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East Van’s Housewives Of Hip Hop Kicking It On Tik Tok

17 Jan

Truth be told, we are not big fans of reality TV shows and even the mention of the housewives shows make our eyes glaze over. Then something caught our eye on a scroll through Instagram recently and we were hooked, East Van’s very own Housewives of Hip Hop.   These ladies we can get behind.  They are 6 moms brought together by their love of dance and having fun. Along their journey, they have built meaningful friendships as an added bonus.

It all started 6 years ago when the moms were dropping their kids off at Boogaloo Academy for a dance class. The ladies decided the kids were having all the fun and they wanted in on some of that. Soon after, the owner of Boogaloo Academy, Jheric Hizon, taught them some hip hop moves which they then performed at a studio year end dance and that’s where the journey took off.  In 2018, they entered some dance competitions in the “adult street dance” category and next thing you know, the ladies won 2 silver medals and invites to perform at the WestCoast Women’s Show and the Victoria Women’s Show.

So who are the women behind the Housewives of Hip Hop?  There are 6 women in total, Kerrie, Mirella, Alexa, Jen, Julie and Natalie.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they have been unable to dance as a group in studio, so 3 of the East Van moms who live close to each other have been dancing in back lanes, carports and parks in various parts of East Van getting their grove on to some great tunes. For those who danced their way through the 80s and 90s, you’ll recognize a number of songs. The music takes us back to a much simpler time in life, a lot to be said for that in a pandemic.

To date, the Housewives of Hip Hop have 2.7 million views on TikTok. You can check them out there, or give them a follow on Instagram @thehousewivesofhophop to cheer them on. Most video clips are 12 -15 seconds.

The Housewives of Hip Hop also have a message they wish to share with women of all ages. Find something that brings you joy.  They would like to inspire others to be true themselves, have fun and follow their passions.  They have secretly found theirs.

Photos & Video: Courtesy of The Housewives Of Hip Hop

Exhibition & Book Launch The Poetry Project – Parker Art Salon January 7 – 31, 2021

8 Jan

ParkerArtSalon in collaboration with Beedie Luminaries is hosting a new Poetry Project Exhibition and Book Launch at the new GALLERY GEORGE at 990 George Street, directly across from Parker Street Studios.

Beedie Luminaries students were invited to participate in this Project by submitting a work of poetry, inspired by a selection of art provided by the ParkerArtSalon. The poems will be exhibited with the corresponding artwork by the Parker artists. The result makes for two completely different creative ventures.  The aim is to encourage viewers to slow down as the words expand upon a visual idea, providing a more personal experience with the art.

Connecting the dots: Throughout the exhibition which runs January 7 to 31, pink dots will indicate select pieces of artwork, proceeds of which will be shared with BC Women’s Health Foundation. To view the art is free, but you must book a time slot through Eventbrite.

The poetry project books will be available for purchase at George Gallery, 990 George Street for $25.00.

Taste of Main: Charcuterie Boards Support Main Street Businesses & The Food Bank

8 Dec

Every once and a while something creative and unique crosses our path that makes us go, yes! Love this! Taste of Main is one of those. What is it exactly? Taste of Main is a not-for-profit run by university students currently living across the country who grew up near Main Street. They wanted to do something to give back this holiday season. They’ve pooled their talents and reached out to partner with Main Street businesses to offer locally-sourced charcuterie boards to be delivered as gifts. They have curated appetizers from a number of Main Street businesses including Swiss Bakery, Goldilocks Bakeshop, Main Street Honey Shoppe, Chef Claire’s, Jasmine Mediterranean Foods, Fine Delectables Charcuterie and Innocent Ice Cream to name a few. Their boards include pastries, breads, cheeses, dips, and spreads. It should be noted vegan and gluten free boards are available. Taste of Main has been designed to bring exposure to the local businesses they love and offer support during these difficult times. 90% of the proceeds are divided between the 10-15 businesses they have partnered with and added bonus is 10% of the funds go to the Vancouver Food Bank. Pre-orders are now available until December 17th. Deliveries and/or COVID-safe pickups will be made on December 23rd. Cost is $75. To place your order, visit Taste of Main.

Buy Local This Holiday Season

26 Nov

We don’t have to tell you it’s been a rough year for small business. On recently updating our Places We Love listing, we were saddened to remove some favourite spots no longer in business like Doctor Vigari Gallery and The Flower Box. These were two long time staples on Commercial Drive. As you’ve likely heard, it’s important to shop local this holiday season if you wish to see these businesses on the other side of the pandemic. We have always been passionate about supporting our local business community and wish to remind folks these local businesses are the ones that provide donations for your school fundraisers, sports clubs and other community events. Now they need YOU.

Local business woman and social entrepreneur, Elizabeth McKitrick, who owns Second Nature Home in Cedar Cottage, was recently featured on CTV News discussing her thoughts on shopping local. McKitrick said she’s hoping people “just don’t go to Amazon.” “It’s like a black hole, really, for cash,” she said. “It’s going into Jeff Bezo’s pocket. He’s the wealthiest person in the world, and I just think, ‘Why?’ We have other ways of helping out communities.” And if you missed the recent CBC Marketplace episode showing where all your Amazon returns go, you may wish to enlighten yourself.

When gift shopping this holiday season, you have the opportunity to make a difference and support those makers and creators living among us. They are those micro businesses, side gigs and entrepreneurs trying to stay afloat and stores like McKitrick’s support these businesses. So instead of lining the pockets of the richest man in the world, how about lining the pocket of your neighbour down the street or across town?

To give you a starting point, we’ve set out a few of our favourite stores for shopping local in East Van. One of the many reasons we likes these stores is because they all support other local artisans, makers and small business.  So visit them in person or online and see what items they have that might make that perfect gift for someone special this holiday season.

Second Nature Home

Second Nature Home is a home décor boutique located at 3565 Commercial Street in Cedar Cottage.  The store has a wide range of items outside of home décor including  jewellery, gifts for the foodie in your life, something cute for the new baby or new mom and much more. They are open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. They will also be open till 8:00 on Wednesday in December.

Plenty + Spare

Plenty + Spare is located at 2168 East Hasting Street. It’s easy to miss by the smells of their neighbour Delish Gluten Free Bakery which can draw you in by your nose literally, but do stop into Plenty + Spare. They create an array of beautiful handmade bath and beauty products and stock a number of other items perfect for gift giving. Added bonus, they’ve just updated their website for online shopping and offer store pick up as well as free shipping for orders over $60.

Giving Gifts

Giving Gifts is a beautiful space located at 4570 Main Street. The store tucked between 30th & 29th Avenue is made of up 5 rooms packed with items from over 100 local as well as fair trade artists from around the world.  It is a gift giving boutique so you will easily be able to pick up a few gifts for just about any age. They are open Monday to Saturday from Noon to 6:00 pm and Sundays Noon to 5:00 pm.

Jackson’s General Store

Jackson’s General Store located at 1490 Kingsway (at Dumfries) near Knight Street. This space is the epitome of cool with a distinct retro vibe. Store owner, Mike Jackson, has created an eclectic mix of unique items in store which features clothing, gourmet food, books and if you are looking for a candy fix that is a blast from the past, this is your spot. Jackson’s General Store has also created some Care Boxes which support local brands and can be delivered to your door. Jackson’s General Store is open Monday to Saturday 11:00 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

The Coast Goods

The Coast Goods has just opened their doors in the last couple of months. They are located at 1302 Victoria Drive. This is great neighbourhood shop that focuses ethically sourced home decor and giftware again supporting our local independent artisans. They are open Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays. Be sure to check them out and give them a follows on Instagram.

Olive & Wild

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this beautiful shop located at 4391 Main Street. They have an amazing array of home decor items and lots of great things on hand for gift giving. They feature local as well as international artists. Olive & Wild is open 7 days a week.

Why we should Shop Local.

For every $100 you spend with a local business, $46 is re-circulated back into the BC economy (vs $18 for multi nationals). Small business re-circulates 2.6 times more revenue in the local economy as do chains. 

One Seed One Community Project: 2021 Growing Season

25 Nov

The Grandview Woodland Community Seed Library has a new initiative for 2021 that will be run virtually in light of COVID-19. The aim is to teach people how to grow food and save seeds. Those that participate will have the opportunity to learn about planting, harvesting and the seed saving process. Organizers have selected four things to grow that do well in containers so if you don’t have a yard or garden, you will still have the opportunity to participate from your apartment balcony. Participants will learn to grow Oregon Sugar Pod Peas, Lacinato Kale, Little Red Pear Tomatos and Purple Peacock Beans.

To be eligible to participate in this project, you must live in Grandview Woodland, Strathcona, Hastings Sunrise, Mount Pleasant, Kensington-Cedar Cottage or Renfrew-Collingwood. You must also have a personal email address, access to email and internet to be able to receive information and support over the growing season. To learn more, visit One Seed One Community.

Sweet Thea Holiday Pop Up Shop On Main Street

17 Nov

If you love your baked goods as much we do, you’ll be excited to hear Sweet Thea Bakery is hosting a Pop Up Shop at 4305 Main Street for the upcoming holiday season. If you’ve attended any artisan markets and Christmas craft fairs around Metro Vancouver, you will no doubt seen them.  But, of course, due to the pandemic we all know that many of these in person events are not happening this year. But the good news for us is that Sweet Thea Bakery is offering their delicious baked goods at their Pop Up Shop on Main Street.  Some of the goodies you will find there include their delish Ginger Cookies, Chocolava Cookies, Honey Hearts, Chocolate Lebkuchen Cookies and Stollen.  If that isn’t enough, they have curated some of their market favourites for their Pop Up Shop for you to purchase while picking up some baking. Some of these include maple syrup, roasted nuts, small batch bean to bar chocolate bars, honey, hot sauces, jams and mustards.  Perfect gifts for the food lover or well, just you. If you can’t make it to their Pop Up Shop, we have more good news. They are offering Canada Post deliveries, or pick up at 3 different locations – Main Street Pop Up, Tsawwassen Quay Market (must be taking a BC Ferry to access) and their Langley Shop.  To place your order, visit them online at Sweet Thea Bakery or stop by their Pop Up Shop at 4305 Main Street which is open 11:00 am to 6:00 pm most days, but is open till 7:00 pm on Fridays.  Treat yourself and your family to some amazing baked goods while at the same time supporting a local business.

Winter Farmer Markets In East Van 2020-2021

27 Oct

Summer weather may be gone, but farmer markets continue into the Fall and Winter seasons. This year more than ever, we encourage you to support our local growers and makers.  In East Van, you have 2 options to choose from depending on your location. COVID-19 safety protocols are in place in both locations. Visit Vancouver Farmer Markets for more details on their protocols.

Riley Park Farmers Market – Every Saturday  10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Riley Park Farmers Market in case you hadn’t already heard is a year round market happening every Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at 30th & Ontario.  This is a great space located next to a community garden with ample parking and located on a bike route.

Hastings Park Farmers Market – Every Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

The Hastings Park Farmers Market runs every Sunday from November 1st to April 25, 2021. The market is located on the Centre Grounds of Hastings Park.

Whichever market you choose, we hope you will support local where and when you can. If you want to know which vendors will be at the markets, visit Vancouver Farmer Markets website for more information, or check them out on Instagram @vanmarkets.

Photo Credit: Ella Olsson

Vancouver Farmers Markets Kick Off Summer Season

1 May

VFMChardVancouver Farmers Markets bring back summer markets the first weekend of May.  Things will be a bit different in light of COVID-19. Having recently attended Riley Park Winter Farmers Market, my experience showed that vendors were well spaced out and counts were being kept on the number of people entering each area of the market. Granted some vendors had some spaced out lines, personally I prefer standing in a brief line outdoors vs. a long line indoors.

What’s new if you haven’t heard is vendors are now accepting online orders. Currently, you need to pick up your online order from each vendor, but Vancouver Farmers Markets are looking to implement a centralized pick up and delivery in the near future.    Our local farmers and producers need our support during this time and we invite you to keep them in mind when making your weekly grocery shop.  We’ve set out below the markets taking place in East Van. To see a full listing of Vancouver Farmer Markets, visit eatlocal.org.


Trout Lake Famers Market
13th Ave & Lakewood Drive
Saturdays 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 2, 2020 – October 24, 2020 

Riley Park Farmers Market
30th Avenue & Ontario Street
Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 2, 2020 – October 24, 2020 

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
8th Avenue & Guelph Street
Sundays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 24, 2020 – October 25, 2020

Main Street Farmers Market
1100 Station Street (Thornton Park)
Wednesdays 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
June 3, 2020 – October 7, 2020

April 15th Canada Kicks Off National Take Out Day

14 Apr

CanadaTakeOutAs you may know, local restaurants are struggling in our new reality.  We have in the last week permanently lost 3 restaurants which are part of the heart and soul of Commercial Drive.  Cabrito Tapas, Federico’s Supper Club and Storm Crow Tavern have permanently closed.  We are sorry to see them go, but understand there are slim margins in restaurants and many factors that played a role in their decisions, a pandemic being the tipping point from which they couldn’t come back.

In order to help those in the food services survive during this pandemic, a movement has been started to encourage Canadians across the country to help support this industry which employs millions. Wednesday, April 15th kicks off the first national Take Out Day which restaurant owners and those in the food services industry hope you will make a weekly event for those that are financially able to. We hope you will consider participating whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  Every bit helps these businesses be here in The After of this pandemic. To learn more about the campaign and what restaurants are participating, visit Canada Takeout.  To learn more about what East Van businesses are operating take-out and delivery services, we invite you to check out our previous feature Support Local Where You Can which is updated regularly.

East Van Businesses Offering Take-Out, Online Ordering Or Curb Side Pick Up – Support Local Where You Can ♥

5 Apr

BuyLocalThese last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind for everyone. It’s quite something to grasp how many things are affected outside of one’s physical health. As most of you know by now, the affects are fair reaching. You can’t turn on the news to see the latest layoffs or closures.  As big fans of small business, we have created a list of local East Van business trying to stay afloat in this new world with the view of wanting them to still be there post pandemic. With that in mind, we have started a list of some favourite spots by demographic area that are still operating and encourage those that are able to support them. We appreciate not everyone can do that with job losses, understandable. Instead maybe share with those that can.  This is not an exhaustive list. There are more and we will continue to update this list.  PLEASE NOTE: We will do our best to maintain the accuracy of the information, but as things are changing so rapidly from day-to-day, please check with each business directly to confirm hours and their service offerings.  Thank you.

Cedar Cottage

Flourist – 3433 Commercial Street – Artisan breads, baked goods, dips, olives, quinoa salad, flour, yogurt, eggs, olive oil and some produce.  Lots of items to choose from their online ordering.

Second Nature Home – 3565 Commercial Street – Operating 12 pm – 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday. CLOSED Sunday and Monday. They have personal care and cleaning products. Note, although pets have been welcome in the past, it is during this time a pet free space  and solo personal shopping only please.

Commercial Drive 

Earnest Ice Cream – 1485 Frances Street – Open Tuesday to Saturday, CLOSED Sunday and Monday. All physical locations are closed, but online ordering and contactless pick up available at their Frances Street location.

Havana Vancouver – 1212 Commercial Drive – Offering healthy affordable meals. Order by 2:00 pm for same day pick up or delivery.  Curbside pick up from 3:00 – 6:00 pm or contactless delivery to your doorstep.   There’s also a To Go Window open from 12 pm to 6:00 pm Thursday to Monday. CLOSED Tuesday and Wednesday.  They have a daily set menu you can get delivered to your In Box. Visit them online to sign up.

La Grotta Del Formaggio – 10:00 – 5:00 pm – Open Tuesday To Saturday.  La Grotta is  offering pre-order pick up, pay and pick up. You can still get your favourite items without going in store. And yes, their famous sandwhichs are still available.

Livia Sweets – 1399 Commercial Drive. Are open for pick up only from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday, CLOSED Monday. An array of bread, pastries, sandwiches and some meal kits.

Lombardo’s Pizza – 1461 Commercial Drive – Open 12:00 – 8:00 pm and is offering take-out and contactless delivery.  Don’t forget if you’ve got a sweet craving, they also offer gelato and tiramisu.

Pepino’s Spaghetti House – 631 Commercial Drive – Pick up and delivery available.

Oh Sweet Day – 1st & Commercial – Open 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, but CLOSED Monday and Tuesdays. They have your sweet fixed covered with cookies, mini cheesecakes and cakes available.  No eat in, take out and pre-order only and no cash, tap only with in-store pick ups.

Super Valu – Il Mercato (1st & Commercial) – This location is open 24 hours a day. 7 days a week  365 days a year.

Fraserhood

Batard Bakery – If you are looking for artisan breads, this is a great spot along with other baked goods. Also available, eggs, jams, olives, soups and other good edibles. Online ordering for pick ups only with 24 hours’ notice.

Breka Bakery – 6533 Fraser Street – Is still open 24 hours a day, but seating is closed. It’s to go only and there are limited numbers allowed in store, so as a popular spot, anticipate a short line up outside. You can also find them on Uber Eats.

Hastings Sunrise

Gourmet Warehouse – 1340 East Hastings Street. This gourmet cook shop has an array of items for cooking, baking and cleaning. Online ordering is available with curbside pick up between 11:00 am – 4:30 pm.  Note: Due to the high volume of orders, they ask that you allow up to 72 hours for your order to be processed.

Iron Dog Books – 2671 East Hastings St. Physical store closed, but access for pick ups available and delivery service for online and phone orders. Pick up at the door is available Monday to Friday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Deliveries happen Tuesdays and Fridays only.

The Learnary – 2643 East Hastings Street.  Provides games, books, textiles, activity kits and learning materials. No contact pick up and local delivery within 10 km of their store is available 3 times per week. They have a new Square site up. You are in invited to check it out to see what’s available.  

Plenty + Spare – 2168 East Hastings Street. The physical store is closed, but online ordering is available with curb side pick up for personal care products.  Email them directly for more information.

Tall Shadow Breads – Looking for fresh baguettes? Offering delivery within 5 km of Clark & Hastings with a $3 delivery fee and 2 loaf minimum. Email tallshowbreads@gmail.com.

Tamam: Fine Palestinian Cuisine – 2616 E. Hastings Street. Offering Traditional Middle Eastern meals available for take-out only from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Kingsway

Jackson’s General Store – 1490 Kingsway.  This retail store is packed with lots of cool items, but is temporarily closed, BUT they are open for on-line ordering. Of note, they’ve teamed up with a number of local suppliers to ‘SPREAD THE LOVE’ which has boxes filled with a variety of items delivered to your door, or someone you love. There are Foodie Care Boxes at varying prices along with a Comfy Care Box with personal care & cleaning products as well as general online ordering.   Check them to see what’s on offer.

Matchstick Coffee – Kingsway & Fraser. We hear on top of great coffee they have a small supply of flour, milk and eggs.

Main Street

Ann & Chi – 3388 Main Street. Open from 11:30 am – 9:00 pm for take and delivery by Uber Eats. Take Out Menu is up on their website as is Drinks To Go if you wish have beer and wine delivered to you as well.

Burdock & Co. – 2702 Main Street – Open for take away only Thursday to Sunday 5:00 pm – 8 pm.

Nanaimo Street

Trocadero Restaurant – 2411 Nanaimo Street. Open 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm for take-out and delivery of pizza, pasta, lasagna, streak and Greek food.  Menu online or give them a call at (604) 253-8714.

Renfrew Street

Whisky Six BBQ – 826 Renfrew Street. If you are craving BBQ, is available for delivery through Door Dash, Skip The Dishes and Foodee.

Rupert Street

Poor Italian – 3296 1st Avenue (at Rupert St) – Reopens for April 15th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm Tuesday – Sunday for Delivery and Curbside Pick Up. Call to place your order (604-251-1122). Delivery available with Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats. Note: First Responders & Frontline Healthcare Workers receive 20% discount on pick up orders. 

Strathcona

les amis du fromage – 843 East Hastings Street.  Is open 10:00 am – 6:00 pm but CLOSED Mondays.  Missing a cheese fix?  This is your spot and they have a lot whole more including soups and prepared frozen meals. Just ask. They have a wide range of offerings. Online ordering is available with pick up within 3 hours. Please email your orders. For in person, maximum of 6 people in store and no more than 2 per family.

The Uncommon Café – 477 Powell Street. Is open 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Monday to Friday for online ordering, curbside pick up, take-out and delivery through Door Dash and Foodora.

Union Market – 810 Union Street. This small family run market is in the heart of the Strathcona neighbourhood and a long standing spot. They are open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Social distancing rules in place to protect everyone which means max 2-3 people in the store at one time. Some online orders and pick ups available for those with special needs.

South Van/River District

Romer’s Burger – 8683 Kerr Street. Open for take out orders and delivery.   Note: 20% off of take out orders at this time.

Sushi Mura – 3545 Sawmill Crescent. Open for take and delivery. Free delivery within 7 km. Visit their website for online ordering.

White Spot – 1126 SE Marine Drive – A classic always still offering burgers & fries and more for take-out and delivery. Beer and wine is available with your order.

Victoria Drive

Figaro’s Garden Centre – 1896 Victoria Drive – The physical store is closed, but online ordering with pick up and delivery is available for plants, seeds and soil.  They are working on a new website for online ordering, so stay tuned.

Bosa Foods – 562 Victoria Drive – Open regular shopping hours, but social/physical distancing and COVID-19 protocols in place.

Kozak Ukranian Eatery – 5077 Victoria Drive (at 34th Ave). Offering pick up and delivery 3 times per week. Offering hearty meals such as cabbage rolls, perogies. borsch as well as soups, baked goods, coffee beans and tea. Visit their website to order online. Delivery also available through Foodora, Skip The Dishes and Door Dash.

Via Tevere Pizzeria – 1190 Victoria Drive. Open 4 pm – 9 pm for take away and delivery orders.  Social/physical distancing required for take away orders. Their take away menu is posted on their website.

Vancouver Farmer Markets

Riley Park – 33rd & Ontario – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturdays offering food items only at this time.  All social/physical distancing protocols in place.

Hastings Park, PNE 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on Sundays offering food items only at this time. All social/physical distancing protocols in place.

We’d like to leave you with a quote that prompted this feature by Frances Bula:

“Just remember, folks. The world you want after this is all over is the world you’re supporting now. Order everything from Amazon and that’s what will take over. Support your local businesses and you help them be part of The After.” 

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