Packing for a Music Festival

225“It’s summer-time and the living’s easy…” -Sublime

It’s that time of year for great music and camping. Music festivals often combine both of those things! Next weekend, I am off to Bengough, SK for the Gateway Festival. This is an awesome little place that somehow draws great Canadian acts every year. This year, I’m excited to see Sloan, Shotgun Jimmie, The Odds, Human Music, Del Barber, and more.

This is the third time I’m going to this festival and every time we go, we tent. So, I’ve gotten pretty good at anticipating what I might need in those few days. Below is a list of some of the things I bring, some expected… maybe others not so expected.


Things to Make-Shift Shower

Baby wipes – These are great from washing that fine layer of dust off you or even cooling off.

Dry shampoo – Helps to revive dirty or greasy hair, also gives you a lot of volume

Beach wave hair spray – Make it look like you’re going for the greasy, wavy look


Things for the Campsite

A conversation starter – Something weird that will make people stop and say “hi”. Might be flag, a giant game of Jenga, a dog. Our conversation starter is usually our teeny, tiny tents. This year… we have something new!

Earplugs and eye mask – When staying in party camping, it is bound to get loud and obnoxious at times. Since you’re living outside, you don’t really have curtains. If you plan to get any sleep, use these 2 things.

Something to mark your tent site – This is so you can tell people where to find you. Our site is the Flamingo site and the best parties are at the tall blue light site.

Things for Your Cooler

229Radlers – Good for camp breakfasts because they are fruity and sit around 2.5%.

Block ice – Keeps your drinks cold, takes forever to melt.


Things to Have ON You

TP – The port-a-potties are bound to run out. Toss a roll in your bag and bring it every time you go.

Condoms – Obviously for dirty festival sex… because let’s just face it…

Phone charger battery – My phone is always almost dead when I’m out in the middle of nowhere. This year, I’m bringing 2 portable phone chargers. These are great and I pretty much always have one on me.

Light on your key chain – It’s going to be dark wandering back to your campsite after your dirty festival sex or to the port-a-potty in the middle of the night. IMG_7495

Watch – Your phone will die. Just use a watch.

Bike bells – You will lose your friends. The bike bell is your common call to find each other.


Did I miss anything? What are your music festival essentials? 


Calgary- the first two weeks

Long time, no post!

It’s been a very busy month for me with leaving my job, packing up, and moving a couple provinces away. It’s also been a very difficult and trying time too. With all moves, things don’t always go as planned- you have to roll with the punches and adapt. I’ve taken A LOT of punches in these last two weeks and it has been hard to stay positive about the whole thing. But, the people around me keep telling me that I am resilient and will fare fine. I am resilient, but it’s still been rough.

We hit the road on August 1st, I shed a few tears for Winnipeg on the way out. Wondered if this was a smart move, or something I would regret in the coming days.

Got to Calgary and realized there was A LOT of things wrong with my new apartment. The least of my problems was the smoke alarms sitting on a shelf with no batteries.

IMG_7545 IMG_7546
But things got better. I met some awesome people and their fun dog. It’s nice to have some good people around you. And a dog to play with is nice too!

There were a couple intense hailstorms a couple days after I arrived.

I got some terrible news from the government about my EI. Mainly that I will not be receiving it and that was a shock to me. I kinda built my first few months around being able to focus on studies and not have to find a job right away. That news made for a terrible day.

I got to hang out with my brother, which was nice. His girlfriend has 2 Shiba Inus that are super cute. Again, DOGS! I like the fat, little girl the best. She is so adorable. Hope I get to hang out with them a bit more.

I haven’t found strangers to be too friendly here in this town. Went out for a few solo beers at a few different places. Not a lot of interaction with people, but a sorta friendly bar at the Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington. That was a fun-ish night.

Lastly, Calgary is a hard town to get around if you don’t have a car. Most places I want to go end up being an hour away by bus/train. So, I haven’t been able to do a lot of exploring. It’s not a walkable city like Winnipeg and that is going to take some getting used to. Looking forward to getting my bike fixed and that will help a whole lot.

Well, that’s a bit of an overview of my first two weeks. I HOPE the worst of it has passed and I can start enjoying my time here. School starts in about 2 weeks, so I want to enjoy my time off til then. I know I’ll be super busy in the coming months.

Where Has She Been?

Oh boy!

It has been about 3 weeks since I have posted on this blog. I guess it has been a busy, eventful few weeks. Out of the ordinary? I don’t know about that…

Ok, time for a recap!

Something exciting happened a few weeks ago- I had an article come out and it was picked up by three different news sources- Winnipeg Free Press, CBC, and Rabble. I was interviewed about the article on CBC News Radio One and got many positive comments on it. Here’s is where the article originally appeared.


This conference reminded me that even one person can make a difference. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

I attended the National Congress on Housing and Homelessness this past week and had a really great time. I learned a lot and got to meet some great people, mostly young professionals like myself. Had a chance to catch up with some folks I don’t see too often too. There were pub nights and sometimes drunken dancing, but all in all, it was really great. It was really nice to be able to speak about advocacy and politics and urban design and so many things with people are are just like me. Twitter and IG handles were exchanged, cell numbers inputted… and all us young kids are talking about meeting up next year for this same Congress in Montreal. Looking forward to it!

This graph came from one of our Keynote speakers, Christine McLaren, a researcher who worked on the book Happy City. As you can see, life satisfaction increases with more trust in your neighbours and community. I’m sorry to see that Calgary is really quite low on this graph.


Spending some time in the Bay Downtown.

I’m really starting to transition my brain into a moving mindset. I’ve been calling for moving company quotes, selling off things, stocking up on boxes, and I even had to register for my classes this past week. It’s starting to get really REAL and it’s also really terrifying for me. I wish I had some support to make me feel better about this huge life change. This is just the countdown to freaking out for real.

I finished my second round of the Whole30. Not as good as the first time around. I’ve really hit a plateau. Time to change things up.

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Cherry Blossoms just starting to sprout.

I’ve really been getting into the Alberta Provincial election. So many interesting things happening with the NDP and smarmy things happening with the PCs out there. I think it will likely be close… but hard to say which way it will go.

FullSizeRender (2) IMG_6989

Working on repairing a smoke damaged kitchen in a rooming house and cleaning up the community/rooming house front yards with the tenants. Spent some time fashioning a grave marker for my dearly departed buddy/pain in the ass, Willis. I’ll be placing it where he is buried before I leave town. I also started a BurnOut Prevention Group, which I call BOP. Our first meeting is this coming Friday. And… I’m working on a project I spearheaded that could change the way rooming houses are subsidized (they currently aren’t at all).

Been damn busy at that work place, I guess…


Lastly, I’ve been actually having some fun. Above is a photo of me at the Art City Fundraiser Party. Had a blast, but boy did my feet hurt! This coming weekend I’ll be in Toronto to see an exhibit of my absolute favourite artist at the AGO. Never before seen in Canada. Never before seen by ME in any gallery across the country/USA I’ve been too. I’m too excited for words.

And to wrap it all up, I’ve been spending lots of time in my sunroom listening to records, reading, playing Sudoku, and learning to use my new sewing machine.

What have you folks been up to lately? 

Things I Love, A to M

Above is Robert Rauschenberg, an American artist best known for his Combine paintings. He is a major influence for me and my work. I got a chance to see one of his pieces up close in Chicago. It was amazing and a moment I will remember forever.

obs Burgers
I’ve mentioned this show before and its ability to absolutely KILL me sometimes. I’m convinced Tina Belcher is my spirit animal and I find Linda Belcher’s vocabulary sneaking into my everyday life. “Alriiiiight!”

I had a hard time with the C category. But I finally decided on coffee. I drink coffee pretty much everyday and I can be kind of a nerdy snob about it sometimes. For example, I (a less asshole word for ‘lecture’) coworkers on why you need to pour the coffee out of the french press and into a decanter. They just don’t get it.

I’ve started accumulating deer related items over the last few years. Look at that cute wobbly little guy!

arl Grey Tea
As much as I love coffee, I also love tea. Lately, I’ve been drinking mostly Earl Grey. A real classic.

Now, you probably thought I was going to say foxes. I do love foxes, but thought I would go for the unexpected here. Fermentation is a fascinating process of preserving with bacteria cultures. It’s really good for you too. I’ve recently made fermented cucumbers and kombucha. I’ve been doing this type of preserving for several years now.

I’ve been gardening for decades. I grew up on a farm and we always had a big garden and I loved seeing what could be produced from one little plant. When I moved into Winnipeg, I discovered community gardening and was able to keep the tradition of growing my own food alive.

Hudson Bay stripes
There is just something about the stripes that feels like home. I don’t know what it is. It could be remembering all those times spent wandering around the beautiful Bay Downtown store, looking at all the furniture we couldn’t afford but could dream about.

It’s no secret that I love Instagram. Check out my page from the sidebar. It’s a great way to share your life with people you don’t see often or don’t necessarily have time to talk to everyday. It’s also a great way to show off my feet. I do that a lot.

ulia Child
She’s seemed like such a wonderful woman. Off-beat and ahead of her time. Also, completely fearless and not afraid to make a mistake or look like a fool. I’ve definitely used this above omelet method and it definitely works.

Kettlebells originated in Russia and were originally used to weigh crops. This is one of those love/hate things actually. I love them because they are fun to use and it is an amazing workout for short amounts of time. But holy hell! Is it ever a hard workout.

I mentioned this in my last post about what I was looking forward to in spring. It is one of those simple pleasure that only lasts a few weeks and then they are gone til next year. I stop and smell these babies every chance I get. Gotta enjoy them while you can.

It's locally foraged shaggy manes for dinner tonight. #winnipeg #mushrooms #foraging

A post shared by .jovan (@jovanlottis) on

Picking mushrooms is a great summer time hobby. Last year, as wet as it was, produced a ton of mushrooms around my area of town. No one else is going to pick them, so I did. I do a lot of research into which are good and bad to make sure I won’t die. Everyone thinks they will die if they eat a wild mushroom, but if you tell them otherwise… they will take all your mushrooms! Never reveal your foraging spots!

That’s all for Things I Love A to M, next up will be N-Z. But before that appears, I’ll be writing Things I Hate A to M. Stay tuned!

The state of my workspace

I’m lucky enough to have my own private office in a building with around 10 other staff members. At my job, my days are never the same and never, ever boring. Sometimes there isn’t enough hours to get the work done and ensure my space is presentable. Sometimes my desk holds 5 empty, but used, coffee cups. Other times, I have a mile-high pile of articles to read. I’m getting better at filing and documenting in Word/Excel, but I still struggle with my physical space. Keeping it tidy and organized.

Here’s a little glimpse into my work space- meticulously un-curated, as is, on an average day.



What’s your work space like? Tidy or similar to mine?

A case of the Mondays

Poor Monday. No one likes you. I’m so sorry.
Of course Grumpy cat has something to say on this subject.

I haven’t drank coffee in almost a month. But, in 9 days I get to start drinking it again. Excited!

I suppose if you are a nurse, you don’t mind crocs so much… but I bet you still hate Mondays.

Now, time for a little Monday encouragement!

I don’t get the minion fascination, but they have the right attitude.

Even on Groundhog Day (today), Bill still knows you can kick the day’s ass.

Best of all, if nothing else… Be kind. For we are all fighting the good fight against Monday.

How was your Monday? 

Famous Authors and the Perils of Happiness

Instead of those lame ol’ inspirational quotes people post on their Facebook and such- you know the type. “Live, Laugh, Love. ” or “You’re only as happy as you make your mind up to be.” You know, that crap… I thought I would post some great quotes of some of my favourite authors talking about happiness. It’s not all fuzzy rainbows when real people talk about happiness or life fulfillment, that’s why I love these quotes. They don’t make me feel bad about myself, they just seem relateable. Hope you can relate too!

Mark Twain

Papa Hemingway

Chuck Palahniuk

Kurt Vonnegut

If you want to read more authors talking about happiness, this post was inspired by this list- 40 Authors on How to Be Happy

Tell me which one you like best! 


Musicians and Cats Being Sexy (or trying to be anyway)

Here’s a silly post as a prelude to a more serious one to come.

Men and their cats. Is there anything more sexy? Okay… there are many things more sexy. But this collection of musicians with their kitty cats still makes me feel all giddy and only some slight attraction.

jacksonThis was probably not that out of the ordinary for Michael.

mccartneyWhile doing this photo search, I came across a photo of every one of the Beatles with a cat.

morrisseyThere are so many photos of Morrissey with cats that there is an entire Tumblr devoted to it.

stewartRod Stewart. If you think he’s sexy when he’s singing, check him out naked, in bed, with a siamese cat. /Swoon

bowieAnd saving the best for last. I don’t know what or why this is happening… but I’m so glad it did.
Thanks Dave & Kitty Stardust, for all that you do.

What I’m doing with my extra hour this weekend

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year! Daylight savings! Okay… that could be a slight overstatement. But it is the “fall back” time of year where we supposedly get an extra hour of daylight. Or more aptly known for getting an extra hour of drinking and partying at the pub. Amirite?

Here’s what I’m doing with my “extra hour” today:

1. I’m continuing to nurse a two-day hangover, acquired on Halloween night. I definitely lived up to my costume- Holly Golightly. I played the charming, party girl that night and payed for it the next day- regrets and headaches. Oy! I might be getting too old to drink like I’m 20 years old. Time for this ol’ girl to give this liver a much needed rest.
2. Listening to the Mood Booster playlist on Spotify. Already I’ve heard The Jackson 5, Presidents of the United States of America, Pharrell, Fleetwood Mac, and the list goes on. Great music to wash dishes to… which brings me to my next point.

3. I’m giving my apartment a long overdue cleaning and organizing. I’ve been a bit slack on the keeping things in their places these days. That’s what happens when you live alone, no one to complain that you left your hair dryer on the floor again or that yarn is literally EVERYWHERE.

4. I’ve been laughing my ass off at this site today- this really is the worst cat.

       Worst Cat Ever.

5. Finally, I’m taking the time to brew some real coffee today. Boy, do I need it. On weekdays I usually make a single cup in the Keurig with the reusable cup. It’s fast and convenient for someone who hates getting ready to leave the house. But, when I have the time, I like to use the good beans- I’ve been using these from Fernwood Coffee. Once you buy decent beans… nothing is quite the same. Today I brewed a couple cups in the Bodum French Press and drank it out of my huge Le Creuset mug. Ahhh. Simple pleasures.

    And the design of the packaging is just beautiful to boot.

Hope you’re all enjoying your Sunday. What are you doing with the extra hour?

FIVE: The Cuteness

Five Graphic

I like writing and curating this blog and the photos that go along with it. I find i so fluffy and carefree that it is really relaxing to come up with posts and find photos to go along with them. And today’s post is no different! I am celebrating stupidly adorable animals I want to steal and frolic with.

This is my future family dog. His name may or may not be Kitchen. Don’t let your imaginary kids name your pet.

How can you not love a Sea Lion? They are loud, fat, and smell bad!   ’nuff said.

I have loved goats since spending the summers on my aunt’s farm. Funnelling baby goats into the barn to be bottle fed with a nippled coca-cola bottle. This is a Pygmy Goat.

This is what I imagine my cat, Sam, would have looked like when he was a kitten. I wonder this a lot for some reason. I got him when he was a year and a half. He is now turning 9 years old.