5 Adventures in Metro Vancouver {+ Giveaway}

Canada Day might be over but it’s still the year of celebration for Canada’s 150th birthday. I wish I could say I’ve seen more of it than I have- insert bucket list suggestions!- but I’ve only ventured as far East as Alberta and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the amazing places here in my home province. Here in BC we’re surrounded by plenty of natural beauty and in the Lower Mainland we’re spoiled with a wide variety of places to go, things to do, places to eat… you get the idea. Whether you like the beach, mountains, city, country- it’s all here.

Last month I shared 5 ideas for every occasion in Metro Vancouver on the Impressed App blog (see the full post here), and I’m sharing a few of the highlights here today along with a giveaway to help you save some of your favourite memories from the Summer. You know all those photos you have saved on your phone or on Instagram and never print? Now’s your chance to take them from the screen to your gallery wall: Impressed App will be giving one lucky reader a credit for 24- 30 prints so they can take their favourite photos from their phone and enjoy them in person- simply upload to the app and order! See below for some of my favourite local spots and enter to win from Impressed App!

5 Adventures to Take in Metro Vancouver– Highlights from this post published last month on the Impressed App blog. These are personal suggestions and I was in no way compensated financially or otherwise by any of the businesses included.

Date Night

You’ve got a night to yourselves but can’t think of where to go? Dinner at the Washington Avenue Grill-aka the WAG-  in White Rock is our favourite place. We ate here the night we got engaged and it’s our favourite date night spot (the lobster ravioli is my favourite, but I’ve never had a meal there I didn’t enjoy). The food & service is amazing and there are ocean views from pretty much everywhere in the restaurant. They also make a wicked martini and have live music throughout the week, so no matter when in the week you visit you’ll have a good time. Make reservations just in case!

Girl’s Day/ Night

I don’t know about you, but nothing says time with the girls like a little shopping! My favourite haunt is The Handpicked Home and it’s the perfect stop for decor, apparel, gifts, kid’s items, etc. I met the owner, Piya, when the shop first opened and she’s one of my favourite people and I now count her as a dear friend. Treat yourself or someone else and pay this shop a visit next time you’re in the South Surrey/ White Rock area. If you like to support local this is a great shop minutes from the beach and Piya stocks it with a curated selection of items that highlight many talented locals. After you’d indulged in some retail therapy, stop in at Islands Cafe down the road for some Hawaiian coffee & treats. They ship in the coffee from Maui weekly and their Poke bowls are YUM (their Acai bowls are next on my foodie bucket list and look amazing as well).

DIY Eat & Drink Local Tour 

Love to #DrinkLocal and enjoy fresh, seasonal eats? We’ve got plenty of choices in the area whether you’re a beer or wine lover (or both 😉 ), but we’ve also got a cidery in the area as well if you’re looking for some new to try! Fill up on some good food by starting in Fort Langley at Trading Post Taphouse & Eatery and take a scenic drive along the back roads towards Langley and the wineries along 16 Avenue. Enjoy a few glasses of wine along the way and end your day in Langley at Fraser Valley Cider Company. Throughout the Summer and September they’re hosting a variety of different events including a BBQ, long table dinner, and pizza nights. Their craft apple ciders are made from heritage apples grown on the property and in the Okanagan, with 5 flavours currently available. They’re a great gluten free drink option for those limited with beer options, and they’re refreshing served alone or with your favourite Summer meal.

Nature Walk

We’re spoiled in the Lower Mainland by all the natural beauty that surrounds us and there are plenty of places to go for scenic walks. Living in Delta our local favourite spot is Burns Bog, just minutes from our home and easily accessed from any direction (just park at the ice rink when you come off the highway/ Perimeter Road). You can walk or bike through and there are several options depending on how long you want to spend (don’t miss the sunken tractor!). Pack a picnic and enjoy enjoy unwinding in the fresh air and soak in some nature. The bog is the largest of it’s kind in North America and you can even book a tour if you want to learn as you go- great for the kids! If you want to make a day of it, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy eating in the fresh air. There’s a gem of a place in Delta called Altmaerker German Deli that offers up sandwiches and other deli fair that will leave you more than satisfied (seriously, they’re amazing and you’ll probably want to stock up again on the way home). Salted pretzels, fresh buns, and other German deli favourites are served alongside ham, pepperoni, and other staples that are perfect lunch fair. Stock up for a European- style picnic lunch and enjoy!

  

To view the full list , visit this post on the Impressed App blog.

About

Impressed App allows users to take photos from their phone and turn them into prints, photo books, wall decals, and framed canvases. Simply download the app, select which photo product you wish to order, choose your photos, and order. Available for iPhone and Android. Click here to download.

In celebration of #Canada150, Impressed App has created a series of printable travel guides so visitors can live like a local. Each Canada Travel Spots guide contains a map and a list of suggestions based on the theme of the guide, such as Vancouver’s Craft Brewery Scene. To learn more click here.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Thanks to Impressed App, one lucky reader will be receiving a credit for 24- 30 prints to help them save some of their favourite Summer memories! Enter below for your chance to win & add to your gallery wall!

Open to Canadian & US residents.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Like the ideas in this post? Save it for later!

Date Night Style

When it comes to date night, do you like to be comfy & casual or use it as an excuse to get dressed up and dust off those heels? Whatever your style it’s fun (and important) to get out with the hubby and keep the romance alive. Kids or no kids, dating your spouse helps keep the relationship strong. And let’s face it, relationships need time and attention: life is busy, but a few hours every now and then can help you reconnect. Whether you want a low- maintenance night in your favourite jeans or to go all- out in that dress you haven’t worn in months, I’ve got some tips to help make your next date night a stylish one. See below for some tips & outfit ideas. Now just what to get your main man to wear? 😉

Getting ready

  • give yourself a little extra time to enjoy getting ready if you can (how often can you get ready without rushing/ wrangling kids?)
  • treat yourself to some new makeup or perfume for the occasion, date night’s are the perfect excuse to have some fun with your makeup & hair
  • if you prefer a more natural look, keep makeup simple and lighter; to glam it up a bit experiment with bolder colours and maybe a few extra coats of mascara to make your eyes pop (tip: dark lips are great to add drama)
  • if you don’t like heavy scents, spritz your perfume and walk through it rather than spraying directly onto your skin
  • pop lipgloss & other essentials into your bag for touch- ups (maybe toss in some mints for after dinner)
  • like to freshen up throughout the evening? Pick up a travel size deodorant and spray some perfume onto a cotton swab and keep in a mini ziploc bag to pat onto your skin after dinner

Details

Makeup- Elate Clean Cosmetics

Perfume- Charlotte Tilbury ‘Scent of a Dream’

If you want to go casual

  • pick pieces that combine style & comfort
  • skinny jeans or leggings are a wardrobe staple that go with almost everything
  • lower heels or flats are perfect, especially if you’ll be on your feet a lot (dancing anyone?)
  • keep makeup more simple (think lipgloss vs lipstick)

  

Details

Top- Muse Social Fashion House

Jacket, jeans & boots- my own

Makeup- Elate Clean Cosmetics

If you want to get glammed up

  • pick an outfit that’s got a ‘wow factor’- go for a bold colour or pattern, a unique style, or accessories that make a statement
  • use this as an excuse to wear something you don’t get to wear often, like that dress and heels you’ve been wanting an excuse to wear
  • be a little more dramatic with your makeup- think eyeliner and bolder lips, false lashes or a few extra coats of mascara
  • add layers- if you’re going out at night don’t forget a pretty sweater or coat to help you keep warm

Details

Floral kimono- Muse Social Fashion House

Dress & shoes- my own

Makeup- Elate Clean Cosmetics

Thank you to everyone involved who helped bring this post together!

Outfit photos- Janette, Shearer, Ava to Zoe

Muse Social Fashion House

Instagram: @musefashion

Facebook: Muse Social Fashion House

Elate Clean Cosmetics

Instagram: @elatecosmetics

Facebook: Elate Cosmetics

Charlotte Tilbury

Instagram: @ctilburymakeup

Facebook: Charlotte Tilbury

Cirque Du Soleil: A Date Night with TORUK

Last night I got to go to my first Cirque du Soleil show and it was A M A Z I N G. Based on James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, TORUK- The First Flight is here in Vancouver from Dec 13- 18 as part of a global tour.

I’ve talked to lots of people who have gone to a Cirque Du Soleil show and have never heard anything less than amazing reviews and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Will and I had been looking forward to going for about a month and made a date night of it and enjoyed some time out without the kids. From what I know of Cirque shows I expected amazing sets, beautiful costumes, and mind- blowing performances/ acrobatics. And that’s exactly what we got with TORUK. The show is 2 hours long including a 20 minute intermission and from start to finish TORUK delivers from one amazing act to another. Whether you’ve seen Avatar or not, you will enjoy this show; Will mentioned he liked that it was based on a movie he was familiar with (and liked), but it’s not essential for enjoying TORUK.

Highlights for me included the amazing set that transformed throughout the performance, the talented performers, and the attention to detail (the costumes/ props were so beautiful). TORUK is set up in an arena, with the audience surrounding the majority of the stage area, making it dynamic to view- everywhere you look there’s something to see. Parts of the set would change throughout the show, moving and adapting for each act- you never knew what to expect next, and each performance seemed better than the previous. My jaw dropped several times throughout the show and I couldn’t stop shaking my head at what the performers are capable of. The acrobatics and choreography blew my expectations away, with several of the performers contorting their bodies in ways I had never seen before.

It’s hard to pick a favourite scene/ act, so I’ve shared photos of a few of them below. If you have the chance to see a performance of TORUK, I would definitely recommend it. As my first Cirque Du Soleil show, I left feeling pretty giddy from TORUK- I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience with this entertainment franchise and it was a great way to spend a night out with Will (although there were families with kids there so don’t rule it out as a fun family night out). My only advice would be to arrive about half an hour before show time to give yourself plenty of time to find parking, maybe grab some food, and get settled. For show and ticket information, see below.

 

 

 

 

 

About Toruk- The First Flight
TORUK takes viewers to Pandora, the setting from the film, and features everything you’d hope for in a Cirque du Soleil show, produced with a creative team including Cameron himself helping to bring everything for the show together. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and filled with a variety of characters, this show is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before humans set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out with their new friend Tsyal on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.
Through a combination of cutting- edge visuals, puppetry, and stagecraft accompanied by a beautiful cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.
This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.
Show Info
Show Dates: December 14- 18th, 2016
Location: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver
Tickets: $51.90- $149.50 + service charges (family pack pricing available)
If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here to go to the Cirque Du Soleil website and check availability.
Top Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz
All other photos my own.
Disclosure: I received tickets to TORUK in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Cirque Du Soleil: A Date Night with TORUK

Last night I got to go to my first Cirque du Soleil show and it was A M A Z I N G. Based on James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, TORUK- The First Flight is here in Vancouver from Dec 13- 18 as part of a global tour.

I’ve talked to lots of people who have gone to a Cirque Du Soleil show and have never heard anything less than amazing reviews and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Will and I had been looking forward to going for about a month and made a date night of it and enjoyed some time out without the kids. From what I know of Cirque shows I expected amazing sets, beautiful costumes, and mind- blowing performances/ acrobatics. And that’s exactly what we got with TORUK. The show is 2 hours long including a 20 minute intermission and from start to finish TORUK delivers from one amazing act to another. Whether you’ve seen Avatar or not, you will enjoy this show; Will mentioned he liked that it was based on a movie he was familiar with (and liked), but it’s not essential for enjoying TORUK.

Highlights for me included the amazing set that transformed throughout the performance, the talented performers, and the attention to detail (the costumes/ props were so beautiful). TORUK is set up in an arena, with the audience surrounding the majority of the stage area, making it dynamic to view- everywhere you look there’s something to see. Parts of the set would change throughout the show, moving and adapting for each act- you never knew what to expect next, and each performance seemed better than the previous. My jaw dropped several times throughout the show and I couldn’t stop shaking my head at what the performers are capable of. The acrobatics and choreography blew my expectations away, with several of the performers contorting their bodies in ways I had never seen before.

It’s hard to pick a favourite scene/ act, so I’ve shared photos of a few of them below. If you have the chance to see a performance of TORUK, I would definitely recommend it. As my first Cirque Du Soleil show, I left feeling pretty giddy from TORUK- I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience with this entertainment franchise and it was a great way to spend a night out with Will (although there were families with kids there so don’t rule it out as a fun family night out). My only advice would be to arrive about half an hour before show time to give yourself plenty of time to find parking, maybe grab some food, and get settled. For show and ticket information, see below.

About Toruk- The First Flight

TORUK takes viewers to Pandora, the setting from the film, and features everything you’d hope for in a Cirque du Soleil show, produced with a creative team including Cameron himself helping to bring everything for the show together. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and filled with a variety of characters, this show is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before humans set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out with their new friend Tsyal on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.

Through a combination of cutting- edge visuals, puppetry, and stagecraft accompanied by a beautiful cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.

This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.

Show Info

Show Dates: December 14- 18th, 2016

Location: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver

Tickets: $51.90- $149.50 + service charges (family pack pricing available)

If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here to go to the Cirque Du Soleil website and check availability.

Top Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

All other photos my own.

Disclosure: I received tickets to TORUK in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Keeping the Romance Alive: Our Okanagan Anniversary Getaway

This Summer Will & I have been married for 5 years. When did that happen??? A house & mortgage and 2 kids later and here we are, pretending we’re grown ups (who else feels this way?!). As they say, marriage takes effort, and you’ve got to keep the romance alive. We’ve had a lot going on in the past few months so we’ve been craving a chance to unwind and with it being our 5th anniversary I really wanted to do something special. I haven’t been away since having kids and even though Liam is only 3 months old, he takes a bottle well and is in a good little routine, so I knew if I pumped enough milk he’d do ok (I pumped my little heart out for the month leading up to our night away to make sure I had enough- a lot of work, but so worth it for a night away). Even if you don’t have a ton of money and/ or only have a small window of time to work with, you can make the most of it if you plan ahead- and keeping the romance alive is something you can’t forget to make time for. 
I started thinking about what we could do a few months back, but didn’t want to set anything in stone until baby #2 arrived and we knew what we were in for. Once Liam was born and I started to settle into life with 2 kids I felt we could pull off a night away and after thinking through our options decided on a one night getaway to the Okanagan. One of my friends suggested some of her favourite wineries on the Naramata Bench in Penticton and I loved the idea of a getaway that involved wine. After looking into which wineries offer accommodations & reading reviews I decided on Quidni Estate Winery at the southern end of The Bench. A boutique winery, producing only 1,500 cases of wine every year, Quidni Estate Winery has 3 guest rooms for visitors looking to enjoy a few nights away in the heart of Okanagan wine country. Thanks to this lovely venue our 24- hour mini getaway was everything we hoped it would be, with some fun added bonuses thrown into the mix. 
The night before I prepped snacks for the drive up, stocked the kid’s overnight bags, and made lists of last minute things I had to do the morning we left (I can’t function without writing lists!). That way all I had to do when we got up was get dressed, pack the car & go (we actually hit the road on time, when does that ever happen???). Will & I arrived mid afternoon, ready to enjoy a wine tasting and some R&R. Right off the road, the winery is easy to find and when you enter you’re greeted by a 2- storey wine wall that showcases the wineries’ selections (so pretty!). The friendly staff made sure we had everything we needed and got us settled into our room so we could get right to the highlight of the trip: the wine!
We booked the vineyard view room, but enjoyed views of the adjacent farm and Okanagan Lake in the distance as well; who needs TV when you’ve got such natural beauty right outside to enjoy? Our room was beautiful. Clean, cozy, and exactly what you’d hope for when you book a romantic night away. The property has been decorated in a modern rustic style, and it’s exactly what I pictured a winery to be like. It was like a high- end B&B that happened to be perched on a vineyard overlooking the lake- what more could you ask for?
Once we had unloaded the car & settled, the fun began, starting with a wine tasting & tour (we were only away for 24 hours, so didn’t want to waste anytime!). The lovely Ema brought us into Quidni’s wine tasting room and went over the wines we would be tasting. The winery produces 8 varieties of wine, of which we got to try 6 (3 whites & 3 reds). We were treated to a complimentary bottle (I picked their 2014 Viognier) and we bought a few bottles to enjoy during our visit & to take home. At $13- $28 per bottle, these wines are delicious without breaking the budget. 


After the tasting, Ema took us on a tour of the wine cellar and told us about the history of the winery and how their wines are produced. We got to sample some wine right out of the barrel (a Port to be released this December- Will loved it!) and check out the grapes growing in the vineyard- I’m a bit of a foodie/ wino at heart and loved seeing the grapes that will be used for future wines.

Under the new owner the winery has been transformed into what it is today, complete with its renovated facilities and guest accommodations. Quidni’s wines are produced by award- winning wine maker Todd Moore, who combines traditional & modern techniques to produce the winery’s 8 varieties (see more about him at the end of the post). And while you can’t purchase their wines in BC liquor stores given their limited production runs, you can purchase them from the winery’s website (I’m a fan of their Gewurtztraminer & Viognier and love that they’re an affordable way to enjoy BC wines). Yum! 

After the wine tasting and tour we were off to enjoy some  relaxing ‘us time’ on the shore of Okanagan Lake. It was a quick 10 minute walk to the beautiful & quiet 3 Mile Beach (where we got the bonus of seeing a gent rockin’ his birthday suit and later learned it’s home to a nude beach!), and enjoyed a lakeside siesta complete with wine (hey, we only had 24 hours, so we had to make it count!). It had been a long time since we’ve enjoyed some time with just the two of us, and we relished the chance to relax on the beach and go for a swim without the distraction and noise of having the kiddos in tow. It was blissful
The nice thing about where we were is that you’re far enough away from the busy- ness of Penticton’s touristy spots to relax, but still close enough to drive to anything you need. For dinner we headed into Naramata (about a 10 minute drive from the winery) and did it in 2 parts (not on purpose, but let me explain…). The first place we tried ended up being a bit of a dive; the service was slow and the food and drinks weren’t great. The winery staff had recommended trying the local pizza place (Real Things Pizza– if you’re ever in Naramata I totally recommend it) and since we’d been planning on ordering some as a late night snack anyways, opted to pick some up to enjoy back at the winery as dinner attempt #2. All I can say is this:  oh. em. gee. I picked the ‘Traindock Loaded’ pizza and it’s one of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted (sorry there’s no photos, we ate it that fast). 
Thanks to that pizza, dinner was salvaged and then some; we took it back to enjoy for a late sunset dinner on the winery’s large patio with wine (what else??) and followed that with a twilight walk on the nearby trail & enjoyed more beautiful views of the lake before turning in for the night. Because we had to pack up and come home the next day, we didn’t have a lot planned for the following morning; we had thought of going paddle boarding but opted not to to avoid feeling rushed. We just enjoyed the view from bed with a cup of coffee and the ability to relax and chat without having to hop out of bed to tend to the kids. Ah, how you enjoy things so much differently after you’ve had kids! 😉
We came home feeling de- stressed, calm, and relaxed thanks to our little getaway. And of course, as soon as we picked up the kids it quickly shifted back to reality, but we were happy and grateful for the time together to reconnect. If you & your hubby are trying to carve out some alone time in the chaos of family life, I hope this shows you that it’s not how much time you’ve got together, but the quality of the time. Will and I have both been reflecting on our little getaway and are so glad we jumped at the chance. The chaos & craziness of daily life can be tough on a marriage, and it was nice to remove all that temporarily just so we could reconnect and feel like ‘us’ again. 
A huge thank you to Quidni Estate Winery & it’s wonderful staff for making our 5th anniversary getaway so wonderful. We have some beautiful memories to look back on.

If you would like more information about Quidni Estate Winery, to book a room, or purchase wine, visit their website
If you’d like to enjoy some bottles from this boutique winery, join their Wine Club & enjoy free shipping within Canada! Click here for details.
You can also find them on social media:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

For anyone passionate about wine, here’s more about Todd Moore, the Wine Maker behind the delicious wines at Quidni Estate Winery:
– Began his nearly three- decades career making wine in 1987 at Lewis Brothers Winery in Grande Prairie, Alberta
– Has worked at several wineries, including Quail’s Gate, Cherry Point Vineyards, and Quidni Estate Winery over the course of his career and has earned awards for vintages he helped produce, including a Gold Medal at the LA County Wine Competition for Quail Gate’s 1993 Gewurtztraminer
– Has worked with respected wine makers including Elias Phiniotas and Jeff Martin
– Learned hot climate techniques from esteemed Wine Maker Colin Glaetzer at Barossa Valley Estate Winery where he  travelled to work during his time at Quail’s Gate
– Joined Ian Mavety at Blue Mountain Vineyards for the 1994 Harvest & helped process the grapes in what has become one of the best vintages on record in BC
– Became a member of the VQA Tasting Panel in 1995, where he has become one of the most experienced tasters on the panel given the duration of his participation 
– Took a position in 1998 at the BC Wine Institute Technical Committee (responsible for determining VQA standards in BC) and was elected Chairman of the Technical Committee from 1999- 2000 where he was instrumental in developing the Ice Wine Standards that are in place today
– Todd turned to consulting following his role as Wine Maker at Cherry Point Vineyards & has helped new/ struggling wineries establish cost effective production facilities based on their winemaking style and transform them into respected, prosperous operations (most recently winning Best of Category at the All Canada Wine Championships & Pinot Noir Gold at the North West Wine Summit) 

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