Saturday, 8 June 2019

Pastry Chef Extrodinare: Julien at Au Comptoir

Au Comptoir: The Pistachio Mille Feuille with fresh Raspberries
Most people pick restaurants based on what they want for their entree, but me on the otherhand, I make my decision solely based on the restaurant's dessert menu! Dessert is life and life is too short to not indulge yourself. Vancouver's dessert scene is phenomenal, but one restaurant has always caught my attention: Au Comptoir. 

Au Comptoir's Executive Pastry Chef, Julien, also noticed my infatuation of everything sweet. Before I knew it, I was seated across from the man himself with a sampling of his creations on the table between us. 

Chef Julien is a classically trained pastry chef from Paris, France and after working 2 years in Singapore, Chef Julien made his way across the Atlantic Ocean to Vancouver, BC, Canada! Despite only calling Vancouver home fo 2 years, Chef Julien has acclimated well and is barely indistinguishable from the local hipsters. He sports a classic dad hat, circular wire-framed glasses and an eclectic collection of tattoos that any hipster would be envious of. The only thing that gives Chef Julien away is his to die for French accent - in my opinion, the French accent only makes him more hip. 

Being the resident pastry chef at Au Comptoir, Chef Julien focuses on perfecting traditional French desserts. Truth be told, I have always gravitated towards desserts made by pastry chefs trained in France. 

"I think every desseert and cake has a beauty of their own, but for mine, I try to put all the love I can into them. But of course, its the details - Details is what makes the difference"

In France, the internships, for lack of another word, are ROUGH. It is long gruelling hours of endless work and nothing short of perfection is accepted. An example from Chef Julien's training is when he asked his mentor to teach him how to do chocolate lettering using a parchment paper cone: A Paper Cornet. His mentor agreed, but to no surprise, it would have to be on Chef Julien's own time. So every single day, Chef Julien would stay an extra 15 minutes to practice folding paper cornets and piping chocolate lettering. Chef Julien would even practice at home using toothpaste! Practice really does make for perfection! 

Now I could not leave Au Comptoir without actually trying some of Chef Julien's offerings and he did not disappoint bringing out his favourite four desserts. 

The Chocolate Fondant is a warm chocolate cake that is popped into the oven to order. 9 minutes later, the Chocolate Fondant arrives at your table with a molten centre of 70% dark bitter Tropillia Valrhona Chocolate. The gooey chocolatey goodness pairs perfectly with the big scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream and bitter caramel sauce. An excellent dessert for all the chocolate lovers at the table! 

Au Comptoir Executive Pastry Chef Julien
The Tartelette Façon Tatin is filled with house-made crème fraîche and caramelized apples. Of the four desserts, this was my least favourite. I usually love caramelized spiced apple desserts, but this one was a little underwhelming in flavour when compared to the other desserts. The crème fraîche layer in it though was divine!

Of course, every French restaurant must have a Lemon Meringue tarttelette on their menu. Au Comptoir's version did not disappoint and dare I say perhaps even my favourite Lemon Meringue tart to date. Most places are unable to balance the tartness of lemon against the sugar, but Chef Julien really achieved the perfect play of sweet and sour. 

I saved my favourite dessert for last: The Pistachio Mille Feuille with fresh Raspberries. A decadent rich pistachio pastry cream is sandwiched between house made puff pastry and is finished with fresh raspberries and a coulis. I appreciated the fresh lightness of this dessert and it was on the less sweet end of the spectrum which I prefer. 

Despite being restrained to classic French desserts, Chef Julien has still managed to bring his own flair in terms of both flavour and presentation. The mille-feuille is served on its side, so the pastry cream faces upwards and he has opted for fresh fruit in place of the usual fondant glaze. The meringue on the lemon tartelette is expertly piped in a mesmerizing spiral before being hit with a blowtorch. The smallest change of presentation brings new excitement to classic French desserts we have all come to love and enjoy. 

Chef Julien is only just getting his start in Vancouver. He recently helped Au Comptoir secure silver in 2019 Van Magazine's best dessert category. 

Before I finished up my afternoon of desserts with Chef Julien, I wanted to know what flavour he really hopes to work with in the future. Perhaps we are meant to be best pals because he belted out:

" Matcha! I love matcha!" 

Thank you for having me over for a lazy afternoon of conversations over desserts. I am certain I will be seeing more of you in the future Chef Julien! 

BYES




Au Comptoir Desserts: Tartelette Façon Tatin on the left and the Lemon Meringue Tartelette on the right
Au Comptoir: Chocolate Fondant
Au Comptoir: Lemon Meringue Tartlette 
Au Comptoir: The Pistachio Mille Feuille with fresh Raspberries

Friday, 7 June 2019

Pods, Pines and Pools: 24-Hours in Whistler


Every now and then, we just need to escape our chaotic big city lives. Whistler might be best known for its Snowboarding and Ski Scene, but it also happens to be a spectacular spring and summer getaway. In my case, Whistler was perfect for my Girls Trip! The Ski and Snowboarding slopes are just 120 KMs North of Vancouver in the Sea-To-Ski Corridor. This trip up to the mountains came at the perfect time because I really needed to disconnect from my busy work life. Despite being a short 24-hour mini trip to Whistler, we were able to pack in several amazing activities. 

PINES - Get Outdoors

The first activity on our itinerary was a Forest Bathing Walk with Canadian Wilderness Adventures. Forest Bathing Therapy has been proven to be a powerful healing tool which can help alleviate stress, and boost happiness, energy and your immune system. In Japan, it is a revered form of preventative medicine on which several research studies have been conducted. 

Canadian Wilderness Adventures took us on a walk through Whistler's old growth forest in which trees have been estimated to be as old as 1,000 years old! Our guides, Mike and Allan, took us on the Medicine Trail, a spiritual part of the forest which has been blessed by the local indigenous elders. Forest Bathing Walks are not necessarily for everyone as it can be a little "hippie." 

We were encouraged to clear our heads and focus on our five senses: Touch, Smell, Hearing, Taste and Sight. To feel our lungs fill with fresh untainted air, hear the symphony of the rushing water and watch the subtle fluttering of the leaves in the air. It can be difficult to slow down and accept this invitation to be in the present. Thank you, Allan and Mike, for sharing the Medicine Trail and the untouched beauty of the old growth forest with me. 

If you desire adventures with more thrill, Canadian Wilderness has activities that will satisfy your wild side.  They offer ATVs, Electric Mountain Bikes, Canoeing, Axe Throwing and offroading in a Porsche Cayenne! I am very much interested in getting behind the wheel of a slick German-engineered Porsche Cayenne and taking it through the outback woods of Whistler - Next time!


POOLS - The Spa

The Scandinave Spa in Whistler is ICONIC; yet yours truly had never been before! Nestled within a spruce and cedar forest, the Nordic-inspired spa offers 20,000 square feet of outdoor pools, saunas, solariums, steam rooms and hammocks. Patrons are encouraged to follow the cycle of HOT/COLD/RELAX to fully experience the benefits of hydrotherapy. 

We were given soft plush white bathrobes which made me feel super bougie. The locker room and showers are spacious, but more importantly to me, very clean! There were signs all around the spa outlining the hydrotherapy cycle. 

For HOT, the recommended time was 10 to 15 minutes. After letting your muscles relax, blood vessels dilate and increased blood flow to your skin, muscles and organs, the next step was to take a 15-second plunge in chilling cold water. The cold is TOUGH. My entire body instantly contracted and caused my breathing to become shallow, but once I stepped out of the cold pool, a calmness swept through my entire body. I felt more relaxed than when I was in the HOT water. Good thing the RELAX stage comes after the COLD. I padded my way up the steps to Hammock Heaven where I hypothetically should have spent 10 to 15 minutes blissfully asleep. I say Hypothetically because unfortunately, being the antsy anxious individual that I am, sitting still and doing nothing is very difficult for me. I noticed other spa-goers had brought along books to pass time during the RELAX stage. Next time, I am definitely bringing a book with me too. 

A few things to take into consideration when visiting The Scandinave Spa:

• Sunglasses: it is outdoors and if you are sensitive to the sun like me, sunglasses are a must!
• SILENCE: talking is frowned upon. All patrons agree to maintain the silent environment and if you think you can whisper, it is only a matter of time before the "shush police" catches you!
• Time: give yourself ample time to really enjoy the hydrotherapy experience. You will want to go through the cycle a few times and perhaps then lounge up in Hammock Heaven for a little longer. 
• NO Electronics: Electronics are NOT permitted inside the spa. Scandinave Spa strives to make all guests feel comfortable and at ease, so please be respectful and leave your phones in your locker. 
• Spa Buddy or Book: Probably more for individuals like me that are constantly antsy and have a hard time being still for long periods of time. I will probably enjoy the spa more if I have something to do or a friend who will at least keep me some company. 
• Slippers: 2/3 of the spa is outdoors, so protect your feetsies from the scorching hot pavement by bringing some slippers with you! If you forget, the spa does have some for purchase. 

Food

On this trip, my tastebuds were spoiled with mouthwatering dishes. We dined a total of three times at three distinctly different dining establishments. 


Thunderbird Cafe
Located in the basement of the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is the Thunderbird Cafe. Indigenous-inspired dishes using local ingredients are served at the Thunderbird Cafe. I recommend the Veal Chilli with fresh Bannock - a traditional indigenous bread that is soft and doughy, a perfect accompaniment to the rich nourishing chilli. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to explore the indigenous art that is showcased at the SLCC. 


Alta Bistro
Dinner was at Alta Bistro which is situated in Whistler Village. Do you know what the word "Bistro" means? A bistro typically has a menu that changes to incorporate fresh seasonal ingredients and a stellar wine list that showcases lesser-known local wines that are affordable. Speaking of wine, Alta is the first restaurant in Whistler to feature the premium Enomatic wine-serving system, which in layman's terms means the fancy machine preserves the integrity of the wine till the last drop in the bottle. I prefer simple food, so Alta's fancy cuisine was a little too out there for me. Also, I no longer enjoy meat as much as I used to and the vegetarian options at Alta were limited. It just was not for me. I do recommend Alta Bistro for wine lovers because they really do have a spectacular selection of wine by the glass. 


The Living Room
The next morning we had breakfast at Pangea Pod Hotel's cutely named "Living Room" restaurant and cafe. Their breakfast game is one point! Healthy, simple and exploding with flavour. For me, having a nutritious start to my day is important, so if it is not obvious already, I fell in love with Pangea Pod Hotel's food! 

I had the Eggs Benedict, but I wanted it with raw spinach which they happily accommodated. The hollandaise was luscious and buttery. I rounded out my breakfast with the Pangea Power Smoothie. A delicious blended concoction of mixed berries, banana, greek yogurt, honey, almond milk and toasted almonds. I really loved the Pangea Power smoothie - gurly approved!

PODS - Accommodations


We stayed in the heart of Whistler Village at the Pangea Pod Hotel. I only have praises for Whistler's first and only pod hotel. This blog post has gotten a bit long, so I am going to cover my Pangea Pod Hotel experience in my next post!


BYES

Disclaimer: Complimentary Media trip courtesy of Serena PR, Tourism Whistler, Destination BC and Pangea Pod Hotel. All opinions and content are original and my own. 

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Last Minute Mother's Day Brunch & Treats in Vancouver


Mother's Day completely snuck up on me and perhaps you too are in the same situation as me! There are a lot of special Mother's Day Brunches and set menu dinners, but they often are really crowded. Also, I have never been a fan of buffets. The food quality is never as good as a la carte since the kitchen staff is overwhelmed with pumping out large quantities of food, so the quality suffers. 

This is a quick list of my own personal recommendations of where to take your Mum for a memorable Mother's Day 2019! The list is partial to brunch and sweets because hello Sunday Brunch is a classic and what woman does not love a sweet pastry. 


This is the restaurant I have settled on to take my own Mum to for a Mother's Day brunch. I love the space. The Settlement building is spacious with high ceilings and a wall of oak barrels dividing the restaurant from the winery. The food is scrumptious and their menu is diverse, so there are many options for vegetarians and sweet tooths alike! 


Despite only being in Vancouver for a few short years, this beloved island breakfast joint has stolen our hearts. I am certain there is going to be a massive lineup of 45 + minutes, but it is another excuse to spend time with your mum and build memories. Plus the mouthwatering oversized breakfast foods is totally worth the ridiculous wait times. My recommendation: The Loney Piggy and Red Velvet Pancakes! 


In the heart of downtown Vancouver is my absolute favourite French patisserie and chocolate boutique. Everything at Theirry is made from scratch throughout the day right up until closing time! I am obsessed with their macarons, madeleines and desserts. If they have the Mango Tart, get it!


Personally, I have never been to Temper Pastry, but I have only heard nothing but good things about them. They are situated out in West Vancouver which is the primary reason I have not been, but if you are on the North Shore, I think they are worth checking out. They have a decadent Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Tart on their menu for Spring which looks absolutely divine! 


For any special occasion or basically any excuse really, I go to Savio Volpe. I have been to Savio Volpe on a few separate occasions and each time, the food has been exquisite. The menu changes daily, but the only downside is that Savio Volpe only does dinner. Reservations are highly recommended and they are probably full for mother's day, but it is still worth a try! 


Denny's might seem a bit boring, but I have so many amazing memories with my mum and family there. We have shared so many laughs over Grand Slams and late-night pancakes. Sometimes fancy is overrated and the simple things are best! Perhaps there is a restaurant that holds similar meaning to you and your mum! 

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful Mum's! 

BYES

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Crazy for Crazy Rich Asians


2018 was one hell of a year. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their big royal wedding, the Obama portraits were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery and my favourite Disney star and singer Miley Cyrus married her hunk of a beau Liam Hemsworth. Another huge pop-culture moment that defined 2018 was the theatrical release of Crazy Rich Asians!

I had not read the book, so I wanted to read it prior to seeing the movie because I refuse to let the movie ruin a good book for me. Truth be told, it is rare for a movie to capture the spirit and charm of the book that is based upon. In this case, the movie did not do the book justice, but that is alright because it helped achieve other amazing milestones. The Crazy Rich Asians movie boasted an all-Asian cast, bringing much-needed diversity to Hollywood. Not to mention, this rom-com was an absolute international sensation! 

Singaporean author Kevin Kwan does a marvelous job at creating the lavish world of the rich secretive families of Singapore. The store revolves around Rachel Chu who is supposedly just the average typical Chinese American aka not a crazy rich Asian. She is an intelligent economist and is a professor at NYU. Nicholas Young her love also happens to teach at NYU too and they live together in a tiny apartment. It is pretty weird that they keep their spending modest and that he hides the fact that his family is absurdly wealthy. The book portrays his family to be stupidly rich, so it is so bizarre that he keeps this opulent insane family an absolute secret from Rachel. 

The author has taken a lot of time to develop intricate family trees and yes, you are literally provided the family trees at the very beginning of the book which I myself referred back to many times! The family dynamics are what really drew me into the story. You too will find yourself flipping back to them as it takes some time to become familiar with all the families and who is married to who and who their kids are etc. The lineages are also important because a lot of the story revolves around one particular family. 

One particular thing that I found myself growing tired of was the constant mentions of brand names. It goes without saying that the families are wealthy beyond imagines, so they obviously own a lot of luxury goods. But beyond the first couple of chapters, the use of luxury names as descriptors for what they are wearing, or buying, or owned really did not add to the story very much. Just became a constant reminder that items crafted by the likes of Gucci, Oscar de la Renta or Alexander McQueen will never be everyday names for me. Needless to say, it got annoying!

Aside from the constant luxury brand name dropping, the book was written extremely well, often using elevated diction. It was a great read and I found myself completely engrossed in it while bussing to school or during my breaks. The intricate family trees brought an added layer of complexity. The best part, I was never able to predict what would happen next! Which made the book all the more interesting and fun! 

As I had mentioned earlier, the movie did not entirely do the book justice. The book has a lot of interwoven storylines which did not translate well onto the big screen. Thankfully my favourite character, the "evil" mother, Eleanor Young was impeccably portrayed! YAY! 

I am currently making my way through the second installment of the trilogy and thus far, it is just as exciting and fun as the first. I will keep you posted on my thoughts when I finish China Rich Girlfriend. 

Hopefully, I did not give away too many spoilers to those who may have not read or seen the movie yet! I highly recommend the read.

BYES

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Blossom at Metropolis Art Installation



The sun is shining, the clouds are parting and the early signs of cherry blossoms have begun to appear! I am happy to report that Vancouver has brushed off the winter cold and is welcoming the beautiful warmth of Spring. In fact, today was gorgeous out and I found myself turning off the heater and opening the sunroof in my car because believe it or not, I was hot in my car. 

Cherry Blossom season in Vancouver is one of my favourite times of the year and I look forward to it after our long cold rainy winters. I probably take an excess of 500 pictures of the blossoms every year because I find them so beautiful. Furthermore, Cherry Blossoms are delicate little flowers and are around Vancouver for barely a month. The soft fluffy pink flowers bring smiles to everyone's faces in Vancouver and did you know, Vancouver and Victoria are the only cities in all of Canada that have the iconic pink flowers! 


To welcome the Cherry Blossom season in Vancouver, Metrotown Vancouver with the help of HFour, a Vancouver-based interactive arts company, has transformed the Grand Court into a stunning display of cherry blossoms! Nearly a quarter million blossoms are hung from the ceiling and are framed by massive metallic orbs that from afar almost look like magnificent silver clouds floating on branches of pink blossoms. It is honestly the most striking and ambitious installation that I have witnessed to date at Metrotown. What makes this installation unique is that a huge part of the work is suspended from the ceiling; therefore, patrons are able to see it from the second and third-floor balcony too! 

If I had to describe it in under 10 words: Larger Than Life Cherry Blossoms on Silver Clouds. 

The installation is not just above our heads. If you head down to the Grand Court, the floor has been covered with faux grass on which several large metal orbs have been affixed to and cherry blossoms circle the base of each ball. Since the balls are metal and metallic, it acts like a mirror giving the illusion that the installation is infinite. The balls on the ground are huge and visitors are encouraged to take a seat on one of the pink benches and gaze into the balls - perhaps it will reveal your future?

These mirrored spheres are magnificently huge and the largest has an impressive diameter of 4 meters across and is part of the overhead installation. 

The installation is truly unique and is something you will want to catch a glimpse of in person. You should head to Metrotown soon because like with all great things, the installation will be wrapping up at the end of the month, March 31st being its final day at Metrotown. 

Blossom at Metropolis is also accompanied by several workshops that will be running throughout the month of March. A couple that I myself am really interested in attending are the brush lettering workshops as well as traditional paper cutting. However, knowing my schedule, I am probably going to be far too busy to attend one the which makes me sad. Hopefully, you are able to go for me! 


You are probably curious as to where I got a kimono from to wear in the pictures. I was lucky enough to attend Blossom at Metropolis' media launch party at which they had traditional Japanese dancers as well as snacks and cocktails. A few of us were lucky enough to be outfitted in a kimono! I instantly gravitated towards this kimono because I personally find peach, pink and gold to be an elegant trio of colours. I do not believe the particular kimono I wore was made from silk, but if it was, that kimono in those colours would have been breathtaking. Also, can we take a moment to talk about what it takes to wear a kimono! It took three women to tie my kimono and they used some considerable force when tying the knots. It was fascinating how precise each fold and knot they made was. After they were done, I felt like I had just been outfitted into a corset because they really pulled the obi (the sash in the middle) tight! 

My friend Maggie from C'est La Vie Maggi attended the event with me and she too got to wear a kimono. Maggie has written a post on Blossom at Metropolis too, but unlike me, she posted about it a week and a half ago! 

BYES









Saturday, 16 March 2019

Happy 4th Birthday BLOG!


Happy 4th Birthday to my Blog! After a rough third year filled with setbacks, constantly being sick and switching jobs, I never expected to make it to year four. I am glad that I hung in there. Even though I wish I was able to put out more content, I am glad I focused more on the quality, so the small number of posts I did, I was really happy with them!

Going into my fourth year as a part-time hobbyist blogger, it is my hope that I am able to increase the frequency of posts. My ideal goal would be to post twice a week, but it is going to be a challenge as I actually do have a full-time job and attend school part-time. 

I really wanted to throw a big birthday party for Pink Tea Latte's 4th Birthday, but alas, I have been run down with the most brutal viral imaginable. So party planning was out of the question. Perhaps I will do a little something in the summer when Vancouver is finally sunny and beautiful. Stay tuned for that! 

In the meantime, I still had to celebrate this big milestone somehow, so I decided to bake a giant cookie cake! I have been seeing these cookie creations all over Instagram and even considered getting one for my 25th birthday. They are so freaking cute! 

I went with a simple sugar cookie from which I cut the letters and giant four freehand. Aside from a couple of wonky letters, my freehand cutting was pretty darn good. The top of the cookie is frosted with a fresh whip cream that I lightly sweetened with icing sugar. I used a big round tip to do the big dollops and then went in with a star tip to add some more texture. I wanted to keep the decorations simple. Obviously fresh strawberries and raspberries because they are my favourite fruits to use in desserts. I also used chocolate crisp pearls which are madly addictive. The crisp pearls are cereal covered in chocolate. If you live in Vancouver, you can get them from The Lazy Gourmet which is basically the best cookware and artisanal ingredient store ever! Now a Pink Tea Latte cake would not be complete without a touch of pink which is where the sprinkles come into play! And since I love yellow gold, you know I could not resist adding a little bling with gold balls. 

Thank you for always supporting my little blog! 

BYES
















Monday, 11 March 2019

Riz Sushi Serving Up the Freshest Sashimi in Vancouver



When it comes to Sushi, Vancouverites are definitely spoiled as the city boasts a staggering number of Japanese restaurants, both high-end such as Miku and fast-casual like Togo Sushi. But as our fondness for Japan's most iconic dishes has grown, so has our appetite for quality sashimi. Over this past year, our craving for fresh fish was appeased by the influx of Poke Bars. But that too has become boring for our ever-evolving palettes.  

This is where Riz Sushi comes into play. Riz Sushi is literally at the cusp of Vancouver, a tiny storefront on the corner of Renfrew and East Broadway. Owner Keith invited me down to Riz Sushi for a taste and perhaps even a little education on Chirasi! 

To the average foodie, like moi, the Chirasi Don looked like a Poke bowl, but the similarities basically stop there. Poke hails from Hawaii and means "to cut." Small cubes of fish are marinated and served on a bed of rice with a vast variety of toppings like edamame, sauces and pineapple. 

Riz Sushi serves the Chirasi Don which originates from Japan! Chirasi in its simplest form is fish on rice in bowl form aka a Don. Owner Keith takes care to select and import the freshest whole fish from Japan and the whole fish is expertly broken down by the chefs at Riz Sushi. Since Riz Sushi has a massive catering aspect to their business, they go through the fish in a matter of days, so all of the fish is extremely fresh. Did I emphasize that enough? The fish is hella fresh! 

On offer is a build your own Chirasi bowl, so select your favourite pieces of sashimi. During my visit, Keith made me a bowl with his favourite pieces of fish. The bowl was stunning to look at. Beginning at the ikura (orange fish roe - little balls) and going clock-wise we have Hokkigai (looks like a pretty orange claw!), Japanese Hamachi, Salmon, Albacore Tuna and the crowning jewel in the middle, the Otoro (fatty pieces of bluefin tuna). 

Full Disclosure: I do not eat raw fish; however, I did bring a friend that loves sashimi and I trust his opinion:

--- The Albacore Tuna was the best albacore tuna he has had to date in Vancouver. In fact, you could clearly taste the freshness in every piece of fish. To his surprise, the Otoro was not his favourite despite it being the fattiest melt in your mouth piece of fish in the Chirasi. He would 100% be returning to Riz Sushi because he has not had fresher sashimi in all of Lower Mainland. ----

Keith was also a phenomenal host and probably spent an upwards of two hours chatting with us, sharing stories and feeding us until our stomachs were about to burst. It is hard not to see Keith's passion and the pride he takes in serving his customers the highest-quality fish. 

While we were at Riz Sushi, the Chirasi Don was one of many dishes Keith had us try. Since I do not eat raw fish, he was extremely accommodating and personally oversaw the making of a pan-fried salmon bowl which was YASSSS absolutely yummm. This was not just a special service just for me. You can always request a bowl with the fish of your choosing cooked. 

We rounded out our massive feast with one of my favourite Japanese snacks, pan-fried gyoza. Keith also had me try an Onsen egg. The egg is cooked whole at a low heat very slowly allowing the insides to become this luscious creamy custard-like texture. 

I whole-heartedly recommend checking out Riz Sushi especially if you appreciate high-quality sashimi. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried Riz Sushi yet as well if there are any other places in the Lower Mainland that you recommend!

BYES

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Attending KNOW SHOW Fall/Winter 2019-2020

Working Guess' Shearling-Lined Denim Jacket at KnowShow Fall Winter 2019/2020
Have you ever wondered how shops acquire merchandise that they sell? Shops and Boutiques attend Trade Shows where brands showcase their latest products for shop buyers to order for the next season. Unfortunately, such trade shows are closed to the public and can only be attended by retailers. So getting the opportunity to attend KnowShow, Canada's largest tradeshow, was an absolute delight!

A couple weeks back, Know Show had their bi-annual tradeshow at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This was the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 trade show. We might be nearing the end of our chilly season, but the buying for next Fall-Winter takes place a year in advance, so the Spring-Summer tradeshow for 2020 is going to be coming up in a couple of months this summer 2019! 

This Trade Show was serious business because everywhere I looked, I saw retail buyers furiously examining products, taking notes and placing their orders. Unfortunately, it also meant that I could purchase any of the items because everything out on the floor was display only. So no deeply discounted wholesale pricing for me! However, on the plus side, I could really take my time and browse all the stalls at my leisure because I was at Know Show for fun. 


I was definitely the anomaly at this Trade Show as it is exclusively to buyers only. Every time I would go to a booth, I would be asked "where I am from". I kept responding with Vancouver because I literally thought buyers came from across North America. Turns out, they were asking what STORE I was purchasing for! Someone jokingly said I was from Wal-Mart which ended up being a running joke for the remainder of my time there. I practically convinced 3/4 of the brands that I was from Wal-Mart; however, I did come clean immediately after their initial reaction. 

Some of the brands were very secretive and had a strict no photograph policy. Such as Reebok which did not joke around and very much inforced their no photography rule. I understand sicne the "sneaker world" is extremely competitive and they do not want to reveal next years collection to the public. 

Since this was a Trade Show on the West Coast in Canada, snowboard/ski gear, chunky knits and hipster clothing was very much expected. After visiting all of the booths, here is a recap of the big trends for Fall/Winter 2019-20!

MUSTARD
Everywhere I looked, the deep mustard yellow was shining in all its glory. It had a strong representation throughout the convention. I saw it being used for shows, accessories like toques and of course, in clothing. 

DENIM
The closet staple is once again reunited with its love shearling. Invest in a quality shearling lined denim jacket. I recommend checking out Guess and Levis for all your denim needs!

HELLO KITTY
Sanrio's iconic loveable kitty is partnering up with several brands including Levis and Herschel. It is time to dig out your Hello Kitty accessories because she is going to be everywhere next winter. 

PRINTED SOCKS
It is time you ditched the boring white gym sock and upgraded to socks with bold prints. Socks are not just for keeping your toes warm but are a way to make a fashion statement.

Aside from getting a sneak peek at next years trends, I also fell in love with a few products that I am just dying to get my hands on! The main one being the leopard-print classic roller blades by Impala Roller Skates! These roller blades are too cool for words and I would kill to have a pair of them for summer! Another unexpected find was a pair of pink high-tops that featured an itty bitty embroidered rainbow which are by STRAYE Footwear and will hopefully be available for the summer. The last item that I really want to pick up for myself is the adorable little Levi's x Hello Kitty fannypack. The Hello Kitty Milk collection is the only Hello Kitty theme that I have ever liked. Again, it will be made available in the future, so until then, I will impatiently wait. 


BYES




Thursday, 14 February 2019

Meaningful Gifts for Valentine's Day



Valentine's, Galentine's, the day of love or whatever you may call it, February 14th is universally recognized as the day we all express our love to the special people in our lives. It does not necessarily need to be your bae or boo, it can be your best friend or mom because you love them unconditionally and you want to show them that. 

Unfortunately, like many holidays, Valentine's Day has fallen prey to commercialization. I am guilty of being materialistic, but personally, when it comes to gifts, I prefer thoughtful presents that have a lot of special meaning behind it. Because those are the types of presents I cannot go and just buy for myself! 

Here are my gift ideas that anyone would cherish for life! 

CARDS

There have been so many instances where I have received a gift with no card to accompany it! I absolutely love receiving cards with handwritten notes inside. There are so many fabulous cards to choose from. Cards may seem like a no brainer and often an afterthought, but for me, they are my favorite part. My favourite places to shop for cards in Vancouver are Gastown and Main Street because boutiques in these areas carry cards designed by local artists! 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I love the advancements cameras have undergone because they allow me to take unlimited pictures and I can store them all on my computer for infinity! However, digital copies will never be able to replace a tangible printed photograph. There is something indescribable about printed photographs. I love how I can hold them in my hand and display them on my wall so I can walk by and be reminded of that particular moment every single day. Print out your favourite memories and adventures so they can relive them every single day! In Vancouver, I love printing my pictures at the BOFT terminals that are conveniently located in several malls across the Lower Mainland. 

ADVENTURES

Speaking of adventures, plan one! Materialistic objects come and go, but memories are forever. Create new memories that you can reminisce about for years to come. You can attend a cooking class together or go do a crafting class. In Vancouver I recommend the Dirty Apron for cooking classes and 4Cats for art workshops. 

SPA DAY

Spa experiences do not come cheap, especially if you are wanting to get more than one treatment. I also prefer visiting the higher end spas as they tend to follow stricter sterilization procedures and use amazing products. In Vancouver, I am obsessed with Miraj Hammam Spa, a Middle Eastern spa like no other! 

BYES