Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island

When I feel the need to flee the city, unplug, relax, be immersed in the wild and just let myself breathe, there is no better place to travel to than Port Renfrew.

A sweet little hamlet of a little over 200 people surrounded by the rugged beauty of Vancouver Island’s west coast, this part of the world is a pretty magical place. Let me show you a few reasons why:

Beaches with hidden caves and crashing waves..

The magic of old growth forests..

Sweet BC sunsets..

And places to swim..

Who could ask for a better place to recharge your batteries?

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. — Maya Angelou

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Joffre Lakes Hike – Throwback Thursday

I’ve been dreaming of sunshine lately and thinking about all of the hikes I’m planning to do this summer. Hikes like Joffre Lakes.

Joffre is situated a little north of Whistler and is home to the most beautiful emerald and aquamarine water I have ever seen.

Here are a few pics from my 1st hike to this extraordinarily beautiful destination. I can’t wait to get back.

Bitchin’ Bananas

It’s Throwback Thursday and I’m California dreaming again…about frozen bananas.

photo (6)The first time I tasted a frozen banana was in Balboa Island, Orange County about four years ago. I was a little obsessed with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” at that time (yes, embarrassing but true), so visiting Orange County (the home of my dysfunctional, slightly alcoholic, drama queen housewives) was super exciting for me.  I loved being in their neighborhood and secretly hoped my friend Tammy and I would run into one as we toured around the OC.

But, I digress. I’m supposed to be writing about bananas, not housewives….

The astonishingly delicious frozen banana I had on Balboa Island was dipped in a sweet, milk chocolate and covered in fluourescently bright candy and chopped walnuts. It was sublime. “How do we not have these in Canada?”, I thought as I chowed down on my banana while soaking up the California sun.

Lately frozen bananas have been dancing in my mind again and I’ve been experimenting with a healthy, clean, vegan version of the treat I discovered in Southern California.

So, below is the recipe I concocted to duplicate all of the frozen banana yumminess but without all of the bad stuff:

 Laurel’s Bitchin’ Bananas

  • two large bananas
  • raw cashew butter
  • a hunk of 80% dark chocolate

Slice the bananas into .5 inch little circles, put a dollop of cashew butter in between two slices, like an oreo cookie and place in freezer.

While the banana chunks are freezing, heat the dark chocolate on a double boiler and when it starts to lightly bubble, dip the cashew banana chunks in the hot chocolate. Place back in freezer.

bitchin bananas

Serve frozen, just out of the freezer.

Bet you can’t eat just one.

Malibu Love

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/03/21/travel-theme-pink/

The current travel theme is pretty pink and since it’s Throwback Thursday too, I’m posting a few photos from a 2011 trip to California.

The pink part:  My friend Tammy and I lounging on a pink striped beach blanket at Zuma Beach, watching the waves roll in and a family of dolphins swim by.

More pink…We decide to take a break from the ocean waves and venture into town for an unbelievable fuchsia-coloured smoothie, made with nothing but freshly blended watermelons. Who knew that something so simple could be so delicious? Even my dog wants in on the action.

The travel part: Malibu. One of my favourite places. Ever. A corner of the world where I’m so insanely happy just sitting on the beach, listening to the waves and watching cute surfer dudes head to the ocean.