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Sheri Radford

Makes Scents: Vancouver Candle Co.

By SHERI RADFORD

Inhale the scents of Point Grey and Gastown with these handmade candles from Vancouver Candle Co.

Inhale the scents of Point Grey and Gastown with these handmade candles from Vancouver Candle Co.

Nick Rabuchin has always loved scented candles; what he’s never liked are the toxic chemicals most of them emit. He created the Vancouver Candle Co. as an eco-friendly alternative. Using the traditional methods of olden days, he makes small batches of soy-wax candles by hand, using 100% cotton wicks and perfume-grade fragrance oils. Each candle’s scent evokes a specific area of the city, such as jasmine, tuberose, lemon and sandalwood for Kitsilano, or white tea, black currant, lavender and thyme for Strathcona. Follow your nose to Kiss & Makeup or Holt Renfrew.

Weekend Brunch at L’Abattoir

By SHERI RADFORD

An array of brunch items at L'Abattoir

An array of brunch items at L’Abattoir

If you’re more of a late riser than an early bird, then this is for you. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., L’Abattoir dishes up mouth-watering meals such as buttermilk pancakes, poached eggs with smoked pork belly, and Dungeness crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Can’t-miss selections from the bar include the Bloody Alley (a variation on the classic Bloody Mary) and the Bourbon Cinnamon Toast Milk Punch (with cereal-infused cream, bourbon and cocoa bitters). The early bird may get the worm, but it’s the sleepyheads and late risers who get the tasty brunch.

H&M Loves Coachella

By SHERI RADFORD

Bright t-shirt from the H&M Loves Coachella clothing collection

Bright t-shirt from the H&M Loves Coachella clothing collection

Even if a trip to the Golden State isn’t part of next month’s travel plans, you can still look like you’ve been to Coachella to hear AC/DC, Jack White and Drake perform. In H&M stores starting Mar. 19, the H&M Loves Coachella collection includes everything necessary for a bohemian music-festival look, from tops to pants to shorts, with fringe and lace aplenty. Rock on.

Rest & Relaxation

By SHERI RADFORD

After (or even instead of) a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing like a little R&R

Stretch it out at YYoga

Stretch it out at YYoga

Say “Om”
Students of yoga are drawn to Whistler by the laid-back vibe and stunning natural beauty, but practising outdoors isn’t very appealing amidst the snowdrifts at this time of year. Instead, head inside to get your downward dog on—or just skip straight to savasana. YYoga, Yama Yoga and Yogacara all offer an assortment of styles to suit every taste, everything from intense power to sweaty hot to meditative yin, and the Lululemon store here regularly offers free classes.

Enjoy the outdoors at Scandinave Spa (Photo: Scandinave Spa/Tourism Whistler)

Enjoy outdoor luxury at Scandinave Spa. (Photo: Scandinave Spa/Tourism Whistler)

Get Pampered
Who doesn’t love to get cosseted like a queen? Vida Spa, The Spa, The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge and Avello Spa all offer massages, facials and other indulgences. To get treated like royalty—quite literally—head to Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, which specializes in treatments inspired by the ancient royal court traditions of Java and Bali. If outdoor luxury is more your style, Scandinave Spa obliges with alfresco Scandinavian baths, waterfalls and saunas.

Enjoy pure relaxation in a sensory deprivation pod

Pure relaxation can be found in a sensory deprivation pod

Do Nothing
Reduced gravity plus sensory deprivation plus a whole lot of Epsom salt equals unparalleled relaxation. Imagine floating peacefully in warm, heavily salted water for 90 minutes, with no sights, no sounds, no smells. That’s what West Coast Float has to offer, and Whistler’s only floatation therapy centre has been proving immensely popular with locals and visitors alike who want to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and recover from injuries. Who’d have guessed nothingness could be so enriching?

Nickelback at Rogers Arena

By SHERI RADFORD

Local rockers Nickelback head to Rogers Arena. (Photo: Michael Muller)

Local rockers Nickelback head to Rogers Arena. (Photo: Michael Muller)

Are you ready to rock? On Mar. 15, Nickelback raises the roof of Rogers Arena. The local boys bring their distinctive hybrid of grunge, alternative and metal to their home base of Vancouver, playing hits such as “How You Remind Me.” Though they started their career as a cover band called the Village Idiots, way back in the 1990s, they’ve come a long way since then, selling more than 50 million records worldwide. “Rockstar”? Absolutely.

Runway Ready With Pai Skincare

By SHERI RADFORD

The Anywhere Essentials Collection by Pai Skincare

The Anywhere Essentials Collection in Instant Calm, by Pai Skincare

Travelling and want to look your best? Plane trips can wreak all sorts of havoc, especially on sensitive skin. Fortunately, Pai Skincare has a solution—four solutions, in fact. The popular British brand of certified-organic products includes four Anywhere Essentials Collections, small enough to fit in carry-on luggage. Each collection targets a specific type of skin: very sensitive or redness-prone (Instant Calm, pictured); dry and dehydrated (Pure Hydration); oily, combination or blemish-prone (Perfect Balance); very dry or showing signs of aging (Age Confidence)—which means skincare products can stay hard at work even while you’re on vacation. Buy online at www.paiskincare.com or www.freshfaced.ca.

Big and Beautiful: Sephora’s Newest Flagship

By SHERI RADFORD

Sephora's new Robson Street location is Canada's largest

Sephora’s new Robson Street location is Canada’s largest

Whether your goal is superb skin, a perfect pout, terrific tresses or a fabulous fragrance, your destination should be Canada’s largest Sephora, which opened a few months ago on Robson Street. The huge store stocks all the beauty brands you know and love, as well as harder-to-find ones such as Make Up For Ever, Kat Von D Beauty and Bare Minerals. Indulge in a mini makeover, get your hair styled, and customize an Atelier fragrance bottle with engraving, done on-site. Shopaholics, better warm up those credit cards for what will no doubt be a big shopping spree.

Mouth-Watering Movies at MARKET

By SHERI RADFORD

The Shangri-La Hotel's Blue Moon Theatre

The Shangri-La Hotel’s Blue Moon Theatre

Looking for the perfect date night? MARKET by Jean-Georges can help, with its popular Movies at MARKET evenings. Each one starts in the Shangri-La Hotel’s private Blue Moon Theatre (pictured) with the viewing of a food-focussed film, which inspires the four-course dinner that follows. Upcoming selections include The Hundred-Foot Journey (Mar. 6 and 7), about an upstart Indian restaurant that opens 100 feet from a classical—and very snooty—French restaurant; and Entre les Bras (Apr. 3 and 4), a French documentary about a star chef handing over his award-winning restaurant to his son. Film fans and foodies couldn’t ask for a more perfect evening.

Chloë Angus: A Life in Design

Chloë Angus’s winding path from small-town girl to fashion designer

By SHERI RADFORD

Chloë Angus, hard at  work in her gorgeous  new studio and showroom  on East 6th Avenue. (Photo: KK Law)

Chloë Angus, hard at work in her gorgeous new studio and showroom on East 6th Avenue. (Photo: KK Law)

The best way to fuel creativity is to grow up without a television, a phone or even electricity. At least, that’s how it worked for Chloë Angus. What the local fashion designer did have as a child was a small Singer sewing machine—and encouragement from her mother. “There were five kids in my family,” Angus says. “I think my mom was just happy to keep us busy doing different things.” Angus sewed clothes for herself and her dolls, along with “anything I could talk my brothers into wearing on Halloween.”

The family ran an organic seafood farm on the Sunshine Coast, 13.5 km (8.5 mi) by boat from the nearest small town, Egmont. When Angus was 12, she got a summer job working in Egmont’s one consignment store, but she made more money selling t-shirts she’d designed than from her wage. “I would catch live fish and paint them with some fabric paint, and I would press them into the shirt. And I signed on it that it was from Egmont, BC.”

After graduating high school, the bright lights of the big city drew Angus to Vancouver. “I spent most of my childhood scheming how I was going to get out of the small town and into the city. It’s funny, because now I spend most of my adult life scheming how I’m going to get back,” she says. After travelling around and exploring the world a bit, she—almost on a whim—started up a landscaping company and built it into a successful business. “Landscaping is about colour and balance and fitting into somebody else’s ideas with your own aesthetic. And a lot of hard work.”

As her 30th birthday loomed ever closer on the horizon, Angus did some soul searching and decided it was time to revisit her first love, fashion. She signed up for a one-year program at the prestigious Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. Angus credits her farming background with giving her the work ethic (not to mention the stamina) to juggle a demanding school program, a thriving landscaping business, and a new marriage.

As a newly minted fashion graduate, Angus caught the attention of a buyer for The Bay, Canada’s most venerated retail institution. She designed several collections for The Bay’s Canadian by Design department. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sketch for a spring design. (Photo: KK Law)

Sketch for a spring design. (Photo: KK Law)

Over the past 11 years, Angus has gone from toiling away on her designs in her basement, to a small office downtown, to a larger studio on Dunbar Street, to her current 280-sq-m (3,000-sq-ft) studio on 6th Avenue. She designs everything from t-shirts to fancy wedding dresses (just two or three each summer, for a few lucky brides), and an extraordinary amount of time and care go into each one: “We spend weeks on fitting a simple t-shirt—a t-shirt that looks as good on an extra-small as it does on a triple-extra-large.” Best known are her Spirit Wraps, the result of a creative collaboration with local First Nations artists such as Clarence Mills (Haida) and Corrine Hunt (Tlingit). Angus is also the fashion sponsor for the Leo Awards (BC’s version of the Academy Awards) here in Vancouver, and she loves dressing the trophy models and some of the actresses: “It gives me the opportunity to be over-the-top creative in any way that I want to be.” When actresses sometimes hesitate at the fancier gowns, “I always tell them it never hurts to be the best dressed lady at the party.” Recently, Angus had her first chance to design all of the costumes for a movie, a shot-in-Vancouver short comedy called I Wanna Date U.

Even as Chloë Angus Design grows and evolves, one thing that will never change is Angus’s commitment to staying in Vancouver. She finds design inspiration in the city’s natural beauty, and she loves the climate here compared to the rest of the country: “It might be raining really hard out today, but it’s not snowing,” she says. “I am a true Vancouverite. I own a nice collection of gumboots. I like umbrellas. I have a really fabulous raincoat coming out for fall 2015. I don’t like parkas. I think the rest of Canada is pretty much uninhabitable most of the year.”

The other place Angus finds inspiration? Beautiful fabrics. “Often I see a piece of fabric and it just talks to me. It says, ‘Make me into this.’ And I know right away what I will do with it.”

With any luck, Angus will continue finding inspiration for many decades to come.

Find Spirit Wraps at The Gallery Store and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. To see an array of Angus’s creations, visit Chloë Angus Design.

A Must for Travellers

By SHERI RADFORD

The ultra-handy Moshi IonBank 10k

The ultra-handy Moshi IonBank 10k

If you rely on your electronics—whether for an important phone call or for entertaining a cranky kid—there’s nothing worse than watching the battery indicator drop to zero. Frequent travellers know to bring Moshi’s IonBank 10K on every trip. This handy device can charge a smartphone multiple times and give a tablet enough juice for an extra seven or eight hours. It can even charge two devices at a time. And it’s easy-peasy to recharge this mobile battery: simply plug it into any USB wall or car charger. Crisis averted. Available at Mac Station or www.moshi.com.

Jackets to Warm Up Winter

By SHERI RADFORD

This heated jacket from DEWALT will keep you warm

Heated jackets from DEWALT keep ski bunnies warm

What’s better than a thick jacket to wear in ice-cold weather? A heated jacket from DEWALT. Hot new styles this season include a women’s jacket with a removable hood (pictured), a khaki jacket with a hood, and two styles of hoodies. Each one incorporates a battery to provide hours of heat, which means outdoor adventurers can stay toasty warm longer than ever before. Available at Canadian Tire and Amazon.

Best Books on Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Read one (or all) of these new books and you’ll be sounding like a Vancouverite in no time

The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour

The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour

The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour by Donald Olson ($31.95): Discover the 60 best green spaces to visit in BC, Washington and Oregon, including Stanley Park and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. (more…)