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Local Love This Valentine’s Day

10 Feb

We know not every one gets behind Valentine’s Day. Some see it as a made up day. Even if that’s your view, considering what a struggle this past year, why not show someone special a little love just because. It can be your partner or a good friend who has been a great support for you this past year, your sister, mother, brother. Or what about that next door neighbour or isolated senior? Whomever it might be, there are so many ways to say “I Care”. As we love our local businesses, we wanted to highlight a few you can throw your support behind this Valentine’s Day.

Soprasotto

Pizza Love

A few East Van pizza joints (and likely more) are doing heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. Check out Lombardo’s Ristorante and Soprasotto on Commercial Drive and Pizza Farina on Main Street.

Flowers

Who does not love to get flowers? There are so many great options in East Van whether it’s local florist shops like the Flower Factory at 4285 Main or Full Bloom on Commercial Drive. If you are lucky enough to have a neighbourhood corner store, be sure to check them out. They often have a nice selection on hand. If you are in River District this Sunday, you can also stop by the Brock Floral Cart which will be on site at the foot of Kerr Street near Romer’s Burger Bar. This is a mobile floral cart that will have a selection of flowers available from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm or until sold out. It won’t be quite as pictured, but you get the idea.

Sweet Treats

Oh Sweet Day

So many great local businesses are offering sweet treats for Valentine’s Day whether it’s chocolates at Beta 5 or the Purdy’s outlet store on Kingsway. If it’s cookies you are after, Oh Sweet Day, Bench Bakehouse and many others have a great selection. To see a full list of our Favourite East Van Bakeries, click the link. If you are looking for sweet treats for the kids (big and small), don’t forget the Licorice Parlour. They’ve added some new items so not just licorice.

Jewellery

White Sapphire Anna

If this is the year, you are going big on the jewellery front, we invite you to check out Era Design Jewellery at 1795 Venables Street near Commercial. They design some beautiful jewellery whether custom or ready made.

Love Songs

Jill Barber

If you are looking to set the mood with beautiful love songs, you will want to catch Jill Barber’s live streamed performance from The Cultch on February 14th.

Whether you celebrate the ‘day’ or not, be sure to show your local businesses some local love this weekend.

Pandemic Pivot: Loved & Local New Online Shop

1 Feb

2020 was a year of challenge and change for many and 2021 continues on that same vein.   The pandemic has many people pivoting to earn an income from a new source. Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenn Franzen who did a complete 360 and created Loved & Local.  Jenn was a self-employment travel agent for 15 years. As we all know, with the current travel restrictions, planning trips isn’t first and foremost on people’s mind nor will it be for some time. So Jenn pivoted and created Loved & Local.

Loved & Local is an online store that features gently used clothing and accessories for women, men and children.  Loved & Local also carries items from local artisans including Oona Clothing,  Mosaic Earrings, beeswax food wraps by Etta & Olive, candles by Grain & Honey and knitted toques by Littlee Lambs Boutique to name a few.

Loved & Local carries a wide range of items and yes they deliver!  They offer free delivery on orders over $20 within a 10 km radius of Loved & Local which is located in Hastings Sunrise. If you are interested in trying on a specific item, feel free to reach out to them directly.   They have also just added a weekly auction on Facebook and Instagram that runs from Thursday to Sunday with a starting bid of $1.00. For those wishing to give back to charity in an easy way, Loved & Local supports some local charitable endeavours including Victory House Mental Health Facility. They are currently selling Valentine’s Day cards made by residents. 100% of the sale proceeds go back to Victory House.

We invite you to visit Loved & Local online and give them a follow on Instagram where they post many of their newly acquired items.  As always, support local when and where you can.

Bell Let’s Talk: Now More Than Ever Every Action Counts

28 Jan

The pandemic has cast a new light on mental health. Many know it is an issue, but for so many isolated from their support system during COVID-19, mental health has come home literally. People are struggling for many different reasons, each has their own personal story. No two people are the same nor are their coping mechanisms, but YOU can be part of the action that makes a difference. It’s that call to a friend to check in, it’s checking on that senior neighbour that lives alone, saying hello and acknowledging that person you pass by. This year more than ever, every action counts. What will you do today?

Do you need help? Visit Bell Let’s Talk which has a great list of resources.

Dine Out Festival February 5 to March 7, 2021

27 Jan

Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this year for a longer run being 31 days vs. last year’s 17 days. Diners will have more time to safely explore more restaurants over a longer period of time. The festival brings together over 300 restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and suppliers for dining and culinary events. What’s new this year is a host of virtual tasting events. We invite you check them all out at Dine Out Vancouver Festival, but have set out a few that caught our eye.  

Virtual Beer Tasting

A Virtual Beer Tastings is presented in part by Canadian Craft Tours and runs from February 5th to March 6th. This event is open to those in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and includes the delivery of your supplies for the event along with a virtually hosted event which lasts 90 minutes. Cost is $90 per person plus taxes. You can add a cheese pairing for an additional $30 per person. For more information and to book your spot, visit Canadian Craft Tours.

Dumpling Masterclass with Chinatown Tours

This Dumpling Masterclass got us excited. Having once made dumplings from scratch, they were some of the best. This is a great opportunity for some hands on experience with expert guidance. During this masterclass, they will discuss what makes a good filling, how to prep the ingredients and the best way to fold the wrappers. Cost for the event is a very reasonable $30. To book your ticket, visit Peek.com.

Virtual Coffee Tasting

If you love cold coffee, this one’s for you. The Vancouver Coffee Snob and Prototype Coffee present a virtual tour into the world of cold brew coffee. You will have the opportunity to sample cold brew coffee and learn how the different non-dairy milks affect the taste. You will also get to play some trivia and test your coffee knowledge. This event runs several times between February 6th to February 21st. Cost is $90. To book your ticket which includes delivery of your supplies, visit Canadian Craft Tours.

To see all the restaurants participating in this year’s Dine Out, visit their website. Note, for those not comfortable with dining in during this time, many restaurants are offering a Take Out option for Dine Out. Visit Dine Out Vancouver Festival for more information.

Pandemic Pivot Creates Roman & Ash Design

24 Jan

2020 was a year of change and challenge for many.  With it also brought new opportunities and new ways of looking at things.  We’ve seen a few creative pivots due to the pandemic we’d like to share with our readers.  First up, Johnny Defazio of Roman & Ash Design.

Johnny creates handmade wooden shelf units perfect for Vancouver’s often tight living spaces.   In March of 2020, Johnny lost his decade long executive job right before his second son, Ashton, was born. So pandemic hits and he’s a family man with 2 young children to support, Roman 3 ½ years old and Ashton 5 months old, what do you do?

Johnny chose quickly to pivot and ditch the suit & tie for a saw and wood. He already had a great space to work in and a passion for using tools. So last Spring he started creating some fun and unique designs in his garage. He started with small hexagon shelf units, then he started rolling out triangles and unique corner shelf units. Over the Christmas holiday season, he created white wash stars which were a big hit. Soon came the requests for custom work which requests continue to roll in.  

Johnny is also now creating wooden hearts in a white wash which can be personalized to display someone’s name or a small phrase. We think that could make a unique personalized gift for someone’s birthday or maybe even Valentine’s Day. Just sayin. You’ll see we’ve included photos of a number of Johnny’s designs. We invite you to give Johnny a follow on Instagram @johnny_defazio. Of course, feel free to reach out to him directly with any custom orders to requests for information.  As always, support local when and where you can.

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.

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