Back To College Must-Haves

With the loom of school setting in I find that whenever I’m looking at the calendar I count the days left until it really starts. But with less than a week to go I just remind myself that it won’t be as bad as my mind seems to be telling me. Especially with the help of these handy dandy ‘Back To College Must-Haves’. Not all of them I purchased this year, most of them I purchased during my last year of school but I know without them school would not be as easy and breezy. Or bearable I should say. So here are a few of my ‘Back to College Must-Haves’ to get you through this school year.


1. Asus Transformer Book – T101H

I bought the Asus Transformer Book about half way into school last year because lugging my older, larger laptop that could barely hold a charge was getting to be annoying and heavy. I couldn’t be happier with this purchase and I haven’t looked back. The Asus Transformer is the all-around laptop and tablet plus it comes in two colours, a pale pink and a slate gray (the one I have is gray, pink was sold out). Some of the best parts of it are that it is versatile, super lightweight and cheap in price not in make. The Asus Transformer book has a battery life of 11 hours so it can make it through the longest classes. However, make sure you fully shut it down if you plan on having it sit for a few hours or a day or two then using it again because it will die. I found this out the hard way, oops! The screen spans 10.1 inches and can be detached from the keyboard which allows it to be used as a tablet. Another great thing about the Asus Transformer is the price, it can’t be beaten if you are on a students budget, mine only cost me about $250.00 on sale. Now it may not be the most extravagant computer on the market but it sure does get the job done, on time and without fail.

2. Steve Madden Book Bag

I purchased this Steve Madden Book Bag around the same time I purchased the Asus computer all because the book bag I was using was old. I’d had it since grade nine, the zipper was getting stuck and then one day the strap broke, not at a good time either but mind school day. So with that being an unfortunate event, it was time to get a new one. I bought this Steve Madden Book Bag for $50.00 at Winners, it came in navy blue, black, and my favourite, gray! The bag features two clips on the front that keep the bag closed and a large zipper pocket too. I use this pocket for all the quick garb things I need like my phone, headphones, lip balm, and extra change too. The inside is lined with a cute black and white pinstriped fabric with one small zipper pocket and a padded 15 in laptop area as well. The size of the bag, it’s versatility and the adorable look was really the selling points for me. It fits everything I need for class and a little more without being too big and bulky. Plus it goes with any outfit!

3. SPC: Student Discount Card

The SPC card is for students only and let me just say, I am thankful I spent the $10.00 it costs to get it! This card gives you discounts and special offers at over 120 different retailers ranging from coffee shops like Blends or Davids Tea to clothing stores such as Urban Outfitter and Forever 21 plus many more amazing places. As a student on a budget I didn’t think it made sense to buy the card but after doing so I realized that it has saved me more money than not having the card. The discounts range from about ten to twenty percent off purchases and you also get special exclusive deals sent to your email every week. Now, who doesn’t like to save a little extra on their shopping trips?

4. The Happy Planner

Now I probably know what you are all thinking, you have heard about The Happy Planner enough! But I can not stress how much I love this planner and how much help a good planner can be when in school. They just make it easier to keep track of all those incoming assignments and due dates not to mention everything that is going on in your personal life too. But, since you know how much I love it already I won’t ramble on anymore. However, if you haven’t seen my review of The Happy Planner or How I Use My Happy Planner, you can click on the links and go see just how wonderful it is!

5. Lunch Kit & Container Set

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But you can’t forget about lunch! Or dinner either if you have one of those dreaded night classes like I do! So on your back to school shopping list do not forget about a lunch kit and container set. I know it may seem elementary to bring a lunch kit and your home-packed lunch to college or university but honestly, your bank account will be thanking you. And your waistline too if you like sweets like me! Plus, it can save you time when you are going to and from classes, you won’t need to stop for a much-needed snack for a pick me up if you have one with you already. As well it can help you avoid the sugary and fatty items that many menus feature or the overpriced ones too. If you see something you like, make it at home and give it a personal twist too. And if you struggle to make your own lunches like I do sometimes, stay tuned to see what I pack into my lunch kit over a week in my upcoming post.

Now that you know all my Back To College Must-Haves, I hope it makes your school shopping a little easier. Not to mention makes your school year a little better. Oh and if you have any good lunch ideas let me know! So… what are a few of your Back To College Must-Haves? I would love to hear about them.

 

 

The 2017 Liebster Award

This past month has been such a wonderful, inspiring and rewarding month. Not only did I celebrate turning 20 but I also introduced my blog to the world. And now one month in, I have been given the opportunity to be nominated for the 2017 Liebster Award. And I couldn’t be more happy to say yes and accept!

I was nominated by the sweet and lovely Megan O’keeffe the owner and writer of Debateable Dateable a blog about everything dating! She writes about dating advice, stories and theories about the modern dating world too. But Megan does not stop there, she is also an avid poet who produces lovely new pieces at an amazing rate. Her poetry is sweet and focuses on relationships as well, so whether you are in a good one or a bad one or no relationship at all you can relate. You can find my favorite poem “Modern Romeo” here, it speaks so much truth in how relationships are in the twenty-first century and also so adequately describes the female mentality when chasing a false love. Without a doubt, you need to check out her blog and see just how wonderful it is.


| About the Liebster Award |

For everyone who doesn’t know what the Liebster Award is, here are the rules and a little bit about it. The Liebster Award is an award that is given to bloggers by bloggers to help new blogs grow and connect with others in the blogging world. It started off with nominations of blogs with less than 2000 readers and as the award’s popularity grew the max reader’s cap has become lower and lower. And is now for blogs of 200 readers and less.

| The Rules |

  1. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  2. Write a 150-300 word post on your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  3. Answer your questions and provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers and ask them your own questions. (Don’t forget to inform the people/blogs you nominated about it.)
  5. List these rules in your post 

 


| Everything Meli  –  My Favorite Blog Right Now |

Narrow it down to one favourite blog? That is difficult! I truly love all the blogs that I read but if I had to choose one it would be Everything Meli. Everything Meli is a lifestyle blog written and owned by twenty-year-old Melani. I stumbled upon her blog a few months ago, like six month months ago really and I was instantly hooked. With each post I wanted to keep reading more and that is what I have done. I can honestly say that I have read pretty much every post and will continue to do so. Her blog is adorably cute and fun but still elegant! Melani writes about everything from beauty, to fashion and just her everyday life in general, taking trips and just being Meli. Something I love about her blog is the tone and voice she writes in, it is not just average, it has a ring of happiness without over doing it, it sounds honest and trustworthy and doesn’t make you think her life is only sunshine and roses! One other reason why I like Everything Meli so much is that it is relatable, I grew up in a small town just like her, the same one actually, and after reading her “10 Thing You Probably Don’t Know About Me!” post I found out we are pretty much the same age. Her writing is inspiring to me and exciting too because I can see how much she has grown in just a year and it only makes me hope I can too. If you are looking for a new blog to read go check Melani’s out and you won’t be disappointed!

| Five Questions For Me |

1.How did you get into Poetry?

This is a hard one! I started writing poetry so long ago now, but if I really think hard I would have to say that I really got into poetry when I was in grade twelve. I had been writing in journals and just anywhere for a long time but in grade twelve I had a teacher who wrote poetry and when he shared it with the class I was inspired to really write my own. To push myself outside the box by trying different types of poetry from sonnets to haikus and even a slam poem. In the second semester I was so in love with writing and the creativity it held that I took a creative writing class. This passion I had and have for writing and poetry has stayed with me and even now in college I am taking an English Major and filling my time table with extra creative writing classes. 

2. What’s your writing process like for the blog?

Can you say scattered and old fashioned? Just kidding! My writing process for my blog is not that bad, I keep everything pretty organized with the help of my Handy Dandy Notebook. To start the whole writing process I pick a topic. Most come to mind from day-to-day life, just in the things I do to big topics that I see, like stress, self-care, and organization. Then when I am ready and have a topic picked out I pull out my notebook and start writing away. Now, don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always flow like a stream, smooth and calm. No, no, no, it usually flows like a river, too many points all rushing through my mind at once, too fast to write down all of them at once. But I make do, and in the end, it comes out just the way I like it…. Oh and never forget to re-read again and again, this is one thing I do always and maybe a little too much too. 

3. What’s your favorite poem that you wrote?

The all time favorite poem that I have written so far is North of Suburbia. It is a poem I wrote about my home town after I had moved away. I was reflecting on the differences between the small community and neighborhood I lived in compared to the big city that I live in now. Although I miss the feeling and quaintness of my small town, the big city does have many aspects that I love and wouldn’t trade. For now, I call it home but I can’t wait for the day I can call my hometown home again. 

4. What/Who inspires you?

What: inspires me would have to be nature through and through. All the little things nature has to offer from sounds to smells and especially its beauty. I find it in everything from the grape tendrils twist around the limbs of anything in their way or the way leaves rustle like paper bags in the breeze or in the way on-coming rain smells sweet and salty. Nature is where I get my inspiration to write, my down time to escape out of my mind and relax.  

Who: inspires me is all of you! Every single reader that comes to read my blog. You inspire me to keep writing and posting. And every comment, like, share, and follow pushes me to improve my writing and post even more. Without all of you lovely readers, I would not be here. 

5. How do you picture yourself in 5 years?

Oh my, five years. That is a very long time, 59 months, 825 days, and 43800 hours to be exact and so much can change in that time. But, if I look at the big, big picture this is where I see myself. I see myself at 25, Arts Degree and Education Degree hanging framed on my hallway wall. School all done and out of the way. I see myself working in my first elementary classroom, using all that school has taught me. I see my left hand sparkling with love. I see Lexi and a second puppy playing ball in the yard as Jeremy and I entertain friends over for a backyard BBQ at our cute little home. I see Entirely Taylor growing into a big beautiful blog and inspiring others. I see my life blossoming into everything I want it to be and more!

| Ten Random Facts About Me |

  1. My favourite colour is pink! But really I love all the shades from pink to red to burgundy.
  2. I absolutely, positively hate mayonnaise. If the meal has it on it I will not eat it at all.
  3. My dream vacation would be to New Zealand visiting all the island has to offer, from the black sand beaches to ancient glaciers.
  4. My Biggest fear is losing my memory or just not being about to remember past a certain point in my life.
  5. One of my all time favourite kids movie is Lilo and Stitch, I used to watch it over and over and over!
  6. If becoming a teacher didn’t work out for some crazy reason, I think I would start a Bakery and call it “Taylor Made”.
  7. Even at age twenty I still colour in colouring books, it is relaxing and fun.
  8. My favourite Disney princess is Ariel!
  9. One of the top 5 things on my life bucket list is taking a Hot Air Balloon Ride. Or going to the Hot Air Balloon festival, it would be amazing.
  10. I pick out all the yellow candies in any candy mix and give them to my boyfriend because I don’t like the taste of lemon.

| My Lovely Nominees |

  1.  Agatha Farrell of You Had Me At Aloha
  2.  Sarah Thorpe of Sarah Trademark
  3.  Supryia Kachroo of Shongruff
  4. Teisha Ray of Inspired By Teisha
  5. Sage of Sage Black
  6. Suzie Mcdonald of Totally Glam Blog
  7. Veronica Mazio of Blushy Darling
  8. Kyia Dante of XOXO, Kyia Dante

| Six Questions For My Nominees |

  1. What inspires you or drove you to start blogging?
  2. If you were on a deserted island what 3 things would you take with you?
  3. What is one little thing in life that makes you smile and why? (not a person, let’s see your creativity)
  4. If you could give one tip to an up coming blogger what would it be?
  5. Look back, What would you tell or warn your 16-year-old self about?
  6. Where do you see yourself and your blog 5 years from now?

 

Seasonal Sequences | A Poem By Taylor Bateson |

As summer fades to Autumn I couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the new season and start of the new school year than a poem. And that’s what I have written, a poem all about the changing seasons, not only from Summer to Autumn but all of them Spring to Summer to Autumn to Fall and all of the little things that important to these seasons. The poem shows human and natures activity in each season and poetically explains how they change and intertwine with each other as they do so. And out of all the poems I have written, I would have to say this is the one that I have spent the most time on changing and rearranging. I hope you all enjoy it and can see the seasons the same way I saw them when writing this poem.


Seasonal Sequence

 

Frigid winter air,

leaves cold frostbite kisses,

upon coniferous tree needles

and over exposed noses.

 

Lily of the valley bursts into blossom,

Robins and bees sing spring shower melodies,

As cloud tears shower the dull dusty grasses of earth,

and start the lush green growth.

 

Eleven pm sunsets and four am sun rises,

Plaid shirts, shorts, tents, boats and campfire smoke,

The country music flip flop stomp,

An annual event in a small town during a blazing sun.

 

A gust of colour,

Leave bare boned poplar trees and dancing leaves,

The wind a mumbled harmony,

Replaces robin melodies.

– T.B.

 

The Back To College Survival Kit

With school on its way around the corner, it is that time of year again! Time to start preparing and I mean prepare for everything. So that is why you need to get yourself a cute little bag and make your own ‘Back to College Survival Kit’. Have you ever been in class with annoying flickering and buzzing fluorescent lights? You know the ones you don’t notice at first but as soon as you do, they drown out the sound of the professor’s voice and kick on that dreaded headache. Or have you ever tried catching a few more z’s before class and found yourself running a little too late to make your much needed pick me up or simple snack? I know I have on more than one occasion, and I’m sure you have too! No one is perfect after all. But with a little survival kit tucked away in your bag you can be ready for almost any curveball life throws your way.

I put together a small survival kit last year and have tweaked the contents to have me prepared for pretty much anything from hair disaster to a monster headache and even that longer than expected study session snack. This little survival kit will come in handy at the most unexpected times. Although, it may sit for days or weeks untouched, when you finally have to reach for it, you will be thanking yourself!

This little survival kit is super easy and cheap to put together, I’m sure most of it, you have around your house or in your purse right now. This kit is very versatile, it can be changed easily and doesn’t have to just be for the college backpack, it works wonders when tucked into your purse as well!  Plus if you are missing a few little things it’s the perfect excuse to do a little shopping. And who does love the travel section? Everything there is so tiny, compact and just plain and simply cute as can be! So with my ‘Back To College Survival Kit List’ head on over to your local travel section whether it be at Wal-mart, Shoppers Drug Mart or even the Mall and create one of your own.

|Back To College Survival Kit List|

  • Lady Products (aka Tampons or Pads)
  • Lip Balm
  • Hair Ties and Bobby Pins
  • Perfume
  • Advil
  • Gum and Mints
  • Favorite Tea or Instant Coffee
  • Extra Change or Cash
  • Deodorant
  • Protein Bar
  • Moisturizer
  • Kleenex
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Headphones
  • Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Here are a few things that I keep tucked into mine!

Tender love and carry travel bag, bought at Winners.
Dove To-go deodorant, Viva La Juicy perfume, my favorite Detox Tea (traditional medicinals everyday detox) and Arbonne Fizz Sticks.
Eso hand cream and lip balm in blackberry nectar, bobby pins, hair ties, a headband and an Arie pocket mirror.

 

 

Darling Don’t Forget About Yourself |self care and stress management tips|

With summer coming to an end that means the non-stop relaxation feel of summer will be replaced with due dates, books, and test. But even though school will be back in that does not mean you can’t take the time to relax and recharge, the time you need to be able to do your best. Going into my second year with a full course load and a part-time job this is something that I find my boyfriend always has to remind me about. There have been many times throughout the first year that the hustle and bustle of juggling work and school have exhausted me to the point of tears and it felt like I just didn’t have enough hours in the day or even week to get everything done. But with a little reminder and a breather, I started to take notice when life seemed to start spinning a little too fast and found some great ways to slow it back down. And maybe some of these will help you too!

The first thing I did to get it under control was, I started to notice the little things I did, ‘the indicators’ I would call them that would allow me to know that the weeks to come would turn into a frenzy of stressful days and nights. I paid attention to how I react to stress in general. And for me, that would be feeling teary and overall pressure to do good at everything and everything I did. I mean everything from eating properly to getting the best grades and keeping up the appearance that I was doing great in all aspects of life. Some of my ‘little indicators’ were skipping lunch to do school work, to sleeping in or not going to bed on time, to just plain and simply procrastinating, to handing in assignments with the mindset of “that’s good enough, I don’t care”.  All these things seem small and minor at the time but after a week they surely catch up with you and can have you racing to fix the “that’s good enough” assignment and getting all the things done that you didn’t before because you were procrastinating. It leaves you feeling exhausted and with no time for yourself, plus not to mention this stress takes a toll on your happiness and health. But in the end, most of it is avoidable with simple planning and taking the much-needed time for yourself to relax and recharge.

Taking time for yourself to relax and recharge doesn’t have to cost a fortune, no need for a three-day spa retreat or pricey facial. Take the time to focus on you for a day, do something that makes you smile and feel pampered or just takes all the those racing thoughts away. Buy a new nail polish and paint your nails, do your hair and makeup just the way you like, throw on your favorite outfit and rock it. Doing little things that make you feel good can boost your overall mood for the day and it can change your whole mindset too. So here are a few of the little things I do when I need some much-needed relaxation time and to get out of my own mind.

  1. Take a drive out of the city and when I was home it would be down a back road.
  2. Journal about the day or anything really, just writing in general works wonders. Let your mind wander!
  3. Buy a new book to read.
  4. Treat Myself, whether it is an ice cream or latte or smoothie.
  5. Try a new DIY facemask.
  6. Take a bath with epsom salt, a bath bomb or bubbles.
  7. Pour a glass of your favorite wine.
  8. Turn up your favorite songs and give yourself a mani-pedi.
  9. Try out a new recipe you have been wanting to make.
  10. Get dressed up, hair, makeup, and outfit. The whole nines!
  11. Go for a walk.
  12. Explore a new place.
  13. Watch your favourite movie.
  14. Light that candle.
  15. Do some planning or rearranging.

Fluorescents | a poem by Taylor Bateson|

This is a poem I wrote and rewrote again and again from all the way back in grade twelve. It all started with a simple question of ‘What is your biggest fear?’ and lead me writing a poem about what that was. I won’t tell you what it truly is, so take a read through it and see if you can figure it out for yourself. If you think you know it then leave a comment below!

Writing this poem and getting it to the state that it is in now took a very long time, about three years in total. It took looking back at it every few months and making small tweaks and having others read it too. And I think this is something many people over look when looking a piece of poetry or any writing. You may read it and have it strum just the right chord in your heart and think ‘WOW, How can someone write that easily?’. Remember not all pieces of writing and art happen over night, they take time and hard work. And most of all they take patience and a passion to finish it to the state that makes you smile, not just everyone else. So, next time you are having trouble writing or working on a passion of yours remember it may take time, more time than you want but in the end, if it makes smile then you know it was all worth while.


Fluorescents

A burning beam of amber light

pierces the retinas of my red webbed eyes,

causing black blurs in its wake of shapes.

The high pitch screams of continuous beeps

follows what seems to be

the unsteady rhythm of my heartbeat.

I try to recollect my faded thoughts

and decode the haze of doctoral tongues

that hang like fog in the stale air around me

 

Where am I?
What is going on?

 

My eyes open like a newly bloomed flower.

Haltingly, I look around to see,

everyone is unknown to me.

 

Family?
Friends?

 

Strangers.

Countless faces and not a single name in memory.

Perplexed by the gathering of people

I close my heavy lids

and try to make sense of the non-sense.

With my eyes fastened shut

My mind rewinds.

 

The center dotted line blurred

by the oncoming fluorescents?

-TB

Plan A Happy Life |How I Use My Happy Planner|

If you read my last post about The Happy Planner you will know just how in love with it I am and if you haven’t click here to check it out. And I bet by the time you are done reading, you will be heading to the store to pick up your own! … Now that you have read how wonderful The Happy Planner is I will be showing just how I use mine to make the most of the space and everything it has to offer.

The Happy Planner that I chose is called ‘A Well Crafted Life’ I loved the rustic and elegant look of this planner, not to mention the spacious vertical weekly layout and a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month. I use my monthly calendar to keep track of any important things such as bills and payments; I don’t use it for much else because I like to keep it clean. Each week is spread out over two pages and starts on Monday. Then for each day, there are three separate boxes stacked on top of each-other for writing everything you need to do.

The first thing I do with each month is choose a theme, whether it is one I print-out and paste in myself or if it is making my own theme with stickers and washi tape. Either way, I keep the same setup week to week and month to month. It makes for a simplistic design and an easy to remember one. Adding a theme to each month is one of best parts about The Happy Planner, it is fun and creative at the same time. When I’m adding a theme to a month, a print-one that is, I make I have some extra time, grab a drink, maybe some wine or tea, turn on a playlist, then start planning away. For August this month, I chose a fun and bright print-out theme in pink, black, and floral (it can be found here). I found it on Pinterest as I do all of my monthly themes. If you want to check out all of the themes I love, take a scroll through my board ‘Plan A Happy Life’.

Next, I fill out the ‘currently’ page. This has to be one the best parts about the Happy Planner because it means I get to think about all the things I’m loving right now and look back on what I was loving in the previous month. Each ‘Month Preview Page’ as I call it includes a ‘Currently’ section, ‘Birthdays’ for the month, a ‘Dates To Remember’ space and a little ‘Notes’ section as well. I make sure to fill out the ‘Dates to Remember’ because it is a very handy layout to be able to flip to the page and see what needs to be done this month.

|Everything I’m Currently Loving This August|

Reading: Paper Weight by Meg Haston.

Planning: Blog Posts and Happy Planner Ideas (no surprise I know!)

Watching: Shameless.

Cooking: Everything on the BBQ (specifically zucchini).

Eating: Fruit Salad and BBQ Zucchini.

Drinking: Iced Coffee and TSP Honey Lager (the best honey beer I’ve had so far). 

Pinning: Fall Fashion.

Crafting: Mason Jars and a Cork Board (hows to’s coming soon:).

Going: Highway 33 Day Trip.

Loving: My Nanny Job.

Dreaming: Of A Longer Summer.

Feeling: Joyful.

Listening: The Old Songs I found On My Computer.

Celebrating: Lexi’s Birthday.

 

I use the first box throughout each week for all my ‘To Do’s’ and Important Reminders. The second box I keep reserved for keeping track of my work, bills that are due soon and coffee dates. Now last but not least the third box, I use this one for keeping track of my health including everything from daily weigh-ins to what I eat to water intake and vitamins. If I exercised more like I know I should, I would log it here too. Then for the weekend I section it off and allow myself the two days off from tracking all my health stuff. Saturdays I usually work so it stays pretty empty but Sunday is always filled up to the brim with things to do such as laundry, groceries, and a good clean of the house. Oh and not to mention any fun activity I have planned for my one day off. Right now this is how I use my planner for my busy day-to-day life but once school starts again in September I will be making a few key adjustments to fit in the school schedule too (so stay tuned)

.

I have purchased some fun stickers and accessories to make the planning process fun but don’t get me wrong I haven’t gone and spent the big bucks on my stickers, I honestly got them all on sale! The Micheals I shop at has a little clearance section about 3 shelves long and 3 shelves high that most likely goes unlooked at by anyone just passing by because it can be quite messy, but don’t let that scare you. Stop and take a look, you never know what goodies you may find and the best part is it will mostly be half the price and look identical to what is on the shelf for full price.

Now that you know how I use my Happy Planner I hope that it helps you to use yours as well. So get your planner out, look up some print-outs and start on your planner. Remember it won’t look perfect but it will be unique to you and that is the best part. Happy Planning everyone and stay tuned to see how I layout my school planner.

Spion Kop Hike |summer bucket list 2017|

A few weekends ago Jeremy, Lexi and I took a trip to a well-known hike in Lake Country, Spion Kop and we most definitely were not disappointed. We started at the Upper Lakes Trail Head and hiked to the Grand Lookout. It gave a breath taking panoramic view of Okanagan Lake and Bear and Knox Mountain. This is one of the first hikes that we have down in the Okanagan and I would love to do it again. Then we could explore some of the other tails that ran off of the one we chose to adventure down. I will be honest with you, when looking at the map we were confused to why it wraps back around its self like a switch back. And we definitely found out why after getting off track and hiking a straight incline of nothing more than loose rock and sand. It was like a goat trail and it really made me feel like one, now Lexi on the other hand, she loved it!

Okay, okay, okay it wasn’t that bad, although it was a little challenging! Maybe going at three pm in 30-degree weather when the sun is beating down right over top of you isn’t the best idea, (just a heads up) but it was never-the-less rewarding. Once we reached it to the top it leveled off and the trees thickened then dissipated to an opening over looking all of Okanagan Lake and Knox Mountain. The view was gorgeous and the lake goes as far as the eye can see shimmering in that “come jump in me” blue. It made me want to hike to the other lookouts but with the heat and our nearly empty water bottles, we decided to head back down. Over all, the hike only took us about an hour and a half including the stopping we did. I would recommend this hike to anyone and everyone. If you are looking for a short hike and a view then this hike is for you!

A little about Spion Kop

 Spion Kop is said to have first been used by Leslie Caesar, a veteran in the Boer War. The name ‘Spion Kop’ is a Dutch term for ‘lookout hill’ and has been used for over 100 years by locals around the Okanagan. The Hike has seven different trails ranging in difficulty from easy to extreme leading to three different lookouts and has four different trailheads. These lookouts give you an amazing view Okanagan or Kalamalaka Lake and the mountains around the Okanagan. If you want to enjoy this hike yourself click here (Spion Kop Map) to see the map and directions.

 

Paint Stripper |a poem about abusive relationships|

This piece “Paint Stripper” is something I wrote in my first-year creative writing class as a response to an article we read about abusive relationships and discrimination in class. Personally, I have never been in an abusive relationship but my heart goes out to those who have survived and over come them. I wanted to capture how belittled someone can feel when faced with these challenges of being quieted and wanting to call about for help but either not being able to, or being too afraid. To give the full effect of being silenced and not feeling of full worth due to the relationship I chose not to use any capital “i’s”. However, in some areas, you will see that the voice of the poem still has some power in the way it questions the relationship, but by the end it the fire that was slowly burning within has widdled away. I have worked very hard to critique this poem and have spent hours doing so. This piece may give strong graphic or sad images but I hope that you will find speaks the truth in its words.

*If you think you are in an abusive relationship or if you are, call the AssaultWomen’sens Hotline at 1-866-863-0511 or TTY 1-866-863-7868. or visit their website here.*

Paint Stripper.

you assume

my voice is insignificantly lilliputian.

i say it

to have earmarks of your commitment

and your assumption to be questionable

for i,

feel the grains of your sandpaper hands

with every hair,

every fiber,

down to every bone of my being

taring my skin away in strips

like old coloured paint

until,

i stand unclothed,

protruding radiant white bones.

when did creating a flawless façade

become a more vital goal

than unequivocally loving

me?

i speak in excuses

afraid to dredge up the polluted truth

i feel lonely, misplaced.

yet,

secure inside my silence

so I keep my mouth corked

holding in my crimson, bloody

whine.

All Aboard! |Kettle Valley Steam Rail Trip|

After hearing and seeing great picture and reviews of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Jeremy and I decided to give it a try and see for ourselves. And if I had to choose one word to sum up the entire trip I would have to say, ‘Fantastic’! It was better than what I thought it would be and I wasn’t disappointed one bit. From Kelowna to the Kettle Valley Steam Railway Station is a gorgeous 60 minutes drive along Okanagan Lake, past orchard, upon orchard, then through the cute, quaint town of Summer Land. If you have a chance to stop here and get a bite to eat I highly recommend ‘The Beanery’, they even have a working miniature train that follows a track around the cafe. Not to mention, their coffee and pastries are to die for (just saying)!

Once we arrived we went inside to get our tickets, I purchased our online to save our seats but you can purchase them before the train departs as well. Although, it is usually very busy so if you are doing that make sure you call to make your reservation. They offer two different types of train cars to choose from, the Open Air Car or the Vintage Coach Car (we went on the vintage coach car). Inside the train station, they have a unique little gift shop, where you can purchase snacks for on the ride, tee-shirts, and even your own striped railway coveralls. Before you hop on the train be sure to take a brochure to read about all ten sights you will see along the way. The track runs 10 km and is only 90 minutes for the round trip. The conductor tells you all about the ten sights to see along the way, I found the facts very interesting as a usually do with the history of our Country.

The children aboard the train were one of the best parts, they were so excited, and for something as simple as a short train ride. It made me appreciate what we were doing even more. It made me think of the little things along the ride, from the way the steam billowed from the train in front, to the way we would pass through lush orchards of apple and grapes to wetlands blooming with gorgeously vibrant purple and yellow flowers. The way passing pedestrians would stop and wave at the train as we chugged by with smiles as wide could be. Or how the sound of the whistle and the chuck of the train made me think that one day people really used to ride this train. It made me wonder who sat in this spot before me, the last person before it was no longer in use, where they male or female? A mom or a dad? Perhaps they were a business man or women on their way to their next meeting? or maybe it was a child as excited as ever, just like the ones that sat across from me?

Now that you know what was running through my mind on the ride take a look through my eye and see what I saw. Here are just a few of the fifty-something photographs I took while exploring the grounds and along the train ride.

Overall, the trip was great and I would love to do it again but next time in the Open Air Car. The view, however smokey it was on the day we went was still as beautiful as ever. You get to see everything from lakes and animals to the Trout Creek Bridge and all the wineries in-between. At the end of the trip, you stop at the Trout Creek Suspension Bridge, it was built in 1913, stands 238 ft high and stretches 619 ft long. Beneath runs Trout Creek and around you stand the Gaint Head Mountains, where they stop the train and you are able to get off and stretch your legs, take a pee break and even buy some of the fresh local fruit. A lady was selling containers packed full of delicious red raspberries for five dollars the day we went. They tasted like candy and were the perfect healthy treat to tide us over until we got back to the station and headed home.

 

 

 

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