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Jill Von Sprecken

Land of Smiles

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A relaxing getaway is closer than you think.

A relaxing escape is closer than you think.

There’s nothing like a traditional massage on one of Thailand’s beautiful beaches, but the Phuket room at Smile Thai Wellness is a close second. The beach-themed oasis is one of 14 treatment rooms that are inspired by destinations across the Southeast Asian kingdom. Traditional Thai massage draws from its 2,500-year history, working to harmonize and align the body’s energies through compression, acupressure and actively stretching aching limbs into glorious submission. Expect to feel relaxed and invigorated. That means more energy for sightseeing, even if the sights are inside another of the spa’s tranquil treatment rooms.

Au Naturel

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Give your frazzled curls a tropical vacation

Give your frazzled curls a tropical vacation

An island getaway can be as close as your shower with Maui Moisture’s vegan haircare products. Say aloha to nourished locks with shampoos, conditioners, masks and mists that replace water—often the main ingredient—with aloe juice. Plus, tropics-inspired ingredients like coconut water, macadamia oil and pineapple extract leave no room for parabens, sulfates and synthetic dyes. To stock up, take a trip to London Drugs or Shoppers Drug Mart.

Runway Ready

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A bright future for every face

A powerful tool in a petite package

For an elixir that protects and energizes skin from take-off to touch-down, try Bare Minerals’ Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum. This pick-me-up is spiked with antioxidant manganese to combat environmental stress, plus vitamin C for a brighter and more refreshed complexion. Age-defying chai hu and olive leaf extract enhance skin’s resilience. All that in one carry-on-friendly package. Find this multi-tasker at Sephora.

Beyond the Lens

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Piling Patterns" by Kenneth Gillespie

“Piling Patterns” by Kenneth Gillespie

Skilled shutterbugs go beyond point-and-shoot photography in Allegory (Apr. 13 to May 6). Kenneth Gillespie’s sculptural snaps (“Piling Patterns,” pictured) invite interpretation, and use technology to render the image as envisioned by the artist. On the other end of the spectrum, Julie Prescott presents unaltered images with a reflective tone. See pieces by both artists at Deer Lake Gallery.

Snap-Happy

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"MOA 03/18/14" by Robert Earnest

“MOA 03/18/14” by Robert Earnest

There’s no shortage of photo ops at the Capture Photography Festival (Apr. 1 to 28), a snapshot spectacular featuring the works of local and international artists at over 70 galleries around Vancouver. And that’s not all—take part in tours, panel discussions and artist talks, explore public installations, and delve deeper at film screenings. To see the city through a new lens, visit photo-based exhibits like Pendulum Gallery’s Last Night (Apr. 17 to May 12), which showcases the mysterious works of night wanderer Robert Earnest (“MOA 03/18/14,” pictured). Shutterbugs, rejoice.

Eating on the Edge

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Dine down at Wild Wood Pacific Bistro. (Photo: Darby Magill)

Dine down at Wild Wood Pacific Bistro. (Photo: Darby Magill)

Take taste buds off the beaten track at Wild Wood Pacific Bistro. This cozy eatery is a favourite with locals for out-of-the-box brunches like banana bread French toast and nine—that’s right, nine—varieties of eggs Benny. But the menu goes way beyond brunch. Dig into baby back ribs, smothered in Canadian whisky and maple syrup BBQ sauce, or antipasti with panko-crusted goat cheese. Now that’s a walk on the wild side.

 

Artist Statement

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Spaced Invaders" by Sonny Assu

“Spaced Invaders” by Sonny Assu

In an era where street art is around every corner, Sonny Assu’s graffiti-esque tags stand out. Except his canvas isn’t brick—it’s Emily Carr’s famed paintings. In We Come to Witness: Sonny Assu in Dialogue with Emily Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery (to Apr. 23), Assu interrupts Carr’s works by adding Kwakwaka’wakw-style formline elements, reaffirming First Nations’ place in her landscapes.

High Impact

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Salmon Panel" by Susan Point.

“Salmon Panel” by Susan Point.

In the Coast Salish language, the closest word to “art” is “x ˘al,” a reference to the feeling derived from making a mark. It’s a definition that perfectly suits boundary-bending Musqueam artist Susan Point and a career spent making her mark on paper, glass, wood—and, of course, First Nations art. Known for blending traditional Coast Salish motifs with non-traditional techniques, Point creates intricate, modern works that are sure to leave an impression (“Salmon Panel,” pictured). Find an array of the famed artist’s eye-catching pieces in X ˘al: Making Her Mark at Coastal Peoples Gallery until Mar. 30.

Made For Each Other

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Postmark Blonde and Sevens IPA await the action.

Postmark Blonde and Sevens IPA await the action.

Beer and rugby—it’s a match made in sporting heaven. Especially when it’s a local brew, crafted to team up with the fast-paced HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series that takes the city by storm Mar. 11 and 12. The limited-edition Sevens IPA from Postmark Brewing can be found throughout the province, including at BC Place, the action-packed epicentre. The accessible IPA takes a balanced approach to hops, so it’s as easy to drink as the Rugby Sevens are exciting to watch. Sounds like the perfect pairing.

On a High Note

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Enjoy the view at the summit lodge. (Photo: Keegan Pearson Photography)

Enjoy the view at the summit lodge. (Photo: Keegan Pearson Photography)

Want that top-of-the-world feeling? At the Sea to Sky Gondola, it’s just a 10-minute ride away. Perched 885 m (2,900 ft) above sea level, the summit lodge is a jumping-off point for further adventures, with pristine trails perfect for hiking and snowshoeing. The young—and young at heart—slide at the tube park, while experienced skiers glide into the backcountry. Others simply settle in for the breathtaking views of Howe Sound. Paradise, found.

Winterruption

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Warm up with live entertainment at Winterruption. (Photo: Granville Island)

Warm up with live entertainment at Winterruption. (Photo: Granville Island)

If winter has you feeling left out in the cold, don’t miss Winterruption (Feb. 17 to 19, 2017). Back for its 12th year, this festival puts a freeze on the winter blues with a line-up of live music, theatre, dance and more. Grab a hot chocolate and watch artist Ola Volo’s mural come to life, take in performances by the Vancouver TheatreSports League, catch a pop-up dance or enjoy the laid-back jazz of Black Gardenia. Or simply wander Granville Island, pop into the Public Market and start warming up to spring.

A Sweet Story

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Biting into a perfectly crisp, flaky pastry can certainly feel like a life-changing experience, but in the case of Jackie Kai Ellis, that indulgence actually helped the Beaucoup Bakery owner whip up a new life. When Ellis flew to Paris to study pastry making at École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, she left behind her life as a graphic designer with her own firm. The catalyst? A cookie. (more…)