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Giving Thanks

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, I look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and appreciation of the positive response our little communities of Squamish and Whistler have shown our business.

While attending a women’s empowerment and business strategy retreat at beautiful Sulphurous Lake last fall, a seed was planted in casual conversation that grew into a real life venture.

  • how do you tap into a much needed retail market in our very active community that is influenced by those who explore the great outdoors and those who want to make the most out of their time with friends and family at home?
  • how do you keep business (that otherwise went to Vancouver) local?
  • how do you make an impact in your own “backyard”?

Goals with soul was the answer.

  • keep marketing personal
  • sell products of the highest quality
  • collaborate with local entrepreneurs
  • give back to your community

The answers became clear – I just needed to delve into the nitty gritty of it all.

In the past year we’ve been able to establish an ever-growing presence and seen first hand how the sale of simple quality outdoor living products have brought lasting memories to families.  They’ve shared their trial and error pizza creation photos with us, sent us messages of how much they enjoy their backyard gas firepit, posted photos of food they’ve grilled and smoked on their BBQ and shared stores of their glamping adventures.

This journey of being a creative, calm, active, present and mindful business person has been much more than I had anticipated and I am grateful for all of it (even the never-ending paperwork).

Modern Backyard Bliss

After almost twenty years of marriage, I still do all of the cooking.  I know, I know, it’s not very “modern woman” of me.  BUT this summer we added a new BBQ to our outdoor living room and it has been a game changer!  Hello hubby the BBQ’r!!!!!

I love my gas grill.  Winter or summer, that baby gets fired up 4-5 times a week.  While it’s fast and convenient, I find the true BBQ flavour just isn’t there.  Our new modern charcoal grill with electronic ignition (FYI – amazing feature) has literally changed our outdoor dining experience.  Just like the “modern woman”, the charcoal BBQ continues to evolve.  The temperature is much easier to regulate than I first thought;  it’s not as messy as I first imagined; and the flavours ………..  But have no fear ladies, I’m watching all of this from the sidelines and taking full advantage of my hubby’s new passion for cooking.

I am having to share some of my famous marinades with him and am having to wash the dishes a bit more (FYI:  house rules – if you cook, you don’t clean), but it’s a great trade off.  What’s been my favourite deliciously mouth-watering backyard meal so far?  Without a doubt it’s the grilled beef tenderloin roast.  I usually buy a large beef tenderloin roast and cut it into steaks, vacuum seal and freeze them.  The last 12″ or so at the end of the roast is thinner and is the perfect share plate protein.  I coat it with crushed garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, salt-free steak spice and kelp sea salt ….. and then pass it over to my new found chef to work his magic.  It’s constantly rotated with care on the grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit and is then taken off the grill to rest.  Thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes and onions (all tossed with a simple olive oil/pepper/salt mixture) are quickly roasted as a healthy complement to our share plate/board.

Your outdoor living space is an extension of your home.  We spend a lot of time in our “outdoor living room”, aka “man cave”, aka “mama’s wine shelter”.  It is filled with items that are tailored to how WE live. This unique, modern, trendy charcoal grill has been the best budget minded purchase we’ve made in quite some time. In this modern world of online design sharing, there are so many great websites and social media sites where you can spend an afternoon (or ten) getting ideas. Wayfair is one of our favourites! Whether it’s comfortable furniture, a unique rug or pillow, simple patio lanterns, a fire feature, a patio heater, a grill or smoker …….. fill your space with products that have you not wanting to go back inside! That’s outdoor bliss.

Campsite Envy

Long gone are the days of ripped tents, wet sleeping bags, smoky clothing, and sniffing the food in the cooler to make sure it’s safe.

 

Today’s camping families, whether in a tent or a trailer, want the experiences of being away, with all of the comforts of being at home.  If your friends are anything like mine, having a few prized pieces of camping equipment that make you the envy of your camping buddies is all a part of the adventure.

 

A good cooler, like the nICE brand, can keep your beer (food – we meant food) cold for days.  Sweat resistant and bear proof (important for the Squamish lifestyle) , tough and trendy (because no one wants an old ugly cooler) , this is a must have whether your spot for the weekend is along the shores of Howe Sound or in the backcountry beyond the Squamish or Pemberton Valleys.  Could you imagine having cold beer (food – we meant food) all weekend long!

 

If you love to grill, or even if you pretend to, a good quality stainless steel BBQ will bring out the best chef in you.  Having a grill you can easily transport to your picnic table, to the lakeshore, to the campsite next door, or even onto the boat, will keep everyone happy (and healthy).  Having a grill with enough power and versatility to cook for a crowd is what Jackson Grills is known for.  Their BBQs have this unique grilling surface with two different sized grilling rods that allow you to cook small portion sizes (think prawns, fish and vegetables) and larger portion sizes (think steak and chicken) all at the same time.  What does that mean?  It means the food won’t fall through the cracks and there’s less flare-ups.  Imaging having a grill that you don’t have to replace every camping season!

 

Now let’s get to the good stuff.  A campfire is what truly brings a crowd together.  Agreed?  The campfire, in my opinion, has been the one essential element that has evolved the most.  The Flame Genie is one of my favourite products.  This portable campfire uses wood pellets, which means there’s no sparks, minimal smoke and ash, and almost no clean-up.  No more hunting for firewood.  Just grab a cheap bag of pellets on your way out of town and you’re set.  Modern thinking and modern looking.  It even comes with it’s own carry case for easy transportation.  The flame pattern produced by the Flame Genie will have you staring for hours.  The name says it all!  Oh and did I mention that you won’t go to bed smelling like a campfire (aka cariboo cologne)?

 

Beer, food and fire.  And friends.  That’s camping!