Category Archives: Holidays

kelseydo motorcycling the cascades

Last weekend Nick and I went on a trip around BC’s Okanagan and down through the Cascades. The Sea-to-Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler is always a beaut and the rest of the trip was also epically gorgeous. The Cascade mountain range passes through southern BC, Washington and Oregon to Northern California. We passed through the Washington section, and stayed in Winthrop, WA the night before passing through.

Winthrop is pretty much the most adorable town in the nation. For some reason the whole place is done up Old West style and I like that because it means everything is made of wood (wood is sexy). We stayed at the River’s Edge Resort. Pulled up and managed to get a cabin for $100 which included a full on kitchen and private hot tub. Hit the town for some eats at Carlos 1800 Mexican Grill and Cantina for some Conchinita Pibil- pork magic baked in a banana leaf and topped with red pickled onions. Delicious! Also mugs of Negra Modelo larger than my forearm= yikes! The onto the local Old Schoolhouse brewery for some award winning Ruud Awakening IPA. It was probably time to go home at that point but we made some lovely friends from Odessa, WA and decided to get a nightcap at Three-Fingered Jack’s Saloon. Amazing spot and fantastic bartender. Had some kind of wild and dark Deschutes brewed beer and then noticed there was a Fireball machine so obviously had to get some shots of that.

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Yeeeehaaaawww!!

A post shared by Nick Carota (@nickcarota) on

As you can imagine the next day was a pretty slow start. I managed to eat two robin sized bites of the cheese crust of my bagel and sipped a quarter of an ounce of sparkling water. Yowza. Somehow, motorcycling made me feel better? I add a question mark because we had to stop a few times for me to take vomit breaks >AHEM< take pictures (FYI I Didn’t actually vomit okay, I just felt like it might happen and I didn’t know how I was going to navigate that through my full-faced helmet). Here are some pics of the day taken by Nick Carota:

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It turned out to be an epic day, and all the sweet twisties of the Cascades somehow took my Vomitron license away. We somehow made it all the way to some outlet stores where Nick bought me some Nine West swag on sale for being such a good hungover Kelsey.

Fantastic trip overall! Next time I will drink less beers and get up earlier. Also stop at regular times to eat so you don’t get hangry. My full license motorcycle road test is on Friday and I am going to nail it. Or fail. But either way look what I can do!

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kelseydo Gion Matsuri

Last week I got a chance to visit Kyoto’s biggest and oldest festival, Gion Matsuri! It is a month long event but the most popular evenings are the nights of the 15th, 16th and the day of the 17th for the parade.

This is the only event where I felt like as a foreigner I was encouraged to wear the Yukata, the light-knit cotton/linen robe that is more casual than the Kimono. It was really fun to wear out on the town. I felt like I was wearing my bathrobe outside. My friend Chika told me that a long time ago the Yukata was only for use in the home for bathing so I was right to feel this way!

Beautiful Bow

Beautiful Bow

Getting dolled up

Getting dolled up

Yukata on!

Yukata on!

Luckily we had Yuko-san to help us get our Yukatas on properly and to tie the Obi into a perfect bow!

Alex wearing my 'drinking jacket'

Alex wearing my ‘drinking jacket’

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Alex, Haruna & I

Alex, Haruna & I

Daniel and Haruna

Daniel and Haruna

Waiting for the Randen

Waiting for the Randen

Escalator shot

Escalator shot

Faces on the subway

Faces on the subway

It was really busy once we got downtown! There were people everywhere. Apparently tens-of-thousands of people go each night. All the main streets were closed down and there were a lot of food stalls, souvenir shops and the parade floats were all lit up with music playing.

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Food stalls

Food stalls

Dessert!

Dessert!

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it's an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it’s an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

As usual, the food was one of the main events for us- we had to try everything!

Streetside bar

Streetside bar

A lot of people were enjoying their beer in the street, there were even little cocktail shops set up on the side of the street like this.

We were lucky enough to get up close and personal to a few of the parade floats.

Lanterns

Lanterns

More Lanterns

More Lanterns

Giant float including full size tree

Giant float including full size tree

photo 1

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren't allowed on this one

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren’t allowed on this one

photo 4We got to take a tour of this one while they were playing drums and singing inside of it but of course- no photos!

And then more food…we were on a mission for frozen bananas! It was a very hot and humid night.

Candy apple

Candy apple

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom's favorite!)

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom’s favorite!)

Lanterns everywhere!

Lanterns everywhere!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

Banana Kanpai!

Banana Kanpai!

Beth loves waffles...on a stick!

Beth loves waffles…on a stick!

This guy...

This guy…

The gang!

The gang!

All in all it was an amazing night! I wish I could have gone again but unfortunately it was right in the middle of all my final exams for school.

Gion Matsuri can’t be missed!

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Kelseydo December Detox

I am totally jinxing myself just by writing this but I am undertaking a current project that I am calling my December Detox. Around this time of year I always bulk up with my fair share of bread, cheese, wine (actually booze of any kind) and many other delightful treats. In Vancouver it is ALWAYS raining in the fall/winter/spring/sometimes summer and once it starts to get dark around 4pm I feel like going for a jog is out of the question but getting cozy on the couch with a glass of red and a plate of Baldersons is right up my alley (by a plate I mean a whole brick of cheese- don’t judge). There are always so many fun parties around this time of year with amazing food and delicious booze and I cannot say no, I have never said no, until now. I decided to practice a little self control this year and try a month of no booze, moderate jogging + exercize and a diet low in wheat and dairy (a month= more like 25 days: 25 days til Christmas=coincidence? I think not).

It’s a bit easier being away from my usual party places and my usual party people: my boyfriend, my friends, my family…everyone I know at home basically, because I am removed from my typical bread, cheese, booze party situation. Don’t get me wrong: I love bread, cheese and booze. I would have no problem tattooing that phrase on my arm or making that the title of my first book (don’t worry no plans for tattoo or book). Anyhow, it seems like the perfect storm for my detox is in Kyoto for the following reasons:

1. Bread here sucks. Yes I am a bread snob. What kind of bread can I buy here? White bread. ONLY. I have heard that it is possible to buy some kind of wholeish-wheatish bread but I have yet to see it AKA it’s an urban myth. You can buy different ‘kinds’ of bread, but by ‘kinds’ I mean different numbers of slices. Let me explain: all bread is white bread. It is all the same loaf of bread. However, there are 4 different ‘kinds’ of bread, same sized loaf, just different numbers of slices(4,6,8,10). You can get really thick sliced bread (4 pieces in a loaf) to really thin sliced bread (10 pieces in a loaf). Now that’s selection (FAIL). But Kelsey, “why don’t you make your own bread?” you ask, because all of the flour is white flour and I would have to attempt to bake it in a microwave that doubles as an oven. I don’t eat white bread and I don’t bake white bread in microwaves.

Too many slice choices for all the same bread...I CAN'T DECIDE

Too many slice choices for all the same bread…I CAN’T DECIDE..8..6..no 5!

2. Cheese here sucks. Yes I am also a cheese snob. What kind of cheese can I buy here? Kraft singles in cheddar (plastic) or mozzarella (plastic). Parmesan cheese in powder (plastic powder) is available, as well as shredded cheese (pretty sure its plastic too) and then there is a soft cheese that is probably the closest thing to actual cheese (maybe not plastic). Anyways, none of these items qualify as cheese to me. Enough said.

So, this is cheese? or cheese-flavoured?

So, this is cheese? or cheese-flavoured?

3. Booze. Not a booze snob (anyone surprised?). I can’t say anything bad here about quality or accessibility. I can buy sake and beer out of a vending machine on my way home from school. It’s cheap, convenient and lord knows I love it. I can buy Belgian beer and Chilean wine for a fraction of the price at home. However, drunk dialling your boyfriend on an 18 hour time difference because you miss the hell out of him and keeping your neighbour up til 5am talking about god knows what repeatedly, is a messy situation. Also everyone here still likes drunk Kelsey (I think) because no one here has had to suffer hungover Kelsey unlike Nick and Amber and Chantal and Mom and Dylan and Grannie and…you get the picture. Although booze is cheaper here, it adds up and the cost is, well, high but not necessarily monetary.

Friendly Neighborhood Liquor Vending Machine

Friendly Neighbourhood Beer Machine

4. Budget. Good bread and cheese probably does exist here, just not in my local grocery store and not in my price range. If I had a whole lot of $$$ and I was really desperate I would get to that import shop downtown and go nuts. Also I need to focus my budget on seeing and doing new things, and also buying omiyage (gifts) for friends and family.

Check the money

Check the Money PS. I haven’t seen a 2000 yen bill- out of circulation?

This perfect storm has allowed me to create this wee little detox for myself. I hope to shed a few pounds and turn a few heads (one particular head) when I head home for the holidays at the end of December. It’s only one month so we shall see!

If you are looking to do a little mid-season detox like myself I highly recommend this 3-day fruit cleanse detox that I did to kick start my detox. Make sure you are just lazing around the house all weekend when you do it and that you don’t forget to drink plenty o water and get the right amount of calorie intake. Afterwards ease yourself back onto whole grains (brown rice) and protein (beans, eggs, lean meats) but avoid greasy food and sugary shit. I keep a food and exercise diary on myfitnesspal.com that helps me stay on track and check myself before I wreck myself.

Just in time for Japan's Mikan season

Just in time for Japan’s Mikan season

Words of support are welcomed! I am starting to lose my momentum and it has only been 2 1/2 weeks! I could really go for a beer and a pizza right about now…but I need you to talk me out of it. Of course this detox will be for absolutely nothing when I come home for the holidays on December 26th and dive in to an abyss of bready, cheesey, boozy goodness! Yipee!

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