guest music requests

Jeff and I asked our guests to write down three songs that would get them on the dance floor. We were surprised that this full-on prevented people from sending in their RSVPs. Perhaps it was implied that they would be required to dance to their listed songs. Or, more likely, it's just that when it comes to music choices they're a little like me...there is so much good stuff out there that it's hard to pick three favourites. Here are some of our guest's requests, for your listening (and viewing) pleasure. I think they've got pretty good (and very eclectic) taste!

Oh yeah, and this one was the only song requested twice, so you know what that means hilarious friends!

I kinda wish we were having a video dance party! Any wedding playlist suggestions?


our engagement

Jeff and I spent part of the summer of 2009 in Europe, first travelling with friends, and then I stayed longer in the Netherlands to do a five week urban design studio with the University of British Columbia. Was it the best school experience of my life? Yes, I would have to say so, but more on that some other time perhaps. Was it the best trip Jeff and I have ever been on? Definitely.

We began our trip in London, staying there for just a couple of days before heading to Barcelona with our friends Carrah and Jamie. We rented an apartment in Barcelona and had the most amazing five days in that city. From there, we briefly went our separate ways and Jeff and I headed to Paris.

Neither of us had ever been to Paris before and we stayed at two really cute, beyond-tiny hotels and visited all of the Paris tourist traps and places slightly more off the beaten track, like the cemetery that Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf are buried in (among the other famous people buried there). Above is the cat that lived on Edith Piaf's grave. It had gum stuck in its tail and it scratched me. I was worried I would get bubonic plague as a result of our encounter. We walked for millions of kilometres a day, looked at art until our eyes hurt, and ate Nutella until we couldn't anymore (didn't know that was possible until then...). Oh, we also tried to find vegetarian food in Paris, which is pretty tough, and ended up eating the best falafels ever and a lot of pizza. Perfect.

Then, one night back in our hotel, after being together for almost eight years, Jeff proposed to me with the most beautiful Karen Konzuk engagement ring. And I said yes. Below is the view we had that night. Any of you who know us know that a romantic Paris engagement doesn't sound much like a story that we'd have to tell, let alone one that we would tell if we did have that story in our back pocket. But that is our engagement story, and here I am telling it just a few days before our wedding. It should also be known Jeff just walked into the room and told me that we should learn to speak French fluently and move to Paris.

After we left Paris we spent a couple of days in a Dutch town on the North Sea coast. Our hotel room was gigantic by Parisian standards, with its own walk-out balcony and a view of the German tourists flocking into the town from the train station. We spent an evening on a freezing cold beach and then continued on to Amsterdam.

The church clocks in Zandvoort sounded like this. We felt like we were living in a music box full of vowels (have you ever seen a Dutch street sign) and Germans. It was awesome.

We listened to this song a lot and its recently come back on our summer playlist:


Kait's Rad Summer: Seattle

My Calgary-dwelling pal Kait of Yuppie Love made her way to the West Coast this summer with her husband, Byron. Jeff and I were lucky enough to meet up with them in Seattle for a bit during their visit. I'll let Kait tell you more about that amazing city and her summer adventures...

A roadtrip is one of the best possible things to happen to you during the summer months and I was lucky to have it happen it to me this summer. We planned a roadtrip to Seattle in celebration of our first anniversary. We had to do something adventurous to rival our honeymoon, which was a two-week jaunt to Las Vegas, LA, and San Francisco.

Seattle was absolutely breathtaking. From Pike Place to the Space Needle to the beautiful last-minute harbour cruise we took – everything took our breath away.

I spent most of the trip completely jealous of the fresh produce. Well, actually I spent most of the trip sampling all of the fresh produce. We picked up tons of fruit over the six days we were in Seattle. Pike Place Market was a beautiful haven for vendors of such wares and we even snagged a personal fruit shopper at one booth. Check out this bag of incredible black berries and cherry tomatoes!

As part of work research and for personal interest, we checked out the Experience Music Project. A very cool museum with some super interesting exhibits including a very well-done chronology of Nirvana. Our favourite part was the guitar room. So much history behind the evolution of the infamous stringed instrument. Here is Byron in front of the epic funnel of guitars and banjos in the centre of the museum. So cool!

Pike Place Market was definitely one of my favourite spots in Seattle and I think if I was a local I would still frequent this tourist-hot-spot. Massive $5 bouquets of flowers, gluten-free bakeries, and an endless amount of seafood vendors = heaven.

We stumbled across a Wednesday Farmers Market while wandering the neighbourhoods of Fremont and Wallingford. It is based in the field of a beautiful old elementary school. The grounds of this school are magical and so so green and lush. I am so jealous of the children who get to play here on a daily basis.

We took a spontaneous harbour cruise after we found that they were selling tickets for half-price to fill up the evening cruise. I am so glad we made this part of our trip. It was so gorgeous touring the harbour and being able to see the entire Seattle skyline from the water.

This trip seemed to be all about spontaneity! I was so lucky to find out that Sarah & Co. were in Seattle at the exact same time as us so we planned to meet for a little picnic and walk down at Pike Place Market. We got to meet Jeff and Lola which was very exciting and talked about food, drinks, and wedding stuff. I bought this massive sunflower for $2 for Sarah. I couldn’t resist -- it was stunning.

Look at the adorable Lola lounging in the sun. What a cute puppy.

Molly Moon Ice Cream was my main indulgence of this vacation. I think I ate ice cream nearly everyday and compensated for it by walking 10 hours per day. I had amazing flavours including Maple Walnut, Scout Mint, Balsamic Strawberry, and Carmelized Peaches & Cream. It even inspired me to buy a book about ice cream and micro-creameries at Powells Books in Portland. Though now that I am back to sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day instead of adventuring and walking the streets, I have severely cut back on the ice cream (ie. none at all) but will definitely trying out some recipes soon with friends and family!

The Mono-Rail was so modern and fast that I had to make this ridiculous face. Really though, while I thought $2 for a one-way 3 minute ride was a bit pricey -- it DID get us downtown in no time. What a great modern invention.

Oysters, oh oysters. My favourite thing about coastal cities is the sheer abundance of seafood and sushi. And mostly just the oysters. We sat down to an amazing dinner of coca-cola, fish & chips and 12 luscious fresh oysters at Jack’s Fish Spot at Pike Place Market. They were the most intoxicating, mind-blowing oysters I have eaten to date, and the biggest as well. Wow. The memories are still so strong. Wish I was still there slurpin’ oysters....

Just me spending MORE time in PPM. I love it here. Note the $2 Sunflower. It is only fitting that I also became addicted to The Beach Boys 1971 album Sunflower during this trip as well.

Coffee. This has got to be my favourite coffee shop I have ever visited. Everything about it, to the storefront, to the bags of beans, to the wonderful staff who crafted the best iced coffee I have had in a long time. Just perfected our whole Seattle experience.

I hope you enjoyed my rad summer vacation. It was such a treat and I wish I was still there! Until next time.... kait

Thanks so much for sharing your summer adventure, Kait. Love that you represented the Pacific Northwest and that we managed to finally meet up for a picnic (mmmmm...Beecher's grilled cheese) and a chat. And just so you know, that sunflower brightened our kitchen for many days. Thanks for that and the wedding real talk! Be sure to check out and say hi over at Kait's fun blog, Yuppie Love, too!


remembering jack layton

jack layton moustache at the shrine

I know that a lot of Canadians are thinking about Jack Layton and his legacy today. How strange that we were just watching him on the campaign trail a few short months ago. I wanted to share the excerpt from his final letter to Canadians here as a tribute to him and to the positive impact that he had on our country and our political process. How amazing that in his final days he took the time to pen a letter to Canadians, NDP supporters and detractors alike, to share his hope and vision for our future. Thank you, Jack, you'll be missed.

jack layton memorial

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

- Jack Layton


mix tape: endless canadian summer

Summer is winding down. Days are hot but a little shorter, eating berries has become a slightly frantic activity, and this weekend feels like the perfect time to come to terms with all of this. Canadians have it in the bag when it comes to making perfect summer music, maybe because we fully appreciate these warm months. You know who else seems to do a good job of making summery music? The Swedes (go, Rebecka!)! Today is my last day at work before a much anticipated (and needed!) wedding vacation -- my first real time off since I started my new job after graduation. The wedding is a week from tomorrow (and it's about to get WEDDING-Y on this blog! look out!) and our friends and family begin arriving soon. What are you doing to hold on to summer this weekend?

Here, for your enjoyment in this last week of August, is the best mix of summer tunes mix I've made in a long time:

track list:

1. Runner • Daniel, Fred & Julie*
2. A Case of You • Joni Mitchell*
3. The Swimming Song • Loudon Wainwright III*
4. Passenger Side • Wilco
5. Let's Call It Off • Peter, Bjorn and John**
6. Putting the Dog to Sleep • The Antlers
7. It's Gonna Take an Airplane • Destroyer*
8. Clinicly Dead • Chad Van Gaalen*
9. A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill • Jens Lekman**
10. Comfy in Nautica • Panda Bear
11. Atmosphere • Pink Mountaintops*
12. Staring at the Sun • TV on the Radio
13. I Just Wasn't Made for These Times • The Beach Boys
14. Don't Vote • Cass McCombs
15. Drowning • Langhorne Slim
16. All I Have to Do is Dream • The Everly Brothers
17. Don't Call me Whitney, Bobby • Islands*
18. When You're All Alone • Johnny and The Moon*
19. Party • El Perro Del Mar**
20. Don't Let it Bring You Down • Neil Young*

* Canadian
** Swedish

Here's the last mix tape if you're looking for more. I've been on a serious Canadian music kick lately. Okay, maybe not serious... Have a great weekend!


hippie kitchens

These photos are from one of my favourite tumblr blogs, Hippie Kitchen, sent to me a while ago by my friend (and wedding cake-baker extraordinaire) Camilla. One of these photos is actually a picture of my own extended family getting as close to a Hippie Kitchen as I could find today. Can you guess which one it is? Check out the rest of the tumblr stream if you need a pick-me-up. I can't get enough of these photos. Thank you, Camilla!


carrah's rad summer: dar es salaam, tanzania (part two)

Carrah's amazing post continues with some photos from the safari they went on. I want to see these animals!!!

Yup. We were that close.

The Maasai clothe themselves in deep red blankets making a striking figure against the dusty background of the plains they wander. They are an amazing people who still live a traditional nomadic lifestyle with a total rejection of comforts of the modern world.

Stone town in Zanzibar – known for its epically beautiful hand-carved wooden doors.

Zanzibar has paradise beaches that people take their pet monkeys for romantic walks along. (Look closely.)

Saying goodbye to the Indian Ocean and the equatorial sun.
Thank you again for sharing your summer adventure, Carrah! See you in just a few days! I hope you all enjoyed this very special post, too. Check out a few more rad summer adventures here.

On a somewhat related note, the National Zoo in Washington DC has issued a press release about the way animals reacted to the earthquake on the East Coast yesterday. It's kind of awesome.

carrah's rad summer: dar es salaam, tanzania (part one)

My very good friend, travelling buddy extraordinaire, and Sadie model, Carrah went to Tanzania this summer with her boyfriend, another very good friend and travelling partner of mine (and recent UBC Landscape Architecture graduate, too!), James. Carrah doesn't have a blog (though I think we should all encourage her to start one right away), but she did bring back some amazing pictures and stories to share and I'm really excited to have a few of them on the blog today. Because there were so many incredible shots I've split this post into two parts. The second half will be published later today, so be sure to check back. Trust me, the second half is just as awesome (espeically if you like animals...)

How to even begin to summarize four weeks of travel through Tanzania in a small handful of photos is a near impossible task, but at the request of my dear friend Sarah, I will do my best. I am currently a medical student still in the early stages of my training and when given the opportunity to complete 6 weeks of summer elective time anywhere of my choice, I knew that I was going to make an adventure to remember. Along with a small group of classmates and my fiancé James, we decided on Tanzania where spent my time rotating through many of the different hospitals in the bustling dirty and developing city of Dar Es Salaam. Although I cannot show, nor do I have, any photos of my hospital experience, below are some of the other parts of my journey.

As James says, “job number one in Dar is to not get run over by cars, buses, bikes, piki pikis (motorcycles), tuk tuks or stores on wheels”.

Things on bikes. Gravity defying things you would never expect to see on bikes. One day I saw a bike ducking through traffic with a stack of eggs that must have been 40 flats high swaying around behind him. Astounding!

The local markets of Dar have everything. There is no shortage of fresh fruits vegetables, fish, barbequed corn, cassava – you name it and someone is selling it. It’s a shame that we couldn’t eat the vegetables because they are washed in water that has parasites.

A Bilbao tree stands alone. For me, this tree stirs something very primordial inside.

Bagomoyo. A site where hundreds of thousands of slaves would take their last steps on the soil of their mother land, a port for the lucrative spice trade, a stepping stone to an abundance of seafood and a lure for sand seeking tourists. Its role has formed and changed the history of Tanzania.

James and I looking out on to the Serengeti – a Maasia word meaning “endless plain”. It is unbelievable how the herds of thousands upon thousands of migrating zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, giraffes and elephants peacefully live here and how you can just drive right up to them. It’s almost too good to be true!


what would I want? dye


brain dip

sky dye

my favourite scarf

Lately my friend Emily (seen here, scaling hills during a Sadie photoshoot) have been mastering the art of tie dye. We've put in two full day sessions so far this summer and have great plans for more hand dyed projects after I get married. Our tie dye sessions are getting talked about, too. In fact, today I got an e-mail from my friend Jill who's coming for the wedding asking if we can tie dye while she's here visiting. Sounds like a plan to me, but I'll have to check with Emily, there's no way I could do this without her. We tend to encourage each other to experiment in just the right ways, even if we do sometimes end up with an ugly scarf or a tea towel with hand-dyed plaid (yes, that was as amazing as it sounds).

Spending the day on Emily's back porch, with her cute dog Hazel, pots of dye and piles of cotton fabric has been one of my favourite summer activities. I can't wait to experiment with some more autumn inspired colours and some new fabric dyeing techniques in September. What do you think of our sky-inspired palette? My giant pink and black organic cotton scarf is definitely my new favourite thing. I love the colours that we used this time around. The black wasn't as dark as I thought it would be, but the grey ended up being perfect with the other muted, pastel colours that we chose.

On another summery note my friend Carrah's rad summer trip is going to be the subject of tomorrow's two part, incredible, image-heavy post. Be sure to check it out, you won't want to miss this one!

Here's one of my favourite Animal Collective songs. I think it would be the perfect tie dye session soundtrack:


two weeks until the wedding and we took a vacation from planning

This weekend Jeff and I took a vacation from all of our wedding responsibilities and went to Kelowna to hang with our friends Heather and Doug. Some vineyards were visited, trampolines were jumped on, mountains and lakes were enjoyed, and it was very, very hot the entire time! Awesome. If you've never been to the Okanagan Valley it's an amazing place that you would never guess was in Canada. A desert, perhaps best described in Stina's recent guest post

Two summery things that I really want to share with you:

The Summerhill Syrah Rose is amazing and fulfills #2 on the Village Voice's list of 11 Things You Really Must Do Before the Summer Is Over.

This zucchini bread is so delicious and easy to make, and I know many of you gardeners must be finding yourself with some extra zucchini these days.

Finally, I just want to say that I was very sad to hear about the passing of Jack Layton this morning when I woke up. I think he led his party with spirit that is missing from many all of our other politicians in Canada and I think his passing is a huge loss for us all. Jeff and I both loved his stint on the CBC working in a hospital ER room. We were always so impressed by his commitment to Canadians. He'll be missed.