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[Video] Style Tips For Kids: How To Style Your Vegan Leather Jacket

Whether real or faux, the leather jacket trend doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. Leather jackets are a great staple piece, wearable year-round, and complementary to any look. And the cool trend isn’t just for adults, kids are loving the look too!

In this adorable video, celebrity stylist Kim Appelt (and her stylish sidekick Brielle) share tips on how to style your vegan leather jacket, including three cool looks for kids – styled from a kid’s point of view! Check it out:

About Kim:

Kim Appelt (of Style by Kim xo) is one of Canada’s top stylists. Along with dressing hip personal clients (both men and women), she also dresses local television personalities, musicians, and A-list celebrities for the red carpet.

Kim is a style contributor for many publications, including national style columns, radio and TV shows. Kim sits on the nominating committee for the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, and is committed to helping new artists. Kim’s work has been seen on the red carpet, everywhere from the CAFA awards to The Daytime Emmy Awards.

Kim creates weekly Secrets of a Stylist videos on her YouTube channel, providing must-know style tips for adults, teens, and now kids too! Check it out and be sure to subscribe to her channel.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Her Health Matters: Local Businesses Step Up & Show Support

Did you know that until 1998, women weren’t included in most research and medical trials in Canada? 1998 – that was only 20 years ago! This means that when drugs were created and put into the market to help with women’s health issues, many hadn’t even been tested on the female body before becoming available for sale.  Even today, women’s health research is still vastly underfunded, and as a result, women remain unaware of many of the unique health risks that exist.

Her Health Matters Campaign New Format

Here are just some of the mind-blowing women’s health care facts that you should know:

  1. Prior to the 1990’s women were not included in most medical research studies.
  2. Each year in Canada, heart disease kills more women than men. It is the leading cause of death for women over 55, and the second most common cause of death for women under 55.
  3. Women experience depression twice as often as men and yet are three times more likely than men to experience barriers to accessing mental health care.

There is a gender bias that exists in the healthcare system, and BC Women’s hospital – in partnership with some fantastic local businesses, is taking a stand against this bias and the lack of resources available in women’s health, with a new initiative that has launched called Her Health Matters.

Yyoga – 15% off 5 Class Passes using a special promo code. Her Health Matters

WithinUs – 10% off using a special promo code.

BRUNETTE The Label – donating a percentage of sales on the BABES SUPPORTING BABES sweatshirts to BC Women’s.

The Juice Truck – donating partial sales to BC Women’s.

For more information on the special offers available through participating businesses, or to donate directly to this important cause, please visit BC Women’s – Her Health Matters.

Our Jan/Feb issue features some great stories on how we can support the leaders of tomorrow, pick up our latest issue, available at a location near you, or online here.

5 Fun Ways To Enjoy Family Day With Kids In Vancouver

Family Day

Family Day is still a fairly new holiday for BC locals, only in its fifth year since it was first officially observed in February of 2013. After a post-holiday lull, the second Monday in February is the perfect time for families to take a much-needed break and enjoy each other’s company, and thanks to a city filled with fun activities for the whole family, there’s lots to choose from when it comes to finding ways to celebrate this special day. Here are some ways that you can enjoy the Family Day festivities in and around Vancouver.

Adventure’s Aplenty at the Sea to Sky Gondola

From February 10th – February 12th, families can enjoy 50% off day tickets to enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. Head to the peak for a packed list of family-friendly fun, including:

  • Snowshoe rentals and tours
  • Old-fashioned snow tubing
  • S’mores around the outdoor bonfire
  • An old-fashioned Canadian Sugar Shack
  • Featured family meals
  • Face-painting
  • Live music (Sunday only)
  • Retail discounts on The North Face children’s clothing
  • Plus much more!

Learn More

Enjoy Fun and Fins With Your Favourite Aquatic Family

It’s all fun and fins at Vancouver Aquarium this Family Day weekend! From February 10th – February 12th, visitors can get to know Vancouver Aquarium’s aquatic family though special activities and programs, including:

  • Bubble over with laughter (and learning) during the Puppet Show at 10:45 a.m. It’s perfect for gills and buoys of all ages.
  • Get up close with intriguing snakes or fascinating tortoises during the Meet a Snake or Meet a Tortoise program at 11:30 a.m.
  • Satisfy curiosities during the Meet a Penguin program at 1:30 p.m. and get to know these loveable little birds.
  •  Take an imaginary underwater journey during Story Time at 3:45 p.m. Wetsuit not required.
  • Enjoy face painting and represent your favourite sea creature on your cheek!

Guests can also receive 25% off Aquarium membership during Family Day weekend; this limited offer is available from February 10th – February 12th only.

Learn More

Cavort Through The Lonsdale Quay

The Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver loves to celebrate little ones! Each year they host a series of events and activities that the whole family can enjoy. Here’s a list of just some of the things you can expect during your visit:

10:00am: The Lonsdale Artisan Farmer’s Market will kick start the day with a delicious pancake breakfast on the South Plaza.

10:00am – 11:30pm: The Quay be hosting an interactive petting zoo for kids on the East Plaza. There will be a mini horse, goats, chickens and more! Face painting and balloon twisting vendors will also be set up on the East Plaza.($)

10:00am – 1:00pm: Kids’ Valentine card making will be held on the upstairs level, by the ball pit area. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you can create your own cards and decorate them with glitter, hearts, stickers and more!

12:00pm – 1:00pm:  The day will end with an exciting and engaging puppet show that will entertain children of all ages. The show will begin at noon, next to Olde World Confections, on the Market Level.

Learn More

Find Family Fun in the Fraser Valley

Last year’s Family Day festivities were such a hit, that the Family Day organizers have decided to take it up a notch, making this year’s event even bigger and better than ever! On Monday, February 12th, families can visit the Langley Events Centre Arena for a fun-filled day, including an hour-and-a-half public skate, exhibits and interactive booths, visits with athletes, and more!

Plus, the Giants will be on the ice practicing and hosting a skills competition from noon-1pm, followed by an autograph session upstairs afterwards. Members of the Vancouver Stealth lacrosse team and the Langley Rams Football Club will be present too.

Learn More

Take A Hike!

The snow is starting to melt and the walkways are clearing up, just in time to enjoy a family stroll in the wintery woods. Head to the Seymour Demonstration Forest and enjoy a brisk walk around Rice Lake, or stroll through the trails of Cates Park in North Vancouver for a breath of fresh air and breathtaking scenery. For a list of other places to stroll, check out our post – Stroll Into 2018 With These 5 Family-Friendly Hikes.

For more family-friendly activities, check out our latest issue, available at a location near you, or online here.

Are Your Kids Too Young For Chores? (Spoiler Alert: Nope!)

Everyone in the family contributes to creating the mess, so why are we as parents so quick to take on the task of tidying it all up on our own? From washing the dishes, to folding the laundry, to vacuuming and sweeping the floors, the household chores should be shared, and if you think your child may be too young to chip in – think again.

Kids Chores

While it may seem easier to do it yourself than to encourage your children to help out around the house, there are actually many benefits associated with giving your children chores. It teaches them accountability, responsibility, and independence. It teaches them how to cooperate, participate as a family, and it equips them with important life skills that will help them to succeed in the future. Plus, more helping hands equals a cleaner house – quicker!

To help you get started, here are some chores you can assign to your children based on age:*

Chores for children ages 2 to 3:

  • Put toys away
  • Fill pet’s food dish
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Wipe up spills
  • Dust
  • Pile books and magazines

Related: How To Encourage Your Kids To Enjoy Reading

Chores for children ages 4 to 5:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Make their bed
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper
  • Clear table
  • Pull weeds, if you have a garden
  • Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
  • Water flowers
  • Unload utensils from dishwasher
  • Wash plastic dishes at sink
  • Fix bowl of cereal

Chores for children ages 6 to 7:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry
  • Sweep floors
  • Set and clear table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Weed and rake leaves
  • Keep bedroom tidy

Kids Chores

Chores for children ages 8 to 9:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Load dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Vacuum
  • Help make dinner
  • Make own snacks
  • Wash table after meals
  • Put away own laundry
  • Sew buttons
  • Make own breakfast
  • Peel vegetables
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop floor
  • Take pet for a walk

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash windows
  • Wash car
  • Cook simple meal with supervision
  • Iron clothes
  • Do laundry
  • Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
  • Clean kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets

* Source: WebMD Divide and Conquer Household Chores

Some parents choose to reward their children with an allowance for completing their chores, while others make chores mandatory for every member of the family. Regardless of how you choose to do it, it’s time to start getting them to chip in now,  so cleaning can become less of a one-person chore, and your family can enjoy the benefits of a cleaner, happier home.

Our latest issue is all about education, including stories on how to beat the homework battle with your kids featuring some great tips from contributor Michele Kambolis. Pick up a copy at a location near you, or read the full issue online now!

How To Encourage Your Kids To Enjoy Reading


“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” ― Emilie Buchwald

Having a child who can read independently may seem like an exciting milestone, but what many parents don’t realize is the parental involvement that is required in order for your child to progress from slowly sounding out words, to full reading comprehension.

It takes a great deal of patience to work through the sounds of each letter, and the meaning of each word, but going through the process together with your child can be rewarding too, it just may take a little creativity to make it an enjoyable process.

January 27th is National Family Literacy Day, an awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada to encourage and emphasize the importance of reading as a family. According to ABC Life Literacy, “taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development, improving a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.”

To help make the learning process a little easier for your little ones (and a little less frustrating for the parents too), we’ve come up with a few ways to make learning to read fun.

reading with kids

Cook together. Bake some cookies together and let your little learner read the recipe to you out loud. This is a great way to learn and practice new words, and you can work together to create a delicious reward for your efforts – freshly-baked goodies!

Play Scrabble. Make spelling fun with an interactive game of Scrabble.  Using a tactile letters game is a great way to help children learn and remember how to spell words, and doing so with a board game is a great way to put some fun into it.

Read together aloud. Instead of sitting your child down to read alone at the table, pick a book that you will enjoy reading together, and take turns reading each page. This way, your child will learn to process the meaning behind the words too.

Set an example. If you make reading a regular part of your family’s every day routine, it will be easier for your children to pick it up. If they see you reading regularly, they’re more likely to follow suit.

Join the Summer Reading Club. Challenge your child to participate in BC’s annual Summer Reading Club – a free literacy program offered in most libraries across the province, designed to encourage school-aged children to read during the summer months. Children are awarded prizes such as stickers, bookmarks, and small toys for reaching certain reading milestones, and if they complete the full challenge, they receive a metal for their hard work.

Let your children choose books that interest them, block out some time each day, and practice patience. Encourage your kids to enjoy reading, and the process will be a lot more fun for all parties involved.

Our latest issue is all about education, including stories on how to beat the homework battle with your kids featuring some great tips from contributor Michele Kambolis. Pick up a copy at a location near you, or read the full issue online now.

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Joining A Parent Participation Preschool

Guest Post by Brooke Bennett of Happy Corner Preschool

Parents today are faced with big decisions.  For many, it starts early with choosing the right preschool.  When choosing a preschool, today’s savvy parents are looking for small class sizes, top quality programming, and assurances that their child will be kindergarten ready.

Happy Corner Preschool 2

Parent Participation Preschools (PPPs) offer all of these aspects of preschool education, and more.  PPPs have a long and proud history in Metro Vancouver, and have been operating in British Columbia for over 60 years.  Below you’ll find the top 5 benefits of joining a PPP.

1) Parents participate in the classroom experience.

PPPs offer much higher adult/child ratios and small class sizes compared to other preschools. At a PPP, children receive the personalized attention, recognition, and support they deserve to develop their social and emotional skills.

As part of the parent participation aspect, a family member or caregiver volunteers their time in the classroom. After an orientation, the volunteer, along with the teacher and assistant teacher, are available to help and support the students.

By being in the classroom with their child, parents are able to model a lifelong love of learning.  Hands down, the children absolutely love it.

2) Parents can sharpen their parenting skills.

Let’s face it, parenting a preschooler can be trying and emotionally draining.

For the majority of us, their behavior is truly baffling.  Most parents would love to understand the reasons behind their child’s outbursts and mood swings – but where does a busy parent find the time to figure it all out?

PPPs are an amazing parenting resource and offer free monthly parenting seminars by experts in child development.  These speakers’ events provide parents with knowledge to broaden their parenting skills and allow them to share experiences about raising children with other like-minded parents.

Happy Corner 2017-271

3) Children receive high-quality programming.

The quality of preschool education is on every parent’s mind.  Parents need to know that their child will be stimulated, challenged, and supported at an age-appropriate level.

PPPs provide enriched and quality play-based programming.  Child-led play is crucial for children to develop socially, cognitively, physically, and emotionally.  Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.  PPPs also recognize the importance of play to child development and are committed to providing enhanced play-based environments.

4) Be part of a community.

A sense of community is integral to the development of a child’s feelings of belonging and security.  The “village” parents are so desperately seeking to help raise their children can be found in the community of a PPP. 

PPPs offer the opportunity to build friendships with other parents and children and to feel part of a caring community.  Parents are able to meet others with similar parenting values, work together to support the school, and make life-long friends. The time parents invest in creating this community has an amazing pay-off. 

5) Parents help children learn new skills.

At the core of PPPs are the families.  Parents are directly involved in the classroom and the administration of the school.  PPPs are a wonderful setting for both children and parents to learn new skills, meet new friends, and take the first steps together in a school setting.

Research shows that parent involvement early in a child’s education is a major factor in their success.  Children that are comfortable and feel supported at school tend to do better overall, which means parents have to spend less time dealing with problems later on.  It clearly pays for parents to make an investment with their own time in the early years.    

Happy Corner Preschool 3

PPPs formed out of the need for community and have been treasured in their communities for generations. 

Preschoolers graduating from PPPs have the skills and tools for problem solving, self-regulation and interacting with others.  These children are ready to enter kindergarten with confidence.

Curious about PPPs?  Happy Corner Preschool, one of two PPPs in East Vancouver, is holding its Open House and Registration on Saturday, February 24 from 11am-1pm.  Bring your families for a stay and play, meet the teachers and see the classroom! Learn More

Photos courtesy of Amber Hughes Photography and Jozi Grant Photography 

How To Stay Safe In An Attack: Tips From Vancouver Police Department Women

Women Safety

Imagine you’re walking down the street at dusk. It’s quiet, and feels a bit deserted for a weekday evening. The screen from your phone glows as you check your emails while you stroll. All you can hear is the clicking of your heels on the concrete. Suddenly, you feel like something is a bit off. Did you hear footsteps behind you or was it just your imagination? You start to walk faster, glancing over your shoulder every few steps. From the corner of you eye, you discover that a shadowed, hooded figure is approaching behind you, doubling your steps. Before you can run, you feel a hand grasp firmly on your arm. What do you do?

According to Statistics Canada, women feel less safe than men when walking the streets alone at night, and are therefore more likely to take preventative steps to protect themselves. In a survey that was conducted to examine the perceptions of personal safety and crime in Canada, it was found that “women were more likely than men to say that they regularly take steps to protect themselves from crime, such as checking the back seat of the car for intruders (47%, versus 23% of men), changing their routine or avoiding certain places (31% versus 23%), carrying something to protect themselves or alert others (16% versus 8%), or staying home at night out of fear of going out alone (10% versus 2%).

Yet while women seem to be taking the necessary precautions to avoid dangerous situations, it doesn’t seem as though enough are preparing themselves for what to do if they are actually attacked.

In 2013, a group of female officers from the Vancouver Police Department came together to create a Women’s Personal Safety Team, recognizing a need for the city’s women to be prepared in the case of an attack. Through conducting hands-on workshops, this group of women were on a mission: To educate, inspire, and empower women to take ownership of their personal safety.

VPD Women's Personal Safety Team

VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team

Through their workshops, this team of police officers will provide women in the community with information and training to help improve their personal safety if faced with situations of unavoidable violence. On their site (and below), you can find actionable tips to ensure your personal safety.

Personal Safety Tips:*

    1. Awareness is your first line for personal safety, which begins long before any actual physical contact. Be aware of yourself, your surroundings.An attacker’s primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. They are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. If you are aware of your surroundings, you can spot suspicious circumstances or people. It provides time for you to plan your reaction.
    2. Intuition or “gut instinct” is something everyone has experienced – the feeling that something isn’t quite right, but you’re not sure why. It’s important to pay attention and trust this feeling. Use it to your full advantage and avoid any person or situation which does not “feel” safe. Your instincts are probably right.
    3. Prevention is taking measures to make yourself less of a target. We look both ways before crossing the street because we don’t blindly trust that the drivers will see us and stop. We take ownership of our personal safety by using tactics that will keep us safe, much like ensuring the road way is clear of threats before stepping off the curb. When it comes to avoiding or minimizing situations where we may be subjected to violence, we need to learn and employ tactics that will help keep us safe.
    4. Fighting back may be necessary in situations of unavoidable violence. You have the right to fight back as hard as necessary to protect yourself and get away safely.The important thing about fighting back is that it must be done effectively. Struggling and scratching is fighting back, but it won’t be effective in a violent encounter where the assailant’s primary focus is to seriously hurt you or worse.

*(via VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team Site)

To learn more about these personal safety workshops or to sign up for a sessions, check out their workshop schedule VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team website.

2017 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

WestCoast Families’ 2017 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide.

For Someone Special trying to Get HealthyAlyssa

“8 Pillars of Health” An 8-video Series from WCF Contributor and local Holistic Nutritionist, Alyssa Bauman of Nourished.ca, who appears regularly on our pages, on CTV and Roundhouse Radio .  Each video is 5-7 minutes of empowering & easy to implement lifestyle tools. Take back your health and learn how to: incorporate more greens into your diet, nix processed foods and eat a whole food diet, understand what superfoods + seeds are and how to use them, make better Protein Choices and learn what fats we NEED.
We love how it will set you and the whole family up for a healthy and strong New Year!

For the Mom-To-BeMATLETIK-TANK-01_1024x1024

Matletik Activewear for Moms-to-be, created to empower women to continue living an active lifestyle during pregnancy. All styles are proudly made in Canada and are designed to fit great before, during and after pregnancy, at all stages of a mom’s life.
We love the soft fabric and how the cool styles of this Canadian product will make you want to keep working out during and after pregnancy.
From $45-$100.

For the DoodlersNotebook

The Rocketbook Wave Notebook provides a place to work out ideas through drawing and handwriting, while making it dead simple to create and save digital copies of your work. And when all pages have been filled, the entire notebook can be erased in seconds to use it over again. For use exclusively with FriXion® Pens – one comes with the book, and additional pens can be purchased.

We love the paper we’ll save and the kids artwork saved for years to come! Plus the cool-factor can’t be beat.
Notebook + one pen $34.50  Additional 2 pens in different colours $6.75

For the Nut-LoversNutcracker

This nutcracker doesn’t just look different, it works better too! It’s got a  4″ long beech grip so you can exert controlled pressure to crack shells, leaving the meat of the nut – and your fingers – intact. Spring loaded and the special design works for all types of nuts.
We love how easy it is to use, even for littler hands. Perfect for next fall and the walnut trees!

For the Weary Road Travellersseatbelt_pillow_

No more kinks in the neck while they sleep! Let them drift off to dreamland as you travel the long roads to Whistler or Gramma’s house with this super soft micro fleece pillow that attaches easily and securely to the safety belt. The Micro fleece fabric is super soft and ultra comfortable
We love that it goes on and off really easily, and you can throw it in the washing machine for easy clean.

For the Dog LoverDogIamOut

A gorgeous holiday gift that keeps giving! This gorgeous 1′ x 1′ , glossy table book captures the fabulous faces of 60  of the Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue dogs. Nothing but pages of  slick, gorgeous smiles, the dogs names and year rescued.
We love that 100% of the proceeds go to support the on going efforts by Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue Society  to save as many dogs at risk of being euthanized, neglected, abused or surrendered.
$54 (includes shipping within BC) Order by Dec 10 for Christmas delivery.

For the Animal Loving FamilyURbanSaf

Family Pass for one year unlimited visits to Urban Safari – good for up to 2 adults and 4 kids.
Urban Safari Rescue Society is a registered non-profit society that rescues or cares for exotic animals surrendered on a regular basis.  Urban Safari Rescue Society visits schools, day cares, community centers, libraries, and festivals to educate children and the public about animals and the natural world.
We love that this gives the family a pass for unlimited visits to Urban Safari for one whole year at 1395 176th St. Surrey BC, PLUS discounts on camps and other bookings.









Give The Gift of Equality This Holiday Season

“Give equality instead of excess” – a powerful slogan shared to promote One Girl Can‘s holiday card campaign this season, and an important reminder to those of us who want to give back, not just give this Christmas.

Instead of splurging on sillyEcard_Design_Hover_Design_Final holiday socks, tacky Christmas sweaters, or doggy dress-up costumes, your money could be put towards educating girls in Africa. With a small donation, or through the purchase of beautifully-crafted, digital or printed Christmas cards, you can support the efforts of One Girl Can to build new schools, educate girls who are living in poverty, and mentor them to become successful, working women in villages where this is rarely an option.

Educating girls is one of the fastest and most effective ways of promoting global economic development and is the key to ending poverty and injustice towards women.

From an early age, Lotte Davis – Founder of One Girl Can, was exposed to the racial and gender discriminations that were rampant in South Africa where she was born and raised. She made it her mission to make a change and help girls thrive in an environment where they receive little encouragement, funding, or support to help them strive for success.

Through her hands-on support, schools have been built in small communities in both Kenya and Uganda, and over 193 students have been sponsored and mentored through educational Ecard_Design_Hover_Design_Final3programs that drive success for girls who aspire to take on important roles in the workforce – roles that have otherwise been reserved only for their male counterparts.

To learn more about how you can donate or purchase holiday cards to support this important and inspiring initiative, visit the One Girl Can website.

Stay tuned for an inspiring and thought-provoking feature story on One Girl Can Founder, Lotte Davis, in our upcoming January/February “education” issue.

5 Reasons To Check Out This Year’s Private School Expo

Whether children are nearing school age or they’ve already enrolled, parents cross fingers hoping their child’s educational experience will be a positive one. If you are in the midst of pondering your child’s schooling, take time to visit the Private School Expo on November 19th at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.


Here are 5 reasons why this year’s event will help you find the answers and information you need to make an informed decision about your child’s education:

1) Speak with education/admissions experts face-to-face.
2) Meet leading private and independent schools and their students (list of exhibiting schools here).
3) Learn how to find the right private school for your child (check out the list of information seminars).
4) Find out about the admissions process – when to apply and which school is the best fit for your child.
5) Determine your budget and receive information about scholarships and bursaries.

Finding the best school for your child and family is incredibly important; the school your child attends has a profound impact on his or her success. The Private School Expo brings together education experts and school consultants. Three information packed seminars help you answer the most important questions you have about school options, how to choose the best one, and how to ensure you get accepted. Plus, meet with local top-ranked schools and international boarding schools.

Whether you know 100% that private school is right for your family, or you are merely considering private school as one of many options, you don’t want to miss this informative event.

RSVP now to receive a 50% off your visit to the Private School Expo! Register here: www.ourkids.net/expo

Our Kids Private School Expo & Information Day
November 19, 2017
12pm – 4pm
Sheraton Vancouver Wall
1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver
More Info