10 Reasons to Visit Vancouver Island
It has become a running joke that since moving to New York I have become incredibly patriotic and pro-west coast island living. Friends have even gone so far as to dare me to go a length of time without harkening back to the beauty and sheer awesomeness of where I grew up (I always fail). Jay has chastised me for routinely google searching images for “Vancouver Island Scenery” and showing them off in every NYC bar, dining establishment and house party ever. He goads me that New Yorkers love New York so I best be careful with my belligerent bragging of the awesomeness of my island home. Well New Yorkers can have their New York, this article chronicles the essence of why I love island life.
Some moments are for life. This weekend was one of those moments. We filled our days with good Friday services at Hillsong, coffee dates in Greenwich Village, Easter Sunday services, bocce in Fort Green park, potlucks in Brooklyn and the most exceptional, imperfectly perfect people. So although this was our first major holiday without family (and we missed them bundles), we consider ourselves truly blessed to be able to spend it the way we did and with whom we did.
My contribution to our Easter potluck was Cilantro Lime Bean Salad, peanut butter cookies and Naniamo Bars (get excited fellow Canadians). Being from Vancouver Island, Naniamo bars to me are ubiquitous with cupcakes, cookies and brownies. So naturally upon moving to NYC I figured everyone had been enlightened to their awesomeness. I was shocked, no, I was horrified to learn that even my fellow Torontonians had no idea what I was babbling about. So this Easter potluck I set out to rectify that atrocity by trying my hand at what for me I had always considered a super complex dessert (I prefer simple, no fuss no muss baking that reaps rewards quickly).
My dear friend Alyssa, filled me in on her little tip that if you place each layer in the freezer for 30 minutes it makes the processes a little more seamless. So with that in mind I decided to stick to the basics and took the recipe right off the city of the Naniamo website (although I couldn’t help but throw in a few of my own twists), and after one batch of burnt chocolate and a forgotten egg in the first crust I alas mastered these delicious treats. However, my sincerest apologies because in terms of food photography this post gets a below failing grade, only because we were having too much fun enjoying our company to craft a pretty picture (and Jay had to cut the bars with a spoon because I forgot a knife. Opps.). So regardless of the aesthetic, enjoy as you soak in the amazing Canadian-ness that are Naniamo Bars. Continue reading “Our Easter Weekend and a Nanaimo Bar Recipe”
Everyone: “You’re from Caaaanada, you must be so used to the snow”
Me: “West coast Canada, as in I can count how many white Christmases I have had on half a hand”
Sadly, I do not live in an igloo nor do I inhabit a ice covered tundra. I am from a mild, verdant island off the west coast of Canada, where our temperate climate saves us from extreme heat and extreme cold. In essence it is perfect. So with that in mind this happens to be my first true winter. Previously, my skin had never felt well below freezing and I have never had need for Sorrel Boots and parkas. Where I hail from a light fall coat and toms constitute winter wear. Again I reiterate it was perfect.
Now I have experienced winter and I will give it that is is whimsically pretty and the soft snow falling over the city streets is as serene as it is cinematically perfect. However, the practical side of skin nipping cold air, pragmatic (not cute) winter attire and trekking through snow drifts to the subway is less than glamourous. For example, there was one afternoon during the polar vortex that Jay and I tried to set out for an adventure and made it around the block before trudging back to the sanctity of our heated apartment. The air burned our lungs and the frigid temperatures soaked in so deep that Jay’s hips throbbed. However, that being said if you asked Jay about winter in the city you would get a much rosier response than I am detailing. So I guess like beauty, tolerance is also in the eye of the beholder.
All gripping aside thankfully winter isn’t actually as terrible as I had imagined it to be and at the very least I have now earned my winter badge of honour. Now perhaps I can consider myself a true Canadian. However I haven’t done it alone. I owe my survival thus far to my step dad (an Ontario native) who sprung to buy me hearty winter boots to keep my toes warm and the Michaels Kors down jacket I nabbed on a ridiculously great sale that keeps the rest of me cozy.
I am sitting here on my mom’s couch (American Translation: Sofa), not even having left the west coast yet, already going through a bout of recurring homesickness. I will miss the people and I will miss the beauty. However, during our time here I have come to realize just how spectacular and uniquely special it is that Jay and I get to call two very dynamic, wonderful cities home. I am in love with New York for all the bustle and activity it offers that Victoria doesn’t, while I cherish Victoria for all the charm, relaxed island pace and warmth that New York misses.
Continue reading “Home is Where the Heart is”