links loved / august 2


The start of August is the point where everyone on Cape Breton collectively goes “What the heck!? Where is the summer going?”

The truth is, our summer really is only two months long. There might be some nice weather and sunshine on either end of July and August, but let’s be real, these two months are pretty much it for summer here.

The picture above is a pretty honeysuckle that I snapped a picture of while visiting a friend yesterday, at the renovated farm house she’s renting for the summer. It’s a special spot, really light and airy and pretty, filled with art, looking over St. Ann’s Bay. We had a really nice visit.

So today! Some Links Loved for your perusal. And then I’m off to Louisbourg to check out their Crab Fest! I’m excited for that, as I’ve never been to it before. And, I loooooove seafood.

I love how LaTonya includes her baby in a sling in this style post, and how simple her style is.

This Mother’s Day post by N’tima Preusser, about her own mom and not being perfect, was really powerful, real and wise.

Not only do I love this new artist Meghan Trainor and her song (it’s my summer head-bopping-while-driving song), but I love the colour scheme and fonts on her website.

The “Beautiful Mess” team’s Casual Friday posts are always fun, and I love the behind-the-scenes look at their creative business.

Part 7 of How To Be Awesome is up!

And that’s all she wrote today, folks. Have a great weekend!

Posted in Day to Day Life, Design, For Fun | Tagged | Leave a comment

quick post Friday

01quickpost 02quickpost 03quickpost

Maduinn mhath dhut! (“Good morning!” Pronounced “Matin va goot”.)

This morning I went out in a Zodiac with two fellows, and took pictures of North Sydney’s downtown from the water, for a project I’m working on with the North Sydney BIDA (which is North Sydney’s downtown business association, essentially — BIDA stands for Business Improvement and Development Association).

Before that, I drank some coffee with Adam out of our new Chicago mugs (we went to Chicago last week), as the picture shows, and now I’m getting ready for a day of mini-adventuring in the St. Ann’s Bay/North River area, for which I must practice my Gaelic a bit. Hurray! Life is good. Have a great Friday!

Posted in Community, Day to Day Life, For Fun, Outdoors, Towns + communities | Tagged , | 2 Comments

photo shoot with Morwenna Hancock


Last year when I was a student at NSCC studying Graphic Design, I bartered with my friend Morwenna (who I met when I interviewed her for this blog, back in 2012!) to design a logo for her fledgling photography business. She said that in exchange she’d do a photoshoot for me, and I liked that deal. I love professional photos, and having fun with photo-shoots, and hardly ever get to do them. This was all back in mid-winter and I knew that I really wanted to take my photos outside, in the summertime, so we put the photoshoot off until then.

I designed the logo (which you can see on these photos — and which I’ll eventually share in a Project Process post here on the blog), and time passed, and then summer arrived. Hurray! It was time to take some photos. We coordinated the date of the photoshoot, and I decided to also get myself some coloured balloons, for no real reason other than I think they’re fun and I’d always wanted to do a photoshoot with balloons. (I got them from Walter’s Party Supplies in Sydney for around $20. Sweet deal.)
IMG_8846 I also decided to treat myself and get my hair and makeup done professionally, just to add a bit of polish to my look for the shoot, and since I’m pretty much hopeless with doing that myself, I asked a gal I had met at the Women in Business dinner back in March, Jennie Pethick, to do my makeup. (Her Facebook page is here.) She recommended her friend Marley Ross for my hair.

Jennie met me at Marley’s salon, and I got my hair done in a simple semi-updo, and then in another room, Jennie did my makeup. I wanted something fairly natural-looking, as I don’t wear makeup in my day-to-day life. (Mainly because I haven’t got a clue what to do with it.) It was fun, both gals were super knowledgeable and professional, and I’d highly recommend them! Jennie holds makeup classes, too, and I think I’ll check one out, one of these days, so I know a little bit more about applying the stuff.

So then I headed back to the Northside and met up with Morwenna. It was evening by this point. We drove out to Florence Beach first, one of my favourites. (I wrote about it in this post and this one.) The day had gotten cloudy but then when we got there, the sun started to peek out. IMG_8877 IMG_8889 IMG_8902a IMG_8914 IMG_8926 IMG_8930 IMG_8954

(Note: this train track is no longer used for rail transport, we were fairly certain. We used it in a safe manner.)

IMG_9018 Then we headed over to Annfield Manor Bed and Breakfast in Little Bras d’Or, which is run by a friend of Morwenna’s. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous property, with lots of tall, beautiful trees, and lush gardens.

IMG_9072a IMG_9078 IMG_9093 IMG_9109 IMG_9117

Cape Breton Regional Library, represent!


Tree pose under a tree, of course!

IMG_9158 IMG_9163 IMG_9166 It was hard to pick my favourites to share here with you today, out of all the images Morwenna gave me, but each of these is special to me for a different reason. We had a lot of fun during this shoot, laughing and goofing around. Great memories!

Morwenna Hancock Photography doesn’t yet have a Facebook page or website, but if you want to chat with her about getting photos done, you can email her:


Posted in Day to Day Life, For Fun, Outdoors | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Leah the doofus gardener


I’m kind of a doofus sometimes. I had bought the bag of mulch a few months ago and then just let it sit on my deck. I think I was resisting using it because it falls under what I think of as “suburban gardening”: the kind of garden where the plants are there just for decoration and maybe even come out of the ground each year. These kinds of gardens, in my mind, go in soulless suburbs where all the houses look the same, and the people are boring too. (Tongue firmly in cheek here, I hope you realize… I live in a suburb now!)

You see, I grew up squarely in what I think of as the “hippie” gardening category or tradition. (And to my Mom, I’m sorry, I know you don’t like being called that word. But, I’ve got to simplify my categories here.) Which is not to say that suburban gardens can’t be beautiful, and that hippie gardens can’t be structured — I’m learning that now! But I would have to say my bias, my knee-jerk reaction when it comes to how a garden looks and feels, is towards the “just let it be” philosophy of gardening: a bit wild, a bit haphazard.

But, like I said, I’m kind of a doofus sometimes. I think I’m totally right about something, until I realize I didn’t totally understand the whole situation. So, I guess I could say I’m venturing out of my doofus-hood and into the territory of the more “suburban” way of gardening (which really is just gardening): planning beds, culling what I don’t want, and, yes, using plants for (gasp!) decoration, among other uses. (Like eating, and medicine, and bee attraction.)

Because that kind of gardening is really not that bad, like most things I fear and then come to understand! Imagine that. (Rolling my eyes at myself over here.)


So anyway, back to the mulch. I took the bag of it out yesterday on a whim (because besides being a doofus, I’m also impulsive), cut it open, and spread it around on a bed. Then I realized I didn’t have enough to cover the whole bed. And then I remembered that Earl’s Greenhouses close very soon, like tomorrow, so I gave them a call and then zipped off down the road to pick up more mulch. Fun fact: In chatting with the owner, I learned that some of the buildings at Earl’s have been there for almost 100 years! Crazy!

mulch3 Then I came back home and spread the rest of the mulch on the bed, and then a bit on another. I really like how it turned out (although this picture above is a bit too dark to really tell). I like the neat and tidy look, and I like that it was easy to just cover up the weedy plants that up until now I’d been pulling out bit by bit.

Imagine that!

Slowly un-doofusing. Which is as awkward as that word sounds.

Also, just for pretty gardening fun, here is a plant I really have nothing to do with, but that grows in my front bed each year. (It was here when we moved in.) So pretty!



Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts, Outdoors | Tagged , | 6 Comments

a brief trip to St. Peter’s


Yesterday I drove down to St. Peter’s, via Highway 4. I think I’ve gone that route maybe once or twice before. Being from Baddeck, I never really got much of a chance to drive it! It’s super pretty, with lots of views of the lake.


Once I got to the village, I had a bit of time before the meeting I was there for, so I went down to the canal to check it out. They were just shutting the locks for a sailboat passing through.


After the meeting, I went looking for lunch on the main street. I parked and walked around a little bit, too. stpeters4 I’m a nerd for way-finding signage in towns. stpeters5

And of course I had to take a picture of Canada’s prettiest location for a Tim Hortons!

stpeters6 On my way home I drove down to Point Michaud and had tea with a friend who lives there. It was raining, and I didn’t get down to the beach to take pictures. (This is my post about the Point Michaud beach, from 2012, and has lots and lots of pictures in sunshine of the beauty there.)

That area of the island is so pretty, and is far enough away from my home communities that it feels like a ‘getaway’. Oh and I should mention that my friend Shannon, who works at C&M Video, carries my stickers and postcards in her shop there! So if you’re in St. Peter’s and want to pick up some “I Heart Cape Breton” stuff, stop by her shop.

Have a great Tuesday! Today I’m meeting up with some friends from New Hampshire who summer in Cape Breton, for a rad meal at the Lobster Pound and Moore, one of my favourite places to eat, not just in North Sydney but on the whole island and possibly the world, at least what I’ve seen of it. Seriously, so good. Also I have a massage booked for this evening… not a bad day!

Posted in Community, Day to Day Life, Towns + communities | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

multitude monday / july 28


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.”

Also, a few months ago 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, on July 14, is here.)

Here are the ten things right now that I’m thankful for:

121. Rain! Oh my gosh, the lawns and gardens are so dry.

122. An “outdoor treadmill” close to my house, Munro Park’s walking track. I walked five laps there this morning, which was about four more than I thought I would do. (The sign at the beginning of the track, that says “5 laps = 3 km” pushed me to do a total of five. Each time I’d walk by it, I’d think of stopping, and then I’d say, “Well, just one more!” and keep going.) I loved the humid, cool breeze on me while I walked. (The picture at the top of this post is from there.)

123. My last week before my new job starts is semi-filled with fun rendezvous. (Or is that rendezvouses? Hehe.)

124. My last week before work starts is also semi-open for relaxing, not planned to the hilt. I’m glad I made sure of that.

125. Memories of Chicago! It’s so good to travel, to push myself to do and see new things, and then to come home and remember it all with a big smile.

126. Socialized medical care — not that I’m at the doctor this week or anything, but after visiting with American friends and talking to them about our medical system in Canada, I realized how amazing it is to be able to just go to the doctor and not worry about where I’ll get the money to pay for it.

127. A clean spot to dip in the water, only a ten-minute drive from my house. (I’d rather walking distance of course, but I’ll take what I can get!)

128. Funny podcasts loaded on my phone for a drive today. One and a half hours along the Bras d’Or Lake to St. Peter’s will be a beautiful and fun drive, I think!

129. A cool opportunity this week to explore local food. I’ll share more about that soon!

130. Always, always, every time, forever: Adam. The man makes me laugh, every day, and I’m so grateful for his loyalty and love.

Hope you have a great Monday!

Posted in Active living, Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

links loved / july 26


Well, I haven’t done one of these in what feels like ages, but is really only more like two weeks!

So, the background: inspired by Elise Blaha Cripe’s weekend links series, I like to post a little list on Saturdays of links that I’ve liked – or loved, even! haha – recently. Here we go!

I’m loving the Party Party app. It’s a pretty easy and fun way to make little stop-motion videos like the one above! (You can read more about it on the Beautiful Mess blog here.)

The book “Wild” really meant a lot to me, and the trailer for the upcoming movie looks stunning. December is too far away! I might have to watch the trailer repeatedly til then.

Cathy Zielske on anniversaries and on her twenty years of marriage: “I know that truly seeing someone else and trying to understand them is the most precious and loving thing you can offer.”

Gorgeous soft greys in this East Coast inspired piece of art by Justina Smith.

This reminds me in a soul-deep and simple way to take moments for myself, gosh-darn-it.

I’ve caught the “Parks and Recreation” bug and am watching it from the beginning. As a result I’m also now deeply crushing on Amy Poehler, it’s producer and star. I found this piece online where she talks about why Instagram selfies are ridiculous: “Now everyone acts the way ’80s performance artists used to act. Everybody’s Karen Finley. Everybody’s like, ‘This is my vagina! I’m gonna put shit all over me and take pictures!’”

Have a lovely weekend, my dears. I’m not sure what we’re up to — there’s about a 75% chance of lazy, with a fun index of 10. (That’s out of 10.) I may actually get dressed and go outside and do stuff. I know for sure I’ll eat an entire bag of cherries. Other than that, we’ll see!


Posted in For Fun, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment