making me happy // doing yoga again


A few years ago my co-worker at the time, Flossie, walked in the door of the marina and said she had been to a yoga class the night before, that it had been incredible, and I should go try it with her.

I did and was hooked. The teacher at the time, Faye Chipchase, was incredible at getting us motivated, teaching us the correct poses, and we all laughed a lot. It wasn’t always bliss, and in fact a lot of the time I battled my own mind while in poses, or to keep going to class. (I just went and looked at my old blog and found this post from 2010 that talks about that.)

This post from 2012 shows the room in Alderwood where we did the yoga (and where people in Baddeck still do it). And this post shows a session on the bluff at Whale Cove that Faye did, also in 2012.

But since about a year, I hadn’t done much yoga. I’d done a bit here and there at home, unrolling my mat and doing a few poses alone. But I was never motivated to do it for very long. And a combination of having very little money, and not much free time, as well as the mostly-imaginary hurdle of never having been to any yoga classes here in North Sydney, meant that I put off finding a new class to attend.

Then at the beginning of the New Year I made a goal of moving more, daily. And I had heard that Escape Outdoors, an independent outdoor-clothing retailer in North Sydney, held yoga classes in a room at the back of the shop. So I emailed Sherry Finney, co-owner of the shop, to find out about the schedule. And while Jeri Pero-Fraser has classes throughout the week there (click here for the Facebook group), it turned out that Sherry herself is taking yoga teacher training, and would be doing a class once a week for free (donations accepted for Feed Nova Scotia). The classes were on Monday night and I had emailed her on a Sunday. She asked if I would attend the next one, as the room is small and she had limited spaces. On impulse I said yes.

That was three weeks ago and I’ve gone to every class since.


(This is me trying to demonstrate seeing my breath but it didn’t really work. Still, as I’m sure you know, it’s super cold around here these days!)

yoga3 yoga6 yoga7 And like every other yoga class I’ve ever been to, resistance does exist in my head before I walk out the door to go. “Why should I go?” My inner voice complains. “It’s warm here at home. Mmmm, so warm and cozy!”

But I’m so glad I kick my own butt and go. It feels so good to do yoga with a group. Doing it alone is just not the same. For one thing, turning my phone off and bringing my focus solely in the room I am in, is incredibly relaxing. For another, a teacher pushes me more than I would push myself, to hold a pose longer, to get down lower in a stretch. And leaving the house to do yoga means I also leave all the “must do’s” like dishes, cleaning, homework, and spend some time focussed on just me.

Do you do yoga?

Posted in Active living, Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

making me happy // the water

north-sydney-harbour1 north-sydney-harbour21 So often I take for granted something that I love so much about living on Cape Breton: the water. Like the harbour, pictured here on two different days on my way home from school, or lakes, or the ocean.

This post from last summer brings me back to that season, to when it’s so warm and you can walk barefoot into the water. Imagine doing that now! Oh dear, no thanks! I’ll watch it from the shoreline, bundled up.

Posted in Outdoors | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

risk takers: Hailey Isadore


I’ve started a new interview series on the blog, called “Risk Takers.” The reason is that I’m feeling “poised” these days, on the edge of whatever will come after I graduate in the spring from my two-year design program at NSCC. (Will I find a job? Where? Will I start my own business? But how? And so on.) All of this change makes me keenly aware of risk.

Risk is part of life, it’s possible wherever you are in your life, but it comes to the forefront when you’re at a cross-roads. And then you wonder to yourself, should you take a risk? What does it mean to strike out into the unknown, try a new thing? I’m often quite scared of taking risks, and feel anxiety just like everyone else.

So this is a selfish series, really. It’s to inspire me and remind me that risks can be exciting, that they can bring growth and beauty. And that everyone goes through the anxieties of taking risks, and that you have to go through that to get something worthwhile. So I’m going to be reaching out to people who’ve taken risks and done interesting things, and sharing their stories, and I hope it brings you some of that inspiration too.

Second in the series: Hailey Isadore was in her second year of the Graphic Design program at NSCC when I started my first year. We didn’t speak very often but she struck me as an interesting person, and when I saw her work I really liked it. We became Facebook friends and follow each other on Instagram.

Here’s a bit of her story.


1) Name, age, where you live?

Hailey Isadore, 22, Sydney.

2) What is (or are) your passion(s)?

My passion in life is to be unique. I am a young, new mom and I couldn’t be more grateful. My daughter is absolutely my everything! She is the reason why I push myself and know that I can achieve anything, as long as I believe. I’ve always been the type of person to stand out and try new things. One of my favourite things to do is design. From designing posters, websites, logos, and hopefully in the near future I’d like to design clothing. Fashion is very big on my list of what I’d like to do in life.


Hailey Isadore and her daughter Karlaya.

3) Do you take risks in business, in life? What are they?

I do take risks both in business and life. I tend to push myself as far as I can go even if the situation makes me feel uncomfortable. The whole reason behind it, is because I’m the type of person that feels like if I don’t try something when I know I can, than I’ll always wonder “what if”.

4) Have you ever felt discouraged, unconfident, or unsure of what you’re doing? What do you do when that happens? (Think of this, too, as advice for others who might feel that way.)

I’ve experienced several times where I felt unsure and unconfident of what I was doing at the moment. Although, I never tend to let it stop me to ask for help or clarification of what was needed to be done. I feel that this is the best way to learn and know for sure that you are on the right path of what you are doing.

HaileyIsadore_portfolio1 HaileyIsadore2 HaileyIsadore3

5) How has taking risks paid off for you? What good things have they brought to you, that you are grateful for?

Taking risks have greatly paid off for myself, as they landed me two great logo designs and assisting with a website for my own community. I am very proud of myself for going ahead with my instincts on what worked and what didn’t. My community is very happy to have chosen me as their first choice as an early graphic designer and doing such a great job bringing the story behind our community into all designs. And for that I am forever grateful.

To contact Hailey for design services, email or check her out on Instagram: @haileyfranciss.

The first interview in this series is with Jenni Welsh. For more Q+As with Cape Bretoners go to the Interviews page.

Posted in Art, Community, Day to Day Life, Design, Q+A, Towns + communities, Women + kids | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Links Loved / Feb 8


There is not much in life better than a solid chunk of time spent laughing, talking and playing a board game with other women. Have you played Settlers of Catan? What’s your favourite board game?

Here are some things I’ve seen lately that I thought I’d share. My #1 blogging inspiration, Elise is doing them once a week now and it’s inspiring me to do the same.

The colours in this woven wall hanging make me want to travel to New Mexico, stat.

I got home too late to catch the Olympic opening ceremonies. This blogger in Winnipeg liveblogged them, though, and reading it was really funny.

The “How to be smarter” tip in this post is about how to make happiness come easier.

This piece is about writing, advice to an aspiring writer. I love this line: “But here’s the thing about writing: nobody can say anything better than you can, because you have your own story to tell, your own life to live, and your own lens through which you see the world. If you put 100 writers in a room and ask them to write about the sunset, not two stories would be the same. That is the beautiful and hard thing about writing—it is 100% you, 100% of the time.”

The next time I have $20 to spare I am so ordering this adorable/hunky calendar.

This was an interesting, although quite long, article about women lifestyle blogging and how it mostly reinforces the old stereotypes of domesticity. I loved this line: “It seems important to question why the blogs that have come to define “lifestyle blogging” are emblematic of deeply normative, well, lifestyles, even when they don’t necessarily set out to be. Context matters: The bright tone of blogs may tacitly discourage questions about what or who isn’t represented in all those cheery Instagrams. The copious images of female-focused domesticity can’t help but underscore that, while we’re all free to choose our choices, a clear and privileged path to happiness and achievement runs through the kitchen, the garden, and the nursery.”

Natalie in Ottawa fundraises like a boss and gives tips on how to raise money for a great cause. She also has a lot of fun, which I think is key.

This post that I read one morning changed how I felt about my body, all day long.

And this is a six-minute animated short about a pigeon, a CIA agent, and the Washington monument. Very cute and funny. I said to Adam the other day, “The real reason I want to have kids is so I can watch animated movies with no shame.”

Happy weekending, whether you’re being super productive, super lazy, or somewhere in between!

Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

the young woman and the wave (of snow)

snowwave1 snowwave2 These photos are from yesterday, in the early morning when we ventured outside to clear the snow. While Adam was on snowblower + driveway duty, I was responsible to clear the deck and steps. I felt kind of protective of this little “wave” of snow and didn’t want to shovel it away. It reminded me of a kids’ book I read once, called The Old Woman and The Wave, where the wave is animate and hangs out over a woman’s house.

snowcleared1 However, I did clear it away. With the wind patterns the way they are, that wave will likely be back with the next snowfall.

I hope you have a lovely weekend! I’m looking forward to a girls’ game night with some dear friends, and then the next night, to taking Adam’s mom out to dinner for her upcoming birthday. We all love The Lobster Pound and Moore, just down the street here in North Sydney.

(And of course, making my way through a “wave” of schoolwork, and hopefully, also getting some down-time too, with my fellow.)

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

snow spirals

Karen Coleman snow spirals Last week my friend Denise posted this photo (above) on Facebook. She said that a woman named Karen Coleman had made these spirals on her lawn. I posted it onto the Facebook group for this blog (which is here in case you’re not aware of it – just click “Join” to be part of the goings-on there).

Then a few days later I went for a walk near our house. When I came home I was all revved up creatively, full of ideas and energy (which is how I usually am, after a walk). I decided to risk being called “that crazy hippie lady” on our street, and walk some spirals on our blank snow-canvas lawn. The front lawn, too, not the back one! (Where I would definitely feel “safer”.)

snowspirals01 This is before.

snowspirals02 This is me getting up close and personal with the tree on our lawn, which I normally don’t get anywhere near in the run of a day.

snowspirals03 snowspirals04 snowspirals05 This is our very-quiet, very-wide-open (i.e. no big trees to hide behind) somewhat-suburban street.

snowspirals06 snowspirals07 snowspirals08 snowspirals09 snowspirals10

I definitely felt nervous to be out there on my lawn in broad daylight, walking in circles like a Wiccan or something. Our neighbours are all great people, it’s not like they’ve ever actually thrown stuff at me or anything, to make me feel afraid of them, but it’s one thing to smile and wave at them from my driveway or front steps, and it’s entirely another thing to walk around in circles on your front lawn, all by yourself. The kind of thing I’d do happily in the woods in Baddeck Bay at my Mom’s house, hidden from scrutiny by spruce trees, is different on a lawn on a suburban street!

But I’m glad I worked up the nerve to do it. I like how it looks and it’s always good to push my “vulnerability” limits.

Have you played in the snow and made art?

Posted in Active living, Art, Community, For Fun, Outdoors, Towns + communities | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

work term confirmed: Colaisde na Gaidhlig


Photo credit: Colaisde na Gaidhlig.

I am beyond thrilled to be able to tell you all that my work term (a five-week unpaid internship in April and May, that is part of my two-year Graphic Design diploma at NSCC) will be at an amazing local cultural institution, the Colaisde na Gaidhlig! (It’s also known as The Gaelic College, but I’m trying to get into the habit of using the Gaelic term for it.) It was in the works for the last few weeks and was confirmed today. Hurray!

Margie Beaton is the College’s Director of Marketing and Design, and she is who I’ll be working with daily. She took the same program I am now taking, at NSCC. She worked for local Sydney firm Vibe Creative Group for a couple of years before taking the position at the College two years ago. Her work is beautiful – you can see it here and here – and I’m so excited to spend time learning from her! She’s also passionate about local culture, something we have in common, and about finding fun new ways to market a quality product.

And while I’ll mostly be commuting between the College and my home in North Sydney, it means I’ll be a bit closer to where I grew up, Baddeck, and where my parents still live and lots of friends are, too.

I’ll be learning and writing much more about the College when I’m there, starting April 28th.

But for now, back to the homework!

Oh and here is an interview I did with Margie and her sister Dawn, back in September of 2012.

And here is a post from last summer when I went to see the play “Out of Black Cove” at the College. It shows a bit of the grounds there.

You can “Like” the College’s Facebook page here.

OK, now seriously, I better get back to work.

And by work, I mean breakfast.

Posted in Community, Education, Work | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments