Townhouse Livin’

I’m one of the lucky ones: I own a townhouse in New Westminster. How I came to be in this envious position is a story for another time, but since the very moment my partner and I bought this little gem the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood we realized our good fortune.

I’ve always felt that I had something of a nomad soul, unwilling to plant my roots deep into the soil. I resisted home ownership until I found somewhere I absolutely could not resist. Owning any sort of property in the Lower Mainland puts us in a fairly exclusive class. Having spent several years working with families who were forced into homelessness due to crisis, I can fully appreciate my own privilege. Overloaded bookshelves, a sliver of a backyard, a den off the hallway that I call my nest— these luxuries are sadly becoming less than the norm.

I participated with great interest in the Official Community Plan events over the past year. I heard many people express concern about increased density and the perceived negative community impact. I heard concerns that the younger generation is already priced out of every owning any sort of home. I heard people decry the condos in the downtown area while staunchly defending the enormous heritage homes up the hill. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Continue reading “Townhouse Livin’”

Just Call Me Madam President

Residents Associations meetings aren’t generally associated with a rockin’ good time. One cup of community engagement, a teaspoon (or more depending on your taste) angry-guy-yells-at-a-cloud, a loosely packed tablespoon of neighbours talking about local issues, with a dash of obligation thrown in, RAs are a recipe that is constantly changing—sometimes delicious and sometimes a tad too salty.

Have I sold you on attending your next RA meeting yet? Continue reading “Just Call Me Madam President”

Uptown New West Vegan Eats

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

šVirginia Woolf

I’ve heard Uptown New West referred to as something of a desert – a hostile land where no delicious food can be found. As a vegan who works in the uptown area, I decisively and adamantly disagree. Uptown New West is not a desolate area devoid of restaurants, but a wonderful bread basket of different types of cuisine, almost exclusively family-owned and run.

The difficulty is not finding something to titillate the taste buds, but in deciding which wonderful restaurant to sample on any given day. I’ve compiled a top 7 list of the best vegan food options in Uptown New Westminster. Continue reading “Uptown New West Vegan Eats”

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:

Wellness:

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

Community:

Personal:

  • 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?