3 Nov 2009

My Christmas Plans

Image credit: Tommy Au

I'm so excited!!! I'm going to be in my hometown Vancouver, Canada over Christmas! Booked my flight and will be flying out on December 4th, returning December 28th. That's a hell of a long time, but it was the cheapest rate I could find and it's still crazy expensive. Cross-Atlantic travel can be really expensive, especially over Christmastime, but what can you do? On the way home I have a really long stop-over in Amsterdam, so I've decided I'm going to take the train into town if I'm feeling up to it, and do some strolling around the city before my connection flight back to Switzerland - how fun!

I haven't visited Vancouver in years, in fact I can't remember the last time I was there. It must have been over 3 years by now. My family lives there, by now I'm the only one still remaining in Europe. My sister lived in London for a long time, but she recently moved back to Canada for good. So this will be the first Christmas that my family has celebrated together in a long, long time and I think it will be really fun.

Image credit: ~jah

Since I'm going to be there for so long, I'm going to write up a whole list of things I want to do! I'm definitely going to have at least a daytrip to Seattle to do some cheap shopping and visit some American stores, and see if there's a Cosmetic Company Outlet somewhere nearby. (Still have to look into that!) But Vancouver now has a lot of these American chainstores already, like Sephora, Forever21, etc. so I know I'll be doing some major damage.

I also want to eat lots of yummy ethnic food - Vancouver boasts a huge cultural variety, especially in regards to Asian cuisine, and I have been desperately missing that in Switzerland. I am bored to tears of European restaurants here, and there are not many authentic Asian restaurants here where the food doesn't taste like Europeanized crap, and overpriced to say the least! I've been following a really good Vancouver food blog called Ethniceats.ca and I've been salivating and making a list of all the places I want to hit up. I'm really upset the Richmond Night Market won't be on when I'm there, I was planning on gorging myself with authentic stall food! But there's still so many other places to check out. Sushi and Japanese food in general is going to be number one on my list as it comes plentiful and of high quality in Vancouver, followed by some great Indian and Chinese places. I need to have my dim sum fix!! If any locals can share their favorite ethnic food eats in Vancouver, I'd be really happy! Especially for some great sushi, dim sum, Chinese hotpot, and bubble tea places, or any great Vancouver food websites. I'm not looking for swanky, trendy places - more like cheap, good and authentic! I personally prefer hole in the wall places rather than overpriced scenester hangout restaurants with nouvelle cuisine.

Image credit: disneymike

Speaking of Seattle, what are some must see spots I should hit up to shop? I'm definitely going to go to Sephora and MAC and F21, but what are some other great stores? Also, does anyone know if there is a Cosmetic Company Outlet somewhere around or close to Seattle? I found this one in Tulalip - anyone been there before and how was it? I honestly don't plan to do any sightseeing in Seattle, I did that before.

Lastly, I'm thinking about hosting some kind of a meet & greet during this time in Vancouver to meet up with some subscibers - I would of course announce it on my Youtube channel and first see what kind of feedback it gets, if people would be into it. Anyone could come, even if you're in Seattle or somewhere close to the border. It would be super low key and probably be a couple hours at most, just some time to hang out and maybe have a communal trip to MAC or Sephora or something, and have a coffee. Would anyone be into this? Please let me know in comments if you live in the area and would be interested in attending such a function, nothing formal or concrete yet, just tossing some ideas around!

So, those are my Christmas plans. Going to have to tighten the financial belt a bit leading up to December, so I will have lots of spending and "fun money" in Vancouver. I'll be blogging and vlogging hopefully lots in Vancouver, and prepare some makeup videos ahead of time to upload while I'm there so my makeup channel doesn't just "dry up" for all of December! Anyone got any traveling plans coming up? Share in the comments!


  1. I wish I had some travel plans but unfortunately I don't. I'm actually from Vancouver as well. I think there are worse places to be stranded for the winter *laughs*

    In regards to CCOs I think the closest one is in Bellingham, Washington. I researched online a few months back. I haven't actually been to one yet but I plan to in the future :)

  2. that sounds so awesome! are you going alone or with your SO?

  3. That sounds great! I am going on a cruise right before Christmas and then spending the holidays with the in-laws...thanks God for the cruise :)

  4. Great plans! In fact, I'm going to spend my Christmas in Vancouver as well, but unlike yours, it'll be my first Christmas holiday away from my family (or most of my family: just me and my husband!).
    I didn't know there's Forever 21 in Vancouver! In terms of a great restaurant (casual dining) I really recommend Ki-Isu in Yaletown for sushi (when I was still living in Vancouver, we used to eat out there at least twice a week) and then a Mexican one, I think it's called Don Guacamoles, on Robson Street. Both great places, not very expensive, veeery good food (yum yum!).

    As for Seattle and CCO... I think SoFreakingHyphy (check her out on YT) used to live in Seattle and she would go shopping there, but I've personnaly never made it to Tulalip. Did you go on the Underground Trip?

    I'd be definitely up for a meet-up! I'll be in Vancouver from Dec 22nd till Jan 16th (I think), so maybe some time after Christmas? :)

    And yay for Christmas plans in Vancouver! xxx

  5. Anonymous10:02 pm

    Don't be upset that the Richmond Night Market won't be on during your visit! The city of Richmond has a tonnn of chinese restaurants and malls geared specifically for asian cuisine and asian stores - I should know, I'm from Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver 13 years ago! I would probably recommend Aberdeen Center on No. 3 Rd.. They have a whole food court there on the top floor PLUS they have Daiso, a huge Japanese store that sells all of its items for $2. They have everything there.. make up (although I'm not sure if I would trust the quality there..), nail things (polish, those sticker things you put on your nails, fake nails, etc), stationary, (fake) plants, EVERYTHING! And honestly, for the bbt places.. pretty much all of them are good.

    As for Seattle, I usually go to the Premium Outlets (http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/store_listing.asp?id=71).. I'm not sure if it's the closest one but we usually only for for 1 day so it's not super far. I hope you enjoy Vancouver!!

  6. Yesss! I've been meaning to hit up Daiso - will put it on my to do list. Thanks for the great tip!!

  7. ooooooooo so exciting for you!! Hope you've a fab time!!!

  8. Anonymous11:06 pm

    Hi Julia,

    I am a huge fan, and just relocated back to Vancouver,to continue brokering diamonds. I lived in Zurich for many years, and I understand your frustrations in regards to authentic asian cuisine.
    You should hit Commercial Drive, there is this fantastic authentic Thai place called Ya-Yah Thai Cusine, it is a hole in the wall, amazing food for dirt cheap prices.
    Their Tom Yum Chicken soup is to die for and all their main courses run at about 12 cdn dollars, you can't beat that recession proof dining experience.
    1859 Commercial drive (3rd Avenue)604-215-9969, as well if you want to hit some great funky live music, non pretentious check out the Libra Room. ( to hang out for a drink)
    If you organize a coffee meet and greet I would love to meet you.
    Best regards,

  9. For sure go to Daiso.

    And the best bubble tea place is a chain called 'Bubbling', with two locations in North Vancouver.
    One is on Lonsdale, the other is in Lynn Valley.


  10. Anonymous11:53 pm

    Have you ever been to an Ulta Beauty store? There is one in Seattle. It's my FAV!

  11. I live in Vancouver! On the North Shore and I would love to meet you and go to Sephora and show you some sites. I think you'll have a fabulous time. I love Vancouver, we just emigrated here 2 years ago from the UK. I'm a MUA and face painter and absolutely love your videos! I subsribe to your channel on YouTube and think you're very knowledgeable. Please let me know if you'd like to meet up. I know a great place on the North Shore you'd love - www.armsreachbistro.com - they do an amaaaaaazing Chai Tea Creme Brulee!!!!
    Can't wait to hear from you. Melanie

  12. awww Im sooooOOOo excited for you hun!!!! =D wish you were coming to Toronto though, itd be reallyyyy awesome to meet you!!
    And your itinerary sounds FABULOUS! you sure know your stuff when it comes to the large asian culture in vancouver!! dim dum, bbt, etc ;) too bad you arent there for the olympics...
    anyway, keep us poste... SO happy for yah!!
    Pinc STuff

  13. I think you will love spending time in Canada! If you look into any Canadian drugstore makeup, I reccomend checking out Annabelle products for cheap packaging and beautiful colours/pigment.

    Have fun!

  14. I live near Vancouver! I live in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I would love to do a meet and greet at Sephora! I went there a couple weeks ago and I loved it! Going through Pacific Centre wasn't too bad either. My friend and I went through Holt Renfrew there. I felt so out of place with the $1200 Chanel sandles beside me while I was wearing a $30 F21 dress.

  15. Katrien1:55 am

    If you go into Seattle, you HAVE to go to this amazing sushi restaurant called Musashi's. They have amazing, pretty cheap sushi and rolls and the best harusame noodle salad ever and it's just $1. I am seriously salivating just thinking about it, haha. I used to live in Seattle and my mom took me here as a kid all the time : ) It's a tiny place, but really popular and just awesome. Here's the Yelp link to it: www.yelp.com/biz/musashis-seattle

  16. I live in Vancouver too and I'd love to participate in a meet up! Since you have to go to Metrotown for F21 I would suggest checking out the Sephora there it is FAR superior to the Pacific Centre one. The service is better and isn't as overwhelming. :)

  17. Anonymous4:25 am

    Sephora, F21, Bath&body works...even though they are now here in Vancouver, prices are still better in the States.

    Yes, the closest CCO is the Tulalip one. I think the selection is ok, depending on when they get their shipment. Don't forget to also check out Ulta and Sally's Beauty (although if you are going to Surrey, there are 2 locations there. Also, a Shoppers Drug Mart beauty concept store just opened up at Oakridge Centre. It's called Murale but I haven't been there yet.

    Hope you have fun here!

  18. that's soooo awesome!! i've lived in central vancouver alllll my life.. and you just made me appreciate it THAT much more!! :)
    sephora and mac pro in downtown are my favvv places to be :D

  19. Hi Julia,
    Just wanted to give you some feedback on the Seattle Premium Outlets - I have been there about 4 times, it is a very good outlet mall, definitely worth the trip.
    It is actually about 30-40 mintes north of Seattle so not far from Vancouver at all, hubby and I usually spend about an hour and a half to get there.
    Just wanted to give you a heads up, it is worth it if the weather will allow it. Also, should mention it is an 'outdoor' mall so bundle up!

  20. Tons of awesome african and indian food on Commercial drive! Also the Eatery on Broadway and Blenheim is great if you're into non-traditional sushi. There are a couple of traditional sushi places that I love, but I can't remember the names of so I'll have to check and get back to you. I'd love to meet up when you're here! Although I'd love to meet up in Switzerland, I haven't been back in a couple of years. :)

  21. hi gal,

    great to hear about your x'mas plan. Its certainly nice to spend x'mas with family especially you been away for like 3 years... wish you luck for your trip and shopping!

  22. Great news to hear if you do meet and great in Seattle! I live two hours away in Portland i would make a drive up just to meet you and of course do a little shopping. For Seattle stop by H&M you can always find good shopping deals there. Can't wait for more updates from you. Oh, there is a good BubbleTea place on Robson street in Vancover, but fogot the name, great place to shop around too... Also great Korean food... Too bad i forgot the names, i went last year.. Sorry!

  23. I'm very happy for you Julia !
    This sounds great, I'm sure it will be beautiful holidays !

  24. The cosmetic store in the Tulalip shopping center is pretty good. They carry some Mac products. I live right by there and it is a good place to find discontinued colors. Have a safe trip.

  25. When you're in Seattle, I reccommend for you to try out a place called Loving Hut. They recently opened one here in San Diego and I was blown away from how delicious everything was. And it's cheap too!!! www.lovinghut.us Their website says they're opening one in Seattle so maybe by the time you're there it'll be open. 5 stars to this place!

  26. Mmm, food. :)

    Aberdeen centre is awesome. I get all my fake eyelashes at Daiso, because they're so cheap! I don't wear them day-to-day, so I'm not concerned about how real they look, but they're awesome for a night out or costume purposes. Plus, there's great food in the mall.

    Bubble World is the "classic" bubble tea shop here. There are quite a few of them around - one at Robson and Jervis, and a few others scattered around the city. I've been going to their locations for ~10 years now, and they're consistently good. There are others, but I just don't go to them as often (there's a Bubble World at my SFU campus!).

    Saffron Indian Cuisine near Metrotown is really good, but All India at Main and 49th is always my top choice.

    The Ramen houses at Denman and Robson are amazing (One is Kintaro..). There's one that uses pork and beef for the stock, and one that uses poultry and fish. Huge bowls of ramen for a good price, served at shared tables.

    Yoshi Japanese Restaurant at Alberni and Denman is the best I've been to. They even do those deep fried tiny crabs! It's more expensive than most places, but it's amazingly delicious.

    Samurai Sushi at Thurlow and Davie has HUGE portions, and is decent. Note: HUGE portions. I can't fit the slices of fish in my mouth. O.o

    As for Korean, I really like Norboo Korean Restaurant‎ on Robson. There's another one I go to that I think is Book Kyung Dan Jeoun. It's hard to tell on Google Maps!

    Hope you have fun visiting! :)

  27. I love Vancouver. It's so beautiful!

  28. Anonymous3:29 am

    I would love to meet you! I live in Olympia, but would make the drive to Vancouver!

  29. Hi Julia! I didn't know you were from Vancouver! I've been living here for almost 10 years now, it's a fantastic city. You picked a relatively quiet time to come visit, what with the Winter Olympics in February. Definitely hit up Richmond for the best ethnic cuisine (sushi, dim sum), and I also love the Mt. Pleasant area (lots of trendy, homegrown eateries there, plus quirky vintage boutiques).

    I'm SO HAPPY that we have a Sephora downtown, so much more convenient than driving down to Seattle. But definitely go check out the CCO at the Seattle Premium Outlet mall, they always have great finds whenever I go, including discontinued and hard-to-find MAC items. Anyway, that would be so cool if you did a meet-and-greet in Vancouver! You're one of my favourite makeup gurus, plus you seem to have a great/funny personality. Keep it up!

  30. Kelsey10:55 am

    I live in Vancouver as well, & would love to meet up. As someone else mentioned, Murale just opened at Oakridge less than a week ago. I've been twice so far & I LOVE it! There's more walking room than Sephora & it's cleaner (for now).. they also sell Stila there, which is exciting because none of the Sephora locations do. And if you need any MUFE, they just renovated the counter at The Bay Downtown. It's SO pretty & the staff are very very sweet. :)
    Oh, & whatever you do.. don't go to F21 on a Saturday!!! That place is a ZOO!

  31. aww suck great plans...u going to have lots of fun, happy for you

  32. Anonymous7:41 am

    Hey Julia! I would love to meet up :D
    Like someone said above, I would suggest the Sephora in Metrotown! Though it is smaller, the staff are MUCH more attentive and knowledgeable and the place is less crowded.
    Though, if you do go to Pacific Center definitely check out the Art Museum right across the street.
    We also have an Apple store in PCT
    if you search Tulalip CCo on Specktra, there's a list of awesome goodies on there! Also, the Coach factory outlet if you're into that.
    The Bay at Pacific Center is amazing for makeup as is Holt Renfrew (a block away!)
    Come down to Surrey (my hometown) and check out Sally's, its on Nordel Way, right by a giant Walmart LOL
    I can't wait for you to visit! It's gona be soo much fun if we get a group of girls and guys out :D

  33. Ok, so Vancouver for Christmas & Seattle day trip. If you're driving down, don't forget to stop in Ferndale, WA! There's a little thrift shop, TREASURE HUNT, 2009 Main St. While it's not "trendy" it's certainly perfect to find interesting items - fur coats $14.99 or less! Clothing 99 cents! Check it out, shhhh, don't tell anyone else about it. They've got a web site www.AuctionMediaPress.com

  34. Hey Julia, I actually live about an hour from Tulalip and I've been to the CCO store and its actually pretty good. There is a good variety of BeniHana's. Great food!!! Also go to H&M which is a good clothing store but I think that it's a European store so you may have it over there already. You must go to Ulta and Sally Beauty Supply as well. I would love to do a meet and great at the CCO store once you come down to Seattle or even in Vancouver. Well I hope that you have a great time with your family and a great vacation, I'm sure it was long over due.:)

  35. That would be neat if you had a meet and greet. I live in Vancouver and I've watched many of your videos.

  36. Hey Julia! That's awesome that you flying to Canada for a whole month! I'd like to go back to my hometown Toronto for a Christmas shopping. I miss Toronto. We also have a huge variety of different restaurants.
    I live in Basel, Switzerland for a 2 good year now. At first I was so frustrated that I won't be able to eat Asian or Japanese food amymore...But, hey, Basel has many Japanese restaurants as well as Chinese, Indian, and so much more...Regarding shopping, it sucks here..big time....compare to USA or Canada, the sales suck.....Anyhow...I am close to France, Germany, and Italy now, what you need is just money!!! LOL
    By the way, my favourite restaurant is Real Jerk, they serve Jamaican food! Yammy!

  37. I love Vancouver. It's so beautiful!Beauty Salon Davie