Spring Goals

It’s spring! Meteorologically speaking, at least. It will take a good long time for the temperatures to warm up enough to feel like spring here, but I’m going to celebrate anyway.

It’s also a perfect time to do a quick goals update. I like doing these as the season change to help stay focused. 

The Guide

The Versailles Vignette Guide is my top priority for spring. I’ve been fiddling with the layout and revisions whenever I have a chance, but I need to really sit down and get serious. That means my blogging might get a little less regular, but I won't drop it completely. 

Social Media

Being more active on my favourite social media sites was one of my goals for the beginning of the year. It's time to get more serious about this one, too. Come check me out on my favourites! I'm loving Instagram and Pinterest right now.

Do Another Whole30

I started my second Whole30 yesterday! I realized that I’ve been letting some bad habits sneak back into my life with all of the craziness going on. My bedtime keeps getting pushed back later and later. I’m on my computer most of the day and I need less screen time. I’ve been snacking on crackers, cookies, and chocolate a little too much. With the wedding coming full steam ahead, March is the best month for me to do a bit of a reset. 

I kicked off my first day with a deep analysis of the difference between Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and Hostess CupCakes. It’s going to be a long month! Counting down to the "I can do anything!" tiger blood phase. T-14 days!

Do a Fitness Challenge

A couple of months ago my physiotherapist recommended adding ballet to my workout schedule. I couldn’t find an adult class that was nearby or in my budget, so I started looking at barre-based classes online. After a lot of trial and error I found Suzanne Bowen Fitness and love her classes. I don't know what she does that's different from the others, but she does wonders for my back.

She started a two month “Spring into Fitness” challenge today and I’m so on board! 

Plan the Wedding and Honeymoon

The big day is coming like a big, shiny, happy steam train! You would think that three and a half months is lots of time, but it’s not. I have a ton vendor meetings, loose ends to tie up, details to obsess over, gifts to buy, vows to write, parties to attend (woot woot!), documents to get, schedules to figure out, people to pay, etc etc etc. Not to mention the DIY projects. What lefty tries to learn calligraphy for their wedding? Yep. Me! 

Whoops! There's no Z in fox! Practice makes progress. 

Whoops! There's no Z in fox! Practice makes progress. 

On top of that, we still have honeymoon details to figure out. Admittedly, it’s the fun stuff like “Where should we go on day trips?” and “What are the best restaurants?” But it feels like an extra job sometimes. A pretty, frothy, and exciting job, though.

The other day I showed my friend one of the projects I just finished up and she said I should be blogging about it more. I might add a smattering here and there. Give the people what they want, right?  

As I look through the list again, I see two themes: Follow Through and Out with the Old, In With the New. I think that sounds perfect for spring! 

Goals for the New Year

Hello, 2015! 

Whew! I can hardly remember what I last wrote about. It feels like I was making Christmas cookies ages ago. Since then, we’ve been to Niagara for a wonderful Christmas with my family. The weather was so mild that I was able to go running outside. I loved it. The Canadians? Not so much. 

A week later, we were driving up to Muskoka on New Years Eve in the worst snow storm I’ve ever experienced on the road. When we finally arrived, we all hunkered down, rang in the New Year, and spent lots of time eating and visiting with S’s family. 

Waking up to a winter wonderland in 2015

Waking up to a winter wonderland in 2015

We drove back yesterday and I think we’re both still processing everything as we try to get back to a routine. I know I feel a bit of the holiday hangover. So much good food and family and visiting, but it never feels like we’ve slowed down enough to appreciate it and soak it all in. 

At the same time, I’m so excited to start a new year. I like that January feels like a clean slate. I like being able to look back, reflect, and set new goals for the year ahead. 

I already know that it’s going to a year of big life changes and adventure. S and I are getting married and going on what is shaping up to be a wonderful honeymoon. 

I’d love to make it a big year for Histoire Travel, too. So I decided to take some time today and do a little planning and goal-setting for 2015.


Last year I decided to forgo any resolutions. Instead, I took a page from my favorite yoga instructors and set an intention: Let Go. I returned to those words throughout the year whenever I got frustrated or my inner control freak wanted to throw a hissy fit. I didn’t become a zen master, but it worked so well that I decided to set another intention this year: Be Fearless. 

5 Goals

I’m keeping them simple and actionable. It’s going to be a very busy year and I wan to keep focused on moving forward slowly but surely. 

1. Finish the Versailles Vignette Guide

I’m prioritizing this for the year. I have a feeling it’s never going to feel perfect or “done” to me. I’m always going to want to make it more concise or do more research or edit one more time or find one more resource or. . .At some point, I just need to stop put it out there! 

2. Write less (but more) 

My goal last year was to be more consistent with my blogging. I worked really hard to make that happen and learned a lot in the process. I realized that I tend to be a wordy, slow writer. 

This year I’m challenging myself with a word count limit of 500 words for awhile to see if that helps tighten things up. I think it will help me write more often in the end. I want to be able to free up some time to work on the guide/other projects without letting the blog go. 

Considering my wordcount right now is 526 (before edits) and I’m only on my second goal, I think this is a worthy challenge!

3. Plan ahead

I’m going to sit down on the last week of each month and plan out my blog posts, research, and projects so I’m not left scrambling for something to write about at the last minute. Along with this, I'm going to continue keeping office hours. I started doing this about halfway through the year last year and it was excellent for keeping me on track. 

4. Have fun

Read more, research more, learn more, be curious, try new things on the site, write lots, play, get inspired. . .just have fun with all of this. If I'm having fun, you're having fun (that's my hope!).

5. Get Social

I focused so much on writing last year that I neglected my social media accounts. I’d like to spend a little more time figuring out the best platforms for Histoire Travel (like Pinterest!), focus on updating them regularly, make connections, and enjoy it. Meaningful social media is the goal!

That’s what you can expect from me and Histoire Travel in 2015. It’s always a work in progress and I’m always trying to get better. My biggest goal is to put interesting, helpful, and fun content out there for lovers of history, travel, and food. 

Here’s to a happy, healthy, adventurous, travel-filled, wonderful 2015 to you and yours!

Making the Most of Fall

I know it's technically summer for a few more days, but the weather is undoubtedly fall here. I'm currently sitting at my desk with camp socks, cozy pants, a sweatshirt and a down throw over my legs. Tea's a'brewin' on the counter. Fall doesn't care about the days on the calendar. It's here now and it's time to enjoy it! 


At the start of summer I posted a few goals and ended up liking it so much that I thought I'd do it for fall, too.  

I think the keys to goal setting are being very specific while also holding back a bit. I could write out a list of a zillion things I want to do before winter comes, but time is limited. My main goal is to enjoy the season while being productive and healthy, so I'm focusing on 4-5 goals within each category. 


  • To a dark sky park and see the Milky Way before it gets frigid. We're looking at maybe trying the Torrence Barrens in Muskoka.
  • To a pumpkin patch and drink hot cider. Lots and lots of hot cider. 
  • To an apple orchard, get a giant bag of apples, and make pie (see below).
  • On a Sunday drive through the country to see the fall colors
  • On one more hike. I've been looking at maybe Mount Nemo or Spencer Gorge near Hamilton, Ontario for beautiful vistas and dramatic waterfalls.
  • To Muskoka for Canadian Thanksgiving. Oh yes, I get two Thanksgivings!
  • To Niagara for a family visit and maybe to wander into some wineries for tastings.

Ok, so maybe I'll allow 7 goals in this category because I make the rules on this blog and all of these things are fun!


  • Start adding more destinations to the Get Inspired section
  • Finish planning our honeymoon and start a series about how to plan a honeymoon and not go crazy. 
  • Finish the design and layout for the Versailles Vignette Guide PDF (ooh yes!).
  • Practice calligraphy!
  • Start a good bedtime routine. No screens after 9. Have a tisane, decaf tea, or warm almond milk. Maybe do a little yoga or stretching to unwind. Read in bed. Sleep like a champ!


  • This Pumpkin Chili - I made it last year with way more than the recommended amount of chili powder--I am New Mexican, ya know. It's healthy and delicious!
  • This Real Pumpkin Spice Steamer/Latte for at-home, non-dairy, spicy pumpkin goodness to go with my reading list.
  • These Apple Pie Tartlets - Because if I can't have diary, I'm bound an determined to have delicious desserts options anyway. 
  • This Butternut Squash Risotto - I might mix it up and add a little Thai green curry and coconut milk instead of cream.  
  • These oven roasted ribs - I might have to make them this week, we just got a giant package of ribs at Costco. They are calling my name from inside the fridge.
  • Pumpkin Pie, of course! What's fall without it?


I have a couple of carry-overs from my summer list and some gothic, mysterious reads that I can't wait to get cozy with. 

  • #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso - This book's been on my list for months and I'm keeping my fingers crossed my number comes up at the library soon. 
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - From the description on Goodreads: "A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery." Sounds like my kinda book. I can't wait to read it!
  • Blood Work by Holly Tucker - A non-fiction tale of science and murder in 17th century Europe. In 1667 a physician named Jean Denis transfused the blood of a calf into a notorious Parisian madman in hopes of curing his madness. Instead, the madman ended up dead and Denis was framed for his murder. The book unravels how intense rivalries and heated debates surrounding the burgeoning science of transfusion led to this peculiar case. 
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Two friends recommended this Pulitzer Prize winner to me and I keep seeing it everywhere, so I figured it's time to give it a read. From Amazon:
Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
— http://www.amazon.com/The-Goldfinch-Pulitzer-National-Finalists/dp/0316055433

So there you have it. My goals for making the most of fall. I might revisit them throughout the season, but I think they're going to stick. 

What about you? Are you setting goals for the fall? Do you have any must-reads or favorite recipes you can't wait to make. I'd love to hear about how you make the most of the season.