Sunshine! Lonsdale Quay & the Coal Harbour Seawall

3pm Sunday afternoon. 28 degrees. What to do? Grab a girlfriend and head into Vancouver!

We took the Skytrain from Moody Centre Station to Waterfront Station then hopped on the Seabus over to Lonsdale Quay.

One of the reasons I like visiting Lonsdale Quay is because it is way less busy than Granville Island. It’s smaller-scale but has a variety of great vendors. You can pick up all kinds of goodies; fresh fish and meat, baked goods, soups. There is something for everyone! The top floor of the market has different shops. Check out http://lonsdalequay.com for a list of vendors.

Lonsdale Quay also boasts a gorgeous view of Vancouver especially on a clear day.

There are also often beautiful boats docked next to the market. The large yacht usually docked wasn’t there but there were some smaller boats.

I grabbed a London Fog from Bean Around the World Coffees (my all-time favourite London Fog) and Allison got a drink from Starbucks and we hopped on the Seabus back to Waterfront Station.

We decided we would walk by the water. There is a gorgeous view of the North Shore from Canada Place. Nothing beats seeing the snowcapped mountains and shimmering water on a sunny day.

We walked down to Jack Poole Plaza where the Olympic Cauldron is. From there we walked along the Coal Harbour Seawall to Broughton Street before heading back towards Waterfront Station. There is so much to see along the Seawall; sea planes, wildlife, boats.

Vancouver truly is a gorgeous city. We do get our fair share of rain, okay more than our fair share, but it is the rain that keeps everything so beautiful, lush and green!

Yaletown & Main Street

It’s May Long Weekend and we’ve finally got some gorgeous weather! My friend, Brook, and I took advantage of the sunshine and headed to the streets of Vancouver yesterday.

We started off in Yaletown before heading down to the water. Beautiful!

Hunger started to kick in and we were looking for a patio to relax on. We recalled walking by a Tacofino earlier and headed there. I had heard great things about Tacofino but had never been. I was NOT disappointed. A fish taco, a soft and crunchy carnita taco and a paloma satisfied my food and beverage needs!  Their website is https://www.tacofino.com/location/yaletown-burrito-bar.

We wondered through Yaletown awhile longer and stopped in at the Yaletown Distilling Co. for a vodka tasting. I tasted their mandarin vodka and it was only $2.  Check out http://ytdistilling.com/.

We decided to pop in to Goorin Bros. Hat Shop (http://www.goorin.com/) and within seconds one of the girls working asked if we wanted some beer while we were there! What!?! Really!?! Yes please! It turned out they had a little Happy Hour thing going on with beer and entertainment. They have it every Saturday and this week Coldwater Road was featured. You can find their music on Spotify or check out their website: https://www.coldwaterroad.com/.

This store had a ton of cool hats most of which I would say were reasonably priced. And if you’re looking for a feather for your hat, look no further than the feather bar…

At this point we decided to head to Main Street so we hopped back on the Skytrain and got off at Main Street-Science World. We walked up Main and went into a few gift-type stores. We wanted another drink before we headed home and ended up choosing Colony Bar (http://colonymainst.com/.) It had a cool little bar to sit at outside – great for people watching! I wish I had taken a picture.

Afterwards, we hopped on the #3 Bus down Main to the Skytrain station…my first time on a bus in Vancouver since we hosted the Olympics in 2010, HA! Despite a bit of a sunburn and my first blisters of the season it was an awesome adventure!

Challenge Accepted: May’s Mini-Adventure on “The Drive”

I’ve lived in the suburbs of Vancouver my entire life and I’ve been to Commercial Drive or “The Drive” as many locals call it, all of three times. 10 years ago with a girlfriend, early last year on a date (Sula Indian Restaurant is delicious. See http://sulaindianrestaurant.com) and last summer with girlfriends (You really can’t beat La Mezcaleria. See http://www.lamezcaleria.ca.) Never by myself, here was my chance to complete my solo adventure for May.

I took the Skytrain from Coquitlam Central Station to Commercial- Broadway Station (if I’d driven I might have had to parallel park haha.)  Once off the train I headed started walking on Commerical towards 1st Ave. I admit it was kinda sketchy at first, but the more I walked the nicer it got.

My first stop was at JJ Bean for a quick coffee. It was good but I had been to another location before. Next time I would keep walking, as I came across a couple different coffee shops a few blocks later.

I continued on my way stopping to browse in some of the used book stores and other shops and I picked up some cute notebooks from Lala’s on the Drive.  I came across Rosemary Rocksalt which makes Montreal-style bagels. I picked up 1/2 dozen bagels and kept trekking along.

Visit https://rosemaryrocksalt.com for info!

Dinner time arrived so I started looking for somewhere to eat. There was no shortage of choices but I felt like sushi. I ended up going to Sushi Ville. For $10.50 I got a huge California Bento Box. I couldn’t finish it all; that RARELY happens! Sushi Ville is worth a visit.

After sushi I headed back to Skytrain. Throughout the day I was reminded that The Drive is quite an eclectic street, visited by all kinds of people and lined with a ton of different ethnic eateries and shops. I only went as far as Charles Street but I know there is more to offer beyond there. It’s definitely worth checking out. The Commercial Drive Neighbourhood website at http://www.commercial-drive.com has information about community events!

Challenge Accepted: April’s Mini-adventure in New Westminster

Earlier this month I challenged myself to do one thing each month that I wouldn’t normally to alone. And there I was this morning, April 29th, still not having done anything. Not willing to let myself just forget about it I decided to hop on the Skytain and venture to New Westminster Quay, which I discovered is now called River Market at Westminster Quay . I hadn’t been since it had been redone and I was pleasantly surprised. River Market is a short walk from New Westminster Station so it was super easy to access.

I entered on the 2nd floor and came across this cool hopscotch “game” that included facts about New Westminster in some of the boxes. A man ahead of me pulled his keys out of his pocket, threw them onto a square and proceeded to play. Nothing like reverting back to your childhood!

The next thing I saw was the Vancouver Circus School where people were trying all kinds of things. While it’s not my cup of tea, mostly because I’m afraid, I can imagine it was quite fun for everyone that was bouncing around.  There were a few business on this level and I checked out a pottery shop that sold pottery created by local artisans. There was also a craft fair supporting a local elementary school.

Downstairs boasted more shops and a variety of eateries. I was tempted to try something from Re-Up BBQ (I will another time) but opted for a London Fog from Tre Galli Gelato Caffe. Since once of my reasons for challenging myself is to be out of my comfort zone I forced myself to find a table to sit at instead of walking with my drink.

When I finished my drink I went for a short walk along the Fraser River. It was raining, surprise surprise, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I remember seeing this Tin Soldier before but I didn’t recall knowing it was the tallest one in the world!

I also popped into the Fraser River Discovery Centre to see what it was all about. It turns out it’s a museum with tons of interactive and hands-on activities. I thought it might be good for a school field trip so I inquired about that.

Finally I hit Columbia Street and walked to Big Star Sandwich Co. which I had seen when driving by in the past. I ordered a small #2 (turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese and guacamole.) It was really good and I would go back again!

After eating in the establishment (look at me go, that was twice I didn’t get something to go!) I walked back to New West Station and so ended my mini-adventure.

I have to say I really enjoyed it and while my challenge was only one thing per month I think I’ll be more inclined to do more. It was fun to explore somewhere different and I really didn’t care what anyone was thinking about me sitting somewhere alone.

Check out:

http://rivermarket.ca/
https://bigstarsandwich.com/
https://www.fraserriverdiscovery.org/

 

Living in the Moment

Put April, May and June together and what have you got? Aprilmayjune. In no time the school year will come to an end. Stress levels are high. Patience is wearing thin. And all the while, for various reasons, many of us, myself included, are wishing the days away. I often catch myself thinking about the future: summer plans, the next school year, completing my graduate diploma (I’m only one semester in!) But lately, I’ve been working on being more present and have started exploring meditation as you’ll see below.

Oprah & Deepak Hope in Uncertain Times:

A good friend and colleague mentioned a 21-day Meditation Experience that she had done in the past. As luck would have it, a new 21-day program had just started so I downloaded the app. In the past I was super skeptical of meditation. Afterall, I was the person who had to stifle laughter the first few times I went to yoga when I was expected to sit there silently.  Anyway, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Each day there is a new centering thought, Sanskrit mantra and message.

Oprah and Deepak speak about the daily topic and then the meditation begins. I was presently surprised to find it so relaxing. I was able, if only for a short period of time, to take my mind off of work and life stresses. I admit I’m a few days behind but it’s something I believe I will continue with.

Visit https://chopracentermeditation.com for more info!

Guided Meditation at Kushala Yoga:

Another good friend and colleague mentioned Guided Meditation by donation at a local yoga studio so a few of us decided to check it out. I’ve been twice and both weeks were different. The first week included a 30 minute meditation…yikes! I didn’t think I would be able to do it for that long but I surprised myself. It really didn’t seem like that long. The second week was different; we did concentration exercises (counting breaths) and a 10 minute meditation. Both were great and this has become part of my Thursday night.

You can find info about the studio here: https://www.kushalayoga.com

I think meditation helps me to remember to live in the moment. To focus on what’s happening in the present. Today is a gift. I need to let go of my current worries and anxieties about the future. I shouldn’t be counting the minutes until the end of the day or counting the days until summer. Life is precious. Live every day like it’s your last; one day it will be.

Challenge Accepted: Changing my Definition of Independent

Independent? I have a career. I own a home. I own a car. I pay my own bills. I do my own shopping. I have a savings account. Surely this means I’m independent, right?

I’ve recently been reminiscing about my solo trip to Amsterdam last summer. During those two weeks I experienced a different type of independence; one that was quite different than at home. But why? Why is it that when I travel I thoroughly enjoy taking public transit? At home I haven’t taken a bus since 2010 and I take the Skytain the least amount possible. Why is it that I didn’t hesitate one bit to eat at a restaurant alone in Amsterdam? I wouldn’t dream of doing that at home. And walking around Vancouver by myself? No way! Yet walking around Amsterdam solo was incredible.

Why is it that when I’m at home I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone? I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have to. I’m surrounded by family and friends to join me at restaurants or exploring Vancouver and I don’t need to take public transit often because I have a car.  But if there is something I want to do that nobody else wants to or nobody else is available that day…I don’t do it. I stay home and miss out. It’s ridiculous really. I long to feel that sense of independence I had in Amsterdam when I’m at home. And so, I’ve challenged myself…

Once a month for the remainder of 2017 I will do something I wouldn’t normally do. Alone. Go out for coffee and actually sit in the coffee shop. Eat a meal in a restaurant. Go to a movie. Walk around downtown Vancouver. Go for a hike. Check out a museum. Really, the possibilities are endless. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll feel that different type of independence or maybe I won’t. Maybe that feeling can only be found while in a different country. All I know is that there is only one way to find out.

The Road More Travelled

This post is really more for myself as opposed to anyone else.  It’s more of a means for me to keep track of my travels and it will be edited as time goes on.  More than once, for whatever reason, I’ve found myself trying to think of the places I have been.  A post like this will make it easy for me to remember!  I certainly haven’t done as much travelling as many people but I feel like I’m off to a good start…

CANADA
British Columbia – home sweet home!
Alberta – Edmonton
Ontario – Niagara Falls, Toronto

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Alaska – Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Juneau, Whittier
Arizona – Scottsdale
California – Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco
Florida – Orlando
Hawaii – Maui
Oregon – Portland
Massachusetts – Boston
Nevada – Las Vegas, Wendover
New York – Buffalo, New York City, Niagara Falls
*Puerto Rico – San Juan
Utah – Wendover
Washington – Bellingham, Seattle

EUROPE
Belgium – Bruges, Ghent
England – London, Richmond
Germany – Cologne, Cochem
The Netherlands – Amsterdam, Volendam
Scotland – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverurie

MEXICO
Cabo San Lucas
Puerto Vallarta

BAHAMAS
Nassau
Princess Cays
Half Moon Cay

SINT MAARTEN
Philipsburg

SAINT-MARTIN
Marigot

TURKS AND CAICOS
Grand Turk