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pro tip: sit at the sushi bar and ask the sushi chefs for their recommendations – our guy made us a lot of delicious rolls that weren’t even on the menu! pair your meal with cold sake served from a silver tea cup.

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sparkling hills: a day in the life

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8 am – get out of bed (after almost nine hours of sleep) and go to breakfast in my robe. request a table next to the window and enjoy a free buffet breakfast of meats & cheeses, scones, a spinach salad with strawberries & a ton of goat cheese, veggies & hummus, potatoes, slow-roasted glazed ham, sausages, and coffee.

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8:30 am – go back to the room, open the sliding window, and tan in the sun while digesting the meal that could have fed the entire country of china.

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9 am – transfer to the pool (despite the weather network telling me it’s only 12 degrees outside) because it’s too hot in the room. grab the only lounge chair in the sun at this hour, and resume “beached whale” position.

11 am – contemplate running away and living here forever. look up property while laying by the pool. find out that you can buy a two-bedroom/two-bath (plus den), 1,475 sq. ft. property on the golf course for the price of a one-bedroom 500 sq. ft. condo in vancouver.

11:30 am – take a sip of ice-cold water from my swell waterbottlehow is it still so cold?! it’s been sitting in the direct sunlight for the past two hours! amazing. feel pleased with myself for making good life decisions.

12 pm – i wonder what the temperature is, this is perfect. check temperature: 18 degrees. yup, that’s my perfect temperature.

1 pm – go for a dip in the pool, because it’s starting to get a little too hot. get out and resume “beached whale” position, and enjoy temperature reset.

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1:45 pm – fill up water bottle with cucumber water from the tea lounge, and enjoy a cup of tea.

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2 pm – return to pool area, because life is better outside.

3 pm – the sun has fully disappeared. maybe i should go to the gym…

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3:45 pm – gym time. am i voluntarily doing dumbbell thrusters??

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4:30 pm – i need a snack. i should probably also wish my dad a “happy father’s day” because of the time difference.

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5:30 pm – join a semi-private yoga class in the most beautiful studio.

6:45 pm – pour a glass of wine, turn the music on, put this blog post together, and make my way around all the steam and sauna rooms before bed. set my alarm so that i have time for breakfast before my massage tomorrow morning.

i can’t even explain the type of serenity that comes over me every time i stay at this place. it’s as if nothing in my life actually matters and i’m just so content sitting here, staring at these views. i’m not missing anyone, i’m not longing for anything, i’m not replaying the past, i’m not planning for the future or running through to-do lists in my head… i’m literally just sitting here, soaking in the view and just breathing. it’s relaxation at its finest.

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“sometimes, you just need a break. in a beautiful place. alone. to figure everything out.”

the best thing on miku’s menu

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the salmon oshi sushi – pressed bc wild sockeye salmon, jalapeño, and miku sauce that’s flame-seared to perfection.

you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu since everything is so delicious, but where you can make the biggest mistake of your life is if you don’t order the salmon oshi sushi as part of your meal.

and just in case you were wondering what $300 of salmon oshi sushi looked like…

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ten-minute stir fry

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ingredients: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked rice, brown mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, eggs, sesame seeds, fresh basil, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper.

chop up the garlic and sauté in sesame oil. crack the eggs into the pan (season with salt and pepper) and chop up the mushrooms and eggplant while the garlic and eggs are cooking in the pan. add the mushrooms and eggplant into the pan, then add the cooked riced, and cover in soy sauce (and a little more sesame oil). chop up some ginger and fresh basil, and add into the pan. add the spinach in and watch it shrink down. season with salt and pepper, take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

i’m pretty sure this post took me longer to write up than making this dish for dinner tonight.

cauliflower rice and a 12 week challenge

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ingredients: cauliflower, lime, green onions, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

put the cauliflower in a food processor until it has the right grainy texture (not for too long, so it doesn’t get mushy). chop up the garlic and green onions, sauté in a pan with olive oil; add the cauliflower, stir around for a bit until it looks ready then place in a bowl. chop up the cilantro, add it to the newly made cauliflower rice; squeeze fresh lime all over the dish, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a protein like chicken.

this is the meal i had right before i took my “after” picture for the 12 week challenge at work (spoiler alert: i didn’t win).

the only reason i even entered the competition was because the company paid the entry fee, and it happened to coincide with me actually wanting to get back into shape anyway. i was hit with the “enough is enough, i feel gross, unhealthy, and fat, and it’s time to do something about it” feeling that i haven’t felt in a few years. i hid my body in loose-fitting clothes all the time, and convinced myself that everything was okay because guys still found me attractive. well, there was one problem with that… i didn’t find myself attractive.

so, i committed to making a change. one that was sustainable with my lifestyle though and didn’t force me to give up all the things i enjoyed about life (aka huge bowls of homemade pasta and wine). i monitored my calorie intake and joined an expensive gym (so i’d force myself to go, to get my money’s worth) that is conveniently located in-between home and work and has classes that fit in with my schedule (side-note: studeo 55 is one of the best gyms i’ve ever joined).

the struggle is far from over, even though i’ve made a lot of progress. i do feel healthier, stronger, and more confident with my body, which is a huge step for me. i’ve realized it’s all about balance, and finding something that works for you and your body. my method and routine works perfectly for me, but might not be for everyone.

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the day before nightingale opened

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i got the privilege of trying david hawksworth’s new restaurant, nightingale, the day before it officially opened to the public… for $10.  we literally ordered almost everything off the menu. 28 dishes between four people (and the fourth person showed up a little after dish 18).

my personal favourites: the san marzano pizza with buffalo mozzarella (apparently it took two years to perfect the crust, but this was hands-down the best pizza i’ve ever had in my life), the lamb chops (we got three orders for our table), the seared albacore tuna, the pork belly (that went so well with the apple slices on top of it, and all the flavours infused into it), the flank steak, the halibut ceviche, the rockfish, the burrata, the cauliflower, the gelato, and the salted caramel pot.

the ambience was amazing, the service was fantastic, the quality of food was on par with what you expect from a hawskworth restaurant, and i absolutely love the “family-style sharing” concept of the restaurant and how the dishes come out as they are prepared.

i think i have a new favourite restaurant in vancouver, and i can’t wait to go back to try the rest of the menu.

dinner party yvr #dpyvr

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last night, my friend lisa and i attended dinner party yvr, one of the best charity events that i’ve ever been to. the concept behind it: chefs volunteer to make a meal at their house for a group of strangers, everyone donates at least $50 (which goes to each chef’s charity of choice), and dinner is served. this happens all around the city at various homes, with each chef cooking a different style of dinner for a group of six people or so. the dinner that lisa and i went to had a “dining like at vij’s” theme, which consisted of homemade naan, amazing indian dishes straight out of vij’s cookbook, wine/beer pairings to go with all the dishes, and masala peas (think wasabi peas, but with indian spices) along with a yummy bourbon cocktail while we waited for dinner to be served.

every picture posted on instagram/twitter from the event with the hashtag #dpyvr got an additional $5 donated to charity by one of the sponsors, blueshore financial.