life lately (on the hill)

Itching to see 200 photos of mountains with a some cute kids mixed in? Here’s life lately. In February we travelled across to the country to spend a late Christmas holiday with our family from another country. Mike’s parents came as well and we enjoyed a five glorious days skiing  at Whistler with some Vancouver sightseeing to bookend the adventure.

Day 1

With the time-change, I was wide -awake at 5:00 am and went out for a run around Stanley Park. Not the smartest thing to do alone in a big city, but it was a bucket-list item … It was really dark (which is why these pics are so grainy) and also why I thought the statue in the water was a real person. img_0153 img_0150img_0155After breakfast we met up with Mike’s brother and his family and went back to Stanley Park to the see the totem poles and visit the Vancouver Aquarium.img_0158In daylight, she looks a lot less real.img_0169Joel, David, Evan and Celeste:img_0162img_0160 img_0178As a devote DANGER BAY fan, I was excited to see where Dr. Robert’s worked:img_0171 Sting Ray touch tank:img_0176 img_0174 img_0173 img_0172Afterwards, we took a bus to Whistler and made it in time to see the fire show.img_0183img_0181

Day 2

The kids went to ski school for the first three days and had a blast.img_0188… And here are the mountain photos – I mostly skied alone on the first day.img_0190 img_0191 img_0192 img_0194 img_0197 img_0199 img_0200 img_0205At the end of the day, I rode the peak-to-peak – the gondola that takes you on a +4km  ride from Whistler to Blackcomb mountain:img_0205c img_0205d img_0206 img_0207

Day 3

I skied with my father-in-law. He was incredibly patient (with my skiing and photo taking) and I convinced him to ride a t-bar up to Blackcomb Glacier… then we hiked up a hill just to snap some more pics.img_0208 img_0209 img_0210 img_0215 img_0216 Carl and me on the top:img_0217 img_0218 img_0219 img_0226Lunch with the Ackermans:img_0213Whistler village has totem poles too.img_0227img_0230img_0231Terrible photo (sorry) but it’s the only one I have of Jeff and Allie. It was great to see them again!img_0242

Day 4

It was rainy at the bottom and wet snow at the top so I only skied in the morning. img_0245 img_0248But I enjoyed the mitten warmers in the bathroom at one of the hill-top restaurants:img_0249 img_0250 img_0251 img_0252 img_0253After lunch, I roamed around the village and grabbed a coffee.img_0256

Day 5

We got in line super early for the first-tracks breakfast at the top of the hill. Steve, Celeste and Rachel on one side:img_0257 And me and Pauline on the other:img_0258 David and Evan own the podium:img_0259 img_0260 After breakfast we attempted to all ski down together… which did not happen. Turns out, families that ski together, don’t stay together. img_0264 Half of us headed over to Blackcomb for the rest of the day:img_0267 Back on the peak-to-peak, this time with Mike, Evan and David.img_0269

Day 6

Our last ski day at Whistler – it was great to see how much the kids improved with just 3 days at ski school. They’re so much better than me, and brave! img_0273 The best part about skiing:img_0276 img_0277 img_0278

Day 7

Our last bit of time with the family before they travelled back to England. Joel is already taller than me… and I am guessing Evan will be too the next time we meet…img_0280 img_0281 img_0286 The village rink and playground:img_0287 img_0291 img_0292 Cousin time is the best time:img_0293 img_0294 img_0296

Day 8

Back in Vancouver, we explored the city and rode the mini taxi boats to Granville Island.img_0301img_0308img_0309img_0312img_0311David thought I was taking a picture of him but obviously, I was taking pictures of the palm trees:img_0313We had lunch with Nelson and his lovely family – Nelson and I met in University and it’s been years since we’ve seen each other – what a treat!img_0314img_0315img_0316Earl’s in Yaletown:img_0305 And finally, hockey night to wrap up the holiday.img_0326 img_0327 img_0332psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomegimg_0298

east vs. west

Not one but several people warned me that if I go West, I will never come back. I am sure this comes from my love for all things California but I am here to say, I went West and I did come back.

Did I love it? Yes! Was it beautiful? Yes! Is it the best coast? Not sure.

Don’t get me wrong… every place we visited, we imagined ourselves living there (Oak Bay, Victoria… I’m talking about you). So active. So green. So many mountains! They have it all and the people were really friendly. We had a great time but as much as I loved the West Coast, I still think there are some amazing things about living over here, next to the Atlantic. All of Canada is beautiful and I am certain, as long as I am near a coast, I will be happy.

Here are some pictures of the trip: 6 Days. 5 Ferries. 4 great runs. 3 awesome hikes. 2 countries. 1 wedding and 0 whale sightings…

Day 1: We flew in and out of Seattle mostly because airfare was muuuch cheaper and partly because we really wanted to see Seattle. It’s lovely – like a mini San Francisco or a big Halifax (although Halifax has a better waterfront (just saying)). Our flight left Halifax at 5:20 am (that’s 1:20 am Seattle time) so when we arrived at 10:30 am Seattle time it was feeling like 2:30 pm Halifax time. We were sleepy, not sleepless, but made the most of the 24 hours and took full advantage of their caffeine supply. We didn’t crash until 10:00 pm Seattle time (which felt like 2:00 am Halifax time)! dsc_0295Seattle has a monorail which takes you from the Space Needle to downtown. Totally touristy, totally worth the $2.50.img_6305We had lunch downtown in Westlake Park at The People’s Burger food truck – my portobello mushroom burger was amazing. We then walked down the Pike Street to Pike Place Market and found the Pike Street Starbucks and the original Starbucks. There was fish throwing and salt water taffy but I was most impressed with the price of flowers.img_6308img_6310dsc_0297img_6313img_6314img_6315img_6316After an afternoon downtown, I dragged Mike to University Village… which is in a kind of attached to the University of Washington but actually just a big outdoor mall full of really nice stores. The drive around the campus was beautiful and I was so excited to go to Oiselle. When I arrived, I was surprised to see Kate Grace was in the store doing a talk about her Olympic experience (she’s sponsored by Oiselle and I had cheered for both her and our Melissa Bishop in the 800m final). I happily listened to her but I’m not going to lie… I was more interested in trying on the running clothes! As soon as the autographs started, I weaved in and out and all around the fans, trying to decided how many tanks and shorts I was allowed to smuggle across the border! (“kidding” D.T.)img_6320Day 2: The next morning, fully on Seattle time, I went for a run around the city and then we left via ferry #1 (Bainbridge Island) North to Port Angeles. I am really glad we chose this route because it was a chance to see more of Washington – it’s a beautiful state. We arrived in Victoria at 7:20 pm – just in time for Mike to hook up with his friend. dsc_0305img_6328img_6332dsc_0306dsc_0307dsc_0309Before hopping on ferry #2 which took us across the border to Victoria, we spent some time in the Port Angeles area including Olympic National Park. Sorry, I forgot to photograph my fish taco.dsc_0315dsc_0316dsc_0320Hey Mike, stop so I can take your picture next to the tall trees…dsc_0321Hey Mike, pretend you’re excited! dsc_0322dsc_0324G’bye America, hello beautiful British Columbia – I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see you!img_6334Day 3: While Mike was recovering from the night out with his friend, I went for a beautiful run all around Victoria. It’s the best way to see a city because I was up before all the tourists (how else to you get pictures without people in your way?)… Victoria is unbelievable – there is a waterfront trail that wraps around the city that I ran along which was so fantastic – along the way I found MILE 0 of the Trans Canada and the Terry Fox memorial, and then a castle!?!img_6341img_6352img_6353img_6354img_6358We then spent a few hours roaming around the city and had lunch at Rebar. (I bought the cookbook and made the carrot cake but would love to test out some more recipes on friends). On our way out of the city, I took Mike on a drive of my morning running route so he could see all the beautiful highlights.dsc_0341dsc_0342dsc_0344img_6362That afternoon we drove up to Bear Mountain and hiked to the top of Mount Finlayson before having a lovely 10-year anniversary dinner. img_6365img_6370img_6371Day 4: Although Bear Mountain is meant for golfing, there are great trails and I took Mike on his first trail run the next day. Holy hills!img_6374img_6375img_6376After our run, we packed up and set off for ferry #3 – Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. On our way, we stopped for lunch at this lovely coffee shop in Cobble Hill and ate a Nanaimo bar (and Nanaimo bar ice cream) while waiting to board the ferry in Nanaimo (as they say, when in Rome…).dsc_0375img_6382img_6384From Horseshoe Bay, we u-turned and got on ferry #4 to Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. We went straight to a cottage for a rehearsal dinner. It was dark and stormy (but wine for me) and you could hear the ocean.

Day 5: Ironically, the only time we had rain was while on the Sunshine Coast however it was so beautiful! At the rehearsal dinner the night before, the brother of the bride offered to take me on a 17 km run. Even in the pouring rain, it was such a great route and we ended right in front of Molly’s Reach just in time for breakfast! (As a CBC Canadian kid who didn’t have cable until the age of 12, The Beachcombers is a big deal). The sun came out just in time for a lovely wedding!img_6387img_6392img_6393img_6396Hello sunshine! Hello Sunshine Coast!img_6399Day 6: After a wild wedding night and brunch, we jumped on ferry #5 back to Horseshoe Bay. Despite the shenanigans of last night, we managed to haul our butts up The Grouse Grind which was a fun way to sweat all of the tequila out of the system. The view from the top was totally worth it. Once we descended, via the skyline, we headed back to Seattle. Since we are coming back to B.C. in February, we drove straight through Vancouver (got a little sneak peek) and waited for the longest time ever at the border. Our flight was at 6:00 am the next morning. img_6406img_6407img_6408img_6411I know, I wrote beautiful eight times!!! Sorry, not sorry. The West Coast is stunning and I took way more photos of the ocean and mountains than I am showing here. I can not wait to go back and see more but until then, I will enjoy the East! dsc_0386

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

heading west

A few people have warned me that if I go west, I may not come back… probably because of my somewhat obsessive love of all things California.

I get it – mountains and oceans + great sport wear is very luring.

So my friends, the time has come… I am finally ready to find out for myself if the West Coast is the (second) best coast of Canada.

Mike and I are going to British Columbia in September for a wedding and the timing works out well to make it our ten-year anniversary adventure. And even better, thanks to the HIGH Canadian travel costs, it’s a lot cheaper to fly to Seattle so we’re adding an American city to the holiday. Let the planning and list making begin!

First up, what’s up in Seattle? I am looking for tips and suggestions for places to stay, coffee to drink, parks to run and neighbourhoods to explore. We will have 2 sleepless days in Seattle and I want to make the most of it. SeattleI have done a bit of research and have discovered the following:

A. Seattle likes purple. Me too! Go Huskies.

B. Seattle is green. It is the Emerald City. Seattle’s Emerald City nickname comes directly from this greenery. Emerald City also echoes Washington State’s nickname of The Evergreen State. (source).

CSeattleites shop local. Markets seem like a big deal. Pike Place was the third thing I thought of when I booked flights to Seattle (right after Starbucks and Meg and right before the Space Needle).

D. Seattle does seafood. Sure, I will have a taco but I’m from Atlantic Canada – this will not be a highlight.

E. Seattle blows. Did y’all know about their thing for glass?

FSeattle smells. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Death Cab For Cutie (kind of)… Music is big in Seattle. My hometown of Halifax is Seattle of the North so I get it.

G./O. Seattleites run. Although I do not own any of their gear, I want to. I love everything about Oiselle and am excited to go to their flagship store located in University Village. I will also be in the middle of marathon training during our trip so I need some good running routes out west.

H. Seattle already has a Meg. I like to research cities by watching movies filmed there. Sleepless in Seattle seems like an obvious choice.

I. Seattle is dreamy. I recently went down a deep dark Netflix hole and started Grey’s Anatomy S1E1… It totally holds up.

J./M. Seattle drinks. Coffee and beer. Oh my! 

K./N. Seattle is hip. I try to avoid the tacky and look for the designy souvenirs when travelling. Plus, our shot glass collection is bursting at the seams.

L. Seattle sews. Question… is the tour worth it? Seems like an iconic must-see when in Seattle. Yea or nay?

Please, please please let me know what you loved in Seattle.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg