be here now

Most of my regrets have something to do with summertime. If I don't wander enough through the green grass or eat enough fruit underneath a golden sun, then I am left hollow and full of regrets like a boy whose too afraid to tell his father how he doesn't like fishing. I want to touch every wild oak as if my hands were new to me. I want to taste the raspberries as if I had never tasted sugar. I want to walk into the garden and see the flowers climbing towards the blue sky, not dying and becoming crumbs of what summer was supposed to be.

What will be will be, I say to myself. If a hailstorm were to arrive, like a grave in the ground, here only to bury my garden, I would have to let it go. I spend so much of my waking life being bothered and worried about tomorrow. I stand at the edge of seawater thinking only of how I will miss the sea when it's gone. Sometimes, this way of thinking is beautiful and nourishing to the spirit. Other times, I feel like I am living on the last sentence of my own chapter book.

I want to be living in the moment. Instead, I am living for the moment's departure, as if it were an airplane you were boarding only to take you from here to there. I was sitting at the Calgary Folk Festival and all I could think about was how sad it makes me to see moments end. I could have been shaking my feet to the sounds of a banjo, instead I was pruning my thoughts to think only of tomorrow. What if tomorrow is the day when a hailstorm buries the garden? What if my feet give way and I can no longer dance? What if tomorrow's sunlight never shines on me? What if, what if, what if? 

I want to learn how to be here now. Truly, simply, nowhere else to be. Let me sit in the sunshine because it warms the skin, not in an attempt to slow down the speed of summer.  Let me live in the joy I find when my feet touch the garden's soil, not in the sadness of an imminent winter. I know a day will come when the moon no longer lights the bedroom where I sleep with C, let me forget about it and fall asleep without knowing what tomorrow brings.
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Festival Survival Kit Contest

This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson inc.
 
Festival season is blooming on the summery wind. There are stages being set up, instruments being strung, faces being warmed by the sun, and feet are moving like bumble bees from flower to flower and from song to song. I love this time of year - more than Christmas or the bells of a birthday morning, give me music and sunshine with the ones I love most.
  
Festival days are meant to be happy. You put your hands in the air, running from stage to stage, the sun beating like a heartbeat against your skin, it's all beautiful and joyful until you're left with a dreadful sunburn or chapped lips from singing. To help one lucky reader feel festival ready, I've teamed up with Johnson & Johnson Inc. to offer you a chance of winning your own festival kit filled with $200 worth of necessities like Aveeno's protect and hydrate SPF 30 (a sunscreen to protect your skin), Brand Bandages (to help heal wounds or blisters and get back to dancing), and Clean & Clear oil absorbing sheets (to help free your skin from excess sweat since you'll be grooving and moving in the warm sun all day).

Other necessities included in the festival kit are:

For your chance of winning your own festival kit, follow the rafflecopter app below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest is open to all Canadians aged 18 and over (excluding Quebec). Winner be selected at random on Thursday, July 30th. The winner will be required to provide their contact information, sign a release, answer 3 questions related to Johnson & Johnson Inc. products, and answer a mathematical skill-testing question in order to receive their prize.

Good luck!


reasons to wear a bathing suit

When the warmth of summer wakes up the rivers and lakes, all I want to do is swim and chew on watermelon. I spend twelve months of the year dreaming of putting my head under water and counting the little fishes as they go by. There is nothing in this world as freeing to me as the feeling of swimming in a natural pool of water while cicadas chirp in the distant tall grass. I could never imagine missing out on this feeling only to hide my legs or the shape of my belly — how sad is the frown on a face of those who are too afraid to jump into the water.

It is never easy for most of us to run outside in our bathing suits. We know by doing so, we are revealing our winter hid skin, our bruises, our rolls, our mismatched colors, and our shapes. We often worry so much that we end up saying no to invitations to swim or rest in the sun. I don't believe it is fair for us to miss out on joy simply because our bodies are human bodies. Let us swim and be happy we're alive to do so!

Reasons to wear a bathing suit:
  • Swimming is fun. It's the kind of fun we had as children running through sprinkles or hearing the ice cream truck roll by. How often in a lifetime do we get to revisit our childlike sense of play and joy?
  • If you're feeling awkward or uncomfortable in your bathing suit, chances are high whoever you are with feels the same way too. Self love is contagious, if you put on your bathing suit and splash into the water, your friend might want to jump in too. Soon after, you'll be splashing, laughing, and forgetting why you were ever hesitant in the first place.
  • If you continue to feel awkward, maybe you're just not wearing the right bathing suit for you. I spent years feeling horrible in bikinis, they felt restricting when I wanted to swim and I spent more time worrying about my strap coming undone or my bottoms falling off then I did swimming. Find a bathing suit that makes you feel good to be in it.
  • Here is a strange fact of life, but most people don't care about us as much as we think. Strangers at the lake are not waiting for you to show your skin so they can count how many bruises or scars make a home on your legs. They are at the lake to swim, to be in the sunshine, and to enjoy life. You should be there for the same reasons.
  • Try talking to yourself like you'd talk to a friend. If your friend said "I can't go swimming because I hate the way I look in a bathing suit." You'd probably feel sad to see them missing out. Treat yourself like you'd treat your friend. If you don't like the thought of hearing your friend say awful things about themselves, why is it okay for you to say these things in the mirror?
  • Every second is a second closer to your last breath. If you were told you had four months to live, would you be satisfied knowing you kept yourself from the joy of swimming all because of marks on the skin like belly folds or stretch marks? Life is a flash in the pan. We are one huckleberry out of one million forests. — Let us swim in our crooked bodies, let us grin as we hear our hearts pounding below the water, let us be alive and not feel afraid to swim until our legs grow tired.
There will be a giveaway for readers to win your own bathing suit from Lime Ricki through my Instagram. It will be posted shortly, visit me there for more details. Happy summertime swims to you and yours!

 
The Outfit
Bathing suit Lime Ricki
White slip A Vintage Affair (local)

The Location
My Backyard


the butterfly belt

 I'm alone on the wooden pallet which sits below the backyard May tree. I could stay here all day even if only to collect freckles on the skin and to witness the tomato plant curl towards sunlight. I like being alone, my thoughts stay with me like the sight of a roaring campfire stays with the eyes of those who watch it. I'm not thinking about time or the loss of it, I'm not thinking about where I'll go tomorrow, I'm only thinking about the poetry of a pepper plant and the way sunlight in July makes me feel like singing.

There are days when I sit below the May tree and I wonder who I am. Is this what I want? Am I in love with the world? Do I like myself? Do I say too much? Do I say too little? Will these dreams of mine become tiny ghost towns if I don't follow them today? I can sit and stew as good as anybody, I can wonder until I am without a breath, I can grow thoughts high as proud buildings, I can let the July sun kiss me while still worrying about what's to come, but today I'll have none of that.

Today, I am alone but not lonely. My wild-eyed dog sits at my feet and sneezes every time a breeze brings us the scent of flowers. I smile at her button nose and soon after, she barks at me. I am pawed at until the point of laughter. I am loved by this creature who is made up of equal parts cotton and puppy chow. I am here, alive, and the warm air floats by as if to say "You are important because you can feel this."

 The Outfit
Leggings Romwe

Hat Value Village
Boots ALDO

  
The Location
My Backyard

the hills are alive

 
 On a recent Sunday when the weather was summery, my mum and I visited Glenbow Ranch for a day hike. The hills were alive in all of their glory — rolling meadows and trails were covered in wildflowers and strands of grass climbing towards a blue sky. It felt less like a hike and more like we were catching stars in our own private solar system. The ranch itself is brimming above life's lid with all sorts of pathways, some are paved, some are left rugged and wild, most are open with small trunk trees and little shadows. We chose tiger lily loop, the one named after the lilies that used to grow in the happiest parts of my childhood. A collection of somebody's picked them throughout the years so by the time I became an adult, tiger lilies were needles in haystacks, hard to find but always longed for.

As soon as we began walking through the trails, little orange flowers started popping up like whack-a-moles you don't actually want to whack. Here I was, a little ways out of the city, standing beside hills where tiger lilies have not yet been picked. I not only smiled, I felt myself smile from the belly to the brow. If life could always be measured by little moments and tiny triumphs like flowers growing on the hillside, I wouldn't have to ever mutter the words "I feel sad."

 
We walked into the sun and beyond until our faces were covered in sweat. If you look closely at these photographs, you can see beads of water appear on my face as if I had been running. It was hot like only summer knows how to be and the walk was long. We needed to find shade before climbing the hills for home. Here is where we stopped, there was a meadowlark and raven perched on the highest branch. I stood on a stump of wood and felt as though the whole ranch was my home, until the raven stirred up a family of bees, it was in this moment I realized home was wherever I wanted it to be — in the sweet peas climbing towards the sun, in the kiss of morning light on a bedroom window, in the forest, on a log, by my mother and where the hills are alive in the summertime.
 
The dress is from a new online Canadian boutique sweetly called Ever Rose ~ I felt like I wandered into a painting as I wore it. Being Canadian, it can be quite difficult to find online boutiques where the shipping and duties aren't hefty once they reach the doorstep. Today is Canada's birthday, a perfect day to wear a pretty dress from a Canadian company. I think I'll go pick some berries from the garden and toss them in maple syrup.

 
The Outfit
  
The Location
Glenbow Ranch, Calgary