Author Archives: All Things Pacific NorthWest

Community Guidelines

The rules are simple people, don’t be an asshole. And this isn’t like the Google motto of “don’t be evil” then proceed to be an evil ass. Seriously, don’t be an asshole, if you wouldn’t want someone to say that to you, then don’t say it to someone else. I will delete your rude comments, try me, I dare you.

As for all of you who don’t act like assholes, continue as you are and thank you.

A Letter To The Publisher

When first starting this website, I had a very clear image in my head of how I wanted it to look. Crisp white spaces and sharp lines, a minimalist aesthetic. I even played with the idea of having it entirely in black and white. But seeing something in your head and translating that image to a computer screen is not an easy feat. In fact, when you have little to no technical skills, it can quickly becoming an overwhelming task. This was probably my biggest challenge in regards to creating my online presence. I don’t know how to write code, customizations were difficult and don’t even get me started on plugins. With this in mind, I quickly realized it would have to be my content that spoke loudest in order to personalize my online presence. And boy was that an adventure.

It took a painful number of hours to look for the perfect theme, keeping in mind that my customizations would be minimal, I knew I needed to find the perfect canvas to showcase myself. From there I decided that colour was going to be required, I wanted my pictures to be a main attraction, bright greens from a forest, crystal clear blues of a glacier pool, these needed to have the added pop of colour to properly convey the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and to contrast against a blank white background. Naturally, I want my website, an extension of myself, to be aesthetically pleasing, but what does that really entail? Aesthetic is a funny thing, denotatively it means a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty (Bradley, 2014), key word being beauty. But what about this instances where aesthetics go too far? According to some, it’s much easier to happen than you think. When not done in moderation, the aesthetic that was meant to delight viewers instead annoys them and drives them away (Bradley, 2014). So not only am I trying to make my publication attractive with the content to back it up, but I am also concerned with excessive, quite the balancing act. And this is before publishing my website to be critiqued by an actual audience.

I wanted my website to be a place for people planning on visiting the area to get ideas on what to do but also to be a place for locals to go and fall in love with their home again. In this sense my audience was quite broad. In reality, according to Google Analytics, I really don’t have too big of a following outside of the Pub 101 class. But that’s not discouraging, as I continue to post I’m hopeful word will spread, I already have double digits in the organic search results so that looks promising. Not many comments yet, but I’m optimistic that will change with the more I post, something I review will eventually strike a chord with someone who is familiar with it and compel them to comment. (Fingers crossed).

Through my posts highlighting all this beautiful area has to offer, I am hoping the people reading them will find ways to fall back in love with this place, whether it’s their home or their home away from home or a strange place they have yet to visit, my goal is for people to read through my publication as a love letter to the city and hopefully stir something up inside themselves for it as well. The value this website will provide is strictly non monetary. I think posting advertisements or doing paid reviews would take away from its genuinity, and that is the last thing I want. My website is a reflection of myself and what I love, I do not want to cheapen it down just to make a couple dollars. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to lose the trust of the few readers I have. If I am being relied on to provide honest feedback and reviews about areas in and around Vancouver, I don’t want there to be a sliver of doubt that I am doing it for any benefit other than for the good of the Pacific Northwest.

At the beginning of this term, I didn’t think too much of my online presence, in fact I barely used social media other than the occasional Instagram post. I saw websites as a marketplace for well established corporate businesses or tech savy individuals. But as best said by Chuck Cohn, “[Everyone] will eventually have to take on the challenge of creating a website, a social media account or another online presence” (Cohn, 2015). At some point, we all have to take our brand online. Your brand is all about who you are but more importantly, what you want to be known for (Muse, 2012). Whether it’s your personal brand or a business brand, what you present about yourself will indicate to others who you are and what you are, you want to make sure that’s a positive inference. You want to have a positive online presence and refraining from all online activity doesn’t send that message. This course not only taught me how to best present myself online but also reiterated the importance of publishing yourself.

Here’s hoping I’ll be talking to someone other than myself as I continue my love letter.

 

References:

Bradley, S. (2014). What role do aesthetics play in the design of a website?. Vanseo Design.

Cohn, C. (2015). A beginner’s guide to establishing an online presence on a budget. Forbes.

Muse, T. (2012). The first step to building your personal brand. Forbes.

 

L’Abattoir

Ask anyone from Vancouver, there’s no denying the character of Gastown. And part of it’s charming allure are the businesses that call in home. In particular, a little restaurant in the heart of it, L’Abattoir. Translated to english, L’abattoir means slaughterhouse. Not the most inviting name for somewhere you want to eat, but what most people don’t know at first glance is that the exotic name pays hommage to the area’s colourful history. The restaurant is located right next to Gastown’s famous Blood Alley, the street got it’s name from when butchers used to gather and sell their fresh cuts there, at the end of the day they would wash their hands off in the streets

which would result in a stream of blood tainted water running down the gullies. Although the menu at L’Abattoir does contain a hefty amount of meat dishes, there’s something there for everyone. May I be so bold as to recommend the BBQ Squash, dear god is that tasty and worth every penny!

Another lure to this hidden restaurant is the dual atmosphere it provides. Down below, where you first walk in is their bar seating. On any given night you can find a lively bunch of strangers all drinking together, enjoying happy hour drinks and appies. But if you want a more formal setting there is a dining room that overlooks the bar, far enough away to be peaceful and enjoy your meal over conversation but close enough to have the decorative lights glow around you. And for those who want a much more private dining experience away from all the commotion, there is further seating down a hallway, past the kitchen towards the back of the restaurant. Something for everyone!

Platform 7 Cafe

Raise your hand if you are tired for paying for $8 lattes. Well since this is the Internet and you’re reading this off a screen, I’ll narrate, I am raising my hand. Enter Platform 7 Cafe. Located in Kitsilano, you really wouldn’t expect there drinks to be so affordable, $4 for a latte, can I get a Hell Yeah!? But not only are their lattes wonderfully affordable, they also serve what they call a nitro cold brew, yes that is correct, they use liquid nitrogen for their iced coffees, even if they weren’t delicious, I’d order one just to watch the cool process of them making it!

And if you aren’t a coffee lover, you’ll go there for their kombucha and incredible food selection. They aren’t gluten free and they aren’t vegan but my god are their paninis delicious. Straight out of the panini maker on a fluffy baguette, this sandwich changed my life. No joke. 

And if the food, drinks and cool atmosphere aren’t reason enough to get you to go check them out, let me add one more little incentive, free parking. That’s right folks, you heard it here first, there is free parking down in busy Vancouver at Platform 7 Cafe.

Get your butts over there now

Olive + Ruby Cafe

Health is a lifestyle. This coming from the girl who ate half a chocolate covered granola bar for breakfast. But let’s be honest, healthy alternatives aren’t always the easiest to find! And vegan alternatives are equally difficult, but not for long! Little cafes are popping up all over Vancouver and here is definitely one of the best ones I have come across, Olive + Ruby. Located on West Broadway, this is a little hidden gem in the rough. Their smoothies are to die for, all made with healthy natural ingredients and ALL of them have vegan options! The majority of their food menu is also comprised of vegan friendly meals and oh my may I recommend the acai bowl, if that bad boy doesn’t leave you feeling healthy and happy then I don’t know what will. The only downside to their menu is that almost everything contains some kind of nut, including all their smoothies, so if you have any allergies there unfortunately this is not the place for you! And with the amount of nut containing items on their menu I wouldn’t recommend this cafe to those with sensitive allergies just due to uncontrollable contamination.

But back to those who can enjoy Olive + Ruby, if you do find yourself there, eating in is absolutely a better alternative than taking you food to go. The owners have gone to great efforts to make their cafe a safe location, welcoming and inclusive of all. In fact, their website clearly states “come as you are” and enjoy the peaceful break in the whirlwind that is life.

Another reason to fall in love with this quaint little cafe is their commitment to the community. They have a tab at the top of their page titled “collaboration” where they recognize the diversity and talent held within the city. They encourage anyone with an idea about how a collaboration with them could work to contact them. A nice warm invitation which isn’t always the case in this rainy city. And to add to this kindness, if you continue to scroll down their home page you will find blurbs and pictures promoting the people they have collaborated with in the past.

Everyone supporting each other, that’s what I like to see.

 

 

A Review For Thought

Who doesn’t like food? Silly question because no matter who you are or where you live, odds are you’ve eaten something in your life and have preferences to things you do and don’t like. Living in a city like Vancouver, I like to refer to it as a melting pot of culinary options. You can try cuisine from all around the world within one city. This leaves endless opportunities for Tiffanie and her website, Food For Thought, which centres around food reviews. Just by looking at her photos attached to her blog posts, it’s evident she is a foodie, and one with good taste at that! Her target market can easily be locals looking to check out good places to eat around their city or even tourists wanting to know what places to hit up given their food preferences. But as you continue reading through some of her older posts, you’ll notice that her food reviews aren’t just local to Vancouver where she lives, she talks about restaurants she’s been to on the other side of Canada as well as on the other side of the world. This pushes her target audience to be comprised more of people who are interested in food rather than just interested in a particular city’s culinary options. Which is wonderful in my opinion, perhaps in the future, as she continues to write about her culinary adventures, she could have her posts organized geographically so her readers from all over the world can quickly find out good restaurants to check out closest to them.

As for monetizing this website, I really don’t see why not, it might need a bit more content and perhaps a more obvious food-centred layout (i.e. pictures of food on the home page/banner) but otherwise I think it could be a successful enterprise. That being said, placing advertisements on your website isn’t always a clear line to success, for one it can really piss off some of your readers but with ad-blocks these days, you might not even be able to make a decent amount of money with them. Just look at the website The Toast for example, highly successful with over a million unique viewers but it was forced to shut down due to what they called “ad revenue woes”(Carpenter, 2016). Online advertising revenue is a tricky game to play so sometimes it’s best to look at other ways of monetization, Tiffanie could reach out to local restaurants and offer to do reviews of their business in exchange for a complementary meal or even payment. Seems like a win win if you ask me, free food is always welcome but you also need to tread with caution on this front too, if you aren’t upfront with your audience about this arrangement it could create distrust. That being said, the food reviews she does, don’t always have to be positive, if you really didn’t enjoy your meal tell us! Like my mother always said, the truth can be a cold hearted bitch, but we wouldn’t want her any other way!

One Hour Until Self-Destruct

Here’s they story, you have one hour left until the Internet is universally turned off forever. Forever.

To be honest, if I didn’t have time to prepare I would probably spend the time frantically looking up anything and everything that first comes to mind. Login into Facebook a couple times, check my Instagram, pretty much the run of the mill things I always do. But since I’ve been given this opportunity to plan ahead, I can be a bit more concise with my final hour of having everything at my fingertips. First and foremost I would probably try and back up all my photos, you know how everyone always says if the house was burning down and you only had a few seconds to grab what’s important and they always say photos? Same thing. But second on the list of things to do would be go through Facebook with a physical calendar in front of me and fill in everyone’s birthdays. Let’s be honest, I can’t commit that many to memory and Facebook has saved my ass more than once in that department.

After the birthdays and photos are safe I’d probably spend a bit of time just being nostalgic and googling random stupid things, get my fill of puppy videos on Youtube. To be honest, I can’t really imagine what my life would be life without the Internet, over the last week I’ve been tracking how many times I pick up my phone and use a service that requires Internet, well holy crap would I be screwed if they did turn it off.

Lynn Canyon

Well the weather’s getting a bit chillier but that doesn’t mean we should hole up in our fuzzy blankets at home just yet! Before this winter kicks everyone’s ill-snow prepared asses let’s get outside. Specifically, to Lynn Canyon in the north shore. Here you will find the best, not to mention cheapest, alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Given a ticket to the latter can run up to $30/person the free price tag of Lynn Canyon can’t be beat.

There are several different hiking trails for Lynn Canyon, I’ll be looking at the Twin Falls hike in particular. It starts off right away with a walk across the daunting suspension bridge. But fret not, it’s really not that scary, if you’re afraid of heights it’s still entirely doable, I just don’t recommend looking down!

The bridge itself is a rather narrow wooden plank bridge, it was built in 1912 and is situated 50 meters above the crisp waters of Lynn Creek, connecting you to 616 acres of beautiful rainforest. AFter the bridge, hang a right and follow the boardwalk over a much more stable bridge and you will be led to a breathtaking view of the falls. As it is one of the more, for lack of a better word, difficult trails (but it’s really not that hard) you will most likely have a quiet place to sit by the river and take in the views for a little rest. If you’re ambitious enough, climb down the steep riverbank for a nice spot and bask in the sun that’s hopefully shining that day.

This trail is open year round so even as we enter the darkness that is a west coast winter, you have no excuses not to go!

A Changing Audience

Well hello to across the world. Because apparently I have a bit of an audience in Russia. I’m not entirely convinced those page views aren’t bots but if you are really people how rad is that! If you are actual people maybe I’ll try and start tailoring some content towards you guys, although I’m not enitrely sure that’s what you would want either. Are you coming to my website because you want to learn about the Pacific Northwest?? In that case I will keep on posting as I am. This might be a situation where commenting on my posts would come in handy, it would also reassure me that you’re real and this entire post isn’t just a conversation with myself.

 

Many thanks to whoever comments!