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Where to Shop Vancouver

Eco-Friendly Glassware From Bowen Island Glass

By SHERI RADFORD

Old bottles get a new life at Bowen Island Glass

Old bottles get a new life at Bowen Island Glass

Denise Lockett was dismayed to learn that 80 percent of the glass returned to bottle depots still winds up at the dump, and this knowledge motivated the Bowen Island resident to act. The result is Bowen Island Glass. Running the gamut from bathroom vanity sets (pictured) to tumblers to hanging lanterns, the eye-catching creations are made from used glass bottles and feature many Canadian images, such as orcas, bears and kayakers. Recycling never looked so good.

Keep it Moving: Fitness Classes in Vancouver

Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast can be thrown off their game when travelling. Luckily, creative and convenient classes offer special drop-in rates tailor-made for visitors.

By LAURA DENNIS

Keep it moving while on vacation in Vancouver

There are plenty of ways to keep fit while on vacation in Vancouver

BARRE
Imagine the delicate and graceful movements of ballet combined with high-intensity strength training and conditioning. Barre Fitness takes elements from ballet, pilates and interval training to create a workout focused on total-body conditioning and the development of lean muscle mass. The hour-long classes make use of the barre (a stationary handrail about belly-button height), free weights, balls, straps and body weight to target specific muscle groups, followed by deep stretching. Enjoy upbeat music and encouraging instructors in the light and airy Yaletown studio. A perfect pirouette may never be in your future, but toned buns certainly are. Drop-in classes are $22 and can be reserved online. (more…)

Eco-Friendly Art at Reclaimed Print Co.

By SHERI RADFORD

Canvases and coasters sporting one of our favourite themes: Raincouver

Canvases and coasters sporting one of our favourite themes: Raincouver

Who says sustainability has to be boring and serious? The Reclaimed Print Co. uses locally milled sustainable wood in all of its quirky creations. Kat Walker, along with her brother-in-law, husband and father, handcrafts charming wood canvasses and coasters. Our fave designs have a Canadian theme: Raincouver (pictured), the East Van Cross, an inukshuk and ice hockey. Trendier folks prefer the hipster coaster collection, with its beard, bicycle, bow tie, glasses, moustache and pipe designs. And no one can resist the tall, skinny Grouse Lumberjack canvas.

Chic Boutique: much&little

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Delphine's designs exude a casual, West Coast vibe

Delphine’s designs exude a casual, West Coast vibe

Main Street’s much&little is a treasure trove, boasting shelves studded with gems that range from housewares to handicrafts. The bounty of beautiful goods favours unique items, and includes a selection of ladies’ apparel by independent and emerging designers such as LA-based Black Crane and Delphine (pictured). The light fabrics and elegant-yet-casual silhouettes will whip wardrobes into springtime shape, all with an unmistakable West Coast vibe.

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.

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.

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.

Tasteful Treats at ChocolaTas

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

At ChocolaTas, the decadent treats come in pretty souvenir tins

At ChocolaTas, the decadent treats come in pretty souvenir tins

If life is like a box of chocolates, we’d like it to be as sweet as ChocolaTas’ tinned confections. Landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock (pictured) adorn the outsides of the souvenir-worthy boxes, while an assortment of truffles and ganache in flavours such as whisky and pear, lavender, and champagne decorate the insides. So even if the treats disappear quickly, the tins will preserve memories of Vancouver long after the chocolates are gone.

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.

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.

Romantic Vancouver

With its backdrop of misty mountains and stunning shorelines, this city was made for sweethearts

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay. (Photo: KK Law)

9 Things to do for Sweethearts

1 Show off your triple Lutz while gliding around the outdoor rinks at Robson Square and Grouse Mountain.

2 Whip up a delectable meal in a couples cooking class at The Dirty Apron Cooking School.

3 Soak up a spectacular sunset at English Bay.

4 Tour Stanley Park and the seawall on a tandem bike from Spokes Bicycle Rentals.

5 Snuggle up on a sleigh ride through Grouse Mountain’s winter wonderland. Afterwards, warm up next to the fireplace with a steaming mug of hot cocoa.

6 Escape to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an enchanting oasis in the heart of Chinatown.

7 Snowshoe through Cypress Mountain’s snow-covered terrain, then warm up with cheese and chocolate fondue in historic Hollyburn Lodge.

8 Admire art, preferably hand in hand, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

9 Share a canvas and hand-crafted cocktail at Raw Canvas while creating a masterpiece in the “painting pit.”

(more…)