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Meet Vanessa Norris!

Hi everyone! Kyla here…I’m happy to welcome a new contributor to the Peaks & Harbours team, my dear friend Vanessa Norris. Vanessa is an amazing mom to two girls, a kick-ass high school Science teacher and passionate environmentalist. So without further ado, please welcome Vanessa!


What does it mean to spend a year at home with a baby and toddler?

I have finally accepted that I am clinging on to the last few threads of my second maternity leave with white knuckles and a raw heart.

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“Where are all the women?” my daughter asked.

My daughter, Finn, came home last week announcing her frustration with a historical research assignment her class had been given. It was on exploration to North America, and students could choose either Christopher Columbus or the Viking Leif Erikson. As Finn drawled out the men’s names, her eyes nearly rolled across the floor and out the window.

“Where are all the women?” she sighed.

“Oh, they’re there.” I replied, trying very hard to contain my excitement that was threatening to boil over. “So why don’t we do a little research on one, and ask your teacher if you can do your report on her instead?”

Finn’s eyes brightened, “Yes!” she finally smiled.

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Diana Vreeland had it right: the value of history.

About four years ago, I sat in the boiling shade in Madhya Pradesh, India after furiously taking pictures of the Khajuraho temple sculptures before the sun got too high. I sat panting, watching the tourists mill around, fanning their sweating bodies. The locals went about their every day ritual of setting out lunch in the temple shade, seemingly unfazed by the scorching air. I came home from that trip earlier than planned; but, as we fast forward to 2016, I find myself deeply missing my research and writing on material and art history.

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Culture Babes: Gallery Tours for you and your littles.

When Hilary’s email sailed into our inbox last week, I had to blink hard. Her ears must’ve been burning. Over the past couple of months, Bree and I have been eager to get back into focusing Peaks & Harbours on what we (and you!) love best – art & design excursions that thrill the grown-ups and excite the littles; promoting local businesswomen, artist, and creators; telling tales of our outdoor adventures; talking real about the world around us and our place in it; sharing tasty recipes that nourish you; and sharing our favourite hilarious moments – all from our amazing team of Peaks & Harbours contributors.

But I digress.

Hilary – Dr. Hilary Letwin to be exact – of Culture Babes, has been hosting events for five years that bring parents and kids to art exhibitions and performance events around the city, satisfying that deep craving to keep your intellect fed, with kids in tow. Now, without spoiling everything that Hilary has kindly written below, these are no regular gallery visits – they are more like, relaxed VIP tours for you and your littles. Got your attention? Read on readers, read on.

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Sans Social Media Saturday.

In my endless quest to find balance between technology and sanity – without moving off-grid to start my own self-sustainable textile/veggie farm – I have begun to institute Sans Social Media Saturday. No instagram, no facebook, no websites, no email…

I’ve had a grand total of ONE of these Saturdays. Apparently I was firmly stuck in the procrastination station, because although I’ve had this idea for months, I just instituted it last weekend.

So how’d it go, you ask?

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How My Computer Put Me In The Hospital

Rest assured faithful readers, this is not a click bait ad (Bree and I haven’t lost our minds) that you might see on other “news” sites. No, this is a real-honest-to-goodness-true-life-experience by yours truly. In fact, as I sat on a hospital bed at Mount St. Joseph’s a few days ago, clutching the thin blue gown that barely concealed my nether regions, I had to force myself to take seriously the words of the doctor as he explained to me that the reason I’d been having concussion-like symptoms was actually due to “too much screen time” and not a brain aneurism like my anxiety convinced myself it was.

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