Alberta Ballet: Meet A Ballerina


The Nutcracker

The Alberta Ballet, led by artistic director Jean Grand-Maître presents world class dancing to Western audiences. Each year, the performances continue to stun audiences. A fusion of fresh and familiar stories enchant us, leaving us breathless at final curtain of each show. 

This season’s mix of classical, pop cultural works and contemporary pieces pay a nod to classic ballet’s foundations; sugar and an extra amount of spice is added to make each performance jaw dropping.


2018/2019 has been a thrilling season thus far. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Lauded by many as one of the finest interpretations of this holiday classic, Edmund Stripe sets his version smack-dab in the centre of Imperial Russia. He sticks close to Tchaikovsky’s score as we follow child heroine Klara in her quest to save Christmas. The choreography is precise and classical. Return viewers should keep an eye out for choreographic flourishes and guest appearances to mark the productions’s anniversary.

Meet A Ballerina


On Dec. 8, bring your kids or just come yourself and join the Alberta Ballet for an exclusive opportunity to get up close with a true ballerina. Alberta Ballet dancer, Reilley McKinlay, will be at Manulife Place for a one-day only meet and greet opportunity from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Reilley has recently danced in productions such as Jean Grand-Maitre’s Winter Room, Wen Wei Wang’s Futureland.

She will be available for photos and interviews to discuss what it’s like to be a dancer with the Alberta Ballet and to delve into her upcoming performance in The Nutcracker on Dec. 6-9.

 Come down to take pictures and get autographs with Reilley, as well as enter a draw to win an autographed pair of pointe shoes.

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Poetry: Endure

We live
Amongst our dead
Mirrored planes
Separated by only the thinning veil
They exist
They love
They endure
As will

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Poetry: I Want To Live

poetryI want to live
I want
Is to live
I’m losing this battle
With myself
A civil war
Inside my brain
Stay alive
I beg
Long enough
To outlive it
To emerge from the darkneas
Don’t become it’s victim
Don’t fall prey to its clutches
Stay alive
Outsmart it
One day
You will wish
I will wish
That you had stayed

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Poetry: Memories


Memories are timeless

The mind can easily

Drift in and out of the past

Weaving between what was and now is

Moments pull you in

Painting a kaleidoscope of colours

A new vision unfolding before your eyes

Time changes your original perception

Some of what you now believe is a memory

Was never really there

The past has a haunting shimmer

A capability of being everywhere 

And nowhere all at once

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Book Review: Nature Lover’s Almanac: Kinky Bugs, Stealthy Critters, Prosperous Plants & Celestial Wonders by Diane Olson

Winter Reads 2018Nature Lover’s Almanac: Kinky Bugs, Stealthy Critters, Prosperous Plants & Celestial Wonders by Diane Olson

a nature lover's almanac


Paperback, 216 pages

Published June 1st 2012 by GIbbs Smith

Did you know that : We all have follicle mites living on our faces? In India, the humble pigeon is a symbol of lust? Jumping spiders sometimes watch TV with you? Healthy garden soil has the same characteristics as a good chocolate cake? The North Pole rarely points north? The caterpillar of the silver-spotted skipper blasts its frass (poop) five feet outside its nest? Fascinating but little-known facts of nature will connect you with the rhythms of the universe and enlighten you every day of the year. Also included are good tips for gardeners as well as a rundown of what constellations you can see in the night sky each month.

Diane Olson’s “Urban Almanac” column, upon which this book is based, has been running in Salt Lake City’s Catalyst magazine for sixteen years. She has also written for New York Spirit, Salt Lake Magazine, and Utah Homes and Gardens. She lives in Salt Lake City.


What a wild read!

This book contained tons of interesting facts – everything from the mundane to the disgusting. Both nature nuts and city dwellers will rejoice in this compilation of fun facts.

Some of my favourite entries discussed quirks in the animal kingdom. I loved learning strange quirks about ‘city wildlife’.  I found myself laughing out loud for half of the book.

This collection makes a perfect gift 🙂

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Holiday Recipes: Peppermint Bark

Holiday Recipes

peppermint bark recipe

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Book Review: The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

Winter Reads 2018The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

The Sunlight Pilgrims

Published: July 19th 2016


It’s November of 2020, and the world is freezing over, each day colder than the last. There’s snow in Israel; the Thames is overflowing; and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south–but not Dylan. Grieving and ready to build life anew, he heads north to bury his mother’s and grandmother’s ashes on the Scottish islands where they once lived.

Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything with restorative and trading value. When Dylan arrives in their caravan park in the middle of the night, life changes course for Estella and Constance. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they’ll all be ready.

The Sunlight Pilgrims is a visionary story of courage and resilience in the midst of nature’s most violent hour. It’s by turns an homage to the portentous beauty of our natural world, and to just how strong we can be, if the will and the hope is there, to survive its worst

reviewAt a mere 288 pages, Jenni Fagan’s, Sunlight Pilgrims packs a serious punch. Fagan is a writer that masters the art of distilling prose. The Sunlight Pilgrims is a story of the resilience of humanity in the midst of nature’s darkest hour. 

Set in November of 2020 the world is freezing over. Each day is colder than the last. The world is a place of mass panic and hysteria with the unthinkable becoming a reality; Israel is freezing, Norway is drifting to the coast of Scotland. 

This is a very insightful and deliberate read. The author wants the reader to pause, to really absorb the story and process that this could in fact be the world we are living in one day. For such a grim story, Fagan uses beautiful prose to bring to life a world slowly meeting its end as a new ice age sets in. 

The dreary world setting plays as a backdrop to the story. We meet character’s living their lives and we see time moving forward through the indication of colder temperatures. The idea of a frozen wasteland oddly inspires some beautiful imagery. 

The story centres around three characters: Constance, Dylan and Stella. The book is told from the perspectives of Dylan and Stella.  The reader is not privy to the inner workings of Constance’s mind, instead we see her as the other characters do. This was a unique method for Fagan to use, instead of offering Constance her own viewpoint, we cast our opinions of her simply through the views of others. 

The perfect combination of fear and intrigue. The three characters we bond with are each so unique and quirky. Seeing the world from their alternating views offers new angles of perspective on, well, everything we believe to be true about life and the world we live in. 

The story successfully touches on many important issues: grief, gender identity, shaming, bullying and sexuality. There is so much more to this story than a world of ice. The characters bring it to life, and spark a fire of emotion within the reader.

It is rather eerie and disconcerting to think this book is set only four-years from today. Could the world really change this much? Could this one-day be our world? This novel really leaves an unsettling feeling, sending chills up your spine, leaving you questioning, what if? A fantastic read that will linger in your mind long after the last word is read. 

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