Sunshine Coast, BC.

As summer sadly slips away...we decided to soak up the remaining rays with a perfect little getaway to Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.  As their website says, Sechelt is as laid-back as it is scenic, full of artists, and surrounded by mountains.  That it is!

Coming into Gibsons from the ferry.  A short drive to Sechelt from here.  Photo:  d. king

 September tries its best to have us forget summer. – Bernard Williams, Philosopher.

Layla and I were kindly invited by a Vancouver friend, who along with her husband, just finished building a second home in the area.

With Janice & Layla at Davis Bay where we walked along the shore.

It’s all scenic from here. Even though it’s a short drive from Vancouver to the ferry in Horseshoe Bay, then a short ferry ride over to the coast, it had been a long time since my last visit.  Long overdue actually.

Horseshoe Bay. Photo: d. king

Since covid it appears that many people are exploring regions closer to where they live and re-discovering places they’ve not visited for some time.

In British Columbia we’re surrounded by beauty with a surplus of outdoor activities to take advantage of.

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

 In Sechelt we walked along the rugged coast, visited a sandy beach, did two hikes, went to a local pub on the water for dinner, met some artists, hung out at home and laughed a lot.  We also visited a longtime friend of mine who relocated there recently and lives with a talented artist.  The vibe they made in their home is splendid.

Watching the boats & float planes at Lighthouse Pub. Photo: d. king
All Decked Out. Photo: d. king

On the last day we drove to Pender Harbour and hiked Skookumchuck Narrows, a popular attraction where the powerful rapids and whirlpools of the changing tidal waters can be seen that flow between two inlets –  Jervis Inlet and Sechelt Inlet. Layla did the hike with us as it was not very hilly.The trail is about 8km roundtrip and passes through a scenic west coast rainforest before reaching the viewpoints at either North Point or Roland Point. These rapids are a fairly unique occurrence as the water flow can reach speeds of 30km/h as about 200 billion gallons of water passes through the narrows during a tide change.  

Sechelt Rapids – the reversing tidal rapids, famous for their spectacular whirlpools and whitewater, are considered among the fastest in the world.  Current speeds during large tidal exchanges can exceed 16 knots (30 kph).

On the advice of a friend/photographer we had to stop and eat a cinnamon bun from the local Skookumchuk Bakery & Café.  You cannot help but notice the bakery either at the beginning or end of your hike.  Everything at the bakery is made from scratch using fresh local ingredients.  The bun came fresh out of the oven and it was to die for.

Outside the Bakery. Photo: d. king
A stopover at Ruby Lake Resort , Madeira Park. Photo: d. king

If you want to know more, the following was taken from the Sunshine Coast official website:

Getting to Sechelt is just a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, followed by a 27km/17mi drive up Highway 101.  Sechelt is the name of a town, a peninsula, an inlet, and a people. The town is a small community sitting on a sandbar; the narrow Sechelt isthmus which separates Sechelt Inlet from the Salish Sea. Named after the original First Nations people of the region – the shíshálh.

This charming seaside town serves as a central hub for exploring the southern Sunshine Coast, where it’s easy to go sightseeing and take day trips to the neighboring communities of Halfmoon Bay, Roberts Creek, Pender Harbour, or Egmont.  It’s also the perfect launching point for boating & paddling excursions to the surrounding fjords, including Narrows, Salmon, and Sechelt Inlet.

If you want to visit a true water-centric community, Pender Harbour is a must.

This unique harbour community is all about the water. Experience the true Pender Harbour Spirit, or just enjoy the 5 freshwater lakes scattered around the ocean harbour.

One day you turn around and it’s summer
Next day you turn around and it’s fall
And all the winters and the springs of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all? – Lyrics from “September of my Years” sung by Frank Sinatra

 

SUMMERHILL Pyramid Organic Winery

Some Summer Summerhill…

This is not a conventional winery.  For good reason this is perhaps the most visited and extraordinary award winning winery in Canada.

photo: d. king

Located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Summerhill has a breathtakingly extensive view overlooking Lake Okanagan coupled with an organic farm-to-table bistro offering culinary creations by award winning chef Jeremy Luypen who works closely with local farmers and growers (I had lunch there and it was excellent) and of course there’s the wine…

great setting for a wedding reception wouldn’t you say? Photo: d. king

Brut on the Beach

Recently I was very fortunate to be a guest of Summerhill’s most interesting and entertaining proprietor Stephen Cipes and his gracious wife Rie at their lakeside home.  It was there, and at the winery tasting room that I got to sample most of the Summerhill wines (all of them organic by the way) that I was not familiar with.  What a treat!

 Before this I cannot believe that I was accustomed to only drinking Summerhill’s “Alive” label red and white wine  (also vegan) bought at my local wine shop.  Back at the winery I discovered so much more. I liked the Robert Bateman series Merlot the best out of all the reds and ended up buying several cases of a mix of red & white varietals with a few rosé & bubbly thrown in.  I’m really picky regarding rosé wine, however for me, theirs is the best I’ve come across to date.  It’s a gorgeous coloured medium-bodied delight.  Plus it’s still summer and Rosé is a solid summer staple. We enjoyed a few bottles at my friend Margeaux’s after leaving Kelowna and moving onto Castlegar.

On their website I discovered so much more information which I’ll share a bit with you below.  For full story you can visit: https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/

The Summerhill *Pyramid is second only to the Great Pyramid of Egypt for alignment and precision. Please see link below for the incredible description because the story  is quite amazing.

Photo: d. king

Driven by conscience and passion:

A former New York commercial real estate developer, Stephen Cipes was the recipient of the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, seemingly more a spiritual visionary than Wall Street hard-nose.  One day he just decided to pick up and leave the rat race for cleaner living.  With a dream and a vision,  the Cipes family bought Summerhill Vineyard in 1986, and moved to Kelowna from New York the following year. 

Stephen had a vision to preserve the pristine conditions of his family’s new home in spite of the rapid agricultural and civic development. To protect the Okanagan’s lake and inhabitants, Cipes set out to prove that organic wines are better in every wayin the way they taste and make you feel as well as in their impact on community and environment. The result is that Summerhill has been a hub for organic viticulture in Canada. 

Be a conduit and allow your vision, your dream to come through – and fortify it every day.” – Stephen Cipes.

Photo: d. king

Almost as soon as the Cipes family arrived, the vineyard was transitioned to organic maintenance and replanted with European vinifera winemaking grapes imported from France and Germany.

Summerhill’s first experimental crush of wine was in 1990. This was the same year as the formation of BC VQA (Vintners Quality Assurance), in which the Cipes family took an active role developing. Preliminary meetings to form VQA were hosted by the Cipes family at Summerhill Vineyard.

Stephen’s New York business sense drove the tiny Okanagan wine industry forward in those early years by focusing on making traditional method sparkling wine, producing the most expensive wines the valley had seen to that point, creating the region’s first destination tourist attraction winery, and by bringing international attention with write-ups and glowing wine reviews in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Photo: d. king

His vision was that the pristine Okanagan valley, the northernmost desert viticulture region in the world, had the potential to make the finest wines in the world and bring pride to all Canadians.

Summerhill has accomplished a long list of “firsts” on the way to making this vision a reality.

  • We are Okanagan Valley pioneers in making organic wine, ultra-premium quality wine, and in establishing the model of a tourism destination winery in this beautiful place. We have worked with our provincial government to change rules so as to allow wineries to cater to wine tourists, establishing over twenty new policies for the entire province including the allowance of restaurants at BC wineries.
  • Our team members have sat on boards and committees to help draft the national organic standards for wine in Canada, and we have worked with the BC chapter of Demeter to certify the first biodynamic vineyard and wine in our province.
  • We have integrated Permaculture design principles into our farm and business.
  • The Summerhill Pyramid is the first wine cellar in the world to knowingly integrate sacred geometry for the benefit of the wine.

*https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/Story/The-Pyramid

Can’t get enough of the view from all angles. Photo: d. king

https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/Visit-Us/Pyramid–Kekuli-Gatherings

A Note to Vegans

Summerhill uses no animal byproducts in its winemaking, and is therefore vegan friendly. Some animal byproducts commonly used in winemaking include fish bladders, gelatin, egg whites, milk, and milk byproducts. Summerhill uses none of these ingredients in our wine.

We were once asked whether our Biodynamic practices are vegan friendly. Some biodynamic preparations are made with animal parts, and our farm composts are made with animal manures. These animal parts are not in the wine or in any way touching the grapes. They are used as a medium to create beneficial soil bacteria that aid processes in the grapevine’s immune system. We must leave it to each individual vegan to decide whether the biodynamic preparations are a deal breaker or not.

Be whole unto yourself at all times, and envision the world in which you want to live.”- Stephen Cipes.

The man is full of surprises.  He wrote a book I’m now reading called “All one Era“.  I’m delighted to call Stephen & Rie my friends.

 

getaway British Columbia

We’re back from a little holiday with friends in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Lake Country/wine region and

View from the lake house on Lake Okanagan, B.C.  Photo: d. king

Castlegar…

Castlegar, B.C. Photo: d. king

…which is a city situated at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers in the southwestern corner of the Kootenay Rockies. Along with a day jaunt to Nelson to have breakfast and walk around, this trip reminded me of all the beauty that super, natural British Columbia has to offer and how lucky we are to make this province our home.  The road trip/staycation with friends was quality time well spent.

With my longtime bestie Margeaux in Castlegar.    Photo: Paul LeMay

Lake Okanagan, British Columbia:

If you spot Ogopogo, the legendary lake monster said to inhabit these waters, you’ll make headline news, but other than that, this 82-mile lake has many recreational activities to offer: swimming, boating, parasailing and all types of water sports.  It’s within a short driving distance from several amazing wineries.

Paul in Lake Okanagan, B.C.          Photo: d. king

Layla lounging on a watermelon slice. Lake Okanagan, B.C.    Photo: d. king

After Layla’s very first swim. She preferred staying afloat.  This photo was taken on someone’s cellphone.

On Lake Okanagan we stayed at the home of our wonderful hosts Stephen Cipes and his wife Rie.  Stephen is the owner of award winning Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the most visited winery in Canada.  The winery offers tours & tastings of organic/biodynamic wines, plus a bistro & an aboriginal gallery. The food is excellent and I brought back a few cases of outstanding wine. I got to drink and sample ones I hadn’t tried before. I’ll blog about this on a separate post next week.

I hitched a ride back to the house with Stephen.  Photo: d. king

In Castlegar. One of the bottles we opened with Margeaux, Mike (her boyfriend), Lorene (her friend & next door neighbour) and my boyfriend Paul.  Photo: d. king

Castlegar, British Columbia:

View of the Columbia River from the house. Photo: d. king

Incorporated in 1966, this relatively new mill town sits in a valley that has a rich and diverse history, steeped in the heritage and culture of the Doukhobors, who migrated here in the early 20th century.

People flock to Castlegar for many reasons – its diverse art scene, its world-class recreational activities, its rich culture, and its ideal location in the mountainous Kootenay Region of beautiful British Columbia.

One of Castlegar’s many sculptures. Photo: d. king

We stayed with my amazing friend Margeaux in her resort home overlooking the spectacular *Columbia River and swam in her saltwater pool. While in the pool we saw three eagles fly directly above our heads.  I was not quick enough to capture all three but was able to get one as it flew away.

Castlegar. Photo: Paul LeMay

Photo: d. king

Margeaux owns Kootenay Valley Water Company, providing premium bottled water and water dispensers for home and business owners throughout the West Kootenays. The company have added Arctic Spas® to their family, quickly becoming the authorized dealer in Castlegar and for the West Kootenay region. They provide full service for hot tubs and pools and some fun extras like luxurious egyptian cotton bathrobes and outdoor glassware.

*The Columbia River offers excellent fishing for multiple numbers of species from Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Bass and Whitefish.

Pool overlooks the magnificent Columbia River. Photo: d. king

Nelson, British Columbia is located in the Selkirk mountains and along the shores of Kootenay Lake. Only a half hour drive from Castlegar, it’s known as “The Queen City“, and acknowledged for its impressive collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days in a regional silver rush. Nelson is a treat.  It’s an inspirational mecca for foodies, art-goers, music lovers, history buffs and adventure seekers.  Little local shops offer a multitude of goodies you might otherwise not find elsewhere.  It’s an old hippee hangout.

Nelson, B.C. Photo: d. king

Kootenay Valley Water & Spas:
Header Photo: Beach in Nelson, B.C.  d. king

Anywhere?

It’s that time again…

*Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town it’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost anywhere except in the U.S.A.

Kelowna to Osoyoos

Whether it be the road less traveled, the road more traveled or the road not taken…just hit the road!  It will always be a journey of discovery.

You never know how it’s gonna go…

I SEE MY PATH, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT LEADS. NOT KNOWING WHERE I’M GOING IS WHAT INSPIRES ME TO TRAVEL IT.” – ROSALIA DE CASTRO

A few cinematic favorites:

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – a super funny disastrous family vacation amongst breathtaking scenery.

“SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS A GREAT FRIEND AND A TANK OF GAS.” – UNKNOWN

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Yes please!*Road trippin’ a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Skincare Cult Favourites

 Reviews of personally loved skincare products.

 

Aside from the products I make myself, I’ve been wanting to try these cult favourites…if only to find out what all the fuss is about.

It’s only the last several months that I’ve been using them and now I realize the reason why women find them exceptional.

Fresh soy face cleanser

This came as a sample and when I’m finished using it I’ll purchase a tube.  The first thing I noticed was the lovely fresh scent…which lives up to its name.  Cool as a cucumber. I love that it soothes sensitive skin.

This pH-balanced gel cleanser for all skin types has a cult following for the way it removes makeup—even mascara—without drying for soft, supple skin. It’s made with amino acid-rich soy proteins, calming cucumber extract, and balancing rosewater. 

  • Amino acid-rich soy proteins help maintain skin elasticity.
  • Calming cucumber extract aids in soothing the skin.
  • Rosewater is notable for its calming and balancing properties.
  • Borage seed oil helps to nourish and soften.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/soy-face-cleanser-P7880?country_switch=ca&lang=en

Boscia exfoliating peel gel

Believe it or not, I first purchased this at a Costco in Palm Springs.  I’m not sure if every Costco sells it, but it came packaged along with a cactus water gel moisturizer and elasticized hair band.  The moisturizer works for hydration but I’m not a big fan of the watery consistency.  However I absolutely think this smoothing, brightening and firming peel gel is TOPS.  I bought it mainly because of the exfoliant.  I use it on dry skin in the morning and it really works to gently but effectively slough away dull dead skin cells.  It’s gentle enough to use daily which most other exfoliants are not.  The formula is lightweight but it works like a heavyweight.

This is a keeper.  Probably the best I’ve come across. Since it cleanses skin too you might consider using this in the AM and Fresh Soy Cleanser in the PM.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/exfoliating-peel-gel-P393292

Erno Laszlo skin supplement lotion

This came in my “Box of Style.”  They always include an amazing beauty product and I’m always willing to try.

This is great following exfoliation because it helps to refresh and hydrate.  It’s kind of a gel-water consistency.  Having said that, I think the right facial spray can also do the trick.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll buy a bottle after I finish what I have.  A little goes a long way.  Women go ga-ga over it, so here’s some info from their site:

Product Details

Our silky, hydrating toner works for nearly all skin concerns to revive dull or dry complexions and begin the process of renewal. Made without alcohol, it gently clears away flakes and aging skin cells while it sweeps on calming, skin-restoring nutrients found in nature, including:

  • Provitamin B5 to give skin the antioxidant support in needs to bolster the healing process and build its defenses.
  • Comfrey root to soothe sensitive or irritated skin while it encourages cell repair and renewal.
  • Glycerin, a natural moisture magnet, to attract and hold hydration for a glowing complexion.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/hydraphel-skin-supplement-lotion-P392628

La Mer

The luxurious rich cream that started it all.  Known as the Miracle Broth.

A few years ago after sampling a small bit I bought a jar at Nordstrom.  I decided it was too thick for my skin.  However a few months ago they actually had some for sale at Costco in Palm Springs and I couldn’t resist trying it again.  Skin changes.  I don’t know whether my skin is more dehydrated now, but after using it only nightly for a few months I do notice a positive difference.  it’s soothing and helps heal dryness. Yes; it’s expensive and there are a lot of other good moisturizers on the market…but this one really is a cult favourite for good reason and I know several women with amazing complexions that say it’s worth the splurge.  So if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth a try, especially if you can find it a bit cheaper at Costco.  It really softens so use sparingly and perhaps seasonally in drier months.  Oh; the legend of it’s creation is something else…

According to tale, a German rocket scientist named Max Huber invented it while trying to heal burns that he’d sustained in the lab. Estée Lauder now owns the brand.

Just for fun the below was excerpted from an article taken from “The Cut” – Skin Deep.

The moisturizer that is meant to give you baby-soft skin is treated like a precious baby during its formulation. La Mer’s formula resolves around a fermented juice called the Miracle Broth. While each batch is fermenting, which takes about three months, technicians play the broth a tape of carefully selected sounds.  This is for real.

If you think this is crazy, you aren’t alone.  Andrew Bevacqua, senior vice-president of research and development at the Max Huber Research Labs, who has worked at Lauder since 1986, was floored when he learned that he had to provide the Miracle Broth with a soundtrack. “I couldn’t understand why it could be necessary to do that. I thought creating the broth was enough. When Max’s daughter told me about it, I thought she didn’t understand because she wasn’t a scientist,” he said. “But we tried it without the sound waves, and the data showed that when it had sound waves, the broth was much more active.” He added that there are studies that show that sound waves can have an impact on chemical reactions, so there’s some science behind it, after all.

Interesting…No?

Full Article: https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/10-conspiracy-theories-about-la-mer-and-is-it-worth-it.html

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/creme-de-la-mer-moisturizing-cream-P416341

The links I’ve provided are all Sephora however you can buy on all individual product websites or wherever sold.

Let me know if you’ve used any of these products and what your thoughts are?

 

Yummy Gluten-Free Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Since we’re in the heart of blueberry season I thought it timely to offer you this delightful tasting muffin recipe courtesy of my friend Lynn.  She made a batch and we went through them in no time.  

These are, in my opinion, the best tasting gluten-free muffins using healthy ingredients.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 large egg

¼ cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup honey

1 ½ cups spelt flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 ½ cups frozen or fresh blueberries

4 Tbsp. melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Line or grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl whisk together yogurt, egg, vanilla, milk + honey.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add blueberries.  Toss to combine.

Add the yogurt mixture, the melted butter and stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until tops spring back lightly to touch.

Let muffins cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing them to a cooling rack.

Cool completely.

You won’t be able to eat only one.

Feel-good Friday: Picnic in the Park

Some say life is no picnic.  I say make a picnic part of your life.

Summer isn’t complete without one.

Essentials: blanket, wicker picnic basket, sandwiches, cherries, cider, salad….dog.

A little history on the subject:

The word “picnic” comes from the French language where it became a popular pastime in France after the Revolution (1789) when royal parks became open to the public for the first time.

The term derives from pique-nique, used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. The concept of a picnic therefore had the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something.

Picnic may be based on the verb piquer which means ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ with the rhyming nique meaning “thing of little importance”, or on “pique un niche” meaning “pick a place”, an isolated spot where family or friends could enjoy a meal together.

During the Victorian Age picnics were ways for people to escape the restrictions of etiquette and formality and offered the rare opportunity for young men and women to spend time together in the open air. They could also be quite elaborate since a picnic for twenty people might feature sandwiches, fruit, a selection of cheeses, and a variety of baked food!

The modern-day picnic is much less complicated.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

 

 

Going Blue with BC Blueberries

Did you know…July 15th is BC Blueberry Day!

Don’t you love blueberries?  There’s so many ways to celebrate them. They go with just about everything from cereal and smoothies to enhancing cocktails like sangria.  One of my favorite cakes is a blueberry/lemon. The lemon compliments the blueberries really nicely. Blueberries are delicious, they’re loaded with vitamins and look so pretty.  What’s not to love?
BC Blueberries are a big deal for British Columbia.  Blueberry Day is a way to show appreciation for our province’s hardworking BC blueberry farmers while commemorating the start of the fresh season.
Annually, the BC Blueberry Council begins fresh blueberry season in July. With more than 600 high bush blueberry growers covering more than 30,000 hectares across the province, this is a busy time for the BC Blueberry Council and its members.
Pick your Own Berries
BC Blueberry farmers are offering U pick this summer under special COVID-19 protocols – find the farm closest to you on GoBlueBC.ca.
Restaurants, caterers, and chefs across the province are getting behind BC Blueberries with special menu items. The full list will be published online at GoBlueBC.ca.
For ways on how to incorporate the super berries into your daily routine, visit bcblueberry.com and visit their social media pages @bcblueberries.
BC Blueberry Day is a way to remind us that we should celebrate BC Blueberries all year long. Whether fresh or frozen, BC Blueberries are a versatile pantry-staple that should always be at the top of every shopping list.
I’m so lucky to live here.
Now go out and get some!

Short Summer

Finding the perfect pair of shorts should be pretty simple, right?

*Two for the Road – (1967) with Albert Finney & Audrey Hepburn.  Photo: Alamy

NO, it’s not!  It’s only easy if you don’t care about fit and style. I think this might ring true for both men and women.

Something not too short, not too long, not too frumpy looking. Almost impossible.

And when you do come across a really cute pair, some are as expensive as a long pair of pants even though they’re missing all that extra material. 

Good ones seem to be in short supply.

I have only two pairs right now that I’m comfortable wearing in rotation.  I’m on the hunt so I don’t only have two for the road.  I want at least three.

MIA – amazon.com

I’m considering all styles.  Cargo, Retro, Pleated, Printed, Denim, Tailored…belted, drawstring, buttons or zipper…

What is your favorite go-to pair of shorts?

 

 

 

 

Nordstrom
Image: Vogue

*Two For The Road: Travel is a constant theme in this romantic dramedy about a married couple, played by Albert Finney and Aubrey Hepburn (who by the way, looks good in her shorts). The movie starts off with a road trip to Saint-Tropez, and as they drive through France, the audience is treated to flashbacks of previous trips that have affected their relationship. -Jenni Miller

I once went on a road trip through France with a stop in St. Tropez – minus the pink shorts, cool convertible & picnic basket.

Header: Hurley Board Shorts