Date Night Series – #1

Todd and I moved to New West just over a year ago, in february of 2012. That entire year was a lifechanging one for me. I went from working a pretty lousy job, to working hard a growing my business into something that far succeeded what I imagined in one year. I also had the amazing opportunity to team up with Madison of Hope & Co. and start working on a little magazine called “The Refinery Magazine”. It was a crazy crazy year, and has only led to more craziness – thankfully it is all awesome craziness!

One of the most important things that helped that change was starting fresh in a new city: New Westminster. Even the name of the community screams: new, exciting, fresh, and old – all at the same time. After all, New West is the oldest city in British Columbia! When we first moved here we experienced some amazing new things, like walks on historic columbia, the rose garden in Queens Park, and date nights at the movie theatres or at some tiny restaurant down the street.

Starting this week, I pledge to write when I can about my experiences in New West, but also the wonderful things that Todd and I do together in the city we now call our long term home – or at least we plan to make it a long time!

First Off, we call it Burgers & Bowling:

How to start the date:

1. Strip off your work clothes after a long week. Call up Mel & Duncan who live across the street, or any couple that loves to have fun, and invite them out for burgers and bowling. Throw on a loose T-Shirt, hoodie, SOCKS, and your favourite pair of lululemons or jeans and head out the door.

2. Drive to Burger Heaven – This haven for burger lovers is a hidden gem for most residents outside of New West. Thankfully those who live here have usually tempted their tastebuds with some delicious meat, bread, and condiments. With a comfy atmosphere and good friends for chatting, the meal truly is angelic: home cooked goodness, without the mess afterwards. My favourite is their Miss Piggy’s favourite: #2 Teriyaki and Mozza Burger with bacon. Quite fitting.

Here is their website: http://www.burgerheaven.ca

3. Aim to catch Cloud 9 Bakery before it closes, because not everyone can have a glutenous dessert. Head to Cloud 9 for some delicious baked goods that everyone can enjoy, even those who are gluten free. Their cupcakes are TO DIE for, including their fabulous carrot cake delectable.

Here is their website: http://www.cloud9specialtybakery.com

4. Finish it all with some beers and bowling at the local bowling alley: Lucky Strikes. Pull up your socks, put on your retro shoes, and bowl the night away. If you are lucky you may even catch disco night, so be prepared to wear white and feel transported back to the 80’s!

Here is their website: http://www.luckystrikebowl.ca

I hope this provides you with some evening entertainment for maybe even this friday, and make sure to bring another couple along for this date, as 4 people just amps up the fun level even more. And of course, once you get home, its always a good time to turn on some JT or Robin Thicke, relax on the couch with a glass of wine, and chill.

Thank you new west for providing everyone with some entertainment. The Young, The Old, and The Romantics.

– Ainsley xoxo

P.S. This activity is age appropriate for everyone, so next time you have an evening free, take the kids along, or even the grandparents – or not!

Chris + Kara – True Love Story – July 2011 Wedding

I was so thrilled to do the “day – of” services for my dear friends Chris & Kara, as they embarked on the next chapter of their lives together. They are really the sweetest couple, and they have an amazing love story. Check out some of the stunning photos of this gorgeous couple, their wedding, and how she describes it all down at the bottom of the blog!

From The Bride:

About us: Chris and I met at a local summer camp when we were about 14 years old. After a couple of summers of  being friends only at camp, we started to hang out during the year and started to date May of 2002. I left for university in Toronto after graduation in 2003 and we decided to do whatever we could to make our relationship work through the long distance. There were moments of doubt and glorious days spent together on school vacations and somehow we made it work. Once I came back home again in 2008, we took a year of living in the same time zone together before deciding to move in together. In June 2009 we found a basement suite and started the next chapter of our lives together – finally in one place! Of course, after 7 years of being a couple we had many questions about when we would be getting married but those curious folks (and I!) were just going to have to wait a bit longer before Chris decided it was time to take that leap…

The Proposal: I have to warn all you readers out there, this is not an extremely romantic proposal story, but it’s mine and Chris’ and I don’t think I’d change a thing about it! January 2010 – hints were being made and I was starting to catch on so I figured that with my birthday only a few days away that I’d be getting a  nice birthday gift this year! But, my birthday came and went, then Valentine’s Day passed and I was starting to wonder when that ring was going to present itself! March started to get busy and with our opposite work schedules Chris and I weren’t seeing each other very much. We made a point of planning a date night Saturday March 13th. After work and a couple of social engagements. I came home and started doing the laundry. At the time, our laundry room had a tiny window that looked out to the pathway leading to our door. I saw Chris approaching with a few groceries and he smiled first at our cat sitting in the window then at me. He came in the door, placed the groceries on the laundry room floor and made me stop putting clothes in the washing machine. He started to tell me some wonderfully sweet things and gave me a kiss. At this point I know whats coming (and can’t believe he’s going to propose while I’m doing the laundry!) and he leads me into the spare room of our basement suite where he’s had the ring hiding. Chris got down on his knees (yes, both for some reason!) and asked me to be his wife – and of course I said yes! The groceries he’d bought were for dinner and he proceeded to cook us a delicious dinner! Like I said at the beginning, it wasn’t a huge, overly planned proposal, but it was from the heart, simple, and low key which sums us up in a nutshell.

The Planning: Since we were engaged in March 2010 and knew that we wanted a summer wedding, we decided fairly early on that we were not prepared to plan a wedding in 4 months time. So we opted to get married in 2011. The first thing we agreed on was the location. Having met at summer camp and knowing that that camp had recently been converted into a public park, it was without a doubt a unanimous decision and the perfect place to have our ceremony and reception. Since I now had over a year to put the wedding together, I had lots of time to think about food, decor, music, etc. I did attend a Bridal Show in January 2011 but since I already had most of the major decisions made by then, I found it very overwhelming and slightly unnecessary! Once the date was chosen, we booked the halls at Kwomais Point Park, chose our minister who was a family friend, chose our colours (green for Chris and pink for me!), chose our wedding party, found outifts for the men while Christmas shopping, and started scouring craigslist for good deals on things we could use. I found our candy buffet jars and scoops from another bride, bought an entire roll of tulle for the decor, found a florist with decent prices, ordered bulk gerbera daisies from Safeway (which with a couple of friends created centerpieces and window decoration in the green wine bottles my mom found at the thrift shop), collected picture frames on sale also for centerpieces and got my dad on making collages of photos of both Chris and myself growing up in lieu of a slide show. We decided to save money on a DJ and instead put together a playlist on the compute which one of our groomsmen put together for us. There was a woman at my church who I knew I could trust with making great food so she and her business partner came together to give me a great deal on our finger foods for the reception. My cousin’s husband is a photographer and he graciously agreed at our annual family camping trip to take on our wedding even though they live in Edmonton! My mom made my dress, I wore her veil, and other than the maid of honour who made her own dress, my mother also sewed the other bridesmaids dresses, the flower girl’s dress, and her own outfit! We bought Chris a suit that he would be able to wear again if he should ever need to. Everything was falling into place quite nicely! Around February I was introduced to  Ainsley of Idea! Weddings and Events through our friend whom she had started dating and when I discovered that she was a wedding coordinator I asked her if she’d like to assist with out wedding day. Chris and I had most of the choices made and decor plans in place, but it was great to have Ainsley available on the day of the wedding and the weeks leading up to the big day. She helped me pick my hair extentions (more stressful than you might imagine!) and helped with some of the tedious cutting and pasting of the various DIY projects I had on the go. I had a number of family members and friends from out of town who wanted to help with decorating so that became the team that Ainsley was able to direct and manage on the day of the wedding. All in all the planning process was stressful but really not that bad absolutely worth it! We planned a wedding that was just “us”. It was a day filled with love, family, and fun. I would not change a thing about the wedding – except perhaps making it last longer!