Vancouver

On Being Squeezed.

"When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out - because that's what's inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside." - Wayne Dyer

Since moving to Vancouver, making friends with some of the healthiest health nuts and most experimental dietary-restrictionists  has created a shift in some of the ways I fuel my body. One of the additions to my diet that this prairie girl didn't see coming was juice. I'm talking REAL juice; the kind that slaps you in the face with its nutrient-packed punch and leaves you feeling like a pseudo-superhero. After being introduced to the world of Kale and other extreme leafy greens, my curiosity overrode my eight year-old equivalent palette and I dove in. Well, drank it in, let's say. And, perhaps shocking to this sugar-fiend, I liked it - a lot.

PIC GLORY COThe past three days have been a whole other exploration into the world of juicing. I did the unthinkable over the May 2-4 long weekend: I juice cleansed. (pause for disbelief for my friends who understand my affinity for a crisp cider on a patio in the sun when there's a longer than usual amount of time available to recover from one or two too many of said ciders).

Three days of Glory Juice Co. juices awaited my consumption - as did a whole lotta life cleansing.

Long and short, the three days passed with a strange sense of ease. The hunger pangs were much fewer than anticipated and the hanger (read: emotional outburst of frustration due to extreme hunger) reared its head only one time (I was alone - it was fine). What happened alongside of my body getting a real reset was a massive brain reset and a whole lotta life clarity.

It takes trying on new things—new ways of thinking, new routines, new anything really—for me to gain a more clear and focused understanding of myself. Leaping out of a career got me connected to my true creative side. Travelling made me wise up to my passion for connectivity and relationship. This new thing—the cleanse—not only got me more aware of what was going on in my physical body, but also stretched me mentally and 'squeezed' some thoughts out of my head and heart that had been covered up by some doubt. Three days of a focused committment to one kind of 'detoxifying' opened up a wealth of ideas and productivity I couldn't have imagined would occur. Oh, and I managed to FINALLY clean off my desk. #win.

I set some new goals, re-wrote some intentions that I had for this year and made some committments to myself that might just change up the game a bit. Now, whether said clarity is a product of the season or the fact that spending some solo time armed with a serious team of delicious detoxifying delights, I'm not sure. All I know is that my body and brain got a real kick-start this weekend and I'll be eagerly looking forward to the next time I hop on the juice-train for another sweet reset.

And, next time, I'll plan ahead and keep the cleansing to the weekdays.

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Because sharing is caring and everyone loves 'Top 5' lists, here's a couple for your perusal and pleasure...

TOP 5 THINGS TO ABSOLUTELY DO ON A JUICE CLEANSE

  1. Get Netflix.  Clear your calendar, pop Downtown Abbey (er.....House of Cards?) on and settle in for a weekend series marathon.
  2. Drink every ounce of water you possibly can. Yes, you will feel like a hot water bottle with liquids slooshing around in your gut - but at least you'll feel full.
  3. Catch up on all that sleep you always say you're going to. Because what else is there to do?
  4. Take at least one bottle/jar with you on all outings. Not only will it create conversation with complete strangers but your hands will be full when you consider picking up that bag of Power Cookies at Whole Foods.
  5. Inform (warn) your friends. Always talking about sold food and moving as slow as a sloth....if these things are not already part of your personality, they may shock some friends if/when you start embodying these behaviors.

TOP 5 TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS WHILE ON A JUICE CLEANSE

  1. Going to a lunch meeting with some sweet friends and watching them eat beautifully made stuffed portobello mushrooms.
  2. Babysitting on day 2. 
  3. Teaching your very first yoga class.
  4. Standing up really fast in a repeated pattern at the very first yoga class you're teaching.
  5. Making a dinner date with someone you really like and are just getting to know.

life lessons through getting bendy and salt-water fests.

Iceland was just a chip off the very top of a deep iceberg this past July. I went to the country of contradictions to explore  my roots and spend time on the mat. Reality: it was so much more. It was about connecting to a new community, to the people in the room and to our yoga practice through the elements. That brief experience was a catalyst for overdue reflection and is what sparked a phone call to register for another yoga experience - paralleled in 'why I'm going' intentions yet unmatched by any learning experience I've cannon-balled into to date. Yep, THAT big, that ripple-inducing. THAT good.

This time around it was Teacher Training with Ryan Leier at One Yoga for the People in Vancouver (no jet setting this time). With intentions of getting really good at handstands and discovering more about yoga philosophy, I was amazed to find how much I wound up learning from a most unexpected teacher - me. While I had some friends let me know the amount of reflection and 'you' work involved in the training process, I was brought me to my knees faster than you can say 'savasana'. Albeit an intense subject - facing your demons and all that business - the week was positively positive. Ultimately I walked away from the training feeling lighter, more mentally clear and with a sense of self that I haven't felt in ages. The waterworks were matched with laughter a'plenty and high quality dance parties at the end of some of the longest (read: sweatiest) days we worked through. The fun factor was high amidst the salt-water extravaganza.

Yes, my ability to feel my way into the poses increased as we explored the anatomy of a posture. And, while ten days sans vino plus gnarly two-to-three hour practices cleansed me on a physical level, I'm moreso keen to share the top three things that were greeting me head on as we navigated this yoga-wonderland.

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the  barriers within yourself that you have built against it." - Rumi

1. I have been on the search for love for a long time. what I haven't been doing in that process is searching for what I needed to do to love me first and to let any kind of love in. To be a giver is an altruistic role to play - until it's at the expense of one's health or happiness. Or until it's a deflection tactic from getting real with oneself and owning up to some serious work needing to be done. Time to bust down some barriers, Jess.

"Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice." - B.K.S. Iyengar.

2. Out with a disposable outlook - in with a sustainable one. Most importantly - a sustainable lifestyle. One that incorporates time for work, play, people, relationships, growth, groceries, shopping and sipping wine. With people I love. Oh, and phone calls, too.

"Practice Courage. Grow Roots. Get High. Truth Is. We Are One." - One Yoga creed.

3. I have alwasy connected to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice. Although it keeps me limber and tones me up, it's truly a tuning fork for my connection with myself and what I know to be true. What I learned this week is that yoga really is union - mind, body, self, others, higher beings. Whatever that means to each individual on their unique path.

More tales from the mat are to come....of this I am most positive. Oh, and keep your eyes out for this wandering yogi offering some commnity classes here and there as time wears on....

ferry tales: milk

BC ferries. me as a solo traveller. tales of all things awkward, embarrassing, and most of the time, straight up weird. all with a lession, a learning.....a moral. it was on my most recent crossing that i boarded with a conscious confidence that THIS would be the trip that the 'strange' would be mitigated, the stars would align and normalcy would grace my travels again.

how naieve.

i joked with a good friend who was driving onto the same boat that her claim to wearing a dirndl on the boat would be contributing to my ferry-saga -- which i quickly re-named 'ferry tales' (#punny, right?). after landing ourselves on a passenger deck and spending 93% of the ride gabbing away (and witnessing one of the BEST natural orca breaching displays we had ever seen before), we parted ways so i could haul my walk-on butt off the boat. feeling like i had abated the awkward with only a small buffer of time to wait through, i opened my book and dove in. and then, the tap on my shoulder.

i looked to my left, and down about a foot, and was greeted by the sunglassed face of what seemed to be a fourteen year old. he had sage word to share with me:

'i just wanted you to know....that you can call me milk. 'cause i'd do that body good' - milk

unfortunately, the shock of the exceptional delivery and over confidence took over and my usual ability to respond with my well sharpened and cunning wit completely failed me. i mumbled a 'oh <insert cuss here>. ok, thanks' and milk walked off to share the glory of his pick up line with his like-aged friends. to support my shock of what just happened i overheard one of his travel companions mutter a 'oh, buddy that's horrible' and, to comfort my embarrassment and create some assurance that i was not the only one that couldn't really believe that just happened, totally associated it to his knowing what his friend had just said to me. whether that's the true course of events or not, i'll hang onto that glimmer of hope that others saw that as lame as i did.

so, with all other ferry tales, i look to see what's there to be learned. and here, there's something about what it means to take some responsibility around the energy i put out into the universe. in joking about the weirdness that i regularly encounter, i'm focussing on that and attacting more of it to me. in lamenting over the boy with the mouse, the three hour crossings and the public breakups, i am bringing those situations to life and again, making them propagate. simply put, i'm letting a simple activity be weird by classifying it as weird. a change of perspective here could very well be overdue - with an outcome that i can't wait to share.

let it be noted: i also learned that regardless of generation, decade or otherwise, bad pickup lines live on. fourteen year olds will always think they are invincible and twenty somethings will stumble over their words. we're in this big, badass thing called life together and we're all going to experience some unique things. moral of this one is to be big and bold - you never know who might really like milk, you know?

picking up where we left off.....

The  morning following a successul night out with great friends and impressive mixed beverages (see last night's....errrr this morning's post regarding mixologists and a well bred appreciation for the savory flavorfulness that was the Fawlty Basil) is never complete without brunch.  Whether that be rolling out of bed and frying up a pan of eggs and tofurkey bacon for yourself and the friends who so responsibly crashed on your loveseat, or forcing yourselves out into the sunny day for a public display of hunger satisfaction, the accompaniment that cannot be missed, and sets the rest of the day up for success, is the coffee. So many amazing things are being done to make the art of not only drip (stove top percolator, anyone?) but also espresso based drinks unique, much like our cocktail experience from last night.  Enter: Lavender Lattes, brought to you by Cafe Medina (Beatty street, between Dunsmuir and Pender - from the Chambar family, to you!).

The addition of slightly sweet, lightly flavored lavender, mixed in with beautfully brewed and poured espresso and steamed milk made the java fix of Saturday morning that much more enjoyable.  Also on the menu: Vanilla, Raspberry, and Caramel (if my hazy memory serves me well).  Stepping out of the ordinary and trying something that came HIGHLY recommended by friends more experienced in the Medina dining world, proved to be a VERY well received and pleasant suprise.

While being out in the atmosphere of the exposed brick and vaulted celings held strong with raw-wood beams pulled each and every aspect of breakfast together, lattes inclusive, I would love to bring that uniqueness home to entertaining at Chez Robson.  It's not the inspiration that is lacking, but the knowledge of the 'how' and the tools needed (espresso machine, for example, and a full bar, if looking at the mixologists!) to make myself a barista-mixologist-entertainer-supreme for all my guests.  My work: getting creative with what I have and knowing that building a home FULL of everything I need/want to be the next 'home hosting' starlet takes time (time to collect the things you need and time to actually have people in....!).

so, all in good time, i guess.

for THIS time being, i will continue my quest for all the best of vancouver when it comes to beverages.  all shapes, sizes, temperatures and content!

got a great place with innovative offerings?? leave me a comment! xo j

the mixologists

a fine art, mixology is. not only taking an old concept and adding a new twist, but innovating with unexpected ingredients and taking the time to let the drink come together (seemingly, about 7 to 9 minutes per cocktail) takes patience, understanding, creativity and passion.

an evening out with friends from out of the city - playing semi-tour guide is one of my most favorite things - proved that taking newbies to Vancouver to hidden AND not so hidden gems reaffirms that those ladies and gents behind the bar of the multiple establishments we Vancouverites like to visit so much have it going on.  furreal.

Chill Winston got us excited with their Pick Me Up martinis (espresso, espresso and vanilla vodkas and baileys, on ice, in the largest snifter I have EVER seen) and the Revel Room followed suit with three impressive, quirky and unique beverages.  A hand made, spicy salsa inspired Caesar, the Secret Garden, complete with gin and fresh apple juice, among, and the star of the night, The Fawlty Basil.  A savory cocktail that defies the norm of too much sweetness needing to be in a cocktail to appeal to the masses.  It was savory, only a baby bit sweet, and classy enough to be garnished with a basil leaf.  THATs innovation.

My dining mates had open minds.  They went for something new, I went for an old favorite.  If the 'something new's hadnt taken place, the Fawlty Basil would still be a mysterious option not yet explored.  But, braveness took over and won, and placed that glass a the top if the awesome list.

 

Moral of the story: try something new.  Do it now.  Who knows what savory flavors are awaiting you!

 

xo j

a lotta local love

sunday mornings were meant for this. a three block stroll to a farmer's market where you meet the farmers.  i'm talking dirt under the fingernails gals and guys.  the people that I so desperately want to be one day (although probably on a back-yard 'look what i grew!' scale) chatting freshness, best places for crops to thrive, and flavor, flavor, flavor.

a beautiful sunny and clear sky (thank you very kindly, miss mother nature) provided an impressive backdrop for the market and a Picnic In The Park event that was just building momentum, with the crowds building in density minute by minute.  Honestly, my 'fight or flight' senses did take over at one point, with my sense of urgency nagging away, telling me to get moving, get the best deals and the best looking heirloom tomatoes.  why let somone else have the nicest and ripest Green Zebras? but, in enjoying the scene and in being in a light coversation about weekend shenanigans with my mum (hi mum!) whilst milling through the crowds, i settled into my most favorite, long needed and so loved feeling: the sense of belonging in a community and contributing to the creation of something amazing for a group of people.  on today's great-creation menu: awareness about local producers and the fantastic nature of what they create and in turn share with us.

people being together, in the sheer splendor of finding beauty in the experience of eating and sharing social events with the direct providers of the 'meat to the table' (straight up, there was a for real rancher and butcher there today....) builds a beautiful story to the meals we all were separating to concoct.  while I might not have made a new friend today, or might not have had friends over for dinner tonight to share my market story, best believe I have already shared the most flavorful blueberries with a friend, shared the glory that are the green beans who made it home with me, and will be showing off those Green Zebras this week at the office when i slice them up for lunch.  the value in purchasing your produce face to face from the farmer is priceless.

and the stories are endless.

xo j

SHOP LOCAL!