The North Shore of Vancouver is now maybe one of my favorite places in the entire city . . . so serene, so seclusive, so peaceful. This place on the edge of the rocks makes you feel as if you are the only person on the shoreline. Beautiful homes in the distance give off an air full of zen with their stance and earthy nature that nearly blends into the trees. Just a few humans walking their canine best friends. Clouds in the distance, unsure of whether they should let loose their rain or not. Canada Geese dancing their way across the ripples. The sounds all around as light as a whisper. The breeze even lighter, with a touch of warmth as the sun breaks through every few minutes. I want to come back with my paper and watercolors to interpret its restful nature, and then hang it up in my home. And it doesn’t matter that I would probably be the only one who knows what that picture represents. Or I’ll just sit on the edge of a rock and let my mind clear for a bit, because we all deserve to have that time to recharge. On this beautiful North Shore, anything seems possible. Even if it’s just a five minute, ten minute escape from reality.
One of my favorite things to do when I visit a cool city that I don’t know too well is to explore its local food scene. And let me tell you, Vancouver’s food and night life scene was flourishing at the maximum level. I already knew this fact from my first trip to Vancouver 1.5 years ago, but I feel like I got to take an even bigger and better bite out of the city this time around. And having warmer weather helped, as well (despite being a little gloomy, but things could be worse). Our friend Kiara took us to one of her faaaaavorite spots for Chinese fusion, called Bae Bei, in the Chinatown neighborhood of the city. She talked it way up before we got to the restaurant, so I entered with high hopes. After literally what felt like 10 dishes in, I left with a belly full of love and wonder for what just entered it. Bao Bei made me feel warm and fuzzy instead, and was one of the biggest delights for my senses. Every single dish was phenomenal and bursting to the brim full of flavor. All the dishes are meant to be shared amongst the table, which makes it one big, fun tasting fest. And it makes it especially interesting and exciting to those who still need to get a little outside of their comfort eating zone. Let me just list all the fabulous and mouth watering goodness that we devoured in the 1.5 hours at the restaurant. With a side of Vancouver’s very own 33 Acres beer.
Sichuan Cucumbers with spicy vinaigrette
Crispy Tofu with garlic sweet soy and fresh water chestnut
Kick Ass House Fried Rice with bacon, egg, broccoli, Lebanese pickles, pimento habanero soy sauce
Spicy Noodles with flat wheat noodles, chili lamb mince, pork fat, sesame sauce, cucumber, preserved yellow bean
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for three girls, we actually went a little overboard. The fried rice was by far my favorite dish, and it literally kicked my ass just like how its name says. It was the best, best fried rice I’ve ever tried in my life. The bacon made all the difference. I could have eaten a whole bowl by myself. By the time the Sticky Rice Cakes came, we were far beyond letting down the zipper of our jeans for extra space. But it was well worth it. We slept hard that night and dreamt of more Asian fusion delights.
Make sure to check out this cozy and super cute spot if you ever visit Vancouver. The decor is the perfect mix of Asian and European. You won’t regret any bite at this place, I promise!
Home really is where the heart is for me. Well, in the case of this blog post . . . home is where the jungle is. I haven’t lived in too many places, but I have traveled quite a bit, and I have learned a lot about what it takes to adjust to different situations, in different places, in different speeds of living life. Even for just a short period of time. I’ve made it a point to be aware of the act of broadening my verizons on my travels. To get outside my comfort zone. To think outside my box. To be open to things without setting up a standard sets of expectations for myself. To prep myself for being surprised rather than be underwhelmed. But not gonna lie, it isn’t always that easy. Adjusting doesn’t just happen at a snap of the fingers because you say that you want it to happen that quickly. It takes time, and sometimes a lot of work and patience, and maybe faking patience, and heartbreak, and good times overshadowed by bad times and vice versa. It takes support of those you love, and support from yourself, as well. And that support form yourself, that deepest trust in your gut and intuitive force . . . well, that might be the strongest tool of navigating this great big thing called life. Every new place I travel to, I make sure to take back home something refreshing and eye-opening. And I feel lucky to be able to travel with those who are some of my best friends. And that’s a feeling that one should never take for granted. My experiences are so much more grand and long-lived when they are shared experiences. Costa Rica was an awakening for my senses and acted as tender love and care for the parts of my mind that needed it the most. I think the jungle is where I was meant to explore the most. The way the light bounced through the ant chewed leaves and the pops of exotic flora in a tenderly lush array of green is like a soothing song for my soul. Even the poisonous snakes and frogs we came across on our jungle hike got me excited. A reminder that the world is full of beautiful miracles. Enjoy these pictures as much as I did taking them. Hope they inspire you to travel someplace exotic, and full of life and unfamiliar sounds.
There were many things I took away from our trip to Tennessee for Bonnaroo. But there were two that really stuck out to me. The fact that everyone looks good with sunshine on their faces. And the second fact that everyone looks good with music glistening onto their souls. Sunshine and music. They are two things that will love of us unconditionally forever, as we over time will come to love them in the exact same way. Two things we find all around us in the summertime, but that we can sometimes overlook unless we take a second or two to really stop and notice. To feel it being caressed onto our skin and massaged into our brains, signaling things that science can only really explain in the deepest of detail but that our hearts need only a few faster than normal fluttering beats to express. The heat and the vibrations. The way they make us feel the moment they hit us. They way they soak into us and wash over us in a way that is always reliable and always constant. No matter how many times we’ve felt it. No matter how many times we’ve heard it. No matter how many times we’ve danced under the same song and under the same old hot as heck sun, we take comfort in the good feeling they give us and the dreams they instill in us. The way they make us feel better and stronger in the first few seconds. How they give us confidence as if we’ve had years of practice in self-worth. They give us so many good things and we don’t even really need to understand why. We don’t need to understand all the characters all our favorite songs make us want to be. We don’t need to understand the chemical reaction that happen between the moment the sun hits the skin and the first bead of sweat is created to cool us down. We just need to let it be and to enjoy it. When you are feeling lacking in something, know that the sun and the music is always there to make you feel like the strongest beaming light. The music and the sun will bring you back to life again. It is an immortal love that we humans will never have to lose trust in. Together they make something that it is our best friend. Something to share with our best friends. And for those two things that summer brings a plethora of, I am grateful. And because I am grateful, I will dance. Nashville, you had a whole lot of both, and for that I think you are really, really fab. Even with all the cheesy country music and cowboy boots and fried this and fried that. I find peace in the chaos of what makes you come alive. It’s as simple as appreciating all that. But first we must appreciate the sun and the music. And hopefully, all the other things come swinging on in just as easily.