Sitting amongst a bath of bubbles and reading “How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World” by Jordan Christy, I looked out my window in Vancouver (a city where I had escaped to from the frigid snow and cold of Montreal but a mere year ago) to see a snow covered landscape. From my apartment in Yaletown, I have a beautiful view of Grouse Mountain.
All week I was feeling down and dreary from the lack of sun and onslaught of messages saying its “going to be the worst winter yet in Vancouver,” and so in my attempts to book a fast flight into the warm wonderland of sunshine to my parents in Scottsdale, I stop and think no, I gotta get outta here. Not out of Vancouver, but out of my apartment. I was starting to think the heat and 12 hours in front of the computer screen were getting to my head.
Author Jordan Christy stated one of the best way to become a more articulate, knowledgeable, and well-rounded person is to learn a new language. Which I then translated into, “Get out and socialize with all the different people in the city.” So I threw on my style approved Vancouver winter get up ie casual warm clothes, and headed off to one of my favorite parts of the city, Main St.
Now being that our agency focuses on green and sustainability, I’ve gotten to know and love the public transportation system (well maybe not love but still) and how easy it is to get around. I hop on the metro to Broadway and walk up to 12th where the fun begins. Oh, oh hold a second I also wanted my readers to take note of the huge amounts of calories you’re burning when taking public transit. I believe when walking (instead of taking the bus) from Broadway to 12/main, its about 10 blocks. So go ahead and scarf down that extra piece of apple pie a la mode, I don’t feel guilty.
Now the other half of the reason I am off to Main St. is that I’ve been promising myself that I would start my Christmas shopping early (yes I do say this every year and somehow seem to never accomplish it). For most of us in the industry, we turn into “cool hunters” when it comes to holiday shopping. We want the new, unique, best, and different. Myself? At the end of the day, I want to feel good knowing that my purchase is making a difference somewhere in the world.
First Stop: Body Politic boutique (12th/main)
Body Politic (known of their amazing edited selection of some of the best sustainable designers in North America) is also a hot spot for ethical gift giving. Make sure to pick up and read the story about Dutzi Designs. Began by fashion editor turned ethical bag lady, Dutzi gives women in Mexico with dire needs to create a life better than their current, a chance to design burlap feedbags into a fashionable carry all with a heart. The majority of proceeds go to benefit these women to help them get back on their feet and care for their families. Check them out in Marie Claire Mag.
My other favorite, Dirt. There’s the old saying, “God Made Dirt, so Dirt Can’t Hurt.” Well, Dirt is doing its part to create change (a portion of proceeds are donated to charity) and smell good while doing it. The candles are GMO-free soy wax, made with organic soy cultivated in the USA, along with essential oils, botanical ingredients, and all-natural cotton wicks. They use recycled packaging printed with soy inks and labels made from corn. Lit one up in scents like “Bah Humbug” and “Love Machine.”
Second Stop: Shakta Tea (21st/Main)
After trekking up about 8 blocks, my hands are in need of some serious warm lovin. Five words: Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie. Yea, glad I walked those 8 blocks for this. Half the reason I go here is for their Cinnamon Swirl Tea (its like a cinnamon bun in a cup) and a portion of the proceeds of this tea go to A Loving Spoonful. Im picking up a gift bag of this for my Polish Grandmother. She loves tea more than a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck (her words not mine.)
Third Stop: Vincent Park (between 27th/28th and Main)
Whether your dad’s a little rock and roll or mom was a former Aerosmith groupie in a former life (or perhaps you just like to envision your bf all dressed up like Brandon Flowers), this former antique shop was brought to life by two sisters with an impeccable taste for the unique. From animal shoot glasses to Strange Beautiful nail polishes (free of any harsh chemicals regularly found in most commercial nail polish), rest assured for those in your life who you think “have it all,” won’t have what’s here at Vincent Park.
Fourth Stop: Liberty Bakery (3699 Main St.)
At this point, all this shopping is getting a little tiring and these bags are getting a bit heavy for a public transportee like myself, so Im in need of a re-up. Gingerbread men dipped in chocolate, teeny tiny tarts, and homemade pies OH MY! Sweet jesus stop me before my sweet tooth falls out. Its the perfect pit stop for a mid day shopping pick me up or if you’re looking for the perfect “homemade” (that doesn’t mean YOU have to make it…) dessert to take to the boyfriend’s parents.
After inhaling 5 chocolate dipped gingerbread men, Im beginning to have visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Literally I think I’m seeing elfs dancing on main. So before this sugar rush wares off, I exhaust the last of my energy resources and trek back to my metro on Broadway. Again, not feeling bad about those gingerbread men, seeing as those I I’ve walked 50 blocks. (I kid, I kid) It wasn’t that far, I was just only wearing two pairs of socks in the melting snowy sidewalks.
I throw myself on the bed and doze off to wonderland, dreaming of silver bells and cotton tails….Wait a minute, that is how the song goes right?