Summer Reads: Cheryl Strayed Edition

Wildwild

At first I was like, a woman goes on a long hike by herself? Boring. And then everyone was like, no it’s really good. She faces challenges and the hike helps her. And I was like what kind of challenges? And everyone was like her mom dies and she does drugs and her relationship ends, and she went on the hike to find herself. And I was like, yeah that sounds hard, but not uniquely hard. She must be crazy pretentious to feel she had to write a book about it. And then everyone was like, shut up and read the book.

So I read it. And I didn’t put it down until I was finished. I couldn’t. Because that’s how good this book is. Wild is so captivating and well written and just beautiful that I fell in love instantly. I loved it despite it being one of my least favourite genres. By now I’m sure most people reading this have all ready read it, so you get me. And if you haven’t read it, I absolutely recommend you pick it up today.

 

 

tiny

 

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

After Wild I couldn’t wait to read Tiny Beautiful Things, a series of letters from Strayed’s online advice column Dear Sugar. I related to exactly zero of the letters requesting advice in the book. None of them. However, I took something from each and every beautiful response. Each one inspired and encouraged me. You know someone is a great writer when the response they provide to  someone mourning the death of a 50-year partner (something I know nothing about) touches you in such a way you have a new confidence in wherever it is you are in your life.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to anyone going a transition or facing a life challenge. And if your particular transition or challenge isn’t touched upon in this book, it won’t matter, you will still put it down as inspired as if it had.

Happy Sunday…

Some things that have made me happy over the last little while…

Journalling. I’ve officially been keeping a daily journal for two years now. I can’t even tell you how cool it is to look back on what I was doing/how I was feeling that day 1 year ago and now two years ago. So much can change over the course of a year. SO. Much. I would recommend this practise to anyone, even if it’s just a few lines each day.

Dry Shampoo. Since becoming a blonde back in June I’ve been trying to cut down on how frequently I shampoo/condition my hair, as we all know by now that sudsing up often is no good for your locks. Dry shampoo has been saving my butt, or at least keeping me from looking like a grease-ball in between washes. I’m using got2b and am happy with it, but Batiste is supposed to be even better.

Sons of Anarchy. I’m only on the first season, but I am so hooked. I get the hype. Although, not sure starting an addicting TV show with such a limited number of summer days left  was a good life choice on my part.

Sleeping on the couch. Love that.

Summer markets.  I’ve bought beautiful furniture and amazing fresh produce. I’ve had tamales and fresh juice and local beer and cider. I’ve overcome the desire to buy jewellery and bags and pottery. The summer market season is coming to an end sooner than later, so hit these up while you still have a chance.

App cleanse. Though “happy” might be an over-simplified description for what I’m feeling. I deleted the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter apps from my phone on Friday. I still plan on using all three platforms, I just don’t want them at my finger tips for right now. More on this later.

Happy Sunday. xo

Adult Things to Drink in Vernon, BC

Prior to falling in love with an Okanagan boy, I had never before visited Canada’s wine country. Now I get to go there once or twice a year. Lucky me. And with each trip to his home town, Kurt, who doesn’t drink at all but is a super rad boyfriend, makes sure to take me on a little boozey tour. Here are some of my favourite places to sip:

Ex Nihilo

The experience: I visited Ex Nihilo on the recommendation of 2 of it’s employees, possibly the vitner and his son? The owner and his son? I don’t even know, but it doesn’t matter. I served them last fall when I was still a part time waitress and they were awesome. This place is great. They have a set tasting menu, all of which were great. The space is beautiful and has lots of art, which you are encouraged to tour, wine in hand. The young woman, Nina, who gave me the tasting, was unreal and is absolutely an asset to the vineyard. She had people skills that are much too rare these days.

What I bought: Riesling $19 Actually Kurt bought it for me. The tasting had a $5 fee that was waved if you purchased a bottle of wine, which justified the purchase to him. I thought this was spicier than any other Riesling I’ve had in awhile, best paired with something. Not sure what though. Ask them, they will have ideas.

Best drunk: At dinner with your boyfriends parents, who love white wine and also you, but who you are still trying to kind of impress.

Arrowleaf

The experience: This is right across the street from Ex Nihilo so if you do one you have to do both. The tasting menu is not set, meaning you can chose whatever you like and is free. The woman who gives the tasting, I wish I knew her name, but I don’t, is awesome. Sweet and knowledgeable and funky and not at all intimidating. The room itself is small, but the view is beautiful and they are adding on what I’m sure will be an amazing addition. I can’t wait to come back here summer 2015.

What I bought: Pinot Gris $17 I love this wine. It’s so good.

Best drunk: Mid-afternoon on a Sunday with friends you don’t see enough.

Gray Monk

The experience: Of all the wineries we visited, this one is the most established. It’s beautiful inside and out. There is a restaurant onsite that I have not tried so I can’t speak to personally, but I’m sure is both delicious and expensive. The tasting list is long and complementary with a list of premium wines you can pay a small fee to taste. I exploited the free list and also paid $2 to sample all the bubblies, which was totally worth it.

What I bought: White Brut $17 for a small bottle. This is some of the best sparkling wine I’ve ever tasted. I truly wish I had bought 3 large bottles instead of 1 small one.

Best drunk: At a celebration! Like your boyfriend’s brother’s engagement, for example. Or your best friend’s. Or any of the other couples that all got engaged over the last 3 weeks.

The BX Press

The experience: This place is literally down the street from Kurt’s parents house. His brother is best friend’s with a guy that grew up on this farm. Cool, right? If the BX Press existed in Victoria it would be a crazy success based on the branding alone. The room is beautiful. The design flawless and hip. The ciders each have a kitchy wild west type story based on the history of the region. I love it here. At the tasting you get to try the 3 ciders, all of which are on the dry side of delicious.

What I bought: The 3 Pack $24 A bottle each of The Bandit, The Hostler, and The Prospector. All delicious.

Best drunk: On your patio after an extra hard run/hike/workout. Even better, pour one into a plastic cup and enjoy in the shower after said workout.

Intrigue

The experience: Neither as beautiful as the other vineyards listed here, not as hip as the cidery, but I think that might make them try harder with regards to the quality of their product.  So. Good. Also, the tasting list is long and free, so that rules.

What I bought: A very yummy Gewurztraminer $17

Best drunk: At the beach on a picnic, eating potato salad and watching the sun go down with the one you love.

 

Happy Saturday

Guardians of the Galaxy. I laughed. I sobbed. I sat on the edge of my seat with excitement. My heart was thoroughly warmed. Go see it this weekend. Seriously.

My job. I freaking love going to work every day. I work for a global charity that provides health care in West Africa. If you’ve read the news in the last few months, you know it’s a volatile time. While I have no say in the strategic direction of our organization, I have a great deal of say in how that direction is communicated to Canadians. Lots of careful thinking right now. I like that. Our revenues are also up 37% from last year. As a fundraiser that pretty much means I’m 37% busier these days. I’m usually brain dead by 5pm every work day (which is the biggest reason why the blog has been lame lately) but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life is a Picture, But You Live in a Pixel. The idea that when you look back on your life it may be a grand picture, but now, today, this moment, is just a pixel in that image. It’s about learning to find happiness in that pixel.

Love and not keeping secrets. Back in April I got a message from my friend Trevor. He was designing an engagement ring for my best friend Katie and wanted my input. I was happy to give it, obviously, and so, so, so happy that they were going to get engaged, but I also had to keep a big, giant secret from the person I have literally told EVERYTHING to over the last 9 years. I’ve never doubted myself more. Last week it finally happened! One of the most radical couples I know are officially engaged and I am once again secret free!

No ferry waits. If you live on the island you know what I mean.

Crust Bakery. Go here. Get a cronut or one of their other amazing treats. You’ll love me for suggesting it.

 

Healthy Food that Tastes Good: Potato Salad

Guys, it’s half-way through August. There isn’t much summer left. Make the most of it with some picnic friendly food, and obviously, a picnic.

Try this potato salad recipe for your next excursion, just like how mom used to make, but waaaay healthier.

The following takes about 45 minutes to make and is a side dish for 10 people or a main for 5.potato

Ingredients

5 eggs
1 bag of mini potatoes (about 30 potatoes)
10 stalks of celery
3 peppers (I use red, orange and yellow)
1 bunch green onions
3 tablespoons low fat mayo
optional 1 avocado

Directions

Hard boil your eggs. Personally, I like to put the eggs in water, turn it on high and just leave them there for 30 minutes, but everyone has their own way for boiling eggs.

At the same time, put on a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once this is happening add the potatoes and leave them in there until you can easily stick a fork through one (10-20 minutes).

Chop up the onions, celery and peppers and put them into a big bowl.

You will probably have a couple of minutes of downtime here, especially if you have a chopping helper, so do with it as you will.

When the potatoes are ready, chop them up into what you think is bite-size (I quarter or half them) and do the same with the eggs. Add to the big bowl.

Stir in the mayo. If you plan on eating this all that day you can use an avocado instead of all or most of the mayo, which is delicious but does put a time limit on how long this will keep.

Enjoy!