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It’s Zeeeelicious!

Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m a vegan. Not really but I did give it a try for a couple months over the summer. Hats off to anyone who actually is a dedicated vegan because damn! That’s a hard order to fill. If you live in the downtown core, there’s no shortage of quirky little cafes offering everything from gluten-free, nut-free to all animal products-free. But if you are someone like me who had to shamefully move back home because holy housing prices downtown! Well you probably noticed the further east you move from Vancouver, the less cute little corner cafes that can fit you dietary bill you will find. Enter Zena’s Gluten Free Bakery!

 

The bakery was started by two friends, Rebecca and Erin and if you stop by on any given day  you’re likely to see them there! Please don’t be the person that comes in and asks to speak to Zena, there is no Zena! They got the name idea from it’s origins in other languages, translating to warm, hospitable and welcoming in Greek and Woman Warrior in Latin, no doubt that resonated with the two kick ass boss lady owners #girlpower.

 

This bakery has enough food options to suit the dietary needs of even the most concerning customer requirements. Not to mention the food isn’t half bad, actually it’s zeeeelicious! Although they don’t have in store seating at their location, the yummy treats to go are worth the trip out there. 10/10 recommend the old school brownie if you’re planning a stop by. But if you’re unfortunate enough to not live in the area you still have some gluten free options provided by Zena’s, their website offers online shipping of their dry mixes so you can bake at home! Even the most kitchen challenged of us can manage to turn out a few treats with them. But if you’re like me where everything somehow turns into a disaster in a kitchen settings, fear not! The staff welcome calls to the bakery to help trouble shooting, trust me, they know me by name there at this point!

 

So if you have a strict dietary restriction or are just looking at different options to spice up your meals, check out Zena’s Gluten Free Bakery in Maple Ridge, pretty soon you’ll be saying “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gluten!” *Fabio voice*

 

 

 

 

Quarry Rock

This last surge of summer weather has inspired me to get outside. Haha just kidding, I wanted to stay in my pjs and watch movies, but thank god I have active friends that drag me on hikes with them. And you should thank them too because this review of North Vancouver’s Quarry Rock is brought to you by the extremely rude text from miss emily that forced me out into the elements.

For those of you who swore you would have a rockin summer body for 2017 but failed to go to the gym and are still madly out of shape, well first, join the club, and second, this hike is for you! As someone who loses her breath while walking up a flight of stairs, I can personally vouch that this hike is 110% doable. The round trip takes just under 2 hours and has a mild 100 metres elevation gain. And oh boy is that view worth it. You look out on the deep blue waters of the Indian Arm and get to see the picturesque mountains around Belcarra. If these views don’t stir up all sorts of nostalgia for our beautiful city then move away because we don’t want you. But on a serious note, the view you’ll look out on is everything that comes to mind when someone says beautiful British Colombia. Take your time and lounge in the sun on massive rock faces, bring a lunch, make a day of it! The only sweat you’ll work up will be from the sun beating down on you. That being said, do be careful and wear proper shoes, the hike isn’t difficult but the terrain gets rocky in some places and I saw not one but several abandoned sandals. Please don’t add to the graveyard of cute flip flops!

Lindeman Lake

If you want to get your ass kicked by a steep vertical incline, boy do I have a hike for you. Lindeman Lake is located within Chilliwack Provincial Park and is approximately 2 hours east of Vancouver. The hike itself is about 4km roundtrip and can be completed in a crisp 2.5 hours, but trust me, you’ll want to leave some time to enjoy the lake and all it’s glorious views.

The hike starts off with a nice mountain-esque trail as you begin your ascent. Don’t let it fool you, the full hike will not be that easy. About a third of the way up is where the fun kicks in, or if you’re like me, the torture. Smart tip: wear shoes with laces so every 10 minutes when you feel like you’re going to die you can stop and pretend you have to tie them to take a quick break without looking like you’re as out of shape as you are.

 

I definitely wanted to turn around at every break I took, thank god I have active friends who push me because the lake at the end is absolutely worth it. Turquoise mountain water awaits you and if it’s a hot day, there is no better feeling than jumping into the crystal clear lake and feeling the refreshing glacier water. There is a lot a exploring to be done around Lindeman Lake, not to mention the photo opportunities because as every millennial knows, when it comes to hiking: pics or it didn’t happen.


 

Have a photo shoot, go for a swim, if you’re feeling extra adventurous you can camp out there over night and tackle the Greendrop Lake hike which is just past Lindeman a little further.

 

And one final tip for all of you from my own personal experience, if you are in a rush to get back to your car because you’re going to be late for work, do not and I repeat do not try to run down the steep incline. Yes it could save time and yes it seems like the fasted way but when you lose your footing on the loose rocks and tumble to your way to bruises and bloody knees, you’ll wish you took the cautious way instead.

10/10 do not recommend running.

Lynn Canyon Park.

Lynn Canyon Park, first opened in 1912 is a popular destination among tourists and local residents. The 617 acres, located in North Vancouver, contain trees approximately 80 to 100 years old. The most popular attraction is the suspension bridge sitting 50 meters above the canyon.

We went to check it out, here’s what happened:

 

Reading Break Adventure (3)- Americas Rugby Championship

For some reason, I always enjoy watching Rugby games.

In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sevens is a big thing. Hong Kong Sevens is considered the premier tournament on the World Rugby Sevens Series competition. It is held annually in Hong Kong around late March and early April. There will be livestream on TV every year. This is how I was introduced to Rugby.

I like the fast pace of the games, and how the players’ use of strategies can be seen vividly throughout the games. (I could see them even though I didn’t know how to watch rugby games at the beginning. Of course, the commentaries helped a lot.)

Since then, I fell in love with watching rugby. This made me always wanted to experience a live rugby game, especially the Hong Kong Sevens.

This time, I am lucky that I saw an ad advertising the Americas Rugby Championship, Canada vs. America. I immediately clicked into the ad to see the details. Later on, I found out that the price for the tickets were unexpectedly cheap. Therefore, I quickly asked my friends if they wanted to watch too, then buy the tickets together.

These are some of the snapshots of the game.

There were more spectators than I expected. The stadium was packed with people. There were souvenir booths, and there were snack booths selling beer, hot dogs, fires and hamburgers. All these added some made the stadium bustling with noise and excitement.

Even though that night was showering a little bit, the rain did not stop the spectators from coming out to support their teams. (Canada team got most of the supporters, of course)

This makes me realize the power of sports. They bring people together and can put the happiness, excitement and spirit of into cohesion.

Overall, it was a good game. Even though Canada lost in a huge range, I am already very glad that I could see most of the tricks and strategies the teams used. It feels different when seeing the teams competing each other right in front of you than watching on TV. There would be spectators cheering beside you, and they are watching the match with you. There would also be music played, with majority of the crown singing along. The experience as a whole is fuller and more satisfied compared to watching live through TV.

At the same time, there will not be close-up shots for the athletes and commentary for the game. This is the downside of watching live.

Do you like watching sports games? Have you watched your favourite sport live?

 

 

Reading Break Adventure (2)- Seattle

Hey guys 🙂

You guys can’t imagine how much do I miss my trip to Seattle during reading break. It was a really satisfying day.

I had never been to the States before this trip. One of my very good friend, Julia, knew that. She thought it would be a good idea to go on a short trip to Seattle with me. I was really down for it. We also asked one of our friends to come along with us.

The pictures above are taken when we were on our way to the border. We started out trip pretty early, at 6:30am. As we were going on a day trip, we wanted to spend as much time as we could in Seattle before we had to come back to Vancouver.

One of the interesting fact is that, both of my friends grew up in Vancouver. They have been to Seattle before. But, the have not sight-see before. Every time they went to Seattle, they were intended to go to the outlet malls for shopping. So overall, three of us were the first time exploring the city, which is great! Because I was a little bit worried about that they would feel like they were accompanying me throughout the whole trip.

Anyway, it took us around 2 and a half hours to get to Seattle downtown. First, we went to Pike Place Market.

 

 

This is the Pike Place Market. Fortunately, the weather that day was awesome, it was warm and the sky was beautiful.






Inside the Pike Place Market, it has some pop up stores selling a wide range of products. They include fruits, honey, seafood, souvenirs, accessories, bags and many other items.

In there, I think it is very stylish. It looks very different from the markets in Granville Island. It has its own vibe.

In the market, there is a viewpoint. The view was amazing!

This is how it looks like. I really appreciate the weather that day. The blue sky, cute white clouds and the deep blue sea are amazing!

After that, we went to the first Starbucks coffee store. Not surprisingly, there was a big line outside of the store. I really doubt that the taste of the coffee from that store would taste better than the others. What is ironic is that, there was another Starbucks Coffee just right around the corner of the same street. However, there was no line there, and with only a countable amount of customers.

Here’s a photo of the outside of the first Starbucks Coffee.

As there was a long queue, we did not spend the time getting a coffee from there.

One of the location that I was looking forward to the most was the Gum Wall. I have seen some nice pictures of there before. It seemed like it is very pretty and special there. The colour of the gums on the wall made a very good coordination. It makes the small alley (where the Gum Wall is) very lively. Also, there are not many places where you can stick a gum onto the wall without being judged or charged. hhaha.

For some reason, I really think that the wall is very beautiful and somehow artistic. But everytime when I tell my friends that I like this wall, they always said it is gross and disgusting. Well, I just like the look and the idea of it.

Do you like it too?

One of the other famous landmark of Seattle is the Space Needle. It is an observation deck and restaurant.

We went to a place called Kerry Park to have a look at the overview of the city.

This park is amazing. We took a lot of good pictures there. The park itself is a bit small. There were some benches and open space for visitors to hang around. Other than that, along the park, you can get a good view from the location.

With the nice weather, and the excitement of visiting Seattle for the first time, I took quite a lot of photos. Here are some of the photos of the Space Needle I took from different angles. I personally think they are really great haha.

To be honest, I think that there are not much landmark in Seattle. We did not have the interest of try new food or shopping, so after we went to the places above, we realized that there was not much to do anymore.

Therefore, my friends decided to bring me to the outlet to let me have a look, or maybe shop for a little bit. However, I think that the outlet mall there does not have a big difference between the outlet malls in Vancouver. The price and the item varieties might be different though.

This is the very last picture that I took throughout the trip. It was taken close to the border of the States. The sunset at around 5:30pm was breathtaking.

All in all, I enjoy the trip very much. I think that a one day trip to Seattle is already enough. Unless, you would like to do some shopping and try some famous restaurants. But, a one day trip for sightseeing is totally enough.

Here are some addresses of the places that me and my friends went throughout the day:

  1. Pike Place Market: Between Pike and Pine streets. at First Ave., Seattle, WA 
  2. Starbucks Coffee: Pike Place Market, 1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
  3. Gum Wall: 1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
  4. Hard Rock Cafe: 116 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
  5. Kerry Park: 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119
  6. Seattle Premium Outlet: 10600 Quil Ceda Blvd, Tulalip, WA 98271

 

 

What Can You See In 40 Days?

40 Days…

40 days is all I have from the moment I leave Vancouver to the moment I board the plane headed back to Australia. Right now, all 40 of those days remain completely unplanned. What would you do if you had 40 days free to do whatever you wanted, restricted only by the continent of North America? Would you go to Hawaii and soak up the sun? Would you experience the hustle and bustle of New York City? Would you hire a car and road trip down the west coast? Well that’s what I have to figure out… and I have 54 days to plan it.

I have a rough plan. By rough, I mean I have a plan – it just changes daily. Today, the plan is this:

Week 1: Jasper + Banff + Calgary

Week 2: Boston

Week 3: New York City

Week 4: Orlando + Miami

Week 5: New Orleans

Week 6: Los Angeles

But I don’t know how many days it will be until I change my mind and decide that I need a new plan. So I’m asking for your help. Leave a comment and tell me what you would do if you had 40 days.