Taking life by the Cahones

Elephant Safari Lake Manyara

During Power Hour at BlissDom Canada this year, it was important to me to speak about part of my story…the part that talks about the layers to everyone’s story that you probably have no idea about.. given that Facebook is not Truthbook.

I included this video narrated by Alan Watts. A video that by far has probably had THE largest impact on me in terms of the course of my life and convincing me to live a life less ordinary. Alan simply talks of following your passion, and the money will come and the preference to living a short life doing something you love versus a long life doing something you don’t like doing. The simplest idea but a profound impact.

Since I watched that video two years ago, I took it to heart and have given many new things a try. I have focused on doing things now versus waiting, and I have found new loves and adventures I would never in a million years expected to enjoy.

Here’s a few ideas that might get you started on your life less ordinary:

Try playing Hockey

I took a Parks & Rec Learn to Skate Adult class about 2 years ago which taught me the basics on how to skate and how to stop. Then last year on a whim and wanting to hang out with a good friend, we signed up for a Ladies hockey league. Who knew I would enjoy it so much? The first game I fell probably about 20 times and spent 3 weeks going to the chiropractor. Now, one year later I am part of 2 leagues, get up early Friday mornings for a skills camp and practice Wed night. Something pretty cool to happen from giving it a try.

Go on a Multi-Generational Trip

My uncle is getting on in years and my dad wanted to head back to Scotland to see him. We decided to tag along so that he could show our children “our homeland” from his perspective. It was brilliant and a memory so valuable we will forever be grateful for that time together.


It was something I had always had on my bucket list but never had the balls to go for until during a whimsical convo with our sitter. We decided to go skydiving. Like the week after. With the idea that Tomorrow can easily become never (Thank you Timothy Ferris), we jumped out of a plane 13,000 ft in the air… just cause.

Indoor Rock Climbing

We were introduced to this by a show we participated in this year and conquered some fears when we headed to Joe Rockheads in Liberty Village to try out our capabilities. What a challenging and awesomely fun experience. I know for sure this will be something on our must do list for our next date planning sessions.

Even our kids got into rock climbing
Even our kids got into rock climbing

Climb Mt Kilimanjaro

We have a whole series coming on this adventure but it was truly one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of our lives. All you have to do is set your mind to something and with a goal in place and a strategy planned, nothing should ever hold you back… and the sunrise was pretty incredible. You gotta go. You simply gotta.

Sunrise in Africa
Sunrise in Africa

Having a drink on a rock bar

You have to swim to or walk when the tide is out. THAT was easy and the perfect compliment to a day on the island of Zanzibar. (You should also meet fabulous new friends and laugh heartily..and with vigor)

Our lovely peeps Chris & Lisa who we climbed Kili with & then met up in Zanzibar
Our lovely peeps Chris & Lisa who we climbed Kili with & then met up in Zanzibar

Go on Safari

When you have the opportunity to see elephants this close up, how could you not go??

Elephant Safari Lake Manyara

What can you do to live a life less ordinary? Its just creating a plan to go after it that is the only thing standing in your way.

read more

PiDGiN Has You Soaring

French 75

Do you ever have one of those moments where you are about to cross-friend (NEVER a guarantee when heading out for dinner), you introduce savvy, gregarious females to each, other and as the conversation starts flowing, you know the universe will never be the same again?

It’s Magic.

We had the pleasure of experiencing that magic when we headed to one of the warmest and most welcoming restaurants in downtown Vancouver, PiDGiN . Our intent was to talk business and a relaxed atmosphere was where we wanted to meet up. We got to the resto and were immediately greeted by one of the most generous of souls I think I have ever met.  Neil. Neil who was lovely and gentlemanly and had a raging sense of humour.

As he sat us, and asked for our cocktail order I of course went to my standard Hendricks & Tonic. Something now as a “mature” (Bahaaahaaa) woman, I feel is completely justified in spending more money on good gin and by all means, Hendricks is THE most delicious gin you will ever taste.

The gin was the only thing I got to order.

You see we had Sarah Zaharia with us, who wrote for My Life in Winnipeg until she headed over to start a new life in Vancouver and has begun a new blog called Pepper & Vine (follow this one folks- anyone with this kind of wine/food knowledge is going to go serious places).

Between Sarah and Neil, it felt like we were watching an intricate Viennese waltz. There was an instant chemistry  between them, largely because PiDGiN does this really cool offer of $1 corkage where you can bring in your own wine and  Sarah had brought the most insanely delicious bottle I think I have ever tasted. Did you know there was such a thing as a white Bordeaux? Me neither. Neil seemed indubitably impressed and we knew we were in the presence of two foodies dedicated to figuring out the perfect mix of how food & wine play together. (It kind of felt like a bit of a gift being able to watch all of this)

Our whole meal turned into a beautiful, delectable journey, handing over the keys to these two characters and simply going with the flow. I needed to do that. We all needed to do that and all I can say is that I tried some amazing new fare, experienced some of the best wine of my life and most definitely made friends of a lifetime.

It is important to note that in addition to Sarah at the table, we had Julie Nowell and Susie Parker. Sarah, Susie and myself are all from Winnipeg and are proud to say that we broke Julie. Apparently, Peggers know how to have a great time.

If you are heading to PidGiN, here are the top faves I would highly recommend:

French 75 Cocktails…Oh…My…God. Best cocktail ever.

Nothing more fabulously on trend and vintage at the same time
French 75- Nothing more fabulously on trend and vintage at the same time

Oyster Shots (you can laugh at my hesitation) here.

These off the hook smoke almonds that were to DIE for.

The most delicious carpaccio I have ever tasted.



And this is just to name just a few.

If you are looking for a fabulous restaurant in GasTown, in the downtown core or in Vancouver…PiDGiN will bring you that magic.

PiDGiN is also fabulous at connecting at Twitter. You can find them @PiDGiNVancouver

read more

We Know What Kind of Travellers We Are! How about you? #DukoralContest

Kilimanjaro hike

Dad says:

Okay, lets say it. Diarrhea.  It’s a punch line, a rhyming word in children’s songs, but there is nothing funny about it–especially when there are literally no washrooms to be found. Only rocks to crouch behind. The rocks are getting smaller and smaller and farther apart on this sub-desert climate, except for that one big rock you are standing on: Kilimanjaro. It does not have a washroom anywhere. And there is no hiding from diarrhea.

When we decided to travel to Africa for our tenth anniversary, we really had no idea how different it would be.  Research, pictures, and stories started to fill in the blanks, and it got scary.  We were lucky enough to come from Canada, which has maple syrup and democracy and universal health care.  We have clean water, clean air, and little chance of infection from the landscape.  Africa cannot say the same.  To become sick when abroad is at best a terrible inconvenience, and at worst… well, the worst.  Diarrhea effects 1.7 BILLION people a year.  That is one heck of a number. And we were travelling to a high risk area.

We took DUKORAL before departing as part of a recommended vaccine protocol, and perhaps the greatest part of this story is that there is nothing to add.  We ate food that, while delicious, was foreign to us.  We drank water–at least 6 litres a day–from a source that was questionable at best.  And we were never affected.  Other people on our trip ran into difficulties.  Lets just say that running out of your tent 10 times a night so you don’t crap your pants didn’t sound like much fun.

We love to travel.  I think Asia is next!  I wouldn’t go without proper preparations, and that begins with DUKORAL.  Diarrhea will ruin a trip of a lifetime. And it can be prevented. So why wouldn’t you take DUKORAL and take pictures instead of pain?

Mom says:

Imagine you are 4 days in to hiking up a mountain and the only water source is sitting water in a “lake” so cold your guides believe the temperatures killed all the bacteria. That’s not science, but that is reality in an adventure up Mt Kilimanjaro. For us, taking precautions meant the difference between amazing and awful, and there was no way I was ready for awful. We fully believe that making that effort up front before leaving, provided us the back up plan in case something DID happen.


Listen, if you are going to go to developing countries, it’s not optional. It is a must to take DUKORAL to help you get through those potential pain moments! We have been in a number of countries over recent years that run the risk of Travellers Diarrhea. Why would you not take preventative measures?

This is why we are happy to support DUKORAL and their “What Kind of Traveler are you?” contest because we sincerely believe in its effectiveness while travelling abroad.

Dukoral - Cover Photo

Discover your traveler type for your chance to WIN a $1,000 Air Canada gift card or a GoPro camera! Weekly prizes of a Neutrogena® Travel Prize Pack also to be won. Share your results on Twitter for an additional 10 ballets!

Enter HERE now!

Answer to traveller's diarrhea

And don’t forget to follow @DUKORALTrvlTips for more great ways to travel safely and comfortably.

read more

Hitting a Milestone with a Milestone


Dad Says…

I think the 10th anniversary is paper, or something. Everyone will attest I don’t really prescribe to the theory of established celebrations, and this anniversary is no exception.  We haven’t gotten this far in marriage playing by the rules of others; in fact we live by a few expectations.  Don’t play games, unless you’re playing games. Have fun. Laugh more.

So, instead of a date-night with dinner out and a pedestrian RomCom, we planned to travel off North America to celebrate J’s 40th and our 10th.  Days of air travel would culminate in Tanzania, which I actually had to look up on a map, sad to say.  We would head up the tallest mountain on a CONTINENT, Mount Kilimanjaro.  This was not something we do by ourselves; we aligned with Intrepid Travel, whose reputation is making travel dreams come true for people since 1989.  Established, which was calming, since I had to Google the language spoken and capital city.

I like a good trip, and have seen a decent part of the world. But I was extra excited about this one.   I am not a ‘bucket lister,’ but I do believe in the one life to live theory and I think this is a great opportunity to experience something different.

Sunrise over Africa?  What a way to start.

Mom Says…

We are terrible at celebrating our anniversary on the day we got married.

read more

Climbing Kilimanjaro – My Date with Destiny

Hart & Galla-KILIMANJARO Banner
My business has already been to the top. Now it was my turn.

The year was 2011 and I had no idea my date with destiny was about to begin.

Having started my business less than a year before, I was still trying to figure out the definition of what that business looked like. I felt lost. I was catering to clients I wasn’t passionate about because they had the money. It didn’t resonate with me AT ALL, and I felt compromised in my value system.

So what does one do when they need to figure out their business? Most would probably go back to honing their audience or creating a tighter business plan.

Me? I went to a psychic.

My friend Laurel would laugh if you called her a psychic but she is most definitely intuitive and gets messages that tend to be wickedly accurate to pass on to you. We had met quite a few times but it wasn’t until a fated coffee date with our friend Susie Parker that I realized how important she would become in my world. We had been talking about the struggles of business and she simply had said:

“When you are working towards something you are passionate about, it will never feel like a war in your heart.”

I had started to cry. Something about that statement felt like an arrow piercing my heart and left me with a nagging need to talk to her more. I set up a Skype call with her to help figure out where I needed to get my business in order. We set forth on a visualization of where I saw myself in 5 years. As I closed my eyes, I assumed it was going to be business oriented, developing a new digital product or something and being able to travel the globe with my family (If you dream it, it will come right?).

Instead, as I closed my eyes, I saw Africa. In all its glory.

Everything about the visualization took place in a school yard in Africa. I could hear the children playing, I could see my kids in the school yard laughing with them, I could touch the single level turquoise building that housed the classrooms, and I could reach out to the man who was sitting beside me on a picnic table in the yard. It was so vivid and felt so right.

Where exactly this was, I couldn’t tell you but I can share that I felt at peace, quiet and satisfied with something we had accomplished in being there. As I woke up from the visualization, we talked about what I saw. Immediately I felt relief, I felt a sense of purpose and I felt like I had a date with Africa in the not so distant future. I remember telling Laurel that I felt like it wasn’t 5 yrs away but sooner. Laurel mentioned that education and Africa would play a role in my life moving forward.

That day would be marked as one that defined a path for me. It changed my business. It helped me focus more on working in ways that would feed my soul and follow my heart to what I am passionate about.

That was 3 years ago. Tomorrow, we are leaving for Tanzania to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro and #LiveLifeIntrepid. Thanks to the amazing people at Intrepid Travel , we are working with them to help raise money for, a project that helps support educational opportunities for children in Tanzania.

If you would like to support #TeamPowell raising funds on this climb, you can do so by DONATING HERE 

The funny thing is, I had forgotten until recently that because of this path to Africa, I sponsored a good friend as she was in need of hitting her goal of raising funds for a MAD Climb to Kili, never in a million years dreaming that a few short years later I would be embarking on a Kili adventure of my own.

We are so looking forward to setting foot on Uruhu Peak and celebrating our milestones.
We are so looking forward to setting foot on Uruhu Peak and celebrating our milestones.

To following your passion. Who knows what kind of mountain you will get to climb.

read more
1 4 5 6
Page 6 of 6