Monday 26 September 2016

Local Love | Mobi Bike Share Program

Mobi Bike! I like the baskets, as you can see, I have my backpack in the basket. 
Hello Dolls!

There is something new, blue and on two wheels that have been popping up all over Vancouver this summer: Mobi Bike Share! The Vancouver bike sharing program had its soft opening on July 20th. At that time, only "founding members," the first adopters who chose to purchase a year pass had access to the program only. Not to worry if you did not grab a founding members pass, Mobi has now gone public and everyone can hop on a Mobi Bike with a daily or monthly pass. 

As the summer goes on, Mobi plans on expanding from its current 64 stations with 600+ bikes to a total of 150 stations with 1,500 bikes. At this time, Mobi services are within the downtown peninsula; bounded by Arbutus street and 16th avenue and Main street. Expect to see a Mobi bike station every 2 to 3 blocks. 

I decided to check out Mobi bikes to find out how the bike sharing program works, as well as, why bike sharing is a great option. 

Starting with why it is amazing that Vancouver now has a bike sharing option!

If you study at UBC or ride a bike as your daily commute in Vancouver, you are probably well aware of the ridiculously high number of bike thefts that take place within the lower mainland. I am not exaggerating, just this past year, 2015, a total of 3,132 reports of stolen bikes were filed with the Vancouver Police Department. When I was on the Varsity Men's Rowing team at UBC, my coach came in one practice with a gorgeous brand new carbon fiber frame bike. Unfortunately, none of us even imagined that my coach's bike would be stolen within the week. More astonishingly, a friend of mine had his bike stolen right from inside his own work office! Now that is ludicrous! 

I refuse to ride a bike without a helmet, so it is amazing that every Mobi bike has a helmet with them. They may not be the most stylish accessory to wear, but they can save you in a fatal accident.
A bike share program is really going to help alleviate the stress of having your bike stolen as well as being tampered with. Furthermore, Vancouver has great weather year round and we have a lot of bike infrastructure in place. Such as the numerous bike lanes along main roads as well as the sea walls making Vancouver a prime candidate for a bike share program. The Vancouver demographic is health conscious, outdoorsy and is always at the forefront of environmental initiatives. The Mobi bikes are really going to help reduce our carbon foot print and hopefully traffic congestion. 

I put Mobi to the test and went for a bike ride around downtown to figure out what I liked and things that I was not too sure about. Here are my thoughts:
  • The France-manufactured bikes are very sturdy, but the bikes frames are on the heavier side. 
  • Checking out the bike from the station was fairly simple. Scanned the Mobi fob, entered the pin and the bike was unlocked. 
  • I like how they were smart about putting the bike lock into the handle bars to save space. Therefore, if you do need to lock up the bike for a quick moment, you simply pull out the bike lock from the handlebars. 
  • Though helmets are provided, the current ones are pretty big. No matter how tight I made the straps, the helmet would fall forward or back. Furthermore, the helmets are sanitized only once a week and deep cleaned once a month. Mobi does plan on providing helmet liners in the future. They also plan on getting new helmets that will hopefully fit my small head better. 
  • I spin bike quite a bit, so I found the gears on the bike really did not provide much resistance. However, if you tend to not bike often, the 7 available gears should be enough. 
  • All of the bikes frames are the same size with adjustable seat heights. I am 5ft 1inch TALL and I had to have the bike seat all the way to the bottom. Perhaps Mobi can look into providing two different sizes?
  • I like how there is a basket on the front to store your bag/items as well the bungee cords ensure your items will not fall out during your ride. 
  • If you look closely, you will notice a light on the rear bike cover. The light automatically turns on while you are pedalling. I really like this feature as it will definitely increase your visibility if you biking in the dark to alert any motorists/pedestrians as well as other bikers around of your presence. 
  • If I have trouble with using Mobi, it is great to know that there is 24/7 support available. 
  • A hinderance to using Mobi would be their price point. It practically matches the already very steep Translink pricing and far exceeds other bike sharing program in Canada. I would like to see it become more accessible not just in location, but also in affordability. 
To retrieve a bike from a station, you use the keypad on the handlebar.
The helmets secure to the bike via the bike lock.
I definitely see the bike sharing program proliferating in Vancouver. The program is still very new and will most likely go through a lot of fine tuning and adjustments to suit Vanocuverites best. I hope to see Mobi achieve the meaning behind their name "more bikes" since it is a healthy commuter choice and also has the added benefit of reducing traffic congestion. 


Saturday 24 September 2016

7 Lattes & Wishies | Autumn Loves!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 

Hello Autumn!

The transition from the warm sunfilled days to chillier grey days can be frustrating. Especially if you are like me and prefer shorts over pants any day. In fact, my employer will attest to me begrudgingly changing into slacks at the beginning of all my shifts. 

But once I accept that I will need to wear pants and put my cute little shorts in storage till it is warm again, Autumn is in fact a beautiful time of the year! The changing of the leaves from crisp bright green to warm reds, oranges and yellows is stunning. It is also a time of warm hot cocoa accompanied by spiced apple pies. It is a cozy season when you get to pull out your knitted sweaters and cute boots. My birthday also happens to be during autumn, so of course I love fall! 

There are some things that just go hand in hand with autumn. When I think of fall, I imagine myself cozy in a thick knitted wool sweater with my fingers wrapped around a cute mug. Of course, I will be sipping the ultimate fall drink - a Pumpkin Spice Latte! Hate me, but we all love pumpkin spice lattes! My favourite sweaters are from Aritzia since the majority of their sweaters are knit with natural fibers such as merino wool, cashmere, and cotton. Natural fibers are just far cozier than polyester will be as well, merino wall blend sweaters are amazingly soft! I think it is time I grabbed myself a monogrammed mug because I am a little possessive when it comes to drink ware. Hopefully with the cute "G" on this mug, it will hinder others from borrowing my mug. 

My ears are quite sensitive to the cold, so my favourite go to accessory during the cool days are knitted toques with a big pom pom on top. I just find them really cute! Alongside my toques, I love wearing knee length riding boots. A good pair of leather boots can dress up any outfit. I am dying for this Tory Burch pair because they have an iconic equestrian riding boot shape. As the days cool down, I pull out my jackets. Early fall is still too warm for parkas and wool coats, but you still need a light jacket. Trench coats can really bring together an outfit and nothing is more iconic than the Burberry trench coat. Fingers crossed that I can save enough money and get myself one as a birthday present to me!

When it is a rainy evening, I like to spend them indoors curled up in a blanket as I watch Netflix. This one is a little weird, I sort of really want to get a silk robe to lounge around in on those days in! Haha 

I am really excited for autumn and cannot wait for my birthday! Let me know in the comments below what you love about autumn and what items are a must for you during the season! 


Monday 19 September 2016

Edible Obsessions | Dinner at the Nook

Hi Dolls!

Sometimes, you just need some classic comforting italian food for dinner. I was craving just that, pefectly al dente pasta with some hand tossed thing crust oven fired pizza. I was on the west end of Robson st when I spotted Nook out of the corner of my eye. I have been wanting to try Nook for quite sometime and perhaps it was meant to be that night!

Nook is an adorable little italian restaurant with amazing energy. You will see the crackling fire in the back where the Pizza Chefs prepare their decadent savoury pies. Unfortunately, like all the amazing restaurants who have limited seating, there are no reseravations at Nook. Be prepared to wait for a table and I highly suggest groups of less than 4 or you may end up waiting a long time for a table. 

Between my friend and I, we got the Ricotta pizza as well as two different pastas, the Caserrecce and Campanelle. The pizza was delicious! This was probably my first time having a white sauce pizza and I can definitely see myself ordering another one in the future. I also appreciate the Chefs at Nook being generous with the toppings because I hate when I get a pizza that was so little toppings that the pizza is essentially a cheese pizza. 

The Ricotta Pizza had a layer of white ricotta sauce which was covered by baby spinach. The pizza was finished with chopped olives, and sweet roasted garlic cloves. Be sure to ask for their chili oil. Drizzle it over your slice for more flavour!

The Caserrece is a fabulous red sauce pasta tossed with italian sausage, roasted fennel, chopped olives, tomatoes and for a little kick, chilies. This was probably the winner for me. It had great flavour and was different from pastas I have had in the past. 

The Campanelle was an olive oil based pasta with broccolini, pine nuts and Calabrian chilies. It was my first time trying a pasta with olive oil as the sauce. I liked the broccolini in the pasta; however, since there was no sauce and only olive oil, I found the Campanelle to be bland. Of course, just because I did not like it, does not mean you will not! I guess I am more of a suace sort of person! 

We were left stuffed from this meal and actually had no room for dessert! I know...CRAZY! I passed up dessert! 

I might try out Nook's second location in Kitsilano as they have a couple of different pastas. I also really just want to try their classic spaghetti Pomodoro!


Friday 16 September 2016

Local Love | Rainbow Mural at Ian Tan Gallery

Local Love! The stunning vibrant mural embracing all the colours of the spectrum is now complete along South Granville!
Hello Dolls,

South Granville is a lovely neighbourhood in Vancouver brimming with adorable boutiques, restaurants and artisans. Over the summer, a new mural went up on the side of Ian Tan's Gallery. The mural first caught my eye when it was only quarter complete. Now all four parts of the mural have been painted and it is a fabulous wall that is hard to miss when you are driving along South Granville. 

The artwork is by the Hamilton, Ontario painter, Kristofir Dean. The vibrancy and boldness of using rich hues of colour in organised lines really drew me into his work. I looked into Kristofir's inspiration for his work and his goal of bringing the full-colour spectrum to the forefront in a world that has become fixated with neutral tones. It is true because when I go downtown, the majority of the pedestrians are wearing black/grey/white clothing. There is no hue and is honestly boring in a world that is bursting with colour! The biggest example would be to look at nature. Fruits and vegetables are all rich vibrant hues; yet, we have gravitated towards "safe" black and white. 

A total of 4 colourful pieces now adorn the north-facing exterior wall of the Ian Tan Art Gallery. All four of the pieces for the mural are bright vibrant colours, but with varying tones for each. My favourite out of the four is probably the far left piece. I like the order of the colours in the far left painting. I love how the bottom begins with the beautiful tones of turquoise and greens to meet warmer shades in the middle and finally ending with cool tones of blues and greens at the very top. The shades of colours used in this piece are bright, but still paired with some softer shades. 

With each of the four pieces composed from 34 different coloured stripes that are bisected at a diagonal. At the bisect, the stripe switches from one tone of the colour to a darker or lighter shade of that same colour; therefore, each piece actually has 68 different shades! Now that is a huge spectrum of colours! 

Kristofir decided to compose his pieces with all the colours radiating from one focal point to the bisect at which point the beams of colour bend and diverge inward. He hopes the movement of the colours stimulates the viewers mind, heart as well as spirit. 

It is great to see Kristofir tackling something as simple as bringing more colour to our monochromatic world. Colours have an integral significance to all facets of life. A shade of colour in food, fashion, spirituality and even business logos have a huge impact on how we perceive it from a visual standpoint. Colours are quite impactful such as when we see a yellow sunflower, we immediately feel the urge from the uplifting bright tones of yellow. 

"I paint these colourful pieces to bring the spectrum back to the home and the wall, transforming the space by adding visual spice." - Kristofir Dean

I am seriously in love with all of the new mural additions to the lower mainland. Check out my posts on Ola Volo's South Granville mural as well as The Vancouver Mural Festival for more local love! 


Sunday 11 September 2016

Chic Finds | Aritzia Warehouse Sale Purchases

Boling Blanket Scarf | originally $85 on sale for $39.99
Hey Dolls,

Last week I made my way over to the infamous annual Aritzia warehouse sale for the best bargains of the year. The warehouse sale is humongous with racks upon racks of deeply discounted clothing and accessories. I scoured the racks and dug through the giant piles of discarded clothing by other shoppers for pieces that would only add to my current wardrobe. 

I have been shopping at Aritzia since grade 8, meaning over 10 years! In those years, it has become very apparent that Aritzia loves to bring back the same styles season after season. Therefore, a lot of the items at the sale I frankly already owned. I would say a good fifty percent of the racks contained a style that returns each season at Aritzia. Keeping that in mind, I got a little annoyed because I did not want to buy something I already own. 

Two hours later, I walked out proud and excited of the trendy new pieces I get to add to my closet! I grabbed a total of 4 items and spent just over a $100. 

If you read my tips on shopping sales blog post, you know that I like to go in with a clear idea of what pieces I need in my wardrobe. Furthermore, I set myself a budget in the hopes of not walking away with clothing that will remain in my closet unworn with tags still attached. 

Ellis Pants | Originally $95 on sale for $29.99
I knew I wanted to grab a pair of chic professional trousers for work. I spotted a rack of the Ellis Pants and made a beeline for it. I snatched up a size 2 in a classic khaki shade for $29.99. An unbelievable price considering the Ellis pant retails for $95 at Aritzia! 

The accessories at the warehouse sale are in cardboard boxes in the middle of the venue. If you want cute accessories, you are going to have to be willing to dig through the cardboard boxes while simultaneously keeping an eye out on other boxes that girls are digging through. Haha because I spotted the red and black plaid blanket scarf when another girl had flung it aside as she was searching through a box. Needless to say, I immediately snatched it up. I am still in awe that I found this blanket scarf at the warehouse sale because I have really wanted this scarf since I first spotted it last year. All the blanket scarves at the sale were marked for $39.99. The Boling scarf retails for $85, so I am happy to get the 100% wool scarf at half the price. 

On sale for $9.99
The blue triangle scarf with the tassels on all three corners is made from a lightweight cotton with a fun colourful print. I do not know what the scarf is called and I cannot find it on I think this scarf is a great addition to my accessories as it is a great way to add a pop of colour to a simple outfit. Also, it was on sale for $9.99. This is probably the one item where I was like okay, the sale is too good, I need to have it hahaha!

Originally $35 on sale for $14.99
The blue Wilfred tank is the last piece I purchased from the warehouse sale. The cut is very flattering and being a solid blue shade makes this tank a great basic to have in any wardrobe. I have already worn it with just a pair of black skinny jeans. Originally for $35, at the sale, I got it for $14.99. 

I am really happy with the four items I purchased from the Warehouse Sale. Of course, I wish I had more money because I had to put back a huge amount of the pieces that I ended up with. I cannot wait for their big winter You Snooze You Loose sale after boxing day. I am actually going to start saving up and putting aside some money for the winter sale now because I hate when I cannot get everything that I wanted, but that is life hahaha! 

Let me know in the comments below if you went to the sale and what pieces you snagged! This is totally random, but I find it really bizarre that the original prices at Aritzia are always whole numbers, but at the warehouse sale, all the markdown end with 99 cents! I know so random, but it is annoying!


Saturday 10 September 2016

Iced Delights | Beta 5 Mango Bubble Tea Sundae

Beta 5 Ice Cream Social September 10th, 2016 | Mango Bubble Tea Sundae
Hey Dolls!

I have been waiting for the return of this sundae and Beta 5 has finally decided to repeat their Mango Bubble Tea Sundae! I was extremely bummed when I missed out on this sundae flavour earlier this year for Mother's day. I was mortified because Mango is my favourite fruit and Milk Tea Bubble Tea is delicious; therefore, this flavour combination is AMAZING. 

The mango sorbet was smooth and bursting with fresh mango flavour which was offset by the creamy milk tea ice cream. The two flavours complimented one another really well. Also, I was thrilled by how well Beta 5 achieved the classic milk tea bubble tea flavour in their ice cream! It honestly tasted just like the drink itself with the same aftertaste and everything! 

Another stunning arrangement by Garden Party Flowers which happen to be Beta 5's neighbours!
For toppings, the Beta 5 team kept with the bubble tea theme and did classic tapioca pearls which are iconic to the Taiwanese drink. Tapioca pearls are really chewy and honestly do not have much of a taste. There was also fresh mango compote - YUM as well as some fresh baked Japanese milk bread toast! I actually scooped the ice cream and sorbet onto the toast to eat, really added some great crunchy texture. 

I seriously should have gone back for a second Mango Bubble Tea Sundae!
Lastly, some of their delicious chantilly cream, but this time infused with condensed milk! This bubble tea sundae would not be complete without the "bubble tea straw." The wider diameter of the straws lets you eat the tapioca pearls as you sip on your bubble tea. 

There are still more sundaes to come; however, I would totally be content with having the mango bubble tea sundae as the last flavour of the summer! It was honestly that good and definitely lives up to its reputation!