The new year stands before us, like a chapter
in a book, waiting to be written. We can help
write that story by setting goals. -Melody Beattie
This week’s Essential Reading includes:
January 9, 2015
If you’ve ever considered life as an Ewok, this place is for you. However, if you are afraid of heights or have a low bullshit tolerance for people who insist on rocking Ferris Wheel buckets and ski lift benches, this probably isn’t the place for you. Maybe you should head to the aquarium instead.
From Downtown Vancouver, we jumped on a free bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The buses and bus stops are branded so you can’t miss it. Check with the Vancouver Visitor Center or visit the park’s website for shuttle times and pickup locations. Our bus driver gave a mini-tour of the city as we drove to the other pick up locations and continued telling us about the area as we cross the lion bridge and entered North Vancouver.
As soon as you get off of the bus and into the park, there are stories about first nation communities, more totem poles, and signs pointing to the different attractions. The biggest draw is obviously the large suspension bridge spanning the canyon. The river was raging through the canyon the day we visited and we saw whitewater kayakers braving the rapids below us. Once you cross the bridge, you can access a boardwalk with information about the local flora and fauna and the treetops area (hence Ewoks) that includes 7 more suspension bridges that take you from tree to tree. You’ll need to cross back over the large suspension bridge to access the very narrow but equally impressive (edge walk?) that takes you into the canyon a bit to learn more about how the river shaped the canyon walls and how the trees battle for sunlight. This area was not heavily traveled the day we were in the park and the quiet was very welcome. There are two lookout points that take you over the water a bit so you look down for a very different perspective.
There are a few places within the park with warm drinks, more educational spots, and of course a gift shop. The gift shop has a counter in the back where you can get free samples of the amazing fudge they make on-site. We tried maple, triple chocolate, and regular. We bought the peanut butter fudge and quickly realized we should’ve purchased more than one block…it was so delicious!
This is the kind of attraction that should be on your radar if you have 3 hours to spare (this includes the bus ride and spending quite a bit of time in the park enjoying yourself) and it’s great that you don’t need a car to access it!
Tips for your visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park:
- Wear good shoes, this place is slippery! You’re going to want more than flip flops and something safer than heels (yes, we saw both on our visit)
- Get discount tickets at the Vancouver Visitor Center near Canada Place…
- …and ask them to direct you to the nearest shuttle stop. Take the shuttle. It’s free and the driver may give you a mini-tour of the city as you stop at a handful of other pickup locations!
- Try the fudge. Seriously
- Hang onto your phone/camera. People don’t joke around when they make the bridges sway and it would be terrible for you to lose your phone or camera in the process
January 8, 2015
A huge (huge!) part of Vancouver is Stanley Park. If you’re familiar with Central Park in New York City, imagine an even larger park with beaches, a microbrewery, and totem poles. Stanley Park is named after Lord Stanley and it’s a pretty incredible place.
Alex and I walked from our hotel toward the convention center to get onto the Seawall, which is a bicycle, rollerblade, and pedestrian route that goes around the park. Along the way we took photos of the buildings, sea planes, and the fall colour (yes, with a ‘u’ because we’re talking about Canada!).
As we navigated our way toward the totem poles, we saw a handful of mischievous river otters racing through the park and using the pedestrian undercrossing to get from the beach to the Lost Lagoon area. Even the construction workers in the area stopped to watch the playful otters put on a show. The totem poles were beautiful and learning about the first people in the area and the story behind each totem pole was really nice.
We took the scenic route (aka I had only a general idea of where to go) to the Vancouver Aquarium which gave us a nice break from the on-and-off drizzle. We learned about the belugas at the aquarium and how working with the animals aims in animal husbandry. We caught a bit of the dolphin show, which teaches about the types of dolphins in the area and more about animal husbandry. The sea otters had the zoomies and it was fun seeing them up close as they swam around their enclosures. The Vancouver Aquarium is a research facility so there is a big emphasis on education during encounters. The indoor portion was fun and very hands on. We saw a lot of interesting exhibits including the amphibians and what the habitats near Vancouver look like…which is obviously different than where we live in Southern California.
We spent a little bit more time in the park after visiting the aquarium. We walked on some of the trails (there are 27 miles of trails in the park) and found Lost Lagoon (the assumed destination of those river otters) and then headed back toward our hotel through the West End.
Tips for your visit to Stanley Park:
- Wear comfortable shoes because this place is huge! It’s easy to forget that you’re footsteps away from a major downtown area when you’re in the park. That’s what I call magic
- Stop at an information booth and ask your questions. Don’t hesitate to take a map…again, this place is huge and you’re probably not the only one looking for specific destinations
- Plan ahead. We didn’t really know what we wanted to do and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of riding a bike or rollerblading while it was so wet and cold out. Figure out what you want to see and make it happen
- Pull over and relax. Don’t be in a hurry! Settle down on a bench or grab a beer at Stanley Park Brewery and enjoy the scenery
- If you go to the aquarium, find the showtimes and see at least one “show” because the information the staff provide throughout each segment is really interesting and the animals are very cool
Most of our photos were taken with our GoPro but I misplaced the microSD card reader in the move. I’ll share those photos once I make some sort of travel book about this trip.
January 6, 2015
I am participating in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word again this year.
I took a while for me to find the best word for the year. I considered using Amy’s OLW from 2014 (Nourish) or Kristin’s (Heroine) the way I used Megan’s OLW from 2013 (Finish) but it just didn’t feel like the right fit. I actually considered having a different word for each month but as I thought about it I realized how exhausting that seemed. I mean, a new word each month sounds exciting and fun but in execution it sounded like too much work…work that isn’t necessary or fun (if it sounded like fun, I would’ve done it!). I also considered continuing Finish since it helped me stay on track in 2014.
Then I asked myself, what was missing in 2014 that I would like to have in my life in 2015?
I was missing memory keeping in the form of scrapbooking, mini albums, and pocket scrapbooking (Project Life). I missed diving deeper into the trips that I share here on Campfire Chic.
I was focused on finishing tasks and projects that I let fun things like Project Life slip into near oblivion. I didn’t feel like my 30 Days of Lists albums really reflected the fun that I have with the challenge. I wasn’t doing anything with the stuff I collected during our trips…I just didn’t feel like a memory keeper anymore.
So this year’s word is STORY.
In 2015, I plan on documenting more stories, putting myself in situations that will become part of my story, reading more stories, and helping others tell their stories.
In an effort to keep myself on task, I added Kristin’s monthly Awesome Ladies Project to my calendar as a self-date with myself to do something fun and not blog/work-related at all. Those will be the nights that I stream something on Amazon Prime and make a mess. I registered for Ali Edwards’ OLW class once again. And I’m planning on changing my Project Life approach for my ‘year 29′ efforts.
I can tell you now that some of the emails I send out to the Campfire Chic mailing list will have a story-theme to them. For the past two years, the emails often took on the theme of my OLW and the response has been great. The emails won’t be scrapbook-related and it won’t feel like a class. It’s hard to explain, but I can tell you that I’m very excited about the exclusive content that will be going out every other week to that mailing list. If you’re interested in getting emails from me, subscribe here. You’ll get access to the subscriber resources right away, so keep an eye on your inbox!
Here’s to a great year.
January 2, 2015
One Little Word
2014 was a big travel year for me. I started out the year with a lot of trips and ended with a handful of microadventures and moving (again). What was awesome about all the traveling is that I was able to share stories from the different places and request interviews from folks who have more experience with other areas of adventure.
Today’s post focuses on the adventure and travel-related posts from 2014.
Trips I took in 2014:
Local escapes and microadventures:
Adventure & Travel Tips Plus Essentials:
Awesome things that happened in 2014:
2014 was pretty rad but I’m looking forward to the adventures that 2015 has in store. I have 2 trips planned for early in the year and a few microadventures I would like to tackle. And, of course, it looks like camping with Amy and her husband is becoming a tradition so we’ll need to visit another National Park for a weekend!
December 31, 2014
2014 marked four years of continuous blogging for me and looking back at the posts I shared, it is evident that I’m in the let’s-get-shit-done-but-have-time-for-burritos mindset right now. I’m sure that mindset will continue through 2015.
Grow Your Audience
Get Shit Done
December 29, 2014
2014 proved that I’m a chronic beginner…sometimes I’m not a finisher, but at least I try. It was interesting to go back through my posts from this year (…thankful that I started blogging only 3 days a week because that means a lot less posts to sort through!) to see what I made, how I documented things, what I stopped sharing, and what needs to be updated. My One Little Word for 2015 came to me while I worked on this post. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you and what my (simple) plan is for 2015 and documenting that word and how it aids or shapes my year.
In 2014, I shared some Project Life layouts. I started out strong and was documenting my weeks (starting with my birthday week) and making sure my photos were printed and whatnot. But, as usual, I hit a snag and things slowed down. I ended up changing how I was documenting my weeks…instead of two 12×12 page layouts, I changed many weeks to only 1 12×12 layout. I’m able to fit more weeks into a single binder (1 year of layouts usually takes up 2 binders) and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to see that I had fewer gaps and more completed weeks if I stuck with that plan. Anyway, here are my Project Life posts:
I shared a handful of tips and resources for different kinds of creative and personal projects this year, too.
I participated in a few creative challenges (many were self-imposed) and shared updates to different on-going projects.
My Personal Projects. This section is so I can find things easier :)
Here’s to more projects in 2015.
Photo credit: Death to the stock photo
December 26, 2014