Monday, 11 November 2019

Discovering Canada's Coolest Artisans at Circle Craft

I have been meaning to attend Circle Craft for many years and finally made it out there for the very first time. Monday, November 11, 2019 is their final market day, so I want to get this post up ASAP so anyone curious can check it out. Over the years, I have visited several craft markets in Vancouver, but none of them come close in size to Circle Craft. 

I believe there are over 300 different artisans and makers from across Canada showing at Circle Craft. While you peruse the row upon rows of intricately crafted goods, a string quartet played joyous holiday music. 

There is so much to explore, from delectable jams and preserves to whimsical ceramics. I wish I had a million dollars because I would have purchased everything. The quality and craftsmanship were impeccable! Some of the artisans were fairly new, only dabbling in their craft for just over a year; however, their work was indistinguishable from those who have been honing in their craft for decades. I reckon Circle Craft must have a selection process and only accept vendors that meet a certain level of quality. 

It goes without saying that there were a lot of vendors that I loved, so it was tough to narrow it down. 

Originally a Vancouverite, but now residing in Toronto, The Otter Potter's glaze was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was as if her pottery was glazed in liquid Hallographic Opal. The picture just does not do it justice. She is a budding artist and I am looking forward to more glazed magic from her! 

Intricate hand-embroidered silk and gold are probably the most beautiful pieces of wearable art that I have ever laid my eyes on. The pieces are STUNNING and I swear the golden snakes looked as if they were straight from a GUCCI collection. Need I say more? Again, the pictures just do not do her pieces justice as the lighting indoors was atrocious. 

There are several glass artisans at Circle Craft, but Dougherty Glassworks was my favourite. I might be a bit partial to the glass pumpkins, but they are just so darn cute. They also make colourful glass barware and overall, I just loved their hipster down to earth vibe.

No market is complete without lots and lots of food and there was no shortage of yummy samplers at Circle Craft. I think my friend and I spent the better part of an hour getting our fill of food samples. No shame! Everything was good, but I only purchased one item hence why it earns a spot in this post. I picked up a packet of Pure Maple Sugar from Cosman & Webb, producers of pure organic maple syrup from Quebec. Also, can we take a minute to admire the packaging of their maple syrup? If you are wondering why I opted for the Maple Sugar and not the syrup, its because I like adding maple sugar to my morning oatmeal. 

These Volkswagon Van cribbage boards are seriously cute. I just fell in love with them. Do I play cribbage? Nope, but I came pretty darn close to picking one up. I love handcrafted items that serve a purpose. Now I regret not getting one. 

I had a fabulous time exploring Circle Craft. I probably spent nearly 4 hours exploring all of the vendors. The East Vancouver Culture Crawl is taking place later this week. Let me know if you end up going to Circle Craft and if you are going to East Vancouver Culture Crawl too.


Saturday, 12 October 2019

Potter's House of Horrors Scare-ific Haunted Houses

With Hallowe'en fast approaching, scare-tastic shenanigans have been taking place all across the Lower Mainland. Now I must admit, I am an absolute scaredy-cat and tend to gravitate towards non-frightening activities like going to the pumpkin patch or celebrating my birthday - I am an October baby!!! Anything that causes my heart to leap out of my chest is not my thing, so I am shocked that I loved Potter's House of Horrors

Potter's House of Horrors has been scaring those who dare to venture in since 2003. I only learnt of Potter's House of Horrors because they reached out to me and invited me to experience their frightening attraction. 

For your enjoyment, Potter's House of Horrors has two ultra-scary haunted houses. They have brought back Devil's Descent for its third and debuted their newest creepy creation, Death Valley Motor Inn. They have been featuring two haunted houses for several years now and the themes are changed every few years. I did a quick Google search and found some of the previous storylines: 2016 (#1 Monstrosity, #2 The Swampin' Slaughterhouse) 2018 (#1 Monstrosity 2.0 #2 Devil's Descent). 

The haunted houses are a labyrinth of tight winding corridors, creepy sounds, foul smells, animatronics and of course, live actors! For me, the talented team of actors is what brought the entire experience together. It takes an astounding team of 40 actors to bring the haunted houses to life...or kill. The cast is diverse and each of them brings a unique perspective to a character. 

An 18 year old college student full of energy might play a rotted zombie as a high-energy character, thumping and smashing and destroying. A 55 year old stage actor might play that role much more subtle and creepy. Both are effective in their own way and we appreciate the different ideas that an actor can bring to a role.                            
                                -Chris Pershick from the Potter’s House of Horrors team

With so much talent, it is understandable why Potter's haunted houses are considered Live Theatre Haunted Events. The planning phase for the haunted houses begins in January and fabrication can start as early as June. With four months of construction, you can imagine the insane level of detail that has gone into constructing the structure. The two haunted houses sprawl out across 15,000 square feet making each haunted house over 15 minutes of fright. 

I do not want to give too much away in terms of the scare factors, but I will touch upon the themes for this year's two haunted houses. Devil's Descent is set in the depths of a mine shaft with rotting wood, menacing-looking machines and lots of gory bloody goodness. In my mind, it was a mix of Mad Max machinery/mutations and The Walking Dead's realistic guts galore. Throw in a smattering of deep earth dwelling monsters and rotting zombies and we have a recipe for a haunted house that even makes the Devil himself quiver in fear...or grin with satisfaction. 

New for this year and in my opinion the scarier of the two is Death Valley Motor Inn. The haunted house is designed to be a grimy motel from the 70's which draws inspiration from several horror movies. Because where else would serial killers and bat shit crazy people stay why the Death Valley Motor Inn of course! There are far more actors involved in the story for Death Valley Motor Inn making for a truly immersive and downright terrifying experience. Like I said earlier, the cast KILLED it - pun intended - making you feel like you have legitimately checked into a secluded creepy motel and you are screaming down the halls trying to find your way out only to come face to face with another killer finishing off another motel guest. The worst part, they intentionally made some of the corridors super narrow forcing you to brush past the frightening characters. 

Of the two haunted houses, Death Motor Valley Inn was my favourite and in my opinion, the far more frightening one since it did not rely on gore and guts, but instead used clever scares. I did manage to make complete both haunted houses, albeit with my face buried in my friends arm for 50% of the attraction. However, if you just cannot bare to go any further, the haunted houses are strategically built with an exit always just a few short steps away. This also means you will be adding to the "Chicken Counter" which is honestly comical and they hilariously announce when someone chickens out and exits a house part way through. 

I wish I could tell you about some of my favourite parts, but it would ruin the experience. What I can tell you is that outside of the haunted houses they have several creepy frightening characters walking around who just love to sneak up on you. My favourite was the manic axe-wielding man that gave me Beetle Juice crossed with Harley Quinn. 

This post is getting so long, but I had such a great time at Potter's House of Horrors that I want to tell you all about it. Aside from Thanksgiving Monday, Potter's House of Horrors is upon every day in October. Adult tickets are $15.99; however, the ticket only grants you access to a SINGLE haunted house. If you wish to visit both, you will need to PURCHASE TWO tickets. And if you want the scariest experience, give them a visit on Hallowe'en as the actors like to amp up the scare factor. It is after all the night of haunting. 


12530 72nd Avenue, Surrey 
Disclaimer: Media Invite.  All opinions and content are original and my own.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Pampering myself with a pedicure from Onyx Aesthetics

I am drained, exhausted and overworked, so it was high time that I treated myself to something nice. I booked myself in for a pedicure at my favourite nail salon in Gastown: Onyx AestheticsI love getting my nails buffed, shaped and painted, but if I had to pick between a manicure or pedicure, I will always choose the latter. 

For pedicures, you get to sit in a comfy chair with lots of cute cushions and have a technician massage and scrub your feet until they are supple and smooth. Plus lets be real, pedicures last forever. I swear the polish on my toes will last for months, never chipping, just grows out. 

The technicians at Onyx Aesthetics are experts so your toes are in good hands. All pedicures include cuticle care, scrub, filing and polish. 

I have had pedicures at numerous salons, yet I find myself returning to Onyx Aesthetics because they prioritize hygiene and cleanliness:

• Water baths are lined with plastic and are discarded after each client

• Tools are sanitized in a medical-grade autoclave
• Disposable grit strips are used to remove the dead skin from your feet. 
• Chairs are sanitized after each client

No pedicure is truly complete without a good foot scrub. Onyx Aesthetics is the ONLY place that I have been to in Vancouver that uses disposable grit strips. I cannot believe other salons just "clean" foot files because there is no way all the dead skin can be removed from the grit. The other nice thing about disposable strips is that they have various grits, so the technician can select the most appropriate level of grit. My feet are quite soft to begin with so for me, the technician generally uses the polishing grit as the stronger grits are far too abrasive for my feet. 

It has taken me years to realize that I rather spend a little extra to receive a service from a trained professional with sanitized instruments because foot fungus is not a joke! If I really think about it, Onyx Aesthetics is quite competitively priced. Their regular polish pedicure is a 45-minute service for $50. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing Onyx Aesthetics is serious about hygiene is priceless. 

My go-to colour for my toes is a light sky blue, but I thought I would change things up a bit and go for this lilac. The lilac is cute, but I think I am going to stick to sky blue in the future. At Onyx Aesthetics, their polish is primarily from CND. I did not know about CND until I started getting my nails done at Onyx, but it turns out, CND is the company that first engineered and sold the "shellac" system. Since the polish on my toes hardly ever chips, I usually just opt for the cheaper air dry normal polish aka CND Vinylux. More and more salons in Vancouver are beginning to carry the CND brand, but Onyx Aesthetics is proud to be the first salon as well as official CND partner which means they have every colour imaginable from CND. 

I am open to checking out other salons too. Sometimes it is fun to change things up - but toes will be returning to blue! - so if there is a salon in the Lower Mainland that has skilled technicians, competitive pricing and is serious about hygiene, let me know in the comments below!


Sunday, 15 September 2019

Fufú Café is putting the wobble in Soufflé Pancakes in Vancouver

Fufú Café | dress - Aritzia shoes- Steve Madden

Fufú Café is finally open which means we can all get our fill of wobbly Soufflé Pancake goodness!!! A few Fridays back, August 30th, I was spoiled with a private tasting of their menu and I must admit, do not let the light airy texture of the pancakes fool you because they are deceptively filling. 

Before I get into the main event - the soufflé  pancakes - I want to highlight Fufú Café's interior which drew inspiration from Art Deco Architecture. Royal navy blues, gold Calcutta marble and dusty rose pinks serve as the backdrop for the café. My favourite detail is the geometric molding that moves from the wall up onto the ceiling. Also the full-length mirror with a rounded top is everything and I want it for my room. To summarize, I am living for Fufú Café's aesthetic! 

Fufú Café specializes in the ever-popular Japanese-style Fluffy/Soufflé Pancake. Their menu is dedicated to these light and airy pancakes which gained popularity over the past couple of years. The airy melt in your mouth cloud-like texture is achieved from expertly folding in whipped egg whites into the pale yellow batter. Patience is of the utmost importance as they take 15 to 20 minutes to execute. Truly a labour of love. It is tough to describe the delicate texture that has made this style of pancake so sought after, so you really just need to go try the soufflé pancakes in person yourself. 

Monday, 9 September 2019

21.1 KM SeaWheeze 2019 Complete

My body hurts, my ankle is swollen, but I finished the SeaWheeze Half Marathon and I would do it again! This was my second time running a half marathon. I had done the Seawheeze in 2017 and it still remains a fabulous half marathon experience for non-runners and runners alike. Just do not let the Yoga - Fun - Party - tagline fool you because 21.1 Kilometers is no easy feat.

Lululemon goes out of their way to make the SeaWheeze a 3-day event which is completely free and open to registered runners. The energy that surrounds it is positive and everyone is in amazing spirits. This and many more reasons are why the SeaWheeze will probably remain the only half marathon that I am willing to my body through this much pain. 

For the two days leading up to race day, Jack Poole Plaza and the Convention Center are given a glorious makeover and are the site for pre-race events. There are lots of free swag up for grabs and complimentary services like massage and hair braiding. Not to mention lots and lots of yoga! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

First Time at Diner en Blanc Vancouver

Fleurs De Villes: Gorgeous floral sculpture in the background at Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2019
I have been wanting to attend Diner en Blanc for a couple of years now. In fact, I actually purchased tickets for Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2017, but since I was a student with a part-time job, additional costs of attending Diner en Blanc were not feasible for me, so I ended up giving them to a friend. Now that I have a full-time job, I can finally attend and have an amazing time!  

Diner en Blanc's history is quite interesting. The original - Le Diner en Blanc de Paris - was held by a small group of friends in 1988. They decided to set up a dinner in the midst of Parc do Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. The once small and "illegal" has grown into a massive must-attend night that has thousands of guests descending upon a secret location for a night of fun, laughter and great food. Currently, Diner en Blanc takes place in 30 different countries in over 80 major cities. The main attributes to Diner en Blanc are that everyone must be dressed in white, you must bring your own table, chairs and food and the location is kept completely a secret until you board the chartered bus. 

This year, Diner en Blanc 2019 was held on Thursday, August 8th at George Wainburn Park, which overlooks the gorgeous Yaletown Marina. Technically my friend and I were part of the "charter bus" group that was going to board a bus at David Lam Park, but we were massively duped because as it happens, the secret location was only a block over. Our "charter bus" group just ended up walking five minutes over to George Wainborn Park in Yaletown. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Vancouver's Hidden Lounge: Key Party

Local restauranteur Rachel Zottenberg, recently named one of Western Living's 2019 Foodies of the Year, is bring some much-needed excitement and thrills to Vancouver. Let's face it, Vancouver has a bit of a "no fun" reputation and a non-existent nightlife. The half-block on Granville Street basically sums it up! Sure, bubble tea and chic hipster cafes are yummy, but sometimes I just crave something more thrilling than the newest insta-worthy latte. 

Key Party is the newest addition to Zottenberg's already impressive portfolio of restaurants and lounges. Hidden behind the facade of Zottenberg & Son's Accounting is the most bougiee 1970's inspired cocktail lounge in Vancouver. Do not let the dusty facade of the boring accounting office that has been plucked straight from 70's fool you because the two spaces could not be more of a juxtaposition of one another! 

The under the radar lounge has no signage, so only those "in the know" actually know about it, but despite being incognito, Key Party is filled with patrons sipping cocktails. The lounge is gorgeous. Thick red velvet drapes cover the walls and flank a massive hand-painted mural of a woman trying to look demure while she casually drapes her naked body over a tiger. In the background, two other red-haired women are also nonchalantly hanging out in the nude and completely unfazed by the giant wild cat. If not for anything else, just go for the naked ladies in the mural! I also loved the Himalayan salt votives that covered the space making for a delightful glow and cozy atmosphere. Not to mention the crystal cut barware was stunning so no matter the drink, you are going to feel special sipping from those glasses. Even the spouted pitcher used for mixing cocktails was crystal! Definitely made me feel like I was at an opulent Great Gatsby party. 

The interior is a throwback to retro vintage vegas vibes. For atmosphere, I wanted to create a space where people could relax and meet new people. A place where you can just let go and have a good time.  
                                                                                          Rachel Zottenberg, Co-Owner of Key Party