Woodbine Beach, Thank You

I realize that I am sharing yet another beach post. Please bare with me.

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I want to thank you for your hospitality during this past month. You have helped create many memories that will forever remain close to my heart. You have gathered the east end folk many times and welcomed us with pleasant weather and breathtaking sunsets. You were patient with us when we played music and made bonfires. You joined in the songs with your waves and gave us wood to turn to flames. You showcased beautiful light and colours knowing that it would translate well through the camera lens. Woodbine Beach, thank you, for I can now reminisce about the good times and great friends as I soak in the Kelowna sunshine once more.

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Quick Update: If you have been wondering why I haven’t shared a blog post in so long, it is because we moved back to Kelowna. Surprise! The past month consisted mostly of packing, enjoying my last moments in Toronto, driving across the country once again, settling in, and finding a job. I apologize for the long delay, but I barely had enough internet to post to Instagram… And I love posting to Instagram.

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Balmy Beach

A very special guest from out west stayed with us for a whole week. Megan visited Toronto for the first time, and boy did we do a lot of things! From exploring the island to shopping in Kensington Market, going to a comedy club and some funky live music jams (and even a dance club.. yikes), without forgetting a Blue Jays game and beer tasting at the Steam Whistle Brewery, you could say it was a jam-packed week. These pictures are from our more relaxed afternoon, at Balmy beach by my house.

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Megan and Laurence being babes, as usual.

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Megan and I goofing off, as usual.

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Here is a little sneak peek from the mini photo shoot we had after sunset… I am in the process of building a portfolio, and I will be posting more on there!

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I had a lot of fun with this girl, and I can’t wait to see her again in the summer.

Bird Sanctuary

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During the month of March I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a week in Kelowna for a couple of photography jobs. I was welcomed by these great friends and was taken to one of my favourite nature spots in the city: the bird sanctuary. Smelling the fresh air, admiring the lake, and being with these beautiful souls created a perfect moment. It felt so good to be home.

A Day Trip to Penticton In Good Company

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Stopping for iced lattes at Bliss Bakery in Peachland

Before moving away, I had the opportunity to take a short road trip along the Okanagan lake with my dear friend Megan. Since doggy Levi loves car rides and swimming, we decided to bring her along and make the beach in Penticton our destination. DSC_0282 DSC_0273 When passing through Peachland and Summerland, the highway was decorated in more fruit stands than I can count on my two hands. We made a stop at Little Acres which has everything you could ever want: ice cream, maple syrup, local fruits and vegetables, homemade apple juice and hot sauce, and a magnificent view of the lake. DSC_0313 DSC_0335 It was Megan’s nineteenth birthday two days ago. We met in grade seven and have since become great friends. Together, we have enjoyed the good times and suffered through the lesser ones in high school and during our first year of university. We have survived the power of change for six years, and there is no doubt we will stay friends through this big move. Honestly, are those not the nicest eyes you have ever seen? DSC_0431 DSC_0432 Here’s a little video!

Ellison Provincial Park: Camping Photos

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Our awesome setup at Ellison Provincial Park

I spent Friday to Sunday camping in good company at Ellison Provincial Park, about 45 minutes from Kelowna. I can safely say that my last weekend in British Columbia was well-spent. When times are too stressful and busy, visiting the outdoors can be the best way to cool down and rejuvenate. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until we actually got there. Trees and green all around, the sounds of birds, the smell of pine trees and campfire, no set schedule, and laughing friends made for the most wonderful weekend.

Ellison Provincial Park is my friend Olivia’s favourite. I am honoured that she wanted to share this place with us. She has been coming here with her family for the past ten years. Do you have a favourite camping spot?

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The lovely Charis

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We played a ton of card games over those three days. Speed and Cheat are probably in my favourites.

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Emerson

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This candle keeps the bugs away: a must-have!

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Seth

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On our way to the cliffs

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When walking here with a flashlight at night, you would think Slender Man was chasing you.

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The beautiful Okanagan Lake

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Cleaning dishes

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Drying dishes

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Olivia, Emerson, Charis, Seth, Laurence

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Olivia and her crazy faces

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Stay classy!

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All packed up and ready to go… The end!

Hopefully this made you want to go camping. Go ahead and take a break, you deserve it!

Packing and Unpacking

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My mom and I have been unpacking old boxes that were buried deep in closets and corners of the garage, simply to sort through them and pack them up again. Today we found big bins full of our kid crafts and projects. We had a good laugh going through these.

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I found what was probably my first written English essay. I decided to share it as the spelling is simply horrendous and it shows just how difficult learning a second language can be. I’ve made it this far though! Bet my writing doesn’t seem so bad anymore….

It took my mom and I a while to figure it out, but here are a couple of words that gave us trouble, along with their true spelling.

“yose” = was

“quald” = called

“adeus” = others

“stayl” = style

“dithit” = didn’t

“tilleud” = tired

“billing” = being

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Props to my mom for keeping these treasures. My siblings and I can look back and see our improvements or simply have a good laugh. Anyone else’s mom keeps boxes and boxes of your old drawings and letters?

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Today I also made homemade raspberry & peach sorbet. Next time you make a smoothie, freeze it in a big container instead of drinking it. Then pull out the container to thaw for 30 minutes, and use a spoon to scrape out the frozen smoothie. Ta-da! Your very own sorbet.

Kettle Valley: Trails

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My cute little doggy and I looking into the distance. I just love these beautiful mountains!

The trails behind my house are without a doubt my favourite part of our neighbourhood. I can walk there for hours at a time. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Most of the trees are burnt; leftovers from the 2003 fire. Some people fail to see the beauty in these trees, but they are a big part of what I love about these trails. To some extent, it is what defines them. When looking at the scenery, you know that the place has a story because you see burnt trees everywhere.

Perhaps you have noticed my new header photo. The other day, the kind Conor Teahen came to Kettle Valley and took photos of me so that I may have a sweet header for my blog. I know what you are thinking: “Silly Emilie, there is no way that the background in your header photo is real, it’s too beautiful!” And I say: “Yes it is real, and even better, it’s basically in my backyard!”

And just incase you can’t get enough of that beautiful scenery, here are a few more photos Conor took of my siblings and me. I have a hard time picking a favourite, but I’d probably have to go with the hair flips.

You?

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Theails behind my house are without a doubt my favourite part of our neighbourhood. I can walk there for hours at a time. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Most of the trees are burnt; leftovers from the 2003 fire. Some people fail to see the beauty in these trees, but they are a big part of what I love about these trails. To some extent, it is what defines them. When looking at the scenery, you know that the place has a story because you see burnt trees everywhere.

Perhaps you have noticed my new header photo. The other day, the kind Conor Teahen came to Kettle Valley and took photos of me so that I may have a sweet header for my blog. I know what you are thinking: “Silly Emilie, there is no way that the background in your header photo is real, it’s too beautiful!” And I say: “Yes it is real, and even better, it’s basically in my backyard!”

And just incase you can’t get enough of that beautiful scenery, here are a few more photos Conor took of my siblings and me. I have a hard time picking a favourite, but I’d probably have to go with the hair flips.

You?

Rotary Beach Park

Waving goodbye to the daytime.

Waving goodbye to the daytime.

I have three favourite trees in Kelowna. This is one of them. Its roots are planted on the edge of the waves, deep in the sand of Rotary beach. The tree splits into two parts, creating a perfect spot to perch and gaze at the beauty of the Okanagan Lake. During a spontaneous drive with my little brother, I decided to stop here for a few photos.

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Rotary Beach Park, Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, BC

Rotary Beach Park, Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, BC

 

My brother William sitting on the tree.

My brother William sitting on the tree.

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UBCO: Starbucks Coffee

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Although the famous company has never been my coffee shop of choice, I have sincerely enjoyed studying and meeting friends at the Starbucks located at UBCO. It has been the main destination for our Tuesday and Thursday get togethers that were followed by our 11 a.m. psychology lectures throughout the semester. The pictures above are of the lovely Tia and were taken on the last day of classes. I met Tia in calculus class at the start of the year. She is so open-minded and fun, she made math lectures more tolerable.

Bean Scene Coffee Works

Bean Scene 274 Bernard Ave, Kelowna

Bean Scene
274 Bernard Ave, Kelowna

A hidden fissure along Bernard Avenue; one will easily walk past without giving the coffee house any attention. However, anyone who sets foot inside will most likely fall in love at first sight or at first sip.

Every coffee shop has its regulars –those clients that visit often enough to be recognized  by the baristas and perhaps even called by name– but only once have I seen regulars that drop by so routinely as to get to know one another in addition to the employees. It is no surprise that this is a common sight at Bean Scene, who gives customers every reason to come back.

Great decor, art, and overall vibe.

Great decor, art, and overall vibe.

In North America, coffee shops are a common meeting place and hang out destination. This means that furnishing and decor should be given important attention. As shown it the picture above, Bean Scene has taken this into consideration when creating a inviting and cozy setting to enjoy a coffee and good company. The beautifully decaying wood floors and brick walls are an homage to antiquity and a homely welcome to customers. The soft lighting creates warmth while the diversified artwork pleases the eyes and promotes creativity. Most importantly, the seating is comfortable. It is true that the couches above are not only fashionable but also conveniently pleasant to sit on, which is the most important.

Decor is certainly critical, but it can not keep customers coming back if the coffee is not of good repute.  It is called a coffee shop after all. The ultimate strategy to diagnosing a respectable coffee house from a mediocre one is simple: ask for a cappuccino. If you are asked to pick a size –usually between 12 oz, 16 oz and 20 oz– and are given the equivalent of an overly foamy latte, you are sitting in an amateur coffee shop. A traditional cappuccino should be served in a 7 to 10 oz cup, with approximately half of it being espresso and the rest steamed milk.

Benjamin drinking a traditional 10 oz cappuccino.

Benjamin drinking a traditional 10 oz cappuccino.

Now with every worthy topic comes various opinions by various people of various expertise. I would not go about calling myself a coffee specialist as I have much to learn, but I wish to share my background, so that you may determine how seriously  (or lightly) you wish to consider my opinion.

Thanks to my open-to-experiences coffee-loving mother, I drank my first Starbucks Vanilla Soy Latte when I was twelve. If you have ever drank anything from Starbucks, you know that they make their drinks ridiculously sweet unless specified otherwise. My tastebuds were enthralled with the first sip, which helped me form a positive opinion on coffee. My passion for it began to grow when I was fifteen and hired at a coffee shop. I quickly got sick of overly sweet, specialty drinks as the sugar distracts from the taste of the coffee. I began focusing on the basics. I loved learning about coffee, and I now find it easy to tell an evil shot from a heavenly one as I have drank so many bitter espresso shots (mostly my own when training at the coffee bar). I am now eighteen and I have worked in three different cafes in the last three years, I have over one hundred volunteer hours at my hospital’s coffee stand, and I still love to read and learn about coffee. I especially love to drink it.

You can always find latte art on Bean Scene's cappuccinos.

You can always find latte art on Bean Scene’s cappuccinos.

To me, a worthy cappuccino is just like the ones offered at Bean Scene. It is served in a 10 oz cup that is preheated with hot water before pouring the espresso shots, followed by the formation of latte art with velvety micro foam. Latte art is not a necessary step to a good drink, but a clear distinction between the steamed milk and crema on the surface of the drink is always a good indication that the cappuccino will taste honourably. I apologize if the terms I just mentioned were jargon to you and I hope that it will inspire you to learn more about coffee. It’s easy.

In any case, may I suggest that even if you disagree with my opinion on the ideal cappuccino(I respect critical thinkers!), you should still go down to Bean Scene and try one for yourself. Perhaps you will feel inclined to leave a reply to this post.

Who is in the photos?

Benjamin is my respectable uncle who is currently living in Paris, France. He shares my love of coffee and I was thrilled to take him to Bean Scene (274 Bernard Ave Kelowna) and hear his thoughts on the place. He approves.