Tag: surfing

Travel Swellness: Catching the winter wave in Lake Tahoe

IMG_1005

Fresh from surfing, biking (both cruiser bike on the beach boardwalk and fat biking in Big Bear) and touring around, the next stop on my catch the winter wave adventure was in Lake Tahoe! And this season, many mountains are open until July 4th; I read there was a snow storm in Tahoe North three days ago!

IMG_0893

It’s a short flight (an hour?) from LAX to Reno/Lake Tahoe and our trip started in South Lake Tahoe. Our group stayed in a few different hotels here; I was at Basecamp Hotel, which I loved. The rooms have a cute hipster-chic aesthetic, and I just knew (and was correct) that the complimentary breakfast would include a DIY waffle station.

IMG_0851

Plus there’s a large hot tub and beside it is a campfire. And campfire means s’mores! I pretty much felt like I was living my best life as a friend made me a s’more and passed it to me to eat as I lounged in the hot tub after a long day of skiing. Next time, I’d love to stay in their Great Indoors room, that has a tent, fun!

CTTC170310120103_025

 

(Photo credit: Max Whittaker/Visit California)

It’s basically a 5-10 minute walk across the street to get to Heavenly. I’m a big fan of the Epix Mix app, so was thrilled we were skiing at Heavenly since I’d get to log more vertical feet on my app (yes, I’m a nerd like that). My legs felt a little shaky (and I’d just had two somewhat frustrating ski trips in January to Park City and Panorama — I actually felt like I got worse at skiing those two trips) but after a run or two to loosen up, I really enjoyed the skiing at Heavenly. It never got old to look out into the distance and seeing the silvery glint of Lake Tahoe in the distance; the view taking my breath away every time.

IMG_0832

Another favourite thing at Heavenly? I got to meet one of the avalanche dogs, Pete! Our guide for the morning tried to have us meet the dogs in the a.m. but the team was in a meeting at the time, but I made a note of which run and building the dogs are at, and made a point to pop in on my own in the afternoon (i.e. I made everyone I was skiing with wait for 10 minutes as I met this sweetheart).

CTTC170310120103_009

 

(Photo credit: Max Whittaker/Visit California)

Our second day of skiing was at Sierra at Tahoe. I’d say the runs here felt similar to Heavenly, but because I was feeling more confident with my skiing, I’d say I truly enjoyed the skiing here. Where it’s just challenging enough that it’s still exciting but also with sections on the runs where you just feel like you can take it easy and enjoying that lightness of coasting down the slopes. Plus, I tacked a black diamond run here — I’d done black diamond before a handful of times, but I was pretty proud this time as the super advanced skiers in our group told me that it was not good conditions and that it was quite a difficult run, and I managed to do it without wiping out nor feeling like I couldn’t handle it. I just took my time and stayed calm and collected, while the more advanced skiers I was with patiently and kindly would wait for me to catch up.

CTTC170310120103_020 (1)

(Photo credit: Max Whittaker/Visit California)

Another thing that worked in my favour for both days at Heavenly and Sierra? I think the skis I had worked really well for me. I’m not knowledgeable enough about skiing, but a few of the much more advance skiers commented that they seemed just right for me. I know that I felt at ease in them, and what can I say, I liked the red colour of them.

As for my favourite meal in South Lake Tahoe was at the BBQ restaurant at Hotel Becket. The meats are smoked on site, and there’s a wide range of appetizers and sides, and both a solid craft brewery and cocktail menu. We had a really large table, so I feel like we ordered practically every dish on the menu, so I got a well-rounded taste test of what the kitchen puts out.

After those two days, we moved onto North Lake Tahoe. It was an early start to the day for the drive but despite very much wanting to snooze on the ride, I’m glad I managed to stay awake as the view of the lake as you drive north is stunning. And this actually is my main regret of this trip: that I didn’t have a chance to actually spend time at the lake itself, so I had to  make do with gawking over the view on the drive north. Given our busy itinerary there was no time to go to explore the lake (I debated getting up super early for a run, but the timing would’ve been tight based on sunrise, so it wasn’t really an option).

IMG_0897

In North Lake Tahoe, we spent two days at Squaw Valley but the first day was focused on watching the FIS World Cup Ladies Slalom. I don’t know much about the sport, but it was exciting to watch these women race in real life. No photos or video were permitted of the race itself, but I got a few of some of the athletes watching the competition after they’d completed their turn.

IMG_0958

I was raring to go hit those slopes at Squaw, having had time to take in this enormous mountain. I found this to be the most beautiful of the mountains we went to, even though I had thought nothing would top the view of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly. The sheer size of the mountain, the mix of rock faces that would peek through the snow, the huge gnarled tree stump on one run, so many picturesque spots.

IMG_0990

We were also blessed with such beautiful weather, blue skies and about 20 degrees Celsius. And even though the most knowledgeable skier I know told me that legit skiers don’t strip down to a T-shirt (or girls who just wear a bikini top) when it gets warm enough to ski, I won’t lie that I was mighty tempted to (and still might one day). It might not gain me props with legit skiers, but I kind of love the idea of the exhilarating feeling of skiing on snow but in contrast with it being so sunny and warm you can do it in a sports bra or bikini top. Skiing minus cold temperatures is pretty dreamy, and it almost makes me reluctant to go back to skiing in actual cold weather (although I love it too much to not!).

In the afternoon, we were paired up with a guide who brought us to some incredible runs. There was one black diamond run that wasn’t busy and hit just the right note of being almost too difficult enough in areas but mixed in with enough sections that felt breezy and carefree. Which was just about the perfect way to end an unforgettable trip that has made California a solid favourite in my books.

It’s going to be hard to return to skiing in frigid weather after skiing in these incredible conditions–I feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to ski in Tahoe. Have you skied here? I’d love to hear about your Tahoe favourites!

And by the way, if you’re keen on reading the pieces I wrote about this trip, I wrote about Tahoe for VITA Daily, and about both SoCal and Tahoe for Travel & Style.

IMG_0933 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment June 15, 2017

Travel Swellness: The beauty of Barbados

IMG_7022

In December, I got to visit Barbados for a second time and it was just as beautiful and friendly as I remembered. This time, we stayed at St. Peter’s Bay, and I really liked the boutique feel of this resort. It felt very private and cozy, and there were beautiful sunset views.

IMG_6810

My favourite meal would have to be the Sunday brunch we enjoyed at 13°/59°. There’s live music, and sitting in the shade in the marina with upscale brunch dishes (I had lobster that was grilled perfectly) with a cold flute of champagne — it’s very chic affair.

brunch in Barbados

As much as I like enjoying a flying fish sandwich with my toes in the sand, getting dressed nicely and being whisked off in a boat to this refined brunch was just lovely.

IMG_7048

And I was also ready to eat all of the food on the menu as this was the brunch after I’d run the Barbados Half-marathon that morning. You can check out my race report here.

IMG_7060

Yes, we spotted turtles during our little boat cruise one morning! And a monkey or two during our Sunday brunch.

I loved my surf lesson at Dover Beach. The waves were manageable for me, a beginner, and the water was warm. My instructor was from Hamilton, Ontario, funny making a Canadian connection, eh? In this lesson, they taught us to pop up onto our feet (all the other lessons I’ve done we’ve been instructed to get up one foot at a time).  I managed to get up on the boatd a couple of times.

surfing in Barbados Dec 2016

 

 

I also wrote about vacationing in Barbados for VITA Daily, you can check out my story here.

IMG_6789

 

Leave a Comment April 11, 2017

2016 Swellness: My year in review

img_7123

I honestly feel like I just wrote my 2015 year in review, like, last month. And that has me feeling a bit panicked. Time is passing too fast. I need things to slow down.

At the end of 2015, I had a one goal for 2016: for it to be better than 2015. And thankfully it was. Although, I can’t even fathom it having been worse than 2015; 2015 was rough. Yes, it had some bright moments but it remains in my memory as the worst year of my life (and trust me, 2010 was not pretty).

boating-in-barbados

This year had its own waves of amazingness and low points. I traveled more this year than ever. 27 trips (and some of these included multiple destinations) and four road trips — mostly for work, but a handful were personal. And if you’re wondering how much travel is too much travel, well, I know that for myself, this is too much travel. While I look back on every trip fondly and do not regret any one of them, traveling this often is stressful. I recently read a research study about how the week or so before a trip brings on stress and low mood, and with this many trips, I felt like I was constantly in this state. Because the constant packing and repacking of luggage, having to cram most of my responsibilities into the limited time I do have at home, and the complete lack of routine, it wore me down. Often, I’d be so stressed about everything on my plate that things I should be looking forward to and enjoying — like meeting up with a friend for dinner or going to a park to spend time with them and their dog — I instead felt resentful and anxiety about, because that was taking time away from scrambling to get organized, or just have some plain old down time for myself. And that’s a sign that I was overwhelmed.

But for a slew of reasons, I did my best to fumble through it all and maintained the non-stop travel, and looking back on the places I’ve been to this year, I feel very fortunate for all of the experiences. But I’m seeking better balance in the year to come…

As for this past year, memories and achievements that made it great?

I ramped up my skiing skills. With very sporadic ski days in my life (with the exception of Chile last year), I went on three longer ski trips, to Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Telluride (all in Colorado) and a trip to Kimberley, B.C., and am solidly past my beginner snowplow and at the very least am an intermediate skier. I tackled one black diamond in Colorado (although there was a blue in Kimberley, B.C. that I swear was tougher than the black diamond in CO!) and I’m clamouring for my skiing in my life.

surfing-in-barbados

I went surfing (and maybe got a little bit better at it). With not great waves in Huntington Beach last fall in my first surf lesson, I was eager to do more surfing this year, and I had the chance to during a week in Sayulita, and lessons in Barbados and Puerto Rico. I’m not great at it, but I have so much fun doing it. Now I’m keen on trying to spend a chunk of time in a beach destination so I can surf daily to really build on my skills. That feeling of riding the wave is absolutely exhilarating, and worth all of the wipeouts.

I visited incredible cities and towns that made me pause and appreciate how very lucky I am. This year brought me to places around the world including China, Istanbul, Croatia, much of the U.S. (including several trips to L.A. and Healdsburg — and my love for Cali just grows more each time), down to the Caribbean a few times (including Puerto Rico, which has always been on my wish list, and where I got to do this phenomenal hike in a river and rappelling down a waterfall; and Saint Lucia, which is as gorgeous as I’d envisioned it), and a sailing trip in the Greek Islands. This year also was a year I explored much of Canada, and I’m so thrilled Canada is being named on so many 2017 top destinations lists because it actually makes me quite sad to think that many of us in Canada don’t bother to explore our own country when there is so much to explore and I hope this gets us all to check out our home and native land. My time exploring Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore, Kananaskis and Lake Moraine? I think that trip overall counts as the most beautiful place I’ve been. Although Fogo Island is pretty darn gorgeous, too. I can’t forget that I went there andstayed at the Fogo Island Inn, and I also got a chance to visit Charlevoix, Montebello, Priddis, Kingston and Ottawa and Canada is pretty effing awesome.

moraine-lake

With each trip, I soaked up the views and culture, met locals, ate foods that I still dream about (like the tea cake in China), and I feel like I end this year as a better person with a broader perspective than before (travel does that to you).

I had solid quality time with friends and made new ones. With my stress about having no time to do anything, it made me really appreciate the time I did manage to carve out with my closest friends, even if it was something as simple as an impromptu night out grabbing ramen, or going for a run to talk things out. Home is where the heart is… And I made new friends along the way, it’s always nice when you meet people and you just click.

I did my first triathlon. And while this tri in Gulf Shores, Alabama, may be my last, and even now just thinking about the swim gets my heart beating faster now (and not in a happy excited way but I’m going to have a panic attack way), I am proud that I tackled it and completed it semi-decently despite my terrible, terrible swim.

I drove more than I ever have. This is a personal victory. Driving can stress me out, and the fact that I drove fairly regularly (including road trips to Buffalo and WayHome) and for an entire week by myself and with my phone GPS not working properly through a province I do not know when I was in Alberta for the Calgary Half-marathon and exploring Banff National Park, I’m giving myself one huge pat on the back.

I didn’t let running rule my life. Don’t get me wrong. I still love many things about running and plan to continue running, and I still hope to qualify for Boston. But I didn’t do any marathons this year, and ran fewer races overall (halfs in Bahamas and Barbados, the Scotia half, Calgary half, the RBC Race for the Kids 15k, and the Great Canadian Beer Run 5k — I think that’s it, I’ve lost track…) and I tried to add more variety to my life, including taking tennis lessons (and I plan on doing some rockclimbing in 2017). I think this departure was good for me; marathons twice a  year (although I did three one year) had drained me mentally four years in a row. But I am excited to immerse myself back into running more in the coming year, with at least one marathon already planned, Chicago!

I worked with amazing brands and outlets. I love the brands I get to partner with, and this year was no exception. Booking.com, Expedia, Scotiabank, to name just a few, along with the outlets and awesome editors I write for, such as iRun, Metro, amongmen.com, VITA Daily, Toronto Magazine, and more. I get to do some pretty amazing things as work, and growing my brand in partnership with such top notch companies and brands is something I’m proud of.

img_1289

Last but not least, possibly the  best part of the year has been getting more involved with volunteering with Save Our Scruff. This year I decided to see if dogsitting was possible with my two cats at home and for the most part, it worked out well. I wrote about why I dogsit for CBC Life (and I’m now officially part of the Save Our Scruff foster roster). While I admit my heart still feels achey because I miss the amazing dogs I had a chance to dogsit, I just think of the small role I played in helping them find the best home for them and it’s worth it and I plan to continue to volunteer as much as my schedule allows next year. (Turtle and Dobie, if you’re reading this, I miss you both so much, my sweet lovable buddies and think about you all the time!)

img_8262

I was reminded on Facebook recently of my #2015bestnine, and my caption refers to how every single one of my best nine is related to fitness, and how I’d strive for more balance in 2016. And while this whole best nine business is based on “likes” and not reflective of my thoughts or feelings about this year, I am pleased to see that my best nine this year shows more of a mix including, yes, fitness, but also travel, the all-important ootd — although I tend to think of them more as fun times with friends — and well, a cute coffee (everyone loves a good coffee Instagram, after all!). Two, though, tie into my love for Canada, and I am more happy (and relieved) than ever to be Canadian right  now.

img_8141

A friend recently shared her husband’s motto with me: “It could be worse.” And while it made me giggle initially, it has indeed gotten me through some moments this year. When running a half and feeling tired and dejected? It could be worse, it could be a marathon! When stuck traveling with someone whose personality clashes with mine and I want to wring their neck? It could be worse, I could be stuck in an office with that person daily if I had a regular 9-to-5 job! I can often fall into a wallowing state of mind, and this saying helps to jolt me out of my pity party.

That said, I’m looking forward to 2017 with a more positive and determined approach and I’m all in. It’s going to be great, people, I’m convinced of it.

Wishing you a very happy new year and here’s to fresh starts and exciting adventures for 2017!

(And, oh, let’s not forget that this is the year I MET TAYLOR LAUTNER.)

img_4927

Leave a Comment December 31, 2016

Previous page


Recent Posts

Categories

Recent Comments