over the last few years, one of my favourite things about sister coming to visit – besides seeing her, duh – is getting to explore a new part of the north west. we’ve driven out to vancouver island, stopping along the way. we’ve gone car camping, and birthday hiking, and mountain exploring.

this year we headed south and across the border for our first visit to montana.

we started on a high note with the sweetest border guard at chief mountain crossing, who chatted with us and gave us a passport stamp in the shape of a bear. a bear! there were so many smiles and giggles following that. bear stamp!

gtsr

i was most excited to experience going to the sun road and glacier national park. i have heard such magical things about it, but for some reason didn’t have much of an expectation for montana. i had thought, “sure i’ll go once to cross it off the list, but doubt i’ll ever go back.” boy was i wrong! plus, it houses the closest target! god bless target.

gttsr

the fantastic people at ford canada have always been excited to travel along on our sister trips, too. and this time we were able to explore in a 2016 C-MAX hybrid.

shaped like a miniature/small ford explorer, the hatchback and large back seat fit two suitcases, two purses, a backpack, many pairs of shoes, and groceries with plenty of room to spare. (and on the return trip, many things from target, and tj maxx.)

the hybrid functionality, made it super fuel efficient and we drove from calgary to whitefish, crossing the whole distance of going to the sun road, as well as into glacier national park two more times, plus two trips to target, and part of the way back to canada on one tank of gas.

if you’ve never driven a hybrid, i’d definitely suggest it. it teaches you how to drive more economically because you learn how to break to recharge the battery and how fast breaking or too quick accelerating uses all gas and no electricity. when you’re in charge of paying for gas, you’ll gladly break properly and be thrilled to use the battery power.

snow

we lucked out, arriving just two days after going to the sun road fully opened. when we got to the highest point at logan pass, we found out why. after putting on five layers of clothes, we were greeted with close to zero-degree temperatures and many feet of snow. knowing we didn’t have to stay too long, it was fun to play in it and throw snowballs in june.

lakemac

a few miles down the road, at a lower altitude, the snow had melted and we were back to clear blue skies and warm temperatures. i fully know why montana is called ‘big sky country’. when you’re out of the mountains, the ranch fields are vast and flat leaving the horizon clear and open.

going to the sun road, with all of it’s twists and turns, mountain views and flowing emerald lakes, is more stunning than you could imagine. i suggest that everyone put that drive on their checklist. and make sure you stop at a lookout or two on the drive, too. you’ll want the photos, even though they don’t do the memories justice.

i can’t even count the amount of times i’d stretch out a hand to hit sister in the arm (lightly) and exclaim, “shut up!” it was too beautiful to believe.


have you ever driven a hybrid? have you ever been to montana?

our noses play such a huge role in so much: what we want to eat, our moods, and how we experience things around us. there aren’t too many things better than sense-arousing smells.

essential oils seem to be a fad right now – no i’m not mlm’ing anything. but i started learning more how oils can benefit us in different ways. my number one interest is always how natural outlets can help improve mental health. smell and oils really do work wonders in this category.

oils can be quite concentrated and need to be diluted before use. for this reason, i don’t want to put any directly on my skin, instead i’ve been looking into diffusers.

organic-aromas

i recently got sent the exquisite essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy from organic aromas. i chose it because of it’s sleek and slender design; it’s tiny frame blends in elegantly to my existing living room decor. it was specifically designed and developed for modern, fashion-minded individuals who desire something fresh, exciting and unique. now, if that doesn’t sound like me, i don’t know what does. *humble brag*

unlike many nebulizers, it uses no heat or water to diffuse, which maintains the holistic and therapeutic properties of essential oils.

maybe it’s because the oils are not diluted, or maybe because it’s so easy to use often since you don’t have to fill the body with water, i feel like i’m going through oils a bit faster. at the same time, it’s the purest and most intense i’ve ever smelled any oil i’ve diffused, and my apartment lingers of the scents for many hours after i’ve turned it off.

you may also forget that it’s on, because it is completely quiet.

not to worry, it automatically turns off after two hours. for this reason, i’m also contemplating putting it in my bedroom to defuse sleepy-time scents like lavender. i’ve never used essential oils to aid sleep, but i’ve heard it works wonders and i need as much help as i can get in that department.

currently my favourite scents to diffuse are: organic aroma’s signature blend, liquid sunshine and mountain high from saje wellness, and elevation from doterra.


do you diffuse? what are some of your favourite blends?

a birthday celebration isn’t complete without cake.

cake

thankfully good earth coffeehouse agrees with me. franchisees, friends and media gathered at the first good earth location on 11st sw in downtown calgary to celebrate 25 years with beautiful cakes, delicious treats and bold coffee.

founders Nan and Michael took us on a walk down memory lane: from opening their first calgary location, to expanding locally and then nationally.

scones

my favourite thing about the menu is that good earth makes their food in their own kitchens everyday using fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, real eggs and fresh dairy. this guarantees the highest standards of quality and freshness. it’s not often you see this anymore in quick-serve coffee shops. we’re too often being fed from plastic packaging, or consuming pre-made, 15 second “fresh baked” items.

they believe everyone is entitled to know what they are eating, so good earth keeps a complete and current list of ingredients of all products in each coffeehouse for your use. i feel better about grabbing a scone, sandwich or flatbread from their counter knowing this.

coffee

you can’t have a coffee shop without the coffee. organic, direct and ethical trade, rainforest alliance certified coffee. i was treated to a little coffee knowledge and sampling from renowned coffee roasters Adam and Peter of reunion island – if you’re in toronto, or on instagram, you may recognize their roncy shop from their coffee tiled floor. like alcohol, i’m quite naive to coffee nuances. while everyone else was nodding their head along to the flavour profiles and such, i was the one giggling when i was introduced to the idea of juicy coffee.

coldbrew

new this year, good earth introduced craft cold brew coffee, handcrafted in small batches. you can order it on ice for a smooth summer drink – or try their gold brew fizz for a slightly sweet alternative with refreshing bubbles. my suggestion, if you’re being indulgent, try the sweet & salty cold brew with a touch of caramel and hawaiian sea salt, shaken with cream and served over ice.

flatbread

one photo of a savoury goods, because i swear there are more than just sweets on the menu. happy birthday, good earth! here’s to the next 25.

p.s. good news for my toronto friends: good earth is opening their first cafe in the city by ryerson in the pace condos building at dundas & jarvis.


do you celebrate birthdays with cake? do you have a good earth in your neighbourhood?