My Weekend and Vegan Iced Vanilla Latte

It was great to have a weekend off!  I don’t always have weekends off and when I do I love it!  But Keith had to work… the whole weekend!  He didn’t just work the weekend he had to double shift, so, he was not around at all.  Still not quite used to this!  He used to be a Monday through Friday kind of guy.  NO LONGER! 

Tomato plant in large barrel

I had a huge list of things I wanted to accomplish.  Of course.  I really wanted to clean my house, do yard work, and tie up a few loose ends such as make appointments and pay bills :)

I had a look around my yard.  I saw that I have a few tomatoes starting to grow.  Reminder to self… buy epsom salts!  I need the salt to place around the tomato plants!  I did this in my old house when I had a bigger garden and the magnesium in the epsom salts helped my tomatoes get really healthy and no dreaded blight!

Trying to grow kale in my garden

My kale plants aren’t doing much of anything.  The seeds I planted have not sprouted yet and I’m not sure they will. The small plants I bought and planted are just surviving.  Next year I will make this a priority!   Because I hate wasting this prime location!

I did do some weeding, cleaned up the doggy poop, and then I found a huge ant nest!  

Ant hill beside my house

So for the next hour I was consumed by making the best ant killer I could.  Last year we had ants at the front of the house and I made the same concoction of borax, sugar and water.  It really did the trick and that ant problem was solved.  I’m trying it again here.  I poured some of the syrupy mix into yogurt container lids, caps from drink bottles and I soaked some cotton pads in the mix.  I placed all of these in the area with all the ants.  I’ll let you know how it works. 

Mineral sunscreens I'm going to try

I bought some new sunscreen.  Keith has been using a mineral based sunscreen and he prefers this.   I just finished the  La Roche-Posay one which is a chemical based one.  I really liked it, but, I thought I would give the mineral based one a try.  I hope the ones that I bought will work well when we go on our next road trip and keep us from burning, plus I want them to not leave me looking like I have zinc all over my face, and it needs to work under my makeup.  I’ll let you know if either of these are worth repurchasing!

Homemade dairy-free iced vanilla atte

I had a headache that wouldn’t quit on Saturday, so, thinking it was a lack of coffee type of headache (because I barely had a cup in the morning) I made myself a vegan iced vanilla latte.  They are super easy to make and taste great!  Sadly though it didn’t get rid of my headache.  I don’t think it was a dehydration headache either, because, I’ve been drinking copious amounts of water in preparation for doing the Grouse Grind today with my sister again.  With all this warm weather the last thing I want to be is dehydrated prior to the climb.  I need every possible advantage to get myself up those 5 million steps! 

Have a great week and if you get overheated give this vegan iced vanilla latte recipe a try!

Talk to you soon,



Vegan Iced Vanilla Latte
Serves 1
A refreshing iced coffee drink for a hot day with a hint of vanilla.
Write a review
  1. 1/2 cup strong coffee (let coffee cool before adding to a glass)
  2. 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  3. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 - 1 tsp maple syrup adjust for taste *optional*
  5. ice
  1. Add all ingredients into tall glass filled with ice and stir
  2. Adjust coffee and almond milk quantities to your taste.
  3. Sip and enjoy!
Refreshed and Fit

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Road Trip Part Four: Ucluelet

The road trip continues!  

We left Deep Bay; stopped in Courtenay to show Keith where my sister and mom lived; thought about getting me some rain gear, but, didn’t.  The sun kept peeking out through the clouds, so, I felt confidant that I wouldn’t get soaked!  It was probably more like wishful thinking.  And it worked!  I may have gotten a drop or two of rain on me and that’s it even though at times the clouds looked as if they would spill over at any time.

On our way to Ucluelet

The ride to Ucluelet from Courtenay was beautiful.  Once we were off the inland island highway our views were of lush green forests, beautiful mountains, and blue-green rivers and lakes… plus the sound of the rumbling Harley.  By the way, which I might add is a sound I’m glad to have.  I want drivers to hear us coming!  Remember to shoulder check!  Please!

Our patio at Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet

We arrived at Black Rock Ocean Front Resort in Ucluelet and were really happy when we saw the location of the resort.  When you first come up to the resort it appears as if it’s a large luxury condominium nestled in the forest looking over the ocean… beautiful! 

We checked into our room and right away Keith and I knew we wouldn’t be happy.  It was a “trail room view” room which meant we were on the first floor with trees outside our patio.  We could hardly see the ocean!  Plus the room was tiny.  It was very nice and modern with a beautiful kitchenette and fireplace, but, we felt that to spend two days there and not be able to enjoy the ocean would be a big failure!  We asked to upgrade and we were charged fifty dollars for this.  It was well worth it.  There were not many rooms left, but, we ended up getting a suite on the fourth floor with a huge bathroom, a beautiful kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom, and the balcony with a view of the ocean that made the extra cost well worth it!

Breakfast a Blue Moon Cafe in Ucluelet

We didn’t spend much time in the kitchen!  I mean we were only there for two nights… I wasn’t planning on doing any cooking.  But, if you were there for an extended time or with kids it was such a clean, modern, perfect fully stocked kitchen that would be a joy to cook in. 

We enjoyed two breakfasts at the Blue Room a West Coast Bistro instead.  They serve breakfast all day long!!  That’s my kind of place!  The prices were affordable and the portions were generous.  They were really good about subbing ingredients also and were able to add veggies instead of meat for me when I requested it.  It’s a small bistro with seating inside and outside on the patio.  The first morning we ate outside and then next indoors.  They always had a lineup to get in and I’m not surprised. 

Wild Pacific Trail sign

Keith and I were given a map at the resort of sites to see in Ucluelet.  We drove to the Wild Pacific Trail to have a look around.  Ucluelet is pretty tiny town, so, getting anywhere was just a few minutes by car or motorcycle. 

The black rocks in Ucluelet

You can see where Black Rock Resort gets its name.



Light House in Ucluelet

Here’s a picture of the very cool, little, lighthouse. 

During our two-day stay… I kept hearing what sounded like a fog horn blowing.   Which I didn’t know that that’s what it was at first… duh!  During our stay it was very misty and foggy in the mornings and by the afternoon it was sunny and warm.  The misty, grey morning’s were very pretty though.  The ocean is very mysterious looking with the fog rolling in especially when you’re all cozy by the fireplace  :)

Float lounge at Black Rock Resort

We had a beautiful dinner at Fetch Restaurant… it was pricey, but, the views were phenomenal and the food and wine was delicious!  No pictures though.  I guess we were too busy talking and enjoying each others company to think about pictures at the time… xoxoxox  The Float Lounge was excellent.  The prices were better and the menu choices were really good.  Same kitchen for both, so, there was no issue with taste and quality. 

When we first got there we wanted a snack, so, we relaxed in the Float Lounge and I had some yummy yam fries and Keith had their version of a  Cobb Salad. 


View of ocean from trail in Ucluelet

The next day we went on a walk along the trail that runs through and around the resort.  Absolutely gorgeous!  The views are incredible!  We both felt like we were lacking in exercise, so, we did the trail at a quick pace. 

Trail along ocean in Ucluelet

You can’t get much better than this!



We had a great time on the trail, we enjoyed the views, and we enjoyed each others company.  It’s so nice to get away!  Even though I love my kids to death I find getting away from the usual grind of work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, then repeat over and over… reinforces that warm and fuzzy feeling for them :)

Long beach in Tofino

We rode out to Tofino the next day.  I haven’t been to Tofino in many years and boy has it grown.  It’s a real little tourist town now with all its cool surf shops.  Plus there was a beach resort after beach resort we passed on our drive to get there.

Enjoying the view in Tofino

We were very lucky when we got to Tofino the sun was out and it was pleasantly warm (not too hot so were dying in all our gear and warm enough that we wanted to find a patio pronto). 

Lunch in Tofino - halibut burger

We found a patio at Jack’s Waterfront Pub and Restaurant where we enjoyed lunch and a cold beer!  I had a halibut burger and I think Keith had a salmon dish.  Mine was absolutely delicious!  Tofino seems more of a happening place, so, if you were into just hanging around and walking around a little town this would be a great place to visit.  Just from our quick visit there seemed to be a lot of shops and restaurants.  I’m happy we stayed in Ucluelet because we were all about going for rides and neither one of us was looking to do any shopping on this trip.  Ucluelet was more relaxing for us.

I’m looking forward to our next road trip which is happening in a week!  This time we are heading over the border into Washington state.  It looks like Keith has planned some very interesting destinations for us!

We came to the end of the trail

Question: Where has your favourite summer time road trip been to?  If you’re a motorcycle rider or passenger like me… what’s been your favourite destination so far?

Take care and talk to you soon,


Road Trip Part 3: Deep Bay and Oysters

Fish and chips in Fanny Bay

Fish and chips at Fanny Bay Inn

 We had the best time on our Vancouver Island road trip!  The weather wasn’t especially warm… well actually at times it was rather cool, but, when the sun did come out it was superb!  Thank goodness I managed to pack enough clothes with me and I was very happy I brought my jacket liner with me!

After we left Victoria we headed over to Deep Bay which is just about thirty minutes east of Courtenay.  My sister and my mom live in Courtenay.  My sister and her family spend most of the summer days in Deep Bay on the property they have right on the water.  It’s absolutely beautiful there rain or shine, but, I must say I prefer SHINE.  My sister’s and I spent a few days there last summer before Liisa got married.  We had a sister’s get-away before the big day.  You can check out some of the pictures here.  When we arrived in Deep Bay we were a little ahead of schedule and it was lunch time so we drove past Deep Bay and stopped in the cute little town of Fanny Bay for lunch.  We were riding on the  Island Highway, 19A, which is the scenic version that follows the coastline.  We came across this cute pub called the Fanny Bay Inn.  I had the best fish and chips there that I’ve had in a long time, a really long time.  Okay… I don’t normally eat fish and chips, but, I was craving some a lot!  A nice cold beer and the fish and chips hit the spot!  It’s funny I couldn’t remember what Keith ordered and I had to look back at the pictures to remind myself.  He was craving pulled pork, so, he ordered a pulled pork sandwich which he loved.  When it comes to food… I’m laughing because we have very few pictures.   We’re always too ravenous and dig in before I remember to take the pic! 

Visit to Fanny Bay Inn

I’ve seen a few other reviews about the food at the Fanny Bay Inn since our visit.  I came across the reviews looking for a website for them (which they don’t have) and the reviews are all good.  It’s too bad they don’t have a website though.  I’m not even going to list the address, because, literally Fanny Bay is so small when you’re driving on the Island Highway, you can’t miss it! 

Heron in flight Deep Bay

After our great lunch we arrived at my sister’s place in Deep Bay and as soon as we parked the bike it started to rain!  It would have been nice to sit on the patio overlooking the water enjoying a cold beverage, but, the weather didn’t cooperate to that extent.  It’s still beautiful in Deep Bay rain or shine and this trip we had time to gaze at the beautiful ocean from indoors :)

Jacob and June going fishing

My cute little nephew, Jacob, and his dog June!  This little boy is such an outdoorsy little guy.  He loves the ocean and can spend days outside just digging around.  What a great way to grow up and learn about nature.  Better than any science class!

Shells and beach fun

Some of Jacob’s playthings!

Ever since last summer when I told Keith how we (the sisters) had collected our own oysters and barbecued them on the half shell (and boy were they good),  Keith has wanted to do the same.  He loves seafood!  So, he was out early the next morning with Jacob and June collecting oysters.  We didn’t have the barbecue going, so, he actually swallowed a raw one!  Disgusting!  Don’t see the point in this, but,  I  also couldn’t imagine biting into one.  So what’s the point!!  But, he thought it was slimey goodness!

My sister and I in Deep Bay

After our overnight stay we said good-bye to my sis, mom and the kids.  Even though the weather wasn’t perfect we still enjoyed hanging out by the beautiful ocean. 

We packed up the bike and talked about getting rain gear for me… again.  Since the day before we left home Keith was saying we should stop somewhere and get me rain gear.  My thoughts on this are… I don’t want to be riding if it’s going rain and if I get caught in the rain for a few minutes, I can suffer through it.  We were thinking about stopping in Courtenay before heading to Ucluelet, but, we didn’t!  I survived with barely a drop of rain on me!  Our next stop on this road trip is Ucluelet.

Tofino, BC

 Talk to you soon!


My go to quick workouts that work!

I love finding great, quick workouts that work!  The kind of feel good, sweat inducing workout that makes you happy and relieved you got your workout done! 

Lately I’ve been a huge fan of STRONG Fitness Magazine.  I follow them on Facebook.  I’ve been taking screen shots of their posts with the picture of a woman working out and the exercises superimposed over the picture.  It’s easy because then I take my iPhone with me to our home gym and I can refer to the one picture (because that’s all you need) for the workout!  I love it!  It’s easy to follow and breaks up my regular routine.  I use them especially when I’m not really feeling it and I don’t want to think about what I need to do.  It’s like my own little personal trainer that’s  got it all laid out for me. 

Here’s a couple of my favourite quick workouts that work with the screen shots I use from the STRONG Fitness Magazine.  Give them a try!

 Workout - Double Down Challenge

Your heart will be pumping after you do this workout!

 Favourite workouts from STRONG Fitness Magazine

I love a good workout that focuses on the core!

This next one is a workout with a kettlebell.  I don’t know about you, but, when my core isn’t feeling great it doesn’t matter how toned the rest of my body is I’m not very happy.  I guess that’s why I’m drawn to all these core workouts!  This article with workouts and pictures called Carve a Mean Midsection is worth trying out!

Carve a mean midsection

My goal this week is to get each of these workouts in at least once.  I’m working my twelve-hour night-shift most of this week, so, it’s always challenging for me to feel energized to workout, but, once I do I always feel great. 

Question: Do you have any favourite go to workouts when you just aren’t feeling it?

Have a great week!

Talk to you soon.


Road trip part two: Empress Hotel in Victoria

I love a get-a-way whether it’s a road trip or a flight to somewhere exotic!  Just the excitement of planning the trip and waiting for the day you leave is so much fun.  I guess for me it’s the chance to have uninterrupted time with my husband and an escape from the regular routine of daily life.  I certainly didn’t have this kind of feeling when I used to travel for work!  I went to great locations sometimes, but, because I wasn’t enjoying the experience with Keith, it just wasn’t special…. ahhhh :)

BC Ferry to Victoria

After some last-minute packing and chores that had to be done we were finally on the road to Tsawwassen to catch the BC Ferry to Victoria!  Victoria was the first stop of our five-day road trip on the Harley.

BC Ferry to Victoria

We arrived at the ferry terminal with barely a minute to spare before loading (or is it embarking… I think there’s some other word for getting on a boat???)… bonus! 

The trip from the mainland to Vancouver Island on a sunny day is beautiful!  So we relaxed and watched the beautiful scenery go by for the hour and forty minutes it takes to cross.  I have to say the BC ferries  are not cheap.  I couldn’t imagine making this trip on a regular basis.  It’s about 143 dollars for a car a driver for a return trip and it wasn’t much cheaper for the motorcycle.  It was approximately 120 dollars for the bike and the two of us for the round trip ferry ride. 

Arriving at Empress Hotel in Victoria

We arrived at the Empress Hotel in Victoria!  I’ve stayed here a few times with my previous job and I used to love the cozy vintage-like rooms.  Keith hasn’t spent as much time in Victoria, so, even though I know this hotel isn’t as  luxurious as some, I thought we should stay here since it’s so historic. 

The Empress Hotel

I have to say though that I wasn’t all that pleased this time around.  First of  all I did get a corporate rate because I work for the government.  But, silly me I forgot my work ID in my “work bag” at home.  Of course they asked for my ID on check-in!  I offered to have a picture of the ID  messaged to me (it has my picture on it with my employee number) and  asked if that would suffice.  Meanwhile I’m rifling through my wallet looking for anything else that might have some kind of work identification.  I offered up my hospital coffee card, but, she didn’t even crack a smile!  one of the other hotel staff laughed at that and I’m thinking she would have been much nicer to deal with.  Oh and then we asked for an upgrade!  We were told very matter- of- factly that for an extra 120 dollars she could upgrade us.  That was a big no thank you!! 

We got to our room and right off the bat I noticed a funky smell in the room.  Keith said he smelled something, but, that it was a clean smell.  I prefer no smell!  It wasn’t a clean smell!  It was tiny like I remembered the rooms to be which was fine, but, we looked right into the window of the other room on the first floor.  Absolutely no view.  I think the other lady at the check-in counter would have been a so much nicer to us. 

Bathroom at Empress Hotel

Check out this bathroom.  I don’t remember this the last time.  Can you imagine if you forgot about the step down! You could really hurt yourself!  But we survived the smell in the room and the dangerous bathroom! 

Keith checking directions 2

We freshened up and decided to go to one of the local pubs Keith had read about for lunch and a cold beer.  The day was not too hot, but, just nice enough for an outside patio.

Keith checked his trusty iPhone for directions and we also were helped by a really nice and knowledgeable valet.  He gave us a BIG tourist map and marked off all the good pubs. 

 We walked in no time to Canoe Brew Pub for lunch and beers!  I had an amazing Veggie Burger with goat cheese and a roasted eggplant puree.  Soooo good!  I wolfed it down before I remembered that I should have taken a picture :)

Victoria harbour

We walked around the harbour boardwalk after our late lunch and enjoyed the pretty views.

Water taxi in Victoria

We almost went to another brew pub across the harbour and if we had we would’ve taken one of these cute water taxi’s over and then walked back. 

Parliment building Victoria

Of course we had to check out the parliament building.

Road trip to Vancouver Island - Fan Alley

During our walk we came across Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown.  Amazing little shops open up to the alley when you walk through this tight space.  Apparently this alley has remained unchanged since the earliest days of Chinatown.  Worthwhile to check out!

Empress Hotel in Victoria

The Empress Hotel in Victoria at dusk .

Parliment building lit up at night

The parliament building all lit up at night is spectacular too.  My picture  doesn’t do it justice. 

Selfie in Empress Hotel hall

After our late lunch we went back to the room for a little nap and then we went out again for oysters!  Keith was craving some, so, we found The Oyster right outside of the Empress Hotel on Humboldt Street.  This trip was all about eating… and Keith was on a mission to eat as much sea food as he could :)

Old mail systerm in the Empress Hotel

We are glad we stayed at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.  It’s a historic building with a very romantic, vintage feel.  The Afternoon Tea is a highlight for many which we didn’t participate in during our stay.  We did however walk through the beautiful old dining area where they serve the Afternoon Tea and I for one could imagine myself back in time settling right in with my cucumber sandwich!


A time honoured tradition for over a century, the world renowned tea lobby of The Fairmont Empress has served England’s most beloved ritual and Victoria’s grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea to famed royalty, celebrities and dignitaries alike. Surrounded by rich chintz fabrics, antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, vintage furnishings and hand-carved tables, the picturesque backdrop of the Inner Harbour provides the quintessential Victoria experience to all who grace Afternoon Tea.


We stayed in Victoria the one night.  The next day we were off to  Deep Bay to visit my sister and my mom.

Question:  Have you been to Victoria and where did you stay?  Have you had Afternoon Tea at Empress Hotel?

Talk to you soon,





Road trip part one: packing light

I love vacations from work so much… really who doesn’t!  This time it was well deserved and much needed!

My last night shift at work ended with such a bang that I literally couldn’t wait to get out of there before something else terrible happened.  But, that’s the life working in emergency, that’s what I enjoy, but still, sometimes it gets to be too much!

Harley Davidson

So, this is the vehicle of choice!  My husband has had a Harley since before I met him, which is over twenty-five years now, and we’ve gone on some long rides together.  I’ve never been interested in riding though, he used to suggest I take it up years ago.   I’m completely happy to be a passenger and take in the views :)

So, as you can see we have very limited luggage capacity.  The two saddlebags and the case on the back… that’s it.  So, I wanted to do a little bit of shopping to buy some items that would be multifunctional for our five-day road trip to Vancouver Island.

I found these Born Concept sandals and I knew right away when I tried them on they would be good for walking around sight seeing and yet look pretty good too.  Well let me tell you they were.  The strapping on the front covers enough of your foot to provide security, so, the sandal doesn’t slip off.  The wedge is not too steep and the padding on the inside of the shoe is really comfortable even with bare feet.  I walked in them every day.  The first day I did have some rubbing on my right foot baby toe from one of the leather straps which just seemed to rub against a previous callus.  Covering the area with a bandage the next time I wore them fixed the problem.  I had no issues the rest of the trip and I’ve worn them since my return home without the bandage and I’ve been  fine.  Love them!

Born Concept wedge sandals

Because I was expecting beautiful, hot, sunny weather during our trip I didn’t want to wear my leather boots.  They look great, but, getting off the bike to check out sites or sit on a patio I thought I’d be too hot.  Wasn’t the case.  The weather was pretty grey most days.  We were extremely lucky and didn’t really get any rain while riding, but, we had a downpour one day just as we arrived at our destination.  Most days the boots would’ve been fine.  I bought myself a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, so, I wouldn’t be as hot as I thought I would’ve been in my boots.

Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers

They worked out great!  Perfect on the bike and walking around sight seeing.  I even wore them one day when we went on a bit of trail walk.  They weren’t the best for walking trails and next time if we plan on doing any more extreme hiking I’ll bring a pair of trail runners, but, these worked for our walk on the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet. 

 I like riding during the day and I’m okay with getting dirty (and boy do I get dirty), but, I like to be comfortable at night and I want to look good too. 

My dirty face after a day of riding

So, I bought this little dress.  It actually is just a big wrap around skirt that you can wear a multitude of ways.  I found this at a ferry terminal kiosk a few months ago and thought it would be perfect for a road trip just like this where I had limited space. 

Iris Impressions wrap dress

The dress comes with a sheet of instructions and apparently the website has even more versions on wearing the dress.  Here I’m just doing a very simple wrap around version.  I love this dress, but, unfortunately because the weather didn’t cooperate fully I never actually wore it.  Next road trip for sure!

Iris Impressions wrap dress

It’s super easy to pack and I love the colour combination I chose!

Iris Impressions wrap dress instructions

We are planning another road trip for the end of July and the first week of August and I’m already looking forward to it!

This trip was so much fun with my husband!  Our stops and stays included Victoria, Deep Bay, Ucluelet, and Tofino.  Keep in touch for my upcoming post about some of the places we stayed and  and the places we ate.  How I love to eat out!! 

Question:  What do you have planned for the summer??  Any road trips?  Do you have any good packing tips that you’d like to pass on? 

Note:  I didn’t bring any styling devices for my hair except a big round brush for blowdrying (which I forgot and had to buy one on the road)  and I’d love to bring something… any suggestion for a compact flat iron or curlers or something???

Talk to you soon,