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My Editorials

The Party over at Instagram May 26, 2017 13:16

 

Introducing the improved Instagram site.

The go to place for new information, pieces and silly things about life in Vancouver!

Come and join me there to keep updated on special offers, matcha lattes and the occasion drink or two!

We would love to hear your comments and suggestions!


Vintage Vespa Fun March 03, 2017 11:19

Family Vespa

I'm sitting in my kitchen and it's been a long winter in Raincouver.  I just had a huge yelling match with my teen daughter as she left for school.  Just for the record -  hate being a mom to teens.  I'm feeling like the day looks - grey and old.

I turned to photos on my computer and what catches my eyes are images from a trip which seems light years away.

Nothing makes me laugh more than our trip in Ho Chi Minh by Vespa. I look back and I instantly remember the sounds, the smells and the huge smiles on my kids' faces.

We tailor made this tour due to our late arrival and we mashed together a ride of sites and food. Ho Chi Minh by Vintage Vespas…..

For a quick moment I was transported back to what seems like the coolest ride ever....I miss my daughter and I miss Vietnam. I'm not so mad anymore.

Vespa Adventures


Mimi Too and the BC Children's Hospital Campaign - October 1st 2016 September 29, 2016 07:57

I began carving just before I became pregnant with my daughter Claire. We were living in New York City just before 9/11.

Carving is my salvation.   It’s where I find my peace. Constantly exhausted from the events and tension that stuck our adopted home and caring for my infant daughter - I could carve and forget the blur of the day and focus. I would carve well into the early morning and still wake to feed my baby.

Three years and two toddlers later, they would mimic me and draw or paint with me as I was creating. They often start painting on paper and quickly spread their work onto the floors. We always had great fun finger painting under the tables.  

When Claire was about 5 years old, she began drawing her closest friends.   This is such a sweet age in so many ways…she had developed into a strong funny person, she had had likes, dislikes and wasn’t afraid to tell you. She expressed herself verbally and artistically. What see saw in her friends was so wonderfully skewed in her mind and translated into sweet aesthetics. Adorable.   Mimi Too is a mommy and me collaboration in sterling silver of children, animals and insects seen through the eyes of a 5 year old.

By 2008 we moved back to Hong Kong and I filed this collection away. In 2015 we moved to Vancouver and I rediscovered Mimi Too’s while unpacking. Like connecting to an old friend – I knew right away what I wanted to do. This is my way to give back. I’m blessed to have healthy children and to have lived in six very different and beautiful

Free shipping for all Mimi Too items sold and a percentage will benefit the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver - our new hometown.    

 

 


Bhutan/ Twenty Years in the Making September 09, 2016 12:04

There is a certain charm and adventure to traveling in a country that is so removed from what is normal and figuring out how to get around.

Many years ago in the mid 90s my then boyfriend – who is now my husband was invited by a friend working in Bhutan to visit him.   A restricted country, Bhutan is a small South Asian kingdom landlocked in eastern Himalaya. To my backpacking adventure seeking boyfriend this was an invitation of a lifetime. But I had just joined Tom Ford’s Gucci team in Hong Kong – time off would be impossible.  Disappointed that I wouldn’t join, he generously declined the invitation. Subsequently, I endured years of teasing about the adventure that could have been.

Over the years – life happened. We got married, moved to New York City, he went back to school, we had career changes, 911 happened, we had children and moved back to Hong Kong. Life has a way of sneaking by quickly.

Back in Hong Kong the idea of exotic travel crept up again. But with two young children in tow, traveling wasn’t as easy as pick up and go – or so I thought. By our fifth year in Hong Kong our kids were now seasoned back packers and we were ready for Bhutan.

Bhutan is a beautifully spiritual and rugged country. Buddhism plays a large role in every day life with temples and giant prayer wheels dotting the country side.   We cycled, hiked, water rafted and tried archery while touring three different regions of Bhutan.   The food is simple and the people were wonderful. Taking this trip with our kids made it worth the twenty years of waiting.  This trip was nothing short of magical.  

When it came to creating a new collection – Mantra came to me quickly. The raw allure of Bhutan has left an indelible impression of colours, prayer wheels, natural stones and daggers.   Mantra is a simple paired down collection of all these colours, shapes, textures mixed with natural stones.      

 

 


The Value of a Penny June 21, 2016 20:15

 

For many years, pennies have been a part of my life. I remember walking to the corner shop to buy taffy candies Mojos - 2 for a penny. I had one from 1967 but somehow after keeping it for over 25 years the penny is lost.  

In today’s economy, the penny holds little value…the Canadian Mint began to phase them out in 2012 with Americans considering the same path as it costs about 1.7 cents to make one American penny.

To me the penny is more than a penny. When I hear the “penny” I’m taken back to when I lived in Hong Kong. While there aren’t any pennies, Penny was a good friend. Two in fact friends. Penny Duke is a beautiful Taiwanese American fashion maven who introduced to me the cool fashion of Alexander Wang and Penny Sims is a strong minded Australian who could dance till the early morning hours.

Both women gorgeous and generously opened their hearts to me and my family when we moved to Hong Kong with two young children. They supported me with their friendships, humour and kindest. In my early days as a jewelry designer both Pennys loved the same cocktail ring – a brilliant cut semi precious stone 8 carats held together by a wide highly polished clean tension mount.

This ring in Rose Quartz with a Rose Gold finish is soft and chic for Penny Duke while Smoky quartz and Silver is strong and bold perfect for Penny Sims. Two very different women both drawn to the same ring. Today the ring is name after these women. The Penny Ring – elegant, contemporary, daring and adventurous. Every time I think or see someone with the Penny ring I think of the two Pennys.   I hope any one who has a Penny Ring fills it with friendships as I have.


Experience London like a Local January 29, 2016 14:03

Today, hotels offer unbelievable experiences and the Internet is an endless source of all travel packages. But there is a growing group of people who want to immerse themselves authentically, culturally and live like locals.

Stateside, this trend has Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia teaming up with Hyatt House to connect travelers to neighborhood businesses for the “Made in America” experience.

I hadn’t thought of doing this myself but on a recent business trip to London, I met up with a girlfriend who lives in Hampstead and we did the local thing – that is, we hung out in Hampstead.

With someone to show me around, it was easy for me to live like a local. She told me where to go and what to do. But for those who need a little help, jump on the Net and gain a bit of knowledge of your destination before your visit. You will be surprised how many different sites and apps, offer to “live like a local”.

If you are going to a large city like London, search out neighborhoods nearby. Hampstead is about a 15 -20 minutes on the tube to the city and is a beautifully kept neighborhood. It’s lined with refined bricked homes and well noted for it’s intellectual, artistic and literary groups. Past and present residents include John Keats, Lord Byron, Ozzy Osbourne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Erno Goldfinger (loathed architect Ian Fleming named his Bond villain after).

Talk to the locals, ask for directions, their suggestions or just say “Hello.” While looking for a place to have dinner, we stopped and chatted with the green grocer at the Community Farmers Market. He was happy to explain why we should bake with Bramley apples over Granny Smiths, in the end he was right – absolutely delicious.

Take the opportunity to eat where locals eat. In Hampstead there is tiny stand, Le Creperie de Hampstead – serving only crepes. The queue for this simple dish is often two blocks long. The wait can be cold and wet, but when you walk away double fisted with a crepe in each hand you can smell why it’s worth the wait.

Stroll in the neighborhood and explore. Hampstead is filled with gorgeous streets with vendors and merchants. Every alley is a surprise. Centrally located, it’s great for many other neighborhood activities. Nearby is the Hampstead Heath, the highest point in London. Walk to Parliament Hill and you will find a stunning view of the city, an open area to fly a kite, and out door tennis court surrounded by cafes and all sorts of events/shows for kids.

I can go on much longer about how my trip was wonderfully refreshing but you must try it yourself. I hear it all the time now – live like a tourist and travel like a local.


Butterflies and All Things Sweet January 27, 2016 22:03

Bonnie Gokson has been tapped as one of “China’s Top 100 Outstanding Women” by China Association of Women Entrepreneurs. With a significant string of accomplishments Gokson has emerged and one of Hong Kong’s most impressive style icons. She has launched more than 45 high-end stores and boutiques focusing on fashion, home decor, and other lifestyle merchandise.

Most recently, she has created glossy book of inspiration and imagery for her wide array of luscious cakes called, Butterflies and All Things Sweet. The line of confectionary will be celebrated in this lushly produced coffee table book photographed by Andrew Chester Ong and Petrina Tinslay and published by Goff Books.

“A series of book-launch parties began in Hong Kong on September 9th and will continue into Beijing then Shanghai and end in New York on October 22.” Ms. Gokson was overwhelmed by the success and support from her friends and media. “It’s been so exciting to just have had book launches,” she said. “The next will be held at Manila on Wednesday, October 9. The response has been so overwhelmingly positive, not just in Hong Kong, but in America, Britain and Asia.”

Ms. Gokson wore Dries Van Note for the book launch at JOYCE Hong Kong (Dries Van Note’s women wear is available for sale at JOYCE Hong Kong). The New York event will be hosted by Ralph Lauren at his Madison Avenue flagship boutique and she will wear one of his creations.

“Both Ralph Lauren and I share the same love and passion for beautiful things in life, making the Ralph Lauren Madison Avenue store the ideal setting for my book launch,” says Gokson.

Gokson force hails from a prominent Hong Kong family and was introduced to the industry through her grandfather’s renowned department stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Later, she worked with older sister Joyce Ma– Asia’s doyenne of fashion and founder of Joyce boutiques, and began to shape her own unique style.

“I’ve worked hard for my success and it has not been handed to me on a silver platter. Life’s journey is interesting and all I can say is that I am grateful to all I have and will have,” she told The South China Morning Post.

In 2008, she opened the luxurious and sophisticated restaurant called Sevva, which has been Hong Kong’s most glamorous bar and dining spot—a gathering point for luminaries and celebrities.

At Sevva, which sits on the top floor of the city’s majestic Prince Building, where it boasts one of the best views of Hong Kong, Gokson is able to truly express her style and creativity. Entering from its private elevator one is transported into a modern European patisserie. Above an impressive cake showcase hangs an even more arresting Venini chandelier once housed at the British Embassy in Rome.

With a team of pastry chefs, Ms. Gokson draws from her personal experience, travel and imagination to create her latest luscious cake collection. It takes anywhere from two weeks to a month from concept to cake. Furthermore, all of her vibrant colors, delicate details, shiny ganache, etc. are created from natural ingredients such as purple taro and red beetroots. They are also gluten free and sugar free creations are also available. Her mouth-watering cakes have become centerpieces of many occasions in Hong Kong — from sumptuous weddings to quiet celebrations. Prompted by the success of her edible art, Gokson opened Ms B’s CAKERY, specializing in hand-tailored cakes.

Ms. Gokson’s first book: “Butterflies and All Things Sweet”

Come celebrate the most tasteful book opening you’ll ever experience! We’ll see you on October 22!


LION’ESQUE FOUNDER AND NEW YORK’S NATIVE, MELISSA GONZALEZ IS SETTING NEW TRENDS IN FASHION AND LIFESTYLE MARKETING March 08, 2014 00:37

I love New York City. When summer begins I always visit and hopefully meet up with a few new and interesting people. This summer, I was fortunate to meet Melissa Gonzalez founder and CEO of Lion’esque Style thelionesquestyle.com, a premiere website for the fashion forward.

Melissa was once a top Wall Street trading executive. Since leaving the industry, she has channeled her passion for uncovering intriguing stories into hunting for must-know yet under the radar brands in fashion and lifestyle. With her knack for being on the pulse of upcoming trends, Melissa is spearheading a new online destination experience – a marketplace for “what’s fresh” – and giving access to women who value having the inside scoop to unique, quality finds.

Born in New York City, she often travels and like many New Yorkers lives within the Tri-State area to be nearby the energy of the city. After attending Penn State University, Melissa continued her studies and lived in Spain for a period of time. She began her career in finance at Credit Suisse, but Melissa’s passion for creativity and with her mom’s encouragement to follow her dreams; she fled Wall Street for Fashion.

Though, finance and fashion are different industries, complimentary skill such as understanding clients’ interests, needs and idea pitching were honed on the trading floor and invaluable to the development of Lion’esque Style.

She was recently nominated as one of “The Top 20 Most Inspiring Individuals in New York” and as one of America’s Top 100 Young CEOs and is taking part in a major initiative towards being a voice for the future of start-ups in the US. As a voice for emerging brands and trends, she can also be seen nationally on the morning show circuits in segments like her “Favorite Emerging Brands Made in America” on WPIX NY and Melissa’s “Must Have Accessories” ABC Chicago segments.

And while Melissa has gained much through her success, she is always very mindful about giving back. She has been involved with CHCF / Committee for Hispanic Children and Families Inc. since her senior year at Penn State. Soon after graduation, Elba Montalvo (CHCF’s founder) invited Melissa to create the Young Professionals network – Junior Advisory board (JAB) where Melissa sat for two years as its Chair. Furthermore, since the launch of Lion’esque, Melissa has partnered with CHCF for the annual “Opening Doors for Women Luncheon.”

Spurred by post 2008’s bleak economic situation, Melissa and John Knowles co-founded the RSPOP Shops in 2009 in conjunction with the Roger Smith Hotel. As the city became saturated with empty storefronts, brands started to look for other business alternatives. Many underutilized street-level storefronts were converted to pop-up shops known as RSPOP.

She began with one 200 square-foot boutique and today Lion’esque Style has 3 storefronts spanning half of a block in midtown. Melissa continues to work with the Roger Smith Hotel on programming space with brands and contribute to thestorefront.com.

Lovely, approachable, and forward thinking, Melissa is definitely a New Yorker to follow.


INTERNATIONAL ARTIST AND DESIGNER ONA CHAN HAMILTON TO BRING HER TALENTS TO DOWNTOWN NYC March 08, 2014 00:31

Ona Chan Hamilton is an internationally renowned artist and designer and fashion influencer. She will lend her talents, innate sensibilities and voice to DOWNTOWN Magazine brand as a contributing Lifestyle and Fashion Editor. We’re so excited about her contributions that we couldn’t wait to tell our readers more about her.

Born in Toronto, Ona Hamilton developed a passion for art at a young age. Through her love for drawing and painting she found her niche in the creative world.

Eventually, Ona went on to attend design school, which led her to a successful career in fashion merchandising and PR in Europe and Asia.

Upon getting married and starting a family, Ona decided to leave her fast-paced career and moved to New York City. With time to spare, she was able to reflect on her life and return to her artistic roots.

She began painting again and practiced metal and wax carving which ultimately led to her creating her own design under ONA CHAN JEWELRY.

As a designer, Ona is immensely inspired by her family, personal life and past experiences. She also draws inspiration from nature and the feeling of tranquility. With her growing jewelry collection based in Hong Kong, Ona has found great passion in sourcing stones and working with craftspeople from all over the globe.

“Today, my growing jewelry collection is a reflection of my life and on-going evolution. My inspiration comes from my family and our travels. I love sourcing stones and working with craftspeople from around the world”

Look for Ona’s writing, styling and fine products in our magazine and on our website in the near future!



TORY BURCH BRINGS HER PHILANTHROPY TO THE FAR EAST March 08, 2014 00:02

 

Tory Burch has created a multimillion-dollar lifestyle brand based on her preppy-hobo chic lifestyle.


Her accolades include Accessories Designer of the Year with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Accessory Brand Launch of the Year from Accessories Council of Excellence and Rising Star Award for best new Retail Concept from the Fashion Group International.

Combined with the influences that come from her love of art, music, culture and travel, Tory credits her parents Buddy and Reva with adding their stylish flair to her palate.

After studying at the University of Pennsylvania, paying her dues in the public relations and advertising departments for Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez, Tory approaches design with a keen marketer’s eye and sensibility. Since the launch of her own line in 2004, Tory has made her signature “T” an internationally iconic symbol of style.

Still, she has always maintained a dedication to giving back.