A Stay-cation, Taking a Break + The Edmonton Ice Castles

noun: stay-cation
  1. a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

With Andy being on leave, I managed to extend my holidays a little longer. To say I enjoyed our lazy days off in St Albert is an understatement. It was just necessary. It was SO nice to have a few days set aside, with little to no plans. After we celebrated Christmas with our families and New Years with our friends, we happily kicked back and relaxed. Between long winter walks, and my small attempts to get back into yoga, we both settled down into a groove of reading, cooking, shopping, gaming, and soaking up some time together. It turned out to be a lovely little stay-cation. As we’ve got some big hurtles to jump this year, beginning with Andy going off to work for 5 months, we were happy to be home.

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Being my own studio #girlboss I often find it impossible to sit still at home, and nonetheless attempt to “relax”. If I’m not painting, taking photos, editing or brainstorming, I’m packaging, shipping, applying, class prepping… you get it. There always seems to be a long list of “to do’s” I manage around my full time job; and I admit while “crushing to do lists” is probably my favorite pass time, it also means I  frequently burn myself out.

After the holidays, it was no exception. I enjoyed every minute of it, travelling around, visiting family, eating great food, but by the end… I was more exhausted than ever.  For those who can relate, there is nothing like spending your first days off after a busy market season, than engaging in the go-go-go-spirit of the holidays.

So when I stumbled upon a few extra days off after the new year, I nabbed them, to only panick about not bringing my paints with me. There is so much time to get productive! While, I think this was a valid concern. I understand that I didn’t bring them for a reason. I wanted to read. I wanted to relax. I wanted to take a break.

For months now, I’ve been collecting a hefty stack of inspiring “must read” books. So instead of beating myself up about my lack of studio materials, I took Andy’s advice, and just kicked back, slowed down and read.

Sure enough, tackling a few books this past week has been super rewarding. I completely forgot the excitement and pride in spending quality time with a book. It’s always refreshing to unplug for awhile – something I know well, but need to remind myself often. I’ll be sharing my creative book list shortly!

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To finish off our little stay-cation, Monday night we invited some friends out and went to explore and freeze our buns off at the Edmonton Ice Castles.

Built by hand using only water and icicles, the structures were incredibly textural and complex. I found myself dumbfounded by how simply wonderful and versatile water is. I instantly, tried to analyze the colours and translucency of the ice with what I call my “paint brain”. Paint brain, looks at anything and everything, and starts racing, yearning and searching for ways to translate what I see or feel through a creative lens. How can I  attempt to bring this to life? How can I incorporate these icy, translucent colours and layers? And so forth. Wonderfully exhausting right?  In the meantime, I snapped a few dreamy snapshots to share with you!

The Ice Castle installations can be found in Edmonton, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Utah this winter season.

Tips | The Edmonton Ice Castle

  1. Buy tickets online, its cheaper. Buy tickets during the weeknights, its cheaper. Pre- order tickets, as I found the dates we originally wanted were all sold out already.
  2. Dress warm, I mean really warm. I thought I did, but it still wasn’t enough. Bring warm winter boots, mittens, toques, jacket, even snow pants. You get the drill. It’s winter, it’s ice, it’s cold.
  3. Carpool if you are going with friends, it makes parking less stressful.
  4. May I suggest you bring a thermos with hot coffee, tea or hot coco – I wish I did!
  5. Find tickets/maps/info HERE.

It is so easy to have your own stay-cation! Just set a couple days aside to fully unwind. Fill the days with everything you love, and everything that makes you feel great! Simply, hop online or look in the paper and find local attractions and great food near you.



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