Ethics and fashion blogging

LogoIf you had told me ten years ago that I would someday write a fashion blog, I’d have laughed. In fact, I probably would have told you that you were crazy! Fashion just wasn’t my thing. Then I discovered fashion blogs, followed several of them, started to take a greater interest, and eventually decided to add this weekly feature to my own already established blog. Now I’m in the process of unsubscribing from some of those blogs that first caught my interest.

Why? 

Has my interest in fashion waned? Not really. It’s about ethics and excess and what the fashion industry is doing to the planet we live on.

I’m not naming any names, but over time, some of the fashion bloggers or influencers that I’ve followed for a long time have become little more than advertising arms for the retailers that they are affiliated with. They’ve decided to make their blogs their careers; in some cases, their only source of income. It’s all about selling stuff. Some have moved beyond fashion to hawking cosmetics, health care products, exercise programs, you name it. Anything that will make them a dollar. They make a small commission on every item that is ordered through links on their blogs, so it’s all about buy, buy, buy!

Then there are those who post new looks, new items every single day. How do they do that? Well, in the words of one of them, “I order a TON of things for photos, but I like to order when there is a sale so that I can get the best price available on items that I keep.” In other words, she constantly orders clothes for photos for her blog, but sends most of them back. She’s not alone in that. In fact, that’s a common practice amongst many fashion bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers. Do they not know that much of what they return ends up in the landfill, not back on the shelves? Do they not care?

There are also those who just buy a lot of clothes, more than any woman could possibly need. If I hear (or read) the phrase “shopping haul” one more time, I might scream! One blogger recently posted a photo of a beautifully organized section of her closet. It contained 28 long-sleeved button up shirts! 28! Why would any woman need 28 shirts? Nine of them were white. I will give this particular woman credit. She abstains from buying fast fashion, buys only quality items, and keeps them for a long time. She also shows the same items worn in different ways as opposed to wearing something new every time she posts. But 28 shirts? Come on! That’s excess to the extreme. 

So who are some of the bloggers who are not on my cutting room floor and why? Fellow Canadian, Sue Burpee, who writes High Heels in the Wilderness, is one of my favourites. In fact, she wrote about this same topic in this recent post. Sue and I have a lot in common. Also a retired school teacher, her passions include books, fashion, and travel. When she’s not writing about fashion, she might be writing a book review, an intelligent opinion piece or telling about a recent hike or a trip back home to New Brunswick to visit her mum. Sue encourages her readers to be ethical shoppers and to shop their own closets for new looks.

Through Sue’s blog, I discovered Frances, another Canadian, who writes Materfamilias Writes. Also a retired academic, Frances and her husband traded life on a small coastal island for a home in the heart of Vancouver a few years ago. Though she includes an outfit photo in many of her posts, she also writes about family, books, and travel, and offers many interesting observations on life.

Are you beginning to see a trend? No, I’m not talking about the fact that both these women are Canadians or that they both retired from teaching careers. I enjoy bloggers who lead interesting lives, who read, travel, and sometimes think deep thoughts, and who also happen to have an interest in fashion.

More recently, I’ve been following Dutch blogger, Greetje, who writes No Fear of Fashion. She posts once a week, on Sundays, and I find myself looking forward to her entertaining posts. She features one outfit a week and again, it isn’t always something new. Instead, she looks for new ways to combine pieces that she already owns. She’s not a bit shy about having her picture taken in public and looks for interesting locations for her fashion shoots, so I get to enjoy glimpses of European life and architecture as well as her outfits. In each post, after sharing her outfit, Greetje writes a bit about what she did that week. She’s a very social gal, so her mom, who she visits almost every week, and several of her friends are regulars on the blog. She often takes photos of what they wear as well and shares snippets of her life with them.

Each of these women has a style all her own. Of the three, Sue’s fashion style is most similar to my own, but I enjoy Greetje’s flamboyance and Frances’ unique style and I love reading about their lives. These are the kinds of blogs that I will continue to follow, not those that promote excess consumption with little or no concern for its long term effects on the planet.  

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Image: Eluxe Magazine

It’s a start

LogoI was thinking about a topic for this week’s fashion post when I came across a news article that fit very well with what I said last week about boycotting products that are made in China.

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) recently intercepted a shipment of women’s and children’s clothing that originated in China on the grounds that the garments were made by forced labour. This was the first interception of its kind since new federal laws came into place in July 2020 officially banning the import of goods made partially or wholly by forced labour. Just as there is no way for us as consumers to know what conditions our purchases were made under, there is no visual indicator to show a border services officer the labour standards by which a particular good was produced. This makes this a very difficult situation to deal with, but the CBSA says that it will continue to investigate complaints and allegations pertaining to imports made using forced labour. Hopefully this will lead to further interceptions of this kind and will ultimately result in retailers ensuring that they don’t order goods that have been produced unethically. At least it’s a start. 

So what exactly is forced labour? According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced or compulsory labour is “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.” It refers to a form of modern slavery in which people are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers, or threats of being handed over to immigration authorities. In China, Uyghurs and other Turkic minority ethnic groups are being subjected to forced labour in Xinjiang province. As well, a recent CBC Marketplace investigation found that several Canadian retailers, including one of my favourites, had brought hundreds of shipments of clothing into Canada from a Chinese factory suspected of secretly using North Korean forced labour. The factory is located in the city of Dandong, just across the Yalu River from North Korea.

The more I learn about unethical clothing production in China, the more convinced I am not to support it with my fashion dollars! I know I’m only one and I’m not even a big spender when it comes to clothing, but if I can convince even one of you to consider not purchasing clothes that are made in China, it’s a start. 

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And now, are you wondering how the six items or less challenge is going? At the end of the second week, I must admit that wearing the same things over and over again is a bit boring, but there are also advantages. Getting dressed in the morning is easy and so was packing for a weekend away to meet our brand new baby granddaughter! I simply wore two items and packed the other four along with some socks, underwear, and pjs. Easy peasy! No thought involved. 

He completes me

Have you ever thought about what you’d like to be able to tell your much younger self? If I could, I’d tell the naive young woman that I once was that the romantic notion that a woman needs a man to complete her is absolute balderdash!

After 45 years of marriage, does my husband complete me? No! Absolutely not. He has a different skill set than I do and different spiritual gifts, so we are better together than individually, but he does not complete me nor I him. In many ways he complements me, but he cannot possibly meet all of my emotional and spiritual needs. There is no man on this planet who could do that and to expect otherwise is to put a load on another’s shoulders that there’s no way they can carry. I wish I’d known that sooner. 

In the 1996 romantic comedy/sports drama of the same name, Jerry Maguire uses the line, “You complete me” when trying to win back his love interest, but in the real world a partner or spouse should not define who you are. While “I love you” speaks of genuine affection, “You complete me” reeks of dependency, of needing another person to fill a gap, solve a problem, or heal a wound.  

So who completes me? Am I complete in and of myself? In some ways yes, but not entirely. 

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I am not a theologian or even a Bible scholar, but I do know that only God, the one who created me and knows me more intimately than I even know myself, can truly complete me. 

So what does complete mean? In this context, the dictionary defines it as to make something whole or perfect

Does that mean that I think I’m perfect because I’ve surrendered my life to Christ? Absolutely not! That will never happen this side of heaven, but God has imputed His perfection, His righteousness to me. That means that when He looks at me, He sees Christ’s perfection in me, not my own human imperfection. His estimation of me is equal to His estimation of His Son! 

Being completed by Christ means even more than this though. It means that because I am united with Him, I can lean on His absolute sufficiency. Hard as he might try, my husband can never be my ultimate source of peace, joy, or security. He is human. He will fail me. If I look only to him for meaning, significance, and value, I will be disappointed. No, these are the things I gain when I allow Christ to complete me. 

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These are things I would like to tell my younger self. 

More about the six

LogoFacebook comments in response to last week’s post about my self-imposed “six items or less” challenge ranged from “I could absolutely NOT do this!” to “I’ve been living in the same set of clothing since I retired.”

Today, after one full week, I thought I’d share a bit more about each of the six pieces that I’m wearing for the duration of the one month challenge. None are new and they’ve all appeared on the blog at one time or another in the past. First, let’s take another look at the photo…

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From left to right:

  1. Grey skinny jeans  –  cabi  –  purchased new in fall 2018  –  made in China
  2. Dark wash jeans  –  Old Navy  –  gifted in early 2018  –  made in China
  3. Patterned blouse  –  cabi  –  thrifted in fall 2020  –  made in China
  4. Navy striped pullover  –  cabi  –  purchased new in fall 2017  –  made in China
  5. Denim shirt  –  Uniqlo  –  purchased new in early 2021  –  made in Bangladesh
  6. Cardigan  –  cabi  –  purchased new in late 2016  –  made in China

It wasn’t until I’d carefully chosen all six pieces that I realized that four of them were cabi! In addition to the fact that I simply have a lot of cabi, I think that there are a couple of other good reasons for that. First of all, cabi intentionally produces clothing that coordinates well with previous and future seasons. This makes building a cohesive wardrobe very easy. Second, cabi clothing is good quality. It lasts! I suspect that many fast fashion pieces that are sold today wouldn’t hold up to a month of steady wear and washing. Instead, they fall apart after a few wearings and end up in the landfill.

As someone who is attempting to be an ethical shopper, I was also surprised and somewhat alarmed to see that five of the six items were made in China! While shopping in Superstore last week, I passed up a super cute pair of leopard print sneakers. The deciding factor, in addition to not really needing them, was the fact that they were made in China. Having lived in that country for several months, I’m conflicted about buying anything that is produced there. I know that the majority of the population is extremely poor and that garment factories provide much needed employment, but I also know that the conditions in many of them are abhorrent. Men and women work in unsafe surroundings 10 to 12 hours a day, 360+ days a year for a mere pittance. In addition, there are political reasons for boycotting Chinese products. I see China as a threat to Canadian security and although the two Michaels were released in September, it’s clear that they were held for almost three years on trumped up charges in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou. That’s simply not a country I want to support with my fashion dollars!

My justification for having five made in China items on the list of six is threefold. First, two of them were thrifted or gifted. My intention is to try to avoid purchasing new items that are made in China. Second, the new items were purchased prior to 2019 when I made a commitment to begin shopping more ethically. And third, four of the five items are cabi. I’ve been assured by two independent cabi stylists that their products are made in socially and environmentally responsible factories. In spite of that, I was happy to see that my most recent cabi purchase, which you’ll see on the blog later this winter, was made in Vietnam. I suspect that this means that cabi, like many other companies, is moving their factories out of China, not for political reasons, but because the cost of production there has risen significantly and other locations in Asia are more cost efficient. In any case, I’ll feel better about buying cabi in the future if it’s made elsewhere.

And now, before I close, here are a couple of the outfits that I wore this week. On Tuesday, when I went to my weekly Bible study and ran some errands, I layered the denim shirt over the patterned blouse and paired them with the grey skinny jeans. I dressed the outfit up with my newest boots and a necklace, both thrifted.

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Though I’ve never worn the cardigan this way before, I knew when I decided to include it as one of the six that I would probably try buttoning it up and wearing it with a scarf. When you only have six items to work with, you have to be creative!

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I wore it this way on Wednesday. We bowled in the morning, so I needed something that was comfortable and easy to move in. This Wednesday was also NET Cancer Day and since the zebra is our symbol, I wanted to wear a touch of zebra stripes that day. Interestingly, I purchased the scarf in a shop on Russian Street in Dalian, China when we lived there, but it was actually made in Taiwan! According to the somewhat sketchy instructions that came with it, it can be worn ten different ways, but I’ve yet to figure out most of them.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I was freezing during the taking of these pictures! The temperature was barely above 0ºC (32ºF), but as you can see, we don’t have any snow yet, so we decided to take advantage of that and squeeze in a couple more outdoor shoots.

NET Cancer Day 2021

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Once again, today is Worldwide NET Cancer Day, a day set aside to increase awareness of neuroendocrine (NET) cancers and to promote improved diagnostics, treatments, information, care and research.

The theme of this year’s campaign is

Know the symptoms.

Push for diagnosis. 

Less than 30% of neuroendocrine cancer patients receive a correct diagnosis the first time they reach out for help. In fact, it often takes five to ten years from onset of symptoms to correct diagnosis. During that time, of course, the cancer quietly spreads. Thankfully, compared to many other cancers, NETS is slow growing, but like many of my fellow patients, I was Stage 4 at diagnosis. This means that my cancer had already spread from its origin to distant parts of my body. At this point, 8 years after diagnosis, treatment has halted it’s progress and resulted in some shrinkage, but there is no cure.

Know the symptoms. 

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Once considered rare, neuroendocrine cancer is actually the fastest growing class of cancers worldwide. Unfortunately, many health care professionals have never seen a case and know little or nothing about this complex disease. In order to achieve early, correct diagnosis for every patient, we need every primary care physician to know and recognize the symptoms. When they are presented with stomach pain, it makes sense for them to suspect gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), but we also need them to wonder if it could be neuroendocrine cancer. When the stomach pain is accompanied by severe diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome is a definite possibility, but we also need the doctor to be aware that it could be NET cancer. When a woman complains of facial flushing, rather than simply assuming that it’s due to menopause, we need her doctor to ask himself if it could be NETS. Depending on the location of the primary tumour, other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, skin rash, shortness of breath or wheezing, lack of appetite, unexplained weight loss and/or lack of energy.

Push for diagnosis. 

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Diagnosing neuroendocrine cancer is complex. In addition to recognizing the symptoms, we need doctors to order the correct laboratory tests and scans. It’s also important for patients to push for correct diagnosis. One of the most important things I’ve learned since my diagnosis is how important it is to advocate for yourself. Know your body. Know what’s normal for you. Pay attention when something feels off. Take note of unusual symptoms and talk to your doctor as soon as possible. If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for, PUSH! Don’t give up. Years before I was finally diagnosed, I remember thinking “at least it’s not cancer” but I was wrong! If I’d pushed for answers then, perhaps it would have been caught much sooner and the outcome might have been very different!

Know the symptoms.

Push for diagnosis. 

Six items or less

LogoFor me, today is Day 1 of a self-imposed fashion fast. For the next 30 days, I will wear only six items from my closet. That’s right! Just six! 

Why would I do such a crazy sounding thing, you ask. Well, first of all, because I love a challenge and secondly, because I hope to learn something from the exercise. 

The idea of a “six items or less” challenge is not a new one. In fact, they’ve been around for a decade or more. I’m not sure where the idea originated, but as early as 2015 and perhaps before that, a not-for-profit organization in the UK called Labour Behind the Label has been promoting an annual six items for six weeks fundraising challenge. Participants select six items of clothing from their wardrobes and pledge to wear only those pieces every day for six weeks while collectively raising funds to support Labour Behind the Label’s efforts to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry. The annual challenge takes place during the season of Lent, a period of fasting and penance for many Catholics and other Christians. For many, that seemed a suitable time for a fashion fast. 

While there has been no single dictating thought or reason behind similar challenges, most of which are one month in duration, those who have participated have often done so to promote mindful consumption. In addition to the reasons that I gave above, I see value in seriously considering what we purchase and why as well as what effect those purchases have on the environment and the people who make them. Last time I walked through a mall, I had this challenge in mind and I was overwhelmed by the number of clothing stores, particularly for women. The options available to us are staggering! We have so much while so many in the world have so little. Perhaps this exercise will also be an opportunity for me to discover how little I really need and to see how creative I can be with what I have. 

The rules for all of these challenges have been essentially the same. Thankfully, underwear, socks, pyjamas, workout wear, coats, and footwear are not included in the six items and unlimited accessories are allowed. Though some challenges also include a rule forbidding participants from shopping for clothing for themselves during the challenge, I’m not sure if I’ll stick to that one. Living where I do, I don’t have many opportunities to shop and we do have some Christmas shopping left to do. If I happen across something that fits a gap in my wardrobe while we’re doing that, I might buy it, but I promise not to wear it until the challenge is over. 

So how did I select the six items that I will wear exclusively for the next 30 days? After much thought, this was my criteria:

  • must be able to mix and match to create many different looks 
  • requires a coordinated colour palette
  • must be pieces that I love wearing
  • must be able to layer
  • must be versatile, able to dress up or down
  • must be able to create at least one somewhat dressy outfit in case of a funeral or other unexpected event

 I decided to use a 3-2-1 formula: 3 tops, 2 pants, 1 cardigan. I realize that I have an advantage over many in that I’m retired and don’t have to think about a work wardrobe. My choices would have been somewhat different if I were still teaching. Also, since Covid is still raging around us, we aren’t going out a lot which will also make the challenge easier than it might otherwise have been. 

And now, for the big reveal, here is what I will be wearing for the next month. 

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I wonder how many people will even notice? 

My biggest concern going into the challenge is laundry. While all of these garments are machine washable (some on the hand wash cycle), the denim shirt is the only piece that I put in the dryer. The others are hung or laid flat to dry. To help with the laundry concern, some of these challenges do allow duplicates of the same item as long as they are exactly the same colour. I doubt that that comes into play very often though because most of us don’t have identical items hanging in our closets. I do, however, have a second pair of the dark wash jeans. If I find myself without pants to wear, I will put them into rotation, but it almost seems like cheating so I’ll try to avoid having to do that. 

Over the month, I plan to document my experience and share a bit more about the pieces that I chose, so stay tuned for more about “six items or less” in the coming weeks! 

 

A cozy shrug for winter

LogoWith winter just around the corner, it will soon be time to snuggle up in cozy, warm sweaters again and I have a brand new one that is very special!

My daughter is very creative. She didn’t learn to knit and crochet from me, but she can make almost anything from yarn. Last spring she posted photos of herself wearing a shrug/sweater that she’d just finished making for herself.

When I commented on how much I liked it, she asked me what colour I wanted mine to be! I suggested a dark blue and she chose a colour called Sapphire. I absolutely love it!

Though Melaina often knits and crochets items of her own creation, she used a pattern for this one. You can find it here. The ribbed cuffs are knitted and the remainder of the sweater is crocheted. It feels like I’m wearing a hug and I know that this is one item that will get lots of use as the days get shorter and colder!

To see more of Melaina’s creations, visit her Hooked on Crochet Facebook page.

A day on False Creek

On our final day in Vancouver, the rain had finally stopped and we decided to spend the day playing tourist.

Vancouver has two inner harbours. Burrard Inlet, the fjord that separates the north shore with its coastal mountains from the city proper, is the main port and welcomes ocean going freighters and cruise ships. To the south of downtown is the smaller inlet known as False Creek. False Creek is home to a vast array of pleasure crafts, some houseboats, and the little False Creek ferries that shuttle passengers between Granville Island and eight other stops along its shores. 

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We parked beside the Vancouver Aquatic Centre ($14 for a full day). Ferries between the Aquatic Centre and Granville Island run every five minutes, so we had only a few minutes to wait before beginning our adventure. Climbing aboard the little blue ferry, we purchased day passes which would allow us to hop on and off wherever we wanted all day long ($14 each for children and seniors, $16 for adults).   

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Granville Island which is really a peninsula, is home to a Public Market and many interesting shops. We decided to leave it for later in the day so that if we bought anything, we wouldn’t have to carry our purchases with us for the rest of the day. We had to switch ferries at the Island stop and wait for one of the boats that travels the red route #3 on the map. They run every 15 minutes all day long. 

Our first destination was David Lam Park. After disembarking, we first walked along the seawall to nearby George Wainborn Park, then back to David Lam enjoying the sights. 

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We had planned on getting back on the ferry to ride to the next stop at Yaletown, but soon realized that we had walked most of the way! Continuing on foot, we soon came across a delightful art installation known as The Proud Youth. 

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I first read about the gigantic 5.5 metre high (18 feet) boy with the mischievous grin back in March when Vancouver blogger, Frances Sprout of Materfamilias Writes, published this post. The whimsical sculpture by Chinese artist, Chen Wenling, is meant to encourage us to live a carefree life in a world of strife; to embrace our inner child and have some fun! What a perfect message in the midst of a worldwide pandemic!  

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The sculpture is so big that it can be easily seen from the other side of False Creek as seen in this photo taken later in the day. 

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Still walking, we admired the many sailboats and yachts in one of many marinas along False Creek. If you look closely, you can see the top of a gigantic super yacht towering above the others in the right hand side of the photo. That’s the 46 metre long (152 feet) After Eight, owned by the Don Wheaton family. 

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Further along our walk we came across another interesting art installation, the Time Top by Jerry Perkins, looking like it had just arrived from outer space! 

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After strolling around the trendy Yaletown area a bit and enjoying lunch in one of it’s many restaurants, we boarded another one of the little ferries and rode it to the final Village/Science World stop.  

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The giant “golf ball” that houses Science World was originally built as the signature building for Expo 86. Today, the sparkling structure is an iconic part of the Vancouver skyline. 

Our next stop was at Stamps Landing where we again went for a walk and enjoyed some of the sights. Though it had been cloudy most of the day, the sun was beginning to come out and I love the way the sky is reflected on the water in this final photo. 

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Returning to Granville Island, we wandered through the market and browsed a few shops. By this time it was late afternoon, so we crossed the water one last time back to the Aquatic Centre where we’d left the vehicle several hours earlier. 

If you’re ever in Vancouver and wondering what to do, I’d highly recommend a day on False Creek. Though I didn’t get photos, we even saw a couple of harbour seals and, at a distance, a giant sea lion! 

Two rainforest hikes

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past two and a half weeks which hasn’t inspired a fashion post for today. Instead, I’m going to begin sharing some highlights from our trip.

Two full years had passed since our last real visit with our son and his family and my brother at Vancouver. I’m not counting the four days that we spent at the coast at the beginning of December 2019 helping my father settle into long term care and dealing with the contents of the assisted living suite that had been his home for several years or the return trip three months later when he passed away. Those trips were all about doing what needed to be done and left little time for anything else.

Though Covid still made traveling somewhat of a concern and we were extra cautious due to the clinical vulnerability of some of the family members that we’d be visiting, we felt that we couldn’t wait any longer. Grandchildren change so much in two years! 

One of the things that we had hoped to do while we were at the coast was hike. In spite of several days of heavy rain (6 inches in one 48 hour period!) we managed to enjoy two wonderful hikes in the coastal rainforest; so different from our prairie hikes close to home. 

Cypress Falls, West Vancouver

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, October 11. While our daughter-in-law was preparing a delicious turkey dinner, hubby and I joined our son and his youngest for a hike to Cypress Falls in West Vancouver. 

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Just a short distance from the highway, Cypress Hills Park is easy to access. Though we were never far from civilization, this was definitely a wilderness park. The first part of the 2.7 km out and back trail was easy, as shown in the photo above, but it became somewhat steeper and more rugged further on.

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Mist from the water thundering over the lower falls hung in the trees above and provided a perfect environment for lush ferns and mosses. 

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Many varieties of mushrooms grew on the forest floor. I particularly liked these little splashes of colour. 

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Continuing on through stands of old growth Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, we reached the impressive upper falls at the end of the trail.

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Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver

The following Sunday, after days of rain, the weather cleared enough for us to enjoy a second hike, this time with the entire family.  Lynn Canyon Park, which is home to several beautiful trails, is located within walking distance of our son’s house as well as my teenage home. We hiked from the north entrance of the park, across Pipe Bridge and down to the very popular 30-Foot pool. Leaves from the park’s many maple trees formed a wet, but beautiful carpet.

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Never have we seen the creek and the pool so full!

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Toward the end of our hike, we crossed the 40 metre (130 foot) long suspension bridge that hangs 50 metres (160 feet) above the canyon. For much of my life, an extreme fear of heights kept me from crossing the bridge and enjoying the trails on the far side of the creek. Several years ago, however, I conquered that fear and this time I was able to stop and take photos from the middle of the bridge! 

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These are just two of the many beautiful places to hike on Vancouver’s beautiful north shore. In my next post I’ll share another one of our adventures, but this time in the heart of the city. 

Kids these days!

I wasn’t actually planning to write a Fashion Friday post today, but this young lad showed up at our dining table this evening and I was inspired!

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So, where does a ten year old boy acquire a suit like that? What do you think it cost? Well, perhaps you’re in for a surprise! This is my grandson, Nate, who like me, is a frugal fashionista!

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The suit didn’t cost him a cent! During the current pandemic, a number of Facebook Buy Nothing groups have sprung up, so when he decided that he wanted a suit, his mom posted an “ask” to her neighbourhood group. Within a couple of days, his wish was fulfilled! The top hat was his gift from Santa last Christmas and he’s had fun with it ever since.

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Not only did Nate inspire this short post, he and his brother, Sam, helped me write it! Thank you, gentlemen!

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