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Cozy Victoria Weekend

Easter weekend Jeff and I visited the island for a half family, half chill-out weekend.  On the Sunday we checked into an amazing little carriage house I found through airbnb (have I mentioned how much I love that site?).

This place was perfect.  It was just behind the parliament buildings and only about a 10 minute walk from downtown.  We ended up spending more time in our little mini-house than I expected.  It was so cozy and cute with it’s own little kitchen, and a mini staircase up to our loft bedroom with queen sized bed.  It even had a little gas fireplace on the main floor.

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When we did manage to tear ourselves from our hide-away, we pretty much just meandered around town.  Day one we had a late lunch/early dinner at Cafe Mexico.  I loved the atmosphere here, the food was decent, service was friendly – although a little forgetful.  Maybe our server was new.  It didn’t really matter after our double margaritas.

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Day two it was a little overcast and we decided to check out Miniature World.  A full on tacky tourist choice.  We were entertained.  I think the admission is a bit steep, but it didn’t seem to keep people away.  I have a vague memory of a miniature world I visited with my family when we were in either Holland or Germany.  That one was definitely more impressive than this one – more of a fully conceptualized outdoor setup. This one had different displays, put together by various individuals at different times, and with different models.  Best part of this miniature world, in my opinion, was the train from Vancouver to Toronto that faded to ‘nighttime’ for 30 seconds at a time.

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For lunch on Day 2, the sun had started to come out, so we chose to eat on the heated patio of 10 Acres.  A downtown restaurant that sources mostly from their local farm.  I felt like we were in a Portlandia episode.

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Night two we visited a good friend, ordered in pizza and hung out.  We left the next morning, late, and took our time to get to the 1pm ferry.  The sun came out for us and we were able to enjoy an hour on the waterfront in Sydney.

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All in all it wasn’t the most adventurous of weekends, but it was exactly how we wanted to spend our time. Chill and easy.

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A Shout out to my Acting Coach

Shooting a Book Trailer for "Through the Door" last spring.
Shooting a Book Trailer for “Through the Door” last spring.

From the time I left home at 18 years old, I’ve pursued an acting career.  I did the university thing, I did the performing arts school thing, I even did the Second City thing.  As time goes by, I’ve realized that one’s training is really never over.  In most other careers, as my voice teacher pointed out, it is part of your job – part of your paid job – to put in research and development.  For a performer, this would include both ongoing training, as well as seeing shows, going to concerts, watching films.  Unfortunately, this generally comes out of our own under-paid pockets, so we are not always able or willing to put in as much time as might be necessary to stay on top of our game.

This past year I have made a consistant effort to stay on top of taking classes.   As an actor trained primarily in theatre, I’ve found it invaluable to put myself in front of a camera as much as I possibly can.   Auditioning helps, but it’s nice to have a place where you can actually be an actor in front of a camera, not just a “late twenties/ early thirties woman/young mom/ girl-next-door-type/ attractive but real/not-a-model” delivering two lines or ad-libbing with your fake children over a box of fake crackers/cereal/potato chips.

I am lucky to have found a teacher I love at a studio I can afford where I can continue to play week after week.  The class invites all levels, and as an actor with extensive training, I appreciate my instructors ability to see each student as individual, and to give appropriate and specific feed back.  There are many classes you can take in this city, and many are great, but as the years progress I find I don’t want to be force-fed technical dogma and I don’t really want to spend all my time being told what my “hit” is or what it’s not, or that I need to define myself in some specific way that involves not being myself.  I am also not interested in a group therapy session.   Marketing and  self awareness is important in this business, but when it comes down to it, I feel that an acting class should be primarily about acting. That’s why I decided to be an actor in the first place – to act (what a concept).  The great thing is, while enjoying every minute of my weekly class – I truly feel myself improving. I can’t control how much I work in this industry, but at least I can know that the work I am doing is good work.

If you want more info on this studio – check out http://www.bryantandtuckstudios.com/

I take classes with Peter.

Destination: The Swiss Alps

Gorgeous photos!! reminds me of my short but memorable trip in July.

International Bellhop Travel Magazine

Swiss Alps Switzerland Visual Tour

Though The European Alps range runs through several European countries, the most beautiful and hidden gems of the mountain range are the Swiss Alps specifically. Also known as the Central Alps, the Swiss alps have some of the most amazing rock formations, glaciers, and rushing waters in the the entire range. Snow-capped at the highest peaks, the midlands are bright green and lush with trees and grass, as the snow-melt and runoff from the glaciers sustains many miles of growth.

Watch This Stunning Video Tour of the Swiss Alps:

View Our Gallery of Favorites from the Swiss Alps:

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Travel Photo Galleries -- ibellhop.com

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Memories of Cycling the K.V.R. (Part 2)

Just under a year after our first Kettle Valley Railway adventure, my Dad and I set off for the next leg of the trail.  This time we decided to make it a 2 day trip, and focus on the South Okanagan portion from Naramata to Osoyoos.  This section of the trail is less challenging than the route we took the previous year.  That being said – Naramata to Osoyoos and back in 2 days is no small feat for the amateur cyclist.  For the meandering type, I would suggest splitting this into 3 or 4 days, and taking full advantage of all the wineries and fruit stands along the way.  For this trip we decided to set out a little earlier in the year to avoid less appealing weather (ie: snow – see previous post).  I will focus on the highlights.  There is so much to take in on this trip that I could write for pages!

On a Friday after work, we drove to a Naramata/Penticton B&B called Three Blind Mice (The Copper Goose was not available for one-night bookings) which was simple but nice – and had a lovely garden and view of the valley.  They also let us stash “Vernon” the VW Van in their driveway for the 2 days we’d be off cycling.

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I have to say, the Naramata to Penticton portion of the K.V.R. is stunning.  Absolutely stunning.  The views of the Okanagan Valley are gorgeous, and the path itself is bordered by orchards, vineyards and wineries.  It’s also one of the most popular sections of the trail for day trip cyclists and on-foot tourists (The trestels at Myra Canyon are also big  for day tours).  The weather was perfect for us, and we started off our trip on the (mostly) downhill path.

When we hit Penticton, we got a little bit turned around trying to navigate the bike route through town, but eventually made it to Skaha Lake, where we chose the west side path – property of the Penticton Indian Band.  I’m still not sure that cycling along that land is actually permitted – but we figured we could claim ignorance if confronted.  Lucky for us – we made it the whole stretch without issue.  The only downside of this route is some very sandy sections which made it difficult to cycle, even with our super amazing mountain bikes.

We took a quick stop over in Okanagan Falls for some home-made Borsht (yum!) at Falls Restaurant – which is a cute diner-style place with great homemade food and picnic tables out front.  By this point I was feeling it, but not yet worn out.  We continued on toward Osoyoos on the reletively flat road (the railway bed was an option, but apparently not at all kept up, and we didn’t feel like carrying our bikes half the way there).  On this portion of the trail we saw some deer, right on the side of the road – they were so close!  One of the best things about these cycle trips is the wildlife encounters.

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As we entered Oliver, the path is a specified bike/walking path – paved in some portions – gravel in others – and at points you are cycling along side a salmon spawning stream! (Season permitting, of course).  From Oliver to Osoyoos, our path became steeper, as we climbed up toward some of the wineries.  We made the extra insane trek up toBurrowing Owl Winery – since it’s one of our family’s absolute favorites – and got a wine tasting in.

By this point I was getting super tired, and it was getting later – so the last leg of our journey was less enjoyable for me- especially because the final 15 minutes or so was an uphill climb to our B&B.  Once we arrived we were greeted by the extremely friendly hosts, who offered  us a drink and obviously wanted to hear our whole story (our whole life story) – which, in other circumstances would be amazing, but both of us just wanted to eat and crash!  (This would be a great Bed and Breakfast for a social traveler, as I have the feeling that the hosts keep up the B&B mostly for the guaranteed house guests).  We did eventually escape the clutches of their incredible hospitality, and made our way into town to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Campo Restaurant –  a popular spot for locals and tourists, and a favorite of ours (we’re biased – our cousins own the place).

The next day, after a lovely breakfast and another round of animated conversation with our lovely hosts, we set back more or less the way we came, taking the east side of Skaha lake on our return.   The return trip is a bit of a blur – I was pretty tired.  One of these days,  I will have to dedicate more than one weekend a year to these cycling adventures.

For trail updates, maps etc. visit http://www.kettlevalleyrailway.ca/.  We travelled with the book in hand – which we used all the time http://www.amazon.ca/Cycling-Kettle-Valley-Railway-Langford/dp/0921102887.

All’s well that ends well?

So we moved.  I don’t even want to talk about it.  Big time stress.  Issues with landlords, building managers and angry previous tennants created drama and unneeded extra work.  Thankfully I love our new location, in the heart of The Drive, great little balcony, the Cat is happy even though he’s instantly become an indoor cat.  We are still living among boxes and bags, but that will work itself out eventually.  Silver linings, right?

Anyhoo… breathe out… breathe in… I’ve avoided blogging because I figured my pent up stress would come streaming out in an incomprehensable entry full of negativity and I didn’t want to send that out into the world.

So, I will step away from the computer and leave you with these thoughts, and an image of Bono The Cat laying on our old couch (which is now living in an alleyway somewhere, due to moving complications)

Sunshine, Vancouver, Beer, Happiness, Love, Art and neverending Friendships.  I am thankfull for all of these things.

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Moving Day!

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Tomorrow is moving day.  Am I packed? No.  That will happen after work.  Yes I’m blogging at work… who doesn’t?  Anyhoo – looking forward to the packing party (consisting of me and my bf).  Not expecting much sleep.  Luckily we’ve only lived in this place for a year – so it’s not completely cluttered with mass amounts of crap.  Maybe the reason I’ve managed not to become some kind of hoarder is that I move every 1-3 years.  I like to keep things somewhat light.  Perhaps a fear of settling – perhaps it’s simply circumstantial.

Of course the cat, Bono, decided to make friends with a bunch of fleas just in time for the occasion.  Yes, of course I know a cat would not decide such a thing – but it does seem like perfectly in-opportune timing to deal with a fleabag animal.  (side note: experimenting with this Diatomaceous Earth product – I’m impressed with the reviews, but results are inconclusive at this point.)  Little does he know that he will soon be an indoor cat – I hope the transition isn’t too traumatic for him.  Hopefully he’ll blame the fleas and not me.

As much as moving involves a certain amount of stress – it also comes with change – which I love.  So even though I’m sleep deprived, and will continue to be for another day – I’m hoping on being held afloat by adrenalin.  Ch-ch-ch-changes…