A very productive reading break

I spent my reading break up at Whistler at my boyfriend’s family’s cabin. I had wild visions of me finishing all my homework up there as well as getting my studying done. I did semi-start one of my presentations and then read one of the 20 readings I was supposed to do but otherwise, homework was not touched.

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We did, however, eat a lot. We cooked our own meals up there and I don’t mean to brag but they were all delicious. We’re master chefs (I say this, but at the same time we burnt our grilled cheese sandwiches not too long ago. How do you screw up grilled cheese??). A sample of some of our creations:

– Creamy Avocado Pasta

– Steak with potatoes and stuffed tomatoes 

– Pancakes with candied bacon and eggs

– Strawberry daifuku

We always cooked too much, and that puts us in a great spot for food coma-ing after dinner and into our bed with a good movie or two. We watched The Imitation GamePulp Fiction (finally!), and started, but never finished Selma. We also progressed in Firefly, which we’ve since finished. So glad we finished Firefly before going to Emerald City Comic Con since two of the leading ladies will be there!

It was great to be by ourselves for the week. Very relaxing! Of course, we did visit the Whistler Village. We did some studying at a cafe, ate at the Warehouse (a one hour wait in line…), but that was pretty much it. Snow was bad this year anyway. I had my first bubble bath in probably two years. Man, I wish we could take a Whistler reading break every month. Such a great de-stressor!

– Karen

Reading break begins!

Hey all,

One week off. This is probably what every university student looks forward to once the Winter school term starts. Sadly, most of my profs decided to put a bunch of midterms and projects due for when we get back on the week of the 23rd. No worries. I guess I’ll just have to juggle studying and taking a break. In terms of reading, am I doing any actual reading? Not much academically, though I eventually will have to. But I have been consuming a lot of graphic novels– mainly due to me taking a graphic novel writing class at UBC. I had to take it for my creative writing minor, and I originally thought we’d only have to do the “written” parts of the graphic novel. Turns out we’re telling stories through pictures. That does not bode well for my D+ in visual art that I got back in high school. comics-lady-killer Anyway, I’m more than halfway through Watchmen and I’ve been reading it for maybe two days during my spare time. I also picked up this visually amazing graphic novel called Pretty Deadly. It revolves around the daughter of death. How is that not cool? I started reading Lady Killer, and am dying to get my hands on a physical copy of the first issue. Sadly, all the copies I see for sale online are super expensive (and everywhere else is sold out). It’s a very interesting comic. Self described as “Betty Draper meets Hannibal!”

I’m actually currently in Whistler right now and will do a separate blog post for that later on! Snow’s disappointing this year, but having some time away from Vancouver withe the boyfriend is not!

– Karen

Whistler = A Winter Wonderland

Hey all, I have not been to Whistler for… I’m guessing at least ten years. To be fair, I was actually on another continent for five of those years, but I realized how much I wanted to see it again. It felt like the first time since I barely had any memories of it. It’s reading break and to start off our holiday, two friends and I went to the snow dusted municipality of Whistler. Here’s the thing though: we don’t snowboard or ski– so what is there to do there if you’re both hesitant to slide down the mountain at high speeds, and want to avoid spending a few hundred bucks on rentals? Well, our itinerary was basically the following:

1. Eat

2. Toboggan (Would recommend just heading by Canadian Tire and getting your own board. It costs $10 there, and $30 in Whistler)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan :)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan 🙂

3. Skate Photo 2-16-2014, 4 58 29 PM

4. Watch the Sochi Olympics in the square (or in the hotel with a nice can of beer at 9AM in the morning– Yay! We won men’s hockey which was no surprise!) IMG_2846 5. Eat

6. Watch shows (x)

Driving around Whistler was beautiful– it looked exactly like a winter wonderland that you would expect to see on Christmas Cards. The snow covered the limbs of trees, framing the green giants. In some areas up there, the snow was so thick and untouched it looked fake! I wish I could bring back the exact image of the environment with me because it was beautiful. But I guess I’ll have to do with just pictures.

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This was more beautiful in person!

Sure, Whistler is cold, but it’s not too bad if you wear a decent amount of clothing. I was fine with a large waterproof jacket and a sweater inside. I would highly recommend not wearing jeans because any contact with the snow will result in you feeling like you wet yourself. This little three day holiday was refreshing in one other aspect as well: we did not wake up till noon every day. We planned everything quite well and knew when we had/should head out to Whistler Village again, so everyone felt well rested! I mean, it has been a while since we could all sleep in. Most of time during vacations, I am forced to wake up early in order to make the most of my time, but I realize that with proper planning, sleep is an option. Hope other fellow UBC students are having a good reading break so far, and that everyone else is enjoying the slow transition from winter to spring! – Karen

Reading break at Portland! Friends, dining, shopping- the perfect trio!

Reading break has officially started! But it felt like it had begun two days ago! My friends and I went on a road trip to Oregon basically right after school ended on Friday. It was a tough ride since the drive took at least 5 hours to get there, but it was worth it! Poor William (our friend who drove)! He had to pick up the car AND drive us there! But, we had a shotgun system where we rotated people who sat in shotgun so that they can keep Will company– even if everyone else was sleeping.

What kind of sucked was that I was a bit sick during the trip. Through my lack of sleep and unhealthy lifestyle choices during midterm exam weeks, I managed to get sick. Joy oh joy. My voice is currently gone from all the talking I tried to do with my sore throat during the trip!

Back to the road trip story… We all woke up at around 4am on Saturday and everyone was picked up at their house at around 5am. You can clearly observe that everyone in the car lacked sleep and all eyes were promptly closed around an hour into the drive. I had shotgun responsibilities first so I fiddled around with the music and talked to William while he drove. Honestly, I have not seen Will for a while and I wanted to catch up, but my lack of voice and my throat kind of hindered my efforts! 😦

We stopped by a McDonalds’ on the way, just like we did last time. Connie, Will and I headed over to Hagens to look for fruits or veggies to munch on…sadly we were sidetracked by the bulk section of the store. SO. MUCH. STUFF. Connie bought us all chocolate covered gummy bears, chocolate covered coffee beans and chocolate covered almonds!! Yum 🙂 Afterwards, we went back on the road and continued our drive.

After arriving at Portland, we parked and decided to hunt for their famous street vendors! It took us a bit before we found them…and it was amazing. There were so many to choose from, and I settled on a pulled pork sandwich meal! I have been craving pulled pork for a bit and Portland did not disappoint! I really wish Vancouver had something like this! I mean, it takes up so little room for these vendors and their trucks! Allowing a bunch of them to congregate around a parking lot would be a good use of space and a good source of employment. Anyway, after our tummies were full and our fingers were frozen from the cold, we headed over to our motel. We left again pretty soon after that to do some outlet shopping. We went to SO many different places to shop! So happy! But, my shopping expeditions did not go as well as I planned and I did not get as much as I thought I was going to. 😦

Us and our street food!

At night, we drove by a McDonalds’ to steal their free wi-fi so we could search up good eating joints around town. We finally settled on Le Bistro Montage, which had high ratings from everyone online. We arrived at the restaurant and we thought it looked very sketchy. It was kind of under a bridge, where it was really dark and creepy. It was around the industrial part of town and there was no other restaurants nearby…just the one. BUT, when we arrived, we put down our names for a table and was told that the wait would be one and a half hours! That made us curious as to what restaurant would require that long a wait! The actual wait took around two hours, and by then, we were ready to eat whatever was thrown at us.

Le Bistro Montage's menu

The place had a nice vibe to it, though it was really dark. There were huge paintings decorating the walls, as well as little trinkets such as a skull of some sort of animal, and a dried puffer fish– things of the like. We all sat down and was ready to order within minutes. I got the buttermilk chicken with garlic mashed potatoes! It was served with veggies and corn bread! Delish! I also ordered a POG juice, which was as combination of passionfruit, orange and guava juice! I am so glad I tried it because I loved it! Wish they had it in Canada..or do they already have it?? Will do some juice hunting. Some of us also ordered oyster shooters, which were so delicious I went and ordered another one. Overall, the place was pretty awesome asides from the wait. I would definitely recommend it as it was not an expensive meal, and it provided a unique dining experience. Oh, and if you have food left, definitely ask them to help you wrap it up! They do the funkiest foil art for you! Connie took some of her Jambalaya to go and they came back with a scorpion-shaped package!

Buttermilk friend chicken and garlic mashed potatoes!

So delicious!

Scorpion shaped takeout!

Later at night we visited a Wal-Mart, where Connie and I freaked out about how big everything was! Big bags of candy? Hell yes! We all started grocery shopping and returned to our motel well after midnight. One thing I dislike about Portland? How far everything is from each other! I cannot imagine what it would be like to commute around that city…honestly, I am pretty sure everyone has to drive. Being from Vancouver, everything is pretty well connected, so it was hard to have to cross a million bridges to get to a certain part of town.

After spending a good chunk of time playing “The Game of Life” (we lost miserably. We as in Connie, Monica and I), we then returned to our respective rooms for a good nights sleep. Which was not that good because I woke up freezing since apparently we forgot to turn up the heat. We are so smart.

The next day consisted of a LOT of shopping. We tried to make use of Portland’s tax-free system, and then we headed over to Westfield Southcenter Mall for lunch at Jollibee. I was kind of excited because back in Hong Kong, so many of my friends at Jollibee! It was my first time eating a meal at Jollibee and I thought it was delicious! Sure it was kind of greasy and unhealthy, but delicious all the same! Us girls also split a halo halo, a popular Filipino dessert! It was also my first time trying that and it was DELICIOUS! If I was not getting so cold from the drink, I would of had more!

Halo halo!

Again, I am skipping the details of our shopping expeditions and moving on to dinner. We ate at Olive Garden! It was my first time in that American chain, but I am amazed by all the bottomless dishes! They refilled practically everything! Monica, Josh and I were still pretty full from lunch so we decided to each get an appetizer and share. I got a Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta, Monica got a Italian Sampler, and Josh got a flatbread, though I forgot which one. We ended up not even finishing our three appetizers because it was so filling and big!

At Olive Garden

Afterwards, we spent a good portion of time fooling around in the parking lot and rearranging our shopping bags and luggage. At some point, we accidentally set off a car alarm when we were messing around with breadsticks. Do not ask.

I am so happy that my reading break is off to such a great start! Friends, dining and shopping– the perfect trio! Hopefully I will also have more time to blog amongst other things! 🙂