Sunday, 25 May 2014

Seeing 'Red'...

I like my theatre smart and sassy, which I may have said before. Indeed, I may have intimated this very thing, at this very time of year, last year.  Then, too, I had just been to a production by the Fred Skeleton Theatre Company at the Creekside Theatre in Winfield. Last year it was for the wonderful 'Venus in Furs' (see Wed 1 May 2013, 'The Play's the Thing'), and last night it was for the equally great 'Red'.

I am loving that there is a local theatre company that is approaching the live stage with intelligence and sophistication, pushing the local parameters in a really good way. Last night's play was another powerful two hander, presenting a fictionalised account of artist Mark Rothko's (he of the floating squares on canvases of saturated colour) first foray into creating a series of paintings for display at New York's Four Seasons' restaurant - a commercial venture. The production plays off Chris Froese's acclaimed artist Mark Rothko against his new studio assistant, played by Jacob Holloway.

Through the course of the evening the characters discuss the meaning of art and of being an artist, depression, the past as a tool for creating art, the validity (or lack thereof) of commercialism in art and a whole lot more besides, and they don't always reach the same conclusions. The play is provocative, at times moving and at times funny, and is well served by Froese and Holloway.

To slightly misquote the evening's dialogue - 'it's a risky act sending a play out into the world' but the Fred Skeleton Theatre company have done so bravely and successfully. In fact, the production just cleaned up at this year's recent Okanagan Zone Drama Festival, winning six awards including: Best Production: Red, Best Director: Rob Mason-Brown, Best Actor: Chris Froese, Best Supporting: Jacob Holloway, Best Set Decor: Fred Skeleton (Shannon Mason-Brown), and Best Backstage: Fred Skeleton (Vanessa Lomas).

If I were you, I would get onto the Fred Skeleton mailing list - pronto - to ensure you keep up to date on what they are producing next. I know I'm certainly going to.

Fred Skeleton Theatre Company:

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Champagne Celebrations...

Having worked in the fashion industry for many years in the fashion capitals, I can assure you - darlings - that at the designer level, the industry does indeed run on champagne. Indeed, while on the road for the international collections I have spend weeks at a time pretty much living on champagne and canapes (not actually as much fun as it sounds)...

So... I do like some bubbles and am happy to say I can happily enjoy this happy passion here in Kelowna thanks to Summerhill Pyramid Winery.  I have spent some happy afternoons and evenings sitting on their patio looking at the spectacular view and sipping their flagship Cipes Brut. It seems I am not the only person who like it either, as it has just won the trophy for Best Sparkling Wine of the Year at the 2014 'All Canadian Wine Championships'.

Described on their website as "a beautiful Riesling and Chardonnay based traditional method sparkling wine with aromas of apple, lime, pear, almonds and grapefruit" which on the palete "exhibits crisp acidity, a soft, creamy mousse, and a long finish"Cipes Brut has won gold medals and accolades from top writers around the world every year since its introduction in 1991, making it Canada's single most awarded wine. Indeed, Summerhill does sparkling well; Cipes Brut's sister bottle, Cipes Rosé, was named 'Top 10 Sparkling Wines of Competition' at the 2013 Effervescents du Monde Competition in France, and Cipes Gabriel won the trophy for 'Best International Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine' at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Competition in England. Yum.

All of this tempts me to take a toddle up the hill and pick up a couple of bottles of bubbly for an impromptu celebration of... something.  Now, where did I put the champagne flutes?

Summerhill Cipes Brut - $26.95 bottle

Summerhill Pyramid Winery
4870 Chute Lake Road
Kelowna, BC Canada, V1W 4M3
Telephone: (250) 764-8000
Toll Free: 1-800-667-3538

Wine Shop
Open 7 days a week, year round.
10 am to 6 pm, Sunday - Thursday
10 am to 7 pm, Friday - Saturday
Monday - Friday @ 2 pm
Saturday & Sunday @ noon and 2 pm
Family friendly. Children are welcome in our Tasting Room.
Please note that hours change seasonally. Check back before you come!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Get Your 'House of Harlow' Here...


Question: What do you, me and other Kelowna-based fashionistas have in common with celebs like Rachel Bilson, Miley Cyrus, and Kim Kardashian (although I may be using the term celebrity rather loosely here) have in common? 
Answer: We all have access to the uber-fashiony line House of Harlow 1960.

Designed by Nicole Ritchie (yes, the daughter of Mr. Easy-Like-Sunday-Morning), House of Harlow 1960 is an accessories line available at big city fashion meccas like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Selfridges. However, I'm happy to say that House of Harlow has also touched down in the Okanagan at La Bonne Vie, who are stocking some of her fabulous sunburst rings and necklaces. From $69, it a much cheaper way of staying on trend than having to fly to New York.

Love em.


La Bonne Vie: 2942 Pandosy St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1W1; (250) 762-8325;

Saturday, 10 May 2014


I LOVE a good boutique, me.  

At different points in my life Melrose Ave, King's Road and Spring Street (to name a few) have all held a magnetic attraction for me, for this very reason, and I have spend many delicious hours (not to mention significant chunks of my paycheck) indulging in my passion. Luckily, Kelowna is no slouch in this department. There are loads of great shopping experiences to be had, and my only (small) complaint is that I can't believe I have somehow managed to live here for a whole year without koLu popping up on my radar.  Luckily, this was recently rectified while doing research for the spring issue of ICON's fashion pages.

The boutique is a bit tucked away in Spall Plaza (perhaps why it escaped my attention for so long), but if you look for London Drugs and then jog to the left, you will find a truly big city shopping experience, with good reason; Kolu also has a location in Venice Beach, LA and is soon to open a new store in Calgary. 

KoLu is filled to the brim with great labels, and offers both more casual as well as full on fashion looks, and also has some of the best shoes in Kelowna. The boutique brings in hand picked footwear, clothing and accessories from labels around the globe, with merchandise arriving weekly from NY, Paris, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Toronto, Germany, France, Belgium, LA, Australia, and Korea. Sarah Pacini is one of my new favs, and I am super-stoked that Sigerson Morrison shoes are to be had.

One of the other great things about koLu is that it is manned by great 'stylists' who are totally a) knowledgeable and b) helpful, while being very pleasant indeed. And let's face it, we pretty much always need an educated second opinion when buying clothes, no?

koLu: 118-1950 Harvey Ave; Kelowna, BC; V1Y 8J8
Phone: 250 861 5658
Hours: Mon - Wed10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Thu - Fri10:00 am - 7:00 pm; Sat10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sun12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Saturday, 3 May 2014

European Style in the Okanagan Valley...

Nussbag. You saw it here first.

Okay, well, second... as I have just featured gorgeous Austrian accessories company Nussbag in a fashion shoot for the Spring Issue of Icon Okanagan.

Nussbags are the creation of Austrian designer Florian Nussbaumer, who imagines, designs and creates these one of a kind designer bags, belts and cell phone accessories by hand. Each piece is handcrafted using only natural wood and veneer products from the sustainable timber industry and a high quality leather lining.

To quote the website:-  "European craftsmanship and lots of creativity turn these high quality materials into beautiful designer pieces. The goal of each piece produced is to achieve maximum style with maximum quality". The result is practical objects d'art which would look as good hanging on your wall as they do hauling all your bits and pieces around town.

The company is new to the Okanagan and has been brought in by Vernon entrepreneur Simone Kashuba - thank you Simone! Handbags range in price from $175 to $475 (for a large briefcase). 

I, personally, am now the proud owner of the 'Classic Light Macassar' (pictured above). I wore it out to a private view earlier this week, and it looked as lovely on my arm as the art on the wall.  The result was a flurry of compliments and questions about where it was from - fashion result!

You can find out where to get a Nussbag at


PS the gorgeous fashion shot above is by Kelowna photographer Caitlyn Chapman - but that is a whole other blog entry! (See Spring Forward, April 10, 2014).

Inspired Words....

To steal a (mis)quote from Forrest Gump: 'Poetry readings are like a box of chocolates... you never know what you are going to get'

The Inspired Word Cafe - which gigs around Kelowna at a variety of locations and venues - aptly illustrates this. At the recent downtown Bean Scene gathering, poetry, beat-boxing, a capella vocals, break dancing, storytelling and even debate on topics like 'authenticity' and whether or not 'ignorance is bliss' made for a lively and provocative evening.

Led by Rawle James, an ex-Torontonian financial trader turned Kelowna poet, speaker, spiritual mentor and life coach, the evening was a wonderful melting pot of artistic and intellectual ideas and ideals. Inspired Word Cafe is a chilled, cabaret -styled evening of spoken word and other artistic endeavors (see list above) that brings people together in a great melting pot of artistic creativity.

Good, bad or ugly, I have the ultimate respect for anyone who gets up and shares their innermost thoughts with strangers, and I have yet to go to a poetry evening where at least one poem didn't utterly make my soul sing. Indeed, I have been to some wonderful readings, and some of the nights I have spent at the Urbana Poetry Slam at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York have been the most exhilarating and inspiring ever, so I have been hoping to find some good spoken word here in Kelowna. Inspired Word Cafe could definitely fit that bill, and is certainly getting added onto my social calendar. 

To steal a(nother) quote off one the evening's performer's trucker's cap - the evening was 'dope'.
Remaining 'Inspired Word Cafe' shows of the 2013/14 season:
Sunday May 4th, 3-4pm: Starbucks Willow Park Plaza
Wednesday May 14th, 5-7pm: Rotary Centre for the Arts
Tuesday May 27th 6-8pm: Winfield Curling Club
Thursday May 22nd 6-8pm: Kelowna Art Gallery 
Friday May 30th 7-9pm: Bean Scene downtown

Check out their facebook page: