#Kirbenj’s wedding ❤️

My cousin Kirby recently got married and I still can’t get over how cute the wedding was!

My sis and I with the cardboard cutouts!

My sis and I with their cardboard cutouts!

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Mexico getaway before hecticness ensues

I just got back from my trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

It was my first time in Mexico, and hopefully not my last because it was loads of fun! A good balance of do-nothing-days and activity packed ones.

The resort we stayed at was Plaza Pelicanos Club, and it’s all inclusive with unlimited drinks (from either their bar, or either of their poolside bars), food buffet, and two more formal restaurants to choose from. Keep in mind that tipping is an extra expense you should factor in when you go to an all-inclusive!

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the lack of air con. Except for our hotel rooms, the eating areas, as well as basically everything else, didn’t have air conditioning.

Nonetheless, it was great having a private beach area, pools to choose from, and we even ended up getting a massage! The resort was nice. Again, only complaint was the lack of air conditioning, which I ended up getting used to halfway through my vacation. There are also vendors, usually dressed in all white to lessen the impact of the sun, who sold trinkets, snacks and henna tattoos on the beach, despite it being a private area of the beach. I’m guessing they have some sort of deal with the hotels.

Anyway, I didn’t mind them. They do usually try to make eye contact and get you to look at their wares, but I thought they had cool stuff. I never really bought anything from them except for skewered shrimp— these things are so delicous! By the end of my vacation, I had bought eight of these things. No kidding. The fresh lime juice, as well as the hot sauce, made these barbecued shrimps so amazing.

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It’s funny how much Mexico reminded me of Hong Kong. Mainly it’s due to the humid weather— always feeling slightly sticky. I miss Hong Kong, and am overdue for a visit 😦

In Puerto Vallarta, we did touristy things, as well as a few things that were probably not on a usual tourist’s to-do list. For one, we visited Pitillal, a nearby town where all the locals lived outside of the hotel zone. My boyfriend and I bussed to the town, first getting on the wrong bus, then finally on the right one. You can bet we were sweating buckets.

In the town there were loads of vendors, many that sold clothes, reminding me of Hong Kong’s street stalls. There were many restaurants, offering fresh tacos, morning gruel (I actually don’t know what the locals were eating in the mornings, but it seemed to be some sort of congee/oatmeal mixture?), and cold drinks. We walked around, admiring the low key architecture, and marveling at how many animals ran stray in the streets!

Our trip to Pitillal was very tiring, but I’m glad we ventured out!

We also visited a few malls in Puerto, including Plaza Caracol, which was about 2 blocks away from our hotel. We frequently walked over there after the sun set, since they’re opened quite late and walking at night is so much better than the morning! We also went to Gallerias Vallarta, which although looked quite fancy, wasn’t super exciting. I liked Caracol more, because it feels more authentic. There’s small stores selling clothes, shoes, candy (for cheap!), whereas Gallerias was taken up by Liverpool, a huge department store, and had more name brands that we were already familiar with.

This post will end up being way too long if I squeezed in everything on here, so I’ll separate my posts 🙂

In my next posts: ATV-ing, Cafe Des Artistes, and downtown Puerto!

Khatsalano in the rain

I remember Khatsahlano last year. It was under the blazing sun, and the whole festival felt like a struggle to stay hydrated. I was super sticky after a day of checking out the performances and moving from vendor to vendor! This year was the exact opposite. The day started off a little gloomy, and then it started to drizzle. Honestly though, it was more enjoyable as an attendee for it to be cool, than super hot in my opinion. A little rain never hurt anyone. Of course, for the vendors (especially all the ones trying to sell drinks), it clearly caused a dip in business. That’s not to say the festival wasn’t busy. Quite the opposite!
IMG_1312There were music performances (duh— that’s what the whole festival is about), performers (Harrison Lee for one, the yoyo master), and lots of vendors. I ended up getting a few things! A cute Princess Leia bookmark, hand painted by Luiza Salazar, a fancy soap with shell-shaped little soaps on it from Sum Inspiration, and cookie butter from Pirate Joe’s. If you’re a Vancouverite, you should know Pirate Joe’s story. Love it!

One interesting stretch of Khatsahlano was the Etsy Marketplace! It’s where they got a bunch of Etsy stores to come alive— taking a break from their online sales to sell things in person. It wasn’t the busiest part of the street party, but it’s interesting.

We then saw a camera crew running around and realized it was Carlos from YTV! He’s been the host of that channel ever since I was just a kid. Saw him again on TV the other day. Kind of surreal seeing him in the flesh.

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And that was that. A wet day, but I probably liked it better than if it was a super hot one 🙂

– Karen

Car Free Day on Main Street

Hey guys,

It’s summer, so Car Free Days are popping up around Vancouver, with blocks being closed off from traffic to accommodate for street festivals! My boyfriend lives near Main street, so we decided to spend the Sunday with the other folks who decided to give up their car for the day. Ironically, we drove to Car Free Days. But in our defence, we were busy in the morning, so in order to have ample time at the festival, we had to drive there. I drove a car share car though, so maybe that makes it a little better? 😛

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I can’t remember if I went last year. You know? Sometimes these festivals kind of blend in with one another. Italian Day, Car Free Days, Khatsahlano.. eh. But honestly, I don’t care, because I love being amidst the crowd in the lively streets.

As with any street festival, the main priority was quenching our thirst and not getting a heatstroke. We started off our walk at Broadway, making our way up Main from there. Which meant the conveniently located Tim Hortons was our first stop, in which we got an iced capp. It was gone in about maybe 10 mins? Maybe less.

Kids and dogs crowded around Homesteaders Emporium's chicken

Kids and dogs crowded around Homesteaders Emporium’s chicken. They had fun homestead living ideas you could takeaway on postcard pamphlets!

The festival was busy enough, but definitely not as busy as Italian Day last weekend. Lots of food trucks, artisan foods and crafts, second hand apparel, and activities for kids scattered around the twenty or so blocks on Main Street! There were also live music performances every few blocks to make sure it felt like a party.

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I ended up getting a henna tattoo, FINALLY had a slavic roll (pretty good, but pretty expensive. $6 for one), tried shaved ice from Cloud 9 (always wanted to try their cotton candy, which is what got them famous in the first place, but on a hot day, something cold is too enticing). The guy there also gave us free samples of mini donuts (baked not deep fried!) 😀

It’s well into Summer, but there’s other street festivals to check out! If you’re in the Vancouver area, you still can make it to (dats for 2015):

– Khatsahlano (July 11th)
– Canada Day (July 1st) or at Granville Island (went last year, and it was mediocre at best)
– Carnaval Del Sol (July 11th-12th)
– Caribbean Days (July 25th-26th)
– Powell Street Festival (August 1st-2nd)

I really want to check out Carnaval Del Sol and Caribbean Days. Both I heard great things about back when I did promos for companies at my last internship. I guess we’ll see if I end up going 🙂 I do want to take the Seabus again so Caribbean Days will most likely be a go!

– Karen

Farmers Market in Vancouver: local and fresh!

Hey guys,

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On sunday morning we went to the Farmers Market near Nat Bailey Stadium!

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Vancouver Farmers Market. It used to be so easy since I worked in Yaletown, and every Thursday meant I’d get to browse local goodies! Luckily (for us anyway), the Kitsilano Farmers Market is temporarily moved to Nat Bailey and it’s a lot closer for us.

We had our lunch there, getting to choose from one of the food trucks (there were about five surrounding the entrance to the market). Schnitzel! They were out of pork, so we got the chicken one instead.

IMG_0907There were lots of great booths selling fresh, organic, local produce! Lots of samples (cheese, veggies, even weiners!) too!

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Then there were some more unique shops selling…magic spells? Very interesting, and their potions smelled lovely.

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We had brought my boyfriend’s dog along, so there was a lot of stopping and sniffing going on. But our doggie only likes humans for the most part… other dogs are kinda meh to him.

It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, cloudy actually, but it was so warm that I actually wanted to sweat if not under shade. You know? That muggy kind of heat?

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We had a nice pop! It was my first one, but it was very authentic in ingredients! We got raspberry rhubarb. And perfect to cool us down.

I’m glad there’s so many farmers markets around Vancouver. They also have different dates so that if you have work, you can choose to go to a weekend one instead! Eat local, eat fresh 🙂

– Karen