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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.


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.


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.

7 tips to help you plan a successful Saskatoon Staycation!

posted by Noël    |   November 22, 2013 10:47

I have to laugh when it comes to my inability to actually book vacation time. As a self-employed individual, I'm guilty of working long hours, working over the weekends, and often missing "fun social events" in order to keep my business moving forward. In the early years, you'd be hard pressed to see me taking anything more than a Sunday off every other month, plus I normally ignored statutory holidays all together. I actually blame my iCalendar for my lack of regulated holiday awareness. If you have an iCalendar you will notice that holidays aren't in there at all, so whenever I looked at my calendar all I saw were potential days for potential clients. It is a regular joke in my house whenever a stat holiday is approaching - I normally receive a daily countdown until the actual holiday so that I remember to take the day off.

In the last few years I've come to the realization that vacation time is a necessary and important part of my ability to not only become a more balanced person, but it actually assists me in being a conductor of innovation within my business. Once I was able to grab onto this revelation, I felt a great sense of freedom. However, my next unknown hurdle to tackle surrounded my financial ability to jet-set away from my working world.

My husband and I would be considered your regular kind of folk. We live in a modest home, we enjoy the simplicities of life and the company of our friends, and like most people, love a good deal when we see one. So, naturally we flocked to the popular online red ticket travel websites to see what our vacation options were like. After spending hours on the sites, we soon realized that if we wanted to plan for more than one or two vacations throughout the year, we would need a lot more money then what we currently had available. With this news in mind, we started to look at different types of vacation options, options where we would still feel like we could effectively remove ourselves from our working world without having to spend extravagant amounts of money. It was at this point that we began to consider the possibility of planning a 'staycation' right here in Saskatoon.

Wikipedia describes a staycation as 'a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night.' Personally, that sounds like a regular weekend to me. Nothing too special or relaxing about that kind of vacation. I might as well pick up a few groceries while I'm trekking around the city! My idea of a staycation involves more relaxation, more pampering, and small bits of planned excitement, whether that be in the comfort of my own home or somewhere else.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that planning a staycation was really similar to planning a 'jet-setting' kind of vacation. So to assist us in making our staycations as rewarding as possible, I decided to devise a short 7 step process that I believe makes a staycation something to look forward to. Use these steps the next time you consider a staycation in Saskatoon. 

Step 1 - Identify the Objective of the Staycation

  • Are you in need of some quite time and relaxation?
  • Are you feeling cooped up and in need of some excitement or adventure?

Step 2 - Agree on a Budget

  • Nothing is worse than finding something you love and realizing you can't have it.

Step 3 - Pick Your Timeframe

  • A regular weekend
  • Make a regular weekend a long weekend by taking a Friday or Monday off
  • Take a week and really detach

Step 4 - Schedule Your Activities

  • The best thing you can do for yourself is schedule your activities before hand. Maybe it looks as simple as reading a book, or as extravagant as skydiving. Whatever it may be, make sure you schedule it, otherwise you might easily miss out on achieving the objective you set in Step 1.

Step 5 - Determine Your Accommodations

  • Consider booking a hotel room or weekend at a local bed and breakfast. Removing yourself from your home might be exactly what you need to shake off the day to day routine. Visit websites like Trip Advisor to read reviews about local accommodations. Some highly recommended spots we know of are Ninth Street Bed & Breakfast and The James Hotel.
  • Your home might be the perfect place to rest your head during your staycation. If you like the comforts of home, consider hiring a local cleaning service like Glass Slipper Cleaners to come and clean your home prior to your staycation, so that chores you typically do on the weekend are taken care of.

Step 6 - Agree On Your Transportation

  • Hire a driver for the weekend through Provincial Car Service
  • Use your own vehicle
  • Opt for being adventurous and take the local public transit
  • If you are staycationing in the warmer months, consider using a pedal bike or walking to your destinations

Step 7 - Plan Your Meals

  • Eating at local restaurants and cafe's comes at a cost, but if you're looking to have the weight of preparing meals off of your shoulders, visit websites like or for local restaurant reviews
  • Pre-made meals are also an option, whether that be your own pre-made cooking or from local meal assembly centre, Dinner Rush.
  • I think the mistake that some of us make when planning a staycation is not planning. We automatically, without realizing it, equate a staycation as a 'less than' vacation, and as a result put little effort into planning it. Like with anything in life, little effort equals little reward.

Since discovering that staycations can in fact be just as effective as a 'jet-setting' vacation, my husband and I have enjoyed the process of planning more than one well deserved vacation in a calendar year.

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