Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 2016

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What tastes better during the cold, snowy, (rainy for us West Coasters) dreary, winter months then a mug of delicious, creamy hot chocolate? It’s honestly the best winter drink ever!

Natasha and I have been to Vancouver’s Annual Hot Chocolate Festival before so we wanted to try at least a couple of the creations this year. We would love to have tried them all but with 59 hot chocolate flavours in total, we settled on just 4 cafes we’ve not yet been to.

Vancouver launched the first Hot Chocolate Festival 6 years ago. At the time it was the first city-wide Hot Chocolate Festival of its kind in the world. Pretty cool!

It has since grown and gained much popularity around the city. It is a month long event with 25 various cafes, bakeries, pastry shops and chocolatiers around Vancouver who create signature hot chocolate flavours. These are not your ordinary run of the mill kind of flavours by no means. This year there was everything from, dark chocolate with squash and almond milk to milk chocolate with banana and hazelnut. Creativity at it’s finest.

What’s really awesome about this festival is that it is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Downtown EastSide Women’s job training program.

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GEM CHOCOLATES

This Kerrisdale chocolatier is known for their hand made, natural, preservative-free award winning chocolates. Which by the way are devine.

This hot chocolate creation ‘Give Yourself To The Dark Side‘ was one of the most anticipated at the Festival this year. For obvious reason with the movie recently released. The adorable (and delicious) Darth Vader dark chocolate along with a cup of their creamy dark hot chocolate was the perfect match. The hot chocolate was light, smooth, not too sweet or heavy. I also tried their unbelievable Pecan Pie chocolates and the flavour made me literally giddy with happiness. Seriously. Happy.

Each week Gem Chocolates made a different flavour along with a new cinematic theme to their hot chocolate drink.

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49th PARALLEL COFFEE ROASTERS

One of the most popular cafe’s in Vancouver, known for their superior coffee quality, we were really excited to try one of their hot chocolate creations this year. I’m not gonna lie, the fact that they make the BEST homemade donuts from scratch right in their store may or may not be the reason I was completely stoked to go! Okay. It was totally a big plus!
They offered a few different hot chocolate choices but we went with the classic ‘Hot Chocolate And A Doughnut‘ combo. I mean really. How could I not? It’s like a match made in heaven.
Honestly heaven. I’m not even ashamed to say we also bought additional doughnuts to take home. Nope. Not ashamed.

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TERRA BREADS

Don’t let the name of this cafe fool you. This is definitely not just a bread making bakery. Although if you want crazy delicious artison baked breads of numerous styles then this is the place to go. But it’s so much more. They serve everything from freshly baked breads, salads, soups, sandwiches, specialty espressos and fantastic rustic baked pastries. I didn’t want to leave until I tried one of everything. Ha! I wish! Lets just say we will be frequenting Terra Breads more often.

We went with the intention to just have a hot chocolate. But once we got inside we couldn’t resist ordering one of their signature rustic roasted turkey & asiago sandwiches as well. Oh my it was superb!

Then we chose the ‘Honey Buns‘ hot chocolate which is a Cocoa Barry Chocolate Dark Venezuela single origin hot chocolate with chili honey, cinnamon and Bourbon vanilla bean.
Served with cinnamon sugar brioche. It definitely had a kick to it with the chili spice. Looking at other peoples photos of the same drink afterwards we do think that they may have added a tad too much of the chili spice to ours.

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CHOCOLATE ARTS

Located in Kitsilano, this chocolate shop specializes in fine hand crafted chocolates using the very best quality of ingredients. With the finest chocolate from France, and locally sourced BC fruits they create a range of delicious chocolate flavours that represent the West Coast.
The hot chocolate we chose at this location was ‘The Creamsicle‘. A creamy white chocolate and vanilla hot chocolate.
Served with blood-orange sorbet that you dip into the hot chocolate. Blended together it was like a magical warm cocoa-creamsicle. Dreamy. It was served with a macaron.

The festival is on until this Sunday which is Valentine’s Day. Going for a warm hot chocolate is a perfect way to end a romantic date!

Laura & Natasha xo
(written by Laura, photos by Natasha)

Get your Glow on this Holiday at Project Skin MD

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It’s the Holiday season. Let the bells ring! It’s our most favourite time of the year.
A time when we are extra busy with shopping, baking, entertaining, and parties. Oh my! 

It takes an awful lot of extra energy just getting it all done. You know what that means right? It can start to wear you out and then you can look, well, tired. Definitely not the ‘glowy holiday look‘ we’re aiming for. That’s where Project Skin MD saves the day. More like, saves the Holiday season. Even one treatment during the holidays can do your skin wonders. Let us tell ya. 

We had NEVER had a facial or any type of treatment done before. You know that saying, ‘Seeing is believing’? Well, that’s Natasha and I. We went to Project Skin MD a couple of weeks ago for a treatment called Dermaplaning with a customized glow facial treatment. We were shocked at the difference it made to our skin. Instantly. We definitely seen and now believe!

Dermaplaning is a mechanical exfoliation treatment that removes any dead skin, peach fuzz, while brightening and improving the skin’s texture. Currently this procedure is only offered in British Columbia exclusively at Project Skin MD

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For anyone who hasn’t had a facial treatment before, rest assured the service you receive here is bar none. They take their time with you, thoroughly go over every step of the process, answer all of your questions and concerns. There are no surprises and you are made to feel comfortable and relaxed during the whole procedure. 
Each treatment they perform is customized specifically to each clients needs. So you can feel confident that you are receiving exactly what will benefit you. 

Our Dermaplaning treatment took 1 1/2 hours and consisted of:

1. Cleanse
2. Skin Analysis
3. Exfoliation
4. Peel (if needed) – we both did!
5. Extractions (if required) – we both did! 
6. Serum Application 
7. Mask 
8. Neck & Shoulder Massage (oh-my-god… LOVE)
9. SPF Application
10. Mineral Make Up Application 

This treatment is the ultimate choice for an immediate skin boost. To get that glow on during the holiday season or for a pre-event outing any time of the year. It requires no needles, fillers, heat, suction or crystals so there is no down time. No lasting redness or healing time required. Your skin may have a slight redness immediately following treatment but doesn’t last long. Both of us didn’t experience any redness or irritation at all, which we were both honestly expecting to see. 

Regardless, if you were thinking of getting your skin re-energized and glowing for a special event, it would be recommended to do it at least the day before. When Nashina completed my treatment and handed me a mirror so I could look at my face I was completely in awe. I was shocked at the way it looked because I wasn’t expecting to actually see a big difference. Not right away. It was stunning and glowing. Quite beautiful if I do say so myself! 😉

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After your treatment you will receive a complimentary make up application. Glo Minerals make up is a natural mineral foundation that gives you an instant soft, even, and best of all, natural looking coverage. It literally feels like you have zero make up on. We left feeling and looking like a million bucks!

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We want to give a huge thank you to Dr. McGillivray, Vanessa and the team at Project Skin MD. Our experience was fabulous thanks to our amazing Medical Aesthesticians, Nashina (pictured above with me) and Gwen. They were exceptionally professional and made us feel completely comfortable. 

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We asked Vanessa, (Business Director at Project Skin MD) what facials she would recommend to achieve the perfect Holiday Glow this season.

 Top 3 Facials to get your Holiday Glow On at Project Skin MD:

1. DERMAPLANING (followed by a customized glow facial treatment) –
to remove any superficial dead skin, peach fuzz while brightening the skin and improve texture.
(1h30 for $220)

2. DERMAPEN MICRONEEDLING –
to naturally invite the skin to regenerate and stimulate new collagen without any laser energy.
($375 for full face, 75min appointment)

3. CLEAR + BRILLIANT
 preventative laser procedure that helps to lift up superficial sun damage, reduce pore size, stimulate collagen and refresh the overall complexion.
($350 for full face, 30min appointment)

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Voila! Two weeks after our facials at Project Skin MD and my skin is still glowing! Let the Holiday festivities begin.

Check out our previous post on the amazing skincare line SkinCeuticals, which can also be found at Project Skin MD.

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Laura & Natasha xo
(written by Laura, photos by Natasha)

VIFF 2015 Style in Film

The Vancouver International Film Festival wrapped up October 9th after 16 days of amazing cinema being shown around the city. Vancouver hosted over 350 films from 70 countries around the world.

We were super thrilled to be invited to celebrate a few of the VIFF Beauty – Style in Film events. It’s always fun to watch exciting film while at the same time having a great excuse to dress up!

The films included in the Style In Film Series were:
The True Cost
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
Tana Bana
Homme Less – We attended the screening of this film and also a live Q&A with the director, Thomas Wirthensolm and the film’s subject, Mark Reay.
The Royal Tailor
City of Gold
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

See our previous post of 8 Films You Must-See at VIFF 2015 here. Since we posted our list over a month ago, we have seen numerous reviews on films that we would have definitely included. I mean, we could’ve made a Must-See list of 100+ films! There were so many to choose from. But we had to contain ourselves and be realistic. One of the films we missed including was Beeba Boys. But we are totally excited to actually be going to a viewing tomorrow in Langley B.C. at the Colossus Theatre. It’s based on real incidents and characters of a Sikh crew determined to take over the drug and arms trade in Vancouver during the 90’s. It originally made it’s world premiere at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) this past summer and has since gained acclaim. We’re looking forward to it!

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We were invited to the wrap party on October 9th which included a screening of the film, I Saw The Light, the story of country music legend, the great Hank Williams. Then it was off to a fabulous party at the Rocky Mountaineer Station.
It was so much fun, from jello/cotton candy shots, drinks, food, interactive wall, DJ Rhiannon and Vancouver’s own rock band, Damn Fools. Amazing evening.

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photo credit: VIFF

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What Natasha Wore:
Jumpsuit by Mimi McQueen
Shoes by Nine West

We wanted to send a very special thank you to VIFFbeauty Sponsors, NeoStrata Canada and London Drugs for including us. We had such a great time celebrating Style in Film this year at VIFF!

Laura & Natasha xo

West Coast Women’s Show 15th Anniversary

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We are so excited about this year’s 15th Annual West Coast Women’s Show! Taking place in Abbotsford, B.C. this Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 18th, join us for the ultimate Girls Weekend!

There are so many reasons why we love attending the show. Everything from the 400 exhibition booths, giveaways, prizes, fashion shows, wine and spirits to the ultimate cheese tasting seminars (my personal fave). Let’s not forget about the ever popular Hall Of Flame Fire Fighters Fashion Shows (everyone’s fave!) 😉 Be sure to purchase one of the Hall Of Flame 2016 Calenders – the proceeds go towards various charities including the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund & the CKNW Orphans Fund.

This year we are especially looking forward to the celebrity guest speakers actor, Joshua Morrow and talented musician, Bif Naked. Everyone knows Joshua, who has played Nicholas Newman on the popular Soap Opera, The Young & The Restless. He will be taking the main stage on Sunday, October 18th at 1 pm. He’s still so darn handsome and doesn’t look a day older then he did when he started Y&R 20 years ago! The ladies are going to love him.

We are also completely stoked about seeing recording artist Bif Naked, who takes the main stage on Saturday, October 17th at 3:30pm. We are huge music lovers and have been big fans of hers for years. She is a Rock & Roll Icon and has made Canada proud as a fierce female musician and Humanitarian. We can’t wait!

So ladies grab your sisters, girlfriends, mothers, aunts, nieces (and anybody else you can) and check out the show this weekend!

WEST COAST WOMEN’S SHOW 2015 DATES
Friday October 16 – 1pm – 10pm
Saturday October 17 – 10am – 9pm
Sunday October 18 – 11am – 5:30pm 

Connect with WCWS Online: Official Site, Facebook, Twitter

Laura & Natasha xo
(written by Laura, photo by Natasha)