Monday, January 2, 2017

Jasper

As we were having our out of town visitor here for the month of December, we thought it would be awesome for her to have a truly snowy experience. So we booked a train trip to Jasper for a few days & had plans to do lots of snowy things. As it turns out, we did not need a trip to Jasper to experience the extreme snow!! However, it did end up being a super cool experience taking the train and seeing & exploring a new place. Here are some details of our trip!

I've never been on a train before - have you? I had no idea what to expect! Our train left Friday evening and we were to arrive in Jasper on Saturday afternoon.

The dome car where you can sit higher up and see tons of scenery through the glass top


Here are the pros of train travel in my opinion:
- TONS of leg room
- seats recline a lot and have a leg rest
- power outlets in every row so you can charge devices 
- the bathrooms are twice as big as airplane bathrooms
- you can walk around & hang out in other areas of the train anytime you want
- beautiful scenery along the way

Here are my thoughts on the cons:
- the TIME: it took ~22 hours to get from Vancouver to Jasper)
- the stops: passenger trains are low on the totem pole in the train world, so sometimes they just stop in the middle of nowhere to let cargo trains through
- the delays: we were 3 hours delayed in getting to Jasper. On the way home, our train was supposed to pick us up in Jasper at 2 pm. It didn't come until 11 pm. Plus, we were 3 hours delayed again. Not fun, plus my poor mom waited in the train station in Vancouver for over 3 hours for us! (her cell phone had died so we couldn't reach her)

I do think it was a really neat experience but I'm not sure it would do it again, unless I have all the time in the world....


I took a knitting class a few weeks ago so thought the train would be a perfect place to finish my scarf. I did about 5 rows and it is definitely not done, FYI. Not sure knitting is my favorite thing to do at all...

The train station in Jasper

Our hotel in Jasper was directly across the street from the train station which was really convenient. We thought that winter was busy time in Jasper, but we were wrong! Apparently summer is their super busy time of year. Go figure.

One day we had planned to go snow shoeing. However, the lady at the rental shop told us there wasn't enough snow to snowshoe and that we could easily just walk all the trails instead. That was nice of her to be honest with us and not just rent us the gear! We took a cab up to Pyramid Bench and did a long walk in the snow. The return trip was all on the frozen lake. Then, we learned that the walk back to town (downhill) was only about an hour, so we walked back! (it ended up taking about 2 hours, for the record) We walked just over 15 kilometers that day. I was impressed. The whole thing was so beautiful!


I love this picture of Edwin & I - it was so beautiful there - I felt like we were somewhere super exotic! (and cold)

This was on the frozen lake walking back; it got really windy and extra cold!

Stephanie made snow angels for the first time

The next day, we went ice skating on a frozen lake at the Fairmont Jasper. (beautiful hotel, by the way) This was super fun as Stephanie nor Edwin had ice skated before! I hadn't ice skated in a long time, but was able to do a few loops and help them. My ankles were so sore after taking off the skates!




Other than that, we relaxed in our hotel room and watched some movies. Our hotel also had a rooftop hot tub so Edwin & I did a soak in there one night. It was so nice!

I wish I had some really amazing food stories to tell about Jasper, but nothing stood out hugely. We ate at some local pizza places, Smittys for breakfast a few times, and Earls for dinner once. (they did have really good fish tacos on their happy hour menu for a great price!!) I must say, the Tim Hortons there was super adorable! (Stephanie also LOVED Timbits!)


We did some shopping too and picked up a few fun souveniers. Oh and we saw some wildlife! Mostly elk & deer. We were hoping for moose, but no dice.

These elk were just hanging out at the train station!
We thought it would be colder there than it was. We were prepared for -20 kind of thing, but the coldest it got to was about -10 at some points. It really wasn't much different than Vancouver in all honesty! Overall, it was a really fun trip and felt like an adventure going somewhere cold & snowy. (usually vacations are to warm places!)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you!

Monday, December 5, 2016

December!

We have Edwin's 16 year-old niece here from Guatemala for the month of December. She just arrived on Thursday, and is in English classes for two weeks. Then, we have some Christmas/winter-y things planned after that. I think she is finding it VERY cold here, but is having fun!

As I'm sure everyone saw, there was so much snow today!! When she gets home from school, we are going to build a little snowman in the front yard. This is her first time experiencing snow!

We took Odie on a long walk to Tynehead over the weekend. Stephanie loves dogs so this was fun!

She is having some majorly Canadian experiences - Tim Hortons, ice hockey game (Pant's hockey game), and today snow!

The trees look so pretty outside. We put up our Christmas tree yesterday - its a huge one!
I hope everyone has a safe snow season :)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

food things

Hello blog world! I am sorry that I have not blogged lately, life has just been busy and I also just haven't been very into blogging as much these days. (not sure why!)

However, I do still like to read others blogs. Here are some I enjoy that you can check out if you are annoyed of seeing mine never updated! Warning: they are mostly food blogs....(shocking, I know)

1. Dinner: A Love Story
2. To Die For (a local gal!)
3. Smitten Kitchen
4. Food 52
5. Fifteen Spatulas 

Happy reading! :) 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

happy thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, there are so many things to be thankful for. There are lots of things to be thankful for on a regular basis - I need to try to post more of these kind of things. Here are just a few things I am thankful for these days.

1. Family to celebrate & be thankful with. Tonight Edwin & I are going to my parents with my grandparents and aunt, uncle and 2 cousins. Tomorrow, we are going to my cousins with a bunch of aunts, uncles cousins, and dogs. (I'll try to take some photos to put on here later this week!) 

2. A dog that is like ours when we want to pretend we have one. My parents dog (Odie) is always available to take for walks. I am thankful that we don't live very far from my parents and can just go get him as needed! He is our dog-on-demand. We love him!

This is him after one of our walks recently. Hopefully he was tired and calm that night!

3. Best friends who have adorable babies. Lindsay & Andrew had Olivia on Monday, October 3. She is just way too precious!! I could snuggle her all day!

Olivia is 1 day old here in the hospital.
4. Fun outings on weekends with the fam. My dad, bro, Edwin & I went to the Mariners game last weekend in Seattle for a day trip. We went to a pub for dinner first, and then watched the game. (the Mariners lost sadly) I am not a huge baseball fan but I AM a fan of adventures, road trips, fun food, and my family.



Seats in the nose bleeds
 5. My mom who had a birthday recently. Happy birthday momma!! We celebrated with dinner at our house. I made her favorite soup - French onion - which I happen to love as well. (like mother like daughter....) We had pasta for dinner followed by apple pie as a birthday cake. Sadly I didn't take any pictures!! (I wasn't feeling so hot this past week with a cold, my mind must have been a bit foggy)

6. An extra day off work.Who isn't thankful for an extra day to sleep in and rest?!



7.  My sister coming home soon. Yay! Albeit only for a very short time for a medical appointment, but nonetheless, if we can at least have dinner as a family one night, I'll be happy!

A selfie of us at my bachelorette party :)
I hope everyone has a great long weekend full of friends, family, and food! Bring on the STUFFING! (I don't eat turkey, but I looooove stuffing. My mom makes some outside of the bird for me. Best mom ever!)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

a September post

September 19th marked the one year anniversary of the day Edwin & I got married. It really does not feel like one year; this year has flown by. People always ask "how is married life?" and depending on who it is, I will go into more or less detail. However, the answer is always that it is great. How bad can life be when you live with your best friend and love spending time together?! It truly has been the best year of my life and I couldn't imagine it any other way. (cheesy, I know, but 100% true!!)




To celebrate, we went to Oregon on the September long weekend. On the actual day of our anniversary, Edwin gave me a giant bouquet of roses & lilies, and we went for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. With his new job, and not working insane hours, we were able to go into Vancouver for dinner and still be home by 8:30 and relax on the couch for a bit. It's so great!!


Here are some other things we've been up to this month:

Lindsay's baby shower. She is due in 2 weeks - can't wait for baby snuggles!!

The cake I made. It turned out okay from the front, but gosh, I didn't realize icing could be so challenging...

It was my Grandpa's 92nd birthday recently. We had a dinner at the golf club, and it was insanely good. (same golf club from our wedding!) This buffet even had sushi and the most amazing smoked salmon. The sushi honestly tasted like I had ordered it from a sushi restaurant. I was so impressed! This was my first plate filled with some sushi and random salads :) The food at the golf club is always so good!

Grandpa giving a birthday speech, before the pianist entertainer came out to perform.

Grandpa & Jen. Oh and it was also my grandparents 69th wedding anniversary the day after his birthday. Some pretty big milestones for them!

Edwin & I hung out with Kalan one night as his dad was out of town and his mom, Eliza, needed to go to an appointment and do some errands before their trip to Greece. (I am so jealous!!) We played cars, built some Lego, and read some books.

I decided to rearrange my spice cupboard. Wild, I know. However, I had recently bought some Epicure spices from my cousin Julia, and didn't have room in my usual cupboard. I used to keep the spices to the right of the microwave, but have since switched them to the cupboard on the left, which is several inches wider. Then, Pants built me some little wooden shelves for them so they are in three elevated rows. I can see them all now!! This is SO much easier than having to shuffle around a million spices just to get to the ones in the back.

Today, we went to the 1st birthday party of my cousins daughter, Eleanor. This is the birthday girl with my mom.

Adorable pink cookies.

Lastly, at this time last year, Edwin and I were on an insanely fun honeymoon in Central America. We were in Panajachel, Guatemala on this day last year. (here is my blog post from this part of our trip if you want to see more pictures!)

At the Sunday market

(the stairs we were standing on in the picture above, leading into a church)
Sidenote, if anyone is interested in going to Guatemala in the next 6 months or so, there are some super great flight prices out there right now. (~$400 round trip including taxes!) Thanks to my cousin Adrien for sending me the email with the info! 

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oregon

Edwin & I went to Oregon on the long weekend as a semi one-year anniversary trip and just for something fun to do! Our actual anniversary is tomorrow, September 19th, and we will be going out for dinner.

We left bright & early Saturday morning (6 am!!) and used our new Nexus cards to cross the border SO fast. It was their inaugural use, and we have quickly learned that they are very worth it! We had absolutely no wait on the way down, and literally NO questions were asked of us. He literally said  "have a good day." And we continued on. I know not every time will be like this, but hooray for less border waits! (and to be able to use the special line at the airport)

We drove to Cannon Beach that day, ordered lunch (fish & chips) and sat on the beautiful beach to eat. We walked down to the iconic Haystack Rock and then wandered around the city part and went into some stores.

(impossible to get a picture of us with the rock without other people....)


After Cannon Beach, we drove into Portland, where we were staying. We ended up going out for Mexican dinner that evening and wandering around downtown Portland.

On Sunday, we also wandered around downtown Portland and went to a brewery. I had no idea Portland had so many! We then went to a Guatemalan restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. This has been the only Guatemalan restaurant we've come found in the West Coast! It was super fun to go and have authentic food and also buy things from their market & bakery. We even bought some Guatemalan beer! (called Gallo in Guatemala, but Famoso in the states - some sort of licensing issue with the name apparently)

Beer testing

The best pretzel in the world

At Los Chapines in a suburb of Portland

Our food. Edwin had a beef dish of some sort that I cannot recall the name of, and then we shared plantains (that always come with sour cream & refried black beans) In the bowl with the blue cloth is tortillas!

My dish was called jocan. It does have chicken in it, but I just took the chicken out and gave it to Edwin. A lot of true Guatemalan dishes have meat in them, and I wanted to get something authentic. This was almost like a soup/stew that was spicy with beans and güisquil. It was really yummy!!

On Monday, the labour day holiday, we went to an outlet mall. We did buy a few things, but with the dollar not being so great, you really have to do the math to see if you are getting a good deal. After shopping and some lunch, we headed home and arrived around 9 pm.

It was really fun to have a mini getaway. I always love a good road trip!! 5.5 hours to Oregon is really not too bad. (it's nothing compared to Smithers - haha!)

We don't have any concrete plans for an upcoming vacation, but Edwin's 16 year old niece, Stephanie, will be coming to visit us for the month of December.  We are hoping to do at least one trip to a colder place in the mountains, where she can see tons of snow. I am really excited for her to have this experience!!

Happy Sunday evening - have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

a Vancouver day & a few other things

Today, Edwin & I went on a Vancouver adventure. This weekend was the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, and we have been a few times in the past for Guatemalan movies. This year, we saw "The Greatest House in the World" or, "La Casa más Grande Del Mundo." Nicely put, the movie was much more simple than we anticipated, and only one hour in length. It was about a girl who had to herd sheep by herself for the day as her mother was busy having a baby. She looses the sheep, and then finds them. The end! It was in Spanish with English subtitles, and some parts were in Quiche (said like key-chay - there is supposed to be an accent on the e but I don't know how to make it on my keyboard!), a native Guatemalan language, with English subtitles. However, I do like supporting the VLAFF and doing things where I can see Latin cultures. 

Since we were in Vancouver, we decided to go to the pop up zero-waste shop on West 4th. Ever since attending a movie on zero waste a few months ago, I've been trying to be more conscious of how much waste I contribute. This pop up shop is basically a place where they sell local and organic food, and you bring your own containers to bring it home in. (love this) They had sugar, flour, dried fruit, some vegetables, bread, and also things like natural deodorant etc. We just bought some of the bread they were selling, made with all local and organic ingredients and no yeast. ($6) I was more interested in seeing what kind of things they had, but had brought a few jars and containers just in case! The thing I always struggle with is the challenge between being health conscious, not spending a million dollars on groceries, eating local/organic, and not being wasteful. How is one supposed to do all of those things?! Ideas are welcome! 

Speaking of, where do you do all of your regular grocery shopping? We are doing a test this month and shopping at Superstore for the month. We normally go to Save on Foods, but have heard Superstore is less expensive for the same things... so, we shall see how this experiment goes! 

In other news, here are some fun things from around the web: 

This is our current Netflix series we are watching - it makes me want to go traveling!

Will & Kate are coming to Vancouver soon!! I want to see them. And the kiddos.

The city of Surrey is having more pop-up junk drops coming up - get rid of all your old stuff for FREE! 

I made falafel recently and it was so yummy! I like a good protein alternative once in a while.

The falafel is hard to see (hence why I didnt instagram this picture!) but I made donairs essentially, with tsatsiki, lettuce, cucumber and onions. Greek salad on the side. (Edwin got chicken - falafel isn't his thing)


Yesterday, I had brunch with my book club girlfriends, including one husband and a few children. We went to the Roadhouse Grille in South Surrey. Our friend Kristina's daughter Alicia is visiting from Toronto, so it was really fun to see her after so long. Kristina and her family moved away about 8 years ago, and I've only seen the a handful of times since then.

Well, we are off to my parents for dinner this evening, our usual Sunday evening activity! Have a great week ahead :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

a thing post

Some things I found around the web recently... enjoy :) 

I loooove these Kate Spade earrings (they were on sale last week, should have bought them then!)

My beer picture was in the newspaper last week!

There is a PIZZA ATM now - so jealous of this school.

How cute is this story about the Prime Minister of Singapore's wifes purse? Made me a bit teary eyed!

... this one also made me teary eyed about a wedding.

Enter to win a White Spot gift card from Miss 604! (you have until August 9)

I HAVE to see this movie. It looks hilarious!! Coming Christmas this year.

Are you a BCAA member? Check out the restaurant deals you can get with it!! (I had no idea!) 

Edwin & I are thinking of going to Picnic en Rouge at Holland Park on August 11. Cool idea!

... we are also going to Boston Pizza tomorrow night for Fan Appreciation day. $5 pizzas!!

Lastly, I think this is just great: the First Lady & James Corden carpool karaoke.

Have a great week ahead!!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

hello, august + long weekend

Edwin & I actually didn't have any plans for this long weekend. I was okay with that, as a little relaxing is up my alley. We ended up doing quite a bit though, and still got some good relaxing time in. Here's some deets on what we got up to this weekend!

Friday: Edwin & I went to the Surrey Night Market. We went two summers ago as well, when the night market was first debuting. It was not great, but we figured it was because it was just getting started. Upon going two years later, we've learned it hasn't changed at all. This is unfortunate, because we like to support local city events and vendors, and its so close for us compared to the Richmond night market! We did, however, enjoy the food we had  and there were quite a few options. We had shahi paneer, donairs, poutine, and a bubble waffle ice cream thing. We watched some of the stage entertainment and walked through the vendors. (which doesn't take long - we didn't buy anything) We were there for about 1.5 hours in total, and unless it gets a little larger, I'm not sure I'll return. It was not busy at all when we were there, either. The food was great, and we didn't have a bad experience. It just is a struggle to call it a night market when you have the real deal in a neighboring city.... maybe it gets busy on non-long weekends? Maybe it's better for kids? I don't know...

Shahi paneer from Gateway Pizza

Bubble waffle with ice cream & oreos

Mushroom poutine
Saturday: We did our usual grocery shopping during the day as well as some errands. Saturday night we went to our friends Rob & Amandas as they were having some people over. They just moved into a new townhouse in Langley and there is a super cool feature: a rooftop patio!!! We had some drinks, some appys, and played Cards Against Humanity for a while up there.

Sunday: We met up with Amanda & Rob in Stanley Park, rented bikes, and biked the seawall! It was SO FUN! I really enjoy leisurely bike rides in the sun, and with a view like Stanley Park and Vancouver, you can't go wrong. We also saw the tail end of the Pride Parade - we were hoping to see Justin Trudeau but no dice.




Then, we went to my parents for dinner with my grandparents as well. Pants is gallivanting in Europe, so he was not there. (he comes home tomorrow - I'm excited to head about his travels!) My mom made yummy lasanga (a meat one and a veggie one, thanks mom!) and it was delicious. I love our Sunday dinners at my parents!! (yay for no cooking on Sunday nights) (sorry, I didn't take any pictures - next time!)

Monday: Edwin & I went for a picnic and some sun bathing at Centennial Beach in Tsawassen. (for something different!) We ate tuna sandwiches and soaked up some sun near the ocean for a few hours. It was lovely.

Now, we are just going our usual back-to-work things: I made lunches & ironed some of Edwin's shirts and he is doing his accounting duties, as we lovingly call them. (paying bills, etc...) Any tips on good ironing?! I am new to this...

Have a lovely (short) week everyone!!! Enjoy the sunshine :)