Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Girlie Girl on the Westcoast Trail

I do not intend this post to be a guide on the trail, after all, there are many detailed accounts from experts. This post is about my perspective as a non-athlete, 5' 1 city girl (well, mom, actually). 

I'd be the first to acknowledge that I am not athletic nor tough. It took me over a year to convince myself to actually decide that, yes, I will do it -- this infamous trail that have claimed some lives. Despite all the facts stating that, no, it's not for you, Liza, I did as I do when I'm afraid, just closed my eyes and jumped anyways (not literally, obviously). I did read up a lot on it, so that I knew what to expect (it would be irresponsible if I didn't.) It was more than just a physical achievement, the West coast Trail was a "mind thing. Determination played a huge part in finishing it.

It wasn't important to us to do it in record time (on our third day, five guys with only camel packs with the goal of doing it in ONE DAY passed us! Apparently, they swam across the river too.) We took 7 days to do 77 km (included a 2 km hike to Thrasher Cove campsite, which was known to be one of the more difficult section, it's not on the path, many trekkers we have met chose to bypass this beautiful place).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Girl Power in Richmond: Roller Derby

What I knew about roller derby before I went to see the Terminal City Rollergirls last weekend, was that the women have cool and sometimes funny, sometimes graphic nicknames such as Laurence of a Labia and Victory Slap, they get to wear cute and sexy outfits and they get bashed around. 

Riot Girls

 I was correct on my assumptions above, but obviously, there was so much more to it than that. I regret that I did not research the rules of the game before going. It wasn't as violent as I thought it was going to be (like on tv), but there was a lot of falling down involved. After a few jams (two minute races between teams to score points) I eventually began to somewhat understand the gist of this girls only sport. I chose my favourite team (Riot Girls) and "jammer" (the one who scores and has a star on her helmet) and spent the rest of the evening just enjoying the derby. 

Aside from being confused about the rules, I found it to be quite entertaining. It actually reminds me a bit of men's hockey (bashing each other, blocking, racing). The league seemed like a good community of colourful people who were  just out to have fun, with many volunteers helping out. 

I think I will go again. 

The next one will be on May 4th, at Minoru Arena in Richmond.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Too Busy to Go Out -- Washing My Hair with Baking Soda

I am so not a granola (not that there is anything wrong with being one). I shave my legs so that they will be silky smooth, I generally wear make-up, and I have nothing against using store bought products. So, that said, I will tell you how thrilled I am, that my bathroom, is now the new kitchen, complete with a teeny tiny fridge (did you just roll your eyes?). 

In my kitchen/bathroom, you may find baking soda, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, avocado, lemon and coconut oil -- these are not for consumption. 

Making it look pretty: In the recycled soap pump, I put in the ACV (apple cider vinegar)
conditioner, to its right is the baking soda (container from Ikea) and in the pretty container is the coconut oil.

Let's start with baking soda shampoo { ratio is not absolute, a heaping tablespoon or 2 of baking powder to 1 cup water }. I have heard about this concoction before, but because I associated it with something for the aforementioned granola types, I dismissed it without ever entertaining the idea of giving it a try. What changed my mind is a friend's post and ravings on Facebook (thanks Lisa). A recommendation from a personal acquaintance weighs in so much more than from a complete stranger. 

So, I try it. I will tell you, though, that it is strange to use. It's obviously nothing resembling shampoo at all. It is basically gritty water. Two squirts and I did my best to work it in my scalp and all through my hair. As I am rinsing, I immediately feel my hair get really soft (like after conditioning). I decided to just leave it at that and not use any conditioner at all, after all, it feels soft and untangled already. I blow dry it - no mousse, no hair spray -- nothing at all. The result is fantastic. My hair feels really clean and light. As if it has been stripped off years of gunk. It's voluminous, bouncy and shiny. If you feel that you still need a conditioner, there is ACV -- Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner -- half water, half apple cider vinegar. }

In general, my hair is quite healthy -- it's not very thick (having children thins your hair like you wouldn't believe), I have never coloured it (maybe once when I was 16) and I don't use any curling/straightening iron. 

My almost 21 year old daughter however, has massively thick, permed, sometimes corn rowed, sometimes pink hair. She LOVES the baking soda & water concoction. She raves about it to all her friends. She uses it with the ACV conditioner (make sure to rinse well).

Coconut oil in this antique container that
I bought at a garage sale for .50 cents.
The other thing I use for everything is Virgin Coconut Oil. It is so useful for so many things like moisturizer, lotion, make-up remover, deodorant, and it is fantastic for massage -- because it is solid and melts immediately when it touches skin - there are no drippy mess. Just google it and you will discover its many uses. (Plus, think of the counter space you will gain.)

So, next on my wholesomeness experiment will be the yogurt and honey and avocado skin care. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Steveston Fish Market

If you are Asian, and live in the Lower Mainland, you are probably familiar with the Steveston Fish Market in Steveston Village in Richmond. Sure you can buy fish at Safeway, all clean and gutted, but it's not the same as getting it fresh from the fisherman (fisher?). 

Eating/seeing a whole fish on the table freaks out many people who have only been exposed to fish and chips, but it's a very normal fare for many Asians and Europeans. Today, walking through the wharf  we see sea urchins, perch, cods, lemon sole, shrimps in various sizes, octopus, and some other ones that I've never heard of. The smell of freshness is mouth watering.  

Most people walking in the market are looky-loos -- looking with great apprehensions at those sea creatures with bulging eyes. If you are feeling brave, a good starter I would recommend (dare) is to try some fresh shrimp -- no cleaning or gutting required. It's very easy to cook (rinse, toss in a hot pan with a little garlic and olive oil, sprinkle of sea salt or if you want, just toss in a pan with a little water - when it turns pink and opaque, it's done).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vancouver Art Gallery: Art Spiegelman CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps

VAG [Where is Liza?©]

If you aren't a fan of graphic novels, you may not be familiar with Art Speigelman. I am quite certain that you have seen his work, though, especially his often controversial New Yorker covers.

His most famous work is Maus. 

"Maus is a graphic novel completed in 1991 by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The book uses postmodern techniques—most strikingly in its depiction of races of humans as different kinds of animals, with Jews as mice, Germans as cats and non-Jewish Poles as pigs.Maus has been described as memoir, biography, history, fiction, autobiography, or a mix of genres. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize." -- Wikipedia[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maus] 

I strongly advice that you join the tour rather than just viewing the exhibit. Hearing about who he is and his experiences is a big part of appreciating his work. It will be at the VAG until June 9, 2013.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Oyster Dome, Deception Pass, Anacortes

View at dusk from Lighthouse Point trail in Deception Pass [Photo by: Where is Liza©]

We all know by now how beautiful the Pacific Northwest is. Knowing this, I am still in awe every time I am staring at its splendour.

The San Juan Island area in Washington is the equivalent of our Vancouver Island (without having to take the ferry and shelling out your life savings). It consist of various islands, breathtaking cliff side views, arbutus trees sprinkled everywhere, hiking trails aplenty, and that small town feel that makes you feel like you are on vacation.

Our first stop of on this road trip is Oyster Dome off Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham. The original plan was to do either the 3.8 mile or 6.5 mile hike. This didn't happen because we did not get our Discovery Pass that is necessary to park in any of the Washington area parks. We are however able to drive all the way up to the lookout point which is of course spectacular. It would have been very cool to see hang gliders because it is known for it, but oh well. 

Aside from knowing that we will be camping, we actually haven't made any concrete plans on where we will be staying. So we keep on driving south and figure that we will make a decision  when we see something interesting.

[Photo by: Where is Liza©]
[Photo by: Where is Liza©]
"Interesting" has brought us to Deception Pass campground. It's perfect -- no Discovery Pass required to camp for the night. With the sound of the ocean in the background, we set camp at around 7  pm. 15 minutes before 8 pm, we are putting on our headlamps for a hike to Lighthouse point. At this time, there is still some light, but it is getting dark. We follow a trail that goes to the beach and then up to the forest, and then to more of that breathtaking stuff I've been talking about (see first photo above). It is rugged, wild and crazy beautiful. (After a few minutes, it did get quite dark; I'm sure glad that I brought those headlamps). The hike only took about an hour, with plenty of stops for photos and ooohings and aaahhhings.  

[Photo by: Where is Liza©]
The next day, we drive to Anacortes, which is in Fidalgo Island. It's a very quaint town  with buildings that feel like it's been there for a very long time. I can just imagine that this place must be quite populated in the summer/tourist months. 

Washington Park - Anacortes [Photo by: Where is Liza©]
For the future, we drive to see the other state park in the area -- Washington Park. And yup, it's beautiful. We prefer the Deception Point campsite better, but the scenery is something else.  

We hope to come back to do some hiking in this area.

Washington Park - Anacortes [Photo by: Where is Liza©]

Anacortes [Photo by: Where is Liza©]

Anacortes   [Photo by: Where is Liza©]

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Killarney Lake Hike - Bowen Island

This was not so much of a hike but more of a scenic stroll in an island. I had been so lazy all winter with only yoga, the occasional paddle and snowshoeing, so I know that I needed to ease into my activities.   

Because of the ferry ride, Bowen Island gives you the feeling of going "away." Killarney Lake was a mere 9 km of easy and scenic ramble. This was the perfect place to break in my new hiking boots (hard to believe that I was so excited with this purchase at MEC, when not too long ago, I only had eyes for 6" heels). The hike around took us 3 hours, but that's only because we took a very leisurely break at the picnic area. 

So now, enough  with the leisurely jaunt around the park, I need a challenge. I need to start training for the West Coast Trail for this summer which had been known as "being one of the most grueling treks in North America." 

Let the games begin!?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Evening Snowshoeing and Fondue at Cypress Mountain

 Cypress Snowshoeing

This was only my second time snowshoeing ever, and I loved it. It took no skills at all -- just the desire to be active and outdoors.

The first time I went, we started at around 3 pm and we stayed on the trails with the destination to Hollyburn Lodge in mind. It didn't take long at all to get there. We sat on the bench in front of it (it was closed that day) and enjoyed the hot apple cider and chocolate that we brought with us. We were mindful of the time because we needed to bring back the rented snowshoes by closing (5 pm).

The second time, we signed up on a tour for 6:30 pm. Initially, I thought it would be a waste of money because it seemed so simple a task. But actually, it was worth the $50 (you do get chocolate). Our guide who we later discovered was a Brit with his doctorate on Climatology (or something like that, it was difficult to hear with the crunching of the snow), was fantastic. He showed us a circuitous way up to the lodge. Any one can do the trail of course, if you want "easy." Our group didn't want easy, so we traversed through fresh snow piles throughout. He showed us how to slide down the slopes -- "the steeper the better." We learned the different species of trees in the area, which ones we can eat for sustenance just in case --  hemlock tasted citrusy (don't worry, it's not the same at all as the one that Socrates drank which was also called hemlock, that was an herb, not a tree). We even did some sliding (yes, on purpose, not by accident). There was a grooved area that will take you down nicely providing that you brought yourself a plastic bag to sit on (which our guide did bring for us). A few of the men did get quite competitive on who could go the furthest (yes, that would be my guy).   

By the time we arrived at the lodge, it was dark. There was a welcoming stove fire place burning, several tea lights lit, and a few lamps, which coincidentally, worked out quite perfectly as it was earth hour by this time. There were also some warm hot apple cider and hot chocolate waiting (which we garnished with some Fireball that we brought with us, yes, we did share with everyone). Our guide then prepared our treat - chocolate fondue with plenty of dipping goodies like fruits, cakes and marshmallows.  

Going down was definitely quicker that going up. T'was a good night. Can't wait to do it again on our own.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Paul McCartney

I am lucky that I have quite a few items on my "Cool Stuff I Have Seen or Done List." I have seen Mikhail Baryshnikov and Karen Kain dance, The Nutcracker by the Bolshoi, seen art by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Bernini that made me weepy

Last night's performance by Paul McCartney is definitely going in that list. How cool is it to witness and be part of this legendary person. I am not a fanatic music or Beatles fan, but you don't need to be one to fully appreciate this very affable Brit. 

He may be 70, but this doesn't stop him from giving a fantastic (and long) performance (2 encores with 4 or 5 songs each time, I think).  At the end, he finally had to say, "you know, we're all going to have to go home sometime."

Read the reviews, but it is the best concert I have ever been to. 

Monday, November 12, 2012