links loved / mar 22


This is the field behind my school. You have to walk down a little dirt road to get there. It’s so pretty and such a nice spot for me to get away from school for a few minutes.

It’s that time of the week again! Time to share some link love with you all. Elise, my huge blog inspiration (the only blog I read every single day!) does this thing called “weekend links” and it got me inspired to do it too.

So let’s start with Alison of The Alison Show! She’s pretty goofy and brilliant and silly, so be warned. A while back I shared her video “How To Be Awesome, Part 1”, so here is her “How to Be Awesome, Part 2 and Part 3“. It’s what inspired me to post a short video of myself dancing, yesterday. (Yikes!)

A rad garden show in Toronto, as experienced by Nova Scotia author Niki Jabbour.

It’s not impossible: a website devoted to helping people trade ideas and services.

A beautifully-designed journal that shows the changes of pregnancy.

How to tackle huge projects and actually get them done. (I can always use advice in this category!)

How funny is this letterpress card?

I have a big crush on fashion bloggers over 40, like this lady.

Have a great weekend! See you back here on Monday.

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happiness is a frozen lake


Jocelyn Bethune and Simone Carmichael enjoy tea on the Bras d’Or Lake.

A few days ago, my friend Jocelyn Bethune posted some wonderful photos on her Facebook wall, that Simone Carmichael had taken. I shared one of them in the Dream Big Facebook group, and after that Jocelyn wrote to me to share what she had written on her new blog about the ice playground.

After last night’s rain, it may have been the last of the ice, but then again, who knows? Winter has been a trickster this year.

Here are Jocelyn’s words from her blog HistoryGeek. She’s a wonderful storyteller; enjoy!

There is a new playground in Baddeck and its making this long winter very bearable.

For probably only the second time in the last two decades, the Bras d’Or has frozen over. Oh, the lake down the Bay usually freezes, but now, you can step off the wharf in Baddeck and skate down the Bay. Or across to Kidston Island.

Today, under the brilliant blue sky, there were some 40 of us out there, on top of the waves, skating, flying kites, playing hockey and generally enjoying this otherwise unbearable winter. There were teens twirling around; three pink-outfitted girls with three very brilliant pink hockey sticks, a couple of kites flying high overhead, several hockey games and some races. And there was laughter. Lots and lots of laughter; sweet sounds floating up from the various pockets of activity. And even those folks who didn’t part take, stood on the shoreline and smiled.

It’s not like the lake has never frozen over before – it used to. All the time. Every winter. Until the 1950’s, the lake was bushed – cut trees were lined up in roadways so people would not lose their way as they traveled across the ice. And anyone who grew up here in Baddeck in the 60’s and 70’s has been reminded of their fond memories lately, of playing stick hockey on the bumpy ice; of racing snowmobiles down the bay and for true dare devils – doing spirally-donuts in a car with the icon lighthouse before you. And it was not just teenagers who did this – for years, one old guy was the barometer for the village. “If Red Rory has his car on the ice, then it’s safe.” At night, there would be bonfires scattered around the shorelines, as the magic went on into the night.

There is something magical about walking, even standing, where you know it is impossible to, at virtually any other time of the year. There is something magical about how easy it is to step off terra firma onto the lake top and there is something magical about the entirely different view I see from there of the place I call home. The island, which is a quick 5 minute boat ride away in the summertime, is now a 20 minute walk. This great vast , flat distance is so much a part of our community, but to step onto the ice is to truly experience it. I realized today that when faced with that amount of space, we become little children – just wanting to run and jump and fill it.

What adds even more to this sense of magic is the feeling that if we don’t enjoy this wonderful opportunity today, it could be gone tomorrow. With temperatures warming and some rain, well, maybe this day was our last day to enjoy the ice. We won’t even know until it is too late.

So if you haven’t gone on the ice yet, go! Feel the great expanse of space between Baddeck and the island. Take a look back at Baddeck and see home with a new perspective. Stand and look at the brilliant blue sky and how glorious it looks with the sea of white. Embrace the magic. It may be gone tomorrow.

And just for some more ice-related goodness, here is some lovely background music made on Lake Baikal. Or is that with Lake Baikal?


Posted in Active living, Community, Day to Day Life, Guest posts, History, Outdoors, Towns + communities, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

hard work, on a plate


Pan seared trout with a tarragon beurre blanc, parsnip puree, cauliflower
couscous and caramelized brussel sprouts.

I’m so proud of my friend Mel and I just have to share it with you all!

As some of you know, almost two years ago I began a program at the local community college, studying Graphic Design. (Read more about that here or here if you like.) At the same time, one of my dearest friends, Melanie MacRae, from Nyanza, also started a program at the same school, right across the hall from me, studying Culinary Arts.

We thought we’d see each other all the time, since we were right across the hall. Right? Wrong! Turns out, the Culinary students start earlier than we do, and stay later, and in between we’re both busy at our own stuff (them a lot more so). I see her in the hall sometimes on my way to the bathroom, when I poke my head in the door of Culinary and say hi. And that’s about it!


Mel has been such a hard worker these last two years, and last night was her “Dinner menu”. This is sort of a final, end-of-term project for the second-year Culinary students. It was served at Zeffiro’s, which is the restaurant on campus. (For more information on seatings, prices and menus, you can email the chefs at: I was so pleased to be there for a meal, to taste the amazing food the Culinary Program at NSCC creates, and of course to be there with some of Mel’s family and friends, to show our support of her and how proud we are of her. So much hard work and determination goes into successfully completing a program in college, especially when you’re a “mature” student like Mel is, and I am. The early mornings and the late nights, and all the hard work in between, well, it takes tenacity, and pride in your work.

Both of which, Melanie has in spades. Go girl!


Rum infused cheesecake with spiced pecan crust, roasted banana smash,
maple anglaise and coconut whipped cream.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Education, Food + agriculture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

colour week next week (play along!)


I took this photo on March 8th at the Open Hearth Park in Sydney.

Next week, Monday through Friday, I’m going to do a “colour week” here on the blog.

What the heck is a colour week? Each day of the week will be dedicated to a different colour. I’ll seek out things in that colour to snap photos of, just in my day-to-day life. Then I’ll post them on the blog. You can see examples of other bloggers doing colour weeks here and here.

Monday — Red (pictures will be posted on Tuesday)
Tuesday — Orange (pictures will be posted on Wednesday)
Wednesday — Yellow (pictures will be posted on Thursday)
Thursday — Green (pictures will be posted on Friday)
Friday — Blue (pictures will be posted on Saturday)

Whew! Hope I didn’t lose you there. I’d love it if you played along! If you have a blog, or on Instagram (maybe we can even get a hashtag going, maybe #capebretoncolourweek?) or on Facebook or wherever you want, really. It’s just for fun, to challenge my eye, and to seek out bright and fun colour at a time of year that can start feeling a bit drab (when will winter ever end? etc).

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where is your “spot”?

WhereIsYourSpot Chances are there is at least one place on Cape Breton Island where you go and you feel connected to the island, where you love to gaze out over the horizon, take a deep breath, and listen to the silence. Or maybe it’s not a grand vista, but a quiet hollow, or ravine.

For me, well, there are lots of beautiful spots on the island that I love to check out. But if I had to pick just one “spot”, it would have to be the St. Ann’s Bay look off on Kelly’s Mountain. I’ll often pull over there when I’m driving by, and just take a second from whatever mission I’m on, and look out. I feel like an eagle soaring on the wind.

You don’t have to share where your spot is, if it’s private and sacred. But just go there, for a second, in your mind, right now.

And if you feel like sharing, feel free! I’d love to hear.


Posted in Active living, Outdoors | Tagged , | 6 Comments

multitude monday / mar 17


My friend and 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.”

I also recently read Brené Brown’s book “Daring Greatly,” 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.”

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

31. Re-reading a favourite book, “How To Be Idle,” which challenges my anxieties about “hard work” and “am I doing enough,” and helps me slow down and enjoy life more.

32. This piece on a blog called “Natalie Dressed,” that talks about how to turn life’s little annoyances into evidence of things to be grateful for came at the right time: heading back to school after a week off on March Break!

33. So in that vein, all the dishes there are to do are actually evidence of us having good food to eat, and time to prepare meals.

34. Citrus fruit.

35. Longer daylight hours.

36. A window directly in front of my desk in my home office, so when I get stuck on a blog post I can look up and out at clouds, sky, light, wind, trees, and crows.

37. Getting ready for a second season of selling my postcards and stickers, and having some new stores to carry them.

38. The library. Always, always. Free books to read: for a bookworm like me, it really doesn’t get much better than that.

39. Getting ready to raise some money with art, so our Graphic Design class can attend the rad “Creativity Conference” here in Sydney next month.

40. Remembering what sexy is really all about: feeling empowered.

What are you grateful for? I’d love to hear. And, have a happy Monday.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

links loved / mar 15


It’s that time of the week again, time to share some love!

I want this as a print on my wall, and possibly a tattoo on my body.

I don’t understand the language she’s singing in, but I loved every note of this album.

The benefits of working out, for creatives.

A walk along the Scottish coastline.

Ban Bossy: Encourage Girls To Lead.

Katie (a fellow Cape Bretoner) gets me dreaming about dirt and springtime.

“Such lovely, ‘beautifully boring’, work:” folding chairs by Lucia Dill.

The Transition Network blog is actually a hopeful and connecting read.

How to let go of a dream, and “juice the brilliance”.

Have a great weekend! I’m trying to remember that life is what we make of it. There may be trends of people leaving, there may be unprecedented change happening in our communities. This is true. But, the future is not written in stone. We affect it.

xo – Leah

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