Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some Are Special

Earrings that Ronald got me some many Christmases ago. They are one of my favorite pairs. It reminds me of Christmas. It brings me back to that night when he drove over to my cousin's house, where we were having a Christmas party, just to drop off a couple of presents to Shum and I and whomever else. I didn't expect a Christmas present at all. So, when this beautiful velvety box landed in my hands, I was super touched. These kind of moments make you feel so special so I don't forget them.

It's one of very few pieces of jewelry that I keep in its own original jewelry box. (A lot of the other stuff I just throw all together into one box). I love them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Okanagans - Day 2

(Click on photos for larger image).

I cannot say enough good things about KeriGlen B&B. We woke up at 8am to an amazing breakfast all prepared for us. There was an abundance of fresh local fruits.

The table had its placemats and settings and adorned by beautiful fresh flowers picked from their garden.

We picked an eggs benedict breakfast with the hollandaise sauce on the side. Along with it, we had our choices of yogurts, juices, and teas... and toast with homemade jam.

The food is always excellent. And there was always too much of it. Our breakfasts were large enough that we didn't need to eat lunch each day. Once our tummies were satisfied, we were happy to hit the road.

We drove out to Kelowna, which was about an hour away from our B&B in Penticton. First stop : Mission Hill. That was where Bran and Dan started their engagement shoot.

The view was spectacular. The winery was just as beautiful as I remembered. If you've never been, you must pay a visit.

The next stop : Quail's Gate. I think I loved the view at Quail's Gate even more. The winery itself is not as grand but still beautiful. I could spend an entire day sitting at one of their picnic benches outside... and stare at the view all day long. It's absolutely breathtaking. You ought to wonder why BCer's need to fly anywhere else for an amazing countryside view. This has to be one of the more beautiful places in the world. I feel lucky to call a place like this my home.

We drove back to Penticton and checked out a couple of wineries there before we headed back to the B&B. The view seemed to get better and better. Check out the view at Thornhaven. To die for. If only I could have captured the true essence. You have to be standing there feeling it and taking it all in to truly understand the beauty of British Columbia.

La Frenz is one of my favorite wineries from the Naramata Bench. Their wine consists of both dry and not-so-dry. I'm not a big wine drinker but I enjoy a glass of it now and then when I'm out with my friends. I typically like a wine with a bit more body (not too light in flavour) and more on the not-so-dry side. I hear that as you learn to appreciate wine more and more, you'll tend to go towards dry. It's true. I have learned to appreciate dryer wines. From La Frenz though, my choice is Alexandria (which is less dry).

This B&B doesn't just cook breakfast for you, but dinner too if you choose. If you know Elsie's cooking, why wouldn't you choose dinner also? We had dinner here two years ago, and I haven't forgotten it since. We chose steak dinner again. And oh boy... I tell ya... I wish I knew how to make steak like they do.

I thought these were our appetizers : a veggie plate and red chili pepper jelly + cream cheese spread on crackers. Fred brought it out to us at the firepit to enjoy while he set our dinner table. The pepper jelly + cream cheese combo was oh-so-good. We couldn't stop eating them even though we knew it would spoil our dinner. And guess what? The jelly is, of course ... homemade.  We raved about it to Elsie... "my gosh, that pepper jelly is so yummy!."

So it turns out, that was just a snack before dinner. We were seated at our dinner table. I love eating out on a patio with a view on a sunny day. Dinner started off with a light green salad with mandarin oranges. Then we each got a whole baked zucchini. Fred then gave us each a foil package. Inside were some roasted vegetables of carrots and potatoes and other roots. Ohmigosh.... the vegetables were so sweet. You would have thought they added sugar to their potatoes. But, they were just so distinctly delicious because they were straight from their garden. It can't get any more fresh! SO. Goooood....

There was always a different fancy napkin holder.

We also got a pile of sauteed mushrooms that went really well with our steak. We all ordered it medium rare. When we cut into it, you would have thought it was almost well done as there was not too much pink left. But the thing is, it was one of the most tender steaks I've ever had. I remember Fred talking about how it's all about the choice of beef and not how rare it is. I didn't want to ask if they fed their own cows too... (I'm joking). Dinner was delightful. We were stuffed to the rim.

However, we could not pass up dessert. Elsie made the same thing two years ago - a light and fluffy angel food cake topped with strawberries. They gave us a piece of cake as large as two of my palms! How could I finish it? But the cake was so airy and light, it felt like you were eating... clouds. (That description is stolen from Karen). Omg, it was heavenly. Mmm...

We were all in a food coma. We truly cannot thank Elsie and Fred enough for their warmth, hospitality, and amazing food.
After dinner, we moved on right back to the fireplace area. We cozied by the fire under blankets and let the night waste away. And best of all, we were all in good company.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Danny

Ahhh!! What a bundle of cuteness!!

Yesterday night, I also visited Rachel and her baby, Danny.

It seemed like yesterday when we were at Rachel's baby shower, but Danny is now already two months old. He has the blue eyes like his daddy (for now - they say the eye colour might change later). He has the perfect round head with the big round eyes. He makes the cutest baby noises. He seems like such an easy baby. No fussing with us each passing him around and cuddling him into our arms. He's soooo cute. I wanted to take him home!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When The Sun Comes Out

We've been having a couple of days of sporadic torrential rain on the days I had to work. Somehow, I lucked out on my day off today with the sun coming out to play. Call me a worry wart, but on my days off, I sometimes worry about entertaining my parents. However, my mom had plans with her friends to check out the city's festivals and then going to a BBQ in the evening. Dad, on the other hand, loves staying at home and dabbling in this and that and he did just that. With parents preoccupied, I guess I get the day to myself. What should I do?

It's my day off so I chose to sleep in. When I woke up, strapped on my runners and went out for a short run around the neighbourhood. Came home and decided to dust off the dust on my weights. What was I to do with weights... I had no idea. It's been a while since I've picked one up. For some reason, the Canada version of So You Think You Can Dance on TV was providing good motivation. Afterwards, jumped in the shower and came out with a little time to spare right before lunch. Ahh, what a good start to a day. Normally, I would have just barely rolled out of bed at this time.

My hair was still wet and frizzy while I slurped down a bowl of bowtie pasta in soup with egg and corn beef (a Chinese combination) that my dad made. Was in my comfy home clothes and was ready to relax a while when Ming messaged and suggested we go for a walk around downtown. "When?" I asked, still eating my bowl of bowties.


I think I still took an hour to finish my lunch and get ready anyway. Girls will be girls.

Downtown Granville St. was pretty packed. Fetival Day. It was the Carnaval de Sol, a celebration of Latin Heritage. We checked it out but in my opinion, nothing to report. Lots of food stands with long line ups. A crowd watching a mini soccer match. A stage with dancing and singing. Festive but nothing that really interested me.

Robson had a lot of summer sales. With nothing in mind to get, I wasn't really tempted to shop. Not for clothes anyway. Tempted to get work pants from Mexx ($30 only!) but already have three pairs of brand new work pants (that I bought all on sale) but not wearing any of them because waiting for them to be hemmed. (Yes, do realize that they cannot be magically hemmed sitting on my chair at home).

The anti-rioters boards.

Bus stop also adorned with messages.

Ming was hungry so we stopped at Gyoza King. Ordered an interesting bento box. Every time we step into a Japanese restaurant, he asks what Calpico is. And everytime, I tell him my best description is "yogurty". I said he should just order it and try it because he's obviously curious. He pondered it for a few seconds and goes, "No, you order it and I'll try it."


After food, we walked down to Denman so I could check out if there's any new shops. On our way back up Robson, Ming was complaining about walking uphill. I already foresaw that by the time he gets home, he's going to fall on the couch and nap. He's kind of like a puppy. You walk him a lot and tire him out... it's inevitable that he'd nap. (Sorry. Too fun poking fun at you). I'm right!

I totally loved being out in the sun. Soaking in all my vitamin D.

Funny... I was downtown, but I didn't get an urge to buy anything until I got home. One purchase that is really long overdue. Let you know what it is and what I did for the rest of the day ... in my next post!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Grassy Hills

While the other four were busy with their photoshoot, I took a moment on a cool but sunny afternoon at the Mission Hill Winery to enjoy the grassy hills. During the summer, they have movie nights in this area. But today, it was just me. Spending a lazy afternoon lying in the perfect grass.


When I said I was the behind-the-scenes photographer at their engagement shoot, that was exactly what I meant. In other words, useless.  With the hockey games previous to this trip, I was pretty exhausted and unamused on my days away. Instead of taking the opportunity to learn to shoot, I goofed off and took a few random shots of the shoot in progress. Without giving away too much of what their amazing engagement pictures are going to look like, this was how much fun Bran and Dan had with their photographer, Gurm.

There is another side to Dan besides manly.
This is when Bran giggled nonstop.

Before this seemingly normal photo...

Bran and Dan battled it out. Whatever their disagreement was...

Got to love Bran's "WTH" reaction to Dan's violence...

Prime seating for the shoot... sitting in the car.
After these photos, you'll realize how amazing Gurm is at what he does. To turn this... into something romantic. Hehehe.

All jokes aside, you can really see the love between Dan and Bran during their shoot. Such naturals!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Okanagans

We took a 3-day trip to the Okanagans this weekend. I was basically fifth-wheeling. Bran and Dan made the plans to go up there for some engagement photos and of course our friends, Gurm and Allie were the photographer and professional lightstand.  I had no real purpose but just to tag along (as I always do) to get away.  I guess you could call me the behind-the-scenes photographer...

We started off our trip at whatever time we felt like and ended up close to Chilliwack near lunch time. Bran and Dan, the walking encyclopedias of fun and weird places to eat, suggested we try out the pies at the Chilliwack airport. They're known for their pies - who would have known! They also have typical diner food so we got our savouries too.

The airport itself is really small. From this restaurant, you could see all the runways. And at this "Airport Coffee Shop", most people had peppered colour hair. And there's Dan... in this photo... walking ever so fast ahead of us to beat that old lady (on the right) in the line-up to getting a table. Alright, I'm mildly exaggerating.

They had so many choices of pie. I wanted to try them all. We were pretty stuffed so we chose two slices to share amongst the five of us. Sour cream lemon and strawberry rhubarb. I preferred the sour cream lemon. Mmm mmm mmm.

We arrived at KeriGlen (the beautiful B&B of Penticton)  in the evening. I've been to this B&B two years ago and haven't stopped raving about it to friends and family ever since. Elsie and Fred are such amazing hosts. I've only met them twice and both times a mere 3-day trip... and already, they feel like my parents from the interiors.

Their rooms are clean and cozy. I thought it was already amazing two years ago but they've done some gorgeous updates since. Check out one of their showers. It's HUGE. Jet sprays from all different directions. It also includes a steam shower. Luxury at its best.

Elsie knew Bran and Dan were there for an engagement shoot so she left an engagement present in the bedroom for them. How nice is that?

After we unloaded our things and freshened up, we went out to check out one winery before they all closed. We chose Sumac Ridge.

Baby grapes.

Wine barrels.
We did a little bit of wine tasting and a couple of us bought a few bottles of wine. I knew I had my favorites to hit up the next day so I saved the wine buying till later. Instead, I picked up a bottle of truffle oil. I have in my head to make a smooth mashed potatoes and infusing it with a couple drops of truffle. Cannot wait to try...

After Sumac Ridge, we went back to the B&B and just chillaxed there till it was time to go out for dinner. Ahh, the life of vacationing. That was all I was looking forward to... the B&B.  While Allie sat in the big recliner flipping through the stacks of magazines that the B&B provided, Gurm fiddled with his iphone (as he always does), and Bran and Dan were facebooking on their laptop. We were all enjoying our own quiet time in the livingroom when Elsie came in and offered to pour each one of us a glass of red wine.

This is the life. Red wine and flipping through a culinary magazine... One of my many favorite moments. Quiet time.

And when you feel like you needed a bit of fresh air, there was ample on the hillside that the B&B sits on... with a breathtaking view of the Okanagan Lake. It was just steps away from the livingroom when you exit onto their enormous, beautiful deck. The deck is equipped with an outdoors kitchen and BBQ, a hot tub, two dining tables, and a firepit for you to sit around at night time. What more can you ask for...

If that doesn't strike your fancy, then just go out to their yard and play with the B&B doggies, Peaches and Lexie. Peaches is a lot more friendly and loves her belly rubs.

Those are my simple things.

For others, their simple things include the ipad and the iphone. Gurm cannot be seen without one or the other. Haha.