This past weekend I went to Toronto, and managed to find time to get a beautiful handpoke/stick-and-poke tattoo of two mint sprigs. My friend Ang had gotten a bunch of pieces from Odette(@miniminiminiatures), and I knew I wanted something fun.
Nic and Lupe
Nic had a blast hanging out with Lupe, Odette’s boston terrier!
It was really fun collaborating with Odette on how exactly I wanted the poke to look. She had sent me some sketches, and then we worked together to chose the exact angles and the tufts etc. What is the significance of the mint? I love mint.
Some people wondered how clean a handpoke tattoo can be, but Odette’s studio is super professional, clean, and comfortable. She had a table (like a massage table) set up in her studio, proper gloves, proper needles, cleaning supplies, etc. All the things that you should ALWAYS look for when you’re getting a tattoo. It’s creating an open wound, and putting foreign matter into your body. No glove, no love.
The only real difference between the poke on my bicep and the machine-made tattoos on my feet is the level of pain. On my feet, my tattoos felt like a power drill into my bone. On the arm, it was like a long allergy test (minus the itching). It took about an hour with going over it a couple times. Handpokes, since the needle is smaller, takes longer even though the art is usually smaller.
I used an oil cleanser to be super gentle, dried it with paper towel, and moisturized it with shea butter. It seems to be healing well, and there’s no redness.
Cost always depends on the studio, the artist, size, time, etc. One small foot tattoo (about 3 inches long, narrow writing) cost me $120. This tattoo which was about the same size, but way more talent is involved, was cheaper. Studios often charge by hour, but an individual may be able to adjust their budget for you.
I’m super pumped about my newest tattoo (and the fourth one is coming in January, it’ll be a big rib piece!) and can’t wait for it to heal.
August 31-September 4 I got the awesome experience of canoetripping in Temagami. They say it’s the roughest portaging in Ontario (or Canada?), and they’re right. I was worried my back rehab wouldn’t have gone as well as it could have, but I was wrong. I’m not sore, and I feel like I could conquer any task. Temagami was definitely the most intense canoe trip I’ve ever been on, and I’d love to go back for years. I’ve included my edited version of the Temagami Jeff’s Map in case you’re interested in our route.
We rented 55 lb canoes from Smoothwater Outfitters and a 60 L plastic canoe barrel from MEC. The canoes were a good weight, but a little fragile. We managed to get a crack at Sharp Rock portage from someone being too rough putting the food barrel in.
Access point 12 (check with the outfitters nearby to see where you should park your car, we had to park an extra 300 m away)
Canoe through Lake Temagami to Napoleon. Portage seems rough at first, but it’s just the first part of the hill
Go through to Sharp Rock Inlet
Paddle north through Diamond lake to Willow Lake and up to Sucker Gut
Sucker Gut to Trout Streams to as far as you can get on Lady Evelyn Smoothwater River without dying
Make sure you have your portaging technique down (boats first so you can load ASAP) and have ropes ready for some walk-throughs
“Two-miler” portage is rough, to Diamond Lake, to Sharp Rock Inlet
Warming up with some coffee Thursday night
Ollie looking back over Sharp Rock Inlet
Ally and I are frozen
Thursday we only had about 3 hours of work which was nice. We arrived at Smoothwater at 10, loaded up, and were on water by 12. Napoleon’s portage seemed hard at first, but it wasn’t actually. Thursday was very cold. We put all 5 people + 1 dog in the 4 person tent, instead of Nic and I using our own 2 person. Good decision.
Sunrise on Sharp Rock Inlet
Sharp Rock portage into Diamond Lake
Pictographs on Diamond
Trees in Sucker Gut Lake
Friday morning was very cold, just like the night. We paddled about 25 km on Friday and had beautiful weather. We were nervous for our first falls, but turns out Lady Evelyn Falls are a tiny step, and the actual portage was unnecessary. Just carry it over the rocks!
Me screaming because it was COLD
Time to roast some marshmallows
Nic taking the hatchet to a tree
We had a beautiful campsite on Sucker Gut Lake, and I actually went swimming (although I’m screaming in that picture)! S’mores, sunsets, and Bailey’s pair well. We were on the water from 9 to 4 including lunch and portages. It’s crazy to see the distance on the map!
Sunrise and fog on Sucker Gut Lake
Saturday the fog was insane, we weren’t even sure it would be gone in time to paddle out! Trout streams was rough. Jeff’s Map (dirty liar) did not mention the rapids/rocks that we had to walk the canoes through (no visible portage, and we got pretty wet- bring sturdy sandals if you’re pulling your canoe through with ropes!). Frank’s Falls and Helen falls were beautiful! Center Falls were the coolest portage, but very tricky with all the cliff faces. Definitely a great campsite if you don’t mind the noise from the falls. With all the portages in quick succession, we finally made it to the turn south onto Lady Evelyn Smoothwater River at 2 for our lunch.
Bridal Veil Falls
Nighttime yoga to stay loose
swimming in the falls
By 5 we decided we were done with all the portaging, so we camped at Bridal Veil Falls. Watch out for the end of the portage, you have to get your canoes down a sheer rock face without breaking them or yourself. We used 4 people to zig-zag them down the fissures. The water was super cold, but a well-needed relief.
Sunday started off beautiful. We anticipated some short portages (again in quick succession) and some drag-throughs, but they ended up being relatively fast. The water was even high enough that we skipped the last rapids and portage before the Two-miler portage.
The “two-miler” portage (2.2km) actually ends in another km of a bog. That was rough. I’ll talk more about that in the “Lessons Learned from Temagami” post, or follow along on my Instagram! That took us a full 2 hours with getting stuck in the bog.
Sunset on Deer Island
Ally and I were a little hysterical by the end, not gonna lie. It was a good break to be able to paddle for longer than 10 minutes on Diamond! We made it back to Deer Island to stay on the site we had eyed-up on Thursday.
Monday at 4am we got rain. Until about 10am. I couldn’t sleep just thinking about how rough the access road would be. We had a good, fast paddle through the wind, paused for a picture on Lake Temagami, and made it to the outfitters by 11:30.
This was the best canoe trip I’ve ever been on, hands-down. I loved it. I can’t wait to explore Temagami more!
On June 11, 2017, Nic and I headed over to the Ottawa Humane Society to adopt a bunny. I saw Hazel (her name there) huddled in a corner of a cage, and knew she would be the one. I picked her up, and she nuzzled right in. The poor baby had a shaved patch on her stomach and back from where she was spayed and micro-chipped, and her bones stuck out of her back. She also wouldn’t stop shaking. Nic and I immediately got the paperwork started.
We decided to change her name, and went with Pekoe, as in orange pekoe tea. She was born February 9, 2017, so she’s about 5 months old. I’m glad we were able to adopt a baby, because it’s such a fun time. We were told they didn’t know why she was up for adoption, but was transferred in from Toronto. They also said she was a netherland dwarf/rex mix. Now that I’ve done some research, I’ve determined that is incorrect: she’s actually a silver marten bunny.
I had a bunny, Gypsy, when I was growing up, and she was an adorable sassy princess (like really, she sat on her throne and surveyed us) but I didn’t quite understand rabbit language at that time. Now it’s been super cool to understand when Pekoe wants certain things, and being a lot more comfortable handling her. She also isn’t a dwarf, so she likes to cuddle. That’s key.
Litter training with the bunbun took a couple weeks of catching her pooping elsewhere, putting her in the litter box, and dropping her (dry) poop in with her. I think shame does wonders for litter training. She’s been wonderful to have around, so great to come home to and spend lots of time cuddling. She’s even picked up on my morning routine, I let her tear around my office after her breakfast for the time it takes to do my makeup, and then she hopes right back in. Smart bun!
July 7-9, Nic and I drove down to Prince Edward County with our friends Ivania and Nick. It was my first time going on a wine tour and being in that area, and we had a lot of fun.
Saturday morning started at Waupoos Winery, which is right on the water. It’s a beautiful location, and they were setting up for a wedding! A wedding there would be so wonderful! We paid $5 each for a quick tour which explained how the wine is made, and then tried 2 whites and 2 reds. For red wines, we tried Red Rabbit 2016 and the Flirty Red. The white wines we tried the honeysuckle 2015, and Marquette 2016. The wines they shared are probably a little too complicated for me: I’m a lover of Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers.
One of our favourite parts of the winery was their petting zoo across the road! We got to pet some adorable baby goats and hung out with some chickens.
The Country Cider Company
The County Cider Company was a quick drive away, up the hill. Again for $5, we got a flight of 4 ciders. Each of them was delicious, and we purchased a 4-pack. We ate our picnic lunch in their field (and got chased off once we were mostly done) instead of eating at their outdoor patio, which smelled delicious. Oops. Next time we’ll have to go to their patio!
They sell the Premium Cider at the LCBO and I”ll have to try it there! County pear is delish, and so are Tortured Path, County Premium, and Feral. We bought blood orange, too, and I’m pumped to try them out. Definitely good ciders.
The Kinsip Distillery (formerly 66 Gillead) was a cool spot. Nic had been there a few weeks before for a bachelor party, and he was adamant we needed to return. He was right. The bartender explained that even though their vodka had wheat in it, the distilling process removes the gluten, so I felt safe taking a taste. I loved their pine-infused vodka, and I look forward to trying it in a ceasar as they suggested! We’ve purchased that. I also really, really love their re-branding-I can’t wait to finish our bottle since he said the new branding for that vodka will be out this summer!
For our 5a7, we booked in at the Drake Devonshire in Wellington. Check out my review! Supper was on the patio of the Agrarian, which was nice, but we probably wouldn’t repeat it due to weird service interactions and not being able to do necessary substitutions.
I can’t wait to go again next year! I’d love to check out some more, and I’m sure I’ll want to re-purchase some of the items you can’t get in the LCBO yet!
In July, we took a weekend trip to Prince Edward County with some friends. We had beautiful weather, and loved checking out the wineries, a cider company, and breweries.
Saturday night we went to the Drake Devonshire for our 5-a-7. The location was beautiful. So great.
It’s got the same cool, mid-century feel as the Drake Hotel in Toronto, but more Palm Springs inspired with all the outdoor aspects due to it being right on Lake Ontario. I would absolutely love to stay there and wake up with their yoga classes on the waterfront, and a phenomenal brunch.
They had some delicious mixed drinks. I got their Wanderlust (grapefruit, cucumber, mint, raspberry, lemon, seltzer water, and added tequila). We also had their “loaded potatoes” with a delicious spicy sauce.
Wouldn’t that be an awesome view for your morning coffee?!
Certainly a boutique hotel and restaurant is a little more expensive than others, but I’d say it was worth it. The Drake was wonderful, and I’m looking forward to trying it again next time we head out that way!
I’m very lucky that Nic and I live in Ottawa near our parents. The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I invited my moms out to lunch. We had an amazing brunch at Wild Oat in the Glebe (definitely going back!) and enjoyed a walk through Ottawa’s Tulip Festival.
I got the wild breakfast plate, two eggs, homemade bread (with their own jam!), yam hashbrowns, and sauteed vegetables. SO good. I can’t wait to go again!
I definitely love being back in Ottawa again – great to be with family, and the city is so beautiful!
One of my grandma’s neighbours was very mad I took this picture.
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Patio lunch at Beachcomber’s in the Forks
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
On Wednesday night, Mom, Dad, and I flew into Winnipeg for some time with family and my cousin’s wedding! On Thursday we explored the Forks with my Oma, and had dinner with my Grandma and some other relatives.
Dad on the unicycle
Cousin’s little baby
My cousin’s daughter and I loved chasing Casey around the farm
Checking out the farm
On Friday we went out to my aunt’s farm to visit with my mom’s family. It was a beautiful day full of sunshine, sprinting after the dog, and lots of babies!
Nic in front of the Manitoba Legislature
Oh Doughnuts and Fools and Horses
BDI for ice cream!
On Saturday, Nic and I took a walk from the Manitoba Legislature down to the Forks. We picked up doughnuts from Oh Doughnuts and Fools and Horses on Broadway. In the afternoon we had lunch with my parents and Grandma, then picked up ice cream. My cousin’s wedding was in the evening.