Author Archives: Stephen

Cotte d’Armes Presents Dark Navy in Vancouver

Cotte d’Armes Presents Dark Navy in VancouverFebruary 16, 2013

On February 16th, New York-based designer Clarence Ruth presented his Cotte d’Armes denim line at the swanky Montauk Sofa, which is a spectacular venue in the heart of Gastown (located at 228 Abbott Street). Outside, there was a line-up down the block (a sure sign that this was a show not to be missed). Inside, Gio Levy was keeping the energy high by providing the music for the night as beautiful people mingled over cocktails and cake pops, waiting for the show to start. What could be better than a great party in a spectacular space filled with comfortable couches, well-dressed people and liquor? Seriously, what could be better?

Immediately upon arriving, I was warmly greeted by Empress Communications’ Christel Laycock, who was throwing the event with Bond media group. Empress Communications is a prominent Vancouver-based PR/event/marketing management firm that is no stranger to throwing events and putting on fashion shows in town. When I asked Christel about her thoughts on the Vancouver fashion industry, she pointed out that the city is abuzz with a lot of passionate, creative people, however, “the problem we run into is that once they are successful, they end up needing to leave the city to forward their career” – a very valid point, indeed! She continued, “we are ahead of the game in eco fashion, yoga wear and performance fashion, and that’s what we’re known for, but there is so much more to Vancouver fashion than just that.”

After grabbing a couple of drinks at the bar and taking our (very comfortable) seat, it was time for the show to begin! As the models began to step out on the runway, it was clear that there was a little bit of military inspiration and biker influence in Clarence’s line. A particular pair of mens denim with leather accents (pictured) stood out to me – and as I looked around the room, I noticed a lot of people in the crowd wearing them, too (clearly I was late to get the memo). As Christel explained, “Clarence really pays attention to the details and likes to try new things, like the way he combined the waistband and zipper fold, giving a tighter fit.” It was a fantastic show that was refreshing to see in Vancouver (seriously, what’s with the lack of menswear in this city?) but to see a full gallery of what Cotte d’Armes currently has available, be sure to check out their official website, and enjoy The Sociables’ featured photo set (provided by Ann Nguyen)

Tattoo Removal

Mid-tattoo removal… trying to internalize the pain.

Like many of you out there, I initially started Googling tattoo removal simply out of curiosity (or so I thought). I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t actually want/need to remove one of my tattoos, but perhaps I just wanted to know that it was an option. Well, sure enough, a few days ago I decided to bite the bullet and go in for a removal consultation & treatment. To be completely honest, the only thing that was holding me back from ever booking the removal was the cost – there’s countless places in town (and all over North America) that charge upwards of $300 per session (there’s even a company in town that charges you by the square inch of your tattoo..), and it’s common to need anywhere from 7-10 treatments, depending on a wide array of factors (which I’ll get into later).

After spending a bit of time online one night, I came across Gastown Tattoo Removal (located in Gastown Tattoo Parlor at Abbot & Cordova) – the only place in town that seemed to have affordable removal options. You’ll need to go in for a consultation, but it could cost as little as $75 per treatment (their minimum charge) or up to $150. Hallelujah! A tattoo removal company that was open and honest about their pricing!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-tattoos.. In fact, I have another tattoo (on my spine) that I will never get rid of. If anything, I’ll actually be going back to Gastown Tattoo to get it touched up. I know plenty of people with amazing body art, and I’m all for it. This one on my forearm just wasn’t doing anything for me anymore, though. I just want my forearm back!

I went in for my consultation and met with Ed, who is hands-down one of the most personable, friendly, no-bullshit people I’ve ever met. Another major thing I like about Gastown Tattoo Removal is the atmosphere. I know a lot of dermatologists offer tattoo removal now, but this place has character – the staff is all incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, there’s cool artwork and stencilings all over the walls, there’s music playing… I guess it just had a relaxed, safe feel to it that helped put me at ease about the fact that I was about to endure a ridiculously painful removal process.

The consultation was a pretty smooth, worry-free process. Ed asked me several questions about my health/lifestyle and had me fill out a questionnaire to make sure there were no red flags (If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, the person doing the removal has the right to request a note from your doctor as he/she sees fit) Luckily, I passed with flying colors.

So my adrenaline began to kick in around the time the laser turned on. Suddenly it became real. All the horror stories I had read about the excruciating pain began popping up in my head. When I asked Ed if it hurt, he told me straight up that it’s painful. And he was correct. Gastown Tattoo Removal actually let me and James bring in cameras to document the process, so there’s going to be a video posted in the coming weeks, where I embarrass myself in front of the internet. No, but seriously, the video is going to document the entire removal process – from consultation to completion (which is a long process, let’s be clear), but there’s little to no full documentation of an entire removal process online, so it seems like a video that could help a lot of people better understand the whole removal process, see the progress of my removal over X amount of time, see what kind of weird things might happen to me along the way, and get to know Ed & Gastown Tattoo Removal. So far, so good – it’s been 2 days since the removal, and I’m showing no signs of swelling, peeling, or blistering. But I still have anywhere from 7-9 more treatments to go! Look for our video in the coming weeks!

My Boyfriend’s Out of Town Party @ Bar None Yaletown

This year marked the first official Family Day in BC, so it’s only natural that everyone in town spent Sunday night like it was Saturday Part 2. I went out with a few friends to Bar None Yaletown for CanThrill’s ‘My Boyfriend’s Out of Town Party’ – which I had heard all about after last year’s event.

This was actually my first time going to Bar None (odd seeing as I live down the block), but it was a great time – the venue’s huge, music was great (Etherea & Johnny Omega were spinning), the people were all beautiful, and the booze was a flowin’.

The evening started out with a fashion show by Soleone for the ladies, but unfortunately we arrived a bit later on in the night and missed out on that one. The event was sponsored by Belvedere & Veuve Clicquot, so needless to say there was no shortage of shots or yellow champagne glasses!

This is an event definitely worth checking out again next year. In the meantime, be sure to check out CanThrill, who throws a huge variety of events all over town on a regular basis.

 

CONCERT: The Born This Way Ball

This past weekend, Lady Gaga kicked off the North American leg of her Born This Way Ball tour with two shows at Rogers Arena. Gaga herself described the Born This Way Ball as “An Electro-Metal Pop-Opera; the tale of the Beginning, the genesis of the Kingdom of Fame. How we were birthed and how we will die celebrating.” To call the show a “spectacle” is a bit of an understatement – it was 2 hours of campy, excessive, over-the-top fun.

I went into the show with pretty modest expectations (I’ve never been a huge Gaga fan). I probably wouldn’t have even gone to the show if it weren’t for the $35.00 floor tickets I scored off StubHub (quick side note – this was my first time using StubHub (and I was very skeptical about it) but they delivered my tickets overnight, at $70 below face value, and they worked like a charm. Will definitely be purchasing tickets from them again in the future. And no, I’m not on their payroll.) Rest assured, no matter which tickets you purchase, there are no bad seats in the house (although, let’s be clear – if you want to the best seats in the house, you’ll need to shell out $275 for the Monster Pit).

Gaga performed a total of 25 songs (including 2 encores), playing all of her radio hits, and several songs I’ve never heard. I’ve seen a handful of female pop singers over the past couple of years (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears), and I gotta give props to Gaga for singing every single song live, and never once lip-syncing. Another big thing for me at concerts is having the performer actually address and acknowledge the audience. I’ve been to shows where the performer walks on stage, gives a “What’s up, Vancouver!”, goes into auto-pilot mode for 90 minutes, and tops it off with a “Good night, Vancouver!” Gaga frequently stopped and talked to the audience, telling personal stories, commenting on all of the pot smoking in the arena, and even calling an unsuspecting fan in the audience.

All in all, The Born This Way Ball made for a great 2 hours of pure campy escapism. There’s no denying that she’s one of the few great entertainers on the Top 40 chart, and is well worth paying to see live. The rest of North America is in for a real treat!

7 Days of Drinking: Daily Vancouver Drink Specials

7 Days of Drinking: Daily Vancouver Drink Specials

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re proud to present you with the 7 Days of Drinking… Don’t judge us… We just like to be consistent. We may live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, but thankfully our booze (can be) cheap. Here’s your guide to some of the best watering holes in town that won’t break the bank.  Let us know your go-to spot in the Comments section!

MONDAY

Relish Gastropub – 888 Nelson Street
Mondays are the worst, but $3 beer is the best. Be sure to check out Relish (located at Hornby & Nelson) – it’s a cozy gastropub that offers up some great pub food (and, of course, cheap beer).

TUESDAY

Hooker’s Green & New Oxford – 1141 Hamilton Street
Hungover from Monday night’s shenanigans? Drink it off. Hooker’s Green is a fairly new pub in Yaletown that serves up $2 schooners of lager and puts on a live comedy show every Tuesday. They’ve also got a pool table and some billiards if that’s more your thing. Upstairs from Hooker’s is New Oxford – one of my favorite Donnelly Pubs – where every Tuesday they serve up $3 pints. It’s not often that the  words “cheap drinks” and “Yaletown” are used in the same sentence!

WEDNESDAY

Earls on Top – 1185 Robson Street
Everyone loves Earls, but more so, everyone loves cheap beer. Hit up Earls on Top on Wednesdays for $3.99 18 oz pints of Albino Rhino. Great people watching patio overlooking busy Robson Street. You can be a creep from a distance!

THURSDAY

The Pint – 455 Abbott Street
Kitty corner to Tinseltown, The Pint has quickly become a Gastown staple. Thursday nights they offer up $4 pints of ANY beer on tap (yes, that even applies to Guinness). The Pint is hands-down one of my favorite downtown pubs for a few reasons – it’s huge, they have a wide variety of beer on tap, the food is top-notch, and the staff is awesome. Also, I believe if you get there between 4-6PM, $6 gets you a pint of beer and a pound of wings.

BONUS! Original Joe’s – 2525 Cambie Street
Want your damn mind blown? Go to Original Joes (on Cambie & Broadway) for HALF OFF bottles of wine. Seriously. Not to mention OJ’s has one of the best views in town (it’s located on the top floor) and a great summertime patio. But seriously… $14 bottles of wine.

FRIDAY

Soho Billiards – 1283 Hamilton Street
It surprises me how few billiards clubs or pool halls there in this city, but thankfully there’s Soho in Yaletown. Grab a few friends, rent a pool table ($15/hour), and enjoy some $3.75 highballs! Great place for a chill night with some friends.

SATURDAY

Yaletown Brewing Company – 1111 Mainland Street
Okay I’m starting to realize that maybe “cheap drinks” and “Yaletown” appear in the same sentence quite often. Everyone knows Saturday is the worst day of the week for drink specials, but Yaletown Brewpub serves up $5 “Brewer’s Selection” beers. The place is huge, and they serve up some great eats and have a massive selection of beer on tap. Great patio (in the summertime) for some good old fashion people watching, too.

SUNDAY

Oasis Ultra Lounge – 1240 Thurlow Street
Located in the heart of Davie Village, Oasis has been a neighbourhood staple for years. Though the bar may be best known for its bumpin’ weekend nightlife, Oasis also hosts a more laidback and intimate ‘Social Sunday’, serving up $8 pitchers to curb your hangover. You read that right… EIGHT DOLLAR PITCHERS. Oasis also has a great appie menu and one of the best patios on the block.

Pink Elephant Thai VIP Christmas Party

Pink Elephant Thai VIP Christmas Party

This past Monday, LuvnGrace threw a VIP Christmas Party at Pink Elephant Thai, which included fashion shows from Timeline Boutique, Smooch Boutique Swimwear & Element 7 Style. The venue was packed, housing hoards of models, photographers, media pro’s and a few notable Vancouver names.

Smooch Boutique showcased a very diverse line of edgy women’s swimwear, with pieces that were young, playful and (at times) daring. With collection names like “Adore Me”, “All Dolled Up”, “Resort Chic” & “Lounge Chic” it’s obvious that there’s something here for every woman, for any occasion that calls for swimwear. Needless to say, the vision of swimsuits had just about everybody in the room longing for summer…

Timeline Boutique is a consignment shop specializing in high-end women’s wear, boasting brands like Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Fendi and Jimmy Choo. Timeline is one of only a handful of high-end consignment shops in Vancouver, and they offer up dozens of brands at up to 90% off retail. A friend who frequents Timeline said that a lot of the clothes they carry still have the tags on them (Christmas shopping, anyone?) Now, if only they carried menswear…

Last but not least was Element 7 Style – a company specializing in body jewelry. The brand makes cool, edgy pieces that can instantly dress up even the simplest of outfits. Most of the pieces have been “upcycled” – that is, made from a combination of vintage and new materials. I’ve actually been familiar with Element 7 for a while – the lead in a film I worked on in 2011 wore some of their pieces in several scenes, and just about every woman on set needed to know where they were from.

This was my first time visiting Pink Elephant Thai, so my friends and I sampled a few items off the menu – all of which were amazing. If you’re thinking of checking it out, I’d suggest wrangling a few friends and sharing one of their group platters (huge variety of food & good portion sizes). Their signature bright pink booths, in-house DJ, great menu and all-around cool vibe make for a great joint to grab some dinner, or have a few cocktails (or if you’re me, do both).

Who said Mondays couldn’t be any fun? ;)

Timeline Boutique Fashion Show at Pink Elephant Thai

This Monday, December 10th, LuvnGrace is hosting a Christmas part at Pink Elephant Thai with fashion shows by Timeline Boutique, Smooch Boutique Swimwear and Element 7 Style, as well as live art performances, and of course, great music! Tickets are only $20 and are available for purchase at Timeline Boutique (63 E. Cordova), Bella Garnet Salon (1042 Hamilton St), or through Vernard Goud of LuvnGrace Affair (contact 604.374.5610 to arrange will call, or pickup in Yaletown). See y’all there!

Concord Pacific presents CandyTown – A Yaletown Holiday Festival

Concord Pacific presents CandyTown – A Yaletown Holiday Festival

This past weekend, Mainland Street was transformed into Concord Pacific’s CandyTown – a free, family-friendly event that celebrated all things Christmas. Dozens of local businesses came out to support the event, with individual tents and stands set up, where patrons could purchase anything from mini doughnuts to hot chocolate to holiday ornaments to clothing.

For the most part, the event was aimed at families with kids. There was a small skating rink set up just behind the Yaletown Roundhouse Skytrain station, an adorable one-antlered baby reindeer to get your photo taken with, and, of course, a meet-and-greet with Santa. But, as with anything that’s free and aimed at families, the line-ups were outta countrol. Not everything required a wait, though – there were some live performers on-hand, including Christmas carollers and ice sculptors (which always blows my mind).

Having said all of the above, Concord Pacific didn’t forget about the grown-ups. Several restaurants in Yaletown participated in the CandyTown Cocktail Tour, where each restaurant offered up a unique holiday-themed drink.

All in all, I’d say it was worth checking out if you had 30 minutes to kill. Judging by the large crowds, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes an annual tradition. It’s nice to have a holiday-themed alternative to the Vancouver Christmas Market (located at Georgia & Hamilton) which tends to be over-priced and over-crowded year after year.

LuvnGrace, BUN & Chinois Present: BUN Sesso 2012 Collection with Jennyfleur Loves & Rogue Fashion Shows

LuvnGrace, BUN & Chinois Present: BUN Sesso 2012 Collection with Jennyfleur Loves & Rogue Fashion Shows

If there’s anything cooler than Vernard Goud’s hair, it’s the events he throws. Vernard is a veteran event planner & promoter in town, putting on events that incorporate anything and everything from fashion showsto charities to live performances and everything in between. He has his finger on the pulse of Vancouver’s arts and culture scene, with his company, LuvnGrace Affair, throwing events on a (near) weekly basis.

Hosted at the uber trendy Chinois (located in Yaletown), the restaurant was transformed into an intimate runway where Carola Bun, Jennyfleur Loves and Rogue all launched their latest collections. The event was emceed by Mandy Ross, who is no stranger to hosting – she can currently be seen on Vancouver Television, and the soon-to-be-launched Fashion Television.

Jewelry designer Carola Bun proudly launched the updated collection of her BUN line. “The new collection is like nothing we’ve ever done before,” she began. “It’s edgy, it’s sexy, it’s kind of racy, whereas our previous collections are perfectly symmetrical and elegant and classical.” Carola says the new collection came naturally to her, being inspired by her own go-with-the-flow, free-spirited mentality. I’m a big fan of Carola for a few reasons – first and foremost, she’s a true entrepreneur, having built Bun from the ground up. She makes high-quality, gorgeous necklaces that stand the test of time – I bought my sister a BUN necklace as a wedding gift, and she ended up wearing it as she walked down the aisle (and still wears it whenever she can).

Jennyfleur Loves is another local company that showcased their line at the event. The boutique is located in the heart of Yaletown (right across the street from Chinois) and carries a unique array of womenswear. Owned and operated by a mother/daughter combo, they only sell clothes that they personally love – and clearly, these ladies have goodtaste! Womenswear or not, I want the Vlieger & Vandam iPad case they carry… but I guess I should buy an iPad first, shouldn’t I?

Rogue made their big Vancouver debut, launching their line of hard edge couture. I’m no fashion connoisseur, but the line was pretty badass. Rogue incorporated lots of leather, metal and period pieces, giving off a very steampunk vibe. Some of the looks reminded me of the amazing wardrobe in Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’.
Here’s the thing I love about Vernard’s events –they bring out such a wide range of people with varying passions, professions and backgrounds that you’ll get the opportunity to meet and mingle with anyone and everyone. I met a woman named Helen Siwak, who runs online dating sites strictly for smokers and people with tattoos (awesome), all the while running Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet – a vintage shop specializing in designer clothing. Check them out – they’re local and they support  great causes (10% of all sales go toward local animal charities). The Sociables will be at Helen’s upcoming Animalicious Art & Animal Extravaganza event on Saturday, December 8th! Stay tuned for more on that.

In the meantime, check out the full photo gallery (below)!

The Grouse Grind Experience

The Grouse Grind Experience

Having lived in Vancouver for a little over three years now, I’m ashamed to admit I had never done the Grouse Grind… that is, until, I finally grew a pair and gave it a shot this past weekend. That’s right – I lost my Grouse Grind V-Card. Everyone has their own story about “the Grind” (as the locals call it) – whether it’s a horror story (asthma attacks, physical injuries, loss of cell phone reception) or a personal best (y’know… those jackasses who claim they’re “only competing with themselves” and complain about finishing in 35 minutes). I did the Grind with five friends – and only three of us made it to the top…

The beginning of the Grind is deceiving – you see tourists, seniors and visibly-out-of-shape people begin their trek, and you think to yourself, “If those misfits can conquer this mountain, than so can I.” The beginning is a cake walk – how could anyone NOT finish this in 30 minutes? There’s a mild incline, beautiful scenery, and everyone seems to be smiling and laughing as they hop and skip their way up the mountain (for the first 1/4 of it, anyway).

Before you do the Grind, make sure you dress appropriately. I, myself, opted for runners, shorts, an old t-shirt and a ball cap (typical workout gear). If only everyone got this memo beforehand… Morons who thought it would be a good idea to wear jeans and a designer shirt now look like they got thrown into a swimming pool. Poor girls who spent an hour doing their hair and make-up beforehand now look like Dee Snyder. And the old people who were expecting a peaceful uphill trek? Well, let’s just say I emotionally prepared myself to have to bury them on that mountain. It’s almost like there was a point between the 1/4 mark and the halfway mark that separated the men from the boys.

A few minutes later, we lost two of our friends… To be fair, one of them has had respiratory issues from an early age, but attempted the Grind with good intentions. He decided to turn around, and hike back down the mountain, and our other friend decided to escort him down (Side note: Grouse Mountain prohibits anyone from hiking down the mountain. They say it’s to prevent congestion on the path, but skeptics believe it’s just a cash grab so people have to pay $10 to take the gondola to get back to the parking lot)

As the remaining three of us continued up the hill, it was amusing to observe the people on the sidelines. Sure, the three of us took breaks every couple of minutes to stop and catch our breath, wipe away the sweat and chug some water, but there were literally people eating out of Chinese take-out boxes and watching videos on their iPhones. I’m not even kidding. Apparently we’ve all forgotten how to go ONE hour without YouTube or Panda Express.

The hardest part of the climb (in my opinion) lies between the halfway mark and the 3/4 mark. You’ll literally approach the halfway sign, feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation, and then BOOM! Mother nature kicks you in the groin as you struggle to make it to the 3/4 mark. By this point, I wasn’t so much racing the clock as I was just trying not to keel over and die.

Fast forward ten minutes later, when we see a clearing in the trees. Could we finally be at the top of the mountain?! In the distance we can see the corner of the Grouse Mountain lodge, which immediately reminds us that beer is a thing. That was enough motivation for the three of us to haul ass up the home stretch, and b-line it for the lounge. We followed up our strenuous workout the only way we knew how… with pulled pork poutine, burgers and $9 bottles of domestic beer. So how long did it take us? 70 minutes. According to Grouse Mountain staff, it takes most people 90 minutes to complete (I swear they just say that to make everyone feel better about themselves). Regardless, the Grouse Grind was a very rewarding experience… And not just because of the beer. The view at the top is breathtaking, and it certainly feels good to accomplish a feat like the Grind. Not only that, but there’s tons more to do up top like zip lining, paragliding and lumberjack shows!