Get ‘Er Done, New West

Boring Adult Stuff like Powers of Attorney, Wills, and appointing a guardian for my child were on my to-do list for an embarrassingly high number of years. For years I (wrongly) believed that because I had no assets aside from a giant pile of student loans I didn’t need any planning documents.

Eighteen months ago I finally got my act together. On the pain in the butt scale, I’d rate it a 6.5 for having to find the time to make an appointment, arrange all the paperwork, seek and ask a guardian, and have a really important conversation with myself and my spouse about medical interventions. And it honestly wasn’t that cheap, either. But the truth is that it was a small amount of hassle for a whole bunch of peace of mind and I felt actual relief when it was done. And now I can forget all about it unless my circumstances change.

If you don’t yet have your act together here is an overview of what documents you might need and who can help. It probably goes without saying, but this post isn’t legal advice at all, and you should definitely seek the advice of a professional for your own personal situation. There are low or no cost services out there too, so don’t let cost be the reason you don’t get your act together.
Continue reading “Get ‘Er Done, New West”

New West Gears Up for Cyclists

MARIO BARTEL Guy Wilson-Roberts crests the Third Avenue climb from 12th street. He says a good attitude, hard work and a reasonable pace can get any cyclist up New Westminster’s hills.

The new year often brings new resolve to live better, healthier.

Gyms and community centres are busy with people toning up and slimming down.

But more and more people are breaking free from the confines of the exercise mat to find fitness; they’re dusting off the bicycles in their garage or heading to the local bike shop to find a new ride to physical salvation.

“It’s a common theme at this time of year,” says Gord Hobbis, proprietor of New West’s original bike shop, Cap’s. “You can only be on a treadmill for so long otherwise you’ll go stir crazy.”

But the allure of getting exercise and fresh air by riding a bike also comes with challenges. Especially in New Westminster.

The city’s network of streets are often choked with traffic. Designated bike routes don’t always connect well with each other or take cyclists where they want to go.

And then there’s the hills. Getting around New West, or getting into and out of the city, will inevitably mean ascending or descending some sort of incline. Continue reading “New West Gears Up for Cyclists”

Gratitude and Goals

The beginning of a new year seems to be a natural time for self-reflection and gratitude. Often, in the day-to-day bustle of getting groceries, commuting, and finding clean socks, we can fail to notice the transformations taking place in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities. Or perhaps the change is so incrementally small, inching along at a snail’s pace, that only at the end of a year does it become evident.

The flipside to that coin is we can also realize that our best intentions have become waylaid. What started out as New Year’s Resolutions quickly got dropped like a bad habit.

One way I’m tracking my year is by noting all the little things I love about my community using #ilovenewwest on Instagram and Twitter. Whenever I receive amazing customer service from a local small business or I see something delightful while walking my golden retriever, I snap a photo and put my gratitude out to the world. I’d love to hear what others love about their community so join me!

And speaking of local businesses, no matter what your resolutions or intentions for 2016, I can almost guarantee that reaching out to the community will help you achieve them. If it’s health and fitness, we are spoiled by an abundance of amazing boutique fitness studios: take capoeira at Zhoosh Fitness, sweat buckets at Hot Yoga New West, join me at a ballet class at MOVE yoga and dance, or check out the family-run Dynamic Fitness. Looking for something edgy or unusual? Why not consider pole dancing or circus school? We also have a whole host of highly recommended Naturopaths as well as several integrated health care centres. If you’re lucky enough to have extended health benefits, why not take some time out for self-care?

If it’s creativity and self-expression you seek, learn to sing at Music Box or take a painting class (with wine!) at 100 Braid St Studios. Try a writing workshop through Royal City Literary Arts Society or unleash your inner art critic at the Arts Council gallery in Queen’s Park.

I’ve come to realize that an amazing aspect of living in a small city–and I say that with love–is that if there’s an event or activity you would like to see, you can make it happen! Wish there was a canning workshop or community choir? Apply for a Neighbourhood Small Grant in the spring through the Vancouver Foundation and make it happen! (caveat: there likely is already a canning workshop happening soon and there may well be a community choir). Wish there was a neighbourhood garden in your community? Talk to some like-minded folks and present to City Council.

As for me, since I love the feel of pen on paper, I’ve purchased my first ever Passion Planner and have created a Bullet Journal. My aim is to use both to set out SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed) goals that I can track on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Writing down goals and telling friends about them can substantially increase your chances of achieving them. That’s why I’m happy to share my goals for this year:


  • Drink 8 glasses of water each day
  • Begin a daily meditation practice



  • Finish MA Thesis
  • Write 1st draft of the book I’ve been wanting to write since I was 10
  • Obtain a community garden plot to grow cucumbers & tomatoes and maybe a squash

What are your goals for this year?


How To Avoid This Contagious Plague

There is a lot of focus at this time of year to dredge up all your feelings of inadequacy and failure from the prior year, with the intent (hollow as it can be) to do something constructive about it. A big one, one that generates a lot of money for the health/wellness/fitness industry,are those lines about “losing weight”, “getting fit”, “doing your first marathon”, etc. We’re peppered with highly polished marketing lines that promise you that what they are offering is the solution to your perceived problem.
Except it’s not.

A real focus of marketing in today’s world is to prey on your insecurities. Fear and ego are by far the best tools to use, if you’re playing by the rules of the marketeer. And marketing for the fitness industry really works hard to make sure that you feel like you’re failing in life by not being in their facility.

You may think that this is a stretch, but really, it’s in their best interest to use the same tactics that work for other industries like big pharma or politics. Why? Because people react to fear. It can make people fall in line quickly and give them the urgency without the forethought.

So, let’s get out of that macro and get back to you… You’ve committed to making a resolution, and you feel a little nervous, a little skeptical of your own ability and a bit excited all at the same time. Continue reading “How To Avoid This Contagious Plague”

Mindfulness and the Connection to Yoga

If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer. ~Dag Hammarskjold

If you practise yoga in New West, you might be tempted to make resolutions based on ‘mindfulness’. Or maybe you’re curious about yoga and have heard lots about it. Not a surprise given the media push this year:

Smile? Be present? Say thank you? What kind of a resolution is stretch? What happened to bigger, faster, stronger, richer? Two hundred years of New Year’s resolutions and it’s come to this?

I’d be tempted to chalk this list up to yoga-driven anomaly—two of them were shared in social media by my New Westminster yoga students—but that first article hails from the Huffington Post, and we all know that once something hits the Huff, it’s as good as gone mainstream, right?

What, pray tell, is up?

Continue reading “Mindfulness and the Connection to Yoga”