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Meewasin's Pelican Watch Contest

posted by David    |   March 12, 2014 15:14

Competition creates an environment for people to do things they probably would never do otherwise. In October 2012, more than 245 combines moved in unison in a field near Saskatoon. Why? To break a Guinness World Record for most combines harvesting the same field at the same time. Check the article out here. One of the combine drivers involved in this event noted that "in Saskatchewan we rally around each other to get things done." Community is important to us. 

I have just entered into a local contest. And no, Honey, it is not "which husband can do the most yard work this summer?" I entered the Pelican Watch Contest, put on by the Meewasin Valley Centre in Saskatoon. I'm told the arrival of these birds has historically marked the beginning of spring, so they can't come soon enough!

Photo Credit: Meewasin Valley Centre

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds on the continent. They weigh around 10 kilograms and have a wingspan of 3 metres. They have been a beautiful sight on the South Saskatchewan River since the late 1970's. Sometimes its more difficult to appreciate beauty in our hometowns, but I would suggest taking a walk down the Realty Executives Boardwalk this summer to see these great birds. 

I would also suggest entering the contest. I'm not going to tell you what time I guessed, because I want to win one of the prizes. They include binoculars from Don's Photo, an overnight stay at the White Pelican Bed & Breakfast, or for kids, a Homestead Ice Cream party in their school classroom. Community is important to us, so even if we are not natural bird watchers, lets rally together and support this local contest. 

5 Tips to help you choose the right Realtor in Saskatoon

posted by Noël    |   March 5, 2014 18:43

According to the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors' website, there are approximately 600 licensed agents and registered salespeople in 46 member offices in the city of Saskatoon.  So, that means that if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Saskatoon and don't yet have a Realtor, don't worry, there are 600 potential candidates ready and eagerly awaiting your call! Overwhelming much?! I think so. 

How do you even begin to narrow down the search for a quality real estate agent? Of course I went to Google to find the answers.  After reading site after site, I narrowed the search criteria to these 5 helpful tips you can use when choosing a Realtor to assist you in buying or selling a home in Saskatoon.

1. Know your needs and wants in a real estate agent.

Put together a list of your needs and wants in a Realtor.  Be as specific as you can and don't forget to identify the kind of personality you'd like them to have!

2. Ask your friends and family. Get some quality referrals! 

Family and friends are a great place to start your search.  They are more likely to share with you their good, bad, and ugly experiences with their real estate agent or agents in the city.  

3. Research the agents before you call. 

Once you have a hearty list of real estate agents, search them on Google and see what comes up! Many times Realtors will have a website, be on social media, and possibly have reviews from past clients online.

4. Review the agent's list of properties for sale. 

A Realtor with a generous list of homes for sale can be an indicator of their industry experience, personal drive, and success rate as a Realtor.  Review the home styles, neighbourhoods, and prices listed to see if the homes currently match what you are looking for or what you are hoping to sell.

5. Set up meet-and-greets with more than one Realtor.

Finding the right fit matters! By far, I think that this is the most important part of the search. There is nothing more exciting than working with a Realtor you actually like! The process of buying or selling a home can be a roller coaster of emotions at times, so working with someone who can keep your spirits lifted and keep you pointed in the right direction is imperative.  When my husband and I were in the market for our home in Saskatoon, we always looked forward to meeting with our Realtor Ellen Nasser.  It never failed, Ellen always had a way of keeping our house hunting momentum rolling, while making sure that our needs and wants were being met from all angles.  Ellen was a great match for us because she not only mirrored our enthusiasm and drive, but she also had the industry experience and market knowledge that we were hoping for in a real estate agent. 

I hope that these 5 easy tips can assist you in finding the right real estate agent in Saskatoon.

Happy Realtor Hunting!

 
If you've had a great experience with a local Realtor, tell us by leaving a comment below or by sharing your story on My Saskatoon's Facebook page.

Enjoy your yard to the fullest this summer!

posted by Noël    |   March 3, 2014 13:13
Although the weather this past weekend didn't give even a hint that spring is around the corner, my husband and I are already trying to determine how we will tackle our landscaping project once the snow melts.  I recently received the latest magazine edition of This Old House and stumbled upon an article titled "How to Pick The Right Mulch".  What I really enjoy about this magazine is that there are tons of practical DIY projects and ideas found from cover to cover.  I love practical.  There is nothing worse then seeing a project you like and then realizing it's far more complicated than you initially thought. And who are you kidding, in the long run it would be so much wiser to either hire a professional or purchase the product off the shelf.  Often I find myself in this situation, so I am always refreshed after reading This Old House because it gives me hope that I can conquer a DIY project with ease. 
 
 Photo Credit : Man Made DIY
 
We've been contemplating putting in grass, turf, or possibly just doing a hardscape for our yard. What is important to us is that whatever we do, it must be low maintenance and easy for us to enjoy. At this point in the game, we are leading towards a hardscape.  My husband and I are by no means landscape artists, so we will definitely be outsourcing this project to the professionals. But this article, which can also be found online, provided me with a bit more knowledge when it comes to the different kinds of mulch options available, based upon our climate, location, and aesthetic desires. 
 
If you are the handy type, and landscaping is totally within your realm of abilities, here are a list of a few local garden centres in Saskatoon where you can find all the landscaping materials you'll need this Spring: 
If you're not the handy type, and want to talk to a professional, here are a few Trusted local businesses to consider when vetting landscaping companies in Saskatoon.
Artificial grass is a big thing this year, and Quick Turf is one local company that is on our radar if its something you're interested in. Local business Floorit.ca also (surprisingly!) carries a great brand of aricifical grass, if you're handy and interested in purchasing some to install yourself. 
 
My husband and I haven't contacted a landscaping company as of yet, so we are definitely open to hearing suggestions from you, especially if you've had a great experience with a local company. 
 
Even though the snow doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon, my hopes are high for the landscaping possibilities this coming spring.  I can't wait to add some curb appeal to our home!

Capelli Salon Studio Masters Men's Haircuts

posted by David    |   February 20, 2014 11:38
Getting my hair cut requires a high level of trust in the hairstylist who is cutting my hair. Now you might be thinking, “aren’t men’s cuts the easiest"? I hate to break it to you, but they are quite the opposite.  They’re not easy because there isn’t a lot of hair to work with if the stylist makes a mistake.  I can’t wear my hair in a ponytail or part it differently; however, some men are opting for the longer fancier looks these days, and perhaps this is a result of disastrous haircuts. For many men, the difference between a good cut and a bad cut might be his ability to secure that date he’s been after.
 
As a married man, I could probably get away with the classic bowl cut, however I’m still interested in regularly securing that date with my wife.  So, when it comes to choosing a hairstylist, I’m fairly picky and once I find said hairstylist I become a lasting repeat client. 
 
Now there is nothing worse then finding a stylist you trust, only to hear the news that they are moving and will no longer be able to cut your hair; this very thing happened to me. The hunt for a new hairstylist can be frustrating and unpredictable. Luckily, my wife has never held back from sharing with me her exceptional experiences at Capelli Salon Studio, located in University Heights.  So on good authority, I decided to take the leap and book in with one of Capelli’s hairstylists.  
 
 photo credit: Capelli Salon Studio
 
Upon my arrival, the first thing I noticed was that the hair salon was very clean, modern, and inviting. I knew from conversations with my wife that this was an Aveda Salon, which means they exclusively use Aveda products and all of the hairstylists receive specific training in order to use the products. This extra qualification was good for my trust issue, and the general professional caliber I witnessed while in the entryway quashed any other fears I had about a potential botch job.  
 
After being seated in the stylist's chair, I was treated to quite the experience, including a scalp massage to start. Further pampering continued with the ability to browse the Internet on an iPad during the haircut, and (although a little embarrassing) I even received an eyebrow trim for those unruly hairs. 
 
Since my first experience at Capelli, I’ve gone several times and have seen different stylists on each occasion.  Every time I go to the salon, the stylist exceeds my expectations, and I have yet to walk out of an appointment with that seemingly unavoidable botch job of the past.
 
If you are at all like me, and feel more comfortable going to highly qualified hairstylists, I would definitely recommend Capelli Salon Studio in Saskatoon.

Olympic dreams can start in Saskatoon!

posted by David    |   February 18, 2014 12:21

Proud is the word that comes to mind when I think of our Canadian athletes in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. This is the second Olympics in a row where Canadian athletes have displayed to the world our prowess in winter sports. Not only are we competing well, but we are finishing on the podium consistently. As I am watching the Canadian flag being raised once again for our Silver medalist figure skaters, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, I feel this emotion again. Pride. Proud to be Canadian.

The road to the Olympics always begins somewhere. For Virtue and Moir, who began skating together at ages around 10 and 12, they took advantage of local skating programs and competitions to grow in their ability. When I think about this fact, it means that many of our next generation of athletes are currently in these local city programs around the country, and that the strength of these programs will determine the strength of our athletes in the years to come. This means we all can play a part in helping our kids become world champions.

In Saskatoon, we have many strong programs producing very high calibre athletes. For example, the Saskatchewan Speed Skating Association has been working hard for years to produce high calibre athletes. They helped produce Catriona LeMay Doan, a two time Olympic gold medalist, who broke 13 world records throughout her career. Today, 16 year old Saskatoon native Juliette Wheler is soaring up the ranks preparing to compete at the Junior World Championships in Norway this March, competing in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, and the 3,000m.    
 
If the Olympics has inspired you or your children to take up one of the sports featured during the games, here is a list of athletic clubs in Saskatoon to consider checking out: 
 
 
It’s amazing to think that many of our athletic programs in Saskatoon can start the journey of producing high calibre athletes, who one day could very well be on the Olympic podium accepting a medal and singing our national anthem.

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Dating My Wife in Saskatoon

posted by David    |   January 29, 2014 12:26

As I sit in my living room with my wife watching The Bachelor, and I am trying to find the “reality” in the show. In what world does one guy get to choose between 27 women who have some fantasized version of who he is? That didn’t happen in my life. I had to actually win a woman’s heart through effort, charm, and a little bit of luck. In the end though, just like Juan Pablo, I ended up with a woman who is totally out of my league. 

I was in a wedding recently, and during the ceremony, the wedding officiant challenged everyone to keep variety in the love they share with their significant other. Basically this means don’t just sit and watch TV together every night (and here I am in front of the TV watching The Bachelor with my wife). I felt the conviction in his words. Maybe I was getting a little lazy, and not pursuing my wife like I did when we were dating. So, what should I do?

Our lives have changed since my wife and I dated. We both have a lot less time, so I decided to come up with something simple, yet meaningful. My first move was not extravagant. I bought some wine and flowers, barbecued some steak, and had dinner ready for my wife when she got home. Well, that was the plan. Turns out my wife got home while I was still setting up and the steak tasted like an old sweater (not my fault!). However, my wife praised my effort and felt loved, so it worked out. 

My failed attempt got me thinking, what are some great date ideas in our city? Ideas that would make our wives feel loved, but that any husband could do with a minimal prep time commitment. Ideas that would spice up our lives and add that much needed variety. I’ll share a few ideas of my own, but if you have a good idea, be sure to leave a comment with your best date idea in Saskatoon on our Facebook Page.

Sign up for dancing classes together.

Neuroscience has shown that when people learn new skills and see each other in different settings, they become connected in a new way and their love grows. So commit to learning a new type of dance with your wife, and in the process, commit to spending one night out a week with her. Dance Class Saskatoon and West Coast Swing Saskatoon are two great options to check out if you're interested in taking a class with your special someone. 

Help someone together.

Brainstorm together someone you know who needs a helping hand at the moment. Once you pick your target, choose a way that both of you could help them. Go and buy the gift or do the act of helping together. Doing something kind for someone, together, will grow your love for each other.  

Be tourists in your own city. 

Find a local tourist attraction and go together, pretending you are tourists. Take pictures, and dress up like you are on vacation. This acts as a fun little escape in our city. Visit the Museum of Antiquities at the U of S, or check out the latest exhibition at the Mendel Art Gallery.

Do you have any unique date ideas to try in Saskatoon? 

 

Exciting YXE Airport Expansions

posted by David    |   January 13, 2014 16:54

The city of Saskatoon is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. As Saskatoon grows at a tremendous rate, our airport needs to keep pace. We currently have the 11th busiest airport in Canada with passenger volumes up 7.7% from last year, and this growth is projected to continue into the foreseeable future. Thankfully, Phase 1 of a 53 million dollar airport expansion has just been completed, offering new, much needed amenities.

The last time I took a flight, I remember going through security at the airport in anxious anticipation for my trip to Hawaii. I arrived early as it was an international flight, but forgot about the complete lack of food options after security. In any other city, I would have multiple options, but here in Saskatoon I had one 7-Eleven style store where I could only hope to salvage a decent meal. 

The airport expansion will address this concern. Once completed, food options beyond security will feature a Tim Horton’s Express, To Go! cafe and lounge, and a John D’s bar and grille with seating for 190 people. A brand new VIP lounge will also become available in this area.  

The final expansions will almost double the size of the airport. In 2010, the annual capacity of the airport was 1.2 million, and after completion the expansion will allow for an annual capacity of 2.2 million. These expansions are not just pleasing to the eye, they also bring with them some exciting opportunities for our city.

In my eyes, the best part of this airport expansion is the direct international flights that will become available. In August 2013, United Airlines eliminated the Regina stop on their flights from Saskatoon to Chicago. More United States options are sure to follow. There are also rumours that direct flights to places like the UK and Germany are coming. 

Why is this so exciting? Have you ever visited discount vacation sites and compared the prices when leaving from Calgary or Saskatoon? Calgary always seems to be cheaper. However, with these new direct flights from Saskatoon, locals will have more opportunities to travel the world at a discounted price. If you are into travel, get excited for these airport expansions!

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Houzz Hunting

posted by Noël    |   January 13, 2014 16:38

As quietness develops throughout the house, 10 o’clock rings in the end of what always seems to be an extended work day. At this point in the day I’m usually found lounging with a cup of herbal tea in one hand and a book in the other. But as of late I’ve swapped out the book in favour of my iPhone.  

I wouldn’t identify myself as a person who typically enjoys spending countless hours on their iPhone looking at pictures or checking the latest social media updates.  Personally, I feel like I spend so much time in the day answering emails and phone calls that when the end of the day comes around all I want is to be as far away from my iPhone as possible.  With that being said, it has been to my surprise that I now find myself clinging to my iPhone in the evenings. More specifically, an app I recently downloaded; Houzz

If you’re anything like me, and rarely go into the App Store to peruse the latest and greatest apps to hit the masses, might I suggest taking three minutes to download the Houzz app. Trust me, it will be well worth it. I stumbled upon Houzz during a conversation with a friend of mine who owns a flooring store in Saskatoon.  I was instantly impressed with the app’s search criteria and doubly impressed with its streamlined approach to organizing blog posts into typical home categories and engaging ‘Ideabooks'. 

This app couldn’t have come at a better time for me, as my husband and I recently purchased a new home in Saskatoon’s popular Evergreen area. We’ve been here for less than a year and I’m already itching to give it a  facelift; lucky for my husband our first major project will likely be a spring venture into “simply” finishing the landscaping, or so he thinks. Much to his dismay, since discovering Houzz, landscaping has become a whole new world of creative possibilities.  Gone are the days when the extent of creativity in landscaping was laying sod, planting a few decorative bushes, and adding a mix of perennials and annuals to make the edged area look complete. Instead, Houzz has opened my eyes to internationally inspired landscape and backyard patio designs that have yet to grace the yards in Saskatoon. The potential is endless. 

Personally, I feel like the Houzz app is for the everyday woman who secretly desires to have the kind of home where each room is designed as a personal retreat and constantly inspires those who have the privilege of being entertained in it.  I’m probably not the first woman to admit that I want my home to accurately reflect my unique sense of style and personality, and of course be featured in one of the popular design magazines for being a home to model others after.

(Okay, the last part about the magazine might be a complete stretch, but you know where I am going with this.)

Although the majority of us aren’t cut out to be the next greatest home designer on HGTV, the Houzz app sure does give me hope that one day I might just have the house of my dreams. 

So for the last few hours left in my day, I can be found with a hot beverage in one hand and the other continuously swiping through the photos on Houzz, slowly building an album of ideas that will keep my husband busy for the foreseeable future. 

How to Enjoy Winter in Saskatoon

posted by Elle    |   January 13, 2014 16:10

My attitude toward winter in Saskatoon has, in recent years, been one of denial. I put off wearing a proper winter jacket for as long as possible, and avoid wearing mittens at all costs. I don’t know what it is, but every year I have this sadistic competition with myself to see how long I can go without them. I usually succumb to one of those mitten kiosks in the mall after having to pump gas with bare hands a few too many times in January.

Another puzzling habit of mine is that I prefer to wear what I deem to be “cute” and “stylish” fall clothes (light jackets, light scarves, jeans) and avoid being outdoors at all costs, rather than look like a walking marshmallow in attire properly suited for a cold winter day. As I go about my day, I run from whatever happens to be warm Building A, to my command-started, pre-warmed car, to warm Building B, teeth clenched, eyes partially shut. 

I think back to my childhood, where I denied nothing about winter. Like most children I’m sure, my approach toward it was quite the opposite. I spent countless hours outside, building forts and snow sculptures, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, the works. My memory conjures the “swish, swish” sound of each ski-pant laden leg brushing the other as I walked, and condensation collecting on the inside of the scarf wrapped tightly around my head as I sailed down the hill on my orange plastic saucer. And I loved every minute of it. 

What I looked like was the farthest thing from my mind, and my primary focus was on having fun outside in the snow. Priorities are obviously very different in childhood, but this winter I would like to try to re-cultivate the attitude toward winter I had in those days. I believe that it can be captured and transferred into adulthood with just a little bit of effort, and doing so will result in a much more enjoyable near-half of the year. 

There are a ton of classic winter activities that are easily accessible in Saskatoon once we have a nice blanket of snow to work with. It is my goal to try each one of the following options at least once this winter.

Snowshoeing

Try urban snowshoeing in one of the many Saskatoon parks, like Diefenbaker Park, or at the Wildwood or Holiday Park golf courses. Snowshoes can be rented from Eb's Source for Adventure and surprisingly, Bike Universe. You might get sweaty and you might fall down - find information about how to best dress for snowshoeing here.

Tobogganing

Strap on your flying saucer or crazy carpet and head to Diefenbaker Park or Pest Hill. We all know what this is all about - as far as attire goes, just make sure you’ll stay warm and dry and you should be good to go. 

Cross Country Skiing

Take advantage of the many groomed trails that run along the banks of the Saskatchewan River and through our many parks. Skis can be rented or purchased from, again, Eb's Source for Adventure, and Bruce's Cycle Works. Bonus: the clothing required for this activity allows you to look a little less marshmallow. Suggestions for how to best dress for skiing can be found here.  

Ice Skating

Check out the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink in downtown Saskatoon. Skates and skating are free, with donations welcome! The rink and warm up shelter are open from December-March, 12:00-9:00pm daily and 11:00-9:00pm on Sundays. This is an activity that I, personally, would attempt to do while looking at least a little bit cute. My recommendation would be to save this for a day that is a little bit warmer, where thermal leggings and a lighter jacket are suitable. 

The most important thing is to dress appropriately for whatever activity you plan to do. If your face is hurting and your feet are frozen, you aren’t going to enjoy what you’re doing. And who really cares what you look like - it is highly unlikely that anyone will even recognize you in your bundled state. So embrace your inner child, get out there, and take advantage of all that Saskatoon has to offer this winter!

How to get the most Relaxation out of your next Spa Pedicure

posted by Noël    |   December 11, 2013 09:00

Recently, I used a gift card that I had been holding onto for over a year, and treated myself to an afternoon at one of the local spas here in Saskatoon. I absolutely love the spa, mainly because it is a time when my world becomes very silent. When I used to travel a lot with my job, I would treat myself to the spa at least once every quarter to unwind and relax. However, ever since I started my own business, I rarely find the time to get to the spa and only push myself to schedule an appointment when I am desperate enough for a treatment. Typically these treatments come in the form of pedicures.

My go-to spa for a pedicure in Saskatoon is Edgewater Spa on Broadway. I've always had nothing but great service there, and am constantly recommending the spa to my family and friends. I think what I enjoy most about Edgewater is the professionalism of the spa staff.

When I go to a spa I am desiring silence and solitude, even if that is only for an hour long pedicure. I am definitely not a Chatty Cathy when I am at the spa. What I appreciate about the Edgewater staff is that they understand this and aren't at all upset when I'm not interested in entertaining a conversation for the next hour or two. I never feel pressured to engage in conversation, and this makes my experience all that more enjoyable. No one to answer to, no subsurface conversations, no noise, just pure relaxation.

I've had my share of energy draining salon and spa experiences in the past. I think that many people feel they need to maintain a conversation with the spa staff, especially when they are having a pedicure or a manicure.

So how do you ensure that your next pedicure experience is a relaxing one? Here are a few suggestions I've put together that have helped me enjoy my pedicures time after time.

  • Speak with the spa staff and explain that you are looking to have the most relaxing experience and are in need of some quiet time during the treatment.

If you're not into being direct, here are some indirect things you could do:

  • Bring your iPod and listen to music with your ear buds.
  • Consider investing in a 'sleeping eye mask' or alternatively close your eyes the moment you have the opportunity to do so.
  • Bring a book or read a magazine.

The best advice that I could give anyone is to be prepared. Know in advance how you would like the treatment to make you feel, and then do whatever you need to do to ensure that it goes your way. Trust me, there is nothing better than leaving the spa feeling relaxed and refreshed. Even if it's taken you a year to use that gift card.

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