Spooktober | Sophster-Toaster

There is a nature area here, just off the busy highway and nestled neatly between the two larger cities, that the local schools use routinely for field trips. The children learn about nature, conservation and basic bushcrafting. As a result of these regular field trips, small areas of the forest become covered in these eerie, abandoned lean-tos. The effect of coming across them unexpectedly is startling, confusing and a little creepy. Every time I see them, I make a note to come back in October to take some spooky photos.

Spooktober | Sophster-Toaster

Thanks to the pandemic, this is the first time in many years that I haven’t had a busy fall full of markets or taken a short break to go up to the family cottage for Thanksgiving – actually giving me time to execute this plan. However, also thanks to the pandemic, the school children haven’t come out to the conservation area since last fall and only one small lean-to hadn’t been blown over into a scattered pile of branches.

I’ve been trying not to get bogged down by all the what-ifs when it comes to thinking about how different this year could have been and felt lucky that one structure had survived and that I was in the right place, at the right time to photograph it.

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Top Sophster-Toaster
Skirt Steady Clothing
Shoes Keds
Glasses Warby Parker

Spooktober | Sophster-Toaster

Photos by me and Matt Harrison.

Thrifty Hike

Thrifty Hike | Sophster-Toaster

They don’t make them like they used to. My husband and I discovered, a few years ago, that the best place to buy warm, well-made and affordable sweaters is at thrift stores. He’s been lucky enough to find some great vintage pieces from the 70’s and 80’s while I’m still kicking myself for leaving without a matching set of classic 80’s ski sweaters (because my arms were already full of other cute sweaters). We’ve found the luxuriously thick, double knit, wool blend, not-quite Cosby sweater my husband wore today, cashmere cardigans, and the not vintage but classic cable knit + pom pom wool blend sweater I’m wearing with my (also thrifted) flannel. We just can’t find sweaters warm and hearty enough to hike in single digit temperatures like this at the mall or online, and certainly not for $6-10 a pop!

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Sweater thrifted
Flannel thrifted
Jeans Modcloth
Boots old
Hat ModCloth

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All photos by me and Matt.

Fogged In

Fogged In | Sophster-Toaster

I came down with a bad cold while we were up at the cottage for Thanksgiving. I tried not to let it get me down. Luckily the cottage is a great place to rest and relax.

On one cloudy afternoon, feeling my worst, we decided we would make some tea and snacks and watch a movie snuggled up by the fire. We chose a mid-2000’s movie we had never seen before from the stack of entertaining-but-mediocre rainy day movies that seem to collect at cottages. We put some wood on the fire, surrounded ourselves with everything we would need, got cozy under some blankets with our backs to the lake and started the movie. When it finished, we got up and looked out the big windows behind us to see that we could no longer make out the treeline on the other side of the lake. We were completely fogged in.

After having already spent a few days with just one other person and a dog, alone on an island on a quiet lake, it was strange, but not unpleasant, to feel even more alone and isolated than we already did. It was a bit unnerving to not know how long the fog had been there or when it would recede.

Fogged In | Sophster-Toaster

Standing at the window, Pepper waking up and revving up from a quite couple of hours, I turned to my husband and said something like, “want to go look from the dock?” We bundled up, put Pepper on her long, bright orange leash to keep her safe and visible and headed out into the landscape that was now both foreign and familiar. By the time we got down to the dock, the fog had started to lift and we could again see the islands and coast that had been invisible to us just a little while earlier.

We wondered around the woods for a bit, took some pictures and went back into the warm cottage to make dinner and settle in for a stormy night.

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Coat ModCloth
Sweater thrifted
Hat ModCloth
Pants ModCloth
Socks Walmart
Boots L.L.Bean
Gloves ModCloth

Fogged In | Sophster-Toaster Fogged In | Sophster-Toaster

Photos by me and Matt.

Beginner Hygge

Beginner Hygge | Sophster-Toaster

I’ve always lamented the fact the Canada, a cold and snowy country with a long, dark winter, doesn’t have any winter culture to speak of, at least in the part of Southern Ontario I live in. We’re raised to despise winter and long for summer. We’re brought up to believe winter is something that must be endured but it’s worth it for our the summers in our beautiful country. Well, I disagree. I think winter, all 5 months of it here, can be just as charming, enjoyable and looked forward too as the other brief seasons. I don’t think there’s any point to a life spent hating half of the year.

That’s why, this year, I’m determined to embrace the concept of hygge. If you don’t know what hygge is, Alex from Hygge House puts it beautifully:

“Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.”

I want to dress cute and cozy, cook healthy, seasonal comfort food, watch movies under soft blankets, play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, spend time with friends, drinking wine by fireplaces, and, most importantly, leave home with a smile instead of a shiver. I want to wake up on gloomy days, to the sound of the heat coming on, under layers of fluffy blankets, with thoughts of tea and a warm breakfast and be happy for another winter day.To get started on these goals, I’ve been sneaking some early hygge in ever since the weather turned cool this fall.

Beginner Hygge | Sophster-ToasterBeginner Hygge | Sophster-Toaster

I spent Thanksgiving up at the family cottage with a small and intimate party of just Pepper and my husband. It was cold and cloudy weather that most people would find unlucky for a vacation weekend, but we loved it. We walked around in the woods, made a tofurky with all the trimmings, chopped firewood, mulled cider on the wood stove, and watched movies by the fire. I wore wool socks, turtlenecks, flannel, denim, warm sweaters and thick nylons throughout the trip. We got cozy and really enjoyed each other’s company. I can’t wait for more of this.

Beginner Hygge | Sophster-Toaster

Turtleneck ModCloth
Skirt ModCloth
Nylons Joe Fresh
Accessories old
Slippers White Noise Maker

Beginner Hygge | Sophster-Toaster Beginner Hygge | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.