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.


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.

Groupons for Places Where Moms Can Relax on Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is just two weeks away! Take a day off and spend a little alone time or gather your girl friends for a long overdue day out. We listed down 5 groupons to help you enjoy your day without the guilt of splurging.

1. Shangri La Body Care

Shangri-La Body Care is currently offering a spa package (with up to C$324 value) in a hot deal of C$75. Perfect for moms looking for the relaxing full package that will not break the bank. The deal includes Hot-stone massage, Body-slimming wrap and a choice of one of their 15 facials or treatments. The caviar firming treatment is a good choice for those seeking an antidote to signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin; the vitamin C facial, meanwhile, helps make skin look luminous and benefits clients of all ages. Then there’s the purified seaweed facial, which draws out toxins, and the diamond microdermabrasion facial, which gently removes the topmost layer of skin, helping products better penetrate. These and more others to choose from!

2. Harbor Wellness Centre

Conveniently located in the heart of Gastown, Harbor Wellness Centre is currently offering C$65 90-Minute Relaxation Massages (originally costs C$135). During each massage, certified practitioners combine Swedish and deep-tissue massage to promote full-body relaxation. Swedish massage helps promote healing while targeting pain, injuries, stress and stiffness using gliding, kneading, tapping, friction and light shaking—designed to ease back pain and help relaxation, while deep tissue massage uses firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). It’s used for chronic aches and pain and contracted areas such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.

3. Selfology Spa

For moms who are looking for a way to take a day off from parenting duties with their partners or even a quite girl’s night to catch up with a girl friend, add Selfology Spa’s Couples 60-Minute Hot Stone Massage package to your itinerary. The C$189 package (valued C$520) includes a one-hour hot stone massage with aromatherapy and two of your choice from their add-ons (Seaflora Facial, Mud Detox for Back, Body Wrap, Eye and Lip Chamois Treatment Mask, Eyebrow Tint, Eyelash Tint, Eyebrow Wax or Lip Wax) for each person. If you’re looking for some alone time they also have this deal tailored for one person for only C$99!

4. Classic Cuts Hair Salon

If you’re looking to pamper and give your tresses some lovin’, Classic Cuts Hair Salon’s all in one treatment might be what you’re looking for. The package, originally valued at C$350, includes keratin treatment, wash, haircut, and style. The best part? It’s currently 53% off on Groupon – bringing down the total to C$165 for the entire treatment.

5.) Vinoscenti Vineyards

A wise woman once said “The secret to a stress-free life, is wine – lots of it” (sure i added the last part, but you get what i mean). This mother’s day, gather your mom squad and take the day off to enjoy the local wineries around BC. Vinoscento Vineyards is currently offering wine tour, tasting, and charcuterie for one, two, or four people. Sale prices starts at C$15 (yes you read that right).

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The Best Places to Get Pretzel in Vancouver

We’re making it easier for you to celebrate National Pretzel Day. Below are five of our favorite places to get pretzels from in Vancouver! Whether you’re looking for chocolate dipped, paired with sausage and beer or a pizza and pretzel hybrid, we got you.


1. Bestie

Not only known for their sausages, beer and currywurst (YUM). This German restaurant also boasts the holy grail of pretzels! Match it with their variety of soups or just plain beer.

Find them at: 105 E Pender St (btwn Columbia & Main), Vancouver, BC


Pizza Pretzel pretty please?! Yup, it’s happening! #alliteration

A post shared by Swiss Bakery (@swissbakeryyvr) on

2. Swiss Bakery

They have pizza pretzels. Do i need to say more?

Find them at: 143 East 3rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC


3. Tap & Barrel

Nothing is better than giant pretzels for brunch. Also a must try from their sides & share menu is their soft baked pretzel with warm beer and cheddar sauce, and phillips blue buck mustard.

Find them at: 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver, BC V5Y 0C2 // 


4. Deutsches Haus (Vancouver Alpen Club)

Serving some of the best German favorites (pretzels included of course), their pretzel appies are a crowd favorite. You can also pair it with the youzhe beer and sausages. Perfect for game night!

Find them at: 4875 Victoria Drive, Vancouver BC V5N 4P3


5. Purdy’s Chocolatier

Let’s face it, the list is not complete without anything covered with chocolate. Our favorite? Purdy’s dark chocolate covered pretzels!

Find them at: #D5 – 700 West Georgia Street Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1E7 // and other locations



BONUS: Justin’s

The best and our favorite pretzels to go! Justin’s pretzels dipped in the best things in the world (i’m looking at you almond butter) was probably the highlight of my fashion week. It was a pretty hectic week but somehow i was still able to manage to sneak in to backstage every once in a while for the “occasional” almond butter dipped goodness.


Cute and Casual: Japanese Brand Million Billion

KAORI YAMAGISHI is a Japanese-based fashion designer, born and raised in Yokohama, Japan. After graduating high school, she went on to study at Bunka Fashion College where she majored in Fashion Creation Technique.

Upon graduating, Kaori worked in the apparel industry where she honed her skills as a pattern maker. Continuing to work freelance, Kaori launched Patterns Well “Mammy Jewel Box” in 2006, acting as a designer and a pattern maker for ladies’ wear, kidswear, bags, etc.

Kaori is also active in Mook books, magazines and her translated books are on sale around the world. Her kids’ label was launched in 2017 . “Million billion” is a casual childrenswear line offering colourful and cute garments. The stylish and comfortable characteristics of the clothes is inspired by children’s movements.

Website: million-billion.ocnk.net
Instagram million__billion
Facebook: www.facebook.com/millionbillion1
Twitter: @millionbillion_
Blog: ameblo.jp/million-billion-kids


Spring Summer Kidswear Trend Report

Canadian spring may be a tad late this year — or every year for the matter, but let’s face it, that has never, and will never stop us. We’re officially bidding adieus to heavy weight and multiple layers of clothing as we usher in the season of shorts, dresses, swimsuits and sandals. Give your spring summer wardrobe a facelift with our hottest trend guideline below:

1.) Contemporary graphic prints
Abstract prints seen from last season’s runway toned down to its contemporary and more wearable version. The bold, nonpictorial combination of colors and patterns morphed into geometric prints that often resembles inspiration from dadaism and surrealism.

2.) Millenial Pink and Gen Z Yellow
The ages of Mean Girls , Think Pink and Clueless modernized into one generation. This season’s color trends which we coined Vintage Contemporary highlights a series of toned down shades of pink, yellow and orange. Initially seen in architecture and interior design trends in the past couple of years in which the fashion industry follows.

3.) Ruffles and Pleats
It’s not much of a surprise to see that ruffles and pleats are still on the hype, much like the previous season. Unlike other trends, these are here to stay. These classic details give clothing a timeless and sophisticated look. Ruffles and pleats are a designer’s favorites as they are versatile and can be used in infinite number of ways.

4.) Lightweight Natural Fabrics
Our skin, specially children’s, can only take so much fabric as the temperature goes up. Obviously heavy wool is not an option for a sunny day at the beach so opt for lighter and more breathable natural fabrics like cotton and linen — they’re comfortable, stylish and eco-friendly. It’s a win-win.

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Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

Takashi Murakami
Photo: Maria Ponce Berre, © MCA Chicago

The Vancouver Art Gallery has successfully launched its spring season with one of its most monumental exhibits to date. Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, opened for public view last February 3, 2018 and will run until May 6, 2018. The exhibit’s eventful opening, in time for his birthday, featured a media preview, a birthday bash for the artist and a Murakami-themed dinner hosted by Shangri-La’s Market by Jean Georges. Local and international medias along with patrons and followers of his work celebrated at the gallery with Murakami himself, and luckily, we were invited to join the momentous event.

Takashi Murakami is best known for his unconventional artistic style which he coined “superflat”. It is described as both the aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese artistic tradition and the nature of post-war Japanese culture and society. Aside from his influential works in fine arts media, the Japanese contemporary designer is also known in the fashion industry for his collaborations with international brands like Louis Vuitton, Vans, Shu Uemura, Issey Miyake, and most recently, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh and London’s Gagosian Gallery, as well as his collaborations with musicians like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. His involvement in other aspects of the creative industry also extends to animation, which is where his early career started.

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg featured over 55 artworks that highlighted the evolution of his works from the 1980’s to the present, including his recent large scale creations — a five-meter tall sculpture and two multi-panel paintings.

For Murakami, connecting with his audience and allowing his artwork to be accessible to the general public are integral aspects of what he stands for as an artist. Murakami has created a new major public art project featuring a skull surrounded by octopus tentacles which will cover the Gallery’s Georgia Street façade, extending the exhibition outside the traditional confines of the Gallery space. The exhibition opens with Murakami’s early paintings from the 1980s that synthesize traditional Nihonga-style painting techniques and formats with contemporary subject matter, and goes on to trace the artist’s shift in the 1990s toward a distinctive, anime-influenced style. From his signature animated flowers to the iconic character Mr. DOB, a mouse-like figure that serves as part ambassador and part self-portrait, the works in the show offer an in-depth look at Murakami’s unique Superflat universe. Additionally, the exhibition also features works from a recent body of paintings depicting groups of wizened Buddhist monks (Arhats), including the ten-panel 100 Arhats (2013), The Arhat works mark Murakami’s return to his training in traditional Japanese painting in order to find a response to the suffering caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan in 2011 that killed more than 15,000 people.

Needless to say, Murakami has already established himself and his company as an international household name both in Eastern and Western cultures, and has reshaped Japan’s contemporary art. Catch this and more of his incredible work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


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Winter Get Away: Where to Travel This Season

by Emma Tyrchniewicz

With the colder weather encroaching on Vancouver, now is the time to look for a winter vacation to get away from the rain and cold of the city.

Though this time of year sees a rise in popularity in tropical destinations, an untapped wealth of fun and adventure lies just across the Atlantic. Portugal is a rarely discussed European destination that is usually passed up for more popular locations like Italy, Spain, and France. Portugal, however, embodies the old world vibe of Europe without drawing in huge crowds, leaving its cities authentic and creating a lasting and real experience for travellers.

Start inland to experience the culture and history of the country in cities like Porto, where there is no shortage of public art, medieval architecture, colourful buildings, and incredible cuisine. Lisbon, its capital. is also a must-see. Softly playing music will lead you down its winding streets to cafes and restaurants with affordable and authentic food, while its museums are full of wonderful artwork and cultural artifacts.

If you’re looking for a beach vacation, you won’t have to go far, with cities like Ericeira and Algarve known for their scenic beaches, warm weather, trendy social scene, and delicious seafood. The best part of this undiscovered trove is that the prices don’t mimic the rest of Europe’s inflated rate. Since this destination is still relatively unknown you can travel the country for much cheaper than other countries in Europe, and fall/winter is the perfect time to travel, when the crowds of the summer are gone but the weather is still warm. Indulge your senses and your appetite this season with a trip to historic and beautiful Portugal!


7 Must-Haves Winter Workout Clothes

By: Reg Lok Von, Blogger at Valeio: Nourish Through Movement

Winter doesn’t mean you have to bundle up like Michelin Man on your run or hike – it just means we can go shopping for warmer workout wear! I have rounded up 8 pieces bound to keep you warm and chic on your outdoor adventures.


As the temperature drops, your body takes more time to warm up and stay warm. That racerback tank is no longer cutting it on those early morning runs. I like to layer a breathable long sleeve over my tank so I have the option to remove it and tie it around my waist when it gets hot.


October in Vancouver can get pretty cold and quick. Adding a thermal layer over your tech T or tank helps keep you warm. Some have a mock neck, which will also help retain body heat during breaks. My girls wear them during soccer practice and game days. Adding a vest or fleece zip up will also keep the core warm. Thumb holes also help to keep hands warm on those early morning runs when there is a bite in the air.

If you find it harder to keep your lower extremities warm, look for leggings that are made of a thicker material. There are also brushed leggings, which have an extra fleecy layer on the inside. They help retain body heat but still allow the sweat to dissipate.


As rainfall increases (and possibly snow), it is probably a good idea to invest in a good waterproof outer layer. Who wants to be cold AND wet after a sweaty bootcamp class or a long hike? Don’t forget a toque and gloves made from breathable materials.


I’m all about the layers. Although the outdoor workouts usually come to a halt this month, I still get that chill as the body cools. To avoid this, I layer! Following strength workout, I’ll throw on a thicker top with sleeves like a terry cloth crew neck. Who says you can’t look chic and stay dry in athletic wear?

To keep warm when you leave the gym, I like to throw on an insulated coat.


Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families

by Jean Lomas-Hamilton

Between work, school, daycare, sports, and whatever else you have going on, family life can be challenging to choreograph. As working parents with a toddler and now a newborn, meal planning has been our saving grace to ensure everyone is fed and happy in the small window between getting home and bedtime. Here are my top tips for coming up with a weekly meal plan that works for your family:

Plan your meals to fit your life, and not the other way around. When planning what to eat, consider what else you’re doing that week. For days when your schedule is packed, choose simple recipes that will come together quickly. Save more elaborate meals for less busy days, or plan to make some components in advance so you’ll have less to do at dinnertime.

Post your plan somewhere visible. The whiteboard on our fridge is my favourite kitchen acquisition of the past two years. I use it to map out all our meals and activities for the week, along with any advance prep needed (for example, a reminder to take chicken out of the freezer or mix long-rising dough a day in advance) and a grocery list. I also save everything into my phone for easy access from work, but the whiteboard has been a game changer since it decentralizes responsibility for the weekly schedule – so whoever gets home first can see the plan and get dinner started.

Plan a little every day. With two small kids, I rarely have time to sit down for long enough to dream up a week’s worth of meals all at once. Instead, I chip away at it daily, jotting down ideas as they come to me. That way when our grocery shopping day rolls around the plan is ready to go, without the need for extra “thinking” time.

Make extra portions. I often make a large batch of whatever we’re having so we can either take leftovers for work and daycare lunches, or freeze them for an easy dinner on nights when the plan goes off the rails. Comfort foods tend to freeze well, which makes fall and winter ideal times to do this – and with the busy holiday season approaching it’s always nice to have a few quick meals on hand (pro tip: freeze soup, chili, or curry lying flat in a Ziploc bag so it’ll defrost quickly when you need it).

Minimize waste and maximize your pantry. Some items are sold in larger quantities than we’d normally use in one recipe (looking at you, fresh parsley). In those cases I try to plan multiple meals with that ingredient to use it all up. Otherwise, I’ll either omit the ingredient entirely, or substitute something I already have on hand. I also keep a list of “to use” items on our whiteboard so I can incorporate older pantry goods in my planning.

Be flexible. I initially worried that meal planning would be too regimented for me – what if I worked late and didn’t have time to cook? What if we just didn’t feel like eating what was on the schedule for that night? But the beauty of planning your meals and shopping in advance is that you already have all the ingredients on hand to make last-minute changes without the hassle of heading to the store again. Just switch things around and have something you planned for another day – et voilà! Problem solved. For added flexibility, I try to plan at least one dinner that can easily be carried forward to the next week without the ingredients spoiling.

Learning how to meal plan effectively was definitely a process of trial and error for us, and while the fact that I’ve never met a list I didn’t like definitely helped, it still took some time to figure out what worked for our family. Meal planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour but the above guiding principles have helped keep our bellies full and our sanity (mostly) intact – and I hope they’ll do the same for you and yours.