Surprise Engagement @ The German Christmas Markets

I was honored to be asked to do some papparazzi style photos for a secret surprise engagement session. Here’s what the lucky bride to be Josette, had to say:

Thursday, December 5th, 2013…

Jenice Yu and I had plans to go out to one of her “Jenice Yu” fancy dinners. 10 courses with wine. Dress pretty she says. Free food?! Awesome. I’m there. We planned for her to come by at 6:30pm. At 6:20pm she cancels saying there’s an emergency at her store. Jenice’s performance was EXCELLENT might I add, ” I’m at Knight and King Ed now, but I have to turn around! An employee cut her hand!! It’s pretty bad.” Meanwhile, she was at home the whole time.

So here I am, dressed all pretty with nowhere to go. Fane C-Bear says “Hey, I have these 2 free tickets to the Vancouver Christmas Market. James Kot gave them to me at work today. Want to check it out?” I’m putting sweatpants on and cranky that I’m not getting my free 10 courses with wine. “Nah, it’s too cold. Let’s stay in. And I don’t really like Christmas markets anyway…” Poor Fane.

Ric Lee and Hennisea text me “You guys up to anything? We’re going to the Christmas Market if you’re around”. Weirdest thing, Ric and Hennsiea had NO IDEA what Fane’s plans were. It was a perfectly timed coincidence that they text us about going to the Christmas Market. Because I wanted to see Ric and Hennisea – not because I wanted to go with Fane – we (finally) end up going to the Christmas market!

Off we go to the Christmas Market. Fane is still wearing a tie from work. He tries to get me to stay in my pretty dress, but I insist that sweatpants, 2 layers of sweaters, and a toque would be a better outfit for the outdoor Christmas Market. (My punishment for being so stubborn is being photographed in that dorky toque.) I’m also wearing Jenice’s coat that I was supposed to return to her that day.

We get to the Christmas Market and of course the first thing I want is food. Fane and I share a quick bowl of soup and a soft pretzel. It’s no 10 course meal with wine, but I’m satisfied. Fane is texting away. Turns out that he was texting the photographer, “Sorry, we’re running late. She’s hungry…”

Around 4 years ago, Fane and I really got to know each other while doing a sketch comedy show. I’ve seen him before at several film & tv auditions for “Asian People” (Yes, that’s a thing). I always thought he was a good looking guy, but I assumed he was too good looking to be interesting. It was through this sketch comedy show – “The Darin Joes” – that I saw what was inside. I realized how funny, and silly and nerdy he actually was. And warm and loving and generous and yes…still ridiculously good looking.

The little theatre where we first performed sketch comedy together is no longer a theatre, but now a shop for handmade Christmas ornaments…a part of the Christmas Market! The shop was beautifully decorated with lights and bright vibrant colours from all the ornaments. We walked around with Ric and Hennisea, however they started to walk faster than us. I just assumed it was because Hennisea is a marathon runner? I dunno. This gave me and Fane a chance to snuggle and sneak some kisses. Fane was being extra cuddly that night, little did I know it was because he had a photographer following us around the whole time!

We get to a corner of the theatre/shop and he tells me to look at a specific ornament. “I might get that one for my mom. Look closer!” So I do. When I turn back around he’s on the ground holding something red. “Oh no. Did you drop a Christmas ornament?” I thought. He opens the red box. It’s a ring. Then I see his face. Everything else was a blur. Apparently there were flashes from cameras going off and people cheering. I didn’t notice any of that. It was just me and my fiance.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in this perfect and magical evening.

So yeah….Christmas Markets aren’t so bad after all. We’re making it a tradition to go back every year.


Christmas @ Billabong Lodge

:: Christmas With The Tavakoli’s

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This year is our second Christmas in Canada since moving here and this year we were invited to spend it with the Tavakoli family. They had their cousin Louisa visiting from Washington with her husband Jalil and Ata had cooked up an amazing double roast spread with baked veggies. Maria had come up with an idea of doing a secret Santa, only we had a slight technical hitch with the system. There was only the four of us participating and the rules were you can’t pick your spouse or yourself. This proved harder than expected because after 5 rounds of picking and redrawing, we still weren’t able to come up with a proper result. In hindsight, we all realised that in order to play secret Santa you need way more people in order to actually have that element of surprise!



Another year, another adition to the clan… little Keanna the Banana was enjoying her very first Christmas. Donning her very new bear ear beanie she was looking especially cute…



After dinner, the festivities continued and we pulled out the Nintendo Wii and some people were taking it more seriously than others… who would’ve known a 4 year old could beat all these old skool cats…



All in all it was a great night surrounded by our surrogate family and friends… Merry Christmas everyone!

:: Christmas Eve Delight…

 So much for worrying about being lonely this Christmas as both of our families are in Australia and probably were having a shrimp on the barbie with nice cold aussie beers…

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Thanks to my dear friend Marina and her family for inviting us to their house on Christmas Eve. She came up to my cubicle one day at work “Hey Tash… what are you gonna do for xmas?” I was like… hmm dunno yet, well we don’t have anyone here so probably just stay at home. She said to me “you have to come over to our place on Christmas eve.. I’ll ask my parents but I’m sure they’ll be happy to have you over. Rodrigo and I were by ourselves last year and it sucked, I can’t let you experience that..!”. Bless her little heart… She’s a really sweet girl and oh how much am I going to miss her smile and our girly chats :)

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So we spent Christmas Eve with Marina and her family who are from Brazil, so not only did we learn a little bit about their culture but also got to experience the delicious food. They made this really yummy roast ham, rice with turkey and cheese, eggplants, and potato salads. We had loads of fun especially playing the Secret Santa game after dinner “with the slight twist”. Unlike the traditional Secret Santa rules, we were allowed to steal another person’s gift to put it in a nutshell. I think we laughed a little too hard when we saw the facial expression after a gift was stolen from someone… It was definitely the season to be jolly! :)

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Obrigado to the Silva family for being our surrogate family and for allowing us to celebrate Christmas in their tradition… The excitement was a little too much for some…


:: Ho Ho Ho the Mistletoe…


Season’s Greetings to all our friends and family including those back in Australia… while you guys are sweating your asses off in 38 degree heat we’ll be doing snow angels in 2 feet of snow…! We miss you all and would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and have a safe new year…

…you all better behave, otherwise you’ll be begging for presents from the jolly fat man…

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Lots of Love From…

:: Bright Nights in Stanley Park…

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On Friday night, Saj surprised me by taking me to “Bright Nights” in Stanley Park. It is basically a charity event that is funded by Vancouver Park Board and BC Fire Fighters to help the burn fund and the burn survivors with their families. More than a million beautiful twinkling colourful lights brighten up the forest in Stanley Park, the admission is by donation and there is also a train ride too. The waiting line was so long so we decided not to go on the train but to donate the money instead. There are a few windy pathways that you walk along through the forest and they have little houses on each side with their own themes; There was a gingerbread house, Disney house, Mr and Mrs Claus’s house, snowmen and candy canes were everywhere, accompanied by live Christmas music and of course the reindeer and the sleigh ride. The aromas of roasted chestnuts and organic popcorn were enticing and there were even farmyard houses too, in which you can pet the farm animals such as donkeys, cows, pigs, goats, bunnies and guinea pigs… That was just the icing on the cake! I petted this gigantic size bunny, about 3 times bigger than Jasmin, and he just sat there and enjoyed the attention from people… I think the donkey was tired of all the attention as he tried to chew his way out of his stable… :)

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I do realise that this may not be as exciting as it sounds for some people, but my husband knows how much I love Christmas and the whole thing that comes with it!… it definitely made my night twinkle.. It was a very simple gesture, and it didn’t have to involve a lot of $$$…

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…and although by the end of it we were frozen to the bone, knowing what’s underneath it all that made it so special… ~*