Life Through Kristine's Eyes
Posted January 29, 2013 by SBee
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I, along with 19,000 other (mostly) women in the lower mainland ventured into Vancouver to listen to Ms. Oprah Winfrey last Thursday night. Now before anyone asks, no I didn’t pay $300 plus for my seat, I was very fortunate to be offered a complimentary ticket in the days leading up to the evening. It was an opportunity I didn’t think I could pass up. I don’t worship at the altar of Oprah, but I do have a healthy dose of respect for a woman who can make or break a brand with one mention. To be frank, I hadn’t paid much attention to her arrival and didn’t realize, until the drive in, that Canada’s boyfriend, George Stromboulopoulos (CBC Television’s Strombo) would be joining Oprah for part of her conversation with Vancouver – things were looking up.
I should mention, our tickets were in the lower bowl, row 15, but the ticket noted they were behind the stage.
The seats were more to the side, and we were fortunate to have a pretty great view of the legendary broadcaster (oh, and Oprah too). Not certain what to expect, I took in the well-heeled crowd, who embraced the opportunity to dress for the Oprah occasion. There were some brave men peppered around the audience, but truly this was an estrogen fueled night.
Photographer Jeff Vinnick
After a surprise introduction from long-time partner Stedman Graham, Oprah took to the stage and walked for the next 90 minutes, sharing, preaching and pontificating over living your one life with intent and authenticity. It was….interesting. Oprah shared stories from her life, most of which we had heard before, she shared some of her ‘aha’ moments, she made the audience laugh and managed to make the arena feel more like a room than the large stadium that it is.
Enter Strombo, who was broadcasting the Q&A live with his national viewing audience. It was great to see George but I was left feeling like none of his questions were truly answered, aside from two. It was a little like watching a politician take you on a journey where you find yourself asking “what was the original question again?’. For me the evening proved that the Big O has a serious gift, the audience was engaged and along for her ride right to the very end.
My Oprah lessons - Your instinct can never fail you – ever. And, take time for organized gratitude, everyday. Whether you write it down, or just spend a few minutes each day, find five things in your day to be thankful for.
While I had clearly not consumed enough of the Oprah Kool-Aid before attending Thursday night, I left feeling like something was missing, like her intent for the evening had gone astray – or I didn’t get it. In the end, I’m glad I attended, but very happy I didn’t shell out for anything other than parking and concession stand pizza.
A few noteworthy quotes from Oprah.
“When you let your personality serve your soul, you know your power and nobody can touch you.” Oprah
“Do what you love, give it back in the form of service and you will do more than succeed.” Oprah
“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo. But you want someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah
by Kristine Carrick
Posted November 15, 2012 by Kristine Carrick
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Last week, on a Monday, I joined the masses on Highway One as I headed into town from Langley to meet up with 30 Day Adventures founder, Marc Smith. While I sat, stopped in traffic I couldn’t help but think of the Port Mann Bridge advertising we have been hearing over and over again for the past who-knows-how-many months “Hang in there. A faster Port Mann Bridge is coming.” Not wanting to write a cynical rant about the bridge I thought I should check out the Treo website and get my vehicle registered. They are offering 20 free trips after all and who doesn’t love a sale – right?!?
With the recent news from the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry, the bridge is on track and 8 lanes will be open for December 1st with tolling to start December 8th – merry Christmas (wait, I said I wouldn’t be cynical). Back to the free stuff.
I finally took the time the other night to register my vehicle with treo.ca. It was relatively painless. You will need your exact address as it appears on your vehicle’s insurance paperwork, the licence plate number of the vehicle you are registering and a credit card. Here is what the advertisements don’t tell you.
To receive the 20 free trips, your vehicle just needs to be registered by November 30th, with a valid payment method on file.
The free trips are only valid until May 30, 2013. So if you aren’t a frequent Port Mann Bridge traveller, then be aware.
To complete the registration, you will need to activate your Treo decal by crossing the bridge. This DOES NOT have to be done by December 1st to receive the free trips.
Are you all still following along? There are a few too many ‘rules’ and dates in my personal opinion, but I guess that’s why my column is named Life Through Kristine’s Eyes. Here are a few other facts that might be helpful for you.
If you wake up in December and realize that you haven’t registered your car don’t worry, the introductory rate of $1.50 per trip is still available, if you register by February 28th, 2013.
There is another way to earn a discount. If you register as an HOV driver, you can save 25 percent on tolls during peak hours. (Peak hours are defined as Monday to Friday, 6:30am to 8:30am, and 4:00pm to 6:00pm).
For those of you who are frequent commuters you might be able to save with a $75 monthly pass. The pass provides 50 trips per month at $1.50 per trip and remaining trips are free.
The long and the short of it - come December 1st, 2013 it will cost each regular joe, registered or otherwise $3.00 per trip on the new Port Mann Bridge. That faster bridge the ads are touting should shave off an hour on a round trip commute. Worth it? I’ll let you know.
by Kristine Carrick
Posted September 6, 2012 by Maryanne
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Just this past Tuesday, as most were herding their children back to school, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Minter at Minter Gardens. I was delighted that he took the time to meet me at his serene property. We sat in the courtyard for a quick chat before I set off to explore the 32 acre expanse. I hadn’t even been off to explore the grounds and was overwhelmed by the shear vision of it all. I asked Brian if the gardens were what he and his wife, Faye, had envisioned back in 1977 when they purchased the property – without hesitation the answer was simple, “yes”. His passion is evident, explaining that Minter Gardens isn’t about coming to look at plants it is about having a real experience. He welcomes guests to come and explore the intricate pathways and look, touch, feel and smell the gardens.
Sit on a bench and soak up the gardens
Play a gigantic game of checkers
Check out a tractor
While we sat I noticed a number of guests arriving with pre-school aged children. I noted the young guests and Brian remarked, “Kids have an amazing time, with loads to look at and explore.” I was curious about what the late summer month of September would hold for the gardens and Brian explained that September is one of the best times of year, when the cool nights and warm days give a lift to the colours in the gardens, providing crisp hues with the addition of fall perennials.
Two of the water features in the gardens
Stroll across the quaint bridges over the flowing creek
I shared with Brian some of my own gardening misgivings – my grandfather was an avid gardener, a green thumb he passed along to his daughter, my mom. As I explained to Brian, my thumb is not nearly so green and I usually end up taking my mom with me to the nursery for technical support. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass and ask Brian for his tips for fall gardening – a time where I usually empty my pots and baskets and tuck them into the garage until the following spring. His suggestions left me feeling inspired, he encouraged me to look at fall and winter gardening from a different angle – just think less watering and no bugs.
Some of the beautiful blooms in the gardens
Here are his suggestions:
Look to fill planters with hardy evergreen plants and grasses, focusing on the foliage colours versus the flower colours. For fall Brian suggested a new trailing Cool Wave Pansy.
Make it personal; find something that you like – even consider adding in a piece of driftwood or rocks to your pots.
Be creative; consider popping in a few bulbs to enjoy through the late winter, early spring months.
In case you are wondering, I DID head off to explore the gardens. They were fantastic! I have to confess I felt a little like I was playing hooky as I strolled the pathways taking in the incredible water features and as Brian suggested, I stopped to smell, touch and feel each of the spaces, He was right, I wasn’t just looking at plants, but enjoying an experience.
Enter to Win a Day at Minter Gardens
Brian and the folks at Minter Gardens would like you to
come and visit as well.
We are giving away four passes and a gift certificate for brunch at their Trillium Restaurant, located in the gardens.
To enter, share with us below, how you plan to update your garden for fall.
Congratulations to Laura. She is the winner of this contest. This contest is now closed.
by Kristine Carrick
Posted July 10, 2012 by Maryanne
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It’s been a few weeks since my last Staycation installment; maybe I was waiting for the sunshine to make it feel like something other the Juneuary. One of the places I really wanted to make certain we had the opportunity to explore was the Capilano Suspension Bridge. There is a photograph of my dad and me standing on the bridge from my nana’s trip from the UK to Canada that dates back to the early 1980’s. I can’t be certain of who took the picture as both my mom and my nana were not fans of the bridge, which stretches the 450 foot span over the Capilano River into the waiting rainforest. The 230 foot view to the river below was something they were happy to view from terra firma.
Fast forward to 2012 and the bridge that was originally built in 1889, is a popular tourist attraction. Much different from my 1980’s visit, once you cross the suspension bridge, you are invited to explore the rainforest from the treetops, with the Treetop Adventures. I am happy to report (and have photographic proof!) that on this trip, my mom bravely crossed the bridge with us and explored the seven suspension bridges that make up the treetop route.
I really enjoyed this trip, you can take in as much or as little of the park as you would like. If you have kids in your group, or if you just want to pretend you’re a kid, the park has a series of items to spot in the rainforest, find all of them and earn your Rainforest Explorer Badge! As we enjoyed our rainforest adventure, we also marvelled at the engineering feat that allowed us a squirrel’s eye view of the forest.
Once we crossed back over the Capilano Canyon it was onto the latest edition to the Capilano Suspension Bridge with the Cliff Walk. The first question I should ask is “Are you afraid of heights?” Let’s just say that my mom and her niece, Eve, sat this one out. What a view, the cliffside trek provides an unobstructed view of above the Capilano River and is suspended from the granite cliff face. I will warn you, the cliffwalk is narrow and high with some parts of the walkway constructed from glass, so you can look down – way down into the canyon below.
We had a great afternoon exploring and, a treat for locals, as a resident of BC you can enjoy unlimited access to the bridge and the attractions. With your admission, show your BC identification at guest services and receive a one year membership. The membership also includes access to the Canyon Lights display through December.
I think the best part of this adventure was learning that the bridge was built simply to get to the other side.
Wear comfortable clothing, this is an outdoor adventure and high heels aren’t the best option.
Pack a sweater or light jacket. While it was sunny out during our May visit, the rainforest provides a dense canopy for the sun and it can get chilly.
Children under 12 are welcome, remember no strollers on the bridge and children need to be held by the hand as you cross the bridge.
Don’t forget your camera, the views are amazing.
by Kristine Carrick
Posted May 31, 2012 by Maryanne
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As I stare out at this very dreary looking morning, I can’t quite believe my stay-cation wrapped up less than two weeks ago. It feels more like months than just mere weeks that the sun blessed us with plus 25 degree temperatures and picnics in the park. The UK contingent was happy to go with the flow during their visit (how very Vancouver Zen of them). We did spend a few of our days with relaxed driving trips to see the sights in Vancouver and along the North Shore.
Here are some of our must do sights to reacquaint yourself with – no sunshine required.
Stanley Park – I know you’re reading this thinking, “ah, duh!” I know Stanley Park is truly a Vancouver gem and I don’t know how a local vacation would be complete without a trip into the park, even if it is just to simply park and wander a portion of the Sea Wall. We chose not to visit the Vancouver Aquarium on this visit, but rather took in the history of the park with stops that included Prospect Point, the Totem Poles and the Brockton Point Lighthouse.
Visitor Tip: You will need to pay for parking within the park; however your ticket is valid in any parking spot in the park, so you can visit Lumberman’s Arch and then drive to check out the Hollow Tree and not have to purchase parking at each spot.
Marine Drive, West Vancouver – Sometimes it just feels good to turn up the music and roll down the windows! We also took a drive out of Stanley Park and onto the North Shore. With a little family history tied to a small church along Marine Drive in West Vancouver, we hit the road with the end destination as Horseshoe Bay. Simply, the scenery along Marine Drive is awesome. The ships in the harbour, Lighthouse Park and for us the little church located in Olde Caulfield was worth a stop for a little family history.
This little road trip was pet friendly, so my happy hound was excited to get out of the car for a sniff and a stretch. The quiet neighbourhood and large rocks are like pushing pause on a hectic day.
Visitor Tip: Pack a picnic; load up the family, an afternoon drive is a great refresher. We also think it is a perfect spot to just simply sit.
by Kristine Carrick