LIFESTYLE: 12 Things to do in 2012

1 Try a new, diverse, and out-of-the-norm restaurant in Vancouver. A suggestion: Award winning Japanese food: Tojo’s. Did you know that Chef Tojo invented the California roll? Restaurant dining can also be affordable if you make sure to register for Dine Out Vancouver on time! For a list of participating restaurants, visit: www.tourismvancouver.com

2 Run a half marathon. This has been a goal of mine for awhile now, and I’m sure it has been a goal for many others as well. Why not make it this year? Better yet, this August! Lululemon is putting on a 21.2km half marathon in Vancouver on August 11, 2012. Not only will this be an exhilarating accomplishment, but there will be a free concert, outdoor yoga, and more. If that does not convince you, know that you now have 8 months to train for it! No problem, right?? No excuses in 2012. www.seawheeze.com

3 Go for High Tea at the Secret Garden. Treat yourself to a day of fine pastries, sweets, exquisitely steeped hot tea, and scones. When you cross into The Garden, your table is reserved under your name set with a gleaming china tea set. And this is only the beginning! It is an experience all in itself, and 2012 is the year to try new things. www.secretgardentea.com

4 Go on vacation or travel. The point? Get out of your comfort zone and venture out somewhere new! Whether it be a 10 day all-inclusive vacation, or a 10 month trip around the world, make sure to take the time to experience a “whole new world”. Traveling is very important. It gives us a chance to be vulnerable, an opportunity to learn the unfamiliar. A fortunate and humbling excuse to appreciate the fact that the world does not revolve around you. Soak in a new culture, new cuisine, and new friends by booking a flight – to anywhere! My only rule: make sure the travel destination is out of your home country. Smile, and live a little! www.lonelyplanet.com

5 Take a hike! Hike to one of the highest peaks in Vancouver this summer and enjoy the view. The Lions hike on the North Shore (Howe Sound) is one for the books. A outdoor photographer’s must-see, and a self-motivating activity to do with a group of adventurous friends. The Lions is an easy-to-moderate hike, varying in elevation and terrain along the way. Nothing sketchy or too difficult, making it a fun hike to triumph! www.trailpeak.com

6 Go to the beach and make a legitimate picnic. Seriously. Prepare a delicious meal for the day and sit by the sea while you eat it. Picnics are a lot of fun, and to be honest, I cannot remember the last time I had a proper one. Pick up a wicker basket from Homesense and make some sandwiches and salad. Yum! Here is your perfect picnic checklist: www.realsimple.com

7 Take a cooking class at the Dirty Apron. The Dirty Apron is Vancouver’s most exciting culinary playground – a place for amateur cooks, the curious, and professionals alike to learn and explore. This is the ultimate date night and/or family fun night! www.dirtyapron.com

8 Watch a Seattle Mariners baseball game, and make a day of it. Who doesn’t love a road trip? Head to Pike Place market, Boom Noodle restaurant, Trophy Cupcakes, and watch a game all in one go! Mmm… garlic fries, sounds great to me. www.seattle.mariners.mlb.com

9 Read a book, and FINISH it! Simple, inexpensive, easy, and very rewarding. www.chapters.indigo.ca

10 Start something. A blog, painting, journal, a book club, anything! The feeling of starting something of your own is one of the best feelings in the world, and it does not have to be extravagant. A good idea that virtually anyone can do is to create your own website, off of a blogging site – like wordpress.com for example, for yourself. Use this as an online resume, or a source for your favourite things. People are always interested in what other people do. It is not as difficult as it seems – if I can do it, so can you.

11 Go to Raw Canvas. Have you heard of this yet? Raw Canvas is a restaurant/lounge in Vancouver that allows you to unleash your inner artist. Purchase a blank painting canvas of your choice, and go nuts! Paint a beautiful picture with a glass of wine in hand. Do not worry, there are artistic professionals there to guide you. That way, your masterpiece will look less like a 3-year old’s placemat and more like a work of art. www.rawcanvas.com

12 Splurge on yourself. Buy one thing this year that is near and dear to you. Something that will last you a lifetime. Something that you will remember forever. What does this look like? Perhaps it is a beautiful pearl necklace, or a stunning piece of furniture. Something tangible, so you can adore it. No, I am definitely not all about materialistic things, but sometimes it is nice to show off. Get yourself something that will make you feel like 100 bucks.

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