Tunes, Culture and Community fun at Aboriginal Days.

It was a beauty of a long weekend. On Saturday we headed over to the Hay River Dene Reserve for the Aboriginal Day festivities, to enjoy some cultural fun. It was such a stunning day with loads of sunshine, perfect for the events. It’s so awesome to go and check out these community events, it always ends up being a fabulous little social adventure, and it’s just so nice to see and connect with people out enjoying themselves.

We went straight in to check out the live music that was happening. I love any sort of jam session or live music events, no matter where in the world I am, so this was no different. Having the opportunity to hear some of my favorite local musicians was just another reason I wanted to go to the Aboriginal days. Nothing like some good tunes and local talent to get the ol’ toe tapping going. IMG_5427 After swayin my hips and tappin’ my toes for a bit, we made our way out to get some fresh fire cooked bannock.You can’t go to the reserve and not have Bannock?! It’s a traditional aboriginal staple, and something I grew up on as a child, not to mention – of course they will have the best bannock out here, made by someone who has lifelong experience making it. Celine was a little rockstar! IMG_5455 We had to dig right in, it looked way to darn good; and it was way too darn good! IMG_5433                                            As did everyone else. Just look at that sheer bannock happiness exuding from his face. IMG_5461 Delicious and greasy though(as any good bannock is), but this was not the opportune moment for this dilemma…. IMG_4478 Nope, not when there is no napkins on or near me and no place to wash my hands. Dang, I was a bit greasy, and it made picture taking difficult. Long behold though, there was the lake! The Great Slave Lake to be exact. IMG_4460 And it worked like a water filled lake charm. Back in business. None sticky business that is – No one is a fan of sticky business. It was worth every bite though!

Out back they had some canoe races going on – and one heck of scenic view. IMG_5446 IMG_5442 It needed a basking in. So I did just that. I basked in it, and it was awesome. IMG_5439 I so love the Native paintings and art work, they are absolutely beautiful, I could have easily bought one of those. IMG_5447 However, it was this little stunner of a purse that caught my eye. IMG_5450 It literally reeled me right in and hooked me. I didn’t even think twice about it. When you know, you know. Not only was it beautifully hand crafted, but Georgina the women who made it was a beauty herself. It had Petrena written all over it! IMG_4450 IMG_5500You could see the love that went into it, and I love supporting the locals everywhere I am. It checked all the boxes. The best purchase ever! Well one of them, that’s for darn sure.

We made sure to grab some Zen in the tee-pee while we were out and about as well. When in rome! Or in this case, ‘When on the reserve’. How can you not? IMG_5479

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Every time I went past the bannock table, they were cooking something new on the fire. It was amazing, and all just for anyone and everyone who wanted to enjoy it. That is true community event style. IMG_5465 IMG_5489 It was shaping up to be a pretty awesome day. Got to chat with loads of people, get to know more of the locals, enjoy some local eats and treats, and take home a piece of art that also has cultural history.

Wait! I forget to mention something.

I wouldn’t be me, if I wasn’t forever prepared for anything and a little more. So, obviously I would never leave home without my backstage pass. IMG_4527So I figured I would flash that bad boy and see where it got me. IMG_5498 Yup it worked like a dream. I was right back there with the band. No big deal, it’s just how I roll. IMG_5492 Culture, Community, History, and Art all in one day. Don’t you just love when you find everything your looking for all in one place?

Wining and dining on the deck.

Do you ever just get the urge to prepare a beautiful, healthy, love filled dinner at home? Well I know I do. As it often does – the mood to hang out with my little inner chef struck me. So I did what any person would do in that situation; I voyaged straight to the grocery store to stock up on some goodies to wow myself with.

Nothing too fancy and crazy. Just a nice veggie dish is what I was feelin’. In my mind I had decided I would make a Veggie Lasagna, accompanied with a Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa side dish. Once I was done perusing the store I ended up with Zucchini, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Eggplant, Spaghetti Squash, Ricotta, and some Tomato paste.  Upon returning to my little Zen pad, I opened the deep freeze and took out some northern mushrooms, that were literally picked in my back yard. Ummmm, did I mention – they are darn delicious!! Every time I return to Northern Canada, I always look forward to chowing on some delectable local mushies. I Grabbed the quinoa from the cupboard, and was ready to rock and roll. In order to do that though I needed music, so I got some toe tappin’ tunes going. Music always makes things more fun. I can’t imagine my every day life without it.

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There is nothing like eating healthy. It just makes your mind, body, and soul, so freaken happy and rejuvenated. Fueling my body to be it’s best.

Prior to my prep work I cut the Spaghetti Squash in half, drizzled olive oil on it and a wee bit of sea salt, and put er’ in the oven to roast, while also getting the quinoa cooking. I sliced up all the veggie’s, after which I salted the zucchini slices to get some of the water out of them. Otherwise it all comes out when it’s baking, and then you have to drain it, and well, with that also drains flavor…. So yes, I salted those bad boys and let them sit for a bit before I dried them with paper towel. 

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I spread tomato paste on the bottom of the baking dish, and started to layer the vegetables, adding a nice layer of ricotta cheese in the middle.

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I made two layers of each veg, drizzled it with olive oil and topped it with a bit of grated marble cheese.

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Swapped out the squash from the oven with the veggie dish.

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Baked it at 400 degrees for about an hour – and Voila!! Behold a veggie lasagna.

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I was having issues getting the sweet potato to stay on the top as the dish wasn’t quite deep enough. I pulled it together the best I could though. As you do.

Front deck ambiance? Or back deck ambiance? Decisions, decisions. After a coin toss with myself, it was front deck action that was in order. I checked my watch, and it just so happened to be Wine O’clock. Well look what time it is?? Being known for always being prepared for anything, I had a wine for exactly that time. The wine of choice was of course Canadian, as I always drink locally no matter where in the world I am.

The wine was a delightful Pinot Grigio, with notes of peach and apple, and the name was literally Wine O’clock. One of the best times, if I do say so myself.

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I set the table, and it was show time!

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Who needs to go for dinner when you got it all in your own yard. What time are you coming over?

My weekend stay at ‘Hotel Arts’ Calgary.

I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at Hotel Art’s in Calgary.

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It is a boutique hotel located downtown. The hotel has recently undergone a $7 million dollar face lift renovation.

I am not sure what it looked like previously – however the decor is very chic and contemporary as of now. It boast’s a little lushness about it, and I love the atmosphere itself when you walk in.

Well it definitely appealed to my eye’s. Let’s put it that way.

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Each staff member that I dealt with at the front desk, were all so extremely helpful, and friendly. Not to mention, I found they all had their own trendy style and character; Not something you come across everyday. The picture does not depict that so well.

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Don’t get me wrong – I love many things in life, however, not everything. As much as most of the experiences I write about seem to always be super positive; If I did in fact go somewhere or do something that was not up to my standards or expectations – I would absolutely give my honest opinion. I travel the world and I am privileged to visit many 5 star establishments around the globe. So as relaxed and chill as I am, I can be quite picky.  I mean that even goes if I am traveling a third world Country and eating street food. I know what I like, and I know quality.

My room was fabulous! Super comfortable and large beds!

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I could have rolled over for days. I didn’t though. I just stuck to one side – and that was plenty. If I wanted to though, I could have done some serious rolling. Just depends what your into.

IMG_3773 The only thing I was missing was a Mini Bar. Probably for the best though. ‘Hello room service!’.

I loved the vanity in the bathroom, as well as the lighting.  It was spacious and bright, made my make-up application that much easier(I mean of course I just roll out of bed and look like this every morning).

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The Aveda toiletries that they provide were a very fantastic touch.  I don’t myself buy Aveda products very often – but I do absolutely enjoy them, and their quality.

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There is a pool, however it was not quite up and running just yet. It is outdoor’s in a sort of open terrace area. Appeared as though it would be a great place to take a dip on a hot summers day.

The Hotel Arts also has 2 award winning restaurants, Yellow Door Bistro & Raw Bar.  As I had a busy schedule all weekend, I was not able to visit both unfortunately.  I did though enjoy a buffet style breakfast one morning, and a few glasses of Vino in the Yellow Door Bistro one evening.

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image1 (2)The breakfast was lovely, everything you could want to see for a great weekend breakfast indulgence, yet taken up a level with some very creative culinary flare. The decor of the restaurant was also very elegant and modern, With equally as unique and lovely staff as the front desk and housekeeping.

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Seeing as how I had such a wonderful and brag worthy stay at the the Hotel Arts, and I have not yet visited the Raw Bar(which I will indeed); It appears as though I have no other choice but to book there once again upon my next visit to Calgary.  Which is going to be very soon. If you are ever looking for a phenomenal place to stay while in Calgary, definitely put Hotel Art’s on your list.

 

Made in Canada! Me, and my new bicycle.

So there I was just having an epic day of random Calgary adventures.  When long behold I stumbled across this beauty of a little shop in Inglewood. The Uncommons.

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Now one thing that without a doubt peaks my interest, is absolutely something Uncommon, not to mention unexpected. Boasting a name like that, I had no choice but to let that gravitational flow pull me(gracefully of course)right on in the door.

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The first things that caught my attention was the selection of bicycles they had on display.

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Clearly even the window shoppers were liking what they were seeing.

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Being an avid cyclist and living a large portion of my time on the island of Mallorca, Spain the past few years – which is an island built for cycling, I knew I needed a new bike for my summer in Canada.  My world just doesn’t turn quite the same when I am not out enjoying the open road of cycling adventure. These bikes I stumbled across in this uncommon little place appealed to my eyes instantly.  So obviously the next plan of action was to ask some questions to Eric, one of the two awesome shop owners.

IMG_5091There were two different makes of bikes.  One was from the States, and the other was from my home soil!! Right here in Maple Leaf Country. ‘No freaken way?!’ is precisely what I thought when told this fact. The brand is Lochside, and the bike themselves are made in Victoria, BC.

No matter where I am in the world I always make it a point to drink locally; For instance, if I am in Canada, I drink Canadian Vino(for the most part, depends how long I am in Canada), and when I am in Spain I drink Spanish Vino, and so on and so forth. You catch my drift. This also goes for beer, food markets, etc.  I totally believe in supporting the local industry where ever I may be.  So obviously my eyes widened a bit more on learning about these Canadian made bikes. Drink locally and Cycle locally. That has Petrena written all over it!

Eric was so fantastic with telling me all the information about the bike as well.  He and Lisa(the other shop owner) definitely know their stuff.  I was intrigued, that’s for darn sure.

After perusing the shop a bit more and checking out all the other uncommon and very cool merchandise they had on offer,

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I walked into the back room of their shop, and there ‘She‘ was. Or ‘He‘?? Should a bike be a he or she?! I am not totally sure. Let’s go with she this time though. What a stunner of a bike! If I do say so myself.  I had no choice but to get on and get the feel of what the ride would be like.

IMG_5104Oh yes! Pretty comfy and cruise-y if you ask me.

‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’ was the next question. The vision of endless summer highway cycling together was flashing brightly in my mind; However it was not my intention to buy a bike that day… It also wasn’t my intention to come across a bike that I fell in love with that day either. Like they say – The best things come when you least expect it.  I am not one to pass up an awesome ‘not everyday’ type of deal.  It also made a world of difference that the shop owners Lisa and Eric were so friendly and exceptionally helpful.

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IMG_5114  Customer service at it’s finest. How could I not want to support their business, while also supporting a local Canadian made bike company. Tick, tick aaaaannd tick. That list was so naturally checked off, I just had to go with it.  A match made in Bicycle heaven. Being locally made it also made the price of the bike extremely reasonable, which I was told was one of the intentions of the company. SOLD.

I even love my bike seat.

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Since returning to the Northwest Territories, I have taken my bike out for some good cycle’s, and let me just say – She rides like a little dream!! I am so happy with my purchase, and the more I ride it, the more I love it. You could say that I see endless summer adventures with my new wheels.

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If you are around Calgary and find yourself in the Inglewood area, I absolutely suggest stopping in and checking out the fine shop called ‘The Uncommons’.

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Everything you wouldn’t expect to find, and a little more. Happy Days!