Category Archives: Personal

What to Bring and Wear Camping?

So you’re thinking of going camping this Summer? Maybe it’s your first time or maybe you’re an expert but wonder how others do it. I have a personal packing list I use every time, and it took me a long time to learn through trial and error what and how to pack. I’ve been camping for over 20 years and guiding for 10 years, I’ve spent over 300 nights camping in the back country since I started guiding.

Packing used to really stress me out, not knowing what I would need I used to over pack, thinking it was a good thing to be prepared for anything. When I was a kid in girl guides we would go camping and carry all our stuff, thankfully not very far. I was always the slowest and come in last, because I packed the most stuff. I didn’t want to be that kid in last anymore when I went to college to study Ecotourism. I have it down to an art. I know what I need and bring nothing more. I get really disappointed in myself if I bring things or clothes and don’t use them. I have learned through direct experience of every trip exactly what I need when camping to be comfortable.

Like any travel camping requires planning. Personally I love getting out into the wilderness and putting life on pause while I soak up Nature. There is something so powerful about being reminded of what is really most important in life: food, shelter, and water. All of a sudden when you “rough it” your priorities become more clear and worries seem to get smaller.  Sometimes it feels like you need almost nothing at all, but it’s absolutely best to be prepared to be comfortable in all weather. If you’re packed for cold and rainy weather, it’s less likely to happen. So the theory among my friends, bring your jacket so it doesn’t rain. I do not get disappointed in myself if I bring a rain jacket and don’t use it. Although I usually do, it’s a great layering piece for wind or cool weather, or just first thing in the morning. Never leave home to go camping without a rain jacket!


The secret to good packing is planning what to wear. No matter how long the trip is, it makes the most sense to wear the same clothes everyday. This may seem like a bizarre concept; but you’re camping, it’s ok to be dirty and wear dirty clothes. You want to have two sets of clothes, your day clothes and your camp clothes. Your day clothes should be light and quick dry material. I prefer long clothing to be protected from the sun and mosquitoes. If it’s August I add an extra layer and wear a tank top under my long sleeve quick dry shirt so I can have the long sleeves on and off easily. I always wear the same pants, quick dry light pants that zip off into shorts when I want. I’ve had the same ones for years now made by The North Face that have been extremely tough, reliable, and exceptionally stain resistant. Even when I wear them everyday camping they don’t seem to look dirty. Although how you look camping should never be a concern, how you feel should be your priority. Your camp clothes should be comfortable and I always make a point of bringing a t-shirt that I love and makes me feel good when I wear it. You change into these clothes when you’re done exploring for the day and have a less risk of getting wet and as dirty. These clothes can be whatever you want, cotton is fine.

Sam Portage

When I mentioned quick dry clothing, that is basically anything except cotton. Cotton takes a long time to dry, and even longer if you’re wearing it. As cotton drys, if you are wearing it, the material will actually pull heat away from your body and make you cold. Not something you want when you’re camping, especially if it’s raining you become quite uncomfortable. Even when quick dry clothing (synthetic, polyester or wool) is wet it will keep you warm. When I was in school learning all about guiding and taking people on adventures, we had a saying about clothing. Cotton is Rotten. Simple as that, you don’t want to wear cotton day clothes. Your comfy camp clothes are fine to be cotton, as long as your heavier layer to keep you warm if it gets cold is fleece or wool. Remember cotton will not keep you warm and if it gets wet you could become dangerously cold, even in August.

The majority of camping I do is in the form of canoe trips, there is something magical about paddling away under your own force from a busy life to get some down time. If you have questions about how this is done, download my ultimate camping packing list and ask me anything. I love to share and encourage others to get out into nature and live their healthiest lives. If getting away and paddling into the Wilderness is appealing to you, you would love my Women’s Wilderness Canoe and Yoga Retreat. Women 30-70 years old, gather and I take them on a 3 day backcountry canoe trip with a yoga instructor.


Enjoy my gift to you! The packing list that took me almost 10 years to perfect. It was a working document for a long time while I learned what I used and needed while camping. You may need to tweak it to your needs, but it works perfectly for me and I would love for you to take a look and let me know what you think. And if you’re ready for an adventure, connection with nature, yourself, and other women let me know if you have any questions about the Women’s Wilderness Canoe and Yoga Retreat. It’s a trip I value so much that I’ve run it every year since 2016 and hope to keep on running it.

My New Waistline Journey


I was at a social event last week, the official opening of the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op that I can’t be more proud to be a part of and my favorite place to grocery shop. I was talking with some lovely ladies and one of them said skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I can’t agree more, but your ideal weight will make you feel your best so you can do ALL the things you want to do. This is a journey towards health, which so often leads to weight loss and connecting with your body. There’s 10 years and 30 pounds between my before and after photo. This is my journey.

When I left home for college I didn’t know very much about cooking or what to eat. Grocery shopping was a steep learning curve. My mom did a good job of feeding me, I just never took the interest or time to learn. My roommates were the same. We made a lot of instant food and even got excited about enjoying instant mash potatoes and gravy for dinner. Just instant potatoes and gravy. I gained 20 and then 30 pounds in that first year.

Nothing changed for me for a couple of years, until I got a new roommate who was used to cooking for her family through high school. We were eating proper meals on a regular basis. My weight started going down naturally, but we were still eating lots of junk too between our regular good dinners. My muffin top never went away, I started to realize the power of food.

I learned to really understand the power of food when I started back country camping. I was studying Outdoor Recreation and Leisure, we did a lot of field trips in the form of wilderness camping. We learned the importance of food and food stress in a groups. We spent a lot of time discussing what to eat on these trips and how much to bring, planning everything out for three days in the wilderness. Out there, eating this food is when I felt my best. We put thought into our protein intake and nourishing our bodies while being physically active. I had scraped the surface of wanting to learn about nutrition.

After University I worked in the outdoor education/recreation field, it was physically demanding, and now I knew how to keep fed and how to feed a hungry crowd. I didn’t know how to cook or grocery shop very well yet. I never read ingredients or labels, just the sale prices. Because of how active I was, I was in my best physical shape ever; but I was tired a lot and had lots of crazy cravings. I needed a break, I used my savings and my partner and I traveled the Caribbean for 2 months.

I didn’t want to go back to the exhaustive work I was doing. I wanted to start a business and I wanted to learn about nutrition. I studied nutrition for a year when we returned home. I learned so so much I never knew or thought to ask before. I was so worried about gaining back the 30 pounds I lost by leaving my active lifestyle, but I learned how to fuel my body. I don’t feel exhausted any more, I don’t get the cravings I used. I don’t get “hangry” (hungry + angry) like I used to. I enjoy cooking (most of the time) now after all I have learned. My waistline is as trim as it has ever been. I now wear a smaller pant size then I did when I was in high school. Eating clean and whole food without feeling deprived and still indulging in wine and ice cream has got me feeling and looking my best ever.

I’m so inspired to share everything I’ve learned about nutrition and the food industry. I want all women to feel awesome in their bodies. Life is short, you deserve to feel your best. I want to help you get there. I will be spilling secrets on My New Waistline webinar this week.

Monday Oct 29 at 10:00am
Thursday Nov 1 at 8:00pm

Can’t make it? Sign up anyway for the replay to watch at your leisure.

Wishing you your best health and a slim waistline! I’m rooting for you. I feel very vulnerable sharing my story with you, but I know it’s important. I want to support you in your journey. Mine spans 10 years, it is unique and yours will be too. Let me guide you on your weightloss journey, so you can feel your best to do ALL the things you want.

New Waistline Webinar





Homemade Pizza

This is one of my all time favourite recipes that I learned when I first started getting into and enjoying cooking. Realizing how delicious and easy homemade food can be. One of the best things about this recipe is that the making of it can turn into a kitchen party with the help of lots of hands and then enjoying homemade pizza together. There is something really energizing about making food with and for people you care about, we talked about this extra vitamin in my nutrition schools as vitamin “L” for Love. It’s nourishing in a way that goes far beyond food.
Pizza Dough makes 3-4 medium pizzas
1 8 gram yeast packet
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups flour – I like to use whole wheat
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt
Stir 1/2 cup of warm water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, it will double in size. Put 2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl. Once the yeast mixture has risen add 1/2 cup of warm water and olive oil to the small bowl. Pour into the mixing bowl with flour and mix together with a wooden spoon and then your hands. Once the dough can be kneaded into a ball add 1/2 cup of flour. If it still feels sticky add another 1/2 cup of flour until it no longer feels sticky. Knead it for 5-10 minutes. Let it sit in a mixing bowl with a clean dish towel over top for at least 1 hour or a few hours at room temperature to rise.
Once dough is risen:
Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F. Divide by how many pizzas you want, roll the dough out on a surface sprinkled with flour with a rolling pin. Or an empty wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin. Place onto a baking sheet, add toppings. This is where you can get creative and your options are endless. I like to brush olive oil around the edge and sprinkle some sea salt over it. My favourite is to use pesto as the sauce, spicy sausage already cooked, broccoli, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and goat cheese. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Look for the crispy crust and bubbling cheese. Let it cool (because it will burn the roof of your mouth), enjoy! – my mouth is watering for pizza, I really do love this recipe and hope you enjoy it too.
Want more delicious and good for you recipes to boost your energy? Click Below!

My First Backyard Chicken Butcher

I killed, cleaned and ate my first chicken from my backyard, in total it took about an hour. It was much better not having to do it alone, my brother Anthony and I watched a few How To videos on You Tube. We had been talking about it for a couple of weeks, it had to be done as soon as possible.

We had 11 chickens and 5 of them were Roosters. I’m brand new at raising backyard chickens, my best friend wanted to hatch chicks with her kids so we agreed on 2 dozen eggs, knowing they would not all hatch. They brought us 13 chicks at 4 weeks old. We lost 2 the first day, that’s a long story.

Last week a couple of the roosters ganged up on one and killed a rooster. That’s when we really thought it was time to deal with the roosters. The hen’s are old enough to lay eggs and they haven’t started yet, I think it’s because of the mean roosters, they pick on them too.

We prepared ourselves to butcher the roosters. We picked an area out of the way and set up a table, ran the hose, found a big pot, and Anthony made a cone out of metal and tape and drilled it to a tree. It seemed the easiest way we saw in the videos to slit the throat and let the blood drain.

We were chasing chickens in every direction in the back yard, it was the meanest chicken I really wanted to get. Cornered him and caught him, he gave up really easily. He laid on ground when there was no where else to go and once I grabbed his feet and carried him upside down to the site the struggle was over, he was calm.

The cone wasn’t really the right size, his head didn’t come out the end like it was supposed to. Anthony loosened the cone until the head stuck out. We both said thank you for the sacrifice. Anthony cut the throat, from the front. Once the cut was made the body jolted around with enough force to bust through the tape holding the cone together, but it wasn’t that secure since we were adjusting the size. Anthony picked it up and just held it over the a bucket, he asked me to cut the head off the rest of the way.

My heart was beating really hard. We had done it, now we had to prepare it to eat. It was also our dinner plan.

I boiled the pot of water on the stove, it was still too hot. 145 degrees F is what we wanted, to not burn ourselves while pulling the feathers. We added water from the hose until the temperature was right. Dunked the whole body for 10 seconds, shook the water off gently, dunked it again for another few seconds, started pulling the feathers. They came out real easy, there is just a lot of them. When you think about eating it, there is more desire to do a good job and really clean it up.

The actual butchering was the hardest part. Disconnecting the feed sack was a real challenge, everything feels slimy inside and we didn’t really know what we were feeling for to loosen it up and disconnect. The videos made it look really easy. We made all the right cuts, until it came to the rear end, the very first slice cut the poop tube. The thing the video said not to do. We just cut more around it and reached further down to pull it out, without contamination. I reached in and pulled all the guts and organs out, Anthony said he couldn’t fit his hand in, I could just get my hand in and it was tight and the body was warm. I scrapped and pulled the best that I could, identifying the organs as they were coming out.

We tuned on the BBQ and cut it into pieces, figuring it would be best to cook it in pieces so we can get inside and see how we did. I did pretty well at getting the insides out, but not perfect there were still some unidentifiable guts inside, but all the organs had been removed.

We ate our BBQ chicken with roasted potatoes from our garden and a salad with greens all from the garden.

I never appreciated a meal more. The chicken was amazing and I felt good about doing this myself. This chicken lived its best life, and followed its natural course. I thought about some of the people who told me they could never actually kill and butcher a chicken, but they eat meat. That doesn’t seem fair. I feel like I just earned my right to eat good well taken care of chicken.