Category Archives: Life

Uncommon Goods – Retail With A Conscience

 

This summer when I was searching for some sturdy portable BBQs that could be wheeled out to our local beach, or park, and wouldn’t fall apart after merely one use, I came across a super cool site, UncommonGoods, that featuring a super cool BBQ that I had to have. At the time they weren’t shipping to Canada, but they thankfully now are, and I’m thinking I may just do a little more shopping this season for some holiday gifts.

The company has been around since 1999, is based in Brooklyn, is privately-owned and features unique jewelry, designer décor, tabletop items, and handcrafted gifts created in “harmony with the environment” Their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers, half of what they sell is made by hand.

In addition to the BBQ that I ordered up a wine cooler a wine tote that I got some serious use out of this summer. Here’s the scoop on each of these “Uncommon Goods”.

Get Grilling

Great for our BBQ this summer as we just strapped it to our cart and wheeled to the park. It’s perfectly sized for small, spontaneous cook-outs, and we love the sleek, modern design with silicone handles that stay cool when the grill is hot. It’s easy-to clean with a chromium-plated iron coal bucket and lid, and has a nylon strap to secure all the parts for storage and transportation.  Make it a set with the Bristle Free Grill Brush.

Totes Cool

This tote is perfect for hiding wine at the beach until those pesky liquor laws change. Carry your favorite BC wine or any beverage to picnics and tailgate parties in style. The bag is sturdy, water-proof and has a false bottom that conceals a 5-liter, leak-proof, airtight pouch that holds your drink of choice, and a freezer pack to keep things chill. It also has room for cups, snacks, or other essentials, as well as a zippered compartment for valuables and a comfortable shoulder strap that leaves your hands free, to drink!

uncommon trayIf you are looking for some ideas for the holiday season, UnCommon Goods has some great ones! How about a dish that goes right from the over to the table and looks great too? Pie anyone?

popcorn

 

uncommongoods candle

Stocking stuffers are a breeze with Uncommon Goods, just check out the flavoured popcorn flavours above and there’s lots for the of gorgeous decor to beautify your holiday home, I’m captured by the shadow candles.

**UnCommon Goods sent me the BBQ and Tote and the other suggestions are also my own.

Smarten Up Your Home With the Newest Techie Home Gadgets #BestBuySmartHome

Make Your Home Smarter, Lighter and Safer, with Best Buy

If you call yourself a techie, you may have the latest smart phone, smart watch, pimped out car and camera, but what about the latest in home technology? While your television may unlock the full potential of HDR, and you’ve even got a home 3D printer, have you updated to the latest in home security? Are your your lighting and thermostat controls amped up? And can you monitor the temperature, air quality and even noise pollution inside and outside your home? If not, you may not be worthy of that nerd shirt you so proudly sport, and it’s time to act before your friends stop coming over to play.

Pie

Over at the Good Life Vancouver headquarters in Vancouver (the not so secret code name for our smallish Kitsilano apartment from where GLV based) we are in the process of updating a few design aspects in our home and doing some minor renos. You may have seen us wandering the isles of home hardware stores, as well as Best Buy, to satisfy our geeky side. We’ve discovered more than a few things we just can’t live without and suggest you add these very useful gadgets to add to your shopping list.

netatmo urban weather station

Ever wanted your own weather station? Well we have , and now, with the Netamo Smart Weather Station, we can gather not only temperature and humidity levels inside and outside our home, but also air quality, CO2 level, barometric pressure and even noise pollution, all accessed from our smartphones. We now know when to wear our rain boots and also when to turn our stereo down.

nest smart thermostat

It’s not that cold out here on the “wet coast”, but we are still concerned about keeping our hydro bills down and do so with the Nest WiFi Smart Thermostat, a learning thermostat that remembers the temperatures we like and then programs itself to save energy. The LCD display lights up when approached, so no need to squint to read. We can also control if from both our mobile phones and use it with numerous home products. We still have yet to agree on what that perfect temperature is though.

belkin wemo insight switch 2

Another energy cost reducer, is the Belkin WeMo Smart Plug , that controls fans and lights, shuts off the TV when we’ve forgotten, and also notifies us when our laundry is done, again, all via our phones. Unfortunately it doesn’t fold up the clothes and put them away, and our dryer still eats socks.

We’re childless and petless so the Nest Cam Indoor Camera isn’t necessary as a nanny or pet cam, but we used it when we were traveling last so we could spy on some of the home repair work that was going on while we were gone.  Did I warn them? Maybe, maybe not.

aurora over couch

We then took an inventory of our lighting, and along with some new track lighting with smarter LED bulbs, we went a little tech crazy and are currently installing light panels from Nanoleaf and will be adding more soon. The starter pack has nine panels that we applied to our wall and now we can customize lighting and choose from millions of colours to pretty up our living room. When I’m a little tired I switch it to bright white light and can almost blast the blues away. All lights are controlled by our Androids (IOS devices too) as well as being voice-enabled if we choose.

mipow

Another fun conversation starter (cause you know it’s so quiet here) for that next dinner party is the Mipow Playbulb Sphere Lamp, which can be placed in or out of doors and provides accent lighting via a phone app that allows you to choose from five different lighting effects.

If you are looking to earn, or maintain your Geek title, and smarten up your home, this is definitely the weekend to do so, as the Home+Design Show is in town October 27 – 30, 2016, and Best Buy will be showcasing some of their top Smart products at the BC Hydro Smart Home Booth, right on site. Take note as some of these tech gadgets are eligible for a BC Hydro discount on at Best Buy. Can’t make the home show this time? Head right in to your nearest Best Buy and ask for a demo. Use #BestBuySmartHome if you are sharing and let us know how you’re geeking out at home.

Test Drive – Acura TLX

The Acura TLX On The Road to Adventure

Next up in test drives was the 2016 Acura TLX which is a pretty slick looking car, above the price-point of the Honda sedans, but fairly comparable to the higher priced BMW and Lexus but with a much lower cash outlay. 

This car comes with 2 types of engines, the 2.4-litre, 16-valve, Direct Injection DOHC, i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine with 206 hp @ 6800 rpm and 182 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm and the 3.5-litre Direct Injection SOHC i-VTEC® aluminum-alloy V6 engine with 290 hp @ 6200 rpm and 267 lb.-ft of torque @ 4500 rpm. The former comes with Precision All-Wheel Steer system and  an 8-speed dual clutch-transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters; the latter with a Super Handling All-Wheel Drive  (SH-AWD®)  that replaces Precision All-Wheel Steer system and 9-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift® paddle shifters.

Acura TLX

There’s lots of energy saving when you drive the TLX, the engine stops when you do and start back up when you hit the accelerator, a feature which actually annoys me somewhat as I am yet to get used to this, and the 6 cylinder cuts down 2 cylinders when you don’t need them all.

Acura TLX

The cars have an Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) which has four modes, the economy mode, holding the rpm’s lower, the normal mode, a sport mode allowing higher rpm’s and the sport plus with full manual pedals with a good reaction time. The cars steering is also quicker in the full control mode.

The car is smooth and quiet with quieting foam and a quieting windshield and the seats are comfortable and adjustable. There’s 13.2 cubic feet of cargo space, fold down back seats for more room, and a hidden compartment in the trunk for even more storage. The drivers seats are comfortable and the advance package seats are heated and ventilated with a 10 way adjust driver and an 8-way passenger, along with a tilted steering wheel. The backseat room is 34.5 inches and seats also come heated, authentic leather and wood finishes complete the package.

Acura TLX

There’s two screens for viewing navigation and the parking sensors  on the top and a touch screen for audio, climate control and more. The 4 cylinder comes with 17 inch wheels and the V6 with 18 inch.

There’s lots of safety features, even in the standard, such as tire pressure alerts, anti-lock brakes, 7 air bags, vehicle stability assist, and brake assist.  The advanced adds parking sensors, collision mitigation, seat belt pretension, and the tech version has lane keeping, forward collision, parking sensors, road departure mitigation, and collision mitigation braking.

Acura TLX

With a comfortable cabin, a wack of power and a high-end look, we’d like to be in this car more often. We’ve driven it twice now, over to the Island above with lots of highway time in sport mode and around town this summer where economy was the better choice

*Acura provided the TLX for our review purposes.

Hitting the Road with the 2016 Acura RDX Luxury SUV

2016 Acura RDX – Travelling in Style

We’ve been testing out several cars this year and as far as SUV’s go, the Acura RDX has been a favourite and has gotten us up to the Osoyoos Oyster Festival and around Vancouver in style. Michael’s posing above the Okanagan Valley.

It’s starts at $41,990, and comes with a ton of features that keep us safe and comfortable.  The engine is powerful, getting us effortlessly over the Coquihalla, it’s a 3.5 liter V-6 engine,  and the RDX’s comes standard with all-wheel-drive system with Intelligent Control, stability and performance. There’s a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift® paddle shifters.

Acura RDXThe RDX has AcuraWatch, a suite of technology including
Adaptive a Cruise Control (slows the RDX down to match the speed of the vehicle ahead of it), Collision Mitigation Braking System  (detects slow-moving or stopped objects ahead and warns the driver to apply the brakes)  and Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning (guides the auto back in lanes). The rearview camera and it’s relatively compact size make it easy to park and it’s crash safety design is top notch.

Acura RDX

The interior feels luxurious and their navigation system got us to our destination with no wrong turns. there’s even air conditioning in the back seats and great passenger seat control, eight-way in fact. Standard features on the RDX include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch dashboard information display and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a USB audio interface.

Acura RDX

With great fuel economy, partly due to the cylinder deactivation system and lots of cargo space, the RDX is an excellent choice for road trips.  Bonus points for looking so slick too! Traveling in style!

acura rdx

*Acura loaned us the RDX to test, but we’d keep it if we could! See how nice it looks in our neighbourhood!

Picnicking in Style on Global TV

June 30 Global TV talking picnicking in style.

****In the interest of getting some reference material up this is just in point form for now. Check back for full story***

1) Canadian Tire – outdoor Shelter, portable coolers, picnic blanket

2) Picnic Items from Bacci’s on 12th and Granville – Place Settings & Cutler and Picnic food from Dirty Apron

3) Picnic Items from Real Canadian Superstore and Picnic food from Presidents Choice and Pete’s Meats on 12th and Arbutus

sheltercooler

Start at Canadian Tire where you can pick up a shelter, coolers and picnic table clothes.

ShelterBeach Blanket, Picnic Coolers, Table Cloth

picnic2

 

If you are looking for some unique items, head to Bacci’s on 12th and Granville.

Picnic Blanket, Plates, Bowls and Cups, Tablecloth and Napkins, Picnic cutlery.

dirty apron2

Dirty Apron has a complete picnic, everything you need in Gourmet Picnic.

Sandwiches  Prosciutto with figs, watercress, Brie cheese, and balsamic onions on fresh-baked baguette and  Confit albacore tuna with citrus mayonnaise, smoked paprika, fennel, basil, Parmesan on fresh-baked baguette

Salads Roasted mushrooms with puffed black rice, shallots, Thai style chimichurri and a sherry vinaigrette – Israeli cous-cous, fire roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, grilled eggplant, asparagus, zucchini and lemon vinaigrette

Desserts Triple chocolate chip cookie, Oatmeal coconut raisin cookie, Chocolate pistachio cream cheese brownies

Charcuterie + Cheese Boards – Oyama Meat’s Italian prosciutto and mild soppresata salami – Comte and Brie cheese from France – Elsa’s Story Rosemary & Olive Oil Crackers – House-made hummus Organic fruit

Beverages – Flavoured San Pellegrino – Limonata and Aranciata

20921238 front a0120921238 front a01

Real Canadian Superstore a great place to pick up picnic essentials

PC Home Essentials Salad caddie, bamboo plates, glasses, napkins, tray and serving tongs.

PC Insiders Collection PC Organics Lemonade, PC Beet Hummus, PC Pico De Gallo and PC Chia & Quinoa Baked Pita Crackers

petes meat logo web4

Stop in at Pete’s Meats for some bread, cheese, rillettes, charcuterie and mustard and you are set.

Where to Picnic in Vancouver

It’s the season of picnicking! We’ve got the details on where to picnic in Vancouver

We love grabbing a baguette, some cheese and pate or perhaps some leftover BBQ chicken and heading out to eat outdoors. Our summer sunshine is limited, so when the sun is out we celebrate while we can. I teamed up with Expedia.ca to bring you a few places we love to dine el fresco.

English Bay

If you are into people watching, this is the spot for you. While it’s often crowded, there is almost always a spot for a blanket or two, and if you didn’t pack something from home, there are plenty of restaurants offering take-out. Views are stunning, boats float by and joggers pass along the seawall. Be sure to check out the Inukshuks.

Chaldecott Park
Over on the west side of Vancouver at 4175 Wallace Street at Dunbar you’ll find Chaldecott Park. This is a great spot to bring little kids and splash through the water park, but big ones can escape the noise at one of the park’s picnic tables as well. Huge cedar trees provide shelter and there’s baseball diamonds should you need to bring the whole team.

picnic in vancouver 2

Queen Elizabeth Park
Enjoy the sunset in central Vancouver at Q.E. Park. Explore the gardens or play tennis or pitch and putt, all with some of the best views of the city. Although it’s easy to access via car, bike or bus, this popular spot has many nooks where you can escape for a little bit of privacy.

kite festival, vanier park, vancouver
Kite Festival, Vanier Park, Vancouver

Vanier Park
Avoid the crowds of Kits Beach and instead head further east to Vanier Park. The lawn surrounding the Museum of Vancouver has ocean views, tons of parking, and plenty of options should the weather turn against you. Watch the boats launch, the kites fly, and runners and cyclists cruise by.

Deer Lake Park
Take a trip out to Burnaby for an afternoon or evening in one of the province’s more interesting parks at Deer Lake. Here you’ll find walking trails, the Burnaby Art Gallery, the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, and Burnaby Village Museum. Time your trip with one of the summer festivals or concerts, or bring a row boat and conquer the lake. Beware of beavers, turtles, and frogs.

picnic in vancouver 3

Crab Park
On the east side of town you’ll find some oceanfront greenery at Crab Park at the foot of Main Street. Watch the port activities and enjoy urban tranquility just outside of the bustling downtown eastside. Dogs can go off-leash, kids can romp in the playground, and you can enjoy your time by the sea with a thermos full of “grape juice.”

 

Outfit of the Month – BC Ferries and Keen Shoes

Shopping for an Outfit on BC Ferries and Shoes by Keen

Last week I went over to Vancouver Island for a few evenings in Sooke, Victoria and Cowichan. I took the ferry and have to report back as I learned two things on this passage. One, the Seawest Lounge is a must. For just $12 you get peace and quiet, coffee, tea, nuts, juice, pastries, cheese and more. Trust me, you’ll love it.

The other discovery was that lots of the clothes on the ferry are absolutely gorgeous and I was able to purchase an entire outfit for around $200.

Neon Buddha

The pants are so comfy, and are designed in Canada and produced and managed by a team of women in Chiang Mai, Thailand under very ethical work standards. The best! I am going to be looking at more into the Neon Buddha line!

04680134 zi taupe 01 ai

The top is from M made in Italy and there were tons of items I wanted on the shelves. This shirt drapes properly and the colours are just perfect. It looks like Mia Bella in Granville Island carries them too. I can wear this with jeans, dress up with a skirt or dress pants, going to get lots of wear from this one.

Outfit

rose city t strap red dahlia 3q

For shoes I went with my new Keens as they are always stylish and super comfortable, and the rose leather complimented the colours in the top.

keen

This is my second pair! Above our my others.

Uneek

Also out by Keen recently is the new UNEEK shoe by KEEN –  a piece of footwear that’s somewhere between a sandal and a trail sneaker. These shoes are crafted from nothing but two cords and a sole! I think I’ll have to give these ones a try for a more active day!

*shoes provided by keen, outfit and ferry passage paid for by me.

Wedding Woes and Hopes of Winning a Wedding in The Bahamas

Winning a Wedding in the Bahamas

We got engaged in December and now we are focusing on wedding plans and were aiming for the fall or spring. A contest came up and now we were trying our hand at Winning A Wedding in the Bahamas; you may have noticed since we were shamelessly plugging this all over social media.

Unfortunately some of the other couples have  an amazing amount of votes and while some are legit and we tip our hat to them, it’s been discovered there has been some manipulation of the system. The whole thing is giving me a stomach ache, but it’s being looked into we have been told.

FINAL UPDATE

Due to the fact that there seems to be far too many issues with the voting and our most of our fans/friends had given up voting when it seemed like something was wrong, we are withdrawing from this contest. Even if it does get fixed, which I know that Travel Bahamas is working hard to do and have been communicating with us along the way, we don’t feel comfortable pushing anymore. Thank you all so much for your support and we look forward to sharing our wedding plans with you all. We wish all other contestants good luck and we thank the Travel Bahamas for considering us.

UPDATE MAY 30….

Today’s Bahamas update is…..
Bahamas Tourism called first thing this morning and said their techs had fixed our issue of votes going to another couple and they are aware that many people have manipulated the system and are looking into that and may have to roll back other couples votes. We haven’t even been voting ourselves or pushing it anymore as we weren’t even sure where the votes for us were going and we are just exhausted from the whole process, but they have promised they are looking into it so please do vote again. They’ve added a captcha.

Update again! AND now a lot of people are telling me their code doesn’t work and they’ve tried a few times. Lovely.
http://bahamas16weddings.com/

UPDATE May 28…..
It is clear there is some technical glitch in the voting as I have heard from many people that they could vote many many many….times in a row for me and for other people (no one was cheating here, just testing the system) AND yesterday votes for me were going to another couple. I hope they sort this out and I have let them know.
In the meantime I am very much in love with Michael Smith and I don’t really care when and where we wed as long as we are together. #truelove
Appreciate y’all so much! Will advise what’s up as soon as we know.

Click here if you haven’t voted today and please vote each and every day until June 10 and we’d be ever so grateful. You can vote once every 24 hours so it’s a lot to ask we know. BUT…..please?

How the contest works is the 16 people out of the 20 couples listed will get to travel to the Bahamas and on November 16, 2016 all get married on different Islands. We were picked to be in the top 20 out of about 400 that applied by picking an Island that we would like to get married on and then creating a story of why we picked the Island and including the theme of the Island in as well. We picked Eleuthera and wrote the following. (please  vote! //bahamas16weddings.com/

“We’d love to celebrate our love on Eleuthera in true barefoot lovers style with our toes buried deep into the pink sand! The name Eleuthera is derived from the Greek word for free, which is the way we both feel when we are together; united as one, but free to be ourselves. We’re also huge fans of pineapples (you should see Cassandra’s toe nail polish right now) and as the Island is known as the pineapple capital of the world, we would welcome our guests to a pineapple-themed wedding; especially fitting as pineapple is the symbol for hospitality. We can think of some amazing pineapple cocktails, pineapple floral arrangements, and pineapple details tastefully woven into our wedding outfits. We’d truly be thrilled to celebrate our love in style in the Bahamas!”

pineapple2

The winner’s flights will be paid for as is accommodation for 6 days , the ceremony, videographer and a rehearsal dinner and wedding dinner for people Our families and friends that will join do have to get down there themselves and cover accommodation but they are keen to get away so I know that they are rooting for us and will pack there bags to be there! PLEASE help us by just clicking on the link and then voting for the couple 5 down on the right! That’s us above as you probably know if you read this blog.  //bahamas16weddings.com/

resort

So this is the big excitement this week and we can’t even think of anything else at the moment.  I am working on getting wedding-dress ready and have started running again and am using www.getfitz.ca to check out some fitness classes! It’s so hard in this business where food and drink is all around me.

So the shoes and the dress and the invites can wait for now. We’ve just got to get the venue down and you know you can help by voting!

Also I’ve started a pinterest board of wedding ideas!

dress

Our favourite looks are by The Couture Company out of the UK.

couture

And Michael would look pretty darn handsome in this vest combo!

BUT for a tropical wedding??  (gotta manifest this) We may have to rethink? If you have any ideas, please comment below as I’d love to hear.

IN the meantime lease vote  daily and we thank you so mucho! http://www.bahamas16weddings.com/

Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 2016

We test drove the Honda Accord and didn’t want to return it!

This year we’ve tested out a couple different rides so far and when we were on our way to Semiahmoo Resort, we booked the latest Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 2016.

Honda Accord

This is a zippy number with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine; 278 hp, 252 lb-ft and a 6-speed automatic transmission.  It looks expensive, but comes in around around $30,000-$35,000 depending on features. The car has the standard 2 doors, seats 5 passengers, and gets 21/32 mpg city/hwy. Great on gas and lots of room for luggage and shopping purchases on our road trips.

honda 2016

With a key-less entry and push start you can get going quickly and there’s lots of great safety features that I can’t believe I ever had to live without. The lane keeping assistance, forward collision warning, electronic stability control, Honda LaneWatch Right Side Camera, and back up camera are literally life-savers.

honda

This model has an stellar entertainment system, great sounds, with SiriusXM, touch-screen features, and bluetooth syncing for your phone so you can go hands-free. Heated front bucket seats and a 2-position memory for when you’re not the only driver add to the super-comfy driving experience. Seats fold down in the back for extra cargo room and there’s an Integrated Navigation System w/Voice Activation  and even a Voice Activated Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning and 2 Power Outlets.

Honda Accord

The wheels on this model are 18-inch and the brakes are 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control, for super fast stopping. The Accord’s ride is fluid and acceleration is relatively seamless.

This is a great car for a road trip and we were sorry we weren’t going further and certainly didn’t feel like returning this one!

GLV Spring Look Book

I am not a fan of shopping, unless it’s for food or cooking utensils, but I have a few spots I have found that I can head to and not leave in tears, and that’s basically my current approach to fashion. So, in the hopes of reducing some tears of other non-shoppers out there, I’m sharing a few of my spring finds. I’ve bought a few of these and am coveting the others. These are all body flattering outfits as that is the number one concern around these parts!

Here’s my fav’s that work for me right now!

 

 

Hover over items for descriptions.

 

Sources:

Clearly Glasses
Mizmooz Shoes
MZ Wallace Backpack
Jeweliette Bracelets
Bellissima Dress
Denver Hayes and Windriver
Icebreaker Top
Stephanie Johnson Toilet Bags
Plum Clothing Dress