Fall Favourite Music Video

The edge of Blue Mountain, Collingwood

Despite the fact that one of the greatest parts of Toronto is the unexpected abundance of green space throughout its downtown (truly some of the most spectacular parks I’ve seen within a city), when September rolls around – it only feels right to escape to the countryside for just a quick minute. Although trendy trench coats, knit scarves and ankle booties have already indicated we’re well on our way into autumn, there’s nothing that embodies these months like the layers of coloured treetops on a drive outside the concrete jungle.

I was lucky to have spent a large portion of the last five days in a car. I never thought I would say that, but I suppose at this time of year it’s hard to be overly opposed to the idea of back-to-back road trips when the great outdoors are at their best. Last weekend, the nuts ventured off for a little ladies retreat to Howe Island – a tiny escape in between my native Kingston and Gananoque – which involved three or so hours of car time in between Toronto and our destination. The leaves were semi-golden and not yet fully turned, but the air was a September kind of crisp, causing the water to curl in the breeze. Lovely.

As soon as I got back from Howe Island, I hopped back in the passenger seat to head to Collingwood for work – a part of Ontario that, much to many people’s dismay I’m sure, wasn’t conducive to flying or rail travel. This, again, I was surprisingly fine with. I’d never been to Collingwood, specifically Blue Mountain – the man-made mini-Tremblant-like resort village that’s surrounded by leafy hills and Georgian Bay waters. And let me tell you, somehow, half a day of traveling later – the leaves had begun their transition, and it was scenic.

Needless to say, being back in the office seems kind of tragic. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised that during my assembling a typical little YouTube playlist to get me through the rest of the week, I stumbled upon a favourite (by no means new) cover of mine that I never realized had such a pretty fall-themed music video to accompany it.

Elton John’s “Your Song” is indisputably one of my favourite songs, seeing as I spent my childhood belting out his likeable anthems alongside my Dad – squealing with laughter whenever he’d goofily mimic John’s falsetto mid-“Bennie and the Jets.” Not only does the “Your Song” timeless melody hit a chord, but the lyrics – those lyrics – go down in history as some of the most memorable. When British indie-pop artist Ellie Goulding covered it a few years ago, I wasn’t sure if her pixie-like yodel would do it proper justice, but I immediately adopted it as one of the better covers of John’s tunes. When I saw the cover’s video, featuring an obviously adorable Goulding but, more importantly, picturesque shots of my favourite season, I grew even fonder of the old classic.

So, as we edge towards Thanksgiving – the prettiest weekend of the year – I thought I’d share this little clip to get you through your week. Happy Fall.

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Summer Bucket List

It – the season of milkshakes, the beach, humid-crazy hair and cocktails by the pitcher – is here and I could not be more pleased.

With every change of season comes a personal want to change also. Your to-do list becomes a little longer. You say things like, “This summer I’m going to read at LEAST one book a month.” You have new priorities to lose those bikini-prohibiting pounds. The world is your oyster and you know it.

For this reason, I think it’s no surprise that lately I’ve heard some of my pals talking about creating a “Summer Bucket List” of sorts. Activities or goals arranged for maximum enjoyment of (mostly) everyone’s favourite season.

Whether it be a boyfriend and girlfriend’s list of romantic dates, two sisters getting up to no good or simply a personal list to expand your sense of adventure and make every warm moment worthwhile.

The following are a few suggestions that will be appearing on my own lengthly list. I highly encourage you to create one of your own, incorporating the best of what summer has to offer.

1. Attend an outdoor concert.

– Many of my friends hit the road this week destined for Manchester, Tennessee for one of North America’s biggest musical festivals: Bonnaroo. While the thought of seeing the likes of Eminem, Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons was tempting, I’m saving myself for Ottawa’s Bluesfest, with the main event being The Black Keys. Outdoor music can be on a smaller, less expensive scale too. The nuts are hitting Westfest this weekend to hear some great local acts play on the streets of Westboro. Music, warm weather and beer sipping seem to go hand in hand year after year.

Clapping away to some GirlTalk, Bluesfest 2009

2. Be a kid

– I live my life with the mentality that you should never be too busy to have some fun. Reverting to your child years, bare feet, popsicle in hand, running through a sprinkler is one of the easiest ways to get this accomplished. Whether you stop in the park for a good old swing on the ol’ sets or impulse-buy a slip n’ slide for hours of unabashed good, clean, fun, bringing out the kid in you is sure to put a smile on your face.

Great face, Kate

3. Take a (road) trip

– If I had it my way (won the lottery, or had a sugar daddy) I would have Europe penciled in to my summer itinerary. Lucky nut Meghan, has already checked that one off her list and Kaylee will in the fall … but for this nut it’s not in the cards just yet. No reason to put on a pout. A road trip, a great mix-tape, a few bags of your favourite potato chips and your four best gals badly singing to every tune, makes for almost as an amazing time as a cross continent voyage. Take a weekend off, pick a city and leave the rest up to fate and spontaneity.

Re-creating this scene minus scarves and winter coats

4. Spend an entire lazy day on a dock

– With summer comes camping, cottaging and days spent entirely slothed over an inner-tube, soaking up the rays and the essence of the season. If you have your own family cottage, great. If you don’t, find someone who does. If you’re adventurous, camp. And if you’re wild, throw a rager (don’t swim & drink!). No matter what kind of lifestyle you live, whether it be tranquil deck reading or daring cliff jumping, make your way out of the city and into cottage country. Some way, some how.

5. Sail the canal (Part II)

– Last year for my birthday we had a hilarious and amazing idea: buy an inflatable raft (approx $30) and set sail on the Ottawa Canal. Beers nestled under our toes, we spent hours lazily (and sometimes not so lazily to avoid oncoming tourist ferries, yikes!) paddling along through one of Ottawa’s most beautiful attractions. Sure Meghan may or may not have gotten really sunburnt, fallen into the canal and somewhat hated Kate and I for our over the top enthusiasm, it remains one of last year’s highlights for me, and I plan to set sail again this year. Ahoy!

This picture is deceiving... Meghan looks pleased

6. Take a personal day

– If you’re anything like me you’ve had your nose pressed up to the glass of your place of employment on a nice day thinking, “why, Why, WHY am I stuck in here?” Not to condone playing hooky, or calling in sick for an important meeting but when the time is right use one of your precious vacation days for yourself. Buy a new book, get a pedicure, hit the beach, stay out later than you should with your friends and remember that all work and no play makes for getting a little “cray-cray”. (Translation: crazy)

7. Find a new, fun way to stay healthy

– While it’s those long winter months where every woman vows to hit the gym and burn off that turkey poundage, it’s the summer months that make it so easy to do so. There is literally a fun way to exercise at every corner. As mentioned, I bike almost everywhere I go in the summertime. Not out of necessity, I actually enjoy it! There’s something about the wind in your face that makes you feel great to be alive. Of course there are other just as fun alternatives: hiking, rollerblading, canoeing, water skiing, swimming, beach volleyball, etc. Pick your preference and feel the pounds melt away.

double the fun

8. Spoil yourself with a summer dress

– All winter I count down the days till summer so that I can really make use of my closet which is packed to the brim with floral prints and bright colours. If you’re going to be doing a little spending in the next couple weeks a new dress to show a little shoulder and a little thigh is “wear” it’s at. (ha!) Just make sure to consult Kaylee Pare before you do.

non-stop style

9. See fireworks (… or make some yourself a la Katy Perry)

– I remember watching the sky open up with fireworks from my Dad’s shoulders thinking some really powerful magician was playing a trick on the world. Even though now I’m probably a little too big to relive this moment exactly how I remember it, I will stretch out on some grass with a blanket to take in some summer ‘works for sure. Canada Day comes to mind, where the Capital is the place to be, but if the show in your area isn’t magical, read item #4 above and don’t forget to pack some fireworks into your duffle bag.

10. Reunite with your 6 best buds

– I saved it for last, but really it’s #1 on my list. For seven nuts that are spread out between three cities it’s hard to find us all in one place. I’m sure you can relate. So whip out your planners, put a big “X” through one weekend of prior commitments and dedicate some time to the ones who keep you sane. There is no one I laugh harder with than these six sisters and no one I would rather spend a perfect hot summer night with… in a nutshell.

<3