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3 Apps You Need to Hyper-Organize Your Life

Posted on July 3, 2015 by

Not all of us are born organizational wizards. These are the Monica Gellars of the world and, for a long time, we have admired their adorable compulsive ways thinking, “but where do they find the time to colour code AND alphabetize their DVDs? This is insanity!” (And also possibly the year 2000).

So I am about to take this mentality into 2015 and turn your productivity game all the way up. All you need is a smart phone and you, too, can experience the sweet serenity of an organized life—without the time commitment or a DNA-coded Type-A personality.

1. The Ultimate List-Maker: Wunderlist

Grocery lists. Errand lists. Lists of things to do, see, watch, read. Potential baby names. Your future novel ideas. These are what typically make up the chaotic Notes section on an iPhone. After a while this can become an eyesore and you end up using the “search” feature more than you actually write anything. Enter Wunderlist: the app that lets you list out your life, share it with friends or coworkers, sync with all your devices, and actually get stuff done!

2. The Ultimate Closet-Organizer: Closet +

Now you can have all your clothes in a pile at the bottom of your closet, but with your phone camera and this app, you’ll never have to go digging again to put together the perfect outfit! Closet+ is the fashionista’s dream, as you basically have a personal stylist in your pocket, but is also the perfect no-muss no-fuss way to see what you have to work with and put it all together:

3. The Ultimate Note-Taker: Notability

If list making isn’t your thing, or you find there just isn’t enough space for all your thoughts, Notability could be the answer to your prayers. You can organize your notes by subject, colour code, record audio, and write with a stylist (seamless handwriting!) or a keyboard – which means however you take notes best, this app has a way to handle it:

And the best part about your newly organized life? It all just cost you less than $5 for a lifetime of sweet, organized (actually-remembering-what-you-came-to-the-grocery-store-for), bliss.


(You’re welcome).

9 Great Reasons To Take A Vacation This Summer

Posted on June 25, 2015 by

1. You read the title of this blog post and instantly thought “I can’t take a vacation”.

2. People, in general, are happier when they spend their money on experiences, not things.

3. You’ve crimped your hair more recently than you’ve taken a vacation (if this is you, you’e extra overdue).

4. Vacations improve productivity.

5. Alberta is beautiful, and you don’t have to go far to get away.

 6. Vacations can help you live longer.

7. You feel like you could take a nap at any moment.

8. And when you do, you wake up feeling even more sleepy.

9. A “staycation” still counts as a vacation, and there are tons of free things to do in Edmonton this summer!


I hope that this list has inspired you to break out of your routine and have an adventure before the weather gets cold again. Deep down, you know your life will still be here when you get back. Now get out there and have some fun!

The Struggle of Your Twenties

Posted on June 18, 2015 by

Quarter-life crisis. This was a term that I started using this year as a joke whenever I needed an excuse for being dramatic. By my 24th birthday, I realized that I was using this phrase way more to describe my life and that was because I felt like everything and everyone was changing around me. That’s when I developed an understanding that as much as your twenties are supposed to be the best times of your life, they are often the hardest because you’re supposed to pick a path. I’ve been lucky enough to live in both Toronto and Edmonton during these “epic” years and I’ve met a lot of great and interesting Twenty-ians. Based on my interactions, I’ve come up with three paths to choose from:


If you’re reading this and are suffering from a headache and/or nausea, then this section pertains to you. You live life with zero regrets and I envy you that you’re probably the life of the party and have way more friends than me. These Twenty-ians will travel and post Instagram photos that make you so envious and jealous that you may reconsider your life goals. It takes a confident person to embark on the YOLO path; partying definitely doesn’t get any easier with age. My advice to you is to be safe and never change –find a way to make money and party at the same time.

Married Life Path

If your phone background is a pet, a hot girl/guy or some inspirational quote, then you must belong to the solo club and can skip this section. These Twenty-ians have baby names picked out in their notes folder and have a secret Pinterest board dedicated to future wedding planning. You “married life pathers” are the lucky ones. You will never have to experience dating in your twenties (it’s more of a job than fun) and you always have someone to watch Netflix with. My advice to you is to make sure to travel with your future partner before you marry them (a lot of weirdness comes out while travelling) and try not to rub it in all of our faces on social media about how happy you are.

Me, Myself and I Path

My guess is that someone at some point has told you that you’re intimidating. These Twenty-ians have gone to the movies by themselves, get excited to go back to school and would give up a Friday night if it meant they were going to get ahead. You put yourself first in anything you do and crossing off items on a list gives you butterflies. You have a 5 or 10-year plan and you’ll do whatever it takes to stick to it and I applaud you for that. Drive can be the most attractive trait to any Twenty-ian. My advice to you is to keep your eyes on the prize, but find a couple of friends on the other paths to balance you out.

So my fellow Twenty-ians, which path do you follow?

Trailing Behind

Posted on June 4, 2015 by

How did this happen so fast? Our kids are all grown up now and are launched into worlds of their own.  We love them, we miss them and are so excited for them to begin to shape their own lives.

Well, what does that mean for my husband and I? A new chapter, that’s what.

As part of that, we recently moved from our big family acreage in Sherwood Park into a downtown condo and every day I am discovering new things.

I decided to check out the river valley. Now that seems to be like a normal thing to do being an Edmontonian and all but to be honest, I’ve never done it. For the last 22 years, my life has consisted of commuting from Sherwood Park to Edmonton > Work > Back to Sherwood Park > Do family things > Sleep > Wake up the next day > Repeat.

For my first river valley adventure, I parked next to the Royal Glenora, ran up the stairs, headed across the High Level Bridge, down to the Kinsmen Rec Centre and worked my way through the trails.

I remember being in absolute awe, looking around like I was in a strange land.  What? Where did these trails come from? I had no idea these were even here. I could not believe what I was seeing. It was during that run, that I had my next blog topic pop into my head:

Country Girl Moves To The City To Experience Nature

I felt silly that I didn’t know but more excited that now I did. I just couldn’t believe these hidden gems were right here, right under my nose and ready to discover.

So if you want to get a new view of Edmonton like I did, check out the River Valley Trails and while you’re at it, check out the Parks too.

Perhaps you already have and I was the last one to know.

Either way, get out there and enjoy what our beautiful City has to offer especially now that summer has arrived.


Panhandling in Edmonton

Posted on May 21, 2015 by

If you’ve spent time around the downtown core, it’s likely you’ve encountered some form of panhandling. But do you know the best way to handle these situations?

The Have a Heart – Give Smart campaign from the City of Edmonton is aimed at educating Edmontonians on panhandling and how to help someone in need. We caught up with 104 Street’s community liaison, Constable Dexx Williams on the subject.


Why is it better to give to agencies that help those in need than directly to the panhandler?

“While those who wish to give money to panhandlers believe they are helping them in a tough situation, we (the police) have often found that these individuals have actually used that money towards purchasing illegal narcotics as well as alcohol. Many of these individuals already have substance abuse problems, so panhandling is a way they generate funds to obtain the substances they are addicted to.

By giving money to local agencies instead, their financial contributions will definitely be put towards providing food, clothing, and other necessities for those in need. The money is then also used to support programs and outreach workers that can help get individuals off of the streets and into a more stable environment.”


What are some tips for responding to panhandlers?

“If an individual encounters a panhandler harassing individuals or deterring customers away from a business, they can call the non-emergency line for the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567.

Another option is to simply ask the panhandler to move along from the location, especially when it is on private property as opposed to a public sidewalk, however if they are displaying aggression, call police instead.”


What constitutes an aggressive panhandler, and what should you do if you encounter one?

“When most people think of panhandlers, they think of a passive individual sitting on the sidewalk with a hat or something similar out to collect spare change from pedestrians walking by them. Some panhandlers will hold up signs stating they need money for food (which they can already obtain for free at multiple locations throughout Downtown).

An aggressive panhandler is more intimidating in their approach. They will typically raise their voice or yell at pedestrians walking past to “ask” for money. Some of these individuals will even block the path of pedestrians walking past, or reach out their hands at them, all in an attempt to scare them into giving them money.

Basically, an aggressive panhandler will almost give a vibe that they may use violence if they don’t receive money, borderline personal robbery, but without actually stating as much. They may also suffer from mental health and/or addiction issues which also make them highly unpredictable.

Needless to say, if individuals encounter an aggressive panhandler, contact the non-emergency line at 780-423-4567  right away so patrol members can deal with the individual appropriately.”


Are there any other forms of panhandling, that the public may not be aware is panhandling? 

“It’s not uncommon for panhandlers to come up with creative stories to tug on the emotional strings of good natured people. I remember one individual even went as far as buying an empty jerry can, then walking around Downtown pleading for money to buy gas for his van which broke down—that also contained his wife and children—who were stranded on their way to Red Deer. He did that story for a couple of weeks until a lot of people started to recognize him.

Busking—performing on the street—could be considered a type of panhandling, but is allowed on most properties with the permission of the owners. In Edmonton’s transit locations (like pedways) permission is required from ETS, etc.”


Anything else to add? 

“When in doubt, or if you have an uneasy feeling about an individual or situation you are seeing, please call the police. We’d rather be notified before something occurs than afterward.”


It’s ok to say “No” to panhandling and “Yes” to giving. To find agencies that accept donations on behalf of people in need, call 2-1-1 or visit

Act Like Kid

Posted on May 14, 2015 by

One of the great things about having kids is that you get to do all those fun kid-focused activities. It’s perfectly acceptable to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon building blanket forts and colouring when you have a kid. But what about those people that don’t have kids? They shouldn’t have to miss out.

Here’s a few things to check out – whether you have kids or not. And if you feel weird doing these things sans child, offer to babysit. Your friends and relatives that have little people in their lives will welcome the opportunity to have some grown up time, possibly checking out Marilee’s patio picks or just taking a nap.

Places to Go

  • TELUS Spark or World of Science
  • Amusement parks
  • Fair grounds
  • The zoo
  • Corn mazes
  • The farm
  • Go karting

Just Get Outside

  • Scavenger and treasure hunts
  • Sledding/tubing in the winter
  • Play with bubbles – Kids love bubbles because they know they are awesome. Seriously, buy a bubble wand and see.
  • Go on a picnic
  • Trampolines – If you can’t find one of the backyard variety they have awesome indoor places filled with them!
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Snow men/forts/angels
  • Geocaching – I’ve never done this but I really want to

The Fun You Forgot

  • Crafts – There are craft kits of all kinds but even just some basic craft supplies will provide endless fun – pipe cleaners, glue, crayons, scissors and construction paper
  • Lego
  • Sandbox
  • Baking
  • Bike rides
  • Kite flying
  • Hide and Seek
  • Card and board games – Remember UNO? Yeah, I’m a master

Edmonton Patio Picks

Posted on May 7, 2015 by

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is visit as many patios as I can. In Edmonton, it seems like every year, new little gems pop up and I am always excited to try them all out. Here is a list of my top 10 patios picks in the city for drink and eats.


  1. CRAFT Beer Market – Beware of sunburns, they come out of nowhere on this patio.
  2. MKT Fresh Food & Beer Market – Great beer flights and beer blends. Mmmm…Beeeeer.
  3. Julio’s Barrio – Nachos, bulldogs, expanded patio, people watching on Whyte Ave. Enough said.
  4. O’Byrne’s Irish Pub – Great group hangout. If you get the end table, the people and car watching makes for a fun drinking game.
  5. 02’s Taphouse and Grill – Be careful not to drink too many bulldogs or the rooftop air will start to feel thin out. Or else you are getting tipsy.
  6. Local Public Eatery – Boot Caesar’s are a great way to start off a Sunday Funday.
  7. Brewsters Brewing Company – Great atmosphere. Plus the menu is entertaining to read.
  8. The Black Dog Freehouse – You can party the night away in the ‘fresh’ Whyte Avenue air rather than a stinky stuffy bar.
  9. The Next Act Pub – If you are lucky enough to land a spot, don’t move. The best tables are hard to come by.
  10. Casa de Marilee – The drinks are cheap, the view never changes and bed is only a few steps away.


  1. Doan’s Vietnamese Restaurant – Lunchtime vermicelli in the downtown sun (or shade). Many table options to suit the level of sun you desire.
  2. Nineteen – Great date night location with heaters, windscreens and a fireplace. The food rocks too.
  3. Violino Classic Italian Restaurant – An Italian gem that makes you feel like you are in a different city.
  4. Chianti Café and Restaurant – Large patio that gets great sun. Pasta Tuesday’s are affordable and delicious.
  5. The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar – Whether an afternoon lunch in the sun, or an evening dinner by the fireplace, the ambience won’t disappoint.
  6. Under the High Wheel – Amazing brunch on a small patio. Go on a Saturday so you can shop at the market after.
  7. Urban Diner – Diner food is always delicious. Enjoying it in the sun? Even better.
  8. The Sugarbowl Bar & Café – Great food, awesome atmosphere. Arrive early or you won’t get a seat!
  9. Harvest Room at Hotel Macdonald – The view is amazing and surroundings are quaint. You will leave feeling like royalty, and who doesn’t want live a day in the life of Will and Kate these days?
  10. Casa de Ma & Pa – Mom’s home cooking on a Sunday afternoon. It really doesn’t get better than this!

Happy Patio Picking!

What to be EXCITED about in Downtown Edmonton

Posted on April 16, 2015 by

I am really excited about the changes happening in Downtown Edmonton, and I wanted to take a little time to talk about some of the things that we should be OPTIMISTIC about.

Throughout my involvement in the Downtown Business Association, the Downtown Vibrancy Task Force as well as having our new office downtown #on104th, I see and hear a lot about the downtown almost every day. I also live downtown. In fact, I rarely leave the downtown core unless it’s for a meeting or a special trip to one of my favourite restaurants, Langano Skies on the south side.

A lot of what I hear is unfortunately on the negative side, and I think we need to work collectively to change that.

The most common complaints I hear are:
1. Construction is going to (or is) making my life miserable
2. What is going to happen to parking downtown, it’s already hard to park AND it’s going to cost more
3. All the dust is going to make things really dirty
4. What are we going to do with all that residual office space left over when these new commercial towers are built?

What I would like to point out are some of the things on the positive side of what is happening to Downtown Edmonton.

Downtown is going to grow exponentially in the coming 3 – 5 years. With catalyst projects like the Edmonton Arena District and the Royal Alberta Museum as well as investment capital in residential and commercial projects, we have a lot to get excited about as a city.

1. More people and businesses coming into the downtown core means more vibrancy, more options, and more excitement. Who doesn’t like excitement and progress?
2. There are more opportunities to get out and ride your bike or take a walk. We could all use a little more exercise in our life. This can’t be a bad thing.
3. We have more reasons to talk about how awesome Edmonton is and how it is a place that people should come and visit any time of year, as there are multiple options, no matter what season. We much too often act like an ugly cousin to other cities and we need to stop that.
4. There will be increased options for businesses to move into the downtown core where the prices didn’t work for them previously. This brings us back to number one.

Really, all these things work together and move us forward.

I would certainly rather live in a city moving forward, instead of one that is moving backwards or staying stagnant.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about what our downtown has to offer us, so let’s try and help spread the message of the exciting times to come. I love the saying, “As goes your downtown, so goes your city.”

Personally, I like where we are going.

Photo Cred: Con Boland

Spring 2015 Fashion Trends: Love It or Hate It?

Posted on April 2, 2015 by

I love clothes and Instagram. I have strong taste. Opinions ensue.

Here’s my take on my favourite (and least favourite) fashion trends on Instagram this spring:

1. Sneakers with Dress Clothes

Love it. My Nike Airs are dressy now? And I can skip the heels? Yes please.

2. Matching Crop Top/Bottoms Sets

Hate it. I just don’t understand why you would want to look like a roll of fabric with a belly button, and frankly, once you own the same statement print in two items, you’re pretty limited in how often you can wear them – together or as separates.

3. Oversized Watches

I’m on the fence about these. They seem to be everywhere, and every “it” blogger seems to have one. I think these are a great way to make an outfit chic without adding clutter, but I feel like the trend has gotten out of control, and they aren’t unique or special anymore.

4. Overalls

Hate it. If you’re 5’11 and 110 pounds, go for it. But for mere mortals, I don’t think these are flattering, so following the trend probably isn’t worth the investment.

5. 90s Minimalism

Love it. This is probably my most favourite trend of 2015. There’s something so elegant and glamorous about the clean lines and streamlined silhouettes of the 90s, and this trend is very easy (and inexpensive) to integrate into your wardrobe.


Freaky Friday

Posted on March 20, 2015 by

Today marks the vernal equinox, more widely recognized as the first day of spring continuation of winter. Albeit most of us woke up feeling dismayed by the sight of more snow, there were actually two other unique celestial events that coincided with the (theoretical) shift of seasons early this morning that proved to be an even bigger treat for the eyes.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon acts as a middleman and obstructs our view of the sun. While this incidence isn’t all that atypical and comes about cyclically with the equinox, it’s the addition of the perigee moon or “supermoon” that contributed to today’s rare trifecta of sky happenings. What makes the moon super? When it’s at its closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit, making it appear much bigger and brighter than usual. This unique combination won’t take place again until 2034.

Unfortunately, the spectacle was only viewable from the northern reaches of Europe and the Arctic; however, if your inner astronomer wants to relive the action, you can view a live-feed recording of the event that took place from the Faroe Islands here.

Have fun howling at the (new) moon this weekend!


Photo credit

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