2016 Here We Go – 2016 Resolutions

Well I hope y’all had a fantastic holiday season with lots of love and treats and some downtime too! We had a rather scary start with Michael’s Dad having to have some heart surgery just before the holidays, but thankfully it all went well and he was even able to enjoy some festivities. It certainly gave us cause to pause and put out few thank yous to the universe, and we had a few thoughts about our own health as well.

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We traveled up to Kelowna for Christmas with my family and had a beautiful white Christmas, with lots of great food and visits with family and friends. On December 23, 2016 Michael asked me to marry him, rather casually, over drinks at the El Dorado Hotel, and I said YES! Actually I forgot to say yes right away, as I was a bit stunned, but I meant to! As is becoming a family tradition, my engagement ring was my grandmother’s, and has a vintage feel that I adore. It’s going to be an exciting adventure planning this celebration, but that’s for 2017; we need some time!

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So 2016 is upon us and as I wrote on Facebook yesterday, I was doing up resolutions left right and center, and needed more paper, and a nap. I went through a good wack of paper and took a big nap before the day was over. For the website and life in general my main goal is to be more focused and plan out editorial content for the site and for my life story in general. We’ll be cooking more at home and sharing that, tightening up finances and giving some tips on that, sharing some home renovations, testing out some more auto and tech toys, and they’ll be more fitness, health and beauty posts as we prep for the big day! Thank god we have a year!

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I think the hardest thing is to stay on track and I’ll be looking for some suggestions and support for that, as well as bringing in the experts when needed. Please do chime in! I started 2016 yesterday with a 75 minute cycle class at The Dailey Method, some cleaning and a bit of relaxation too, and am hoping that each day I can carve out this type of life balance. It’s going to be a busy one, so #letsdothis2016!

New Year’s Eve 2016

I’m still being asked about where to go and what to do for New Year’s Eve.  We’ll be home enjoying our newest slow cooker and a recipe for lamb tangine I’ve giving a spin.  Probably a few amazing beers and a good movie or two.  The plan is to hit the cycles first thing the next day. Please wish me willpower. But, if we weren’t……

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 UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

UVA will show off its spunky side on December 31 when it transforms into Gotham City, a mainstay of DC Comics. Throughout the night, The James Danderfer Jazz Trio will perform their jazziest versions of cinematic tunes– because you can’t fight crime and party all night without a soundtrack. And as soon as the clock strikes midnight, UVA will unveil a massive surprise of Hulk-like proportions.

Tickets to UVA’s superhero NYE are $41.93 and include two complimentary drinks, food, entertainment and party favours. Shelve the self-consciousness and start dusting off that old Spiderman costume because prizes will be given out for best male and female superheroes (and yes, the UVA staff will be dressed as their favourite superheroes, too). Capacity is limited.

Book tickets here.

Date/Time: December 31 at 8:00 pm to Friday, January 1 at 1:45 am

Tickets: $41.93. All tickets need to be purchased on Eventbrite  http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/nye-2016-cocktails-celebration-and-the-superhero-way-tickets-19698602049:


Travel back to the 1920s with seasonal punches, traditional absinthe service and vintage cocktails. Guests with more exotic tastes can indulge in Prohibition’s ‘Rare Finds’ bottle selection – a collection of exclusive bottles from around the globe (including Canada’s only bottle of Glenfiddich 50-year-old single malt scotch whiskey), or sip their way through Gray and Stanton’s inventive new cocktail menu.

Date: Thursday, December 31st

Where: Prohibition, Rosewood Hotel Georgia

When: 7:30pm-2am

Entertainment: Emily Chambers until just after midnight, DJ to follow

Tickets include: Champagne coupe on arrival, hot and cold canapés and dessert throughout the evening.

Tickets are now available through  Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/new-years-eve-at-prohibition-tickets-19734144357

General admission is $118 (plus tax and service fee). Seating is based on date of ticket purchased.

Cibo Trattoria

Cibo Trattoria will offer two dinner seatings on New Year’s Eve. Guests who join the first seating at 6:00 pm will enjoy a three-course menu ($79 per person), while the 9:00 pm seating will feature a five-course menu ($115 per person). Prepared by Executive Chef Faizal Kassam, the menus’ palate-teasing delights include burrata with prosciutto, preserved cherry tomatoes and parmesan crisp; seared scallops with slow-cooked fennel, stinging nettle puree and elderflower brown butter; vanilla semifreddo with Maldon sea salt; and more. Guests can also add oysters or seared foie gras to their feast, as well as carefully curated wine pairings.

Diners must supply a credit card number to secure their reservation, and there is a 48-hour cancellation policy. To book, call Cibo Trattoria at 604.602.9570 or email robert@cibotrattoria.ca.

l'abattoir private dining room


Event details: On December 31, L’Abattoir invites revelers to an elegant evening that shows off the French-inspired dining destination at its finest. Party-goers keen to socialize with fellow guests can lounge in the main dining room, selecting from an á la carte menu featuring L’Abattoir’s flavourful France-meets-West-Coast fare.

Diners seeking a more intimate experience can reserve seats at the communal table in L’Abattoir’s 1,200-square-foot private dining room, which retains the restaurant’s ambiance without the hustle and bustle of the regular dining space. Led by Chef Lee Cooper the culinary team have pulled out all the stops to craft a four-course feast. Carefully curated wine pairings and cocktails will round out the tantalizing meal.

Time: Reservations for the communal table in the private dining room are available at 7:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Private dining room ticket price: The $175-per-person price includes a four-course dinner and beverage pairings, and is inclusive of all taxes. Tickets must be pre-sold in advance, and there will be an automatic gratuity of 18 percent added on the final bill. The menu is set, with no substitutions or special requests available and is not suitable for vegetarians. There are only 50 seats available, these pre-sold dinner tickets will surely sell out quickly!

To reserve: To reserve a table in the dining room or to book pre-sold tickets for the private dining room four-course menu, please call 604.568.1701 or email events@labattoir.ca.


tax + fee = $262.56

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Beach Bay Café and Patio

This New Year’s Eve, diners can choose from a four- or eight-course tasting menu (starting at $49 per person, wine pairings available at an additional cost), or order à la carte. Prepared by Executive Chef Felix Zhou, diners will experience a decadent feast that includes winter truffle chawanmushi with fresh roe; seared albacore tuna topped by carrot escabeche and saffron; and chocolate mousse pear compote, among other gastronomic delights. Guests craving extra luxury have the option of adding shaved winter truffle and Atlantic lobster tail to their meal, or off-the-cuff cocktails crafted by award-winning bartender Adrian Lindner. And because New Year’s isn’t complete without a soul-pumping soundtrack, DJ Gabriel will provide entertainment throughout the night so diners can ring in 2016 in style.

The last seating for NYE dinner is 9:00 pm. To book, call 604.685.7337 or email info@beachbaycafe.com (reservations are highly recommended). For more information, visit beachbaycafe.com.

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Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio – Saber your own Champagne!

5 to 7pm seating: Enjoy Ancora’s a la carte menu.

7:30 to close seating: Tasting menu offered by Executive Chef, Ricardo Valverde (à la carte will be available as well). After dinner, sabre your own bottle of champagne with our expert team of sommeliers with live music to listen to starting at 9pm.

Contact Ancora to make your reservation today info@ancoradining.com or 604.681.1164.

A $50 deposit per person to hold your table.

It’s Not Over Yet – Vancouver Festivities

How are you feeling about the holidays? We’re a little tired over here, but still have some energy to round out the season with some of the sites and scenes we missed while celebrating in the Okanagan. If you are quick you can have some more holiday fun too!

The Nutcracker Ballet BC

Set in turn-of-the-century Imperial Russia, an era noted for its opulent grandeur, this extravagant production displays more than a million dollars in stunning sets and costumes; including more than 100 children from local dance schools, mice dressed as Cossack soldiers, and snowflakes dressed as Russian princesses. This sparkling spectacle offers a perfect complement to Tchaikovsky’s glorious musical score played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Treat your family to the joy, excitement, and unforgettable adventure of The Nutcracker this festive season!

December 29-31 Tickets

Fly Over Canada

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FlyOver Canada has transformed  into a magical winter wonderland this Christmas season. Guests will have fun helping Santa Claus search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across Canada and on to the North Pole.

The complete experience will last between 20 – 25 minutes and include an extended holiday edition of FlyOver Canada that leads guests on to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Some may even be able to catch a whiff of Mrs. Claus’ baking as they swoop over her Gingerbread factory! FastLane tickets here.

Until January  5th, 2016 Daily from 10AM until 9PM

Vancouver Christmas

Capilano Suspension Bridge Canyon Lights

Glittering lights, towering heights and festive nights – Canyon Lights returns for its 10th season!

Celebrate Canyon Lights until January 3, 2016. Thousands of lights throughout the park. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall!), go on a Snowy Owl Prowl, decorate gingerbread cookies and make your own Christmas card (by donation) in the Winter Pavilion, and sing-along with the holiday band.

Canyon Lights is on until Sunday, January 3, 2016 from 11AM – 9PM CANYON LIGHTS TICKETS are valid all day with holiday activities beginning at 4:00pm

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Enchanted Nights at Bloedel

See a miniature world built for fairies and sprites

Bring your imagination and explore the whimsical wonders inside the Bloedel Conservatory until January 3. Walk through a miniature world of artisan fairy and sprite villages with magical lights, holiday music, and live entertainment set amongst the dome’s tropical plants and exotic birds. The fun continues outside on the Queen Elizabeth Park plaza. Grab a treat, take a pony ride, and snap a selfie at the highest viewpoint in the city!

Want to enjoy 2 events for the price of 1? All Festival of Lights tickets include free entry to Enchanted Nights at Bloedel!

For more information and tickets, please visit: Vancouver.ca/EnchantedNights Until January 3

Stops and Starts – Fitness Battles

Having just returned from a rather difficult, but rewarding class at The Dailey Method, I’m reflecting on my last few months of stops and starts in the endless battle for fitness and health so I can plan for success in 2016.

There’s also only ONE DAY LEFT to win the 3 month PLUS 1 month membership for a friend, to this excellent barre and cylce studio based in both Kitsilano and Dunbar, so if you haven’t entered, do so!

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I was off to a good start, going every second day for the first month. My cardio was improving, I lost weight and I was far more flexible, I had some muscles I hadn’t felt for a while and I noticed daily tasks were easier. I was even drinking less so I could get to class in the morning feeling fresh and eating better. Then I got a cold and was sick for a few weeks. This is where I’ve often hit the wall before as I struggled to get back once I was better, but all that momentum I had was gone. Plus, it was now holiday season, with cocktails and wine flowing nightly and work getting even busier than usual. For 2016 I’m going to be reaching out for some help during these times as I can’t seem to battle alone. What’s your strategy? Who do you lean on when you need motivation? Suggestions welcome.

Today I went back and I feel 100% better for doing so. This program was truly making a difference when I was going frequently, but consistence is key as always; I noticed a drop in all the areas that I had improved since I last went. My 3 month membership runs out in less than a month, but I am going to renew and push forward as I know the program works. In 2016 I will be focusing on creating schedules and taking more time for myself, plus reaching out for added support.

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In case you may have missed it, I also have some extra motivation to look and feel better as I’ve got some planning to do for my upcoming wedding! Michael and I are tying the knot and rumour has it I may even wear a fancy dress.

Here’s to a fit and healthy New Year and thanks for tuning in and supporting this continued journey.

CONTEST CLOSED Dailey Method #Fitness $900 worth! 3 mos + 1 mos PASS #Giveaway


Well I’ve wrapped up another challenge as of Monday (Subway #committofit) and so I’ve been looking for something else to keep me moving in the right direction! We’ve teamed up with Dailey Method Studios where I’ll be working out at for the next few months and I’ll will be chatting about the studio and my progress here once a month so I am held to account! The great news for you is that Dailey Method Studios are providing one of Good Life Vancouver’s readers with a very cool prize to start the new year off right!image1

This giveaway will be a three-month unlimited pass to both studios in Kitsilano and Dunbar (value: $675), and as a sweetener, they’ve have added an extra one-month pass ($225) for a friend of the winner. We all know the buddy system encourages people to stick to their exercise programs so you’ll get to bring a friend for at least the first one! We will draw Dec. 15 so you can get planning for the new year. 

The studio is also doing a 30-day and 60-day Challenge with a prize of a $1000 gift certificate to Vancouver’s new Nordstrom’s. Participants qualify if they come 3 x a week for 30 days, so they have until Nov 11 to sign up and participate for the grand prize.

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More about Dailey Cycle – Dailey Cycle raises the barre among health-conscious Vancouverites 

The Dailey Method’s Kitsilano studio has proven to be a hit with Vancouverites who love both the barre-based stretching and core-conditioning workout and the new Dailey Cycle, a hybrid class of cycling plus the studio’s signature workout.

Demand hasjey and karen wyder 2015 been so strong since the second studio opened in April that Dailey Method Vancouver owners Jey and Karen Wyder (pictured above)  have added more of its high-end Schwinn bicycles. There are seven more, bringing the total to 18. There are more classes and teachers, too.

The class has you spend 40 minutes on the bicycle, then 20 minutes doing upper-body toning, core conditioning and stretching that the Dailey Method is known for. With its focus on alignment and form, this class delivers a balanced, full-body workout.

For information or to try out a class, visit: http://www.thedaileymethod.com/studios/vancouver-kitsilano/overview/


Winter Escape – Rowena’s Inn Harrison Mills

We love getting out from the city, especially during bland winter days; often just for a night. We’ll take an easy drive out to Harrison Mills head to Pretty Estate’s and check in to Rowena’s Inn on the River.

The Pretty Family still runs this majestic estate, their history in the area dates back to the 1800s. The family’s manor has been converted into a bed and breakfast and several cabins are scattered throughout the property.  In the summer golf is popular, as the property is home to Sandpiper Golf Course, but we prefer to go when it gets a bit cooler and the eagles are flying in full force during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. We were out in 2013 and were thrilled to return this fall. See our last trip coverage here.

Honda HRV

Thanks to Honda Canada, we were able to travel in style with the Honda HRV (more on the SUV here).

We got to Rowena’s just in time for dinner at the River’s Edge. The Chef featured a salmon menu with the local salmon coming from the nearby Sts’ailes nation.

The French Onion Soup is one of our must haves here and the escargot and the lamb chops are also a favourite. From the salmon menu, we ordered the salmon & chic pea curry with grilled salmon, peppers,  carrots and spinach in a tomato curry, and a delightful pastry-encrusted wild salmon Wellington. There’s a good selection of BC wine and beer, and we were walking home, so sipped a few.


The cabins have a fireplace so luckily Michael’s boyscout skills came in handy as I don’t think I could start a fire to save my life. Actually, I best remedy this in case I have to!

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The bathrooms heated floors and a jacuzzi tub are an excellent addition to the package.

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Breakfast is included in the stay, so we took advantage of the omelettes and fresh coffee before heading out.

Harrison Hot Springs

We journeyed to Harrison Lake for an Eagle Tour but the water was too rough for us to feel safe in the rather small boat that pulled up, so we opted out. Instead took a leisurely drive home, stopping at Hopcott Farms to stock our freezer with their excellent meat selections.

CONTEST CLOSED #Giveaway Total Anti-Aging Gift Set ($275)

Congrats Maria B! If you’re a beauty maven, then you know the holidays are one of the best times of the year – because it means beautifully packaged gift sets featuring the latest must-haves. Whether buying for yourself or others, gift sets are a great way to try new products or purchase your favorites. AND we’ve got a #Giveaway of a Total Anti-Aging Gift Set ($275) to get you or a friend ready for 2016!

Nerium International introduces two limited-edition holiday gift sets featuring their innovative skincare products that contain SIG-1273® – a powerful, patented new anti-inflammatory molecule. SIG-1273 was created over 20 years of research at Princeton University. It’s a huge development in skincare because it’s actually able to mimic the skin’s own natural age-fighting mechanism. With daily use the result is a radiantly gorgeous complexion.

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  • 24-Hour Skincare Gift Set ($165) – Includes the Age-Defying Night Cream, Optimera ™ Formula and Age-Defying Day Cream, Optimera ™ Formula, both clinically proven to reduce many signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, uneven skin texture and sagging skin.
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  • Total Anti-Aging Gift Set ($275) – Flawless skin from head-to-toe with the Age-Defying Night and Day Creams, Optimera ™ Formula plus the BRAND NEW Firming Body Contour Cream, Optimera ™ Formula, which helps reduce the appearance of cellulite and dimpling for a taut and sleek physique.

We are doing a giveaway for 2 lucky winners!

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We’ve been waiting for this for Avocado Egg Nog Recipe from Drinks Undressed for a while. Bartender Justin Darnes mixed up our avocado cocktails at the Avocado Showdown and he’s been at it again with the Vegan Avocado Egg Nog with Avocados from Mexico! Very appropriate for this time of year.


Chill all ingredients before you begin.

In a Blender ADD.
6oz Brandy (or Rum if you prefer)
1000ml Soy Milk
8 Dried Figs
1 Avocado from Mexico
2oz Maple Syrup
1 pinch ground Nutmeg

Blend together thoroughly then chill in fridge for 2hrs. (if serving immediately blend with 10 cubes of ice, instead of chilling) Pour into cups and garnish with more grated nut meg and a star anise.

Selfology Head Spa

Sometimes your whole body needs the spa, and sometimes it’s just your head. We are always worrying about how our hair looks, but often overlook the actual scalp. At SELFOLOGY, on South Granville, the team is addressing the scalp itself, in addition to your hair and the rest of you, with a specific scalp treatment.

The Selfology Hairstyling & Scalp Detox Head Spa is a 90 minute treatment with a head massage and treatment with a specific oil that addresses the source of healthy hair, the scalp.


This salon is one of my favourite places to be, just walking in relaxes me, and this particular treatment completely recharged my scalp and in the days after my hair was in far less dry, with more shine and curl. Love the Selfology Head Spa treatment!

The thirty minute scalp massage is done with Rene Furterer Complex 5 oil, a botanical formula formulated with pure essential oils of orange and lavender, and a regenerating plant extract. This “head spa” massage and detox improves the circulation in the scalp and relaxes those tired muscles in the face and neck, lifting the skin.

The hair massage is followed by a shampoo and very deep conditioner and then a cut and style of your choice.

Selfology Spa Salon

Selfology also offers everything from full body massage, to amazing hair colour and cuts. This is an exceptional spa and one I’ll be returning to, hopefully soon.

Additional treatments I’ve experienced can be viewed on this site too.


Selfology Hair Colour

Selfology Wrap and Facial

Sea Flora Facial

Holiday Shopping with Les Dames d’Escoffier

Have you finished your holiday shopping? If the answer is no, I have a solution for you. I belong to a wonderful group of women who work very hard during the year volunteering for Les Dames d’Escoffier. Les Dames d’Escoffier is a society of professional woman whose purpose is to promote the understanding, appreciation and knowledge of food, wine and hospitality. We raise funds for scholarships for women in these fields and support children’s education through our partnerships with Growing Chefs and Project Chef.

When we are not doing this, we are working very hard at our own projects, and many of these include products and services that would make a great gift. Here’s a run down of a few Dames’ offerings and suggestions for giving this holiday season.

Dame Nancy Wong – Culinary Communications

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A gift basket from L’Epicerie Gourmande on Granville Island, a wonderful resource for imported French condiments and confectionary. Priced from $25.


The gift of laughter with Vancouver’s #1 improv comedy company – Vancouver TheatreSports! VTSL Gift Certificates are available in any denomination and can be used towards show tickets or classes at the Improv Comedy Institute.

Terra Breads

Dame Mary McaKay Terra Breads handcrafted Panettone and Stollen are a classic and tempting addition to any holiday gathering. Choose from: Chocolate Cherry Panettone {sml} $3.50 {lrg} $16.95 Fruit Panettone {sml} $3.50 {lrg} $16.95 Stollen $17.95. Pre-order in store or via phone today. 


Dame Shannon Washbrook – Vera’s – A gift certicate to Vera’s Burger Shack


Dame Kristen Needham Jordan – Sea Cider‘s pre-made gift baskets  ($35 or $750. They will offer 10% off when customers mention Les Dames. Email mdarling@seacider.ca to order!


Dame Barb Finlay – Project Chef

DONATIONS to….Project CHEF Education Society a not-for-profit society that offers hands-on programs to teach children and families about healthy cooking and eating.

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Dame Angie Quagle – Owner Well Seasoned

Missing Ingredient Subscription Box A monthly Missing Ingredient is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

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Dame Jennifer Schell – Author – The Cookbook for this year! Look for other featured Dames as well.


Dame Tina Hills – Hills Foods – Any of you holiday meet needs. Turkey and beyond at grocery stores and butcher shops around the Lower Mainland.

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Dame Merri Schwartz – Chocolatier – Chocolate from East Van Roasters

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Donation to Growing Chefs Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture is a registered charity, based in Vancouver, B.C. Our mission is to educate children, families, and community members about healthy eating and healthy food systems.


Dame Jackie Ellis – Beaucoup Bakery

The Beaucoup Bakery Holiday Cookie Box is an excellent host gift and will be available as a preorder starting November 12 for $35.

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Dame Lee Murphy – Vista D’Oro The Preservatory Vista D’oro Artisanal Preserves – Trio Gift Sets with Recipes


Dame Alana Peckham Alligga Alligga Gift Pack

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Dame Ann Kirsebom Paris In A Chocolate – Grand Marnier & Cacao Barry French Chocolates

cookie jar Dame Caren McSherry Gourmet Warehouse

Vancouver Food Tour

Yours truly does Food Tours with Vancouver Food Tour and gift certs for a tour are a great idea! 20% off until December 20th.

Best of the season to you all and #supportlocal #buybclocal!

Good Life Vancouver is all about the good life in and around Vancouver and often far beyond!