Shopping & Me…on Urbandig!

It’s no secret that I love to shop – the hunt and its tangential discoveries, the rush of finding it (on sale!), the promise of transformation, I love it all. And from J Brand skinny jeans to Rocky Mountain Foot Butter to a Goorin fedora, I’ve bought it all. I’ve been teased that Confessions of a Shopaholic’s Rebecca Bloomwood is loosely based on my life – except perhaps for the bits about the enabling roommate and that glossy pink (iLove!) Macbook. I do, however, own more stilettos than you can shake a stick at and have had my credit cards declined at Henri Bendel. Tres embarrassing!!

So enter Urbandig. Urbandig is a cool new app that delivers “off the beaten path” city experiences right to your smart phone and these experiences have been “curated” by hipsters in the know. I knew I had to get on board.

As for my curator credentials, I’m a born and bred Vancouverite and as mentioned, I love to shop. In fact, I believe I am a pioneer in the shop-tourism sector – having travelled to London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Marrakech, Toronto, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco to name a few – like a UN Goodwill ambassador, only I’m spurring local economies. Secondly, I have four sisters and our favorite holiday of the year is Boxing Day. After the tree is trimmed, the turkey gobbled, doodads purchased, wrapped and then unwrapped for every member of our extended family, we wake up at 6AM, zip to Caffé Artigiano for a latte to go and then shop till we drop (dollar bills obviously!) And finally, living as I do, with 4 boys under my roof, there is not much I won’t do for a day out with my girlfriends. And so, as often as we can, my girlfriends and I come together to brunch, shop, spa, shop some more, drink & dance – and as such, planning Girls Days Out are somewhat of a specialty of mine.

With the malls of North America so cookie-cutter boring, there are really just two shopping destinations in Vancouver that I love to waste a day away at – Main Street and South Granville Street. For my Girls Day Out tour, I chose Granville Street as it caters to foodies, shoe lovers, and all shoppers who love good style as much as they love good labels, plus it ends at a world-class spa. Everyone’s a winner on Granville Street!!

So grab a girlfriend (or eight) and follow my Girls on Granville Tour on Urbandig. Meet over brunch at Café Barney or Luke’s Corner Bar (but don’t eat too many breakfast potatoes or you won’t fit into those skinny jeans you covet!) and take a wander down beautiful, historic South Granville Street, I’ll bet you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

Love Lucie

Summer living is easy, working…not so much

Ahhhh, summer. Just when we’d given up and thought it would never come to Vancouver, it finally did. Waking up to warm, radiant sunshine reflecting off the glorious mountains and the endless sea, reminded every seasonally-affected one of us, why we choose to live in a rainforest the rest of the year.

So the kids are out of school and refuse to go to anything that smells like structure and/or has a teacher, ie. summer camp. And since we spending our first summer in Whistler, we are devoid of playdates and babysitters. So, in the meantime, I’ve become a Denny’s, open 24/7, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches at the ready, squeezing lemons upon lemons for their lemonade stand for which I’ve not yet seen a dime (I swear they are drinking their profits!), wiping counters and sweeping floors to keep the ants at bay. On a daily basis, I’m fending off the inevitable, “Mom, I’m bored,” or “MOM! He hit me!” or “MOOOOOMMMMMMM! He farted on my pillow and won’t say sorry!!!” with encouraging words to work it out for themselves and large glasses of pinot grigio.

There is no time to workout, no time to shop, no time for a much needed pedicure, no time to write, no time for me. As lovely as summer is, I’m counting the days till I get my beautiful life back.

Twenty-four.

See you in September!
Love Lucie

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Growing up in Aldergrove, a small farming community on the outskirts of Greater Vancouver, was idyllic in many ways. I could ride horseback to school and had hectares of lawn to play tag on. But it was no place for a budding fashionista. Just as young Rebecca Bloomwood’s (from Confessions of a Shopaholic – not a must read by any stretch but a orgasmic must see for any fashionista who loves the thrill of the Visa swipe) shopping addiction was born when her cash savvy mother made her buy sensibly long-wearing school shoes instead of her longed-for bejewelled flats, my addiction was born in the dearth of clothing departments between the local SAAN and Otter Co-op. As soon as I was able to cajole someone into giving me an hour long ride downtown, I converted to the church of Robson Street and it’s cool stores became my drugs, my obsession, my nirvana.

Robsonstrasse, as it was marketed at the time, had a uniqueness all its own – chic boutiques with eclectic collections you couldn’t find anywhere else in town. It was Vancouver’s own version of Melrose Avenue, Canal Street, and the Champs d’Elysses. Long before Vancouver shoppers had Prada, Burberry and Michael Kors, we had Pandas, Chackas, and Parfait to remember a few. I remember buying a great nautical striped boatneck sweater from Panda in the late 80’s that is as close as I’ll ever get to Audrey Hepburn. I later discovered local designer Jacqueline Conoir at Parfait in the early 90’s and love the label to this day.

While I don’t think it was the intent of NAFTA, but over the last 20 years the US moved in and taken over Robson Street. Goodbye Alfred Sung, hello Banana Republic. Goodbye Parfait, hello BCBG Max Azria. Goodbye Vancouver individuality, hello Bebe and Guess and Zara. If you look down Robson Street today, you could just as well be in Anytown, USA. And as much as I love making a run for the border to buy the best that Target has to offer, I’m saddened that with Target’s purchase of Zellers in Canada, the homogenization of the North American shopping landscape is pretty well complete. No longer will I have to try and charm my way out of paying duty at the border. No longer will anyone shriek, “Where did you get those adorable flats?” because soon, Target will be EVERYWHERE.

Maybe I should take up a new addiction. Suggestions anyone?

Love Lucie

Love + Appreciation = Best Mothers Day Ever

Chinese water torture is a method of torture in which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly driving the victim insane (source: Wikipedia) The rain has been epic in Vancouver this spring. The love-child of Vancouver’s coastal mountains and La Nina has made for a particularly endless winter. April showers have brought May showers this year and according to the Old Farmers Almanac, there will be no reprieve until September. While I wait for Expedia’s engine’s to find me a good deal to somewhere warm, I will try to warm your heart with my lovely Mothers Day Off.

My Mothers Day began on Saturday. We drove up to Whistler with a truckload of bikes, kayaks, rugs, and art. And then instead of being relegated to cleaning and unpacking, my husband sent me straight to the Scandinave Spa, a Nordic (read: outdoor) spa retreat for a massage with instructions to steam, soak and sauna “for as long as I’d like.” One fabulous massage, two big chapters and three hours later, I came home to a clean house, hubby’s famous BBQ’d ribs and the Canucks playoff hockey!

Sunday morning I was woken gently by my smiling boys and a gluten-free, low carb (!) breakfast in bed. The breakfast tray was festooned with lovely handmade cards that I will cherish forever. My oldest gave me a jar of statements that all begin with “I love you when…” that he told me to read whenever I get upset with him. Precious!

Soon after we hopped on our bikes for our first bike ride of the year. We found ourselves at the lovely Nita Lake Lodge that was holding a brunch to end all brunches – have you ever had grilled sunchokes and fried kale? YUM! Apparently, Nita Lake Lodge has stolen the sous-chef and half the staff from the acclaimed Bearfoot Bistro and it really shows! Well done!

After filling our bellies with omelets and mimosas, we jumped back on our bikes for a big ride that ended too abruptly when my 7 year old took a corner too quickly and had his bike skid out from under him, knocking his front tooth on the handlebars on the way down. We searched for 30 minutes, looking for a little tooth amongst the pea gravel, in vain. Unable to convince him to get back on his two wheeled horse, we headed back home.

The sun shone and the younger children napped, while my husband and oldest son took the kayaks out for their maiden voyage. I had one hour of complete peace and quiet and did some reading. Bliss!

Family hottub. And still no fighting amongst the boys. I’m not sure if they planned it that way, but that was the best present ever!

And then when I thought things couldn’t get any better, they took me to dinner at the RimRock Cafe. My favourite! I had the Wild Mushroom Risotto with fresh Grilled Vegetables with tomato, basil beurre blanc and I’m still salivating at the mere thought of it.

I share this not to brag though I guess it can’t be denied that I am a little. I share this to give my family their props and to let them know that I am grateful for the love and the appreciation they showed me on my Mothers Day Off. I know I’m a lucky mom. Indeed, some women get a sinkful of dirty dishes for Mother’s Day.

When I ask men what their getting their wives for Mother’s Day, some have the audacity to say, “She’s not my mother!” Agreed, but you still need to show your wife that you appreciate her for being your kids’ mother. You’d want that kind of husband for your daughter.

I love the saying, “the best gift a man can give to his children is to love their mother.”

And don’t forget, a happy wife is a happy life.

I’m so happy!
Love Lucie

I ♥ you, Vancouver

On a sunny day like today, there is no other place for me. And on all those other rainy, dirty, sexy, edgy, friendly, funky, wet and oh-so-yummy days, I still love you Vancouver.

Love Lucie

PS. Thanks to @sonsryan for sharing! xox

I ♥ Vancouver

Being a born and raised Vancouverite, I’d like to share my top 10 favourite things about my fair city:

1) The coffee – you really can get really good coffee on every corner in the city – Delaney’s, Artigiano’s, Bean Around the World, Mink – yum! I don’t even drink coffee, but I love all that free Wi-Fi!
2) The sunshine – people showing some shin on sunny days, even when, like today, it’s below zero outside. I know we Canucks are hardy folks, but when you grow up in a rain-forest, you take every chance for natural Vitamin D you can get.
3) The rain – don’t knock the rain, it keeps the grass greener and your lungs cleaner.
4) The hard bodies – people are really into fitness here – disc-golfers, gym buffs, boot campers, rock climbers, yogis, Grouse Grinders, long boarders, roller hockey enthusiasts – you can’t help but bump into a tight body wherever you go! Hello Vancouver’s sons, Ryan Reynolds, Joshua Jackson and Mayor Gregor Robertson!
5) The beaches – from Spanish Banks to Dundarave, Whytecliff to Wreck Beach – they’re where its at.
6) The celebration of diversity – people from all four corners of the earth have settled in this relatively new city, bringing with them their traditions and cultures. This means your mouth (and mind) can travel to another land as easily as crossing a street or two!
7) The food – Coast, Miku, Chambar, Rodney’s Oyster Bar, Japadog and my beloved Vij’s. Best.Foodie.City.Anywhere.
8) The world-class airport – if you do have to leave paradise for awhile, with the sparkly clean Canada Line and direct flights to everywhere from Auckland to Zurich, once you’re through security, you can get your shoes shined, have a massage and quaff a killer bottle of BC wine instead of listening to the drone of pre-boarding announcements. And you’ll only appreciate Vangroovy more once you get back.
9) The community – Thriving business community that raises millions of dollars annually for charitable causes says alot about the really smart and generous people that call this place home.
10) The mountains – being able to ski and golf (or sail) on the same day (not that I’ve done that yet, but its on my bucket list). And our little local mountains (Cypress, Grouse & Seymour) tower over that bump called Blue Mountain. AND then there’s Whistler/Blackcomb! Boo-yA!

Now I’m not sure if I did Vancouver proud with this post as I haven’t even mentioned my favourite shops (Wear Else, Moule), people-watching parks (Kits Beach) or all those cute crazy puppies out there! But I’ve lived in Toronto, Calgary, Chicago, and Winnipeg in my adult life and nothing, absolutely nothing compares to living in Vancouver, especially on a day like today!

Love Lucie

Sunshine, Sex and Spring Chickens

Well the rain has finally gone away and it’s smoking hot here in beautiful Vancouver.  Sultry, sunny, sweating drinks on a patio kind of smoking hot.  Vancouver is a beautiful place to live most of the year long, but the sudden burst of heat after a long wet grey fall, winter and early spring is Mother Nature’s orgasm.  Tulips, peonies, irises bloom all of a sudden spreading open their petals wide to receive the sun.  Women start showing some skin and men start livin’ libido loca.

But how does a couple happily in the sophomore years of their relationship welcome Spring’s effect on love and lust?  Particularly when the aforementioned couple are no-longer “spring chickens”?  Skin stretched by multiple children, breasts no longer able to defy gravity, bums permanently flattened by hours sitting at a desk – how do you keep the lust alive?  Especially with a new crop of spring chickens arriving weekly!  

What is Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s secret?  How about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward?  We work out, eat right, go on dates and shag 2-3X/week, but I don’t want to take it all for granted.  I don’t want to become a statistic, nor a member of the 1st wives club if I can help it.  Who out there is celebrating a 25th anniversary and still thinks their partner rocks?  We want to hear from you!  Please share your tips for loving strong and long.  Thanks in advance!

Love Lucie