Postcard from (multi-culturally diverse) Vancouver

Ocean bay, Vancouver

IMAGINE EUROPEAN FLAIR ON THE STREETS, American brands and business hours, and a cultural pot-pourri of Asian influences – et voilá, that’s Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

A mere 4 hour drive – whew – from southern Seattle, Vancouver is just a hop away from the US-Canadian border. And a visit was mandatory, if only to check out the much-talked-about Vancouver Bay.

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Vacation routines and pool confessions

Pool confessions

AUGUST ROLLED IN QUIETLY, almost keeping the upcoming vacation a little secret. Like waking up on your birthday to find your room decked in balloons, my August vacation was suddenly upon me. Although I had waited impatiently, here it is.

After the first week at the pool (which is more than dreamy), my vacation routines have kicked in. Waking at 6am but lounging in bed til 9am, breakfast prepares me for the relaxing day to come with fresh espresso coffee and an egg-on-english-muffin-combo.

The rest of the day is pretty relaxed. Skyping with my loved ones usually follows the morning rising ritual. And then I hit the pool. It took a few days for me to get used to lying there, with nothing but my own thoughts.

VACATION IS THE PERFECT TIME TO sort through your mind, realign your goals, wishes and desires. And get a good sense of where you’ve been and where you want to go. And that is the essence of vacation: to let go of your daily routine in order to make room for new thoughts and directions.

My own pool lounging has led to many personal confessions, eye-opening revelations and inspiring ideas. I look forward to September, when back-to-business also means moving forward.

Enjoy your vacation guys. And happy, productive lounging!

A fun cup of coffee at the Heyday! Café

The Heyday! Café

THE SMELL OF FRESH BREWED COFFEE, THE SOUND OF LAUGHS and a relaxed and fun atmosphere are what first pulled my attention to this cute little café back in September. I met Bri and her fun crowd when I was visiting Washington state last fall to scout the area. So when the market opened this April, I had to drop by and wave a big hello.

SINCE THEN, THE HEYDAY CAFÉ has been the go-to spot for my weekly market visits. I had the chance to get to know Matt, Bri, Brandon and Andrew a bit better and was thrilled when I was offered to hang out one weekend.

Matt, The Heyday! Café

Bri, The Heyday! Café

IT’S A FAMILY-OWNED AND OPERATED BUSINESS for siblings Bri and Matt (pictured above) who run the little café that provides Olympia Farmers Market visitors with their dose of hot coffee and wildly yummy food creations (breakfast in a cone, need I say more). (more…)

Letting go of materialism

Let go of materialism | Désirée blogging

We live in an endless spiral of daily distractions. Every day, we have thousands of thoughts which include money, buying something, wanting something, selling something etc. Each thought takes energy to be produced, assessed and categorized.

Our minds are strong and can handle this. But more and more I wonder:

“Could this energy be put to better use?”

YES!

Things come and go, money exchanges hands, items get old and discarded and replaced with newer ones. And the whole process of wanting things can be plain painful and depressing.

A few months ago, I sold all my belongings and striped down my possessions to the bare minimum: 3 suitcases now constituted my material life. Today, I sit among new things. But I have come to the conclusion that I need only myself to be truly happy and not the thousands of thoughts that go with materialism.

It’s definitely ok to reward yourself (I do it occasionally, too), but we need to remember that materialism is fleeting and that we should concentrate those daily thousand thoughts to something more productive. That gives us a lot of time to think…

What will you think about?

One day with firefighters {part 2}

fighterShoes

THE PRESSURES OF WITNESSING TRAUMATIC SITUATIONS, staying calm in the midst of panic and chaos along with the terrible working hours is very hard on a firefighter. Not only does the 24-hour shift destroy your bio-rhythm, working with medical cases or fire emergencies is dangerous on top of that.

Cancer is most common among firefighters, I was told. Even though provided with masks and other protection, fumes from fires still manage to get into the system. And the psychological pressures of working with sick, injured or dying people can cause posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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SO HOW DO OUR FIREFIGHTERS COPE? Most firefighters I met have a strong family that supports them and gives them the backing they need to do their job for the community. (more…)

One day with firefighters {part 1}

firefighter_gear

I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT A FIREFIGHTER’S DAILY ROUTINE might look like. How many fires he puts out, how he manages those long shifts, and what kind of motivation and character might be hidden behind those full-body suits and helmets.

As luck may have it, I was invited by our local fire chief to ride along for a day. And you know me – won’t miss out on that great an opportunity to peak into a life many boys dream of and even more girls swoon at.

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WITH CAMERA IN HAND AND A HIGH CURIOSITY LEVEL, I was standing at the Lacey Fire District 3’s front desk. Fire Chief Steve Brooks welcomed me with a warm handshake and immediately got into explaining the building’s inner set-up. I am still astounded at the cleanliness of the fire station. (more…)

Kyle, the world’s best hugger

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KYLE WAS INTRODUCED TO ME AS THE WORLD’S BEST HUGGER. And they were right! I met Kyle while shooting my favorite group of coffee makers at the Olympia Farmer’s Market. He has this sweet and shining smile that radiates at everyone.

Taken from the Faces of Oly series, exhibit June 12 to July 15, 2014 at Burial Grounds, downtown Olympia.

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