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Summer Trends

by Laura Crawford of PrettyPetunias.com

There is some serious splendour in having two little girls and embracing the ease that is summertime style! It is definitely a favourite around here with those darling freckles and windblown blonde locks glistening in the summer sun – but also because it’s hands down the easiest. It doesn’t get much simpler than a sundress and sandals, but not only that, summertime style can be really fun. So here are some of our top summer style options.

Sundresses and sandals are definitely our go to. Throw in a pair of sunglasses and a sunhat and you are out the door in no time. Especially now that the girls have reached an age where they can bring along a little bag of their own for their glasses and snacks (insert mom’s happy dance – and return to the stylish purse here)!! Of course shorts with classic prints or simple denim cutoffs are also a simple win. Nothing too short, because kids need to run and play and sometimes tackle a warm slide on a summer’s day. However we are definitely not above a ruffle or two and even a tasteful bow or fun pattern. The details are what fancy an outfit up!

Few things have the ability to say summer and effortless beauty quite like white. A beautiful white sundress or eyelet top, is hard to beat. A special occasion often finds the girls in white, each with differing details and styles. Our annual photo of the two sisters in a local beach cove, has had them always wearing white, with an ocean backdrop. I am also easily swayed by a classic, retro print like a gingham or seersucker, a polka dot or even a stripe. Black and white or navy and white. These combinations don’t seem to go out of style, there are variations each season and I find myself generally quite drawn to each version. Either nautical in nature or more Parisian in inspiration.

I like a sandal or shoe in an eye catching colour or with an unexpected detail. My favourite is taking an everyday item, but finding it with a little extra pizazz. You have to wear shoes (at least most of the time) so why not have a bit of fun with it?!

Have you tried jelly sandals?! Jellies are the gumboots of summer. As in they are easy to slip on and are waterproof which – when you live this close to the pacific ocean and in a rain forest – counts for something. And they come in a crazy assortment of cute styles and reasonable prices (and don’t pose the same tripping hazards as flip flops). This year there is the adorable style of the flowing culottes, that is stylish and yet surprisingly comfortable and cool and will take you easily from spring into summer.

A messy bun or floppy hat are your best friends in the summer. Scrunchies are back – like it or not – and they are great for young girls (less pinch factor and make sweeping curls into a messy buns or long locks into a high pony on top of the head a breeze). Bright colours. Embrace whatever your child’s favourite pattern or colour is (and save your energy for somewhere else). Find common ground. My youngest wants pineapple everything and there are so many cute and bright prints to be found!! For a great transitional piece, it’s amazing how versatile a little denim jacket (better with a little stretch) and cute buttons is! Throw on an airy, gauzy scarf and possibly even a Peggalish Beanie (our favourite lightweight, breathable cotton/bamboo hats) in a fun colour and you are good to go for cool evenings and seasonal transitions.

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Summer Dessert Spots in Vancouver

by Annette Cheung

I’ve always had quite the sweet tooth since I was a child, so it would not be a surprise that desserts have always been my favorite part of a meal. When we are at restaurants, I’m always eyeing their dessert menu before looking at the actual appetizers or main course. With Vancouver having evolved into a foodie heaven in the last few years, it’s great to know that new desserts spots have started to pop up throughout the city as well. Whether you love ice-cream, donuts, macarons or other sweets, Vancouver will probably have it and so I am excited to share some of our family favorite summer dessert spots in the city!

  • La Glace
    When you first step into La Glace, you will be reminded of a Parisian ice-cream shop. The decor is gorgeous and they serve French style ice-cream, freshly made pastries, coffee and tea. Their upcoming summer menu will include Key Lime Parfait, Avocado Toast, Kids Parfait and Macaron Ice-cream Sandwiches. The macarons ice-cream sandwiches are the perfect size if you are craving a little something sweet! Our little ones loved their macarons ice-cream sandwich and devoured it within seconds! La Glace has become one of our go-to family ice-cream spots.

  • Lee’s Donuts
    There are a lot of great donut shops in town, but Lee’s Donuts is still one of my favorite shops. I love walking around Granville Island with the family on a summer’s day and stopping by Lee’s window to watch them make donuts! When we do catch them making donuts, we will rush inside and order one of their freshly made batches. If we’re lucky, they’ll have just made their honey dip donuts – one of their signature donuts. We usually order half a dozen to bring outside so we can enjoy them at the benches while we watch the entertainers under the warm sun. The donuts truly melt in your mouth!

 

  • Passion 8 Café
    If you have a craving for a cold icy dessert, Passion 8 Café offers a variety of snow mountain combinations. Their snow mountain is made of 100% shaved milk, so it’s light and creamy. My kids’ favorite is their Mr. Choco Brown, which is homemade brownie and chocolate flake, with chocolate flavor ice-cream on snow mountain. It’s definitely perfect for the chocolate lover! Other great things to try are their special toasts topped with different flavors and their list of creative drinks.

 

  • Beta5 Chocolates & Cream Puffs
    Beta 5 has a little of everything for everyone. Their chocolates are amazing and the flavors and presentations are very creative. Beta 5’s cream puffs are exceptional as well and they always bring out seasonal flavors. In May, they will be introducing their ice cream sandwiches and ice cream by the scoop. Each weekend will feature a new ice cream sundae flavor with two delicious scoops of their house made ice cream, garnished with a variety of toppings.

  • Dragon Ball Tea House
    Summer would not be the same without bringing the kids for bubble tea. I have been going to Dragon Ball Tea House since I was in University, so it has been many years and the quality of their bubble tea has not changed. When you order their black tea or green tea, you can taste the tea with the accompanied flavor unlike other bubble tea house. One of our favorites is their Lychee Green Tea as it comes with pieces of lychee. Their mango milk tea slush is also another family favorite. They are a must try for bubble tea lovers.

 

  • Laduree
    All the way from Paris, Laduree has set the bar high for macarons. They have become one of our favorite spots to pick up a few macarons as treats for the little ones. The macarons are quite delicate with a crisp outer layer. The macaron is usually filled with ganache or jam and we actually found them not as sweet as other places. Laduree is a gorgeous venue that reminds you of Paris. I’m happy to have a little Paris in Vancouver. There are so many great dessert spots in Vancouver, but these are just some of my favorites. It was really difficult to narrow down this list as there are so many amazing dessert places I love to go to with my family. Hopefully you’ll also love these places as much as we do.
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Summer Party

HOSTING A SUMMER BIRTHDAY SOIREE

By Jessica Wright, Photography by Sweet Dreams Studio

Summer can be one of the best seasons to throw a memorable and fun birthday party for your little one. We recently celebrated my daughter turning four with an “Oh La Llama” celebration. It had all the vibes to inspire a summer gathering and with it, I will share some tips for throwing a successful bash as things start to warm up outside.

Pick A Theme

For some, selecting a theme can be one of the best parts of party planning. Whether it be unicorns or pirates or maybe even simply your child’s favourite colour, remember you don’t have to go over the top in ensuring the theme is represented in every party aspect. Rather a couple subtle and simple elements can go a long way. For example, I often choose plain serving ware with white tablecloths, then add themed napkins and tablescapes into the mix.

There are many easy DIYs that can take your party to the next level. Take my mini jars filled with artificial succulents and “sand”. Or rather brown sugar…the perfect sand alternative. Similarly, effective decorative aspects can be made using simple materials from the dollar store. I created a “fringe” backdrop by cutting folded tissue paper and strung pastels balloons together with clear wire to create a photo wall backdrop.

Finally, ditch the goody bag and send partygoers home with something they may actually use. How cute are the personalized accessories from Plum Polka Dot? These can be used as either bracelets or hairs ties and are sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike, while also matching your theme.

Choose Location & Activity

Since many Vancouverites live in small spaces, hosting a number of kids at one’s home just isn’t possible. While summer provides the perfect opportunity to host an outdoor park or beach birthday, our unpredictable weather can deter one from choosing that option. That being said, there are a number of unique local alternatives that young attendees will sure enjoy.

Some of my favourite venues include Maplewood Farm, Bittersweet Kitchen and the Vancouver Performing Stars studio, where we held my daughters last party. Whether your child is an animal lover, a future baker or a dance addict, each one provides a fun activity and great party space.

Keep the Spread Simple

Let’s be honest, kids are all about the cupcakes and birthday cake when they show up to a party. So don’t stress out on what food should be served. Keep it straightforward, with an array of fruits, veggies and a few salty options. These can pair well with mini croissants or a selection of kid friendly sandwiches. Of course, barbequed meat or pulled pork sandwiches are a great option come summer, depending on the party’s location.

Sweets, Sweets and More Sweets 

We all know it is the delicious sweet treats that make birthdays so special. Dessert tables and candy bars continue to be on trend for kid’s parties. Mini confections are displayed so guests can sample an array of goodies. In many cases, treats can match the theme and are best done in neutral tones, such as creams or pastels.

Keep in mind anything on a stick is always a hit. Whether it is chocolate dipped marshmallows, fruit kabobs or sugar cookies baked on a stick, kids are drawn to anything that they can hold and easily enjoy. How cute did the cactus cookies from my daughter’s party turn out? Let’s just say they did not last for long!

So if you are hosting a birthday, a barbeque or pool party this summer, keep in mind, the best ones are those with celebrated with friends and family. Though a few of these party elements are sure to be enjoyed!


About Jessica

Jessica is an educator and mother of two living in Vancouver who shares her life and passions on her blog “This Sweet Happy Life”. She started blogging to focus on what brings her true joy, which is her family, celebrating occasions, decorating spaces and educating not only kids, but, parents alike.

Instagram: @thissweethappylife

Website: http://thissweethappylife.com

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Father’s Day DIY Gift Idea

Father’s Day is coming and here’s a great DIY gift idea for all the fathers out in the world: make your Dad a special, personalized Gummy “Beer”!

How to make it:

  1. Print the label from the below
  2. Find an empty beer bottle and rinse and dry it (or substitute with any soda bottle)
  3. Fill the bottle with his favorite treats
  4. Cut a label from below and apply glue to the back
  5. Cover the bottle label with the fun Father’s Day label
  6. Wait for Dad’s smile and give him a big hug!

Your DIY Father’s Day gift is done!

Download the PDF below for the bottle labels for the Father’s Day gift:

VKFW Father’s Day DIY Print