Lauren's Last Minute Gift Guide for KIDS!

I may not have kids of my own, but Auntie Lauren knows a thing or two about the hottest trends for kids these days (or at least knows who to ask!) Here's a short list of some last minute gifts that are sure to excite the little ones...

Books

Books are a great gift for any age; the appreciation for books changes throughout childhood but it never disappears. 

This is the only item on this list you'd have to order online, but I think it's worth the extra cash (and possible stress!). The Little Boy (Or Girl!) Who Lost His Name is a fun tale of a journey in search of your child's lost name. This neat story is great for any age, but especially for those who are starting to learn their letters and how to spell their own name. Also, this dedication at the beginning of the book may just be the perfect gift in and of itself: "We meet a lot of magical and wonderful creatures throughout our lives. These are just the first. We hope you meet a whole lot more." Choose SUPER SPEEDY shipping to ensure it'll get here on time!

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My friend's daughter received this book when she was born, but it's not uncommon for my friend to send me quotes from this book from time to time to bring me a little encouragement! The pictures are as sweet as the words, doubling as a lovely piece of wall art on a child's bookcase as well. Bonus: this book is on sale now!

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Pajamas

There are few things cuter than a baby/toddler/kid in pjs - especially when those pjs are candy cane striped or decked with all things Holiday! There are many stores right now selling Holiday pajamas and you really can't go wrong with any, but here are a couple cute options that won't break the bank. Leo's and Emerson's pjs are from here.

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Experience

What any kid really wants is to spend time with his or her favourite aunt/uncle/parent/goofy friend-of-parent. Take a special date to one of the many kid-oriented holiday festivities (many open until January 6 or 7) such as Van Dusen Festival of Lights, The Peak of Christmas on Grouse Mountain, Bright Nights in Stanley Park. Or wait til the Holiday madness settles down and give their gift in spring with tickets to Children's Festival!

 

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Picture from: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/festival-of-lights.aspx

There is something about seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child, whether it's a visit to Santa at the mall or the first glimpse of the tree and stockings Christmas morning - it's magic. So regardless if you approach this season with the excitement of Elf or more of a bah humbug/I'll come around by the 25th, I think the best part of this time of year is the traditions and memories you make with your family and friends (yes - it's that time of the season where I'm an emotional mess). One of my favourite family traditions was leaving a note for Santa along with carrots for Rudolph, cookies and milk and a Heineken... 

I'd love to hear your traditions - leave me a comment below!

xx

LC

The 6 things I lived in all summer.

I can't believe it's September - I literally don't know where August went. Yet, here we are, on the Labour Day long weekend, getting ready for perhaps a new school year, the return of sweaters and, for most, trying to cram in all of those things you didn't get to the past two months. I justified the $80 pineapple pool floatie in the spring - I'm going to get all the use out of it the last 3 days of summer... just me? 

Regardless of my bucket list coming and going I do have a few things to show for my summer: took in a few ball games, a trip to the lake, visit with the family, coordinated the most fun wedding, am slightly more golden hue than my pasty winter look - I'll chalk it up as a win. What I did notice scrolling through my phone photos is that there is a definite trend in my attire. My wardrobe was basically on repeat with a small number of pieces that I could tolerate from my closet, and I'm not mad about it. 

It may be my age or my appreciation for beautiful things, but I find myself donating clothes every few weeks; I just can't be bothered to keep something around for the maybe one off time that I'll need a neon leopard print dress. Don't get me wrong, I love love clothes. I'm crap at doing make up: I'll never master the winged eye liner and I'm not great with hair. But I literally plan my walk to work to go by store fronts to see what latest trends are in the window. I love the confidence clothes can give you and how your style and mood are always reflected in what you wear. I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect red dress, maybe because I just watched Pretty Woman or maybe I just want to be Jessica Rabbit. Either way - the hunt continues.

I predict my summer wardrobe will merge into my fall wardrobe - the thing about the classics is they'll always be transferable and in style, or will come back in fashion. My cliche obsession of the summer was definitely the scrunchie, and I'm not giving it up. 

The summer round up ...

  • These Aritzia pants are life, I wear them to any and every occassion. Work, dates, the bar and weddings - so versatile! Worth the investment. 
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  • The ruffled sandal - the $25 impulse purchase has been my go to for the summer. It was basically a mule that could show off my pedicure and work appropriate flip flops. 
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  • Lace ups! My closet is now home to all things lace ups, an easy interest piece that can update any jeans look. I picked up this shirt in Amsterdam but the brand can be found at several boutique shops in Vancouver or online here.
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  • Athleisure: when gym where meets the pencil skirt.
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  • Tassels! Update the t-shirt look with a tassel earring or necklace - I found these ones at J.Crew here.
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  • Bandanas: work as a head scarf or around the neck, it was a perfect way to deal with a hot summer day and keep your hair out of your face. 
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What did YOU wear all summer?? Will you keep up the trends when the leaves start to fall? 

Happy September!

xx

LC

Baseball, Breweries, and Bubbles

Well! It has been a busy week for this girl, but a great one. I celebrated my day of birth and for all you Virgos out there you can attest to the fact that we are very stubborn people and I personally would rather fuss over others than others fuss over me. This week turned out to be a series of wonderful events that allowed me to spend my time with some of my favourite people. Overall, it made for a very memorable and enjoyable birthday week - a week that may take me another week to recover from.

My friends and I have been going down to the watch the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners play for 5 years now. This year the series landed on my birthday, so to keep up with the tradition 10 of us headed down to Seattle (along with the rest of Vancouver and any Blue Jay fan in the tri-state area), to cheer on what would hopefully be the turning point of the recent subpar Blue Jays' performance (and, of course, to heckle some Mariners along the way.) The Jays put on an epic performance and had all of Safeco field erupting in excitement with their 10-2 win. I love Safeco field: the roof was open, the structure is simple and airy, and I also think there isn't a bad seat in the place. Another selling feature of the stadium is the garlic fries - who doesn't love to eat chunks of garlic?? Well, some people I'm sure have a garlic aversion, so I'd recommend it to be an all or nothing decision in the group because the smell is STRONG. With the buzzing energy of the game, the after party led us to the infamous Cowgirls. Think Coyote Ugly meets Urban Cowboy: girls in leather chaps and a mechanical bull. The Blue Jays even made an appearance, they must have heard it was my birthday...

This weekend I was also gifted a Brewery Tour from my sister! A first for me and definitely on my Vancouver to-do list. I'd highly recommend Vancouver Brewery Tours - our guide Rachel was awesome and very knowledgable! Vancouver is now home to 50+ breweries and that number is only growing. We visited 3 breweries: Brassneck, Strange Fellow and Storm. My preference of beer is not as extensive as my preference of coffee by any means, so I was excited to learn more about the art of craft beer. My lovely mother (an avid wine drinker) joined me so it was a fun new experience for the both of us. I've summarized each brewery along with my favourite brew and some facts I learned along the way: 

  • Brassneck:
    • What I learned: 
      • The 4 ingredients to Beer: Yeast, Hops, Water and Barley.
      • There are actually only TWO types of beer: Ale and Lager.
    • What I drank: No Brainer, Hibiscus Wit, Old Money Mild, Passive Aggressive.
    • Favourite: No Brainer! 

 

  • Strange Fellows:
    • What I learned:
      • A brewery known for it's sour beer selection and aged beers - that's right: like wine, beer can be aged for years! On average, most beers age 6-8 weeks but some can be up to 15 years.
      • Oak Barreling: Offers a different depth of flavours and aromas that are absorbed by the beer over time.
    • What I drank: Sour, Saison, Dunkel, White IPA.
    • Favourite: Saison or the Sour - it almost tasted like a cider.

 

  • Storm Brewery:
    • What I learned:
      • Vancouver's oldest brewery! (In operation for 22 years).
      • When drinking a sour beer you are supposed to take 3 sips to appreciate the taste.
      • The owner does NOT like pumpkin beer but brewed an 'Apple Pie' Lager which was delicious for fall! 
    • What I drank: Vanilla Whiskey Stout and Apple Pie Ale
    • My Favourite: BOTH!! 

My birthday celebrations concluded with a girls' night out for dinner at Hapa Izakaya for some sake and sushi, followed by bubbles and live music at the The Lobby Lounge in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. A great spot for live music and even better people watching. 

So there you have my birthday round up. It was a great week and I'm so lucky to have all the amazing people in my life that I do (insert sappy emoji here). 

xx

LC