Pay it Forward with Sumac Ridge

February 26th, 2015 @ 3:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Sumac Ridge is kicking off a yearlong do-good campaign and they invited me to help them Pay it Forward this month. The Summerland, BC winery offered up $500 so that I could help out a local charity, and after touring the Dress for Success Vancouver offices last fall, they immediately came to mind.


Dress for Success Vancouver is a community empowering women into the workforce by providing them with professional attire, career services, and skills development programs. Their purpose is to offer long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty. Dress for Success is part of a global movement for change, empowering women to obtain safer and better futures.

They provide each client with professional attire to secure employment, but are about much more than simply a new outfit. Besides physically equipping the client with apparel and accessories, their programs furnish her with a confidence that she carries forever and the knowledge that she can actively define her life, the direction she takes and what success means to her.

To Pay it Forward, I met with Christina Florencio from Dress for Success last week, along with Kate Colley on behalf of Sumac Ridge, and together we spent $500 on much-needed interview and office attire for clients. We then delivered our haul to volunteers in the Dress for Success sorting room, and from there the contributions will be picked up by clients.

If you think a shopping spree for yourself feels good, let me tell you that there’s no rush like a shopping spree for someone else – many others – who are all very much in need of what you’re buying!

Pay it Forward with Sumac Ridge

Throughout 2015, Sumac Ridge want to continue to Pay it Forward, and that’s where everyone else comes in. The idea is as simple as doing something nice for someone who has made you feel special. Starting in March, Sumac Ridge will share a special treat with one of their loyal supporters and from there, it will be a chain reaction. The March recipient will select April’s, the April recipient will select May’s and so on. The campaign, and those being celebrated will be shared on Sumac’s social media channels using hashtag #SUMACPIF.

Sumac Ridge will also recognize those doing good in the community by celebrating individuals nominated throughout the year on their Facebook page. British Columbians will be asked to tell the winery who deserves a “random act of kindness” and why. The winery will select 12 additional individuals to receive a “People’s Choice” giveaway in the third week of each month from March 2015 through February 2016.

For more information, and to join the conversation, find Sumac Ridge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Free Kids Admission at VanDusen Garden in March

February 26th, 2015 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Kids get free admission at VanDusen Garden Botanical Garden from March 1st to March 31st, 2015! Bring the family to explore the 55 acres of the gardens with pink cherry blossoms, sculptures, a hedge maze, local wildlife, and over 7,000 different plants from around the world.

Photo credit: May L on Flickr

Free Kids Admission at VanDusen Garden in March

Get up to two free child admissions (for kids 12 and under) when you purchase a regular priced adult, senior, or youth admission. VanDusen is open every day in March, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Full details about this offer are available online.

According to the garden’s bloom calendar you can expect to see early Rhododendrons, Helleborus, Winter Aconite (Eranthus hyemalis), Crocus, and Cornelian Cherry blossoms.

Hellebore Baby Muscari
Photo credit: May L & May L on Flickr

Bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden or grab lunch at Truffles Cafe and browse the gift shop. Follow VanDusen on Facebook for more information and programming updates.

Win Tickets to What You’re Missing at the Chutzpah! Festival

February 26th, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Chutzpah! Festival, which began on February 19th, is going strong through to March 15th at the Norman Rothstein Theatre and various off-site venues around Vancouver. Now in its 15th year, it brings to the stage awe-inspiring dance, insightful theatre, hilarious comedy, and engaging music from international and Canadian artists.

The wide range of performances entertains audiences with everything from an Ethiopian-fused Reggae band and the Borealis String Quartet to stand up comedy from three hilarious South Asian, Italian and Vietnamese American-Jewish comedians Samson Koletkar, Mike Capozzola and Joseph Nguyen.


Single tickets for Chutzpah! are $20 to $36 and can be purchased online or by phone at 604-257-5145 (box office) or 604-684-2787 (Tickets Tonight). Chutzi Packs are also available, which allow you to see four different shows of your choice for only $85. Tickets are also be available in-person at the Jewish Community Centre (950 West 41st Avenue).

What You’re Missing

If you’re not attending any Chutzpah Festival performances, you’re definitely missing out so the aptly named “What You’re Missing” should be at the top of your list of shows to check out before the end of the festival. Chutzpah! will host the Canadian premiere of this play from March 10th to March 15th, 2015.

What You’re Missing (Cailtlin McCarthy & Amitai Marmorstein). Photo by Tim Matheson.

What You’re Missing is a bright new comedy about yearning and stifling, freedom and control, assets and liabilities, culture and class, and of course, strong dominating mothers. Vancouver-born, UK-based playwright Tamara Micner paints with a smile as she colours the streams of implications for two young people in love, living in the shadows of two very different histories – the Eastern European and Chilean Jewish experience.

The effervescent, talented Tamara Micner has us laughing deeply as we celebrate the universal in fumbling our way through difference. It’s 1974 in Vancouver. Isabel and Ed really like each other – and really like each other’s parents (a lot) more than their own! They want to travel together, but Ed’s mother refuses. Isabel’s dad won’t speak to Ed, Isabel’s mum won’t shut up about Pinochet, and everyone’s too hungry or too full. As the two families meet, eat, misinterpret and overreact, will the older generation be a catalyst, or a catastrophe? Is it only the young couple who are coming of age?

What You’re Missing premiered at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge in 2011 and has previously sold out at London’s King’s Head Theatre in 2014.

Gracing the stage in Vancouver will be six of Western Canada’s finest actors: Stephen Aberle, Natascha Girgis, Luisa Jojic, Amitai Marmorstein, Caitlin McCarthy and Jeffrey Renn. Directed by the award-winning director John Cooper, who has directed over 130 productions across Canada.

Showtimes are March 10th, March 11th, March 12th, and March 14th at 8:00pm; March 13th at 3:00pm; and March 15th at 1:00pm. Tickets are $29 (adult), $25 (senior), $20 (students), plus taxes/fees.

If you would like to see What You’re Missing at the Chutzpah! Festival, I have a pair of tickets to give away for the opening on March 10th. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to #WhatYoureMissing at @ChutzpahFest from @Miss604

Follow the Chutzpah! Festival on Facebook and Twitter for more information. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Okanagan Spring Break Skiing at Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Big White

February 25th, 2015 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Even the black diamond runs are green this season on the local mountains as a lack of snow has left the chair lifts motionless and lodge doors closed. Fortunately, I did get a taste of winter earlier this season when I was whisked away to the Okanagan to experience three stunning resorts and discover what “champagne powder” really was.

Okanagan Ski Trip

Okanagan Spring Break Skiing

Over six days I visited Sun Peaks (near Kamloops), Silver Star (near Vernon), and Big White (near Kelowna) and I strapped on my snowboard for the first time in many years. Aside from the groomed slopes, friendly guides, and family activities, I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed some of the very best meals I’ve ever tasted in the region, let alone at a ski resort. If you’re thinking about heading on an Okanagan ski trip with the family this spring break, here are a few useful pieces of information to help you make the best of your getaway, based on my recent experience:

Sun Peaks

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Okanagan Ski Trip

Okanagan Ski Trip Okanagan Ski Trip

About: Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest ski resort with 4,270 acres of terrain on three mountains. You’ll find light and easy runs, rolling cruisers, alpine bowls, tree skiing and lots of powder. The longest run is called 5 Mile, and it really is 5 miles (8km) long!

Where to Eat: It’s tough to get me to try sushi when I’m inland but OYA Sushi was delightfully delicious and fresh. Also try Voyageur Bistro where you’ll get a healthy helping of Canadian and BC history knowledge served up alongside your wild salmon.

Special Offerings: The guided Breakfast Fresh Tracks was a highlight. Kick off your day on the mountain with exclusive access to exceptional alpine terrain accessed by the Crystal chair until 9:00am, followed by a hearty breakfast at the Sunburst Mid-Mountain Restaurant. There are a lot of events and family programs coming up for spring break so check out their full calendar for details.

What I loved: The history of the resort, meeting Nancy Greene Raine and skiing with Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine, the variety of runs, no lines, no crowds.

Silver Star

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Okanagan Ski Trip

Okanagan Ski Trip Okanagan Ski Trip

About: Silver Star Mountain Resort is BC’s third largest ski area, with 128 runs and over 3,269 acres of terrain. It’s a big mountain with a small town feel in the village with mid-mountain ski-in/ski-out access. It has a great ski school program (I took a refresher/intermediate lesson here with a really fun guide), nicely groomed cruisers, steep powder filled chutes, and back country that one day I’ll explore, when the more lessons pay off.

Where to Eat: Breakfast at Bugaboos Bakery to start your day, lunch at The Den (except on Trivia Night, have dinner there first), more upscale (and romantic) dinner at Silver Grill by the fireplace.

We met up with a few Vernon tourism partners and producers at the Pinheads bowling alley, a state of the art 4 lane venue with an impressive bistro that provided us with a vibrant spread of local cheeses and meats. It was safe to declare our charcuterie and fruit plates the best bowling alley food I’ve ever had.

Special Offerings: Silver Star is the first resort in Canada to offer an all-inclusive experience with the My1Pass. In addition to unlimited skiing and snowboarding, all Silver Star alpine season passes and day tickets include free upgrades allowing unlimited access to the nordic and snowshoe trails, tubing at the Tube Town Adventure Park, and ice skating. Check out their deals page online for upcoming packages and promotions.

What I loved: Friendly staff, beautiful views, delicious dining in the village. Oh, and my room at the Snowbird Lodge had its own private hot tub on the balcony!

Big White

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Okanagan Ski Trip Okanagan Ski Trip

Okanagan Ski Trip Okanagan Ski Trip

About: Big White is known as Canada’s Family Resort with over 750cm of light, dry, fluffy powder falling annually. It has Canada’s largest fully ski-in/ski-out village and an impressive Ski School. Accommodations range from hotels, luxury apartments, modern mountain vacation homes and themed log cabins.

Where to Eat: Gunbarrel Grill for après drinks, and the Globe for lunch or dinner with award-winning drinks and wines, tapas, and family-style s’mores cooking house-made marshmallows at your table.

Special Offerings: Check out family nights, craft activities, pizza nights, and Spring Break programming along with package deals.

What I loved: The wide range of activity and dining options. When my group arrived at Big White it was socked in with fog, which didn’t deter quite a few who still took to the slopes. Being unfamiliar with the mountain, and having taken refresher lessons all week, I opted to join the part of the group that was going to check out everything else the resort offers. Ice skating, ice climbing, tubing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, nordic skiing, are just a few of the other activities — then there’s the wining and dining. Gunbarrel coffee, s’mores, and house wine commissioned at a local Kelowna winery.

For more information about these three resorts and more throughout our beautiful province, check out Destination BC’s Ski BC hub online and follow HelloBC on Twitter and Instagram.


This is not a paid post. My experience was a part of a media trip with Destination BC, Ski BC.

Spa at the Four Seasons Seattle: My Oxygen Facial

February 25th, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Michelle Kim

After our heavily caffeinated drive from Vancouver to Seattle, and after quickly taking in our room’s stunning 10th floor ocean-front view as the light change across the Pacific Northwest sky, Rebecca and I were quickly whisked downstairs to the hotel spa for some much needed rest and relaxation.

View from our room at Four Seasons Seattle

A girls getaway isn’t complete and without a decadent spa treatment and the Spa the Four Seasons Seattle definitely delivered, being truly an oasis within the oasis that is the Pacific Northwest.

Bathrobed and barefooted, Rebecca and I walked along the pristine white tiles, admired the purple orchids, and sat in an eucalyptus-scented steam room while we waited for our treatments.

Four Seasons Seattle SpaI have extremely dry skin and have tried so many types of moisturizers and treatments only to have little success. Facials, for the most part, have only ended in more dryness and a rash. So when I made the appointment to get an oxygen facial and peptide eye treatment at the Spa, I was a little nervous, because, after all, what exactly is an Oxygen Facial?

My esthetician was Christine who proceeded to explain what the Oxygen Facial was developed by Intraceuticals, and Australian company, and involves a machine that sprays atomized moisturizers, antioxidants, and vitamins onto the skin by using a stream of pressurized oxygen. The treatment is suppose to hydrate skin immediately, with the oxygen pushing the treatment deep into the skin, making the face appear smoother and plumper. It’s a favourite among celebrities like Madonna, Victoria Beckham, and Kim Kardashian.

With a metal wand, Christine started with the eye and lip treatment on the right side of my face. The pressure of the oxygen stream wasn’t intense and all, even around the eye, and just felt like someone lightly blowing on me. After that was complete, she then proceeded on the same side, with the Oxygen Facial for the rest of the skin. Then Christine handed me a mirror; it looked as though I had a facelift, botox, and fillers on the treated side of my face. The lines around my eyes smoothed out, my cheekbones were higher, my lips were slightly fuller, and my skin was so hydrated it had a dewy glow.

After she completed the entire face, and after we went upstairs, and in the ensuing hours, at dinner and at a show, I couldn’t stop touching my face. It was so soft and moist. Even the next day, and the day after, my face was so hydrated.

Needless to say, it was a pretty miraculous treatment and I even purchased a product from the Intraceuticals line at the Spa (the Atoxelene Line Wand) before we drove back to Vancouver. I plan to return to Spa at Four Seasons Seattle for another treatment as soon as I can and to purchase more products, which seem to be cheaper to buy there than here in Canada, even with the exchange rate. Along with the long chats with Rebecca, catching up on life and love, the treatment at the Spa at Four Seasons Seattle was for me a highlight of the trip and definitely life-changing, for my skin at least.


This is not a paid post. Opinions are those of the author. The spa treatment was compliments of the hotel for media review purposes.

A guest post by Michelle Kim

Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Providing write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.

A Night Out for Music Heals at The Rickshaw

February 24th, 2015 @ 7:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

A Night Out for Music HealsThe bar and nightclub industry will join together to support music therapy efforts in Canada during the 4th annual A Night Out for Music Heals, happening in over a dozen cities across Canada on March 7th. When you head out to one of over 40 participating venues, $1 from your cover will go directly to Music Heals.

Alongside Executive Director of Music Heals, I caught up with Mo Tarmohamed, owner of The Rickshaw Theatre to talk about The Rickshaw’s very special offering for A Night Out for Music Heals this year.

A Night Out for Music Heals at The Rickshaw

Located on East Hastings, just off Main Street in the Downtown Eastside, The Rickshaw seems to automatically have an edge. “One of the things that this place has been known for, and has been home to, is punk and metal shows,” Mo explained as he, Chris, and I walked past rows of theatre seating down onto the inclined floor space in front of the stage. But while metal and punk has been The Rickshaw’s “bread and butter”, its great sight lines, professional staff, lighting options, and 500+ capacity have made it an ideal venue for many acts, both local and international.

Mo Tarmohamed from The Rickshaw and Chris Brandt from Music Heals A Night Out for Music Heals at The Rickshaw

“We didn’t want to be known strictly as a niche venue so we’ve really opened it up and had quite a diversity of musical genres. Even last week, Tuesday we had Napalm Death a metal band, then on Thursday we had R&B/soul, on Friday we had punk, on Saturday we had world beat music.” With the diverse range of artists playing sold out shows for audience with a demographic with ages of 19 to 65, Mo said he often sees people act surprised that The Rickshaw existed — and that they haven’t been there before.

Crossing back through the lobby, with walls covered in posters and notices for upcoming shows, we made our way up to the balcony and Mo pointed out a few more lighting and effects features available at the venue.

“We’ve hosted bands that are on the upward trajectory, like last year we had two sold out shows for War on Drugs — Future Islands played her last year and this year they’re playing at Malkin Bowl. So we’re catching bands that are just in the process of blowing up but then we also get some of those legacy bands.” DOA, Mudhoney, Human League, Concrete Blonde, have all played The Rickshaw recently and coming up they are hosting the likes of Wishbone Ash and The Rezillos.

The Rickshaw has also become a coveted stage for local performers. “They play at places like Funky’s and The Astoria, but getting on stage at the Rickshaw is a special notch on their belt. It just makes them feel like they’ve arrived — or are arriving — and they get the full rockstar treatment.”

“Mo made a reason to come out on a night that was otherwise an empty night.”
– Chris Brandt, Music Heals

With that commitment to the local music scene, it’s no surprise that The Rickshaw has signed on for A Night Out for Music Heals. “Mo specifically created the show when I sent the first email,” Chris said as we all looked down at The Rickshaw stage from above.

“He said, ‘we don’t have anything that night, so I’ll make something that night’. That differentiates what The Rickshaw is doing. There was nothing here on the 7th and Mo went and created something.” Chris said that while all participants are appreciated, it’s harder for a live venue to throw their support behind a cause like A Night Out for Music Heals since the contribution has to come out of someone’s pocket, whether that be the promoter, the venue, or the band.

“When Mo reached out to everyone, they were all in with the full understanding that a buck from every cover was going to be going to charity. So, that’s a whole other level of emotional investment from the bands and the venue, which is amazing.”

Acts that will play The Rickshaw on March 7th for A Night Out for Music Heals are Spoon River, Sh-Shakes, Eric Campbell & The Dirt, The Wandering Halls, Random Dander. Tickets are $11 in advance, $9 at the door. No service charges on tickets bought at Red Cat, Neptoon or Dandelions. $1 from your ticket will go to Music Heals, all you need to do is purchase one.

The Music Heals Charitable Foundation helps raise awareness of the healing powers of Music and fundraises to increase access to Music Therapy for patients in children’s hospitals, senior’s homes, palliative care, AIDS & HIV programs, bereavement, and more. Music Therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Follow Music Heals on Twitter and use the tag #NightOut4MH for updates.

FIFA Women’s World Cup: Tickets On Sale

February 24th, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Don’t miss FIFA Women’s World Cup action in Vancouver this summer as Canada hosts the most important international competition in women’s soccer from June 6th to July 5th, 2015. This is the first major sporting event in Canada to be hosted from coast to coast, with matches to be played in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec and Moncton.

Tickets on Sale February 26th

FIFA Women's World CupTicket passports went on sale in September, the VISA pre-sale has been happening throughout February, and as of 9:00am on Thursday, February 26, 2015 tickets will go on sale for the public.

Individual tickets for all six venues will be on sale through, on a first-come, first-served basis. All prices listed are for each full match day, with the group stage featuring 15 doubleheaders and 6 single matches. The knockout stages include the Round of 16, Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, 3rd Place and Final Match and are all single matches.

This will be the first opportunity for the public to purchase individual match tickets, including tickets to the final match at BC Place. Tickets will start at $20.15 for group stage matches and fans will also have the opportunity to attend any match, competition-wide, for fifty dollars or less – including the final in Vancouver – making this an extremely affordable world-class event.


Reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Japan will kick off its World Cup campaign with two matches in Vancouver before heading to Winnipeg for its final group stage match. FIFA top-ranked Germany will play its first two matches in Ottawa, and a third in Winnipeg. Second-ranked team USA will be launching its World Cup bid in Winnipeg, with a third match in Vancouver. Third-ranked France and sixth-ranked England are featured on the Atlantic coast in Moncton. View the full schedule online.

Follow Canada Women’s National Team soccer updates on Facebook and Twitter with tag #CANWNT.

Scotiabank Bowl for Big Brothers Classic 2015

February 23rd, 2015 @ 6:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s time to sign up with your team for the Scotiabank Bowl for Big Brothers Classic, the largest fundraising event of its kind in North America! Taking over bowling centres across the Lower Mainland this April, there are over 30 events to choose from and you’ll join over 2,000 participants on 200 teams to support Big Brothers’ mentoring programs for at-risk children.


Sign Up

Sign up, raise pledges, have fun, support the kids and be a superhero! When and where is up to you, choose from a variety of bowling locations (like REVS, The Zone Richmond and Commodore) and events throughout the month of April. When you raise a minimum of $60 you can bowl, eat, drink and have fun with a group of colleagues, friends or family, while giving back to a great cause.

About Big Brothers

One in four Lower Mainland children grows up without a father. By matching at-risk children with mentors, we attempt to instill resiliency to help them cope with the adversities they face. By participating in this bowling campaign, you can help us make a difference. There is no more important investment than helping our community’s children realize – and share – their full potential.

Enter to Win

In support of the Scotiabank Bowl for Big Brothers Classic, I’m giving away two 1 Month Unlimited Yoga Passes to Semperviva Yoga. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming your favourite superhero (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
Sign up for #Bowl4BigBros + RT to enter to win two yoga passes from @Miss604 @BigBrosOnline ​​

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Friday, February 27, 2015. Follow Big Brothers on Facebook and Twitter for more information.