Salmon Arm, the Last Leg (/arm)

When we woke up in our mountain paradise on Monday it was raining, which was fine, as we suspected this might happen and I had the good sense to put the fly on our tent before I went to bed the night before (which I am surprised about, because I was drunk). And it was also fine because it would have been a lot harder to leave this…

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had it been sunny and hot like the past two days. So we packed up our stuff, hugged everyone goodbye, and got on the road.

It’s only about an hour from Revelstoke, where we were, to Salmon Arm, where my mom is. So this is why the trip worked out so perfectly for me. We were already going to Revelstoke so to get Lisa to drive me an extra hour to my mom’s was no big D. And, as driving anywhere in BC is, it was beautiful.

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We got to my mom’s around noon, Lisa hung around for a bit to see her, and then my mom and I had a quiet day in while it rained outside. And I napped, that was key. We went out for Chinese in the evening with my Uncle Donny and Aunt Barb, so it was really great I could see them, too. I was only out west for five days but I was just fitting everyone in! I also ran some errands with my mom on Tuesday morning and went out for coffee with some of her friends, so that was cute.

My mom found a story book that I had written and drawn pictures for when I was in Grade 2, and I was pretty excited to find this picture in there:

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Appropriate. I like how everything in the picture is in pencil crayon, except for the butt crack. That is serious and needs to be defined with black marker. I can remember my teacher at the time and my mom really laughing about this on parent-teacher night. Sometimes I think I liked to push the envelope a bit in school to see what I could get away with…

Anyway. On Tuesday afternoon I walked down to the Salmon Arm wharf by myself. It was like 35 degrees but I had some water and a sweet hat so I was good.

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Salmon Arm is also really pretty. I talked about this on our trip there last year. The mountains are not as big as the mountains in Revelstoke, but mountains are mountains.

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I took this beautiful photo…

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And I put it on Instagram and went to tag the location…and check out the first location result.

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Eric is my brother. His rat lounge is his bedroom at my mom’s, and a big inside joke with his friends. Interestingly, I had just come from there. So, I was not expecting to see that and it made me laugh quite hard. Eric’s Rat Lounge is currently empty though, as Eric is going to school in Kelowna (um, he wants to do his masters in Neuroscience so I am not exactly sure how he’s my sibling) and he’s living in Kelowna with Kenya and his best friend Dixon. Eric and Dixon both had to work Tuesday morning but arrived that afternoon to hang out with us. I was so excited to see them, and even more excited that Eric brought these:

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He is working at Safeway while in school and making all the donuts. I could not do that, or I would be 300lbs. But when donuts are brought to me, I will eat them. All of them (or at least a piece of them all).

There was a pretty crazy storm happening in the afternoon, but after dinner (tacos), there was a bit of a break so I convinced Eric and Dixon to take me to the beach.

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You might remember this beach from last year, when I came with Evan. I was missing Evan and his sass face pretty hard on this trip, but he was working and it was really nice to spend time with just my mom. And my little (but pretty giant) brother.

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And Dixon, who I sort of consider my second brother.

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And who I almost didn’t recognize because of his long luscious locks.

Eric and I jumped in the water and started swimming (I’ll never pass up a chance), but then it was suddenly storming again so we abandoned that mission. Back to the Rat Lounge.

My flight was out of Kelowna in the early afternoon on Wednesday, Canada Day, but the boys drove me a bit early so I could check out their sweet student pad. And for a student pad, it really was sweet. I was impressed. And then it was back to Ontario for me.

I am already missing everyone, but Eric is coming here in a month and my bestie will be here in three weeks, so thankfully not for too long!

Canada Day Camping in the Rockies

Last year on Canada Day, my best friend Lisa‘s sister Heather’s boyfriend Brent (that is a mouthful so I will just say my friend Brent now, because we are friends) posted this photo to Facebook.

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And I have never in my life been more jealous. I was like, where is this and why am I not there right now. Even though I was having a great Canada Day at the time (better than usual, even), that scene looked like a dream. I vowed that one day I would be there on that scenic beach and I would dance around in a Canada umbrella hat with mountains in the background.

So when Lisa texted me last Sunday and was all “Hey do you maybe want to come to Calgary and see me for the long weekend and we can go camping in Revelstoke with Heather and Brent and friends?” I thought it over for about two minutes, and obviously I remembered that picture, before I texted back YUP. I am in.

It was the combination of seeing my bestie, and her sister and friends, camping at that beautiful spot, AND the fact that the beautiful camping spot was only an hour away from my mom and brother in Salmon Arm, so I could see them too. The entire situation could not have worked out any better. I was absolutely sold and I booked my flights that evening.

Five days later I flew out to Calgary and had a wine-filled Friday night in with Lisa and our friend Crystal, who also happens to live out there. Saturday morning Lis and I left for Revelstoke, BC, about a five hour drive from Calgary, Alberta, to meet up with Heather and Brent and their friends in the Rockies for what would be the best camping of my life.

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I have made the drive along the Trans Canada Highway from Calgary over to Salmon Arm several times now and it will never get old. It is my favourite drive in the world. Everywhere you look is just breathtakingly beautiful, the entire drive.

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So the scenery coupled with catching up with my best friend while we sang ridiculous car karaoke make me pretty overwhelmingly excited for the rest of our adventures that weekend.

The drive ended up taking us a bit longer than usual because of a minor directions snafu that led to us nearly getting on a ferry and making friends with a directions-savvy biker (thank God or I don’t think we would have found it), but we eventually made it to paradise.

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I know, right? Amazing.

I was delighted to find Jen, Corinna and Elliot from our Vegas crew, as well as Heather and Brent, in attendance, and several of their friends, and friends and friends who were all fun and welcoming. There were 17 people there at one point.

Lis and I immediately cracked a beer, got into our bathing suits and got in that glorious water!

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The campsite is on crown land and is not an actual campground, so we did not have to pay (which was awesome). We were totally in middle of nowhere in the mountains, no cell signal or any way of contacting the outside world really, and no other campers within a good couple of kilometres. Extremely secluded. Mountains on all sides!

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View of our site from the water

Pictures just do not do it justice. Even that picture with Brent didn’t prepare me for what I would experience when I saw that view in person.

Heather was all “I need to show you the bathroom, it’s so nice!” which…

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Cute

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and…rustic.

I guess. Pretty nice. I’ve seen worse, it did have a seat. And twinkle lights!

So for the next two days, we did all the camping things. We drank a lot. We spent hours and hours in the river, either floating, swimming, or sitting in chairs.

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The water was very cold, but it was very very hot (38 degrees C on Sunday! I don’t know what that is in F, but definitely over 100), so it was refreshing. Being outside would have been unbearable without the river. We had a good breeze, too.

I leisurely dog paddled around for about two hours on Sunday, swimming close to that mountain across the way and then lying on my back in the water and just staring up at it for a really long time. Lis and I also took our inflatable boats out there and floated around.

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We slept in a wonky tent that we left open to the sky so we could see the mountains and the stars.

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We ate all the camping food.

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We listened to Elliot and Lauren play their guitars and we all sang along.

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Hands down the best campsite I have ever had.

A video posted by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

Mainly I tried to convince Elliot to play Neil Young. 

We had campfires and roasted marshmallows.

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We played ladder ball and watched the sun go down, although it stayed light outside until 11pm. And even then it never got fully dark because the moon was so bright rising over the mountain. It was surreal.

I made new and closer friends. I laughed harder than I have in a long time, almost at everything. I got my bestie time.

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And I got my picture with the Canada umbrella hat.

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So, it was the best time ever. I was really sad to leave. The perfect way to celebrate Canada Day weekend!

Oh Canada

Happy Canada Day!

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Our country could not be any more beautiful, and my Canada Day weekend camping in the mountains could not have been more perfect. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Have a great one!

My New Skincare Routine

Just a quick disclaimer. I am not a skincare expert. I have just done a ton of research over the last several months, and these are my findings. Obviously if you are having some severe skin things happening you should not take my advice. Also, no one’s skin is the same and what works for my skin may not work for yours. As they say over at Reddit, your mileage may vary (YMMV).

So I have totally overhauled my skincare routine over the past few months and I am seeing a noticeable difference in the tone and texture of my skin. My friends seem to be interested in it, which leads me to believe more people may be interested in it, so here I am.

What started this new skincare routine for me was stumbling across reddit’s skincare addiction subreddit (reddit.com/r/skincareaddiction). I have been pretty diligent with moisturizing and sunscreen over the past few years, but that was pretty much the extent of any routine. But I do have some skin things that I wanted to improve, mainly even out my skin tone, tame my shininess, and be proactive about fine lines and wrinkles now that I am in my 30s.

My skin type is combination. I am super oily in my T-zone (I can get VERY shiny on my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, I have talked about this because I had to get my passport photo retaken like three time because my face was too shiny), but I also tend to get dry, especially in the winter. Acne has never really been a big concern of mine (lucky, lucky, lucky me, I know), but I do get the odd zit that I would like to take care of.

Since I have started my new routine, the biggest changes I have been noticing is how less shiny my face is at the end of the day, and how bright and even my skin has been lately. Evan even commented on how bright and clear my skin looked, and it was on the way back from the cottage when I was wearing zero makeup whatsoever. So that made me feel like what I’m doing is actually noticeable to other people.

Note that I researched things specific to my own skin, but no matter what your skin issues, here are some general takeaways that are applicable to everyone.


Skincare 101 (1)

1  Sunscreen, sunscreen, suncreen.

The general consensus is don’t even bother doing anything else to your skin if you are not going to put on sunscreen. It is the single most important thing you can do. Skin cancer, sunspots, wrinkles, discolouration, unevenness…be proactive with the sunscreen. For years I have been using a moisturizer with an SPF, but apparently that isn’t even good enough. Moisturizers do not have enough sunscreen in them for full coverage, and you have to put on so much moisturizer to get the proper amount of sunscreen on your skin. It gives you a false sense of security. So now I use a separate sunscreen on top of my moisturizer, every single day. Also make sure to find one that protects against both UVA/UVB rays.

2  Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

There are endless benefits to moisturizing your skin. I won’t get into them all, but even my 101-year-old Nana who has the most amazing skin claims that it’s because she has been using Olay moisturizer every day of her life.

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That is her on her 100th birthday (she will be 101 in two weeks and she is still looking just as good!). It might be genes (I sure as hell hope it’s genes because I would be happy to have skin like that when I’m 70), but whatever is going on there, I am taking her advice.

3  Don’t put lemons anywhere near your face!

Stop it with the lemons! I see all these homemade face masks around the internet that include lemon juice and no! It is bad! Lemons are highly acidic and really mess with your skin’s natural pH balance. They also make your skin more sensitive to sun. No lemons.

4  St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a no no.

It’s becoming more well-known that St. Ives apricot scrub is no good. I used to really love this stuff years ago, and I would just slather it on my face and rub it around (vigorously like an idiot) because I thought it made my skin feel so soft afterwards. But apricot scrub has jagged pieces of walnut in it, which tear the delicate skin on your face. Use it on your feet, not on your face. Sugar can also tear your skin. I have been avoiding physical exfoliation altogether for months now, and have switched to a chemical AHA exfoliator, which is much more gentle.

5  Don’t fall for gimicky products that claim to shrink pores. Also, Biore pore strips can permanently stretch the size of your pores.

Your pore size is part of who you are. You can’t shrink them. You can reduce the appearance of them, but likely not with the products that claim to do so. Also, Biore pore strips may give you the temporary satisfaction of unclogging your pores (believe me, I know how satisfying it is to look at one of those things after it has come off your face), but they can permanently stretch your pores and actually make them bigger. And whatever they were clogged with is going to come back. Most “blackheads” are actually sebaceous filaments, and they are completely normal skin happenings. Everyone has them. To dislodge the gunk in there, there are much more natural solutions that can help, like the oil cleansing method, or OCM. If blackheads are a concern of yours, I’d read up on OCM (go here).

6  Don’t squeeze your pores.

Same thing, you can alter the size of your pores and cause permanent damage.

7  Patch test new products. And don’t try a ton of new products at once.

I know how exciting it is when you discover new products and you want to try them out. But be patient, patch test, and introduce one new product at a time. This way if you skin reacts negatively you can pinpoint a particular product. And patch test because you don’t want to bring on a crazy breakout or a rash.

8  You don’t need to buy expensive skin products.

9  You don’t need a separate eye cream.

Just make sure you are moisturizing under your eyes and you should be good.

10  Consistency is key.

You are not going to see results overnight. But over time yes. Just be patient, and keep it up.

Alright, so here are the products that I use.

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  1. JOHNSON’S baby oil

  2. Olay foaming face wash

  3. St. Ives exfoliating pads

  4. OZ Naturals vitamin C serum

  5. Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over gel moisturizer

  6. Neutrogena Dry Touch Ultra Sheer sunscreen

My routine is this:

AM

Splash with water (I cleanse at night so I don’t use a cleanser in the morning because overcleansing can cause my skin to produce more oil, which I do not want, but I will cleanse if I went to the gym that morning and was all sweaty).

Moisturize with Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over gel moisturizer. I freakin’ love it. It has a cooling effect and it absorbs quickly. I chose a gel moisturizer over a cream because it is better if your skin is oily. I am also privy to Olay products because my Nana loves her Olay moisturizer so much, and at 101 her skin is to die for.

Sunscreen. I use Neutrogena Dry Touch Ultra Sheer and I really like it. It absorbs into my skin quickly, doesn’t leave it greasy, only has a very slight white cast, and it sits well under makeup (I just use powder). I don’t LOVE it though, so I am on the hunt for another one once it runs out. I have heard really good things about Biore Watery Essence, so that’s probably what I’m going to try next.

PM

Remove makeup and oil massage for one to two minutes with JOHNSON’S baby oil. You can virtually use any oil for this (olive oil, sunflower oil, etc). I have tried it with coconut oil also but it broke me out pretty bad. So far that has not happened with baby oil (if your skin is sensitive to fragrance you can try the unscented one). It seems counterintuitive to put oil on your face when you skin is oily, but OCM is recommended for oily skin. Usually if your skin is oily it actually means it’s dehydrated, so over-cleansing and using products geared towards oily skin (which are about removing oil and therefore stripping your skin of its natural oil) can actually make oil production worse. I didn’t even realize my skin was oily because it was dehydrated until I found out about OCM. It’s made a HUGE, HUGE difference for me, so I recommend looking into it if you are oily or acne-prone. You may even get grits (when all the gunk in your pores gets dislodged, read more about that here.)

Gently wipe off oil with damp wash cloth.

Cleanse with Olay foaming face wash (I love the smell so much).

Rub St. Ives Exfoliating pad, which contains AHAs rather than salicylic acid, on face and neck (I will then brush my teeth while I let this dry). Basically you can read about why I switched from physical exfoliation to chemical exfoliation here (Stridex Maximum Strength is also really popular if you tend to be acne-prone).

Vitamin C serum – I am using the OZ Naturals one because it had amazing reviews on Amazon, but Reddit users usually recommend Paula’s Choice. I’m using this because Vitamin C serum is known for reducing brown spots and scars (I have a small acne scar on my temple that I’m trying to get rid of), and generally brightening your skin tone. Read more here. My skin is definitely brighter and more even, as I mentioned, but I really feel like it’s a combination of the exfoliating pads, the OCM with baby oil, and Vitamin C.

Moisturize, still with Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over. In the winter I might need a heavier one, but it’s working great for now.

And that is it. The PM routine seems like a lot but really only takes me about 10 minutes. I have been consistently doing it, unless I am sleeping over somewhere, and then I usually do a pared down routine of just cleanser and moisturizer.

I seriously cannot recommend Reddit Skincare Addiction enough. Check out the beginner’s skincare routine for more info. My skin has never been so clear!

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I didn’t wake up like this, but I did get out of the shower like this.

Not perfect, obviously, but I am happy.

Note: affiliate links appear in this post, which means if you buy anything I’ve linked to through Amazon I get a small kickback. I have an elderly cat to feed, so I appreciate your support!

What do you call your significant other?

Somehow this was brought up in a conversation between my friends and I the other day, and I have talked about it with my boyfriend Evan recently as well…

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Because if you’re not married, the terms boyfriend and girlfriend sound a little bit on the…juvenile side. I mean, Evan and I are in our 30s and we have been living together for about a year and a half. He isn’t just a boyfriend, you know? Isn’t there a word that is more appropriate?

I’m sure one day we will get married and we’ll graduate to husband and wife, which sound LEGIT. You say the words husband or wife and everyone immediately knows the seriousness of the relationship. That means we are IN IT. TIL THE DEATH.

But as I tell everyone who asks me at least once a day, I don’t know when we’re going to do the whole marriage thing. It’s not currently a priority. Maybe we won’t! Either way, I’m pretty sure I don’t want a traditional wedding. The times, they are a changin! We’re committed, he’s my lobster, the lid to my pot, my one. So if we don’t ever get married, is he just my boyfriend for life? Is that it? The only word I get? Am I going to be 80 years old referring to Evan as my boyfriend?

I think of people my parents’ age, who are maybe divorced and have now been with a new significant other for a long time and will never get married again. Referring to their spouses as boyfriends/girlfriends doesn’t seem to do justice to what they actually are.

So I’ll break down the alternatives. I have also googled these alternatives to see which one looks the most appropriate according to the internet.

Partner

I will put this in a sentence for you:

My partner and I went hiking this weekend.

Are you immediately picturing me out hiking with my lesbian lover? Because if someone said this to me that is the first image that would pop into my head. Same-sex romantic hiking. Not that it would be a big deal if anyone happened to think I was a lesbian, you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to… But when I hear someone call their significant other their partner, I assume they’re gay. And if they are actually referring to someone who is of the opposite sex, I picture a yoga-loving-pot-smoking-hippy-dippy-dirty-blonde-hair-in-a-single-long-braided woman saying it (ie: Sarah, the most recent winner of Big Brother Canada – I just assumed she was a lesbian until she got a letter from her “partner” Scott…and then I was like “Oh! Surprise!”). In fact, when I think about it, I don’t think I’ve heard a man refer to his significant other as partner UNLESS he was referring to his longterm boyfriend. Maybe it happens, but I haven’t heard it that I can think of.

Here are the google image results of partner:

partner

Oh okay, so not same-sex love, but like a business deal. A romantic transaction.

Life Partner

I don’t get quite the same image as partner, but I feel like this will inevitably get shortened to just partner if you actually started saying it on the regular. Also it sounds cheesy. I’ll try it out.

My life partner and I went hiking this weekend.

No one would take me seriously. I wouldn’t take someone seriously if they said this to me. And I still sound like I’m talking about my life-partner of the same sex. I would maybe say this if I was writing some sort of love letter to my life partner. “You are my life partner.” But I can’t use that in the every day.

Google says…

life-partner

So I guess this was a movie.

Spouse

My spouse and I went hiking this weekend.

Hmm, nope. Spouse is like the government word for your significant other. It reminds me of tax season. It also rhymes with mouse, grouse and louse, so it doesn’t conjure up particularly great images of Evan and all that he is.

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Like I said, government. Sterile. And super stock image-y.

Soulmate

Can you even imagine saying this to people seriously?

My soulmate and I went hiking this weekend.

I would just be too embarrassed for myself to utter those words aloud, in public. Unless I’m attempting to be funny, and then okay maybe.

Google says…

Soulmate

Gag, is what Google says. Nothing says soulmates like inspirational quotes.

Manfriend

My manfriend and I went hiking this weekend.

I feel like this says I’m trying too hard. Like manfriend was funny the first time I heard it but now it’s been way overdone, like amazeballs.

Google says…

manfriend

See? I’m too late. It’s already a meme. Evan does usually have some sort of beard though, so maybe it is accurate.

Lover

My lover and I went hiking this weekend.

So that I actually do say sometimes. I can’t help it, I just like the word lover. The Barenaked Ladies and their “Lovers in a dangerous time” got me on this back in high school and I can’t stop myself. But I am well aware that it isn’t a grown-up thing to say. Plus, if I’m saying it to people I don’t know, it sounds like I am referring to someone I am having an affair with. Admit it, that’s the image you have when people refer to someone as their lover! But Evan IS my lover!

Google agrees!

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Bit of a Twilight feel here, but I think this one might be the most accurate! Also, sunsets. Lovers like sunsets.

So what do YOU call YOUR significant other?

Off-Roading and Lake Swimming

My good friend Sherrie’s parents recently moved from Sherrie’s childhood home in Oshawa to a couple hours north in the middle of nowhere. Quite a big change for them. They found such a beautiful property (and home!) near a lake and surrounded by many, many trees, and on Saturday Sherrie invited some of our lady friends up there to enjoy it. Only a few of us were able to make it, but it could not have been a more perfect day for being outside in the woods. Their backyard looks like this:

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So, that’s a dream.

Sherrie’s friend Sarah (well she is my friend now too, but I originally met her through Sherrie) and I drove up together early Saturday afternoon. Shortly after arriving, Sherrie’s dad (Al the hot dog) convinced us to take this thing for a spin:

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Apparently called a side-by-side, but it is basically a four-wheeler that we could all fit on!

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I am wearing Sherrie’s five-year-old nephew’s helmet. It was a really tight squeeze and my cheeks hurt SO BAD if I smiled, but safety first.

Sherrie took us on quite the off-roading adventure.

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I have not been on a quad in years and years, but Sherrie was a very good driver and it was a lot less scary than I remembered. Riding around in that thing was so fun!

Eventually we ended up at some rapids with a little waterfall.

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It was a really beautiful spot.

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I would like to come back there with a tube and ride over those rapids. Quite a lot tamer than Niagara Falls.

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We hung out there for a bit, and then back on the side-by-side for more off-roading adventures. This is actually a part of the Trans Canada Highway for snowmobilers and quads and is plowed in the winter. I thought that was cool, that they have a designated road.

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Super pretty lake views over that bridge.

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In the above photo to the right there is a little “beach” there that we went to. I use that term loosely because there are some large flat rocks, and also some dirt that could pass for sand maybe, and it slopes gently into the water.

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The water is about knee deep in that entire area, and we waded out into the water a bit. I almost made it to the island across but I had phone with me and the rocks were slippery so I abandoned that mission before a disaster happened.

And I am not sure how good of an idea this would be:

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A couple guys and their wives pulled up in their quads and were talking to us for a bit, and then they invited us, as well as Sherrie’s dad (because Sherrie explained the side-by-side was his) on their annual poker run in September. I don’t understand everything about poker runs, but it’s an event for ATV’ers that apparently includes a lot of riding around and poker. Sounds like a good time. One of the guys kept going on about how roomy his cabin was and how many people it could sleep. I might have been suspicious of his motives, but hey, he did invite Sherrie’s dad! (and no we’re not going.)

Auto timer for the win:

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It also was a beautiful spot and I would not mind going back there for a picnic and some drinks. Eventually we drove back to Sherrie’s ‘rents. Sarah and I did the ol’ helmet switch because my cheeks were still hurting from the first time.

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It was dinner time when we got back, so Sherrie cooked us up some burgers.

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And the best salads. That potato salad in particular was amazing.

After dinner we were feeling kind of full and like we needed a nap or something, so we decided to take the side-by-side out again , only this time to an actual beach.

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For swimming! First time I have been lake swimming this year! But certainly not the last. It was so nice and that water perked me riiiiight up. I felt like a new woman afterwards.

We got back just in time for Emily’s arrival.

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So we got Big Al to start a bonfire for us.

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And then we roasted all the marshmallows.

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Em brought a s’mores kit with her so we dabbled in that. It had been sitting in her cupboard for a couple of years so it did taste slightly like old cupboard, but still a good s’more for my first s’more of the year.

It was so nice to see Sherrie’s parents, they were just so happy and relaxed in their new abode. And it was such a great day with the girls. We ended up talking around that fire until 2am. Perfect summer day for the first weekend of summer!