Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Savvy Student | Aritzia Warehouse Sale Tips


Heya Dolls,

Savings, savings, savings! It is the big summer clear out at my all time favourite store - ARITZIA! I am excited to snag fabulous pieces at unbelievable prices, but before I hit their Annual Aritzia Warehouse Sale (Thursday September 1st till Monday September 5th), I make a plan to ensure I do not get too carried away at the register. 

We have all done it. Walked into a store and cannot help, but buy an item because the price is too good to be true. However, when you are at the warehouse sale, ALL the prices are too good to be true and you may just end up at the register with an armful of clothes that you actually do not need. 

Before I head out to any shopping excursion, I go through the following steps to ensure I leave with the best bargains and the items I truly need.  

1. Look in your closet and figure out what pieces you NEED as well as would like. 
2. Check out pricing online and figure out which store has the best price reduction. 
3. Make a list of the items you want before hitting the stores. I also write down the item number so if the store does not have it, the sales associates can order it in from another location for me!
4. Set a firm budget! Bring the exact amount in cash to reduce temptation of going over your budget.
5. Shop!

The sales can be so enticing and always test my will power, but I find if I go in with a solid plan and budget, it is easier to not buy for the sake of savings. Hopefully my strategy helps you with your shopping for deals!

Aritzia's Warehouse Sale is an entirely new playing field. For those of you who have attended, you know exactly what I am talking about. The entire lower level of the Vancouver Conventions Centre is taken over by Aritzia.... it is a HUGE SPACE! The line for the sale wraps around outside along the waterfront. If you go early in the mornings, expect to be waiting around 40 to 60 mins outdoors and probably another 45 mins indoors. Once you make it to the entrance of the sale itself, you will be asked to check in your handbags/purses/backpacks. Do not worry, they have a very good system and in all my years, they have not had any trouble finding my belongings. They will also return your purse before you head to the cashiers. 

Since you are shopping rows upon rows upon rows of discounted amazing spring summer pieces, here are some specific tips to mastering Aritzia's Annual Warehouse Sale.


  • Bring an empty large tote bag (if it is empty, you can bring it in) - you will be surprised how quick you will accumulate items you potentially may want to buy. Throw them in your bag and you will have both arms free to continue browsing the aisles. 
  • Really do go into Aritzia prior to and try on some of their clothes to find out your sizing. So you do not have to carry around multiple sizes to try on later!
  • There are no private changing rooms. There is an area curtained off, but it is still a communal changing room. As well, many times, girls will just start trying on clothes around the perimeter of the room. If you do not feel comfortable baring it all, I suggest wearing a tight tank and leggings so you can try on things over top. BTW it also gets very very warm in there!
  • Do not be afraid to do a round of the perimeter because a lot of the clothes that people decide to not take, end up in a giant pile that practically snakes around the entire room. You will probably find pieces that were brought out in the morning and therefore no longer found hanging on the racks. 
  • Clothing will be brought in throughout the days everyday. So items that were there on day 2 will not necessarily be found on day 1 and vice versa. It is not a bad idea to peak back in on a second day.
  • If you find a defect in an item (loose thread, missing button etc) or perhaps it is just dirty, do let the cashier know as they will reduce the price. 
  • It is a lot more fun to go with a friend so you can get their second opinion on items you are not too sure of. Also, they may just help you stick by your budget by letting you know that you do NOT need five more pairs of jeans!
Hopefully my little tips and tricks to making the most out of the Aritzia Waresale helps you all snag some amazing new pieces for your closet at unbelievable prices. Fall is approaching quick so I plan on picking up some basic Ts, joggers and sweaters. I will be sure to share with all of you the clothes I pick up from the sale because I plan on going tomorrow after work. 

BYEs

Local Love | Vancouver Mural Festival

Mural by Katie Maasik
Hey Dolls!

Over the past several months, Main street business exteriors have undergone a gorgeous makeover. The stunning original murals were undertaken by 39 local artists who were also joined by six international artists. Some of the artists I am already familiar with such as Ola Volo, but many of the artists are completely new to me, such as Ben Tour. 

On August 20th, Vancouver Mural Festival (supported by the City of Vancouver, Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area and the Burrard Arts Foundation) hosted several events and tours along Main st to celebrate urban art! Montreal has been hosting mural festivals since 2013, so it is very exciting to see Vancouver finally embracing public art mainly in the form of murals. It was a full day of festivities filled with performances, interactive demonstrations, exhibits, markets and much more. I am so happy to see Mayor Gregor Robertson has followed through on his promise of supporting public art by matching a $200,000 grant. I am a huge supporter of city APPROVED murals as I find a mural can really add some charm to an otherwise boring business district. No more boring concrete boxes!

Mural by Tim Mack
I have not had a chance to visit all of the 35+ murals, but of the ones that I have seen, they are stunning! No two murals are alike in style and each one depicts a different subject matter. Some are more abstract like the one completed by Scott Sueme who undertook the massive task of painting the entire front of Hootsuite's headquarters along 8th avenue, while other artists chose to pain more recognizable imagery. 

I highly recommend taking wonder along Main Street between 16th Avenue and Prior Street because the pictures really do not do justice to these murals. Some of the murals are so large that I honestly could not even fit the entire mural into one picture! If you want to see pictures of the other murals, Inside Vancouver put together a great photo essay of the majority of the murals completed for the festival. 

Of the ones I have seen, these are my favourites:

  • Christian Rebecchi + Pablo Togni - Polar bear in cola bottle | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Tim Mack - conductor and orchestra | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Katie Maasik - "everything matters. Nothing's important" | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Ilya Viryarachev - Giraffes with blossoms | 8th and Main Street

The murals that I hope to check out soon:

  • Ben Tour - 2 large geometic wolves | 49th Parallel 2902 Main Street
  • Mandy Tsung + Russel Alton - Portrait in pinks/purples | Maker Labs 780 East Cordova Street
  • Drew Young + Jay Senetchko - Portraits | Belvedere Court 2451 Main Street
  • Nick Gregson - Blue Peacock 

Vancouver is a great city; however, like every city, individuals will deface private property including the newly completed murals, with their own graffiti. As much as I want to think these murals will not be tagged over, the reality is, it will ultimately happen. I know for a fact that Ilya Viryarachev has had to touch up the giraffe and cherry blossom mural near 8th and Main street several times. These murals were commissioned by the business owners as well as approved by the City of Vancouver and if you see someone vandalizing this urban art, please let the authorities know! 

I would love to hear from you in the comments below which of the new murals are your favourite. As well, do you have any recommendations on murals I should check out within the lower mainland? 

BYES
Mural by Julia Iredale
Mural by Bobo




Mural by Kyle Scott
Mural by Christian Rebecchi + Pablo Tongi
Mural by Ola Volo

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Iced Delights | Beta 5 August 27th Corn + Blackberry Sundae

Beta 5 Ice Cream Social | August 27, 2016 Corn + Blackberry Sundae

Hey Dolls!


The first time I had corn ice cream, it was when I worked at Bella Gelateria. I actually helped my boss husk the corn and prepare it for the gelato. It was really delicious! I had a feeling Beta 5 would do their own take on corn ice cream as they have been very adventurous with their flavours this summer - guess my hunch was true! 

For this weekend's Ice Cream Social, Beta 5 served up a Corn + Blackberry Sundae. There was a scoop of "sweet jubilee" corn ice cream as well as a scoop of blackberry ripple. For garnishes, a couple of corn and blackberry jam sandwich cookies, corn flake granola, corn caramel, aerated caramelized white chocolate, corn flake chantilly and of course, some fresh blackberries! 


With a total of six different toppings, I would say I have never had a sundae with more. Since I love fresh fruit with my desserts, you can never go wrong with some fresh juicy blackberries. The granola really added some great crunchy texture to the primarily soft dessert. The corn and blackberry jam sandwich cookies were delicious. The jam was not too sweet and paired well with the shortbread corn cookies. The big brown chunks were the aerated caramelized white chocolate. It was actually soft like a dry doughy cookie. I expected it to be crunchy, but instead it crumbled in my mouth and almost melted. It was really good! The corn flake chantilly had good corn flavour and the corn caramel was delicious.



Out of the two ice crams, the blackberry swirl was my favourite since the tartness from the blackberries balanced the creamy sweet of the ice cream. The corn ice cream had really good fresh corn flavour, but as the ice cream started to melt, it really overpowered the entire sundae and all I could taste was corn. Also, I think Beta 5 should revisit their ice cream base recipe as I find it far too rich and creamy at times and sort of coats my mouth. Perhaps a lower percentage of fat in the milk they use would help! 

Overall, a spectacular sundae that really showcases Beta5's creativity with flavours. 

BYES

Monday, 22 August 2016

Iced Delights | Piña Colada Sundae from Beta 5

Beta 5 Ice Cream Social Pina Colada Sundae | Saturday August 20, 2016
Hey Dolls!

I am really excited to share this Beta 5 piña colada because not only was it really delicious, but I was also announced as the winner for Beta 5's weekly photo contest! Ah super duper flattered because I have been working very hard on improving my photography. 

The double scoop piña colada sundae had a scoop of coconut ice cream as well as a scoop of pineapple sorbet. For garnish, some fresh pineapple compote, tangy tropical fruit caramel, coconut chantilly and some piña colada macarons. 

Now you must be wondering, why are the piña colada macarons black in colour? The piña colada sundae gives a nod to their current The Livins Easy cream puff/eclair collection. Within the collection is a  piña colada cream puff. The pineapple curd is piped into a coconut ash choux pastry topped with some whipped coconut lime ganache. This cream puff really stands apart with its pitch black choux pastry from the use of coconut ash! Yup, charred coconut shell that is then ground into a powder gives the cream puffs as well as the macarons that ashy black colour. Coconut ash contains activated carbon and though not confirmed, the activated charcoal can act like a filter and has positive health benefits. I do need to give props to Beta5 for always being so creative with their pastry designs as well as flavour. The piña colada cream puff has created a huge buzz on social media with its intense black pastry shell. 

The coconut ice cream was smooth and had a fresh coconut flavour to it. I always appreciate Beta 5 using real ingredients in their confections since artificial flavouring can be overwhelming and never tastes like the real ingredient. The pineapple sorbet was a little icy; however, there was a heat wave in Vancouver this past Saturday so the the pineapply icy really helped keep cool me down! The macarons had a great chewy texture and a nice fruity pineapple flavour. I wish they had given us more of the tropical fruit caramel because after one bite, it was basically all gone. In place of their usual vanilla chantilly, Beta 5 went with a coconut chantilly which paired well with the tropical piña colada flavours. Since I LOVE fresh fruit, I am always happy when there is fruit compote in my sundaes; therefore, the pineapple compote was a big hit for me. 

The coolest part of the sundae though has got to be chocolate "coconut!" It was really detailed! The coconut chocolate was hollow, the shell made from two types of chocolate. The outer coating was milk chocolate while the inner coating was of white chocolate to mimick the white coconut flesh. The Beta5 time also took the time to make three little holes in the coconut as well as scratch the outside to make it look like the hairs on a coconut. 

I really cannot believe summer is coming to an end, which means Beta 5 ice cream socials will also come to a close soon. I am crossing my fingers for a coffee or mango themed sundae before the summer is up! Or what about blood orange, now that would be cool!

BYES

Friday, 19 August 2016

Local Love | Ola Volo's Mural along South Granville




Heya Dolls,

Summer is in full swing in Vancouver and everyone is taking advantage of the sun-filled days including the fabulous mural artists! As Vancouver continues to evolve as a city, I have noticed more and more street art (City Approved and Supported) popping up! I personally love the murals as they add charm and richness to our already stunning city! 

To kick off tomorrow's Vancouver Mural Festival, thought I would start sharing some of my favourite murals around Vancouver. Not only are these murals stunning to admire, but also make for the perfect photo backdrop. I am sure you have seen Ola Volo's mural along South Granville street in your instagram feed. 



Ola Volo recently completed this piece around 13th and South Granville in Vancouver on the side of the William Sanoma building. This is one of many murals Ola Volo has done around the Lower Mainland. Not all of Ola Volo's murals are accessible to the public as she has completed several commissioned murals inside private residences and office buildings. 

The Vancouver-based artist draws on folklore and multiculturalism in creating her large murals that are rich with symbolism and elaborate forms. Ola loves to use nature and as well as animals and people in portraying a diverse story. 

I love how Ola decided to keep her colour scheme simplistic for this mural by only using two shades of blue, black and an off white. As well as the interesting forms and shapes she used in creating the giant horse heads. Unlike a lot of mural painters, Ola rarely uses spray paint. She creates her bold imagery with paint brushes and stencils. 

The mural takes up the entire side of William-Sanoma's building and I actually could not really fit it into one picture. That is how big it is! I think this mural is also going to look really cool during the winter time when it snows because of the cool colour palette. 

Be sure to check out Ola's mural as well all the other murals by local artists around Vancouver. I am going to continue sharing some of my favourite murals and hopefully if I travel this year, some outdoor artwork in other cities! 

BYES

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Geek Latte | Dr. Seuss's Private Art Collection

Along the edges, you can see the notes Ted had made in regards to the colours
Hiya Dolls,

I was born in the early 90's and Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss was a big part of my childhood. I remember reading Cat and the Hat in elementary school and my mum reading Green Eggs and Ham to me. My parents were super cool and we actually have a large majority of the Dr. Seuss books. We have all come to recognize his iconic artwork and fall in love with his characters residing in Suessville. 


Oh boy is this picture crooked! I am short and the picture was hung above my head!

1957 was the year Dr. Seuss published two of his most beloved books: The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Both of these books have been adapted into feature film blockbusters. Random fact, the little girl in How the Grinch Stole Christmas was played by Tayler Momsen who also happened to play Jenny Humphrey in my favourite show Gossip Girl! As well, Jim Carrey playing the Grinch - he was a genius at it!



I got super lucky and was able to catch the final day of the Dr. Seuss's Secrets of the Deep Art Show. If I did not work downtown, I probably would have missed this amazing collection of work. Dr. Seuss had a unique style, in-between surrealism and child-like drawings, which is now simply recognized as "suessian." A career spanning 7 decades, Dr. Suess published forty-four children's books amongst 100s of editorials and cartoons. 


The free exhibition held in Vancouver's Pendulum building, spanned between July 11th and 30th featuring a glimpse into Dr. Seuss's private work of art. Ted called this collection "his Secret Art" as he wanted to keep it hidden from critics of the world and only be shown after his passing. The beloved writer passed away in 1991 and his dream of having his private art work displayed has come true! 



The coolest parts of the exhibition were probably Ted's own sketches and drawings of his published books. My favourite one has got to be the large Cat in The Hat drawing! I actually asked the curator how much the print is....$9000... YIKES! Now that is steep! However, the other art prints were far more reasonable generally under $1500, but I wanted the big Cat in the Hat print! Typical me, always gravitating towards the most expensive piece. Haha 

Everyone around me was smiling as they looked at the paintings because we all are familiar with Dr. Seuss and we able to understand and connect with the paintings. There was an excitement in the air and it was really cute that some parents brought their young ones to show them what they grew up reading. Generally when I visit an art gallery, it is very quiet and most people either have an expression of serious concentration or just plain boredom. I think it is because we are not able to connect with the works of Van Gogh or Picasso because  even though it is a priceless piece of art that is discussed in university lectures, the general public does not understand what all the fuss is about?!?! Haha I am not going to lie, I am definitely one of those individuals who rather be at the movies than be staring at some modern piece of art that is a giant red blob in the middle of white canvas because I just do not get it! 

I highly suggest finding out if this exhibition will be in your city because it is super cool! 

BYES

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Iced Delights | Honey Roasted and Plum Sundae

Honey Roasted and Plum Sundae | Beta5 Ice Cream Social August 6, 2016
Hey Dolls!

This weekend, Beta5 did a Honey Roasted and Plum Sundae for their ice cream social. It featured a scoop of burnt honey and vanilla ice cream, a scoop of Santa Rosa plum sorbet, topped with honey roasted shiro plums, elephant heart plum jelly filled doughnut holes, honeycomb crunch pieces and their signature vanilla chantilly!

I loved how the Beta 5 team decided to use three different varieties of plum in this sundae to really give it some more diverse flavours. The Santa Rosa plum sorbet was really tangy and quite an intense plum flavour compared to the roasted shiro plums which were very mild. The elephant heart plum jelly was a super bright deep red colour with a tangy sweet flavour. My favourite were the roasted shiro plums because they were so juicy and reminded me of pie haha!


The honey comb crunch was YUMMY!
The burnt honey and vanilla ice cream was a pleasant light flavour which helped offset the rich Santa Rosa plum sorbet. Especially since the sorbet was really tangy and definitely overpowered the sundae! But because I love refreshing fruity tangy flavours, I could have had another bowl of just that plum sorbet! yummy!

Also, holy moly, Beta5 needs to start selling that honey comb crunch because it was marvellous! Crispy, yet light just amazing! These doughnut holes were definitely a step up from the lemon-curd filled doughnut holes from the blueberry lemon sundae a few weeks back.


Ants on a Log | a milk chocolate, peanut butter  and celery eclair
Alongside the sundae, I gave Beta5's new eclair, Ants on a Log, a try. The milk chocolate and peanut glazed eclair was filled with a whipped celery ganache topped with a white chocolate "celery stick," with a piping of whipped milk chocolate and peanut ganache. And of course there were some itty bitty chocolate ants crawling along this eclair log! 

It was interesting that is for sure! The chocolate peanut butter whipped ganache was yummy, but I am not sure how i feel about the whipped celery ganache. It is just weird! But hey, it is cool that Beta5 tried something bold! I may not like it, but others will probably love it! I hope to try the cherry cola cream puff on m next visit. 

Another fabulous sundae from Beta5 and I look forward to their next flavour! 

BYES

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Gurly's Life | Disney came to me!!!



Hi Dolls!

I LOVE DISNEY! I went to Disney World Florida Resort when I was in grade 8 and since then, I have been dying to go back! I have been begging and pleading my friends and family for far too many years to come with me to a Disney theme park, but I have yet to succeed. But perhaps Walt Disney knew just how much I have been pining and yearning to experience the magic of Disney for myself --> DISNEY CAME TO ME!

This past Saturday, the imagineers from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida represented USA in the Honda Celebration of Lights at English Bay Vancouver! I want to say this is the first time that a Disney fireworks show took place outside of a Disney theme park! Is that not cool? Vancouverites got their own private Disney show!!! 

For the the entire duration of the 30 minute firework show, I was dancing and singing along to the Disney songs as the fireworks lit up the sky above me. It truly was magical! The fireworks burst in the sky to the tune of 20 iconic Disney soundtracks:

1. Sorcery in the Sky (Magic Kingdom Fireworks, 1982)
2. Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid)
3. Friend like Me (Aladdin)
4. Let it Go (Frozen)
5. The Circle of Life (The Lion King)
6. Toccatta in d Minor (Fantasia)
7. Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia)
8. Cave of Wonders (Aladdin)
9. To Die For (The Lion King)
10. Bells of Notre Dame (Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
11. Will and Elizabeth (Pirates of the Caribbean -1)
12. Barbossa is Hungry (Pirates of the Caribbean - 1)
13. Wheel of Fortune (Pirates of the Caribbean - 2)
14. To the Pirates Cave (Pirates of the Caribbean -1)
15. He's A Pirate (Pirates of the Caribbean - 1)
16. The Imperial March (Star Wars)
17. The Throne Room (Star Wars)
18. Maine Theme (Star Wars)
19. Finale (The Lone Ranger)
20. When You Wish (Disney Dreams)



I would say the soundtrack is what made this firework show stand apart from other displays. The Disney Fireworks drew a ginormous crowd exceeding the numbers from the other two firework displays in this year's Celebration of Lights. 

English Bay was absolutely packed with spectators and around 10:00 PM, police officers completely closed off access to the beach from Davie street! Oh yah, there was absolutely no car traffic allowed near the beach, so my friends and I along with everyone else wanting to see the fireworks had to walk down Davie Street from Hornby. But the trek was well worth it and I would do it again! The crowd was positive ranging from young children to elderly! I love how Vancouverites came together that night to just take in the Magic of Disney! 

My favourite parts were Under the Sea because that song is iconic! As well as Pirates of The Caribbean since I have seen those movies far too many times. It was really cool that they cut the music segment to play a dialogue between Captain Jack Sparrow and the Flying Dutchman. It is super Disney to throw in a dialogue between soundtracks. 

And lastly, When You Wish because I actually told my friends the Disney fireworks show would end with this soundtrack and it did! I CALLED IT! Haha, but lets face it, we all look forward to hearing When You Wish Upon A Star instrumental at the beginning of every Disney movie. I actually always hum along with it :) 

It was truly a fabulous show and I did feel like "It's where dreams come true!" I am always going to love Disney whether I am 22 years old or 50 years old. Disney is going to always hold a special place in my heart for me!

Let me know in the comments below if you love Disney!

BYES

Monday, 1 August 2016

Chic Finds | Ban.do 17 month Agenda

Ban.do 17 month agenda "Lady of Leisure" in Medium
Heya Dolls!

IT IS AUGUST 2017! Which means we can all crack open our new agendas! Happy National Bando Agenda day everyone! 

For those of you that know me personally, will know that I use my agenda on a daily basis. I actually prefer a hard copy agenda because it is tangible and there is something almost official feeling when I put pen to paper. Haha that being said, I do use my iCalendar, but more on an on-again, off-again basis. 

I have been faithfully using an agenda since 8th grade.... so I have amassed 10 completely filled tattering agenda's on my bookshelf. Yes, I kept all of my agendas starting from grade 8! The current agenda I am using is a student agenda published by UBC's commerce undergraduate society. However, I find the UBC student agenda's always arrive extremely late, like around October late. And since the agenda's go from September to August, I am agenda-less for the month of September! I absolutely hate it every year; therefore, I have taken matters into my own hands and sought out the perfect agenda that meet my needs and personal preferences in layout. 


These are the boxes that my agenda needs to tick off in order to be a winner for me!

• Each month have its own large monthly view
• I prefer a layout that matches traditional school agendas aka the weekly view be on two pages with horizontal boxes.
• The agenda dimensions be not too big or not too smile, it has to be just right haha (I actually measured my current agenda with a tape measure and compared it to dimensions of the agendas I was looking at)
• Be coil bound - I like how the agenda will sit flat when opened
• Not too many extra page/layouts etc 
• A little pocket to stash things
• Extra notes pages
• Page colour be WHITE


Clean weekly view layout! Loves it!
I know, a lot of requirements! I prefer clean and simple layouts so it does not distract from the important meetings, deadlines, appointments and events that I write down. I ended up going with Ban.do's 17 month medium sized agenda in the Lady of Leisure print! 

The Lady of Leisure design is a super cute white roses on a light pink. The agenda has large gold coils and the medium size is perfect for me! The week layouts are super clean black and white, but the monthly view is a little small and cluttered for me. Instead of the month of September being only September, it includes two weeks of October. This ends up making the boxes of the monthly view smaller :( Kind of annoying as well, Ban.do added in a lot of random "national day of.." into the monthly view which takes up some of the already tiny boxes. 


Bummed about the monthly view :( It is really cramped and the boxes are tiny!
I use the monthly view quite a bit to plan out in advance, so I am a bit disappointed in the size of the boxes. This agenda is my also my first 17 month planner, I generally have only had 12 month planners, so this agenda is a bit thicker; therefore heavier compared to my past planners. 

The front and back cover is very sturdy so I am not worried about it ripping off! Since the agenda is so thick, the coils are larger and I am finding they easily bend. Sort of annoying, but I am sure I will get used to it. 

I love the fun quirky pages at the beginning of every new month! July 2017 "Have a Nice Brunch" is my favourite! I love a good brunch! hehe I also like that there are tabs for every new month so it is easy to flip to the section of the agenda you are wanting. 


STICKERS!!!!! OMG STICKERS!!!
Overall, the agenda is really cute and functional. It did end up being a little bit pricy since the Lady of Leisure in the Medium size is exclusive to Ban.do's online store. So with the currency exchange from US to CAD plus shipping and handling... the agenda came close to $75! YIKES! Ah and I only realized when I saw my visa statement. Haha

BYES