A Little Local Love - D'Arcy's Meat Market

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Kyle Iseke at D'Arcy's Meat Market Ltd.   It really was a pleasure listening to Kyle express genuine enthusiasm and excitement about D'Arcy's and the local products they feature.

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After finishing our time together and photographing some of the really unique decor (check out that chalk wall, created by a local artist, and the red door in the back!), I sent him three simple questions about D'Arcy's via email.  In the past I've written my local features as interviews, but I really feel like this one is best heard in Kyle's words, which you can read below.

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Can you give me a bit of history on D'Arcy's?  How it got started?

In 1991, D’Arcy’s Meat Market Ltd. was founded by D’Arcy Iseke after taking over Johnson’s Meats which was incorporated in 1961 by Dave Johnson as a small butcher shop servicing the community of St. Albert, Alberta. D’Arcy’s son, Kyle, worked there full time and eventually took over running his father’s meat shop. Growing up in the retail meat-cutting industry, Kyle loved the work introduced to him by his father.

In 2005, D’Arcy’s Meat Market hired Danielle an acquaintance of Kyle’s, to work part time. Although not how they initially met, Danielle and Kyle fell in love and were married in February of 2009. On June 1st, 2009 Kyle Iseke bought D’Arcy’s Meat Market Ltd. from his father; the same shop he had worked in alongside his father since the age of 12. Embarking on two new journeys together, a new life as a couple, and new business owners, the couple has devoted their efforts to continuously improving the quality of both customer service and local meat & poultry products they supply to their loyal client base.

On any given Saturday, their busiest day, Kyle and Danielle can be seen working together to serve the patiently waiting customers who dedicatedly return week after week for the best tasting steaks, pork roasts and sausages amongst a plethora of other best in class meat products.

Kyle Iseke graduated with honors and highest in class from N.A.I.T. with a Certification in Meat-Cutting. Many do not know that Kyle chose meat-cutting after three years in engineering. Deciding to be true to his passions, Kyle walked out in the middle of an engineering class to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and retail meat-cutter so he could be in control of his own destiny.

In the words of Kyle, “…it wouldn’t be possible without the help of my wife, Danielle. She has been so supportive. We really have a ‘team’ approach, especially during the busy season. This allows us to always deliver more quality products and services.”

“Our children will know their grandfather started [D’Arcy’s Meat Market].” says Danielle. “…it is our legacy for them.”

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Can you tell me again where the meat and products are sourced from?

We primarily source our meats based on how high quality the farms and animals are. We look for proximity to St. Albert, flavour, tenderness, and sustainable ethics. Some examples include: Heritage Berkshire Pork from Busby and Gibbons, Premium Dry Aged Beef from Jeff Nonay in Legal, Wild Boar from Hog Wild in Mayerthorpe, and free range poultry from Ridge Valley Poultry Farms. We also choose to carry conventional meats in our store as we’ve found often times partnering with one or two farms can lead to shortages. When we do bring in conventional meats we still make sure it is a high quality product, examples of this include some of the Hutterite Poultry and Eggs, Wagyu, and Canadian Prime Beef. These larger farms and conventional meats can still be delicious and tender if we pay attention to their quality. Customers get a broad range of very high quality choices and can choose what they would like to purchase.

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Finally, is there anything you might want to tell readers about D'Arcy's or a butcher like yours that they may not already know?

I feel a lot of people believe that a butcher is an expensive option, however most butchers around the city have tons of great deals and freezer packs available that can help families save money and eat great! I want customers feeling comfortable asking us all kinds of meaty questions, including where is the best value meat in the store. After all you can get a Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak right now for around $5-$7 which will be the best sirloin steak of most peoples lives!

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I'd love for you to stop in at D'Arcy's and take in the sights.  (it really is a sight!  Their counters looked incredible the afternoon I visited, and I spent most of my visit pondering whether I had already prepped my grill for the season.)  Ask questions about their products and enjoy the fabulous service, the wealth of knowledge and the pride they take in what they provide.

A thank you again to Kyle and everyone at D'Arcy's for all of the hospitality and the welcoming atmosphere.  It truly was a treat to visit you and we'll be back soon.

You can also find D'Arcy's on Facebook, Twitter, and their website, as well as at #50, 40 Chisholm Ave in St. Albert.

Let's Elevate This a Little

Katie Slivorski Photography is growing bigger.  Branching out.  Reaching new heights.  [Insert some other sappy tree related sayings here.]

Okay, I'll stop.

I recently worked with Cassandra of Twist and Shutter Design and Photography  to create something that I feel really fits the direction my photography is heading.  She nailed the aspects of branding that I was looking for and seemed to really understand my personality.

Meet my new logo!

new logo for photographer showcasing Edmonton adventuresAlong with meeting my new look, I want to give you a chance to meet a lot more of me.  Pretty logos are amazing (thank you Cassandra, you were awesome!) but being a real person behind the website is just as important to me.  For the next few weeks, then, I'll be sharing some some Throwback Thursday style posts of some of my family's favorite past adventures.  Maybe we'll give you a few ideas for your own summer travels?

Happy trails!

Rekindle Sessions

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Hey, couples!  Scoot in close, because I want to talk.

I don't know about you, but my calendar looks like a mostly-played bingo board these days.  I've got seven across and almost five down and hey, what's my prize again?

Sound familiar?

Let's face it - we're all busy.  We might be juggling work, or family, or Facebook (ha!), or maybe the fourth science project this month.  There's a bit of "did you feed the dog?" and a lot of "dirty socks need to go IN the laundry basket" and a helping of "I feel like I had something planned today..."

We give of ourselves over and over again, but when do we give to ourselves?  To each other?

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Let's take some time for just the two of you and plan an adventure all your own.  Let's write that date on the calendar with a black permanent marker and circle it.  Let's hit that favorite coffee shop you haven't been to in years, or dust off the picnic basket you used when you were dating, or walk down Whyte and enjoy the atmosphere, or go explore nature.

Rekindle Sessions are new, and they're just for you.

(They're also available at portfolio pricing for a limited time! )

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A Family Day Share from Our Kitchen to Yours

Happy Family Day!

We didn't have much planned today aside from hanging out at home together, so I thought I'd cook up a little something we like and share it with you.

I've been making this granola bar recipe for the kids for a few years now.  It's super quick to whip up and easy to flavor with whatever fruit or nuts you have in your pantry.  The origins of the recipe are unknown; I believe a friend shared the recipe off a store flyer and I've tweaked it some myself, so here's a little Family Day share from my kitchen to yours.

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Granola Bar Recipe:

2 cups oats 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup peanut butter 3/4 cup raisins or whatever other mix-ins you have on hand

Mix it by hand, then press it firmly into a lightly greased pan.  The original recipe called for 9x13, but I use a smaller pan so they're thicker and don't get as dry. Bake at 350F for ~18 minutes, until you see the edges turning golden Cut them after they cool a few minutes, but leave them in the pan.  They're easier to remove and not so crumbly once cooled.

*I'm generous with the peanut butter, and add an extra spoonful or two.  I know the original recipe said butter could be substituted but have never tried it.

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Feel free to enlist helpers to mix, but plan to take over because mine give up when it gets a bit thick.

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I think my favorite thing about this little treat is that it takes me less than a half hour to whip up.

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They're a bit crumbly,  but tasty!  We like to pack these along in an airtight container as an easy snack when we go camping or on a road trip.  I'm always trying to find some new inspiration, too, so I've pulled together a Pinterest board of some other granola bar recipes that looked interesting.

If you're up for something a little harder, you can check out last month's post about marshmallows and maybe even get more adventurous with flavors than our vanilla.

Have a great Family Day!

Making Marshmallows

I've alluded to the fact that I love a good bonfire.

It's true.  I'm a sucker for a warm crackling fire, especially when there's great company to be had.  Of course, the best fires include s'mores, too.  And all s'mores require the almighty marshmallow.

You see where I'm stretching this, right?  Good.

One of my recent family sessions was a bonfire, and it sparked an idea of something I've been meaning to do for a long while...make marshmallows!  I found a digital copy of the book Marshmallow Madness! by Shauna Sever at the Edmonton library, grabbed the ingredients from the grocery store, and took on the task.

The book does a pretty great job of giving you ideas for lots of different marshmallow flavors, but we stuck to the basic vanilla.  Start small, right?

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It sounds intimidating but it's really a fairly simple process.  Gelatin goes in your mixer while you boil a sugar and corn syrup solution to 240F.  Then it all goes in together and beats for 15 minutes.  I do highly recommend a candy thermometer.  I bake a fair amount but I'm really horrible at accurately determining soft ball stage of a sugar syrup! 

And yes, we totally cook in Halloween pajamas in January.  When we're three, anyway.

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Once your mixture is white, fluffy, and tripled in size, you attempt to smooth it into a greased pan.  Then, of course, you lick the spatulas covered in warm marshmallow fluff.

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After a dusting of powered sugar and a bit of corn starch, and a few hours of waiting, voila!  Marshmallows!

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Although a bit messy because of all the sugar, it was really quite easy!  This would be a quick, fun activity for either families or couples, especially if you get a bit more adventurous than we did with flavors.  (and you weren't also trying to document the process in photos while watching kids and the temp of your sugar!)

I've even made it extra easy to get started and created a Pinterest board of marshmallow recipes for you to browse.

Let me know if you try any!  I'd love to see how they turn out.  They might even make for a fun addition to a photo session, don't you think?

Meet Up Mini Sessions

This is my "I have an idea!" face.

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Actually, this is my "we have basement renovations happening right now, and I'm kneeling in my living room, wearing a hat, taking marketing selfies while hoping the electrician does not come upstairs and realize I am completely insane" face.

Yesterday was a gorgeous one in Edmonton.  The trees were snow covered and positively fluffy.  I couldn't help but stare out my front window, pondering ways I could arrange a photo shoot.  Unfortunately I've been a bit tied up at home this week, answering questions and keeping life contained amidst the chaos that is the current state of my house.

But it was a pretty one, am I right?

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It sparked an idea that I've had before.  I think yesterday would have been the perfect time to try it, so I want to get this going.

 

Introducing "Meet Up Minis"

Meet Up Minis are going to be a little taste of what it's like to work with me, by getting a chance to come and 'meet me somewhere.'   We can chat about the things you love to do, your favorite adventures, the awesome ideas you have for a session, or just catch up when it's been too long.  I'll get you playing, talking, and connecting, and then I'll pull out my camera.

Details about Meet Up Minis will be sent first to those already on my newsletter mailing list, so hint, hint, get on that list!  I expect the first round of Minis to be announced in late February.

Here's how it will work: I'll send out an email announcing a date and location that I will be available.  Expect somewhere unique, unusual, fun, or maybe holiday related.  It might be centered around an activity I've set up, held at a local small business, or a favorite beautiful location.   I'll list how many family or couples spots I have along with any specific requirements and details of the session.  There will likely be a very limited number of time slots and some minis may be on short notice.

To reserve your spot, you'll need to quickly send me an email, sign the contract electronically, and you're in!  Once the mini sessions are over, I'll post an online gallery of your session.  You'll get to pick one free digital file to have, and the rest will be able to be purchased at a per-file rate.  You'll also get a little gift to take home.

So!  You get a chance to meet me, and make sure I'm the best choice for you.  You get a digital file with a print release, at no cost..  AND you get to have some fun together as a couple or family.  There's no downside, but you have to be on the newsletter list to get in!

Sounds pretty fun, right?

P.S.  If you're a business owner and you might be interested in hosting some time?  We should chat!  Shoot me an email at info@katieslivorski.com and let's plan how we could work together. :)

Journey Notes, the Newsletter

I recently changed the blog title to Journey Notes.

Partly because I want to focus on our journeys together as families and couples, partly because it fits my branding, and partly because, well, I think "blog" is kind of a weak name for a blog.  Journey Notes it is.

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At the same time, I'm starting a newsletter, because who actually keeps up with blogs these days?  Not me!  (aside from this one, obviously)  Meet your new inbox dweller:journey notes

I'm on a roll with the clever naming, aren't I?  But now you can get Journey Notes straight into your inbox!  I promise to keep it light and I promise not to spam your inbox daily.  Each month there will be a roundup of some recent blog posts, a few news type items, and some unique content for subscribers.  You'll also see limited time offers as well as some special model calls and other goodies I have yet to cook up.  (but I'm cooking, don't you worry.)  Basically, you want to be in, or you might miss out.

Signing up is easy!  Either use the link at the end of this post or go to the sidebar and enter your info there.

See ya in the first issue at the end of the month!

 

Model Call - Adventurous Hearts Wanted!

family model call EDITED TO ADD: MODEL CALL NOW CLOSED!  Thank you for the fabulous responses I've received so far!  Please stay tuned and join the newsletter so you don't miss any future model calls. 

 

Hey there!  I need you!  No seriously, I really do.  (I also apparently need to vacuum the carpet I used for this image but we've already covered my occasional slacking on chores....)

I'm looking for a number of families and a few couples to join me in Edmonton adventure photo sessions.  Four legged family members are welcome, too.  (would they like a milkbone?)

These will not be typical posed sessions; rather we'll get creative and plan some activities based on things you love to do together or places you love to go.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve and welcome yours as well!

  • Must be available for January, February, or early March sessions
  • Model release required as the images will be used for website and marketing purposes
  • For your time, 8 digital images of your choice will be provided to you via digital download.  The complete gallery of your images will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.
  • Must be in Edmonton or the surrounding communities.
  • I'd love to see hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or just getting out into the trees, so if this sounds like you, get that email started!

Ready to go?  Need more information?  Have a question?  Think you've got a fabulous recipe that I just must have?  Contact me using this link right HERE, or email me at goadventure@katieslivorski.com.  No commitment necessary, we can start by chatting.  I want to hear from you!

See ya soon!

P.S.  I will be model calling an adventurous film session or two, as well, if that's more your game.  Email me or stay tuned.

A Breath of Fresh Air

So, you heard about the shift to more adventures, right?

If not, you definitely want to go read the last post, it can be found right here.

If you have, then you're in exactly the right place, and I'm thrilled to have you on board.  Honestly, I'm super excited for this shift in direction.  It feels new and refreshing, like a literal breath of fresh air.  I can't wait to start filling this whole website to the brim with beautiful photos of your family enjoying your favorite activities.

kids sledding in Edmonton hills

Speaking of filling the website....

I love my kids, but I want to see many more faces and stories featured on this blog.  In fact, I've come up with 5 winter activities that I'm ready to offer a seriously awesome discount for to get this little party started, if they're booked before the end of March.  Now all I need is you and your adventurous selves, ready to jump in with both feet!

1. Sledding!  We'll hit the hills together and while you and the kids race over and over from top to bottom.  We can end by trekking to your favorite place for hot chocolate.  Will it be a local Tim's?  The island you always gather around in your kitchen?  Who will make the biggest marshmallow stack?

2. Ice skating!  There are some glorious outdoor rinks in Edmonton and I admit I haven't been to many of them!  Show me your family's favorite spot, and we'll enjoy the crisp sounds of sharp skates together.

3. Winter hiking!  The trees are gorgeous, all covered in snow, and the river valley has plenty of trails!  Bring the dog and a hot beverage to sip, and a blanket to wrap up close together in.

4. Snowshoeing!  Let's find some fresh powder and make new tracks through the trees.

5. A winter bonfire!  Okay, I admit, I love a bonfire just about any time of year, especially if there are s'mores involved.  Who can beat gooey marshmallow fingers?

Are you ready to go?  Interested in hearing more about what a session entails?  Want to learn more about me?  Let's chat and start planning all the fun you're going to have.

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter!  I'll be sharing blog post roundups, upcoming specials, and lots of adventure related goodness starting soon!

P.S.  Do you have another adventure idea that you think would be awesome but I didn't mention it here?  I'd love if you'd contact me anyway, it just might be a perfect match.  ;)

 

A New Year Brings New Adventures

Soooo, I should explain.

You've probably noticed a shift around here and on my Facebook page.  It's been a little less "at home" and a little more "get out and play!"  A little less "kid paintings at the table" and a little more "exploring the city, kids in tow."

I sat down this past fall to pull together the yearly album I fill to the brim with images of us throughout the year.  I poured through some 16,000 personal images from 2015 (maybe I have a problem??), and something dawned on me.  As much as I love documenting our everyday moments, the images I found myself searching for were the ones that had a bit more spice to them.  A July trip to Vancouver.  The camping trip in August.  Our family bike rides in September.

The truth is, I work from home, and sometimes documenting our at-home life just feels like more work.  Taking a photo of my dirty dishes and saying that it's a sign of how busy life is just makes me feel like I'm avoiding chores.  (and believe me, I do plenty of slacking.  Please ignore the collie hair tumbleweeds that might be found in more than a few corners at the moment).

I get a little bored with our daily routine. It's glorious, and I love it, but I find myself craving more.  There is nothing like the everyday moments to build a life around, but if you're like me, sometimes you just want to get up and go.  To move.  To escape.  To explore.

To adventure.

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Now, don't get me wrong.  I've had a fabulous year of meeting new families and documenting everyday moments.  I will still be sharing occasional images of that style and would be thrilled to capture more family stories at home.

That said, expect a bit of a shift around here in 2016. Getting out with my kids and exploring is something I truly love, and I know you enjoy it, too.   I'll be sharing less of our daily routine and more of our city excursions.  I want to build on adventures, and family time, and togetherness.  For my family, and for yours.  I'm itching for new experiences, new journeys, and, of course, many more clients who want to embrace it with me.

Let's go camping in the mountains and hike into the sunset.  Explore the Legislature fountains at night.  Get ice cream stacked 5 scoops high.  There really are no limits.  Let's focus on making memories, having adventures, and let's have a blast this year.

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Now, to kick it all off, there's a new newsletter coming soon!  Sign up below so that you wont miss the newest specials, model calls, and product offerings.  I can't wait to explore with you!

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365 Degrees - November 6, 2015

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I think I've alluded to this being my second Project 365, as long as you didn't count my not completely finishing December 2014.  It's now the beginning of November and I'm beginning to remember why that happened.

Holidays.  School parties.  Work obligations.  The change of time.  Darkness coming early.  Last attempts at yardwork.  Finding a few more fall adventures.   Snow trying to dust the ground (but thankfully not yet sticking).  Scraping frost off the truck.  Checking all the winter clothing to see whether any of it fits.  Realizing none of it fits.  Digging for parking space in the garage.  Leaving the pumpkins to freeze on the front porch.  Debating putting up Christmas lights early.  Forgetting to put up Christmas lights early.

I love winter, but in the first month or so I really want to just find somewhere warm to hide.


Last week Halloween came...

We built a chocolate gingerbread house (that we're still eating... the black frosting leaves evidence on the kids' faces every time they try to sneak some) and went trick or treating.

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Then Halloween left.

Mother Nature brought a dusting of snow and a wind that kept us happily inside removing decorations and eating the kids' candy.

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The daily prep for school has changed from "hey, grab a sweatshirt, just in case!" to "find your boots, find your mittens, no the other mittens, yes you need to zip that jacket, and please put on a hat!"  Apparently it also includes flopping on the floor like a starfish while they wait for me.

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Hot chocolate to follow that cold walk, anyone?

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We had been off running errands (getting new boots and mittens, which is sort of fitting, right?) and as we drove back, it started to snow massive fluffy snowflakes.  By the time we got home and got warm clothes on, it had stopped.

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Arnie (the cat) belongs to my husband, or rather my husband belongs to him.  He tolerates me most when he thinks he's been abandoned but as soon as his true love returns, I regain my unworthy status.   He also keeps his distance from the kids who like to carry him around,  so to find this happening is photo worthy.

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Have you ever checked out the Bison Loop at Elk Island National Park?

On our first drive through in the morning, the bison were all laying in the background, but by the time we drove back through they had moved on.  Ah well.  Big red chairs and big open sky can't be beat either way.

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Now go check out Cynthia Berning Photography.  She's just finishing her full second year of 365 and has the whole year in poster  form to share with you.