Tag Archives: July 2016

Hungover at a Waterfall near Vancouver

July, 2016

Today was a totally beautiful day. Madison and Sarah picked me up to whisk me away for a forest adventure. I was hungover, yes, but itching for a nature day. We made it to Tim Horton’s just in the nick of time before they stopped serving breakfast, for a hangover hash brown sandwich and a few cups of coffee. We hopped back in the car and were on the way to the forest. I was one happy camper.


We arrived and began our ‘quick’ walk to the waterfall. I say ‘quick’ because I am sure it was, but the heat, the hash brown sandwich, and the hangover, were not a solid combination for a walk in the woods. The shade from the trees was so welcoming. We walked to the end of the path and found a beautiful waterfall. Oh God, that rushing water made me thirsty AF. How I just wanted to be in that water. It was so clear, and a beautiful shade of green, and just so enticing! There was a deep, clear pool above the waterfall, and it looked perfect for a swim, but the water was flowing quickly, no scratch that, it was straight up rushing, so we decided we wouldn’t swim above it. Instead, we walked back down the path and found a secluded spot in the sun across the river.

Madison and I, scoping out the perfect spot

We walked through the water, set up our towels in the sun, and put on our swimmers. Then, it was into the water, the glacial water, the ice cold, glacial water. Let’s call it ‘fresh’. It was so, damn fresh! We all shrieked and giggled as we waded in. Sarah and Madison were far braver than I, and just dove under the water right away. There I stood, ice water up to my belly button, nipples ready to cut glass, shivering, like a wimp, for ages. I couldn’t bring myself to do it! That is until Sarah handed me her GoPro and told me to dive… Anything for Instagram, AMIRITE?!


We spent the rest of the day eating, chatting, and sunning ourselves. It was glorious! We filled our floaty boat with air and while Sarah napped, Madison and I went for a quick float down the creek. We hopped in the floaty boat and just laughed the whole way around the bend. I was nervous I might pee because I was laughing so hard, but I didn’t! We clambered out of the boat and the sky had turned the exact opposite colour— from blue to black— and we could see lightning in the distance over one of the mountains. It was ominous to say the least. We packed up our stuff with such speed and crossed back over the river to the path.

We reached the other side of the water, and it began to rain!!! Now, I don’t always use three exclamation points, but when I do it’s when I am talking about extreme weather. It was POURING. Within seconds, my clothes were soaked right through to my skin. I used my deflated floaty boat over my head and backpack in an attempt to keep dry. It didn’t work. Not one bit. We hiked back out through the forest, sloshing through puddles and laughing at our luck. We may have been totally and absolutely drenched, but we were laughing. Back in the car, and back to the city. The best hangover day ever.

At The Calgary Folk Music Festival

This past weekend, I had the total honour of being my fantastic friend, Kelsey’s plus one to the Calgary Folk Music Festival. As a sponsor of the festival, Kelsey’s employer was given passes for the whole weekend, and she generously shared with me. When I looked at the totally stacked line-up I nearly fainted. With the amount of incredible talent on the schedule, how were we going to choose which artists to see and which workshops to attend? On Thursday night, I donned my cutest festival outfit and head to the grounds.

Kelsey and I

We began at the beer garden to sit under the trees and plan our evening. We were able to see The New Pornographers, a band I have loved for years, and the last few songs of The Cave Singers, a band I had never heard before. We caught the first bit of The Dudes’ set, a band made up of four Calgarians, and finished our evening with The Tallest Man on Earth, a band from Sweden! It was during the Tallest Man on Earth that my friend said enthusiastically, “the best thing about folk fest is the nonstop killer vocal harmonies.” I agree! It was a brilliant day one of Folk Fest and I bicycled home with a giant smile on my face. Three more days of this?! Best. Weekend. Ever.

Our Friday began at the “Voice Male” workshop, featuring the Bros. Landreth, The Cave Singers, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Northern Beauties. A stage chalk full of incredibly talented and inspiring male singer/songwriters? How could we miss it? I am glad we didn’t. The songs that evolved from this workshop had me swooning and falling madly in love with the men creating this music. Once my legs became less jelly like, we wandered to the Mainstage. It was here that we saw Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, a Calgary legend, whose lyrics and music are as magical as his smile. The Bros. Landreth was on the Mainstage next. Another band I had not heard until this weekend, and my goodness, I count my lucky stars I was here to see them. Their music had my skin in goosebumps the whole set. To end the perfect day, we danced all evening to Lord Huron. I had not heard of them until I was standing in front of them, but I liked what I heard, and it was impossible not to dance!

Our Saturday began with the workshop “Do the write thing,” featuring Bobby Bare Jr., The Dudes, Foy Vance, and Bry Webb. It is so rad to see people on stage doing what they love and having a fantastic time with it. That kept us in the beer gardens for a while, where we met up with some friends, and made some new ones. The Calgary Folk Festival brings so many different people out, you never know who you might meet. It always makes me smile to see teenagers partying alongside sixty-somethings, only a few feet away from a family whose young children are also enjoying the music. With our passes, we were invited to sit in the artist lounge. It was here that I would meet Calgary meteorology legend, Darr Maqbool and his lovely wife Lynn (see? You never know who you will meet!). We chatted for a long while about the arts in Calgary and how this City is truly up and coming. Then Kelsey and I watched The Sadies from backstage. These guys know how to rock! The drummer kept spinning his drumsticks as he played— the coolest trick for us non-drummers to see— and the vocalists danced and partied like they were born to do so. José González closed off the night to a huge audience. It was a brilliant way to end a crazy and beautiful Saturday.

Darr Maqbool and I

We arrived Sunday and caught the tail end of the workshop, “Idiom Savants,” featuring Bobby Bare Jr., Elizabeth Cook, Robbie Fulks, and Northern Beauties. I was sad we didn’t get to see more of their set, the music that emanated from the stage was just what I needed on a hangover Sunday. We found our way to the next workshop on our ‘to see’ list, “Defining Moments,” featuring Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Amelie Patterson, Colleen Rennison, and The Weather Station. It was so lovely to hear the stories each of the artists shared about defining moments in their life. MBF told us of the first time he played at Folk Fest in Calgary and how rad it was for him, and now eight or so years later, he took the Mainstage. How cool is that?! We sat in the artist lounge for a while to soak up some much needed shade (again, hangover Sunday). Kelsey and I had a hilarious conversation about being traveling musicians with the Bros. Landreth, when they came to eat dinner at our table, and we chatted about music and then politics with Robbie Fulks and his drummer. We marvelled at the drum beats of the Krar Collective, and closed our eyes to be swept away with Cat Power. We stood in the middle of the crowd for Cat Empire, whose music had everyone up out of their lawn chairs, dancing like crazy. The weekend closed with the infamous Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, who had everyone singing along, and craving a bit of rye whiskey.

Music festivals in general are such a crazy and whirlwind way to experience music. It is always fun to see bands you love, especially bands like The Dudes who are total Calgary legends, or an international sensation like The Tallest Man on Earth. What I loved about this weekend too, is that I had the opportunity to see bands I had never heard before. I fell in love with multiple bands while they were on stage, like The Bros. Landreth and Lord Huron. Thank you Kelsey for bringing me, thank you to all the musicians who poured their hearts out on stage, thank you to the incredible volunteers without whom the festival would not happen, and thank you to everyone I met over the course of the festival. For this island in the heart of the City, for the great music, for the Alberta blue sky, thanks Calgary!

Kelsey with the rad sign made my Bob Quaschnick from The Dudes

Making Bath Bombs with Maker YYC

Taking a bath with a bath bomb is like bathing in champagne, decadent, luxurious, but less of a total mess. I love bath bombs, but I honestly can’t afford them. How many times have you walked into a bath shop or soap store and thought, “this is a ridiculous price for a bath bomb. I feel like I could make this!” I don’t know what goes into making a bath bomb but feel they are simple and wouldn’t take much time.and that others think the same.

Sarah and Kat, two Calgary artists, and the cofounders of Maker YYC, know all too well the feeling of going into a soap shop and thinking, “why would I buy this when I could just make it myself?” They also realize how frustrating it can be to try crafting on one’s own, and they understand the difficulty in answering the questions, where do I get the stuff, how do I actually do this, what is this mess I’ve made, and wtf have I gotten myself into? The beauty of a Maker YYC workshop is that Kat and Sarah provide all the ingredients and tools necessary for the craft of the evening. They do the research and try it out beforehand, so they are the gurus the workshop attendees look to for guidance. The “How to Make Bath Bombs” workshop on July 6 was a sold out house!

Photo from Maker YYC

I sat with Montana, Carla, and Alberta, three lovely ladies who had never been to a Maker event before. We were given our buckets, our mixing utensils, our ingredients, and were told the one rule: don’t eat the citric acid. With a few inspirational images of handmade bath bombs (probably from Pinterest), we were chomping at the bit to begin. Within mere moments, the entire Vintage Caffeine Co. coffee shop smelled like lavender, lemongrass and rose petals. People were mixing and matching colours and scents, pressing their bombs into whichever shape they chose, and waiting excitedly for the time when their bombs could be released from their mold.

Photo from Maker YYC

It was cool to meet and get to know the ladies around my table— all from different walks of life, different backgrounds, and with different interests. There we sat, for two hours, bonding while we created the daintiest and most decadent of crafts. I successfully made six bath bombs, all with different flower petals, swirls of colours, and shapes. I am very happy and I can’t wait to bathe!

So, the total tally from the evening:

Number of beautiful bath bomb makers: 12

Number of beautiful bath bombs made: at least 89

Times I said cute: too many to count

Number of people who put citric acid in their mouths: 0 (woohoo!)

Thanks for the sweet smelling craft night, Calgary!

Three of my bath bombs!

At the National Music Centre

Calgary is now home to the National Music Centre (NMC)! The grand opening on July 1, saw thousands of people walk through the doors of the newly constructed building. The mission of the National Music Centre is “to give Canada a place that amplifies the love, sharing and understanding of music”; in their new home in Studio Bell, with five levels of exhibitions, a collection of over 2000 artifacts and pieces, and a performance space that seats 300, the NMC more than achieves this goal.

My mom and I checked out the space on July 4, a quieter day than the grand opening, and spent nearly three hours wandering and immersing ourselves in the musical world the space creates. The top level, level 5, is where the ‘Best of Canada’ exhibition lives. It showcases and celebrates the Canadian musicians who left a lasting mark on the world’s stage. Around the corner from ‘Idols and Icons’, is the East Village Skybridge. Here, you can look out over the City and on a classic Calgary day, get lost in the “busy” sky. Patrick Marold’s installation Solar Drones provides a unique soundscape for this most epic of walkways. This incredible mash up of art and science, is constructed from the pianos from NMC’s collection that were destroyed in the 2013 flood. Sixteen wooden pieces hang from the ceiling, and are connected with an electromagnetic system to solar panels on the roof. Each produce a continuous note, or drone, based on the City’s weather conditions. Each time you walk through the Skybridge, the soundscape changes based on the sky above. How cool is that?!


My favourite exhibit was on level 4, the interactive ‘Making Music’. It is here that I could have spent my entire day. There was ‘Unplugged’ – where you can check out rare acoustic instruments, ‘Plugged In’ – if electronic instruments are more your style, and ‘Workshops’ – where, through a window into another world, you can watch the NMC “gear-heads” restore and maintain the NMC collection. I spent most of my time on this level being taught, by virtual music teachers, how to play Rush on the drums and then Hedley on the piano. We even had the chance to try our hand at mixing and remixing a classic tune by Tegan and Sara.


On level 3 we were taught some of the science behind the music. We learned how our bodies and brains react to music and why some songs get stuck in our heads easier than other songs – Waterloo by ABBA anyone? We also learned what our vocal ranges are and were tested on our pitch. Only one in 10,000 people in the world are born with perfect pitch, and my mom and I learned that we are definitely in the other 9,999. It was also on this level that I saw the piano Elton John wrote Tiny Dancer on, and I nearly fainted.

The NMC has big dreams for education, performance, recording, and the future of their exhibitions. Their vision is “to be a national catalyst for discovery, innovation and renewal through music,” and I think that Calgary is the perfect place for the NMC to grow and inspire. Even if it’s not the music you are interested in, go for the building. The King Eddy, the adjacent performance space, and a building with the most epic musical past, will be reopened for the duration of the Calgary Stampede. Thanks for the music education, Calgary!