Top 5 Festive things to do in Vancouver

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Bright Nights in Stanley Park

This tradition is one that is lasted over the years! It is for kids and adults a like. There are over a million lights that have helped turn Stanley park into a magical holiday forest. The train takes passengers into an epic winter wonderland. While your there don’t forget to check out the parade of trees, visit Santa, and enjoy all that Stanley Park has to offer in the wintertime!

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The Nutcracker Downtown Vancouver

This is probably one of the most Christmassy ballets around! You not only get to dress to impress when attending this ballet, it is full of good feelings and amazing pageantry. It’s great to see the theatre all dressed up, surrounded by beautiful Christmas décor. Supporting the arts is also huge, and its win! You have to check the nutcracker this winter season.

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Enchant

This is the largest light maze in BC, maybe even the world! It also hosts an epic market, and is home to delicious food trucks! Located under the Cambie street bridge in Vancouver this breathtaking array of lights is a must see if you’re in town this winter season! Be sure to get your tickets in advance as it is known to be sold out!

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Robson Square

This year Robson Square is home to the giant Christmas tree! Not only can you skate for free under the dome, you can also bask in the glory of the amazingly decorated and lit up Christmas trees that have found their new home at Robson Square. A Favourite past time has been skating in that dome since the 2010 Olympics. Be sure to check it out, especially if you’re on a tight budget!

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Peak of Grouse Mountain

We’re big fans of twinkly lights! The Peak at grouse not only has a beautiful ice skating rink, a Christmas light walk surrounds it, which is the perfect backdrop for that instagram photo! Take the gondola up and see all that Grouse has to offer in the wintertime!

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Walking for the Weekend: Mount Pleasant Hood Vancouver, BC

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Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta I became a habitual driver, the transit system in Edmonton leaves something to be desired and as a teen your life basically doesn’t start until you turn 16 and can obtain your license and a sense of freedom. I’ve been behind the wheel ever since. When I moved to Vancouver I had intended to adopt the transit system and embrace that sky train life. As things would happen I ended up working in the automotive industry for many years, which meant I was able to continue my love affair of driving.

When I bought my condo in the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant, I was excited because it was so accessible to everything; there were major streets in every direction and so many new shops and restaurants to try. Again, my good intent came up short when I still continued to drive places instead of step outside my door to explore what my hood had to offer. This is where I challenged myself to walk for the weekends! This meant that I consciously would not drive places on my weekends if it could be helped, this included for errands, to meet friends, shopping etc. I would log some kilometers and get to know my neighbours, and I found some great ones!

Naturally Vancouver is a city that loves to eat and drink so there is no shortage of those, but it’s finding the out of the box one-off places that really make you feel like you uncovered a gem. Outside of the food and beverage, walking allows you to take in more scenery and appreciate your surroundings even more. I’ve compiled a round up of some of my favourite things I love about living in Mount Pleasant:

Cordoury Pie: A fairly new spot to the neighbourhood but has quickly become a local favourite. Found amongst the neighbourhood, this pie company creates a welcoming ambiance from the second you open the door. It’s not uncommon to see the staff greet their patrons by name and with a hug. It has a homey feel that keeps you coming back, you’ll often find a mix of families breaking bread in the corner, girls night enjoying the $5 glasses of wine and a group of runner’s picking up take out after a sweat session… this place is all about the customer experience they even made a heart shaped pizza to celebrate Valentines day! My favourite pie’s you must try are: Sausage and Peppers, Margarita and Lamb Sausage.

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Milano Coffee: As soon as you walk in to this coffee shop you’re flooded with the smell of freshly roasted espresso and coffee beans. This place prides themselves on the art of good coffee and the quality of Italian beans. Their space is airy and welcoming and can offer the comforts of a home office, a gathering of friends, business meetings or an afternoon break. Their storefront is lined with windows that open up to their balcony that offers a city view with the peaceful feel of the neighbourhood. My go-to coffee is a their nut milk (they make their own!) Americano Misto, it’s my ideal start to the day.

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Dutch Wooden Shoe Café: This one admittedly took me 3 years to notice, I literally drive by it at least 2 times a day. It’s open 8am -2:30pm everyday and is home to the original Dutch Pannekoeks. The décor is everything you’d expect, vintage Dutch glasses, and pictures of patrons of the years celebrating birthdays and family occasions and a bowl of delicious Dutch salty licorice at the counter. The menu is overwhelmingly filled with a variety of savory and sweet options; I’ll need to be coming back for years to try everything! I opted for an apple cinnamon pannekoek and it was delicious. I was having breakfast alone but the plate size pannekoek was the perfect breakfast companion.

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Nat Bailey Stadium (also known as “The Nat”): I’m guilty of loving a good sporting event, and I’m lucky that this stadium is in my backyard. Home to the Vancouver Canadians this field offers a retro feel and a perfect summer time afternoon or evening outing all for a $12 ticket. Whether it’s girls night and no one is a baseball fan or you’re with your Grandpa who’s played the game for 30 years – the people watching, $10 beers and ambiance allows it to be a great time for all. The stadium also becomes home to a farmers market in the winter outside the stadium where you can find delicious local and organic produce and businesses.

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The Cambie Bridge: This bridge has quickly become my favourite in Vancouver during the many times I’ve walked across it. I can be downtown in 20 minutes from my door walking this bridge and the views never tire. You get to see the ever growing city skyline, the ocean blues, the neighboring bridges and the peaks of the mountains – what more could you ask. Growing up in the prairies, the ocean will never be something I take for granted.

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If you can’t tell from these favourite spots of mine, I love Mount Pleasant! I love that it has a community feel and pockets of unique spots. It’s still close and accessible to the rest of the city, which I appreciate as well, but I’m always happy to come back to my hood I’m proud to call home.

I hope I’ve inspired you to walk your hood!

Lauren

 

 

adaywithlauren.com

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10 things to know before moving to Vancouver

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It is one of the prettiest cities in the world.

We have oceans and mountains, and so much greenery. You’ll be able to anything outdoorsy whenever you’d want. Plus with our mild weather it is a treat to drive 30 minutes to get your snow fixes on the slopes for a day.

You might find it hard to find a place to live

Not to worry though! Lett can help with this, just check out our services at Lett.io. Vacancy rates in Vancouver a usually lower than 1%, but there is always hope! Places don’t spend a lot of time on the market, so you have to be quick and know what you’re doing to land a place!

Make sure you know where you’re moving in terms of different neighbourhoods

Are you a Hipster? Yogi? Business Professional? Health Nut? Vancouver has neighbourhoods for all different kinds of people, make sure you end up in the one that suits you best! They are all different and unique so this is important!

Everyone is super chill.

We have a laid back culture here on the west coast, and you’ll notice that no one here is ever really in a huge rush, there isn’t much angst, and you’ll enjoy the layered chill atmosphere.

It is not hard to make friends

Most people here are from somewhere else, and you can find a great group of friends and enjoy the city even more!

The city is home to Hipsters

We are embedded in a sick music scene, and an epic art scene. We enjoy our coffee, and trendy doughnuts. We’re home to an epic start up scene, and it’s a great place to live if you share the same loves!

Rain doesn’t stop anyone here.

You don’t get to stay inside on the rainy days here. It rains all the time, so we put on our rain jackets, take out our umbrellas, and make sure our feet stay dry and trudge through!

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Make sure you don’t be an umbrella side walk hog with a giant umbrella, also make sure you lift your umbrella when approaching someone! Always leave wet umbrellas outside to dry – because bringing them inside just creates a sopping mess! On the plus side most restaurants have a bin to put your umbrellas in!

We Smoke Weed

Probably another reason some of us are so laid back. Medical Marijuana dispensaries are all over Vancouver, and if you decide to indulge it is pretty accessible.

We love it here!

We are proud to be from the west coast! We are little weirdo’s and we love where we live! Come join us!

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Summer to Fall

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I was confused and alarmed this weekend when I was walking through my neighbourhood to hear crunching of leaves at my feet. How was this happening? I was just settling into summer weather and sleeping in front of my fan. This season always seems to take the longest to arrive and the quickest to leave. I’m hoping for a beautiful September to ease back into scarves and boots, but in the mean time I’m going to hit summer hard this week – I need material for my back to school report on “how did you spend your summer?” Check out what’s on my to-do list:

The Vancouver Mural Festival happened on August 20th and over 35 pieces of street art have been added to the city! It’s a wonderful addition to so many different communities and buildings; I’m so lucky that so many are in my ‘hood’ of Mount Pleasant. If you reside in Vancouver, what a perfect way to spend an afternoon by grabbing a coffee, taking a stroll and checking out the new and old murals the city has to offer (see the map of all the murals here). I personally really enjoyed the one pictured below, the giraffe clearly stole the show – and apparently I’m as tall as a dumpster.

VAG (aka the Vancouver Art Gallery) is in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and I’m embarrassed to admit it took me far too long into my Vancouver life to visit this gallery. It’s weird because whenever I visit a new place or city, museums and art galleries are always on the top of my list; I guess I just took for granted the VAG would always be there. Anyways! I went to a FUSE event this year and it was fantastic (go see Smashup before September 5th!) I loved the lay out and the architecture: it felt like there were hidden rooms and then all of sudden you’re on a roof top and a dance party is going on. The Picasso exhibit currently on right now is on my to-do list for this week, followed by a beverage on their adorable patio.

We are now nearing October, Pumpkin Spice Season! There is still plenty to enjoy and do around the city! Comment below and let us know what you enjoy most about the Fall!

 

 

Check out the original post at www.adaywithlauren.com

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Millennials on the Move

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Yes we live at home with mom and dad as Millennials, but there is also rationale that proves we are a generation of movers! Research discussed recently on Forbes.com suggests that “59% of 18-35 year olds currently in a locale other than their hometown.” The research also stated that more than 80% of Millennials have moved during some period of their life. We move in search of jobs, happiness projects, and of course… love.

As proven by social media this generation of people loves to share their lives and travels. They are a completely diverse group of individuals and happen to be the most in tune with tech in terms of generations we’ve seen…yet. Another survey conducted by Rent.com, of “1,000 U.S. renters between the ages of 18 and 34, Millennial’s have one other thing they’re known for: They’re a generation of movers.”

The world is their oyster! With technology connecting us in a way it never has before not only is the whole world this generations dating pool – it also allows for their resume to be viewed across the globe. So we get to move wherever we want, and work wherever we want, and love whomever we want. We’re more connected than we have ever been! Why not explore this crazy world we live in!

While some Millennials move for work, others move for new experiences. This generation seems to be chasing something, and are always looking for the next adventure. It’s because we have the world at our feet, and it’s in desperate need of exploring. Not only do we learn in classrooms, but we’re able to learn in different places, and about different cultures by immersing ourselves into them physically! In an era where mental health is on the forefront of everyone’s minds Millennials find themselves moving to help themselves feel better. Healthy mindset is important to this generation of people and they move to places that better fit their lifestyles and over all happiness.

The Forbes and the rent.com article also goes on to suggest that another reason Millennial’s move is that they fall in love with someone that doesn’t live where they are from. It is said that 46% have moved for love. Seeing has geographic location doesn’t have a limit when you are technology based, people fall in love all over the world. Millennials are a generation that will move across the country in the overall pursuit of love and relationship bliss.

With apps like Tinder, Bumble, and all other online dating sites – dating outside of your zip code is simpler than ever. Why not move across the country for love? What do you have to lose? The thing is Millennials know they can always come back home again. We do live with our parents for extended periods of time after all…

It is important to note that while Millennials seem to be on the move they are still focused on money. Before they make moves they take into account the job market of a city, cost of living, and earning potential. This generation is willing to move to a new place to escape unemployment while also risking the fact that it might be costly to do so. Millennials are moving, and it’s because of technology.

 

http://blog.rent.com/reasons-great-to-be-renter/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2016/04/05/why-do-millennials-move-the-answers-may-surprise-you/#7490b2d92665

 

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3 Top Unconventional Places to do Yoga in Vancouver

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This list of the 3 Top Unconventional Places to do Yoga in Vancouver is courtesy of guest blogger Anita Cheung.

Photo Credit: Amy Teixeira (amyteixeira.com)
Photo Credit: Amy Teixeira (amyteixeira.com)

Anita Cheung is the owner of The Social Yoga, a nomadic studio that provides an alternative to a typical yoga class experience. Classes are weekly, small group and progressive- so you can actually get to know the people you’re with and up your yoga game at the same time. Each month features classes in a different space around town. The intention is to bring yoga back down to earth in a lighthearted way. You can follow along via social media (@thesocialyoga) or visit her site at:www.thesocialyoga.com

As the owner of a nomadic yoga studio, I have had the opportunity to teach and practice in some pretty fun places around town. Below are three of my favourites:

 

Railtown Café of Railtown (sub-neighbourhood of Gastown)

Railtown is home to some seriously talented local companies that have gone global (think: Herschel, Aritzia) and Railtown Café is the lunchtime watering hole for the employees of these A-list companies. However, before the café opens and before the 9-5’ers trickle into the neighbourhood, the space is a beautiful place to practice. As the sun rises, light streams in from their garage door and there’s nothing quite like knowing you’ve done good for your body while everyone else was asleep. And if that doesn’t sell you on it, well, coming out of savasana to the smell of coffee brewing and fresh breakfast being made should do it.

Photo Credit: Alexa Mazzarello (alexamazzarello.com)
Photo Credit: Alexa Mazzarello (alexamazzarello.com)

 

 

33 Acres Brewing of Mount Pleasant

Actually, there may be something better than the smell of coffee and that’s the smell of waffles and beer on a Sunday. For three months last fall, we called 33 Acres Brewing home on Sunday mornings and became so accustomed to the smell of hops that we started to associate the smell of beer with yoga (oh, olfactory nerve, you would). The early morning light hits just right in the beautifully minimalistic (and spacious!) white space and there is no shortage of good vibes around.

Photo Credit: 33 Acres Brewery (33acresbrewing.com)
Photo Credit: Alex Teixeira (amyteixeira.com)

 

 

The Soap Dispensary of Mount Pleasant

While this space is a bit tight for yoga, it’s a perfect place for meditation. We line up cushions on the ground and there is plenty of wall space for back support. The Soap Dispensary is absolutely pristine, and totally adorable,. The walls are lined with local, eco-friendly products free from packaging (to help reduce waste in this world). Every time we’ve had a series here, we always leave feeling more educated (Thanks to Linh, the owner) about the little tools and tips we can utilize to reduce our footprint. Of course, we also leave feeling more clear and level-headed- but that’s due to the meditation.

 

Learn more about the neighbourhoods mentioned above and find out which is the perfect match for you and your lifestyle by visiting Lett.io!

 

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3 Best Supermarkets in Renfrew-Collingwood, Vancouver

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I had mentioned in a previous blog that growing up, I spent most of my life moving from house to house in a number of East Vancouver neighbourhoods. My parents finally settled in to a home in Renfrew-Collingwood, where I lived with them for almost five years. I moved to Richmond a few years back and although the food in Richmond, where I currently live, is amazing, nothing beats a home cooked meal… especially from my mom.

I’ve been insanely busy as a result of our pending beta-launch and with our Lett office now located on Victoria Drive, I’m close enough to my parents house to enjoy dinner with them most nights out of the week. I’ve always asked my mom to teach me how to cook, but she’s adamant that I’m hopeless. I think she mostly keeps this a secret because she wants me to have more reasons to come visit her. She does, however, regularly profess that her cooking is better than restaurant food because ‘it’s faster, it’s more fresh, and it’s made with love.” I’m already a safety hazard as it is, so I definitely don’t think cooking faster is in anyone’s best interest. I’m not sure if I can cook with love if I’m mostly anxious, so that’s hopeless too. The one thing that I can control are the quality of my ingredients.

She was the perfect person to go to when formulating this list. “So Mom, where do you get your groceries close to home?” It’s no wonder her food is as delicious as it is, to this, she suddenly perked up. She typically takes a couple of hours to browse the fresh markets in Chinatown in between transit from work to home – this is where she finds the best ingredients for our meals. When she’s pressed for time, these are her ‘3 Best Supermarkets in Renfrew-Collingwood’:

1. Chong Lee Supermarket on Rupert Street

The best place in the neighbourhood for fresh protein. She comes to this family-owned Asian supermarket for fresh cut deli meats and daily catches of fish from every part of the ocean… from salmon head to yellow fin tuna. The best part is that they not only clean, but also cut the fish. Chong Lee by far is the most affordable of all Chinese supermarket chains. On special occasions, you can buy traditional ready to serve foods like the sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf. The parking is terrible on the weekends, so my mom recommends that you come here on weekdays or later in the evening.

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2. Joyce 99 on Kingsway

This market isn’t the easiest spot to get to or find parking by, but it’s close to home so my mom typically walks. She loves to browse through their produce discounts – they have a $1 bin at the front – and explore what new items they’ve brought in. For the best prices on fresh fruit and vegetables, this is the spot. She advises against buying most anything else here.

3. Safeway on Kingsway

My mom’s English isn’t the most sophisticated, so when she tells me that she “goes to Safeway for the things Westerners use” I know she’s coming from a good place. She loves that the Safeway has a little Starbucks at the front. This was once the to go Sunday spot on rainy days for my parents… until Tim Horton’s opened up across the street. There’s not much of a surprise with what’s offered at a Safeway, but she likes the best that there is a ton of parking, the staff at this Canadian supermarket chain are always helpful, and there’s a pharmacy. “I always use the phone number ‘6044349881’ to get membership discounts.” We’re not sure who the phone number belongs to, but it works and you’re more than welcome to use it the next time you’re at the register.

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3 Things You Need to Know about Living in Toronto

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Almost four years ago, I moved across country to start my post-grad education in Toronto. In less than 10 months, I was forced to move and situate myself into 3 different neighbourhoods. As a starving student, I couldn’t afford the luxury of enjoying my ever-changing living situation.

I wouldn’t say that I was the most technically savvy person, but if my university education had taught me anything, it was how to do my research. I had a specific budget set in mind and knew that I needed to be nearby my new school. I spent hours online googling ‘the best neighbourhood for x, y and z’ but to no avail.

My final takeaways: Yonge was a popular street and that the TTC needs to be my neighbour.

I even made it a point to come to Toronto a couple of weeks early, rent a car, and explore the neighbourhoods for myself. I only had one friend who knew the city, but she had only moved there herself a few months earlier. I was completely out of luck. I ended up on Craigslist, where neighbourhood insights were nonexistent.

I eventually found myself in a basement suite along Yonge street that was well within my budget. It only cost me $600 a month for my own private washroom and a shared kitchen with 3 other students. Within weeks, I was faced with the realization that my home was not in the safest neighbourhood. I was warned on multiple occasions by classmates and even my roommates not to dress in white as that seems to be an attractor for sexual assault. Days later, I restarted my search for a new place. I had no clue what it meant then, but I was living in a particularly high crime area: Yonge & Finch. Oh, and Yonge street is almost 2,000km long.

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Looking South down a part of Yonge street that was relevant to my home search

My next home was in a much safer neighbourhood: North York, otherwise known as ‘The Original Korea Town’. I have to admit, the food was great (I discovered that I’m a huge fan of kim bap), but it never really felt like home. I spent most of my time on public transit or cooped up in my room – we were about 45 minutes from Downtown Toronto, where I went to school and worked.

I was lucky enough to eventually find a roommate three months into my move. The both of us had had a terrible time locating a place that felt right so this time, we found our own neighbourhood expert. Our rental agent was incredibly helpful, but unfortunately came at a hefty fee. We were required to pay her 1/2 of our month’s rent to help us in finding our space. We lived a 15 minute walk from my school, 10 minute walk from the mall, and 5 minute walk from my work. There were bars, night clubs, and restaurants all around us. There was even a grocery store downstairs from where we lived. We were in the heart of the Entertainment District.

It shouldn't be too surprising that the Entertainment District is where two twenty-two year olds found to be the best place to call home
The Entertainment District by night

It took us hundreds of dollars in moving expenses and a ton of headaches, but we had finally found home. The best part of it all was probably our concierge. He greeted me every morning with a warm hello and welcomed me home every night as I returned. The people in our neighbourhood were young, fun, and active. It really was a shame that it took us months to find this spot so that we could enjoy our time living. I met some really cool people, ate at amazing restaurants, and spent every weekend getting to know the places around me. I was truly living inspired.

Though 10 months doesn’t quite make me a local, here are some of my notes to Toronto newcomers:

1. Always wear comfortable shoes when trekking through the morning street crowds between the Entertainment and Financial Districts… or start your travel 15 minutes in advance. The herds of people that walk to work in the early hours (7am-9am) is reminiscent of animals being released from the zoo. Everyone’s got somewhere to be, so don’t mind if they’re not overly polite about bumping into you.

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This is a shot of the crowd on Bay street during Occupy Toronto, but surprisingly the day to day crowds are three times as full as shown here

2. The best Asian food isn’t in China Town, but actually in North  York. I hard a tough time finding any Vietnamese pho restaurants or Hong Kong style cafes that were as tasty as back home in Vancouver, but the food superseded my expectations when I was in North York. They also have great Asian-supermarkets, where I discovered K-Mart.

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3. For an affordable and fun night, try to sneak into a pre-game event at Maple Leaf Square. The Air Canada Centre is home to the Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors. Before every game, ticket holders celebrate with street food and beer. Toronto is known to have the best, most enthusiastic sports fans so if you can find a way to pass security, be ready for a great time.

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To avoid your own Toron-uh-oh experience, find out what neighbourhood matches you best. Visit Lett.io!

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My Hood is Mission Dolores, San Francisco – Blake McCammon

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Hackathon Producer and Unicorn Lover, Blake McCammon is the CMO/Co-Founder of Protohack and Events & Marketing Manager of Looksharp. He’s originally from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, lived in Denver, Colardo and now calls San Francisco, California home. @rblake


blakeWhat’s your hood?

Blake: #myHood is Mission Dolores (more popularly known as the Mission)

What about this neighbourhood do you love?

Blake: I am basically in the heart of San Francisco. I live within walking distances to the greatest number of nightlife, grocery stores, shops, and I’m a quick 7 minute MUNI ride downtown.

What’s something only a local would know about this neighbourhood?

Blake: If there was one hidden secret, it would be that Dolores Park is the place to be on Sunday afternoons. Lots of people, fun, and drinking in the park!

What’s something you’d share with someone new to the neighbourhood?

Blake: It’s the best neighborhood in San Francisco! I would tell them about all the bars and shops that they can get to by walking.

What’s your favourite spot in the neighbourhood?

Blake: There is a bar called Blackbird that serves amazing cocktails.

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Mission Dolores on a beautiful, busy Sunday afternoon

Learn more about neighbourhoods around you and find your perfect match at Lett.io!

Send us an e-mail at media@lettlife.com and share with us which is your neighbourhood you love and why for a special feature on our blog. If you’re sharing on social media, don’t forget to #myhood.

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3 Things to Do in Mount Pleasant

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Mount Pleasant: Up-and-coming hood, cooler than your average

Vancouver.ca describes Mount Pleasant as: ‘a vibrant and eclectic area known for its unusual stores, heritage buildings, artistic residents, and arts-focused festivals. The area is popular with first-time homebuyers, urban professionals, and families.’

In exploring the neighbourhood for research-intensive purposes, we found these gems:

1. Dude Chilling Park

We’re not kidding you, this is actually what it’s called… and Dude, it’s a chilling park. The sign installation was originally a part of a prank, but now has an official art status in Vancouver. Officially, the park is known as Guelph Park (boring). The “dude” in question is in reference to a large wooden sculpture in the park that unsurprisingly looks as if he’s “chillin”. If you’re a dude or dudette looking for a place to hang out, this is your spot.

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2. Cartem’s Donuterie

Don’t call it a donut shop – it’s a donuterie, mon amie. So when asked “why the name Cartem?”, the founder of this hipster joint said it came from a dream. Unimpressed with Mr. Horton’s performance, he set out to do donuts different. We absolutely loved their concept and were fully prepared to check our will power at the door – these things are addictive. Besides the joys of deep fried and sprinkled goodness, we loved Cartem’s for their casual, laid back environment. A few standouts: salted caramel, earl grey, apple fritter

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3. The Fox Cabaret

Apparently this was once an old Indian porn theatre. ‘The VCR decimated adult movie theatres, but The Fox was a stubborn and sleazy holdout.” Now, The Fox Cabaret is now the neighbourhood go-to for high quality independent music, art, performance, and entertainment. What’s special? Leopard print walls, a sparkle inlaid bar, and moody pendant lights.

For daytime fun, a mid-day snack, and late night entertainment – here are my picks for the top 3 things to do and see in the ‘cooler than  your average’ hood of Mount Pleasant.

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Want to learn more about Mount Pleasant and find out which is your perfect neighbourhood match? Visit Lett.io!

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