Vancouver, B.C.

One of my goals for 2017 is to travel more and invest in staycations. Last weekend, we decided to staycation in Canada and visit the lovely Vancouver, B.C. The focus of our weekend getaway was Brews & Views.

After arriving to Vancouver and eating lunch on Granville Public Island Market, we took in the downtown views and explored downtown, gastown, and yaletown. We then headed to “East Van” and started our first brew tour.

First stop, Strange Fellows Brewing. Serendipitously, this was the perfect start to our brew tour because they had sour beers (!!) and the bartender was super helpful in giving us tips for the rest of our tour! She came by our table, highlighted the stops to go and which ones we could likely skip (we had over 10 breweries on our list and only about 4 hours to accomplish our tour). As a big fan of sour beers, I would highly recommend Strange Fellows. Part of their brewery is also a small art gallery featuring a local artist.

Strange Fellows Brewing

2nd stop, Luppolo Brewing. Luppolo is Italian for hops, and their beer definitely lived up to its name. The beer was very hoppy and complex. If you’re into hops, this is definitely the stop for you. Tip for next time: place Luppolo towards the end of a brew tour, not at the beginning. I left slightly buzzed and was grateful for the walk to the next stop (thankfully, all of the breweries on our list were within walking distance from each other).

Luppolo Brewing

Callister Brewing is Canada’s first collaborative brewery. They pride themselves on being a craft brewery incubator where they feature and rotate taps of independent breweries. Callister had a vibe of innovation. With four breweries featured, there were so many brews to choose from! Also, great art work for sale on the walls.

Callister Brewing Co.

Next up, Doan’s Craft Brewing. A tiny space but what they lacked in size, they made up for in the depth and flavor of their beer. Their Rye Stout and Rye IPA – WOW. Even if you are not a fan of Rye beer, this place might convince you otherwise. Super solid stout and IPA. This place also had board games, which gives them even more brownie points.

Doan’s Craft Brewing Co.

Our last stop was highly anticipated since 2 of the breweries we visited that day both recommended Storm Brewing. Storm Brewing is Vancouver’s oldest independent brewery. How to describe Storm……..amazing. Storm is by far our favorite brewery we have ever been to, ever.

We had a hard time finding it at first because, like all of the other breweries, it was in a nondescript building. I finally noticed a hand written sign that said “Storm Brewing” followed by a hand written yelp review – “So sketchy, but GREAT BEER!” (which is the most accurate description of Storm – I can see why they chose to include this yelp review on their handwritten sign).

Once you find the building, you walk around to the rear entrance where you slide open an industrial sized door and immediately walk into what looks like your friend-who-makes-home-brews’ basement. No tables, no chairs, and definitely no decor – except for plastic rats everywhere.

You walk up to the brewers who hand you a plastic cup. The sign by their taps read “NO pints and flights, 6 samples per person, cash contribution in tip jar, one sample at a time, hold onto your cup, no repeats.” Um…AWESOME.

Armed with our plastic cup, we each tried 6 samples of their incredible beer. From their vanilla whiskey stout, to their rose IPA, to their apple pie ale (which tasted exactly like apple pie), to their blood orange creamsicle ale (which also tasted exactly like a blood orange creamsicle) to their imperial sour, we were blown away. Definitely some of the best – and unique – beer we have ever tasted. When we were done, we threw our cups into a large recycling bin, put our cash contribution in the tip jar, and left. No prices, no frills, and the best damn beer and brewery experience you will ever have. 10 points to Canada.

Storm Brewing

We couldn’t have planned our brew tour more perfectly. We started with good and ended with GREAT. Our next stop was a board game bar I found online. Storm Crow Tavern is every gamer’s must. Gaming was the focus from the decor to the server’s outfits to the menu. Eric rolled a D&D dice to determine his drink (very fun!), and we stayed long enough to play a game of cribbage. Storm Crow offers over 50 games. I wish we could have stayed longer, but we needed to rush to make happy hour at Rodney’s Oyster House. HH oysters are $1.50 and come with a tray of 6 different sauces.

Upon arriving, (35 minutes before their happy hour was over), we were told it would be at least a 45 minute wait. I was crushed. I wanted so bad to slurp back some $1.50 oysters. Eric, seeing how bummed I was, worked his charm and within 20 minutes, we were seated at a table! We quickly ordered two dozen of the HH oysters, the mussels, and fried oysters. The oysters, with raw horseradish (YUM), were sweet and delicious on their own but the sauces were fun to try and added even more flavor to the oysters. The mussels and fried oysters were equally delicious. The whole meal, including incredible service, was a perfect way to end the night of our first day in Vancouver.

Rodney’s Oyster House Happy Hour Oysters

Day 2 was dedicated to the views. We woke up early, hit the Sea to Sky Highway for incredible and mesmerizing scenic views of the Pacific Northwest. We stopped at Wycliff Park for some beach views. Wycliff Park is a gem. If I lived in Vancouver, I would come here as much as I possibly could!

We then took the Sea to Sky Gondola to bask in the views of the Howe Sound. The gondola ride in itself was amazing. Once at the top, we were greeted with beautiful snow capped mountains, tall trees, and a beautiful suspension bridge. We were one of the first people there so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Our boots were the first to touch the snow in many places. It was wonderful. We hiked the trails on top of the mountain and visited each lookout point. After our hike, we enjoyed a game of cribbage before we left. 🙂

Sea to Sky Gondola

On our way home, we re-visited Shannon Falls and the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. We visited these two places in our brief trip to Vancouver B.C. back in 2013. It was cool to come back 🙂

The beauty of this region is undeniable. “Beautiful British Columbia” indeed. It was a wet, cloudy, and foggy day – my favorite. I got to experience the sea, a beach, two suspension bridges, a mountain, a couple of forests, rain, snow, clouds, fog, and a waterfall. ❤

After taking in the views, we ended the second day with another brew tour 😛

First stop, 33 Acres Brewing. 33 Acres is a combo brewery and coffee bar. So naturally, the recommendation here would be their coffee stout 🙂

33 Acres Brewing

Next stop, Main Street Brewing. A long list of selections for both food and beer but ultimately the food and beer was just average. Not one I would highly recommend. I would highly recommend the company though :).

Main Street Brewing

Third stop, Brassneck Brewing. This place was cool and had quality beers. Tons of people crammed into a long and narrow space. We were lucky to find spots. My favorite was the “Mr. Personality,” a “poundable” amber. Also bonus, Brassneck is right next to Cartems Donuterie in case you want to stop for a delicious donut.

Brassneck Brewing

Fourth stop, R&B Brewing. Cool tunes and brews. They had a sour collab with Doan’s that topped my list. Their ESB also very solid.


Last stop, Faculty Brewing Co. This place was started by two faculty members so naturally I had to check it out. The beers are named as course numbers depending on their complexity (from 101 to 500-course level beers). Faculty Brewing opened in 2016, and I think they still have some work to do. The beers are so-so, but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt since they are new and probably still figuring it out. I’d be willing to give this place a second chance and come back when they’ve hopefully developed better (and more) brews. C+

Faculty Brewing Co.

10 breweries in 48 hours! My observations about Vancouver’s craft brewery scene:

  • always hidden in a nondescript building (why?) in an unexpected part of town
  • each brewery is uniquely decorated and lots of them feature local art work
  • overall very solid beers with a nice selection from ales to ambers to IPAs to stouts
  • all of them were sufficiently busy to packed so the word is definitely out…Vancouver breweries are on. the. map. So, support your local independent brewers!

We ended the trip with dinner at Pizzeria Ludica in Chinatown. Yes, I know. Why a pizza place in chinatown? Because they have board games (of course)! This place is awesome. They have a wall of board games to choose from, and you can spend up to 2 hours after your meal playing games with your friends. They even have a game master on hand to recommend new games to you based on the types of games you like to play, the mood you are in, or your skill level. It was a board game nerd’s (me) dream.

Next time I come to Vancouver, my entire agenda will be eating all of the delicious asian food and other ethnic cuisines Vancouver has to offer. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time on this trip. Also, the number of Asian people I saw during this trip was a breath of fresh air – definitely a change of scene from Portland.

With everything going on in America right now, it was nice to get out of the country, even if only for the weekend and even if only across the border to Canada. I was also reminded as I crossed the border of my privilege as a U.S. citizen and of the ease of travel a U.S. passport gives me and millions of Americans. I wish this were the case for everyone right now. I am so lucky to have been able to return to this place that I visited with Eric right when we moved to Portland in 2013. Until next time. 🙂

On Lynn Canyon Bridge in February 2017 / July 2013


Looking Back on 2015…And Forward to 2016

25 Pictures to Capture My 2015 Year in Review.

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I am grateful for all of the family and friends that shared 2015 with me. My theme for 2015 was to do what keeps my heart beating and my soul singing. In 2014, my theme was wellness – taking care of my mind, body, and spirit. In 2014, I was mindful of both my physical and mental wellbeing. In 2015, I expanded on this to also ask, what feeds my soul? My 2015 was spent on time with family and friends, hiking, exploring the pacific northwest, taking the next step in my career, getting more involved in my professional organizations, live music, dancing, runs and races, trips, staycations, vacations, dates, and domestic travel – a lot of domestic travel.

As I look forward to and think about my 2016 intentions, I’ve chosen the following mantras to guide me.

6 Mantras for 2016

I choose to welcome abundance in my life.

I am stronger than I was yesterday.

to hate / is an easy, lazy thing / but to love / takes strength / everyone has / but not all are / willing to practice – rupi kaur

People are doing the best they can from their own level of consciousness. – Deepak Chopra

Loving myself is a revolutionary act.

The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately. Stay humble. Hustle hard.

In my next post, I’ll share what my 2016 theme is and how it relates to some of my intentions and resolutions for the new year. Share with me your highlights from 2015 and what you are looking forward to in 2016 at @jessikachi!

These are Revealing Times: My Response to Friends’ Racist Reactions to Ferguson


These are revealing times.

On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown, an unarmed Black man with his hands in the air, was shot to death by a White police officer, Darren Wilson. His uncovered body was left on the street for 4.5 hours as a symbol to the community who really has power and how little Black lives matter. This message was further cemented three months later with the lack of indictment of officer Darren Wilson – no accountability. No consequences. The resulting protests and civil unrest are trying to shed light on the actual issue: how deeply systemic racism is in our country. Yet, we can’t even really talk about it because so much energy is used to countering points meant to cast doubt, realigning derailed conversations, and refocusing every attempt to distract attention to the problem that everyone doesn’t want to talk about.

Why is it so hard for us to accept that the killing of an unarmed person is wrong? And that there needs to be accountability? Our inability to accept, understand, and talk about racism is the problem. The conversations I’ve seen online, heard, and/or been a part of have revealed to me the people in my life who are quick to denounce or devalue issues of race in this country. As I’m struggling to process this, I am again reminded just how deeply rooted, systemic, and pervasive racism is in our country.

Here’s what racism allows us to do:  Continue reading “These are Revealing Times: My Response to Friends’ Racist Reactions to Ferguson”

#SAFailsForward – From a Multicultural Affairs Perspective


As many people have pointed out in the #SAFailsForward initiative, we need to reframe our concept of failure. It’s OK to fail. Truly. It’s through failing that we learn, grow, and develop. Yet, the fear of failure continues to hold people back. One area in which I see this consistently is the lack of engagement with diversity and cultural competency education – because people fear that they have or will “fail” in these conversations.

Working in multicultural affairs, I see time and time again a hesitancy to engage in the dialogue because people are too afraid of doing and/or saying the “wrong” things. I often hear “I don’t know what to say” or “I don’t want to make a mistake.” It’s OK to make mistakes! It’s OK to “fail.” It’s actually part of the process. We all make mistakes – I know I do! We all sometimes do and say the wrong things, even diversity and social justice educators. We are in the profession of education because at our core, we are life-long learners and we value learning. So, we shouldn’t hide, duck, ignore, or brush off these opportunities to learn. We need to take RISKS and ENGAGE in the conversation because to not engage in diversity and cultural competency education is not an option. If we are afraid to fail, we will keep failing forever.

For those who are afraid to fail in this area:

1) Have confidence in your ability to engage in cultural conversations. Identity and culture play a critical role in the work that we do with students. We all have intersecting identities – so let’s talk about them! Speak from your experience and tell your truths and be willing to listen, understand, and learn from the experiences of others. What’s there to be afraid of? You can’t fail at BEING YOU.

2) It’s a process – give yourself, and others, grace. I meant it when I said that failure is part of the process, and the process is all that matters. There aren’t any “right” outcomes or answers. So know that we are all learning together and committed to supporting each other through this journey.

3) Cultural competency doesn’t just build overnight. You don’t get competent by just attending one training so continue to engage in on-going opportunities. Your competency, confidence, and capacity will continue to build up over time.

And a couple thoughts for my fellow diversity and social justice educators that encounter this issue:

1) Part of the reason why people are afraid to say or do the “wrong” thing is because some people approach this work by policing others and letting them know what they just said or did was offensive without explaining why. If you approach this work from an elitist or expert model, it will shut people down and make them not want to even engage in the conversation. This work is not about policing people’s actions or words; instead, it’s about getting people to understand the issues and how they can be a part of the change.

2) Invite everyone to the conversation. Sometimes we don’t know who our allies will be or sometimes we’ve already made up our minds on who is or isn’t an ally. Don’t assume and pre-judge people – risk asking. You never know. Your invite can go a long way in making those who might hesitate out of fear of failing feel included and valued in the conversation.

3) Engage with all students about issues of diversity. As Gwen Dungy said at the NASPA Multicultural Institute, “we are failing our students, all of our students, if we are just letting students of Color hide out in multicultural affairs offices.” Lee Mun Wah also emphasizes that we are failing our White students when we only focus our efforts on our students of Color without educating all students about issues of diversity and social justice. Everyone should have the opportunity to build their cultural competency.

4) Continue to share with others moments where you have “failed.” Part of the beauty of #SAFailsForward is to show that we all at some point have “failed” and it’s how we bounce back and learn from that experience that matters. This is especially true in diversity education work. It puts people at ease if you are willing to be vulnerable too and share moments where you’ve said or done the wrong things and how you responded to those situations.

People might say it’s uncomfortable to talk about issues like racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc. on campus. Well, I say, it’s more uncomfortable to live with it and have it go unaddressed. We must keep moving forward in the areas of social justice. We must keep failing forward – don’t let the fear of failure paralyze us. Who’s in?

Connect with me and share your thoughts @jessikachi

I’m a Professional Badass & Professional Down Time Taker


As the academic year is wrapping up and we are in the throws of what student affairs professionals know to be as “April,” it’s hard to find any down time. Yes, work-life balance or rhythm or whatever you want to call it is a larger issue within our profession. We can recognize it, discuss it, or even complain about it all we want but until we seriously start putting structures into place that supports balance, we will always continue to struggle with this.

Recently, I attended the Oregon Women in Higher Education conference and in the WISE WOMEN panel, Robin H. Holmes, Vice President at the University of Oregon talked about being a professional badass and a professional down time taker. There is nothing wrong with being great at your job or putting your 110% into your work – if it’s not also at the expense of your wellness.

We have such a hard time rewarding ourselves or even allowing ourselves to take some down time. Even when we aren’t at work, we are thinking about work. It’s understandable why – we care about our students and our students don’t just need us 9 to 5. And during “peak” times (see: April, October) when responsibilities start to pile up, it’s hard to find down time. Therefore, I strongly believe that we need to create structures and habits that allow us to be both a professional badass and a professional down time taker.

I’ll admit, I kick ass at my job. It’s easy to be a professional badass when I love what I do, I believe in what I do, and I do it well. I am also surrounded by professional badasses who care about supporting student development and who still find time to create initiatives that leave a positive impact on the field of student affairs and higher education. It’s through the support of these professional badasses that I am also a professional down time taker. I have no problem taking time for myself and practicing habits that keep me balanced and well. In reflecting on how I’ve been able to manage this, I’ve come up with…

A Quick Guide to being a Professional Badass and Professional Down Time Taker

1. Be productive, not “busy.” Everyone is busy and being busy doesn’t always mean you are productive. As long as you are productive, it doesn’t matter how much time you put into it. Stop glorifying busy and reward productivity instead.

2. Give yourself and others grace. Don’t feel guilty for taking down time and don’t judge others for taking some too. It’s easy to compare your schedule to others and feel like you have to keep up or feel like you are doing “more” than everyone else – recognize that everyone’s schedules are different, and that’s OK. Burn out affects your personal wellness and your job efficacy. Don’t let the fear of others judging you for taking some personal time stop you from doing what it takes to keep you well. Conversely, don’t judge others for taking some time – we all know what a pain it is to work with someone who is burned out!

3. Add in breaks to your schedule. This is an easy structural fix. Even if the breaks are short (getting up and walking around, grabbing a snack, or a quick stretch), it’ll give you some time to breathe and step away from work related stress. Laughing helps too so chat up somebody on your way to the water fountain or read a funny buzzfeed article to get your mind off of work for a second. The work will always be there – it’s OK to step away (physically and emotionally) from it for a few minutes.

4. Create or rethink daily habits that can contribute to your wellness. An hour workout, a 30 minute run, reading for 15 minutes before going to bed, a 20 minute shower, a monthly mani-pedi, a weekly t.v. show…those are all times that can count as down time! Use it!

5. Make time for your important relationships. Invest in the people you love and care about just as much as you invest in your students. Don’t let work take away from the valuable time you could be spending with the important people in your life. These relationships will help keep you balanced because they’ll remind you that there are some things more important than work…and that is the people in your life.

Ultimately, we have to be good role models. We expect students to achieve and perform at a high level and we expect them to be balanced and stay well. We have to be willing to do that too. So, I am a Professional Badass and a Professional Down Time Taker. Are you??

Follow me at @jessikachi