WELLNESS | Taghazout Bay Hyatt Place Asenfo Spa

WELLNESS | Taghazout Bay Hyatt Place Asenfo Spa

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In southern Morocco there is a seaside fishing village worth detouring for. 20 km from Agadir sits Taghazout Bay, an up and coming resort town that is quickly being added to travel lists as a must-see while in Morocco; even VOGUE is recommending it! Fortunately, I had the inside scoop since my worldly and adventurous friend Emily was living just mere miles down the coast from this not so hidden gem. We took a ride over, but first we had to stop at the crown jewel of resorts in the area….

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Perched high on a hill overlooking the coast is Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay, an oasis in the sky. The ultramodern design of the hotel invites you in and then slaps you in the face revealing the most magnificent view from their pool. The best part? You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the view or the pool – visit their amazing pool bar or pay an access fee to spend the afternoon sunbathing in one of their several outdoor pools. Or walk through the greenery to a cabana overlooking their golf course and the endless ocean views. I can’t think of a better way to unwind after a day or surfing or post-massage than stretched out on one of their luxurious deck chairs watching the sun slowly move across the sky.

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One of the well known and loved dishes at the pool bar is the grilled squid and tomato tartare with argan oil. Since it’s a local favourite, I had to give it a whirl and I can confirm there’s a reason why it’s so well liked. It is exactly what you want to be eating pool side on a hot day; light but filling. Paired with a mint lemonade followed by some decadent mousse, this lunch was perfection.

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The Hyatt Place also has an exceptional spa, as if that comes as a surprise. The Asenfo Spa, which is Berber for relaxation, is known for their Replenishing Five Flowers facial which I had to try out. Never has my facial skin felt so awakened from a treatment. Their massage techniques along with the fragrant products they used made for a truly dreamy experience.

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Why just stop at a facial when you can also indulge in the signature Asenfo Spa massage? Which is precisely what I did. Every massage in Morocco begins with a wipe down of your feet with a hot face cloth. I never knew how incredible that could feel after I had spent days wandering around the village in less than sensible footwear. Read: flip flops. I had also been at the beach earlier that day and had a bit of residual sand on my legs – which only enhanced the treatment more! Sand is nature’s glitter, it is impossible to get rid of so it’s easier just to embrace it as the natural exfoliant it is.

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Not only was the massage exceptional in itself, the sand added an element of exfoliation to the treatment, an addition I greatly appreciated. The best part about Moroccan massages? Unlike prude western treatments, in Morocco they know the importance of a chest and belly massage – so many vital organs and muscles that need attention are not avoided! I left the spa on a cloud and went straight back to the pool to catch another citrus coloured sunset.

Check out their full treatment list for the Asenfo Spa here.

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Taghazout Bay has it all. A cute surfing and fishing community, a world class spa, and the most spectacular views one could hope for on a Moroccan holiday. This was my first visit, but it certainly won’t be my last. I’m already scheming a way to return to this brilliantly beautiful and inspiring country.

Many thanks to the Taghazout Bay Hyatt Place for having us!

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WELLNESS | Fairmont Willow Stream Spa Vancouver

WELLNESS | Fairmont Willow Stream Spa Vancouver

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Ever dreamed of visiting an oasis on the water…. but being in the middle of the bustling core of downtown Vancouver? I certainly have and with my most recent trip to the coast, I finally found it! the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim is everything you could possible dream of when it comes to relaxation goals. Their deck overlooking the harbour is a place that one can lazily slip into a nap while the ocean sounds roll in like an audio track…. except they’re real! On a hot day, you are even able to enjoy the luxury of a sea breeze atop their stunning patio.

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Outdoor spaces aside, the spa itself is also an oasis of epic proportions. Our treatment room overlooked both the harbour and busy street below. While we were treated to an exceptional couples massage complete with aromatherapy of a lavender oil inhale to begin with, the hustle and buzz from the street below melted away.

There are few things in life as transportive as a massage – a good record, a decadent meal, or even a truly magical book can make that list. This definitely made the cut. Nearing the end, our feet were moisturized, bagged, and put in little booties for the ultimate re-moisturization. Vancouver is a walking city and each day we banked upwards of 20,000 steps, myself hoofing that in sandals. I was in dire need of some attention in that department.

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Post-massage we enjoyed a smoothie shot and a fruit kabob. Both incredibly refreshing and exactly what I needed after having been put into a pleasure coma from a deep massage. My jello body wrapped in a fluffy robe was able to make it to the outdoor patio but not before popping by the library lounge for some mixed nuts and prosecco.

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It is always advisable to drink copious amounts of water after having a massage as it helps your body to flush out the toxins that have been released during the treatment. After one glass of prosecco, to celebrate the wonderful afternoon, it was on to cucumber and lemon infused water. I love hydrating with a naturally infused water – it adds a bit of zip.

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Did I even mention how wonderful the change rooms were? They come complete with lockers with personalized lock codes, every toiletry you could possibly need to get ready, and gorgeous marble showers – one of which even had diffused natural light in it! I took my sweet time getting ready in there if only to soak in all the inspiration for my future bathroom goals.

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It wasn’t much trouble to drift off into an afternoon nap while cocooned in one of the outdoor cabanas. It seemed criminal not to relax fully and embrace the scene at hand. Of course there’s more to do than just sleep the afternoon away, one can also order a lovely lunch right to your private corner… or even take a dip in the hot tub which goes without saying is an absolute must.

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Bathing suit c/o Lululemon – Top – Uncharted Waters | High Waist Bottoms – Endless Horizons |

Obsessed with the flattering cut and quick drying material of this suit! It’s my go-to for all water related activities now.

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If you’re ever in the Vancouver area I highly recommend heading over to the Fairmont Pacific Rim if only to enjoy the architecural splendor of the foyer and eat in their aesthetically pleasing Lobby Lounge. That hotel is next level stunning! And if you have the time, pop by the Willow Stream Spa for a real relaxation treat!

photographs – Jesse Sand / Sandy Karpetz

many thanks to the Willow Stream Spa for hosting us for the day!

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STYLE | Rainy Days with Burton

STYLE | Rainy Days with Burton

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The weather this spring and summer has been such a mixed bag that I never seem to leave home without a rain coat; a freak thunder shower seems to be looming around every corner this days. Getting caught in the rain has never been a negative in my books. The after rain smell while in nature is a scent I would love to bottle; it is intoxicating.

My enthusiasm for rainy days is mostly due to the fact that I am prepared for such occasions; I like the rain, I do not like getting soaked. This season I’ve been alternating between my Burton Sadie Rain Jacket, it’s perfect for hikes and river valley strolls, and my Burton Flare Parka Rain Jacket which is super easy to squish down in your bag and great for layering.

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OUTFIT – Burton Custom Pullover Hoodie in Bleach Wash | Burton Flare Parka Rain Jacket in True Blue

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Of course it rained when I went on a roadtrip to the northernmost badlands, but of course I packed my lil blue parka and layered it on top of a chunky knit sweater, added some rain boots and I was good to go walk all of the paths around the ancient formations. The best part? Mosquitoes cannot penetrate the waterproof material – I was bite free for once!

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Edmonton is known for its vast river valley system but this is truly the first summer I have made a point of enjoying it fully. More often than not I’m up at 6:30 and down in the valley walking or running the trails. The dewy mornings are best accompanied by my Sadie Rain Jacket, just long enough that I can sit down on a bench that’s been fully rained on without being drenched. What a luxury!

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Nothing like a side of sass in a popping coral coat – I certainly don’t blend in in the river valley.

 

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OUTFIT | Burton Sadie Rain Jacket in Coral

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From the mountains to my own backyard, a little rain is not stopping me from my outdoor pursuits, urban commutes to the coffee shop, or even running to my car during a downpour. I’m looking forward to taking these jackets out on the road to the island and camping over the next two months as the summer unfolds.

Photographs – Jesse Sand // Vickie Laliotis

This post was sponsored by BURTON. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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WELLNESS | Lush Cosmetics Spa London

WELLNESS | Lush Cosmetics Spa London

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First of all, Lush is one of my favourite all natural companies on earth. Their commitment to the environment is admirable but also, I love not having to feel guilty about excess packaging when it comes to my beauty routine. One of the lesser known things about Lush is that they actually have a spa at a few select locations including London. Naturally I had to suss it out while I was in town; it did not disappoint.

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I headed to Oxford Street to their flagship shop in London for an hour of bliss. The treatment I indulged in was The Good Hour and I must say, it was the theme park of massages. I met my masseuse and we picked out a massage bar (I picked hottie because of the black pepper and ginger scents. So good.) Then she threw a Big Blue bath bomb into a pitcher to scent the room and we set sail on a most spectacular journey.

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First of all, it’s nautical themed and they really stay true to it for the whole 70 minutes. It was BLISS. Secondly, they have an in house Lush band who created a specific soundtrack for this treatment. As you can imagine, all the songs are old timey sea shanties and you’re massaged to the beat of the music! Did I mention that you can actually purchase the soundtrack post treatment too?

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The massage was a deep tissue sensory overload complete with a dry ice fog drifting out from beneath the bed. Every little detail had been considered, right down to the bathroom being completely stocked with all my Lush favourites. Another notable detail is the fact that Lush curated the whole decor of the spa from local charity shops. If I wasn’t already in love with them, this officially sealed the deal.

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I cannot say enough good things about the Lush Spa on Oxford Street. The whole experience was a sensory overload and I’m pretty sure I drifted out of there on a bathbomb cloud. They even gave me a new Hottie massage bar to take home! My only complaint – there isn’t a spa in Canada yet! Fingers doubly crossed on that one.

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AT HOME | 10 Ways to Make Your Home More Spa Like

AT HOME | 10 Ways to Make Your Home More Spa Like

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I have been in my condo for a year now and it’s still half under construction. Since the rest of my home is a 70s nightmare,  I’ve come to appreciate the two finished rooms in my place by turning my bedroom and ensuite into an oasis to escape the rest of the chaos I am currently living with. My situation may be unique in that I’m living in major discomfort but I think everyone’s home should be a sanctuary to relax in. With that said, here are my top 10 tips of making your home more spa like. Serenity now.

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FRESH FLOWERS

Having fresh cut flowers around your place not only smells great but it adds colour to your surroundings, especially in my case since my home is very white. I don’t know about you, but a flash of greenery and blooms really improves my mood instantly. I am loving the bouquets from Maven & Grace who expertly arranged all the florals in my home that I’m still enjoying nearly 2 weeks later!

flowers – c/o Maven & Grace | amour soap – c/o Woodlot

 

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SCENTS

If I’m home, a diffuser is on pumping out some heavenly and calming scent or I have a myriad of layered incense burning. I love forest scents such as cedar and pine but also muskier notes like palo santo.

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rock – c/o The Witchery | palo santo – c/o Woodlot | cedar incense – c/o Juniper Ridge | Spa Spirit, Tranquility, After the Rain, and Mountain High oils – c/o Saje | diffuser – c/o Saje

I love incense so much that my sister and I even created one together last summer when we were on Gabriola Island. We handpicked flowers to make the limited edition Sister Witch incense which is available on her site! Fun fact!

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CALMING SOUNDTRACK

Sometimes when I’m unwinding, it’s nice to have ambient sound in the background that keeps you company but that you can also ignore. I recently discovered a site that has several different types of static sounds you can stream such as forest walk, early morning seashore, summer rain, and mountain stream to name a few. Check it out here.

bluetooth speaker – Marshall

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TEA & INFUSED WATER

A nice cup of brewed tea or a refreshing glass of infused water is an easy way to evoke the spirit of a spa. I will confess that every time I’m in a mall, I will walk into Aveda just to have a sample cup of this tea – it’s so different as well as sweet on its own. My favourite infused water combination is freshly cut cucumber and mint.

tea – c/o Aveda

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FRESH EUCALYPTUS & LAVENDER SHOWER

For those of us who can only dream of owning a steam shower in which we can diffuse oils through, we tie fresh eucalyptus and lavender on our showerhead to get the same effect. The hotter the shower, the more steamy eucalyptus lavender scents happen. It’s the best.

eucalyptus + lavender – c/o Maven & Grace

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MOOD LIGHTING

Not only do candles smell amazing they add to the mood lighting of your place. A candlelit bath is much more relaxing than one with your overhead lights beaming down on you, trust. Beeswax and soy candles are the best as they’re non toxic and in my experience last waaaaaaay longer. I also recently learned that in order to avoid the tunneling of a candle, you need to burn them for extended periods of time rather than a short burst.

cinder candle – c/o Woodlot | patchouli candle – Diptyque | shampure candle – c/o Aveda

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FACE MASKS

If ever I’m having a difficult day, I like to take 15 minutes to myself and put on a facemask. My top three in rotation right now are Aztec Secrets, a mud mask that makes your skin pulsate as it dries, Pura Botanicals Overnight Watermelon Mask – you can leave it on overnight, and Lush’s Cup ‘O Coffee a real skin awakening. I like to keep my sheet masks in the fridge for an extra slap of coldness in the face.

 

Indian Healing Clay – Aztec Secret |
Overnight Watermelon Mask – c/o Pura Botanicals |
Cup O’ Coffee – c/o Lush |
Calendula + White Tea –  c/o The Face Shop |

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FLUFFY ROBE & SLIPPERS

I cannot stress enough how purchasing a fluffy robe and ridiculous slippers to swan around my condo in has changed my life for the better. I have a wardrobe of robes which may seem excessive to some but they’re my business attire since I work from home. The slippers were an impulse purchase on my recent trip to Marrakech and they make me feel hilarious and decadent.

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BATH SALTS & BOMBS

I love to scent my bathwater especially when it involves pretty packaging or some kind of explosion in the tub. Anything musky or rose scented is right up my alley like these bath salts pictured above. I also love bath bombs which I use so quickly I can never photograph them 🙁 – my two favourite as of late have been Stress Away and the Golden Egg.

Gem & Honey Bath Salt + Bad Moon Rising Bath Salt – Wild Honey Apothecary | Calm Bath Salts – c/o Herbivore Botanicals

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INFUSED FACE CLOTHS

I have recently started infusing facecloths and storing them in my fridge for after the gym or just when I need a refreshing moment. I add essential oils to water and then submerge a facecloth in it. Wring out the cloth, roll it up, and place it in a ziploc bag in my fridge. It’s THE BEST. I find eucalyptus to be energizing whereas lavender more relaxing. You could even put the lavender in hot water for a steamy cloth.

eucalyptus oil + lavender oil – c/o Thursday’s Plantation

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At the end of the day, it’s all about making your home a sanctuary and a relaxing place for you to hang out. What are some of the ways you make your home more spa like?

Grand Budapest Hotel | Canyon of Dreams | Tim Walker – Pictures

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WELLNESS | 10 Things to Accomplish in 2017

WELLNESS | 10 Things to Accomplish in 2017

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Let’s real talk for a minute here. While 2016 was professionally a good year for myself (mostly) my personal life was a giant flaming bag of dog shit. I neglected my health – both mentally and physically, my home was a disaster and had many unforeseen issues with it, my boyfriend of three years and I decided to go our separate ways, and with so many of my idols dropping like flies – the world felt like a barren wasteland creatively. That’s a brief highlight reel of garbage of life’s fun curve balls.

Of course there were great things too…. I traveled a lot (hello Japan!) and learned a bunch about myself but the bad far exceeded the good in 2016. There was a deficit of happiness. Aside from the general feeling of the year heavy on my shoulders, I keep a list of “good things” that happened yearly and aside from Japan being one, everything on there is work related. Not okay.

Maybe 2016 was a non sequitur or perhaps a foundation year for 2017. I laid down the ground work and now I’m putting everything into action. The wheels are in motion and I am MOTIVATED. Here are a few things I’m making a point of focusing on personally this year.

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STAY ORGANIZED

I have a tendency to start things, walk away, and leave fragments every where. It’s easy when you live alone, you’re accountable to NOBODY but yourself. Last year I moved around so much that my filing system for my taxes was a bunch of receipts in a shoe box. These are not things that are going to make me my most successful self. I’m penning in due dates and keeping them. I’m starting to organize those receipts now – not post-Coachella panic, and I’m putting things away after I use them. 21 days and it’s a habit I hear.

Action Items

  • Use my MASSIVE CALENDAR (thanks Rifle Paper Co.) and write down due dates
  • When I use something, put it away afterwards (and not let my desk become complete chaos as it is above)
  • Start a filing system for my taxes
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LEARN TO ENJOY THE MOMENT

By trade, I’m supposed to document every single event in my life. It’s daunting and quite frankly, sometimes overindulgent. Every body needs a few secrets, some mysterious, but more importantly we all need to remember to enjoy things in real time. Snapchat doesn’t have to be updated during a moving concert, an excellent dinner, or while simply hanging out with pals. I’m going to make a concerted effort to be present more often than not.

Action Items

  • Keep my phone in my bag during dinner dates with pals and hang outs
  • Try leaving my phone at home once in a while (gah, this is already stressing me out)
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TREAT MY BODY LIKE THE TEMPLE IT IS

…and not like the garbage dump I’ve made it. It pains me to admit the type of neglect I’ve caused my body over the past two years. It’s more than just putting on a couple of pounds, it’s the general feeling of imbalance and sluggishness. Getting moving is a start, making green juices with my Vitamix (this thing is my life), and respecting my self and actually listening to my body. Another area of focus is my hands; I am an anxiety chewer. If I’m having a bad day, unconsciously I will begin tearing my fingers apart. This has to stop. My hands are important and deserve respect.

Action Items

  • Do something active every day and STRETCH
  • Start wearing nail polish so I avoid biting my poor littler fingers
  • Make healthier choices when eating (Repeat after me: I don’t need chocolate every day or McDonald’s at midnight)
  • Allot time for meditation
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DRINK MORE WATER

I'm pretty good about carrying a water bottle with me every where..... but I don't think I actually consume enough water during the day. I have all these fancy water bottles (Santevia Alkaline / Glass Crystal from the Witchery / S'well) and they should be getting more action in my every day life. Also.... that S'well bottle keeps water cold FOREVER. It's a miracle

Action Items

  • Start every day with a glass of water with apple cider vinegar
  • Actually drink those 8 glasses per day (and more when working out)

WRITE EVERY DAY

I started writing a book ages ago and over time shelved it to the recesses of my workload. The old 'I'll get to it eventually' mentality. Well... eventually is now.

As Shia Lebouf said: "DO IT. JUST DO IT. Don't let your dreams be dreams! Yesterday you said tomorrow." I have over 50 journals and they should be turned into something otherwise, what on earth was I doing with my time?!

Action Items

  • Create tangible due dates and a workable timeline
  • Write for at least 20 minutes uninterpreted each day
  • Talk about it more so I'm held accountable for it
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NURTURE IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

I spend a lot of time alone. My job doesn't require a commute, I don't see people unless I make an effort and it's much too easy to slip into a pattern of seclusion. A part of this is has to do with focusing on people who are worth spending time with and cutting off the time vampires who don't add value to your life.

Action Items

  • Initiate hang outs, make dates, make plans, SEE FRIENDS
  • Making an effort to see my family when they're in town
  • Becoming a better penpal to my long distance friends with this cute Herb Lester stationery (shout out CC!)
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STAY INSPIRED

Last year felt bleak and desolate in every creative endeavor I embarked on. Every thing seemed dull and overdone and boooorrrrinnnggg. Inspiration had left me wandering aimlessly. BUT NOT THIS YEAR MY FRIEND! Actively exercising your creativity is the answer.

Action Items

  • Draw one thing every day
  • Read more books (at least 20 this year... and more FICTION)
  • Attend more art openings
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CONNECT WITH NATURE

Day to day life is hectic. There's something to be said about immersing yourself in nature and taking pause. Whether it's taking a stroll through the abundant river valley I have access to here in Edmonton, or making use of my free National Park Pass (Happy 150th Canada!) I need to make a point of connecting with green spaces more.

Action Items

  • More plants for my home
  • Plan a ski trip and pray I can remember how to snowboard still
  • Find ways to enjoy the outdoors during any season
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LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR BETTER

This one is painful. I've been "playing" guitar since Grade 8. I let myself get self conscious about it and avoided it all through high school. Flash forward to now. I'm 29 and am a weak guitarist. Why do I own instruments I can barely play? I originally read that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something and then I found this article that gave me hope that I may actually accomplish this in less time.

Action Items

  • Actually finish all the guitar tutorials in GarageBand
  • Practice the boring scales until they become easy
  • Allocate focused time on it as well as leisurely play while watching garbage tv! (Maybe this year I should resolve to stop watching Real Housewives and every other show Bravo produces)
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MAKE MY HOUSE A HOME

I have been living in a construction zone for a year now. It hasn't been easy. Progress has definitely been made in the last couple of months but I still have a kitchen from the 1970s. The only furniture I have that isn't packed away is: my bed and a desk. If I'm not working, I'm likely in bed. I need to have a leisure space and a place to eat that isn't at my computer. Since moving out of my parents house a few years ago, I've been buying/flipping condos and not living in one place for long enough to settle down. I think I might stay here for a while and enjoy the stillness for a bit. Grow some moss.

Action Items

  • Finish reno's obvsssss
  • Slowly and thoughtfully furnish my home
  • Enjoy my books and records that have been in boxes for over a year!!!!!

 

Anyone else have action plans they're putting in motion this year?