Gowland Tod Provinical Park: Jocelyn Hill

Calling all VI’ers!! This moderate hike is beautiful. From McKenzie Bight in Gowland Tod Provincial Park, it is about a 5-hour trip spanning 14km. Not only is there one AMAZING view at the end but there are several views along the way, which deserve a “runner-up” title.


Directions: The trail is very well marked. All you need to worry about is getting to the trailhead. The trailhead and parking lot are located on Ross-Durance Road in Victoria, BC. Approximately 200 meters down the road is a big parking lot with washrooms and maps. Continue 300 meters, by foot, down the road and you will come across a yellow gate. This is the trailhead. From there, everything is very straightforward and signed. You are mainly looking to stay on the Timberman Trail.


Use common sense, follow Markers, and avoid paths that are intentionally blocked off by logs and you will make it to your destination without a hitch.



TIP: Stop at the Squally Ridge viewpoint which is on the way to Jocelyn hill and about 30 seconds off the track. Make sure to pack water, snacks and a first aid kit. We had a tumble down a hill when our foot was caught in a root.

Note: Please be respectful of the wildlife and ecosystems. Pack out everything you packed in and take nothing but memories!



Throwing A Baby Shower

Throwing a baby shower was probably one of the most exhausting, memorable and rewarding experiences of my life. I could have just put out food and a cleaned the house but I don’t do anything half ass. Of course, I had to pick a theme and follow that theme through, with everything.

To all those who entertain on a regular basis, you deserve a round of applause. It’s A LOT of planning and work.

So, when my friend found out she was having a baby boy, I immediately started filling up the Pinterest boards with ideas. I settled on a rustic teddy bear theme, as I assumed I could follow through with that theme on a budget, which I did. I frequented dollars stores on a regular basis and DIY’d pretty much everything.


One of my first duties was grabbing anything rustic from the dollar store. I found cheap twine, chalkboard everything, burlap everything and lots of blue ribbon.


One of the hits was my popcorn bags! I hole punched about a cm apart on the top of the bag and ran twine back and forth through the holes, finally tying a knot when the two ends met in the front. Then I made twine figure 8’s and glued them on to look like a bow. I topped it off with two salt and pepper shakers full of popcorn seasoning and labeled them.


I topped the popcorn off with one of the burlap chalkboard signs I found at the dollar store that I added buttons too. These were perfect for labeling food and went well with the theme.


What’s a baby shower without a Pinterest fail? These teddy graham cupcakes were my nightmare. Never ask me to decorate a cake, the result is scary. However, to incorporate the cupcake platter, I added a bow on the base with a button in the centre.


On a separate table, I had what I called “Honey Bear ‘Mom’osas”. This was a mom-friendly drink, just made of lemonade and club soda that I put in a fancy dispenser, and again decorated it with a bow. The sign was one of my spruced up dollar store specials and the coffee cups were a white cup that I hot glued with a burlap strip and a straw bow.

DSC_0923The teddy bear cake was such a cute addition to the party. I know what you are thinking… No, I did NOT make this cake. Shout out to Country Grocer’s bakery team. They were amazing to deal with, the cake looked amazing and was delicious and you can’t beat a $24.00 price tag!


I also had the napkins fit the theme by folding them into a bow tie shape. The bows were secured by wrapping the blue ribbon around it and attaching the ends in the back with a drop of hot glue. The teddy bears in the back where ordered off Amazon and I just added a bow to them.


Now for food, I created a little teddy bear cheese platter using Boursin cheese that I molded into a semi Circle. I stuck two olives into the cheese to represent eyes and one for the nose. Ritz crackers were used for the ears and then I sliced up meats and cheeses to go around it. Assorted crackers were stacked in the back bowl to go along with it.

I also had chopped up fruit to go with a chocolate fountain, which I must say, was a bit of a fail. The machine did not work like it should, but chocolate is chocolate and it went over fine anyways.

Remember dunkaroos? I made my own version. I had birthday cake icing and teddy grahams for dipping. Had I done this again, I would have made my own icing.

Lastly, I had a standard veggie platter from Costco that I just moved into a different dish for looks.


If there is one thing I can stress, It’s games, games and more GAMES! Keep the people entertained. “Guess the size of mom’s belly” was a common one on Pinterest. I just got a little tin from Walmart to put the yarn in and attached a chalkboard stick-on to the front, where I wrote on the self-explanatory name. The yarn was, of course, blue and I had little tags to write the guessers name on. Once everyone had guessed I just measured them around mom’s waste and the winner got a prize.

DSC_0947I also found these great chalkboard calendars at the dollar store and turned them into a guessing game of when the baby would come. This was a super cute idea, although no one wins right away.


Ah, the bottle drinking game. All you need is a few cheap bottles and some form of a drink. Everyone then races to finish the bottle first. NOTE: I would avoid anything acidic. Lemonade truly hurt the tongue after a while of drinking.


The prize table had a few notebooks and candle/ diffuser sets to give out. I also put out a little can to collect any cards in. The white, paper looking contraption was a frame for people to take photos in. It was a cute idea but needed more structure to work well.


Some of the little touches are the best touches. I Somehow managed to whip this ribbon up. Don’t ask me how… It was a late night after a long attempt at crafts. It contains a circular chalkboard stick-on, some cardboard, twine, burlap, ribbon and about 7839 hot glue sticks.


I am a sucker for flowers but I am also a starving student. These two things don’t go together very well. I opted for baby’s breath and daisies cause they are delicate and cheap. I made homemade vases using mason jars and a variety of ribbon, twine, burlap and such to make each vase unique but theme fitted.

So there you have it.

Throwing a themed baby shower is WORK and MONEY. However, if I could do it all over again, I would. It is a very satisfying feeling when all is said and done. Just remember, start early, plan within your means, and think reasonable about what themed items will be easy to find. Rustic themes are super easy and affordable and provide lots of opportunity for DIY projects.


Why I keep a “Box of Memories”

Some might call me crazy or perhaps, even a hoarder but I am I constantly adding to my “box of memories”. I started this box after sitting down with one of my friend’s grandmas and going through her endless scrapbooks and keepsakes. She told me to hold onto everything, even the things that hurt me to look at now because, one day, I would want to remember it all; the good the bad and the ugly. These moments would all shape the person I become and determine the path I take.

As we flipped through the books together, she laughed at her old pictures and smiled at old love letters. I was taken back, as a girl who had recently gone through a breakup, I thought there was no reason to keep anything like that. She looked at me and said “why get rid of it? That was a part of your life where you learned, loved and created memories”. She couldn’t have been more right. After that conversation, I began to collect everything from old cards, event tickets, photos, knick-knacks to preserved flowers that had been given to me.

Now, when I’ve had a rough week, I will pull out the box and look over everything. I will see the kind words that had been written to me in cards and old love letters and I look at the pictures from all the amazing experiences I’ve had. Yes, some things still hurt to read or look at but as time goes on feelings change and the negative feeling behind those memories with an ex-boyfriend or ex-friend fade.

I hope that one day when I am retired and my grandkids come to visit I can pull out this box, which at this rate will be closer to tubs full of memories, and show them how my life unfolded. Where I too, will convince them to create and keep their memories.

Combatting Anxiety With Nature

If there’s something I have never been shy about, it’s my struggle with anxiety. For years I sat there, letting my anxiety eat me alive. As time went on, I found little ways to cope with the constant panic and stress of dealing every imperfection I faced. I obsessed over cleaning, my physical imperfections, and every single grade I got within school. Unless it was perfect, I wasn’t happy. Since not much in life is perfect, happiness was becoming less and less common. It wasn’t until I spent time discovering myself and dove into different passions, that I began to feel secure in my own skin and surroundings. One of my coping tactics was getting out and experiencing different trails, attractions, and beaches outdoors. These didn’t have to be things that were far off the beaten path, but just things that let me escape for just a little while. My mind would be more captured by my senses than by my racing anxious thoughts. Now, I try once a week to pick one new place in the outdoors to experience, and usually, I go accompanied by someone in my amazing support system. I can’t even begin to explain how much happiness this addition to my life has brought me. I now have something to look forward to and amazing memories to look back on.

Now don’t let me fool you, things still aren’t perfect. Everyone has bad days. However, anyone who is struggling with anxiety has so many options available. The key is experimenting with positive coping tactics and finding what works for you. There is no harm in reaching out for help and putting a little faith in your support systems to guide you in the right directions.

Christie Falls

Christie Falls is one of Ladysmith’s not-so-hidden treasures, that is an easy 2 hour round trip walk and hike. The trail follows a well-maintained logging road for 2.5km and is perfect for a bike ride; however, bikes will need to be left at the start of the trailhead going up to Christie Falls.

Directions: To get to the Christie Falls trail, turn left at the end of Christie Road in Ladysmith, BC and park by the orange gate. The trail starts just past the Orange gate, through a yellow gate on the right. You will need to follow the logging road that leads to the Bush Creek Fish Hatchery. Walk 2.5km down the logging road, while following the signage to the hatchery. Once at the hatchery, a map and signage direct you up a trail, opposite to the hatchery. After a 7-10 minute hike, you will come across a waterfall, that is occasionally dried up. Continue the trail over the log bridge, to reach the real magic. Christie falls has plenty of room to admire the falls and have a quick snack.

Tip: Once done, return back on the trail and turn right almost immediately to the rope that assists for a climb to the top of the waterfall. Many smaller waterfalls await at the top. On your way back down, follow the signage that says “trail” on your right, and you will come across a log cabin that is only a minutes walk off the “falls” path.

Note: Please be respectful of the wildlife, ecosystems and fish hatchery. Pack out everything you packed in and take nothing but memories!