Goodbye 2015...

31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

It has been so, so long since I've published anything on this blog… To those of you who still check it from time to time - thank you! And... I'm sorry for my long silence! With two other blogs that I keep up for my businesses, finding time to write for fun has been a challenge. A challenge that I hope to overcome in 2016... 

Regardless, I hope that as you read this update you are warm and content, with memories of a Christmas filled with love fresh in your mind and a feeling of hope for the new opportunities that the new year brings in your heart. I know that I am, and for that I am thankful.

2015 has been a year of hard work and challenges, as well as plenty of moments of joy. I am excited to share some photos and stories from the past year with you. 

In January, Ryan I went on our only travel adventure (outside of Canada, that is). First, we went to New York City. If you have been following along here for a while, you will know that I have a dear friend in New York so I have had the pleasure of visiting the number of times. It was Ryan's first time in New York City so we made sure to see the sights, eat the pizza, and tried to take in everything we could. 

Dean & Deluca! 

Some highlights included getting to catch up with not only my friend Jessie, but also any another friend that I met in Fiji on my very first international travel adventure with YWAM in 2004, Annie. Yes, it was crazy to think that I first met these ladies and shared so many special experiences with them ten years ago. Like the best friendships, it was easy to pick up just where we left off. In serendipitous coincidence, a great friend from New Zealand, Kim, was also in New York at the same time so we got to go for lunch with her. Another highlight included touring Carnegie Hall. 

Lastly we had the absolutely incredible experience of getting a long tour of NYC - on a private trip on an NYPD police boat! No, we were not arrested… my friend Jessie serves in the harbor unit for the NYPD and got her crew to give us a ride during a quiet hour. With just us, Jessie, and three on-duty cops, we sailed out to the Statue of Liberty and around the southern tip of Manhattan all the way up to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an unbelievably amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Next, we took a bus up to Boston where we stayed with some dear friends Nate and Wendy. It was very cold, so a lot of our time was spent tasting all the fantastic Boston cuisine... clam "chowdah", Boston cream donuts, cannoli in Little Italy, beer at the Samuel Adams brewery and more. We enjoyed watching the sunset from the top of one of Boston's tallest buildings, Prudential Tower.

In February, two friends from New Zealand, Josiah and Michelle, came to visit us in Canada. It was a long-anticipated visit and we were so, so excited to host them here. We basically cleared our schedules and enjoyed taking them tobogganing, showing them around Edmonton and going to Banff and Lake Louise with them. It sure is easier to enjoy the cold and snow when you're seeing it through someone else's eyes! We had an amazing time with them and missed them as soon as we said goodbye. 

I celebrated my 30th birthday in March, and to mark the occasion, Ryan threw me quite the surprise party. I have always wanted a back to the future "Enchantment Under The Sea" theme party. And he delivered just that… complete with a flux capacitor cake, sea-themed snacks, flaming tire tracks (sort of), and a bunch of my nearest and dearest - in costume, of course. It was a night to remember! 

In May, one of my best friends (Angee) and I traveled to Waterton Lakes National Park, where we did some hiking and horseback riding. I had never been before and couldn't believe what a peaceful and beautiful place existed just a few hours away from home. 

When we could, Ryan and I spent the Summer weekends at his family cabin at Skeleton lake. One of the more memorable times was on August long weekend, when we were joined by our close friends Darin and Rosalyn to celebrate Ryan's birthday. We had a blast making pizza and going out on the lake.

I also welcomed another nephew into the family this year - Max Arthur, born on August 10 to my sister Alana, and her husband, Adam. Auntie life is the bomb, and I love hanging out with my niece Ellie and my nephew Ben, as well. 

The biggest focus of my year has been building my wedding DJ business. They aren't kidding when they say that running your own business is hard work! There have been a lot of questions and road blocks and self doubt along the way, but also many rewarding evenings getting to see two families celebrate with my newly married friends, and I feel privileged to be a part of that celebration. In my first year with my own business, I had 23 bookings... and I already have 8 confirmed for next year! I am thankful to get to do something I truly love. The photo below is from a Christmas event that I performed at in Simons at West Edmonton Mall. You can read more about my DJ business on the website, here.

The edmonton wedding website I started ( continues to grant me connections with amazing people. This year we held two networking events, the second which celebrated a redesign of the website and had almost 100 people in attendance. The city is full of fun, generous and creative wedding professionals, and I am stoked to be making some new friends. The photos below are from our latest networking event. 


In September, Ryan and I celebrated our two year anniversary with dinner and a concert. We had front row tickets to Weird Al Yankovic, and those who know me well know that I'm not ashamed to admit that Weird Al is one of my absolute favourites. We both laughed so hard that we cried when Weird Al jumped off the stage and sang cheesy pickup lines right to me during his song "Wanna B Ur Lovr." Absolutely hilarious! 

Looking back on the year, I am thankful for so many happy memories in the midst of what felt like a challenging season. I'm thankful for new friends and old, family, Ryan, and the grace of God to keep promising hope for the future. Ryan and I are looking forward to the new year and the fresh perspective it brings. We've got dreams of more adventures, more creativity, and more time with loved ones. If you're reading this and haven't seen us in a while - just call! We'd love to reconnect with those who have been distant. It's all too easy to let another year go by without catching up.

I sincerely hope you are well, warm, and dreaming big dreams for 2016.

With love,


Ryan, his Grandma and I at the Winspear Centre in December 2015.

why lady gaga inspires me: a review of the #artrave tour in yeg

3 June 2014

when I heard that lady gaga was coming to edmonton, I knew that I would absolutely love to see her perform. I looked into it and, as suspected, tickets sold out quickly and were way out of my price range. last week, it crossed my mind to look for tickets on stubhub, which i'd never used before, and when i found tickets for only $45 it was a quick and easy decision to get them. 

i decided to make a small tribute to gaga in my outfit - i found these nail wraps that reminded me of the alexander mcqueen outfits in my favourite lady gaga video - bad romance. i felt like the nails were a mix of the green outfit on the bottom right and the black outfit that included the unbelievable, show-stopping mcqueen heels on the right.

we arrived at the show late, during the last song or two from the first opener - hatsune miku, a software-generated musical act portrayed by a holographic anime character. i think. no, i do not know how a software-generated musical act becomes an opener on a world tour. i'm not gonna lie, it was a little weird. but then again, this is a lady gaga concert we're talking about - weird is the benchmark. 

the second opener was lady starlight, a dj from new york who has worked closely with lady gaga for most of her career. she performed solely with a drum machine, and although i found the music itself uninspiring, i definitely took some notes - she is a fellow female dj after all, and i have much to learn. 

and then, finally, preceded by a host of dancers in neon booty shorts, the mother monster took the stage. the material was mostly from her most recent album, artpop, peppered with a handful of her most popular anthems including poker face, just dance, bad romance, paparazzi, and telephone (which i can not listen to without thinking of the hilarious steve kardynal chatroulette video. link is nsfw-ish… beware of man dancing in a bikini).

throughout her high-energy performance, my favourite moments were when she paused to connect with the audience. at one pause in the music, she sat on a chaise lounge while fans threw gifts onstage, and as she selected items to look at she sought out the person who gave each item, thanked them personally, and offered for them to come backstage after the show. i'm not going to lie,  it made me a little teary-eyed to see the fans reactions when she took the time to address them… it's not hard to see that the messages of self-acceptance in gaga's music and the community of 'little monsters' that she has brought together has changed countless lives for the better, regardless of its zany packaging. 

the thing about lady gaga is that she actually inspires me. of all the artists i listen to, there are only a handful that i would actually say that about. no, i don't love everything she does, and i am by no means a die hard fan - i only own the fame monster album. all the same, i find myself bursting with creative ideas when i watch her perform (even just on video), and see how she ties an entire theatrical concept together in each song. as i mentioned, she has created a loyal fanbase that clearly includes many people who have felt like outcasts, including many who identify as LGBTQ - a community that gaga has been outspoken in her support for. 

wondering how i can find inspiration in a performer who's infamous for a meat dress and racy music videos, among other things? here's what i've learned from lady gaga. 

be unapologetically yourself. if it's not clear from her unparalleled style, you'll get this from her lyrics, and any interviews you watch or read. one of the standout moments of her edmonton performance was her powerful piano rendition of born this way, which has become a powerful anthem for many, especially the queer community. i'm impressed by this woman, who wrote a chart-topping song that declares that you are 'made perfectly' and that 'god makes no mistakes', and has affirmed individuality in a meaningful way for so many people. 

you are a human. gaga embodies this fascinating paradox between being fantastically theatrical and incredibly real. i love that although she often dresses provocatively and in stereotypically 'sexy' outfits, she also chooses outfits and styles that are frankly unflattering, while so many of the big-name female performers in the music industry stay only in the territory of perpetual perceived beauty and sex appeal. for the last outfit swap of the #artrave show, gaga changed on stage with her wardrobe crew emerging to transform her from head to toe. it was surprisingly human to see her in a wig cap, between flashy outfits - it took away some of the smoke-and-mirrors of her performance, and i appreciated that a lot. 

perform. while i definitely dig authenticity in a musical performance and lyrical content, i have always been captivated by performers who do just that - perform. it's no secret that i love freddie mercury, who gaga cites as an inspiration (and even a namesake), and many others who dive into over-the-top productions. although it's been a long time since i've been involved in theatre or the performing arts, there's an element of my work as a dj that is still a performance, and it absolutely inspires me to watch someone who so clearly throws her all into every moment on stage. 

this post goes out to the gentleman caller who patiently waited for me to finish my gaga-inspired manicure before rushing out the door, and also bought me earplugs and insisted i wear them, which was a little nugget of wisdom i would've definitely overlooked. xo

one year at home: wearing my journey on my walls.

29 April 2014

skateboard deck from the skateshop where i worked for three years in new zealand - a little fish fossil that was sent to me from a dear friend as a reminder of faith - a camera salvaged by my brother for me from my great uncle's home - skull mask & bird whistle that my man's mom brought me from guatemala -

this week marks one year since i moved into my sweet little apartment. in the past decade, i have lived in a grand total of three homes for more than one year. including this one. because i had a hunch that this one would be a long-term castle, at least by stacey standards, i have put a lot of love and thought into adorning my walls. as a celebration of my one year anniversary with my apartment, and to welcome new readers (heyo tattoo talk friends!) i thought i'd give a little virtual tour of my girl-pad.

come on in!

one time i came home from an adventure, and my mom had hung this sparkly banner of my name across the kitchen. i kinda love it, and i added a little sparkly buddy that matched... 

my walls are covered in special things that i've collected throughout my travels, and i love that when i look around my house i see bits of my story all nestled together. this is also the first time in nine years that i have had all my belongings under one roof (my posessions were split between canada and new zealand until just this january), and i am such a sentimental person that it means a lot to me that things handed down from family members, which i could never have with me in new zealand, are right beside bits of my stories from around the world. 

a teacup from my grandmother's collection with a little sugar skull that was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law.

it's pretty apparent in these photos that i have a fondness for a couple specific things. i don't intentionally collect things... but um... almost every picture in this post has either a skeleton or a teacup (or both). also: the colour pink. a lot of my friends are surprised to see how girly my home is - i don't really come off as a 'girly-girl', and i wear all-black outfits waaaaay too often... but those who know me well know the truth. my aesthetic is a mix of ultra-feminine, retro, and a splash of punk rock. 

seriously. teacups everywhere. i use them for everything - candles, laundry token-holders, candy dishes... this one was a gift from a dear friend when we moved in, and the pink doily belonged to my great grandmother.
seashells that i brought home from my adventure living on a boat in the fiji islands. (yes, i know now that it's naughty to take shells home... i was younger and ignorant-er at the time.)

ahhhh, my photo walls. these are a labor of love, and will remain a work in progress as i frame and hang tidbits that are particularly meaningful to me. i had so much fun picking out photos and song lyrics for the black frames...

clockwise from left: - ace ventura mental institution scene. yes. - 'til i come marching home' (lyrics from one of my favourite war-time swing songs) - two old friends & coworkers wrestling on the floor of our store's office - me lined up after a long day of snowboarding with a bunch of the teenagers that became my family in new zealand - freddie mercury and roger taylor in sombreros - the pick that lars frederiksen handed me after the rancid concert last year - the lyrics to hollaback girl - a man i met on the streets of st petersburg who sold me the three most precious pieces of art from my europe adventure - splash mountain with dear girlfriends - one of my best girls and i having fun on a weekend getaway - 

clockwise-ish from top left: - a print by one of my favourite artists, lora zombie - a skateboard that was a gift from the king of kings skate ministry family after a two week skatepark tour together around new zealand - the t-shirt i bought the first time i saw my all-time favourite band - broken skateboard artwork made just for me - my name patch from the days i was a roller derby referee - a poster from the aforementioned favourite band's concert - the movie poster from a dear friend's premiere and farewell - a print from my friend and tattooist antony von ratcorpse

and now, the pièce de résistance: my princess bed. i'm a bed person. i've always been more of a bedroom-dweller - i have to remind myself that i now have a living room, and i can hang out there too. i put a lot of time into creating my canopy out of tulle and organza, weaving in three strings of fairy lights, and hanging the perfect white floral pomander just so.... and i am so happy with the result. my parents gave me the bed frame for christmas, and with my box spring it's high enough off the ground that i actually have to climb up into it. i am happy to report that my bed haven has been tested and approved for one of my favourite pastimes: bed pizza. 

that concludes the virtual tour... come on over in real life next time :) you're always welcome! 

gratitude cafe

26 April 2014

this week i am thankful for... 

- a modern hymn that spoke straight to my heart this week. 'put no trust in the earth...' thank you. - new hair! - delicious food and great company on our wee road trip to calgary - spring grass finally sprouting - banana nutella muffins. yes. - i love this face, even when it's hidden - 
the last little while has been a bit busy and stressful, and i have found myself stopping to give thanks so often - it's a little respite in the middle of runaway-train thoughts. other things i have been thankful for this week: a dear friend's birthday; my freaking awesome landlady; lots of family time over easter weekend; a thought-provoking book written by a dear friend; queen; a lovely coffee date with trish the awesome; nice enough weather to run outside...

have i ever mentioned that i love the internet?! yes, yes i think i have. regardless, here are some gems i've found around the place lately:

- clothes for kids that are both entirely ethical and just a little bit punk rock.
- a photographic exploration of america's rockabilly culture
- an amazeballs t-shirt design that only edmontonians will understand
- the ever-inspiring questlove started a series with venture magazine... i want to read everything this guy ever writes! his work is hella musically motivating and thought-provoking
- on leaving behind the stones...
- i made these muffins, minus the blueberries, plus the nutella, and they were glorious
- a new favourite the voice audition (yes, i have many) - a must-watch, via Sarah

alright, that's it from me - what are YOU thankful for?

get lost: things to do on a whirlwind trip to calgary - part one.

24 April 2014

last weekend, we hopped in the car for a whirlwind trip to see our southern neighbors. the gentleman caller works for a television show that received a plethora of nominations at our provincial film awards, so we packed our fanciest clothes, consulted our compass, and got on the queen elizabeth highway full sails to calgary. and by compass i mean google maps. naturally. 

our tickets and yes, my matching nails because awesome. a little snow for the road.

upon arrival in calgary, we headed straight for the fine diner. i had done a bit of research before the trip, and aspired to eat only at restaurants featured on you gotta eat here - one of my favourite food network offerings. this classy little cafe boasts a menu full of local, organic ingredients and friendly, fun staff. we met my dear friends holly and jake in the waiting area (which was a nice consideration, because who likes standing cramped in the doorway, or hovering so close to patrons they can't carry on conversation over the sound of your growling stomach? yeah. not me. plus... waiting room = coffee!). the menu details a 'mealshare' program, where you purchase one of the specified menu items for yourself, and the fine diner donates a meal to a charity benefiting calgary's homeless.

ryan enjoyed a stuffed brioche french toast, which was just as decadent as it sounds. even though it was brunch, i couldn't resist the sound of a wild mushroom and spinach mac and cheese made with truffle oil. oh yes, it was glorious. if you're in calgary, definitely go check out the fine diner

with full bellies, we headed to our accommodation, which was almost exactly in the middle of the city. my room was on the twelfth floor, with a great view of stephen avenue - which we explored later on. we stayed at the hyatt regency hotel, and, to quote ferris bueller, 'it is so choice. if you have the means, i highly recommend it'.

obligatory calgary tower photo... 

after an afternoon of wandering around downtown, we went back to the hotel to sharpen up for the awards ceremony. i donned my new dress from mars & venus (my favourite!), and my pearls (also favourite), and we walked arm and arm down to the awards ceremony.

fix up, look sharp!

bad picture, but the awards were hosted by comedian shawn cullen - he was pure gold. 

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