Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Fierce 50 Bloggers Take over L.A.

I just returned home from a month of travel and am so excited to share experiences from my first blogger event held in Redondo Beach, California . Several other creatives were in attendance besides the bloggers of the Fierce 50, and we had the best time together!

Earlier in the year I connected with a fabulous group of women from the Fierce 50 Revolution who are defying the term"aging". Check out how it all began here.  Anyway, at the end of June we all descended on LA, for an incredible weekend of activities, fun, and connecting! Catherine , the founder  and visionary of the Fierce 50, was so gracious and kind to facilitate this event . She is beautiful inside and out, and we appreciate all she has done for us.

 Life time friendships were made, and others are taking notice of women who are changing the perception of what middle age looks like. I met so many beautiful, kind ladies -with amazing talents to share with the world.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Heritage Park Calgary Alberta: A Complete Visitor's Guide

On July 1st, will be the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday. If you didn't know it already, I am from the beautiful country of Canada, and proud to call it my home!  Unfortunately I won't be north of the border on July 1st. Instead I celebrated early by visiting a historical village last week: :Heritage Park in Calgary.

*This post is in collaboration with Heritage Park of Calgary Alberta. I received complimentary entrance into the park in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Photography: Valerie Hansen

Take a ride back in time and explore Canadian history at this beautiful sight located in the city of Calgary.  This park is Canada's largest living history experience. It's so cool because there are over 180 unique exhibits with activities , that let you enjoy a time from days gone by.

The Park offers guests an authentic, historical experience from four key times:

  • 1860s Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trading Fort, First Nations Encampment and Catholic Mission
  • 1880s Pre-Railway Settlement: saloon, general store, homes and businesses
  • 1910 Historical Village: working shops, homes, restaurants, businesses, antique midway, horse drawn wagon rides and train rides
  • 1930s Heritage Town Square: shops, cafĂ©, restaurant and Gasoline Alley Museum

I have been to Heritage Park a few times in the past, but this time I explored it more in depth.  There have been some major additions since last time I visited. They added an incredible vintage car and gas pump museum called  "Gasoline Alley"- more about that later! 

The park has several sections to check out:  When you step through the gates you will embark on an amazing journey through the early days of western Canada's history : The journey will go from a timeless First Nations camp to a rustic settlement, from a bustling young prairie town to a mid 20th century urban square.  

I absolutely loved the park and tour down through time. Everything you get to see and participate in, does make the experience so realistic and reminiscent of the settlement days. Now hop on board for a ride you won't soon forget!

The Settlement:

This is the best area to start the journey through the village chronologically. A beautiful farm setting is the beginning of the settlement area.  Here you can visit the Gleichen School from 1888, hang out at the Hudson Bay Company Fur Trading Fort, or grab a drink at Drew's Saloon and Stopping House.

The little general store was fun to stop at too , it's stocked with all the old time goodies I remember growing up with. You can also purchase other gifts such as candles and homemade soap etc.

Inside the  Hudson's Bay fur trading post, these ladies were busy  baking bread on the two large fireplaces- that lined the wall of the fort.

First Nations Encampment: Here you can find out how life skills were taught to First Nations children, while enjoying Aboriginal games.

The Ranch:

There are 3 train stations located throughout the park , and you can hop on and off the train any time you like. It really  is the best way to enjoy it without getting tired from trekking all 127 acres! Anyway if you want to check out the ranch with the Burnside house, then you need to disembark at the Laggan station.

At the Burnside House you can experience the old time farm life.  Tame pigs are on site for your little ones to pet, and a cage full of chickens. Inside the house check out how ladies of this era spent time in the kitchen- the fresh aroma of home baked cookies waffles through the air and beckons you in.

Just shootin the breeze! I loved capturing this scene!

Village Center: 

The village is bustling with activity with over 30 sights and activities to check out. The RCMP barracks are a must see, formerly known as the Royal NW Mounted Police of 1887.  Chat with the friendly officers in classy red uniforms: just be on  your best behavior - there is cell waiting for the bad guys, he he!

If you have what it takes to be a Mountie, you may get recruited for a March around the park!

The Wainwright hotel and bar room, is another must see. Enjoy a fine meal in the antique dining room, or grab a snack in the ice cream parlor . Hot dogs, chips and other quick eats will hold you over for awhile. Picnic tables with a meadow like atmosphere are located just across from the hotel- the summers in Calgary are usually wonderful, so eating outside would be a great choice.

I mentioned the train earlier, if you visit the park, do make time to ride it! It is the real deal and quite an authentic experience. The conductor was so much fun and made the ride entertaining.

Hang on to all your belongings tight and don't hang your arm out the window trying to get pictures like I did...ha watch fell off and didn't make it home with me!

The Prince House: Peter Prince and his wife Margaret but this beautiful big house. They were considered important members of the community. They were instrumental in setting up the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company.  They were from Lake Simcoe, a remote little village. They later moved to Wisconsin- before ending up in Calgary.

If you have time to explore more of Calgary, there is a gorgeous park located along the bow river downtown. Princess Island Park is named after Peter Prince.

On July 27th there will be : An Edwardian Garden Party on the lawn of the Prince House. You can play croquet, and enjoy sparking wine with your dinner.

Prospect Ridge:

I have to say this was my favorite spot in the park. The view from this windmill -of the Glenmore Reservoir was breathtaking. I was sitting on the bench wishing I had a better lens to capture the beautiful Canadian rockies, dotting the skyline in the distance.

Wilhelm Mallon was a German carpenter and blacksmith. He arrived in Canada in 1910. He found out that the soil of his farm near Bruderheim Alberta,( near Edmonton) grew a good crop of rye.  He then built a mill to make rye bread like he had back home in Belarus. He ended up building two mills on his farm. Despite the lack of wind, his mill still did a great business. 

In this area,you can also hop on board a boat for a cruise of the reservoir. I regret we didn't have time to take advantage of this ride. Travel on the boat is available everyday from 10:30 am- 4:30 p.m. 

The Captain's Cruise  is an evening cruise that can be purchased separately from the park entrance fee. Indulge in gourmet hors d'oeuvres while enjoying live music from a jazz band.

Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women:

This house is Heritage Park's newest exhibit. It tells the story of women of influence in Canadian History. The home is a replica of Nellie McClung's home. Sharing the stories of the famous 5 group of Albertan women, will be part of the mission of this house.  

The Centre will feature the stories of 5 very brave women who helped shaped Canada's history: Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards , and Emily Murphy- petitioned and won the right for women to vote in 1929.

Antique Midway:

The great Ferris wheel was featured at an exhibition in Chicago in the year 1893. The wheel was invented by G.W.G Ferris.  W.E.Sullivan a younger bridge engineer, was impressed by the invention and decided to create a smaller wheel in 1900.

Jim Conklin, a name associated with carnivals-  purchased the No. 5 Big Eli Wheel in 1977. The wheel had been uses at carnivals around Ontario. In 1984 Conklin donated the wheel to Heritage Park.

Heritage Square:

This is the main entrance to the park " The Town Square."  Here you will find an assortment of gift shops, restaurants, and an open plaza. Every Wednesday( 6-8 p.m. )throughout July and August, the square is fulled with the sound of music. This year's line up has a diverse range of musical styles. Each show kicks off with an up and coming star, performing from the Calgary Stampede Talent Search.

Gasoline Alley Museum:  This is the main attraction of the square . If you are into cars, this is one you don't want to miss. When I visited the park early in 2000, this museum was not here. It was added in 2009. It was amazing to check out the two floors of antique gas pumps, cars, and trucks.

Gasoline Alley is a celebration of  industrial design from former days.  Thousands of automobile memorabilia items are featured here. Most of them are from the second world war.  A local business man, Ron Carey,  generously donated all the items, so they could be enjoyed by the public.  The time period covered is from the turn of the 20th century until the 1950's.  Interestingly enough, most of the items in the museum were restored by Mr. Carey and his staff.


Costume style and design : Since I cover fashion in addition to travel on my blog - the Media Specialist was so kind to arrange a tour of the costume production offices. This is not open to the public, so I was very thankful to experience this part of the village.  It was amazing to see how many pieces are created yearly to clothe the actors and volunteers in the park.

The Park's historical costume collection includes over 15,000 pieces.  All outfits are designed and sewn on site.  The Mounty costumes and period dresses were the most intriguing to me. I was right in my element here , and could've spent all day observing the design and production process.

Each piece in the collection has been researched and created by the park to ensure that all the staff are attired in respect to the historical era they represent. Another interesting fact: The costume production lead pictured here: Is holding a vintage Sears and Roebuck Catalog. The team uses them for pattern design ideas and creation.

In addition there are over 50,000 artifacts (not including buildings and rolling stock) representing most aspects of a western Canadian's settler life: from the 1860's, 1880's, pre 1914, and last from 1930-1950. The majority of items have been donated by the public.

That concludes my tour of Heritage Park. There is so much more to see, I didn't even scratch the surface! If you do plan to go, check out the website to plan your day out. There are many events, functions, and education programs held through out the year. Even though the park itself is seasonal, there are fun experiences to enjoy all year long.

To keep up with the latest happenings at Heritage Park: Check them out on social media.
Instagram, Trip Advisor, Twitter, and Facebook.  If you are in the area on July 1st, the Journey of a Lifetime exhibit will be presented. This exhibit celebrates Canada's 150th birthday, the Park's 53rd birthday, and shares the stories of the largest immigration wave in Canadian History. Don't miss it!
Travel safe- until next time,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Day at the Portland Japanese Garden

a day at the portland japanese garden

* This  post is in collaboration with the Portland Japanese Garden.  We received complimentary entrance into the garden, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own

Happy June, wow how did it get here so fast!?! May was a super busy month for me, and I'm excited to share my latest adventure with you!  I usually visit the Portland area about once a year- in the month of May I visited twice. It is a beautiful Northwest city, and has outstanding outdoor experiences to enjoy.

I've been wanting to visit the Japanese Garden for a long time, and am thrilled I was able to collaborate for this lovely tour.

Monday, June 5, 2017

6 Pacific NW Bloggers Share Summer Style Tips

Hello Lovelies,

I 'm so ready for summer, how about you?  Cuteness overload is how I describe the styles available for summer 2017. I'm having a hard time deciding what to buy! If  you are having the same dilemma- hopefully this post inspires ideas for your next shopping trip.

This round up post features 6 fabulous bloggers from different areas of the Northwest. I asked each of them to share their favorite style essentials for warm weather.  If you get a chance, do check out their blogs for the latest trends and style stories.

All of them are very inspiring ladies, who love to help others with style advice. Cheryl is based near Boise Idaho. Nicole blogs from Alaska. Liang, Polly, Anne, and Monique are all my neighboring bloggers in the Seattle area.

Northwest Mountain Living: Cheryl
Instagram: @northwestmountainliving

In the Northwest Mountains of Idaho, summer essentials for me, are pieces that you can layer. It can be really hot in the sun while at the same time very cool in the shade. Light weight shorts, tops and long cardigans or dusters as seen in this picture are perfect. I love neutrals for summer because they seem so serene and cool. Hats are really important for keeping the sun off my face but also I just think they elevate any outfit and look so chic. A cross body bag is perfect for strolling through festivals and outdoor events because you can carry essentials without too much weight on your shoulders. Lastly a fun pair of sandals can really make an outfit pop

Friday, June 2, 2017

Voodoo In Portland OR: The Weirdest Doughnut Shop Ever

Voodoo in portland the weirdest Doughnut shop ever

Happy National Doughnt Day!

A few weeks ago, I made another visit to Voodoo-  a very interesting doughnut shop in Portland. It's probably one of the weirdest places I've ever eaten at!  A fun and eclectic atmosphere awaits you at  Voodoo Donuts.

The raised rings come in shapes you never dreamed of . Ha ha you'll just have to visit and  see for yourself! Voodoo is leading the deep fried revolution with flavors such as bacon maple and Portland Cream.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How To Stylishly Mix Dressy and Casual Clothes

How to Stylishly Mix dressy and casual clothes

Photography: Missy Palacol.

Hey Friends!

I was hoping to share a Memorial Day outfit guide, but life has been quite busy with teaching and blogging, so I am sharing an outfit shoot from a few weeks back.

I am so excited for my trip to LA coming up soon.. I'm traveling there for a blogger event, I will share more about that later! Isn't this L.A tee just the cutest?!?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Portland Oregon: The Ultimate Glamping Getaway

* This is a collaboration post. I received a complimentary stay from Glamping Hub, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Hey Friends,

As I mentioned in a previous post, I try to avoid camping at all costs! The only camping I do is "Glamping" in the nearest Holiday Inn! I recently featured Glamping Hub and some of the fabulous properties they offer as alternatives. This past weekend, we headed to Portland to stay at this darling cottage nestled in the woods. It was the perfect mother's day gift!