The Last Frontier

This past July I had the amazing opportunity of going on an Alaskan cruise with my family! Upon arriving in Anchorage we got settled into our rooms the Hotel Captain Cook, leaving us the rest of the day to explore the the city. While in Anchorage we took a trolley tour of the city that gave us a glimpse of the city and it’s infamous Earthquake Park!

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{Our first glimpse of Alaska was flying over the mountains!}

To make our way from Anchorage to Seward, AK, (where we would board our ship) we took a 4 hour train ride across the state. While on the train we took in the most beautiful scenery, speeding past mountains and through various tunnesl(so many photo opportunities!); it really was a day to remember!

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{The train ride was absolutely beautiful!}

Having never been on a cruise ship before, I was taken aback by how massive the MS Noordam was. Once we found our rooms and got settled for the week the exploring began! Be it soaking in the hot tub on the Lido deck at sunset or eating one too many pieces of pizza at the all-you-can eat buffet (who’s counting?), there was always something to do!

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{Boarding the MS Noordam in Seward, AK!}

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{Our first evening on the ship, leaving the coast behind us heading out to sea!}

On the days that we were docked we had the opportunity to step off the boat for a few hours and either explore the city or to venture off into the last frontier (with a guide of course!) through one of the many excursions offered through Holland America! My favourite day was by far our stop in Haines; after leaving the ship we met up with our guide and a short time later were making our way down the Chilikat Inlet with about 30 other passengers. On top of the beauty that was the Chilikat Inlet, we even got a chance to see 3 Orca whales surface by our boat! After about minutes on the boat we pulled up to shore where we were met by three tour guides who would show us the area for the rest of the afternoon. After a quick snack we all geared up (life jackets and rubber boots are a must!) we made our way through the forest to the canoes which brought us about a 1 mile walk from the base of the Davidson Glacier. The closer the closer we got to the glacier the colder the air got– glacier ice freezes at -2 degrees Celsius and is also a different density than normal ice giving it the blue colour! By supper time we were back in Haines re-boarding the cruise ship, and boy was I ready for supper!

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{This photo was taken roughly 1 kilometer from the base of the Davidson Glacier, it was quite the hike but definitely worth it!}

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{Being able to touch the glacier was a really awesome experience (and a very cold one!)}

Okay so maybe I was wrong, I have two favourite days (can one really be expected to choose?)! The other day that I loved was actually one of the days that we spent out at sea. The captain took our ship through Glacier Bay National Park which is actually a UNESCO heritage sight. The water was almost a turquoise colour and we had the most perfect weather, with a good lens or pair of binoculars you could see bears walking on the shore with there cubs and even the odd seal floating by on pieces of glacier ice!

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{The turquoise water was beautiful!}

We didn’t end up going on excursions every day we were docked, we chose to explore the city of Juneau on our own for the day which ended up being a lot of fun! I had the opportunity to try crab cakes, find myself some souvenirs and explore the historic district which made for a pretty awesome day. Juneau is a unique city, built in 1880 when the dream of striking rich during the gold rush attracted many a hopeful. There is no way to drive into Juneau, it is situated at the base of a number of mountains and is split in half by the Gastineau Channel! It is home to one of the Mount Roberts Tramway, one of the tallest vertical tramways in the world, taking visitors up a staggering 1800 feet and offering amazing views of the city below!

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{Hanging out at the waterfront in Juneau!}

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{Almost at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau!}

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{The top of the Mount Roberts Tramway!}

All in all, Alaska was a dream! But like any experienced traveler knows, efficient packing is an important part of the planning process– but who says efficient can’t also be cute!? Here are some of my picks for your Alaskan adventure!

XO Emma

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This dress is the perfect choice for gala night!

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This scarf would be perfect for a day spent at sea– drape it over your shoulders to get double the wear as a shawl!

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A warm jacket is a must for an Alaskan cruise! You may find that the weather is warm the whole trip, but if that isn’t the case you will be thankful you brought a jacket (yes, even in July)! The weather out at sea can change quickly, and the temperature drops significantly in the evening! The fleece lining on this coat is actually a vest making this choice not only fashionable and warm, but a smart choice for anyone with limited space in their suitcase!

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This romper is not only a fashionable option but it also works well for layering, which should always be kept in mind when packing for longer vacations! Throw on a turtleneck underneath for a cooler day or evening spent on the ship to transition with the weather and/or time of day! 

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A good pair of leggings are a must when visiting Alaska! Throw on a black t-shirt, some sneakers and a light grey cardigan for a day exploring the city, or pair it with a shirt-dress and heels for dinner and a movie in the ship’s movie theater! 

 

 

 

A Word On Retrospectives

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Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one,

 

A man who isn’t much for spoken words,

 

But whose touch resounds on me

 

With the impact of Halley’s,

 

Falling,

 

Landing,

 

A whisper into the ground.

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These images mark the end of a season and the beginning of a very new period in my life. Late this past summer, I chose to try joining the journey I’m on with that of someone else and I’m learning that this kind of thing – a relationship – is intricate and case-specific.

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Men with short beards, softer sides and hearts that are a rich basin of complexity. This has been my jam for years and the variety of men like this with whom I’ve crossed paths have helped to teach me lessons each in their own turn. However, what I’m learning now is that, despite a wealth of lessons that develop later on into wisdom, relationships can’t be tamed and constrained by algorithms and lessons learned.

 

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My dad said recently of relationships: “[he doesn’t] think that anything is natural or normal”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this statement came up during a time when I was having difficulty establishing some sort of standard to which to compare my relationship. Since mulling on the truth of my dad’s words, I’ve been learning that generalities and norms won’t bridge the risk or heal the uncertainties that come with caring deeply for another person. The more familiarized I become with the beautiful and simultaneous contradictions that make up the man with whom I spend my time, the more I realize that there isn’t any reason for applying these general rules where close observation is merited. My boyfriend does things differently from me, and the more I learn his language, the more I’m able to recognize and feel the depth of his caring towards me.

Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one, a man who isn’t much for spoken words, but whose touch resounds on me with the impact of Halley’s, falling, landing, a whisper into the ground.

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x

 

Photography by Matt Lowden

The Endless Expanse.

The Endless Expanse.
Vast skies wrapped in colours
Speaking, changing, unafraid.
Raw emotion
Revealing the Artist’s tale
Masses one by one
Together cover the land
Blooming, swaying, unity.
Alive, flat, grand.
Far and wide
The eyes see
The lungs breathe
Unlimited space.
-Olivia Stephen

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“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” -Psalm 19:1 (NASB)

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I grew up in the prairies & they will always hold a special place in my heart no matter where I live. There is a sense of belonging & acceptance attached to them for me, whenever I come back it’s as if I’ve never left. I’m thankful to have been raised in such a beautiful place.

-Olivia

Stopping A Moment In Time

Pink_skyTime flies……

Especially in the summer, so this is the night I tried to stop it.

It was a combination of uneventful birthdays and too many anniversaries that got ignored, that made me what to really remember this year,

garden_partyI spent a few days collecting my favourite vintage glasses and plates, wanting every moment to be enchanting and memorable.

2Y5A0705lemon_thyme_spritzerAdded hundreds of sparkling lights, and lots of creamy white candles.

apple_branchFresh apple branches and flowers.

2Y5A0881Threw in a few of my favourite people.

2Y5A0922trufflesLots of amazing food.2Y5A0907

Music.

2Y5A0822A small rain storm to get people excited.

And suddenly time stood still.

It was in the silly moments that happen when people who don’t know each other find common ground, or when old friends are reunited.  I realized that it takes a little time and commitment to make time stand still.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy party, just a reminder or a plan to change up your mundane routine, and  try something new.

For me, it’s lots of little things that come together to make a memory that seems to stop time.

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Boheme in the City

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Saskatoon may be cold for three-quarters of the year, but its magnificent beauty and wonderful people make up for it.  The seasons change and so do the trends but that doesn’t always mean updating your entire wardrobe at the beginning of every season.  Dressing for trends can be a bit of a chore but this seasons bohemian theme is relaxed and easy. One of the best parts of this collection is the versatility in all the styles. As you can see, this print comes in shorts, a romper, a shirt and even pants!

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There’s something for every occasion with this Bohemian collection. Every piece can easily be dressed up with a summer wedge or dressed down with your favorite pair of sneakers. My friend Taylor wears the shirt with a soft subtle pink skirt for a more formal look that could be worn out for dinner at a classy restaurant or to a summer wedding. In contrast to her, Amy wears the shorts with a basic black t-shirt and the perfect floppy hat for a fantastic casual look you could wear everyday. Then Christine is rockin’ the romper with a head chain, the perfect outfit for a music festival. To change it up she adds the crochet sweater and the look becomes more casual, something you could wear on your next trip to the cabin. The possibilities are endless!

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With these fun, versatile pieces you can make an outfit for any event going on this summer and you’ll feel like a free spirit in your charming city. We here at Tonic love our city and all the people in it <3 I mean look at this river?! And all the lilacs – I can’t even. The natural foliage and riverside views make any day feel like a gift that should be enjoyed with the people you love.

So go out and embrace your city with all whom you love! While looking fab and bohemian of course 😉