Northern Living

Well, I’ve been living in Northern Ontario for over a month now and I am loving every second of it. The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy with work and I apologize that I haven’t been able to post anything for a while. With limited internet access and cell service, Ivy and I tend to spend as much time outside as possible to pass our time. The weather here has been gorgeous and it has been perfect for swimming and kayaking, which we do a lot of here. Last week I went wake boarding (snowboarding on water) with two girls I work with and had so much fun. Even though I only stood up for a few seconds every time, they were super impressed and said next time I will for sure get the hang of it! The day after I paid my dues though; my arms, legs and back were in pain and I felt like I was 100 years old (LOL).

Last week, my parents came up to visit and we had a great time. We spent lots of time outside and in the water, relaxing and taking in the gorgeous sunshine. The last two days they were here it rained which meant we were stuck in the cabin but we still made the best of it. It’s crazy to think that in 25 days I am going to be getting on a plane for Barbados. Speaking of Barbados, I have been participating in a bunch of conference calls regarding exchange, payments (which have been coming in in buckets full) and meeting faculty at UWI via video. It officially hit me that I am leaving. I knew this was going to happen, as it did when I went to France on exchange but I have been waiting for that “a-ha moment” and it has finally happened. Because I am only going to have few days when I get home before I get on a jet plane, so I’ve been doing as much online shopping as possible to get everything I need before I go.

I hope that wherever you are reading from that your summer is going great and you are taking advantage of the beautiful weather. After all there is only 21 weeks until winter begins and this year I’m only going to have to deal with it for one month instead of four.

Love always,

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100 Posts and 100 Thanks

I’ve hit a milestone on my little blogging adventure, 100 blog posts. 100 different stories, adventures, cries and above all a lot of laughs. In 2014, I started The Blonde Traveler so that my family and friends could read about my adventures while I was living abroad in France. My goal was to publish a few stories and when my year was done I would shut down the blog.Alexa's Adventures.png

3 years passed by and I developed a love for writing, telling funny stories about my day-to-day activities, living in the moment and of course giving fashion advice. I decided to start using The Blonde Traveler as a way to share an inside look at my life and I am extremely proud of how far this blog has come. The Blonde Traveler has been viewed in 56 countries all around the world from North America to Africa to Asia. To the thousands of people who are reading about my adventures and stories each year, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be where I am today without all of you readers and you have inspired me to continue my blogging journey.

I am extremely excited to be bringing the traveling aspect back into my blog when I leave for Barbados at the end of August. I hope that I will find a way to bring you smiles and laughs as I share my adventures on my second year abroad.

Thank you again for all of the love and support,

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The Blonde Traveler Readers 2014-2018

Two Months Today

It’s officially official. I am moving to Barbados (how freaking cool does that sound?!?). Yesterday I booked my flight to Bridgetown, Barbados for August 26th. It’s really happening and I have thousands of emotions running through my head, but overall I am excited for this new adventure and chapter in my life. The past week I’ve been finalizing my acceptance to UWI – Cave Hill, finishing my visa requirements and handing in a bunch of paperwork. When I haven’t been focusing on my exchange things, I’ve been working (my new job) and enjoying the beauty of my summer home.

Last week I moved more than halfway across Ontario for a job that I didn’t know much about; and I have never been happier. I decided that I needed a change in my life and this job opportunity was just that – a big change. I’ve been living in Northern Ontario just outside of a town called Hearst for over a week now and I have already done so much. I am working at Fushimi Lake Provincial Park as customer relations rep and inspections officer. This job was a huge jump for me, since I haven’t worked in Ontario Parks for three years and it is unlike anything I’ve done before. I have so many things to do, which is perfect because I am always busy and the days have been flying by. The main component of my job is to inspect everything in the Park, make sure everything is in working order and is in compliance with the standards and write a report about it.

Because I have to leave my job early (since I need to go to Barbados), I have been working a bunch of extra shifts in order to make up the days I won’t be here for. As of right now I will be coming home on August 21st and then will be leaving from Detroit to Barbados on the 26th. I have already started to make lists, checklists, and more lists about everything that I need to do in the few days I am home before I leave.

Another update for everyone! My university is officially not on strike anymore, so I have been finishing up a few little assignments and waiting for my marks to start coming in. I am so glad that I didn’t end up losing any of my classes or year because of the strike and I will be able to continue my schooling as normal.

Everything is starting to fall into place, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love always,

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On To New Adventures

The past two summers (and the start of this summer) I have worked at Talbot Trail Golf Club. I am very sad to say that yesterday was my last day working at Talbot Trail Golf Club and I am moving on to a new adventure with Ontario Parks. I am absolutely blessed to have made many new friends and “family” members during the time I worked there. I have grown in many different ways, gaining new strengths (and learning my many weaknesses), developing a new appreciation for bartenders and cooks, and trying to make people smile on a daily basis. I will forever be in debt to my coworkers as they have not only taught me many different skills, but life lessons that I will never forget. Each and every single one of the people I worked with share a bond that I’m sure will last a very long time. I’m grateful that three years ago I was given the chance to work at a course that means so much to my family, and it is with a very sad and heavy heart that I am leaving.

Today I am making the 15 hour drive to Fushimi Lake Provincial Park where I will work for the remainder of the summer. I am very excited that I get to return to the Park where I worked my first summer job and spend the summer with my sister Ivy.

Thank you to everyone for their love and support the past few days, it has meant so much.

Love,

My Summer Favorites

Hey everyone! The sun is shining and because today is going to feel like 95F I thought I would share some of my summer favorites with you!

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Product descriptions counter clockwise:

  1. Chacos – Last year I bought my first pair of Chaco sandals and I fell in love immediately. Not only are they super cute but they provide custom support for every type of foot, including high arch support for feet like mine! I have started spreading the word about these sandals because they will keep your feet happy all year long! You can buy sandals like mine here!
  2. Hawaiian Tropic – This is my favorite brand of sunscreen and suntanning products because it smells great and doesn’t leave your skin super greasy!
  3. Yeti 30oz Rambler Tumbler – Ivy and Declan became obsessed with Yeti’s in the past year, so I took the plunge and bought one for myself! This is not your typical cup, which explains the hefty price tag. This tumbler keeps my ice cubes without melting so my drinks are never watered down, perfect for my pink lemonade! To see more colors or to buy yourself a tumbler click here!
  4. Hair ties – I always have some extra hair ties with me in the summer especially because we have a jeep! I made these ribbon hair ties out of some headbands!
  5. High waisted bikini bottoms – High waisted bikini have started making their comeback and this year the trend will continue. I picked up these bottoms while shopping in Toronto at the Gap!
  6. Sunnies – Because I just got contacts I can finally buy nonprescription sunglasses! Big and bold are in this year so keep an eye out for some cute specs you can add to your accessory closet! I picked up these sunnies at my local winners!
  7. Floppy Hat – This floppy hat is not only super cute but it was only $5 at Target! Hats are not only the perfect way to cover up beach hair, but they are a good sun protector!
  8. A good summer book – I have read The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han every summer since I started high school. I recommend this to every girl who needs a quick and fun read for the beach! Click here to pick up a copy!

So there you have it, the things you won’t see me without this summer! I hope you’re all enjoying the weather as much as I am and wishing you a fabulous week!

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Summer Thrifting

The other day, my Mom came home and told me she bought some patio furniture at a garage sale. I just gave a “oh” nod and walked away, mainly because I thought it was going to be old ugly junk. The next morning when I woke up and went outside, I saw the coolest, vintage patio furniture sitting in our driveway. I couldn’t believe my Mom had only paid $35 bucks and walked away with some pretty sweet additions for our porch.

I love summer and I love patio season even more. I love waking up and sitting on the porch drinking my tea, or watching the sunset in the evening. Something old does not mean it is junk. This summer I challenge you to embrace other peoples old things and turn them into your “new”. Thrifting is so easy, plus its almost always cheap, and who knows you could find your next “it” piece. I encourage you to stop at a yard sale or your local thrift store and I can almost guarantee you’ll have fun and maybe some laughs!

I fell in love with vintage clothing when I was in grade 8 and it brings me joy to find old and rare pieces that I can make mine. The best part is, the chances of you seeing someone in the exact same vintage piece on the same day you’re wearing it is extremely rare. Find joy in finding the unique pieces that represent who you are, because hardly ever do people talk about the jeans you bought at Abercrombie.

Love,

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The Traveling Girls

I have some pretty amazing friends that do amazing things on a daily basis. I’ve been friends with some of these girls since I was five and some I met on my first day of university. Almost all of my girlfriends are older than me, so once they left for university and other adventures we made a pact to get together at least once a year, even if it is only for a few hours. This summer more than a few of my girlfriends are going on adventures of a lifetime; some are off visiting new countries and others are working around the globe. My beautiful girlfriends have agreed to share their experiences with you and I could not be more excited to be able to feature this segment on my blog which I will be calling The Traveling Girls! Once a week starting in June, I will be featuring one of my friends adventures on the blog! I am beyond grateful to have met each and one of these beautiful women and the fact that I get to live vicariously through them is even more special.

I hope that each and every one of their words inspires you as they inspire me on a daily basis.

Love always,

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Three Turned to Two

In my house summer starts when our jobs begin. Well summer has officially commenced in our house even if it is cold/rainy outside. For the past few weeks I have been working part time at the Golf Course because the weather has not been cooperating and rain = no golf. We are hoping that in a few days everything dries up and stays dry for the rest of the summer! Today Ivy and Dad left for up north a 15 hour drive into northern Ontario. Ivy is going to be the Park Warden at Fushimi Lake Provincial Park and the whole family is super proud of her!

These past few weeks have been super stressful, between working and trying to figure out what I am going to do about school. I will hopefully be able to book my flights soon for Barbados and then I will have my official departure date! Even though York is still on strike, I am still allowed to go on exchange which is a major blessing. I spent this past weekend by myself as Mom, Dad, Ivy and Elle went to visit Trent University’s open house. While they were in Peterborough, I was watching the house and dogs. On Saturday, I went into Windsor to see Gramma and Grampa and we went out for fish and chips. The rest of my weekend was spent cleaning, watching Netflix and eating way too much popcorn and ice cream.

I’m sorry that I haven’t written much lately but as you can see nothing very exciting has been happening! Hopefully some good news will come soon and believe me you’ll be the first to know!

I hope you all have an amazing week… only three days until Friday and a long weekend!

Love,

Libbey

Windsor Star Reader Letter

Today is day 63 of the York University Strike and let me tell you it isn’t fun. And I’m mad for obvious reasons. The other day I decided to write a letter to the editor of the Windsor Star about the strike and yesterday they published it. You can click on the link to read it on their website or keep scrolling and read it below!

Reader Letter: Strike at York University costing students

Two years ago I was an excited Grade 12 student who had just accepted an offer to my dream school: Glendon College – York University. Little did I know that my dream school would soon become my worst nightmare.

At the beginning of March 2018, I was counting down the days until I was officially finished my second year of school, but on March 5 everything came to a halt when CUPE 3903 — the union representing teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants — went on strike.

Though some classes continued, mine were cancelled and I returned home with high hopes that a deal would be made within a few days. It is now two months later and there is no end in sight. Though York University claims to have the interest of their 50,000 students at heart, many of us have been left in the dark.

Only a few weeks ago, I was accepted for an exchange through York International to the University of West Indies – Cave Hill campus in Barbados. Though York University is now offering a tuition credit, which allows students to drop out of their current classes and retake them by the end of winter semester 2019 without repaying tuition, this is not an option for me or any other future exchange students. If I decide to drop my courses now, I will not be compensated in my fourth year, meaning I will have to pay full tuition again in order to finish classes that I already started.

I work extremely hard during the summer months to pay for my schooling in Toronto and frankly I am worried that I made a poor investment in my education. Not only will it cost me thousands of more dollars but thousands of more hours than I bargained for.

Libbey Jean Dresser, Wheatley

Back In The Big City

I haven’t been in Toronto for two months and I’m not going to lie, I missed the city lifestyle. Hopping on the subway whenever I want, walking to stores in Uptown Yonge and obviously going to my Starbucks.

I came back to TO on Friday to pack up most of my dorm stuff and to see my friends one last time before I go on exchange. I waited a little late to book my train back home, so the best deal I could get was for Tuesday and honestly I’m happy that I have a few days alone here! On Saturday, I met up with my friend Sabrina and we went shopping in Scarborough. It was really nice to catch up seeing as though we haven’t seen each other in so long.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful since I got here, so I’ve tried to take advantage of it as much as possible. On Sunday I took a long walk to Uptown Yonge, which is an area with a bunch of outdoor shopping and restaurants. Let’s just say that I definitely got my shopping fix in which was much needed!

Today, I am finishing packing up what I can from my room and spending more time outside! I’m currently sitting in my Starbucks drinking tea and I couldn’t be happier. I’m coming back to the city Saturday night with Mom, Elle and Ivy because Elle has her final India presentation on Sunday. It’s getting harder saying goodbye to my friends knowing that I won’t be seeing them until September 2019, but I am already super excited to leave for Barbados.

I hope that everyone has a great week and that you’re taking advantage of this beautiful weather!

Love,

Libbey Jean

 

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The Legendary B229a