November 2017

Area3 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

The lights are up and the halls are decked – the holiday season is upon us! With less than a month before Christmas, we are sure there are many things on your radar – including finding gifts for everyone on your list. We know that this time of year can be quite stressful, so we have compiled a gift guide that will help you spend less time scrambling through the busy shopping malls and more time doing fun festive things and spending quality time with friends and family. From the Homebody to the Outdoor Adventurer, we have covered many of the personalities that are sure to be on your list. Read on for our picks!

Food & Drink Connoisseur

We all have the one person on our list who is a complete foodie. They simply have the best taste in all things food and drink and let’s face it – are very hard to please when choosing a restaurant. If this person likes to not only eat, but also prepare meals, why not gift them a class? Ai and Om Knives’  has a sake and sushi workshop that will introduce them to Japanese cuisine and knife work – from knife selection to butchery – while getting to do tastings! A gift that is sure to keep giving. Got a coffee lover on your list too? There’s no going wrong with a Nespresso Maker. The Nespresso Pixie is the perfect size for any countertop – at home or at work! For that sweet and spicy tea lover on your list be sure to head over to Food 52 and check out their Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate. For a unique gift we love The Raw Spice Bar which ships you directly 6 freshly ground, seasonal spices & blends, quarterly, along with global recipe ideas for all diets. Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie, Tandori Chicken or Chikpea Veggie Burger anyone? Lastly for the baker on your list how about one of the retro and colorful Smeg Stand Mixers?

Health Guru

The health guru in your life probably totes around a bottle of water or kombucha (or both) with them every day. Kombucha can be expensive, so you can help your health guru brew their own with this Kombucha Home Brew Kit. It contains everything they will need to brew quality kombucha in their own kitchen packed with probiotics and health benefits. Why not bottle it in something beautiful as well? S’well has fun and functional bottles that will keep their essential drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. The Soma Water Filtration Pitcher is so beautiful you will have no problem consuming the recommended eight glasses a day. FastCompany called it “The world’s most beautiful water filter”. They also give back and believe clean drinking is a basic human right. Every time you make a purchase they donate to a charity which supports this belief. Limited editions offer even larger incentives. Tired of that boring old lunch bag?  How about adding a little bit of fun? Part bento box, part TV tray The Planetbox is an all in one solution to packing a healthy portion controlled meal.

The Techie

This person seems to always be on top of the latest and greatest piece of tech on the market. The Amazon Echo Spot is perfect for everyday use as it uses the widely popular Alexa platform, but also features a screen. The display transforms between a clock, news story or video calls and is sure to become a nightstand staple. Got a gamer in your life? They will love the Oculus Rift and Touch Virtual Reality System. It is the best VR headset on the market and the included hand controllers makes interacting with the virtual world feel close to real. It also includes 6 free games! For the person who just can’t put down their phone, even on a cold winter day – how about the Touch Gloves available in multiple lengths and styles.

Outdoor Adventurer

Their weekends are usually packed with hikes, camping or even some extreme sports. Help them capture those moments on mountains with the GoPro HERO5 Black . It captures 4K video and bursts of 12MP images. Not only is it sleek, compact and easy to control, but it can also go up to 33 feet underwater without a housing. Are they more of a practical person? A Swiss Army knife is always handy to have when you have an unexpected problem to solve outdoors. This Swiss Army MiniChamp Alox has 15 tools packed into its classic design inan elegant silver. They will never leave home without it! For the camper on your list we recommend the Tradional Shake and Pop Popcorn Maker. What’s better than making popcorn the old school way over a campfire?

Travel Junkie

Always on the go, the travel junkie is constantly looking for a new place to explore. Make sure they look stylish with the Away Carry-On which comes in a variety of colors. It’s hard shell is unbreakable and 4-wheel design make zipping through the airport a breeze. Our favorite feature is the built-in battery that can charge any USB device, so their phones will always have juice to check maps, emails and Airbnb! For the days the travel junkie is at home, they will enjoy documenting their last destination on this Scratch Map from Luckies.  It’s affordable and thoughtful and will keep them dreaming of their next adventure! The Ostrich Pillow Go is a MoMA exclusive .Thanks to hidden magnetic buttons and three choices of position, this travel pillow fits easily around the neck and adapts to every one’s proportions

Homebody

Home is where the heart is and the Homebody probably has that quote framed on their wall. Make sure they curl up with one of these Super Chunky Knit Blankets (available in many great neutral colors). Once under the cover and the fire is set all you need is a great book. How about Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader? It has a sharp display with adjustable lighting, lightweight body, Wi-Fi connectivity and a battery that can last for weeks on a single charge. Don’t forget your cozy wool slippers from Glerups.  To set the final touch why not add a great luxury scented candle from Jo Malone. So many amazing scents and the luxury size burns for 230 hours.

The Fashionista

Even grocery shopping girl needs to look good – right? How about The Unstructured Shopper Bag from one of our favorite stores COS! While you are there might as well pick up the Chunky Necklace too? Please be sure to ask Santa to drop both off at my house……………… Last on our gift guide this year is the Fleece Hooded Scarf by Design House Stockholm which doubles as a hat and scarf. Keeping you both warm and stylish. What did you get the people on your gift list? Let us know with the hashtag #area3giftguide

 

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Winter Staycations

We all know someone who has already started to count down the number of days until Christmas. For the rest of us, our dreams may consist of just a few relaxing vacation days without the holiday season stress. Before you deep dive into the season’s festivities, why not consider a little staycation right here in BC’s backyard? Just a weekend will do the trick and we have just the places for you! Keep reading for three winter staycations on our bucket list.

Penticton Lakeside Resort

The Okanagan is ever popular in the summer, but it is also a fantastic getaway destination in the winter! Penticton is a short four hour drive from Vancouver and is not only a beautiful getaway, but also a lot of fun! Whether you are an adventure seeker and want to try a snowshoeing adventure [http://www.hoodooadventures.ca/snowshoeing/], cross-country skiing, or prefer to do something more laid back, there’s something for everyone. The quintessential wine tasting is still an option in the winter and some fresh picks can also be found at the Penticton Winter Farmer’s Market. Make sure to stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort [https://www.pentictonlakesideresort.com/] which is situated right on the lake. Every year, the hotel gets into the holiday spirit with a fully decorated lobby and they also convert their private beach into an outdoor ice-rink! The resort is also home to Penticton’s only casino and the Hooded Marganser restaurant which has stunning lake views and delicious food.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort

Getting up early, bundling up and hitting the slopes isn’t your winter style? If dipping your toes into warm natural mineral waters of lounging pools sounds like heaven, then Ainsworth Hot Springs [http://www.ainsworthhotsprings.com/] in BC’s Kootenay region is for you. The Ktunaxa First Nations peoples were the first to visit these soothing, warm waters for their restorative properties after a long day of hunting, gathering and fishing. You can explore the unique horseshoe-shaped hot spring cave with its stalactites and stalagmites – the hottest pool on site – soaking in the mineral waters. Once you are in need of some cooling, jump into the stream-fed cold plunge. In need of some further relaxation? Visit the Spirit Water Spa for a massage or body wrap. Later on in the day, take a serene and scenic hike through surrounding forest trails and come back to a scrumptious dinner at the Ktunaxa Grill. A perfect getaway to restore your mind, body and spirit if you ask us!

The Wickaninnish Inn

Looking for some island time? Tofino is not only fantastic for surfing in the summer, but is also great for a weekend of rest and relaxation at the Wickaninnish Inn [https://www.wickinn.com/]. Start your day here by taking in the majestic Vancouver Island coastline from your room then head over to the Rainforest Haven studio for a rejuvinating yoga class. Continue the day with some treatments and packages at the Ancient Cedars Spa and top it off with a farm-fresh meal from The Pointe Restaurant. The perk to the Wickaninnish Inn is their pet-friendly rooms and dog sitting, so your fur babies don’t need to be left at home. Children are also welcome and can be taken care of by babysitters when the time comes for your well-deserved massage and glass of wine!

Where will you go for your winter staycation? Let us know with the hashtag #area3staycation

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Around Town

It’s been awhile since we have talked about the neighborhoods in our beautiful city of Vancouver. The last one was “3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver.” This time, we are featuring neighborhoods around our downtown core – Railtown, Chinatown and Yaletown. They are jam packed with great finds and will leave you wanting to come back for more! As a designer we always appreciate an inspiring space whether thats a coffee shop, retail space or beautiful building! We suggest you take your time walking each street and popping into unexpected shops and cafes. Keep reading for a few our favorites!

Railtown

Chances are, you have never been to Railtown or have not even heard of it before. It is just East of the always busy and tourist filled Gastown. It is definitely a bit more quiet and industrial, but if you venture out this way, you are sure to come across some gems. Looking for a place to grab brunch this weekend? Ask for Luigi is just the place if you fancy a fresh hand-made pasta in a casual yet intimate setting. Be sure to arrive early as there are no reservations! Another good place to pop-by for a good evening is The Belgard Kitchen and Postmark Brewing. You won’t miss it when you drive by because of its enormous wood doors. Inside, you can choose to taste some of Postmark’s beer brewed on location before grabbing a seat and enjoying some modern tapas. Finally, if you’re looking for something very unique and custom for your home, you should definitely head over to Alexander Centre (611 Alexander St.). This is where you will find the showrooms of companies such as Crown Wallpaper and Fabrics, AnneStarr and Jan Kath. You have been warned, you will get lost in the land of wallpaper, fabrics and rugs! Heads up though, not all of these designer showrooms are open to the public so be sure to call first.

Chinatown

Did you know that Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in North America? No wonder it is a tourist destination! Other than the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens – which everyone should visit at least once – Chinatown is packed with many great places to shop and eat. Looking for some new cookware? Ming Wo  is filled with great finds, whether it is some new cutlery, dishware or a new kitchen gadget. For those who are into street-style fashion, be sure to wander into El Kartel. Although it may look insignificant from the street, the store is quite large on the inside and has something for both males and females. Looking for a quick snack? Pop into New Town Bakery & Restaurant  and pick up a couple of fresh Chinese buns and be sure to get a Hong-Kong style milk tea while you’re at it! Finally, if you find yourself in Chinatown on an evening, take a seat at Juniper and enjoy one of their charcuterie boards with a glass of wine. It’s a great place to catch up with a few friends!

Yaletown

Hip and always happening, Yaletown doesn’t ever seem to sleep. In the summer, the restaurant patios are always packed and there is constant buzz on Mainland and Hamilton Streets. It is very easy to do some shopping absolutely anything in this neighborhood. Start the day off with a pastry and coffee at the ever-popular Small Victory Bread & Coffee. Looking for something for your home? Be sure to check out The Cross Décor & Design. For those of you who like to spoil your furry friends, Barking Babies is the place for you! Got a sweet tooth? Karameller Candy Shop is your next stop for some irresistible Swedish candies. Of course, Yaletown has plenty of places to grab a bit to eat. The Banter Room  has an eclectic interior that’s perfect for lunch whereas a whimsical night sipping wine in the courtyard of Brix and Mortar is an absolute must.

Which neighborhood will you check out first? Let us know with the hashtag #area3aroundtown

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