putting it on the walls. Throw pillows, too! I never thought throw pillows would mean anything to me. Now that I have my own home, they do.

187. Change, progression and evolution – for being normal and natural and at this phase of my life anyway, so rewarding.

188. Rain today. Dirt was dry. Enough said.

189. I’m a grown-ass woman and I’m going to listen to J.Lo’s new album, at full volume. “I luh ya Papi!”

190. Showing up to the People’s Climate Forum and simultaneously having fun, and paying attention to a serious problem facing us all. These two things can happen at once. I’ll share more about the forum, and about what I’m going to do about climate change as a result, later this week.

Have a great Monday! Stay dry and don’t blow away, LOL.

Posted in Community, Day to Day Life, Environment, Sustainability, Towns + communities | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

links loved / sept 20

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This is the sunflower that I grew in my garden this summer. It’s in a little bed at the back of the house, which is in between the back staircase, and the wall of the house. I also have lavender, oregano, lemon balm, a tomato plant, nasturtiums and a few other random things in the bed. The sunflower grew so tall and luscious! When I went out a few days ago to look at it, I saw all this pollen that had fallen on the leaf under the flower. I just loved it. It makes me feel like the flower is having its own Holi day like in India!

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend at home, for the entire last two quite-busy weeks. I’m hoping to get some artwork framed and up on our walls. I’m also hoping to scrub the kitchen floor (ugghhh… but necessary), get to the farmer’s market, and maybe even get out into my garden and play. We’ll see! And of course tomorrow, Sunday, there is the People’s Climate Forum in Sydney, which I wrote about on Thursday, that I’ll be attending. And there will also be some quality lounging on Sunday morning and evening.

But before all of that fun stuff, here are some Links Loved, a weekly roundup of rad links I loved from the Interwebs, inspired by Elise Blaha Cripe’s  weekend links series:

Awesome upcycled business cards by a popcorn company.

I may be addicted to photos of other people’s weddings. But these ones of a New Brunswick wedding are simple + beautiful.  I especially love the bride’s dress, their vows, and the cool wall/frame thing at the end!

A gorgeous collectively-written blog about gardening, called Tend.

“Enoughness is a daily declaration of what you want and the action you will take to create it.”

I’m really excited about this Celtic Colours Community Meal next month.

Cookies, delivered by bicycle! A Halifax business that really should branch out to Cape Breton.

I’m not ashamed to say I want this mug.

Don’t follow the money, follow your heart.

Have an absolutely fabulous weekend, my dears!! Dream big, yo.
xo Leah

Posted in Art, Community, Day to Day Life, Design, Food + agriculture, For Fun | Tagged | Leave a comment

quick post Friday: love in a time of Sedum

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This is the season of Sedum. If you look, you’ll see it in so many yards and gardens, starting to turn pink this time of year. It will eventually turn burgundy-brown.

Fun fact! There are many different varieties of Sedum, and some companies use it on their green roofs to filter water and keep the buildings cool, including Nintendo!

Do you grow Sedum? Do you have a use for it besides ornamental? I’d love to know.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Outdoors | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sacred Sundays: getting off my butt and out of my comfort zone

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Not my image. I found this on the website for the event I’m about to tell you about. It’s by Jenni Welsh.

OK, so I’ve talked before here about how my Sundays are sacred. (And also here, about the hiking aspect of Sacred Sundays.)

They’re my and Adam’s day. They’re the one day a week that is just out. I don’t do stuff outside the house or with other people on Sundays (with very few exceptions: sometimes we go to Sunday dinner at Adam’s parents’ place, sometimes I have to attend a board meeting of the Bras d’Or Stewardship Society, and sometimes I go to the North Sydney Farmer’s Market). And I especially don’t do community events on Sundays, because I’m pretty immersed in community stuff the other six days of the week, both in person and on the Interwebs. And I need a break from it sometimes.

But this Sunday, September 21st, I’m making an exception.

And the reason is, climate change.

I know, I know: right there, with that term “climate change,” I lost you, didn’t I?

It’s kind of the worst. It’s such a massive problem. It’s not going away, as much as we all want it to. When I hear the term, I tend to make a grossed-out face, and then zone out.

BUT. That’s not the way to face problems, is it? Nope, not really. That ain’t gonna change nothin. 

So when I heard about the event this Sunday in Sydney, I took a deep breath and I said to myself, “Alright, Noble. It’s time to walk the talk.” And I committed to showing up.

So what the heck is this event anyway? Well, it’s called The People’s Climate Forum. It’s in Sydney, at the former Holy Angels building in the North End. It’s on Sunday, September 21st. It’s from noon until 4 pm. There will be a film released and screened, that’s all about climate change in the Canadian North and how that affects people’s mental health… a real light comedy, I know, but it does actually look and sound amazing. There will also be food, and talking, and singing, and smiling, and laughing.

And best of all? It’s free!

For all the other goodies (like the details about who made the film, which community organizations are hosting, and what else you can expect) you ought to check out the Facebook page or the website.

(Or read this piece in the Chronicle Herald or this piece in the Cape Breton Independent.)

And I’ll see you on Sunday! It is SO time to raise my voice, and for you to raise yours, and for us to raise voices together, to say “we give a sh*t about this issue.” And, I think it’s a damn good use of a Sacred Sunday.

Posted in Active living, Art, Community, Education, Environment, Health, Leah's thoughts, Mi'kmaq communities, Outdoors, Sustainability | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

a meal at The Bite House

IMG_4025Back in August I was invited to a birthday party for my rad friend Adele LeBlanc, to be held at the Bite House Restaurant.

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The Bite House is the new venture of chef Bryan Picard. (Read here where I interviewed him for this blog back in 2012!) It’s a restaurant that changes its menu every month, and which uses local ingredients. Bryan wrote the blog of the same name for several years as he worked as a chef in other restaurants, and now he has realized his dream of having his own restaurant.img_2868 img_2870 img_2871

Before everyone else arrived (because for once I was early!), I toured the gardens with a glass of wine and my camera. img_2874 img_2877 img_2888 img_2901 img_2909 img_2910

Once the others arrived, they too toured the gardens.
img_4037Then dinner was served. And oh my… what a dinner! This first course was cucumber gazpacho, northern shrimp and buttermilk.

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The second course was pork shoulder, rye flatbread, basil and spiced slaw.

img_2916 img_2917 And it was good to the last slurp!

img_2922The third course was scallops, caramelized cauliflower, and herb pesto.

As it got darker, my pictures got less and less clear, so I won’t share the photos I took of the fourth and fifth courses (grilled zucchini, farmstead gouda, beef rib bacon, and summer berries, cream biscuit, and wild flower syrup, respectively). Trust me: they tasted and looked divine.

Edit: Two things I forgot to mention that were a huge part of why the Bite House experience was so great: the all-local Nova Scotian wine on the menu (and you know I love that wine) and our server, the attentive + funny + beautiful Barbara Ross Neilsen. 

Overall, The Bite House delivered a fresh, entertaining, delightful dining experience, and I’ll be going back soon. (October 2nd, to be precise.)

Have you been?

Posted in Business ideas, Community, Food + agriculture, Love, Outdoors, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you just found this blog because of CTV news…

… hi and welcome! You may be interested in the piece I wrote about the new brand for CBU. That post from last week is here.

This post, from the following day, is some follow-up about the reaction to the brand.

I’ll likely be following up on it again! It’s great that there is such community discussion. Thanks for stopping by!

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