just let yourself go

February 7th, 2012 Posted in vancouver, yoga | 1 Comment »

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back into Yoga. It’s something I used to love & I’ve missed it. In Vancouver, there is yoga EVERYWHERE – hundreds of studios to pick from, all offering pretty good deals for newcomers. Yoga in general can be quite expensive (a drop in class is about $20) but you can sign up for a membership and usually get discounts. Most have 2 week/1 month unlimited class offers for people who are looking to join the studio so this what I’ve opted for this month.

English Bay, Vancouver by moi

(I just want to point out that I was a bit slow in January kicking my resolutions into action but better late than never, right?)

I’ve joined Semperviva Yoga and I only had to pay $48 (incl. tax) for 30 days of all you can eat Yoga classes! So far I’ve only done 2 so not much to write home about yet, but the two I’ve done I have loved.

Yesterday was an evening Hatha class which is my preferred yoga practice as it involves a lot of stretching, sun salutations and also incorporates meditation & relaxation. You move through the poses at a nice pace without it being really tough like Ashtanga. The temperature of the room is kept pretty normal too (unlike Bikram/hot Yoga, which scares the crap out of me!).

This evening was Kundalini yoga. I hadn’t read up on what kind of class it was so I didn’t really know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised! It’s described as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. It was an awesome class. As well as doing chants and yoga posture sets we also (wait for it) danced around the room like crazy people to a Tom Jones version of “Kiss”! I wasn’t prepared for this at all, but there was a lot of dancing with each other, screeching, singing etc. There was such a great energy in the room and you could sense that everyone really lets loose at this class. The woman on the mat next to mine (who was my Mom’s age) turned to me and said “what a great way to spend a Monday night” and she was right! I felt really relaxed but surprisingly I got such a good workout too-my legs are definitely going to be aching tomorrow so I think I’ll have to opt for a Yin class which is focused on meditation.

I can definitely take things, and myself too seriously sometimes (I think most of us can) and it’s nice to just have fun, lose all inhibitions, be happy and dance around a hot room with 80 sweaty strangers to Tom Jones

Ideally I would love to be able to do Yoga every day for the next 30 days but I’m not sure if that’s realistic. It’s something to aim for anyway. Before February is out I want to have gone to an early morning Yoga class (maybe even before work) and I also want to do one Bikram class. Starting a new routine…trying new things…enjoying things I already do…spending time/keeping in regular contact with the people who are important to me – these are some aims for the month ahead.

Amers

x

 

oh cone-ada…

January 17th, 2012 Posted in canada, food, vancouver | No Comments »

…our home & native land!

Ben & Jerry's "Oh Cone-Ada"

le marché st. george {i’m in love}

January 17th, 2012 Posted in restaurants, vancouver, winter | No Comments »
Le Marché St. George

Le Marché St. George via coffeefoodies.com

As I mentioned, the highlight of my weekend was meeting the girls for tea. This wasn’t any ordinary tea date, it was one that was set in a place I can only describe as a hidden gem of Vancouver. Vancouver is full of chain coffee shops-there are about 5 Starbucks within a 1 mile radius of my house! It’s really exciting to discover somewhere like this. In my opinion, Le Marché St. George is perfection. It is a breath of fresh air.

The cafe is located on St George St/28th Street in East Vancouver. This area is totally residential which makes Le Marché St. George even more unique as there is nothing else like it nearby. The wooden facade is weather beaten, but this only adds to it’s charm! Inside is a rustic cafe/market shop that stocks items such as Eiffel Tower shaped pasta, squid ink pasta, teas etc.

Inside

Inside (via Amers)

There are only really 3 tables inside, but it wasn’t very busy so we were able to occupy ours for a couple of hours-eating, drinking tea & chatting. I ordered two macaroons-raspberry/lemon & pistachio. The woman who makes them was delivering them just as we arrived, so we hit the jackpot! Any earlier and we would have missed them. I had Earl Grey to start with-one of my favourite teas. As with most cafes of this style, the cups & saucers were mismatched and antique. I love this idea, and I have a collection of these types of cups at home. There is something a bit special & elegant about drinking tea from a china teacup & saucer!

Tea

Teacups (via Amers)

We sat and chatted, and ordered more tea (my 2nd round was Jasmine pearl tea). It was very fragrant & floral which I don’t usually like, but I enjoyed this. (not as much as the Early Grey though). They also serve savory food-quiche & flat breads etc. which I will definitely try next time. Eventually the sun had set, it was freezing outside and we all realized we would have to leave our Parisienne hideout and return to Sunday night reality! I am so happy to have discovered this place. It is really exciting to know that there are places like this, waiting to be discovered in Vancouver. Sometimes I feel like there are hardly any quaint places, or a cool, grimy underbelly here but this just reaffirms my belief that there is, you just need to go that extra bit further to seek it out.

Darkness falls

via Amers

I will definitely be returning to Le Marché St. George for tea & macaroons very soon-sounds delightful!

http://www.marchestgeorge.com/

Amers

x

the river & the river bank

January 11th, 2012 Posted in vancouver | No Comments »

Feeling: mellow, hungry, sleepy

Listening to: Neil Young “Harvest Moon” (he’s Canadian, eh! dontchaknow)

 

Today was a good day! Work was busy, even though I slept terribly last night (woke up constantly and had nightmares!) I was up early and at my desk before 8am (a rarity), my housemate Carmel is back from her Christmas break so the house is bustling again! The work day flew by and then when I was leaving the office (it has no windows) the best part of the day happened. It took a few seconds for me to realize that IT WAS BRIGHT!!! It was bright until after 4.45pm. I couldn’t believe it. It completely crept up on me, and took me by surprise but I’m so happy! The dark, cold evenings can get very depressing so when you just have to contend with one of those elements it is easier to deal.

It was a beautiful, cold & clear day in Vancouver. Coming home from work over the Cambie bridge I could see the pink sky to my right where the sun had set-the sun sets here are pretty spectacular.

via fucoueda.com

Following new years (I’ll be doing a back post on Christmas & New Years) I have made some resolutions. One of which was to blog more often, which I’m hoping to stick to! Another one (which is a total cliche) is to try to improve my habits and lifestyle in order to feel healthier, look better & just improve my general well being. I used to be pretty conscious about the food I put into my body and I feel in the last few years I’ve really let that slip. You have to be so careful these days when you’re buying anything because you never know what ingredients are in some things! <rant> An example of this is Danone yogurts-I checked the ingredients of their Activia yogurts and they contain gelatine! I’m no yogurt guru, but there is absolutely no reason to put gelatine in. None of my favourite yogurts (http://www.glenisk.com/ & http://liberteyogourt.com/ contain it, in fact they tend to only have a few ingredients and they are delicious! </rant>

Random yoga picture from Google

Anyway, I just really want to become more health conscious again and cut down on a lot of my unhealthy habits. One of the things I REALLY want to get back into is yoga. I’ve always loved it and after college I was pretty good as I was practicing regularly. Yoga here is a little expensive and since I’m on a budget, I’m seeking out free/cheap yoga classes! Lululemon  have free classes in their stores, and there’s one 5 minutes walk down the street from me. Tonight I went to a Meditative Yin Yoga class and loved it! It’s a practice I’ve never tried and I enjoyed it. It involves the normal stretching, but once in the positions you stay in them for longer periods of time and deepen your breathing. The teacher also had some kind of instrument that made a ringing noise. It’s really hard to explain, but it was like a big glass jar that he ran a wooden staff around the inside. It was really relaxing. I will be going back next week-I feel really mellow but also like I worked some muscles. I’ll keep you updated on my hunt for cheap/free classes! I talked to a woman at the end of class and she gave me some tips on other locations.

Sometimes after a tough week, or after a great week for that matter the universe has a way of whispering “psst, look around you”. There are a lot of amazing things in the world (pink sunset, nearly full moon a clear sky) and a lot of cool things I could be doing with the time I waste watching TV, on the Internet. I sometimes find it hard to see the wood for the trees, and I get a bit lost (everyone does, I’m sure). Today was a day that momentarily snapped me out of that. There are endless possibilities.

via weheartit.com

Stay cool.

Amers x

p is for perfect

October 24th, 2011 Posted in autumn, fall, Uncategorized, vancouver | 1 Comment »

I wrote a quick advertisement for my room that I’m moving out of (I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but I’m moving house at the start of December). I wanted to put the ad on a “moving to Vancouver” website so any travelers coming over here would see it and hopefully take it! It’s not really my responsibility to fill the room, but I want to do all I can to help. Anyway, I just received an email back from the site administrator thanking me for being the first person to submit a perfect ad-meaning one where he didn’t have to email back for more details they’d left out. It seems strange, but receiving that email tonight made me feel really good! Even though it’s just something small (a perfectly written room advertisement on a website is hardly something to print off and save in your “life achievements” box envelope).  However, hearing the word perfect is pretty satisfying! It’s not a word people use very often.

Confession: When I said all the leaves were brown, it was a lie. The leaves in Vancouver have turned the most beautiful colour. First they went orange, then golden yellow and now some of them have turned bright pink! There is one particular street near my house that is tree lined and it looks pretty spectacular with all the pink leaves. Pictures to follow…

Amers

x

fright night

October 21st, 2011 Posted in halloween, Uncategorized, vancouver | No Comments »

Halloween is just around the corner-one of my favourite times of year! I love dressing up, I love going out, I love all the decorations & I love scary movies! Pretty much everything about Halloween I love. A fairground near my house has an annual Fright Night (it goes on for 2 weeks so it’s more than one night) where they decorate everything with scary things, have haunted houses & have actors running around in make up and costume.

It

It was fun and it really got me in the mood for Halloween festivities! Did I mention Vancouver is getting cold? I had a hat and cardigan on! Some interesting facts about the fairground (it’s called the PNE) is that it is the oldest fairground in Canada and their (wooden!) roller coaster was built in 1958!! It’s also been featured in a few movies. I didn’t really realize it before I came here, but SO many movies and tv shows are filmed in Vancouver. It’s the Hollywood of Canada! I’ve been out in Gastown some nights and the streets are closed off for shooting. It’s pretty exciting! Anyway, back to the roller coaster. I have always said there is no way I’m going on a roller coaster, made of wood, that was built in 1958. I kind of changed my mind this time and we stood in line for it. It actually broke down though before we even got to the top of the line (I breathed a sigh of relief).

Coaster

 

Halloween is just over a week away and I just decided on my costume today. Well, I think I have-vampire cheerleader. Now to find a cheerleader’s outfit that fits!

Amers

x

boring jazz & lemon heaven

September 8th, 2011 Posted in alpacas, outdoor activities, vancouver | No Comments »

Last weekend ended up being a pretty fun weekend. I was busy from Thursday through Sunday which really kept my mind off missing everyone at home. On Thursday night, I went back to the local Mexican Restaurant El Barrio (http://www.elbarrio.ca/). They have live music there every Thursday, and it’s kind of become a bit of a tradition now (does 4 times count as tradition?). This particular Thursday was Jazz music and to be honest, it wasn’t great. I was really tired after work, and the music was pretty mellow…so much so that I almost fell asleep. Friday was pretty chilled out, I just stayed in and watched Kill Bill with my housemates. I hadn’t watched it in ages, and I had forgotten how much I like it. My favourite scene is the fight between Uma Thurman & Lucy Liu in the snow.

On Saturday, my housemate Rob drove us to Lynn Valley River. We just sat by the river, and the boys jumped off some rocks into it! It looked freezing though, so I gave it a miss. I just posed (badly) on a rock for a picture next to the river!

Sunday brought the PNE. If you live in Vancouver, you’ll know what the PNE is. Everyone talks about it, and asks if you’re going or if you’ve been. It stands for Pacific National Exhibition and it’s about 10 minutes walk from my house. I decided to check it out-it was a roasting day, and I wanted to do something outdoors. The PNE is basically a fairground which also has lots of food stalls (serving mainly deep fried food), livestock shows (including a piglet race squeeeee!) and an exhibition that sells everything from the TV infomercials. It is basically a day out where you spend lots of money, quickly. It was nice to walk around, and we got cute little mini doughnuts and delicious fresh Lemonade from a company called “Lemon Heaven”. I’m not really into going on scary fairground rides so I avoided those but it was definitely a fun day out. I don’t think I’d be in a rush to go back though. One of the highlights of the day for me was getting to see Alpacas in the flesh (my only experience of them is their wool keeping me oh so warm in winter). They didn’t seem very sociable-probably too busy listening to “My Bloody Valentine”.

Alpacas

Emo Alpacas

By Sunday night I felt pretty happy that I’d squeezed the most out of my weekend. I even got a bike ride in on Friday afternoon and discovered a cute little park near my house. Once I realized it was Sunday night and I hadn’t missed home at all over the few days, I started to miss home…

Amers x

geek party

September 8th, 2011 Posted in fancy dress, parties, vancouver | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a leaving party for a friend who had finished her year visa here and was heading home. She decided to have a geek themed English tea party. The result was this:

geeks

squares

 

I LOVE fancy dress/themed parties. This one was particularly fun as I got to play Mad Libs for the 1st time! Needless to say, we substituted ever blank for something filthy and hilarity ensued when they were read out by a Canadian guy doing a fake British accent (he ended up sounding like a wartime news reader). We also drank Pimm’s from teacups, how civilized!

Amers

x