Thursday, August 15, 2013

When Your Groom is a Hockey Fanatic...

Jason is a huuuuuuuge Chicago Blackhawks fan and we both cheered them on this year to their Stanley Cup win (even though they were playing MY team!). 
How excited were we the night they won!    We even high-fived each other with those two surprise goals at the end of the last game.

My dilemma:  how could I bring a little hockey to the wedding for my groom ?

With a Chicago Blackhawks garter, of course!

Photo © Michael Tompkins

My friend, DeAnna, and I planned this months ago - long before the shortened hockey season even started. 
She's the talented one who was able to whip this up for us. 

Jason and I had the discussion a few months ago about our non-traditional wedding. 
We're not having speeches or toasts, no master of ceremonies, no bouquet toss, no garter, right?  Right. 
He was surprised and nervous when DeAnna told him I had a surprise for him on our wedding day (Oh, no, surprises, were we supposed to have surprises?). 
I grabbed his hand, pulled him onto the stage, and showed him some leg.   He loved it!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Beauty really does come from within

I've never felt beautiful in my life. I was a cute baby, but that was where I peaked. Sure, I had days where I felt "cute" but they were few and far between. I hate to have my picture taken because I see all my flaws, so I became the person who takes the pictures.

But then there was the day last fall, on the beach with my boy, having a horrendous hair day, but loving life, loving my boy, and just being in the moment. I look at those pictures and I feel beautiful.

And then there was that day a few months ago, walking in to a room full of people who love me, feeling nervous and on display, but I can see the happiness on my face and I know I look beautiful.

Proof that beauty comes from within; when you feel good, you look good; and that love can work wonders. It's not about the extra weight, the bad hair, the imperfect smile; it's in the love, the joy, and the laughter.

It's beautiful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

But I Don't Want to Go to the Beach | Halifax, NS, Bride to Be

It was a simple request:  Can we go to the beach before it rains?

He had mentioned it the night before.  He wanted to go to the beach one more time before winter came and it'd be too cold.  It's our beach, our special place that we found when I was sick.

Sure, a drive would be nice, maybe we'll head down to Chester, too, while we're out.

Saturday morning he asks if we can go before the rain comes.  It's gray and cold-looking out there, but a drive would be nice.  We shower and dress.  I decide that although beach clothes call for jeans and a t-shirt, I'll put on pants and a blouse.  When he asks why, I tell him I want to look nice for my boy.  I put a little eyeliner and lipstick on - unusual for me who rarely wears any makeup.

And we're off.

Heading out of town on the 103, I ask where should we go?  Shall we go to Peggy's Cove, the beach, or Chester?  He tells me he wants to go to the beach.  Okay, but maybe we can go to Chester and then go to the beach on the way back?

Hmmmm, okay, let's flip a coin, he decides.

He flips, I call it.

Me - "Let's start with the beach.  Heads we don't go to the beach."  I secretly would rather skip the beach and just go to Chester.
Jason - "Heads.  That disappoints me.  Let's do it again."
Me - "Fine.  Heads we don't go to the beach."
Jason - "Heads.  Let's do it one more time."
Me - *eyesrolling* "Fine. Heads we don't go to the beach."
Jason - "Tails!  We're going to the beach."

"Really?  Why are we even flipping a coin?"  *insert lots of eyerolling and sighing here*  "I don't want to go to the beach, but fine, you win, we'll do what you want to do."

Fifteen minutes later we arrive at the beach.  I'm instantly relaxed and happy.  We grab the camera and realize how cold it is.  I throw my sweater on and zip it up nice and tight.  We practically have the beach to ourselves - it's too cold and windy for anyone else to want to be here - just my crazy fiance!

We've spent the last four months planning our wedding.  Our engagement was sort of off the cuff - we had been talking about getting married, but hadn't set anything in stone.  In May, I mentioned to my cousin that we were talking marriage.  When she asked when we would have the ceremony, I didn't have an answer, but told her our special anniversaries that we celebrate.  Out comes the calendar, there, June 28, 2013 - it's a Friday.  Do it.  I went home that night and told my boyfriend that the girls had picked our wedding date!  We called our folks and told them we were engaged! 

Life is good.  We've been enjoying the planning but it's nice to take a day and head to the beach and just hang out without any plans.

Walking the beach I realize how happy I am.   I take some pictures of him.  He's pensive, not as jovial as usual so I pass the camera to him and ask him to take some of me.  I'm relaxed and happy hanging out with my boy.  The waves are huge!  Have I mentioned how much I love living so close to the ocean?  The wind is whipping from behind me and I can feel my hair blowing all over the place.  But I don't care, I couldn't be happier.

How much do you love me, he asks?  I hold my hands up a couple of feet apart - maybe this much?  No, I spread them out as far as they can go - thissssssssssss much!

We pass the camera back and forth, taking pictures of each other.  He asks me to come closer, "take a close up."   I step closer.  "Come closer."  Ahhhh, I know what he wants -  he wants to snuggle up with me on the beach.  Hehehe  I step in close and give him a hug.  He tells me he loves me.

But he pulls away.  Wait, what?  Before I can look into his eyes, he kneels down in front of me.  ON ONE KNEE!  What, what's going on?  He tells me he loves and wants to marry me.  I look down and see the ring.  "Will you marry me?"

I cried.  I turned and stepped away.   I shield my face with my hands.  I step back to him.  I'm not sure, but I think he asked me again.  "Yes," I cried; "Yes!"  I knelt down with him and hugged him.  And cried some more.  At some point he put the beautiful ring on my finger.  

It was perfect.  There was more hugging and crying and picture taking before we left the beach.  When we visited the beach during my treatments, I called it "My Happy Place;" now I call it "My Really Happy Place." 

Does this make our engagement technically official?  No, we were already official - this just makes it wrapped in gold with some of the sweetest memories to hold dear for a lifetime.

These are the goofiest pictures you will ever see of me - but more importantly you will see how happy I am (and that's before he got down on one knee!).  Him, he's just nervous - I wonder if he was worried I'd say no ;-)


email:  karenk{at}

Monday, September 3, 2012

Life Changers | Halifax, NS

Sometimes there are people who make an impact on your life and they have no idea.  I had an interaction ten or twelve years ago that was just an average moment in the day, a two-minute conversation, something dismissible.  But it stuck with me.

I was working in an office with a group of women.  We sat and keyed all day; not very exciting.  I was the Team Lead, which didn't mean a whole lot except that I passed out the work and had to make sure it was done by the end of the day.  Occasionally I had to answer questions about our procedures.  Easy peasy.

My supervisor, Derek, was pretty easy going, perhaps one of the better supervisors I've had. He was young, always had a smile on his face, always getting the best out of his workers without being a tyrant.

One day in particular, the team was keying.  We sat in two rows facing each other, a group of about ten of us working away.  Someone had a question about procedures.  Derek happened to be on the floor with us instead of in his office, so he answered.  But his answer didn't flow with our procedures.  I corrected his statement and we all went about our business.

Later that day, Derek called me in to his office and asked that I close the door.  This was unusual and I was perplexed.  What's up?

Out there in front of them, you should have my back.  To them, you represent me, you can't disagree with me in front of them.  You need to show me respect out there.

It was so simple and yet made so much sense.  But until he said it, I didn't get it.  I didn't get the responsibility or the power of loyalty.

To this day, I remember Derek's words.  He reminded me to be loyal.  It's one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. The reminder to be loyal sticks with me every day.  Loyalty to my family, to my friends, to my coworkers, and to my clients; respectfulness in all things; a reminder to not make anyone feel foolish.  He didn't say all those things, but that's how it resonates with me.

That simple conversation with Derek was truly a life changer for me.  For him, it was probably forgotten about as soon as I turned and left his office.  It's proof that the simplest interaction with someone can affect them, can change their thinking, can make them a better person.

email:  karenk{at}

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jonny's Cookhouse | Berwick, NS

I pulled up to the stop sign.  Left or right, I asked.  We were out for an adventure, checking out rural Nova Scotia, heading in whatever direction popped into our heads.

Mmmmmm... left.

And with that we left the subdivision and headed out on the old Highway 1.  I don't really know the area, but we passed my nephew's school, we passed some cows and horses, and fields of hay.  We stopped here and there for pictures.

I took a side street at one point and turned us around and headed for home.  Wait.  Or did I?  Nope, it's okay, we ventured onward.

We passed a roadside diner, Jonny's Cookhouse.  It didn't look like much, but boy, was it packed!  About 20 minutes later, the food conversation started.  Should we stop?  Maybe?  Why don't we just get a snack?  We passed a few spots but didn't stop.  Why don't we try that other place, the diner? 

By the time we got back to Jonny's, the parking lot had cleared out.  Inside we grabbed a wooden booth and settled in.  There are only about ten tables in the restaurant so we were thankful for our good timing.

We checked out the menu.  We wanted a snack, but by now we've worked up an appetite.  Burgers, fries, clubs, salads, how do we decide?  My eyes found the poutine.  I love a good standard poutine (fries, cheese curds, and gravy), but Johnny's listed an assortment of poutine choices.  The True Newfie Poutine caught my eye - fries, gravy, homemade bread dressing, mozzarella cheese, and more gravy!

Jason settled on a caesar salad and the Apple Capital Burger - local beef, Jonny's spice, grilled apple slice, red onion, and havarti.

Of course, we shared.  We expected Jason would get a small sized caesar salad and a huge burger, instead he got a giant salad and little burger.  Hmmmm.   Not to worry, that small burger came with a boatload of taste.  I would never purposely put apple on a burger, but it was fantastic.

And the poutine?  Oh my, delicious.  The homemade bread dressing was more like bread crumbs, and there was a bit too much for my liking, but over all it definitely got two thumbs up.

We filled up on our "snack" and didn't have room for anything else.  Til we turned to walk out the door and saw the ice cream list.  We couldn't pass up the Kejimkujik Campfire S'mores ice cream so we got a large cone to split.  It was huge and perhaps the best ice cream I've ever had.  We'd go back to Jonny's just for the ice cream.

If you're roaming around the valley and looking for somewhere to stop, Jonny's is the place to do it.  Directions:  head to the valley on Highway 101, take exit 15 and go left to Highway 1, turn right on Highway 1, Jonny's will be two minutes down the road on your right.  Go hungry.  Or sort of hungry.  Either way, you'll leave satisfied.

email:  karenk{at}

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hey! | Aylesford, Nova Scotia

We've done a lot of driving over the last couple of months, most of it outside the city.  Inevitably, Jason will give me a little, "hey." 

"Yes, what is it?"

And he points.  "Hay."

Got it.

email:  karenk{at}

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Counting down - 11 months | Halifax, NS, Bride-to-Be

When you moved in, I didn't know what to expect.  We were friends, but I had never lived with someone I wasn't related to.  Remember the list?  I sent you a pre-emptive list of some of my quirks.  It wasn't inclusive - I didn't want to admit to everything!  I included how we'd share the groceries, thoughts on laundry, and my emergency contact person.

Then there was my hair.  It needed to go on the list.  I was afraid my scary morning hair would drive you away.  But it didn't.  And you settled right in.  I was a little nervous leaving you in my apartment that first morning when I went to work.  Am I really doing this?  Did I just make a huge mistake?  Argggghhhh.

But soon I'd come home from work to find dinner for two ready and on the table.  And soon we'd start hanging out together, we'd shop for groceries together, we'd go for dinner together, we'd go for drives together.  The feelings started and we became a couple.  It was no longer you and me, it was us and we began to fall in love.

How could I not fall in love with you?  You are adorable and so kind.  You made me feel special, you took care of me before I needed taking care of, and you made doing nothing fun.  You were the part of my life that was missing and you made me feel whole.

Then I got sick.  Even before we knew it was cancer, you promised me it would be okay.  You promised you'd take care of me.  You promised we'd get through it together.

And there you were through thick and thin, through the scars and bandages, through tears and fear.  There you were taking care of me, holding me tight, telling me it would be okay.

It was then that I knew you would be around forever.  When I was at my lowest, you were there holding me up.  When you could have turned and walked away, you held on tight.  The good, the bad, and the ugly - you were sticking around for it all.

And I fell deeper in love with you.

We weathered the past year, dealing with more sickness and struggles.  We held on tight and got through it.  Still, we manage each and every day to get through it.  Side by side.

And now we plan a lifetime together.  Next July, I will say yes to everything.  Yes, in sickness and health.  Yes, to love and honour.  Yes, to good times and bad.  Yes, to you, my love.

For real, for ever, and for always.

And I can't wait!