Updated on November 25, 2016
20 Questions with Paul Jarvis
Years ago, I’d heard whisperings about a man named Paul Jarvis. “Try his cupcakes,” they said. “He and Lisa make amazing cupcakes,” they said. So all I really knew was that there was this guy named Paul and that he and his wife made incredible cupcakes – vegan ones, no less. I also knew that they fronted an acoustic folk band known as Mojave. The band’s name makes sense, know that I know much more of Paul, being that he’s rather fond of California’s Mojave Desert. In fact, when I contacted him about participating in 20 Questions, the desert is where he was.
In recent years, Paul and Lisa packed up their lives in Vancouver and traded the city for the west coast of Vancouver Island. Paul now spends his days writing, podcasting, creating, growing his garden, and living a lifestyle that reflects his fierce love of the environment. Lucky for us, Paul has found the time to answer 20 Questions and his (sometimes surprising) answers are, in a word, rad. Read for yourself…
1. What are you really excited about these days?
Growing stuff This year I built a fairly large greenhouse as well as expanded my garden. I’d like to get to 50/50 in summers as far as food I buy versus food I grow. I think it’s totally doable on the island with a mix of greenhouses and beds. I’m lucky to have a few acres to play with, but it is slow work.
2.What was the last thing you created?
I created a podcast episode this morning for my show The Freelancer. I can’t think of a day that doesn’t go by when I’m not making something: mostly articles, podcasts, courses, software, and workshops. It’s been part of my life for a few decades now, so I’m fairly addicted to creating, ha.
3. Making yourself accessible through social media opens the door to admiration but also criticism. How do you handle criticism?
I get everything from hate mail to death threats… fairly regularly. My words and voice show up a lot in certain circles and I think that really bugs some people. I’m pretty good at brushing it off because: a) it happens a lot; and b) pretty much every single time it has more to do with the other person and bad shit in their life than anything I’ve said or done. It also matters a lot for the type of criticism – I get criticized by people who don’t buy things from me, so their opinions of me don’t really matter. If I was getting constantly criticized from my students or customers, then I’d probably pay attention to it (thankfully that doesn’t happen).
I’m human, so sometimes criticism can sting. But most of the time, after the initial shock, I forget about it pretty quickly. I’d rather focus on helping the people that support me than the opinions of people who don’t care.
4. When I first heard the name “Paul Jarvis,” I associated it with music. Your life seems to have taken off into a different trajectory, so what was the catalyst for the shift?
So I’ve always been both a maker of things online and a touring musician. It just depends what circles you run in for what you think of if you hear my name. Music has taken a serious back seat lately, because my focus has been pulled away from it – which I’m cool with. I’m sure I’ll circle back on it at some point and be happy that I took a break.
5. What’s something you aspire to that might surprise people?
I really want to distill my own spirits. Which is a little funny since I don’t drink. But still (a little distillation humour), it seems like the right mix of science, art, and wackiness for me. Plus, I grow barely, rye, and corn so it’d be interesting to take those from seed to finished alcohol. I have no elaborate plans to operate some Vancouver Island moonshine business. I just want to see if I can learn it and do it.
6. The Breakfast Club featured a rebel, a princess, a brainiac, an outcast, and a jock. Who were you in high school?
The geek. Was there a nerd in that movie? I never saw it because I was watching Star Wars on repeat.
7. If I gave you $50,000 to expand the scope of something you’re currently doing, what would it be?
I’d give it back. I hate owing people money, ha.
8. If I dropped you off at the airport with a ticket to anywhere, where are you headed?
Palm Springs. Luckily there’s a direct flight from Victoria. I love the desert, it’s such a nice juxtaposition to living in a rainforest. Especially come February when I haven’t seen the sun for weeks.
9. You’ve seemingly accomplished a lot in the very short time span of the last few years. Where do you see yourself in 2021?
My hope is that I’ve got a jetpack. Or a teleporter. Failing that, I just hope I’m happy. I suck at planning long-term or setting goals. I’d rather just go with the flow and see where it takes me. Hopefully… to a jetpack.
10. If I was a highly skilled bartender, what drink would you ask me to make for you right now?
I’m allergic to alcohol. So I’d probably just ask for your strongest ginger ale.
11. It’s now 2:00 a.m. and I’ve served you half a dozen ginger ales. Where are you going for your greasy food fix?
Oh geez, that’s a LOT OF SUGAR, KEIRA. I also don’t think anything South Island is open that late. But if it was a little earlier, I’d cut through that sugar rush with spicy curry from my favourite restaurant, Turmeric.
12. On southern Vancouver Island, what’s the one restaurant that no one has heard of but everyone should eat at?
Turmeric in langford. I’m vegan and gluten-free and they have a ton of options. Even if you’re not, they have a ton of options. I could eat there every day. The owners are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet too.
13. What’s the biggest misconception people have about you in real life?
That I’m extroverted. I’m absolutely comfortable writing or doing my podcast, but get me in a group of people in real life and I have a really hard time. I’d also rather stay home than go out (unless it’s to Turmeric since they don’t deliver to my area).
14. If you could star as any character in the remake of any movie, which famous role would you reprise?
Darth Vader. He was a badass, but also, I could do the role without speaking (James Earl Jones does that) and without anyone seeing my face.
15. If you could learn a new skill, language, or hobby, what would it be?
Definitely woodworking. I can cobble together rough things with wood (like raised beds), but every time I try to build something that looks finished or polished, it’s awful.
16. What are you most proud of?
That I’ve earned a living doing creative stuff for 20 years.
17. Who is (or was) the single most influential person in your life?
I can’t honestly thing of any one person. I’ve never been one look to others, I like to figure things out for myself (e.g. the hard way).
18. I’m throwing a dinner party next weekend. You’re invited and can bring three others with you (dead or alive). Who should I set the table for?
Awesome! One, my wife Lisa; two, Andy Weir (the guy who wrote The Martian); and three, my internet boyfriend Jason Zook (because he’s fun to hang out with).
19. What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you?
Want two tickets to Palm Springs?
20. I should have known! So do you want two tickets to Palm Springs?
HECK YA I DO!
All photos are provided courtesy of Paul Jarvis.
Updated on November 24, 2016
METRIN Skincare is celebrating 85 years of a truly incredible product.
Nearly a century ago, a chemist with skin issues of his own, Dr. George C. Runnels, developed a natural process for treating everyday skin problems. What he developed would eventually become METRIN‘s skincare system. Once the system was finally formulated in 1932, I don’t imagine Dr. Runnels ever dreamed that METRIN would become what it is today! The company was eventually purchased in the late ’70s by long-time user Macil Sumpter. Macil soon turned it into the international empire it is today. And all that for a company now based out of Vancouver? I am, as always, impressed.
2017 marks 85 years of METRIN’s five-step skincare system, a product I have become rather fond of since discovering it. Even my mom has all five beautiful bottles lined up in her bathroom! To celebrate this milestone, METRIN has designed an exclusive anniversary bottle of Step 1, the Deep Cleanser. With its colourful motif, I was instantly smitten. Want to get your hands on one of these bottles – and the whole set? METRIN has offered a discount code for the Black Friday long weekend, exclusive to my readers.
Act fast because when this weekend is over, the discount will disappear! From November 25th – 28th, METRIN’s Black Friday sale is your chance to stock up on the product at one of their biggest sales of the year.
And, in case you didn’t already know, METRIN’s products are always:
✔ made in North America
✔ made with organic ingredients
Finally, and most importantly, please join me in wishing METRIN (and their rad customer service team – seriously!) a very Happy Birthday!
This post was sponsored by METRIN Skincare; however, the views and opinions are entirely my own.
Updated on November 9, 2016
Like most brides, I planned on dry-cleaning my dress after the big day. However, I recently discovered that wedding dress preservation is a service unlike any other.
At the show’s height of popularity, I was (and still am) obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw’s “mille-feuille” dress from part une of a Sex and the City episode titled “An American Girl in Paris.” (Click here for a refresher.) With its layers upon layers of tissue-soft, stunning, ruffled fabric, the gown was nothing short of dreamy. Though my husband and I decided to elope to Kailua-Kona when we got married, I didn’t want to be without what would no doubt be the most incredible gown I’d ever wear – a wedding dress.
With its corset bust reminiscent of a swimsuit, a waist of delicate flower pedals, and a train that swirls like the ocean, this dress was perfect for a beach wedding at sunset in Hawaii (and would be totally Carrie Bradshaw-approved). With aloha comes the inevitable black lava rock which became ground in to the hem of the gown after our photoshoot on the ocean. It was never my intention to “trash the dress,” but it was certainly worse for wear once all was said and done.
Recently, after nearly three years of being stuffed in a closet, I brought the gown to Busy Bee Gold – Vancouver’s wedding dress preservation experts. Moments after I entered the store, I was greeted by Mohamud, the soft-spoken and kindly owner of Busy Bee Gold. I was slightly embarrassed over the nearly three years of neglect I’d inflicted on my gown. I told Mohamud I’d all but lost hope that the dress could ever be revived to its original glory, but he was confident that he could work magic.
Busy Bee Gold’s process is unique in that they do not simply dry-clean the wedding gowns that come into the shop. Mohamud and his team personally preserve each gown that Busy Bee Gold’s clients bring to them using an eco-friendly, multi-step system. Each detail, sequin, ruffle, and stitch of embroidery is first documented, then cleaned, and carefully protected.
Mohamud explained that my wedding dress would be cleaned by hand (yes – really!) and then washed with a custom blend solution, tailored for my gown. As the final step, it would be carefully stuffed to maintain its shape, draped out beautifully, and wrapped in soft muslin fabric. The dress would be packed with a pair of white gloves to wear when touching the dress so that the fabric would remain protected from my hand’s oils. This is the same method that is also employed by the Smithsonian Institute for all textiles. I knew my wedding gown was in the best possible hands.
After several weeks, I finally picked up the gown several days ago. When Mohamud carefully opened the box to unveil my gown, I was left speechless. Each and every lava stain, Mai Tai spill, and drop of oil from my coconut-scented sunscreen was gone. Inside the box was a perfectly-presented, pristine gown, more beautiful than I’d remembered. I fell in love with my dress all over again, and was reminded once more why this gown was the one I said “yes!” to as I proclaimed “I do” to The One.
Busy Bee Gold Dry Cleaners is the highest-rated dry cleaning service in Vancouver, and they are open six days a week. Busy Bee Gold is located at 704 West 6th Avenue (at Heather Street). Call the store at (604) 872-1519 for more information, or book your wedding dress preservation in-store consultation online. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp.
Disclaimer: I did not pay for my wedding dress preservation service, but the opinions, views, and experiences shared in this post are entirely my own.
Updated on November 9, 2016
Despite what magazine covers, news reports, and Pinterest may tell us, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated.
“Get clearer skin!”
“Lose weight the easy way!”
“Feel rested and look your best!”
Media headlines constantly bombard us with messages designed to cause us to pick ourselves apart while we hunger for change. Fad diets, trends, and health gurus would love us to believe that their solutions are the only solutions. And then, when we don’t achieve the results we’re promised, we feel like failures and give up.
Want to hear a secret? A healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are five quick, easy tips to achieving a healthy lifestyle – on your own terms.
1. Diet – Have you ever noticed which foods energize you versus which ones cause you to crash or feel tired and bloated? Fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains are some of nature’s best medicine. Skip the processed food aisles at your grocery store, and instead opt for salads, wraps, soups, stews, chili, smoothies, and other tasty treats for your tummy.
2. Exercise – I know without a doubt when I have not been running or stretching or practicing yoga. My entire body feels seized and fatigued. Muscles that are normally limber feel tighter, and my stress levels start to rise. Getting your heart pumping is one of the best things you can do for your body. Skip the marathons, though. Even just a walk around the block on your lunch break can make a world of difference!
3. Body Care – Your skin is your body’s largest (and probably most absorbent) organ. If you live in a city like I do, you bring the day home with you on your face: car exhaust, dirt, oils, airborne pollutants, and other nasty toxins. Wipe the slate clean with a high-quality product that is gentle and non-toxic while working to rid your face of everything unwanted. You know I love METRIN‘s simple, clean, five-step system.
4. Mental Health – An equally-important component to a healthy lifestyle, keeping your mental health and wellness in check is a must. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but the rewards are worth the effort you put into it. We can all benefit from a reduced stress load, so find what works for you. Whether it’s yoga, journalling, talking with a friend, or spending time doing a hobby you enjoy, making time for yourself is something you’ll feel grateful for.
5. Sleep – Sweet, sweet sleep… the one thing that tends to elude so many of us. With sugar coursing through our veins, pent-up energy from lack of exercise, and the stress of the day carried around on our slumped shoulders, is it any wonder so many people lack quality sleep? When we bring all of the other pieces in line, it’s likely that we’ll have an easier time catching Zzzs. If not? Diffuse some lavender or cedarwood essential oils, cuddle with your dog, take a warm bath before bedtime, or sip a rest-inducing herbal tea.
You’ve already got the tools and the ability to choose what’s best for you. No one knows what your healthy lifestyle looks like better than you do, and no one is able to make these choices for you. If you want to feel better and live a healthier lifestyle, only you can take those steps, make those plans, or prioritize what’s important.
Updated on November 7, 2016
As its name implies, Paradise Meadows is a picture-perfect spot to enjoy the best of nature for a day or a weekend.
Hiking is one of my absolute favourite things to do with my husband! We’re talking top three activities here. I’ll never turn down the chance to lace up my shoes, fill a few water bottles, and get out into nature with him. Having grown up in the Comox Valley, you’d think I’d have hiked at Paradise Meadows countless times. But until last year, I had yet to cross it off my list of local hikes.
We decided to bring my brother and niece along because they’re both big fans of the great outdoors too. Sienna definitely inherited her love of nature from my Opa, and it’s always so amazing for me to see how much she relishes being out in nature like he did.
Choosing which path to take at Paradise Meadows can seem daunting because there are so many areas to explore! Because we were only geared up for a few hours’ worth of hiking, the four of us made our way to Lake Helen Mackenzie. The day was overcast and chilly enough to make long sleeves necessary.
Overlooking the calm waters of Lake Helen Mackenzie, we quietly noshed on a picnic lunch packed by yours truly: cherries, sandwiches, granola bars, potato chips, and homemade cookies.
After lunch and a bit of exploring the lake’s edge, we completed the 6.6-kilometre loop in plenty of time to enjoy a hot chocolate at the lodge at Mount Washington. As we made our way back to the trailhead, we encountered a number of whiskey jacks who were only more than happy to perch on our hands!
J and I quickly decided that, next time, we’d bring a tent, sleeping bags, and enough food to allow us to do some backcountry camping for a night or two. With endless trails to explore, Paradise Meadows is well worth putting on your list of must-hike spots in the Comox Valley.
Disclaimer: Always adequately prepare for a hike. Leave an itinerary. Take into account the weather, hydration and food requirements, and your own physical fitness. Research the trail conditions beforehand and bring enough supplies and equipment in the event that you got lost or in danger.
Map courtesy of Mount Washington Alpine Resort.