after work, i headed home and performed magic: i packed a weekend bag in 20-minutes flat.

i can’t say i’ve ever done that before, and i am hoping that when i go to get dressed tomorrow morning i haven’t forgotten anything.

running out the door, i caught my shuttle and 20-minutes later i was at my destination – the new international terminal at the calgary airport.

sadly, i’m not catching a flight anywhere exotic, but i am spending the weekend at the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel.

i brought my passport just in case the travel bug takes over from watching planes take off all day. i can see both the air canada and west jet boarding gates, and my first trip of 2018 sounds pretty tempting! though, a city staycation is also blissful. Marriott Hotels have some of the most comfortable beds amongst hotel chains, and if you like a good shower, you’re in the right place.

when i got to my room i was greeted with a personalized note (my favourite) and an itinerary of what to expect for the weekend. i checked my watch, i had to get changed and head down to the mezzanine; it was cocktail time!

if you’ve been kicking around here for a while, you’ll know i don’t drink much. heck, i went out for a bachelorette party night in vegas sober, and strictly high on life.

i don’t know much about alcohol, so when i found out that the first activity of the weekend was actually a competition to create a signature cocktail, my heart started to flutter. have i mentioned my anxiety doesn’t do well with the word “competition” either?

thankfully, i was paired with SamiJoe, who used to bartend and is pretty creative when it comes to mixing a drink. and as a mother to preteens, she’s pretty darn good at calming anxiety, too.

we made a deal, she’d mix the drink, i’d take the photos, and i’d help brainstorm what to name it.

i think i held up my end of the bargain!

the base of all the cocktails was Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon. from there we had an array of liquors, bitters, spices, herbs, fruits, pureés and the like to experiment with.

after taking a look at all the ingredients, we had 30 minutes to create our cocktail. SamiJoe knew she wanted to start with rosemary and built the rest of her flavour profile from there.

the end result, named Merlin’s Magic, included Maker’s Mark, absinthe, angostura bitters, rosemary and bourbon soaked cherries, stirred with ice, strained and served in a martini glass, manhattan-style.


our cocktail didn’t win, but neither of us thought that it may.

after the competition, i was drawn to the table of snacks laid out by the talented staff from YAKIMA kitchen + bar – the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel.

mini beef sliders, homemade jerky, freshly baked buns and bacon jam, charcuterie, chicken wings, and so much more.

nibbles will always win me over and make me happy (especially if i haven’t eaten dinner and it’s 9 p.m.!).

i excused myself from the gathering to head up to the private M Club lounge on the seventh floor of the hotel. it’s very private and requires keycard access. i knew i could come blog in a quiet space. bonus: there is sparkling water on tap and a jar of freshly baked cookies.

it’s far too late, and we have a full day of events planned tomorrow. this kitten needs her beauty sleep!

thank you, Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel for inviting me to stay and enjoy this weekend. 

happy birthday to s&s! this little slice of the internet turns 7 today!

it really doesn’t feel like that long, but in all actuality, it has been much longer.

before s&s i wrote a blog called (off)TheRightTrack. it focused on recovery from a bad ankle injury (pre-leg break), general fitness and lifestyle. i detailed my physio and platelet injection procedures as well as sister’s and my first trip to Boston. i worked on self-esteem and yoga poses. every post title was actually a song lyric – a fact i never shared, and it seemed no one picked up on.

i stopped writing it in august 2010 because of a troll. an internet troll ahead of his time, who wanted his buddy to get the job that a 24-year-old blonde girl (me) did instead. he tore deep. he said really nasty things. and my brand new boss was hesitant. being 24, i gave in to the troll and the boss and retired from blogging.

four months later i realized that was stupid and made my triumphant return with s&s. i still have the troll blocked on twitter, and forgave the boss almost immediately.

in the last seven years, i’ve moved across the country, broke my leg, saw my friends get married and have babies, shared all my dating adventures, had a lot of fun giveaways, and so much more.

i learned how to take much better photos, and rebranded three times – s&s used to have a lot of pink and blue on it and looked like a gender reveal.

i’ve worked on mending heartbreak, shared my test pages, and took deep dives into my friends’ purses and gym bags.

i have been lucky to work with some really incredible brands and even better pr people behind the brands. i have formed friendships with these people, which is always more rewarding than any business deal.

the internet has also introduced me to many friends – thank you for always reading and commenting. i write for me, but happy you’re sticking around for the fun.


as a little thank you, i am giving one s&s reader a not-sponsored-by starbucks gift card. all you have to do is leave a comment and share a s&s memory – how we met, a favourite post, how you found it, etc. i’ll pick a winner on wed, jan 10.


real winter is calgary isn’t as much fun as the pretend, above-zero winter we experienced until mid-december.

now it’s just cold. cold and dry. cold and dry and snowy. i fully understand why bears hibernate. i, too, would like to eat a lot and then comfortably sleep for long periods of time.

instead, i’ll be putting on every piece of clothing i own and walking to and from the train in the bitter cold temperatures.

to be able to protect myself, and my delicate skin, i arm myself with some of my favourite and most soothing products to keep me happy until spring.



bee lovely all over balm – neal’s yard remedies

cracked elbows and heels always come to say hello to me in the winter. it’s so dry in calgary that you need to up the water intake, and also get all the smoothing and moisturizing products. this deeply nourishing, organic body balm instantly relieves dry and rough patches of skin. it is easily absorbed, with the uplifting aroma of organic orange essential oil, to keep you soft and beautifully scented. you’ll also support more than 500 bees with every balm, as 3% of sales go to charities that help protect this humble, vital insect.

peppermint lip butter – rocky mountain soap company

not only does peppermint smell good, it’s refreshing and offers relief to dry, irritated, itchy, cracked lips. the lip butter is made of a blend of cocoa butter, beeswax and sesame oil, which combines to create a moisture bomb that your lips will love. their products are completely natural, and mostly organic if that matters to you.

spa spirit – saje wellness

while calgary may get frigid, it is thankfully very sunny. while i love liquid sunshine, i don’t have to turn to essential oils to boost my moods in the greyness – i’ll leave that for vancouver and south western ontario. i use spa spirt for it’s purifying qualities. it’s the diffuser version of throwing open the windows to air the place out. it also doesn’t hurt that the calming and uplifting blend of eucalyptus, grapefruit and benzoin turns my living room into a restful sanctuary.

summer honey – drizzle

because who doesn’t want to hold onto summer for dear life? while aja offers spring and holiday spiced varieties, the summer is my favourite. the light, sweet flavour is delicious, but also makes it the perfect honey for baking. drizzle is raw, unheated, sustainable honey, rich with healthy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. raw honey is exceptional for sore throats and digestive issues. two things that are synonymous with the winter.

luxury lush pud – lush

when it’s basically dark all the time, all you want to do is sleep. anything that contains lavender is going to be your best ally. this bath bomb will be pretty in your tub, plus creamy benzoin resinoid soothes and protects chapped, dry skin, while the lavender oil and sweet, warm tonka banish tension and aid relaxation.

immunity – the gut lab

sickness is around every corner in the winter. it seems like there is always someone in the office with a cold, and sneezing and coughing on public transit is plentiful. a sprinkle of this immunity potion into a smoothie, soups and daily dishes, you’ll have all the weapons needed to fend off the flu. ‘sunshine’ is also one of my favourites. sip on a bright yellow, delicious turmeric latte and receive the anti-inflammatory benefits.

what are a few of your winter saviours?