Summer 2018

This summer has been the most eventful summer of my life, by far. Lots of big changes, but good changes, and lots and lots of fun.

Let’s see, what did I do this summer..


  • Went to Toronto for a friend’s wedding, and on the way, we got our marriage license in Prescott (it costs $60 less in Prescott than in Ottawa! Worth it if you’re already passing by)
  • Jethro and I bought a house! We are now proud homeowners (and owners of mortgage debt, ha)



  • Had engagement photos taken, and went to about a million and one wedding-related appointments (alterations, decor, lashes, venue, hair and makeup trial..)
  • My girls hosted the most lovely bridal shower, and I was thoroughly amused by how competitive my mom’s friends are..
  • Got into a major car accident (ugh, still don’t like talking about it, but it happened, and we’re still alive, by the grace of God!)

Jethro+Steph-80.jpgPhoto by Jessi Lauren Photo


  • Went to Prince Edward County for the long weekend (bachelorette weekend!)
  • Jethro and I got married!!
  • We also went on a minimoon roadtrip through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (sooo muccchhh lobster!!)

Photo by Jessi Lauren Photo


  • Attended a wedding in Ottawa, and another in Toronto
  • We bought a car! (and if you ever want to talk about hybrids, Jethro’s your man)


September (so far)

  • Went to Tremblant for the long weekend
  • Another wedding in Toronto later this month (this is the summer of 6 weddings for us!!)

Wow. What a summer.

I’m thinking some of these deserve a full blog post. I’m really not the most consistent blogger though, so we shall see…

Until next time,

The Flying Banzini

I haven’t eaten out at too many interesting local places lately, so I haven’t had much to share. I think I am less adventurous in the winter. When there’s snow on the ground, I’d rather be in bed (or order takeout. Maybe that’s a good topic for another post, where I’ve been ordering takeout from).

But back to the whole reason you’re reading this post.. The Flying Banzini. Jethro and I went to The Flying Banzini after finding a groupon for some % off (I have no idea because I didn’t pay hahahah). And he realized that we had to use it before it expired, so we went on the Monday of a long weekend (Family Day). Bad idea.

There were no mini cheesecakes left!! There’s one. One in this photo. Can you see it? They are known for their cheesecakes, so we’ll just have to come back to try them.


That definitely made my experience not as a great as I had hoped.. but it wasn’t all bad. The food was actually quite tasty, and the restaurant had a really local, cozy feeling to it.

I got… some kind of panini or another (sorry, real blogging fail here). But they ran out of italian sausage (again, long weekend, bad idea), so I got pork belly instead (so delicious, so unhealthy). The soup was ehn. It was a curry soup, but it tasted very strongly of ginger. After about 3 scoops, I was done with it, and traded Jethro for his fries, haha. He’s da best.


Not my favourite place, but a nice place, nonetheless. I will have to go back to try the cheesecakes, though.

The Flying Banzini | 1242 Wellington Street West

Bonus picture: Jethro didn’t know where to look, so he just kept reading his menu. P.S. There’s a purple pikachu on the wall!

Alex Janvier at the National Art Gallery

The National Art Gallery in Ottawa has always been one of my favourite places in the city. It’s beautiful on the outside, and it contains so much beauty within its walls, too.

One of my favourite details is the high ceilings, all the windows (and natural light that comes with windows), and the grey cement/blue sky colour combo. Seems silly, but it makes me so happy.

A couple weeks ago, I went to the National Art Gallery with my work colleagus for a staff retreat. It was a nice opportunity to get out of the office, and to hang out. Oh, and we did work related things too, but that’s not interesting to write about, haha. So instead I just want to share my experience going through the Alex Janvier exhibit at the gallery.

But before we go into the exhibit, fun fact: I learned last visit that this long corridor is meant to imitate the aisle in a cathedral, paying homage to the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica just across the street.


And in we go! That’s one of Janvier’s pieces marking the entrance to the exhibit.


The first thing you’ll notice is that Janvier doesn’t have a very traditional Indigenous artwork style. I thought that was really interesting. He painted some (a lot, actually) of his pieces on a circular canvas (and sometimes this canvas was paper, or cloth, or something else entirely). So the gallery had a fun time trying to figure out how to display his pieces.

I like to hang around at the back, and observe both the art, and the way that people interact with art. It’s interesting how some people peer right up to it, and others take in the whole picture.

This series of paintings was one of my favourites, because it told a story (from right to left) of nature, man, and technology. I don’t want to just give you a running commentary of what’s going on, but it’s really cool to see the twirls of colour and the interactions between the different parties (and the angst associated with lots of hardships, especially in Indigenous history).


Janvier grew up in the residential school system. He survived it, but does not have great things to say about it. And this really came out in his artwork. I honestly have a really hard time interpreting art most of the time, so I really appreciated his in-your-face storytelling in his work. It was at the same time artistic and really obvious.

Like in this image, you see the union jack, the fleur de lis, the cross, the man in western clothing, etc. They all signify his influences in the residential school system. And what was particularly interesting about this painting is the apple in the middle. An apple is a typical symbol for school, and for learning. But for many Indigenous peoples, it’s also the idea that they are being made to be red on the outside, but white on the inside. So it can be a quite derogatory symbol.


I stopped taking pictures at this point. But there was one room that was especially dark and moving. It showed pieces that were heavy and emotional, relating to Janvier’s experience with the residential schools. Nowhere near as fun and colourful as his other paintings, but was a strong reflection of Canada’s dark history.

As a Christian, I can’t help but want to apologize. I want to share my faith with others, but not in this way. As a health promoter, I want to continue to work with Indigenous peoples to support healthy living, and understanding the collective experience of residential school survivors is one step in understanding why health outcomes are much poorer for all Indigenous populations in Canada.

Maybe you’re like me, and never really think about art. Maybe you think it’s all fine and dandy and for rich people. Or white people. Or people who are not you. But every piece of art tells a story.

If you’re in Ottawa between now and April, you should check out the exhibit. Admission to the gallery is also free on Thursday evenings.

National Gallery of Canada | 380 Sussex Drive


The media keeps lamenting 2016, but looking back through my photos, it looks like I had a good year. And for that, I am thankful. No complaints here! Also – I don’t remember what happened more than 2 months ago.. so this recap is also a fun reflection exercise (/thank goodness I take a lot of photos on my phone). Here we go, 12 months, 12 photos.

In January, I went on a cruise with these delightful folks, and it was one of the best vacations I have ever been on! We went (pretend) ring shopping. We drank lots of fancy coffees. We watched game shows. We ate too much food. And we took lots of photos. Let’s do it again soon!


In February, I participated in my first of many (12!) craft shows this year. I won’t include toooo many craft show photos in the rest of this recap, but they were all fun and different in their own way! I got to meet people who would tell me that they follow me on Instagram (aw shucks!) and connect with fellow creatives in the city (so many new friends who are so cool I cannot even comprehend).


In March, I started helping out with the youth at my church. At first, I was overwhelmed. And then we went to No Other Name (a 1-day youth conference) and I was even more overwhelmed. But now, I love them. They keep me young (and simultaneously make me feel old).


In April, I finally visited Jocelyn in Hamilton! I always thought it was a nothing city, not really worth visiting. But I regret waiting so long to visit! They have a dedicated calligraphy store and awesome food. ‘Nuff said.


In April, I visited Almonte to be in my first Cheerfully Made market. It was possibly one of my best shows of the year, other than the Etsy show! Also this sign changes colours and is mega cool so I took a picture with it, hehh.


In June, I graduated!!! I miss Kingston, but boy, I do not miss school. Okay, just a little bit.


In July, I picked strawberries with Kaitlyn. This was probably my first Canada Day in a while not going downtown.. but it was so chill and fun! Totally recommend it.


In August, I worked. Well, most months I did. But I also said goodbye to some PHAC friends this month. I learned more about the Kardashians from them than I ever thought I could know.


In September, I did my first ever 2-day show. I didn’t even know it was a 2-day show until about a month before, hahaha. I clearly did not read the contract clearly, heh. Busiest and most crowded show I’ve ever seen. But thankfully I had wonderful helpers to help me survive the busy BUSY crowds. Oh. I also forgot to bring my cash float (cue panic attack) on day 2.. thankfully my friends of Sadie & June lent me money to get me going. Aaaand this is why it is good to have friends :)


In October, my MPH friends and I reunited for a wine touring weekend (where I stopped drinking after 2 wineries cause I’m a lightweight like that). We also made a spur of the moment decision to go to Kingston for homecoming weekend to see Walk Off The Earth! So fun.


In November, I went to Toronto for a friend’s engagement party and got to experience and explore downtown Toronto. The weather was perfect for just wandering all day. My brother and I also hunted for coffee beans in Kensington Market to fuel his new hipster obsession.


In December, I went to Montreal to escape Ottawa (actually, Jethro just had to use up some vacation days). Got to catch up with David and Jenna who I do not see often enough anymore!


And so so many other wonderful things this year. I purposely didn’t share food photos, though I do have lots of those. I can’t decide if I should commit to eating out less this year, or eating out more. Either way, it’s going to be great.