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Kristina Cross

Celebrate Collabs Design

Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Minted

Mailable Valentines Cards

Holidays may have been celebrated a little different last year and this year has been no exception. The kids are still being homeschooled, so they’ve been missing out on little celebrations that they would normally be celebrating with their classmates at school. Luckily, Minted now has a collection of the sweetest mailable Valentine’s cards, which is perfect for Jadon and Zoë to mail to their BFF’s. I mean, who doesn’t love a little snail mail?!

I also got to choose my favourite Valentine’s Day cards to give to hubby and the kids (hopefully they don’t see this post before the big day!). I’m not gonna lie – the quality of these cards, and anything from Minted for that matter, are beyond!! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Annndddd if you’re looking for gifts to give your loved ones, Minted has an array of unique and meaningful gift options perfect for Valentine’s Day! We chose a custom heart shaped puzzle and a With A Heart custom photo art print with a couple shots of the entire fam – featuring our last professionally shot photos together….over FOUR years ago!! I’d say it’s time for an updated family session, don’t you think?!

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, Minted has generously given me a special discount code just for my readers! Use code VDAYSWANK for 15% off your entire purchase from now until February 7, 2021.

I received products from Minted in exchange for this post. All opinions within this post are mine only and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of Minted and/or their affiliates.

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Collabs Lifestyle Travel

Family Getaway at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue

Truth be told, I can’t really remember the last time we went on a family vacation! We used to do at least one big one a year plus a few road trips in between, but life has gotten soooooo busy with the house renovations and kids’ activities over the past few years that we’ve forgotten to do the most important thing – unwind and reconnect as a family away from home.

A couple weekends ago, we surprised the kids with a trip to Bellevue, WA! Our favourite place to stay in Bellevue is the Hyatt Regency Bellevue and has been for years. This trip was special though – we were FINALLY going to witness Snowflake Lane at the Bellevue Collection AND we were going to enjoy it with our family friends (and Jadon’s classmate!).

As always, the moment we stepped into the Hyatt Regency Bellevue it felt like home. The familiar surroundings, friendly smiles from the front desk staff and the stunning Christmas tree in the lobby – brightly lit during it’s annual tree lighting ceremony only an hour before our arrival – all filled my heart with so much joy knowing that we were going to be making many memories with our kids over the next two days that would be remembered for years to come.

Next it was time to quickly settle in, grab a quick dinner from the Regency Club (a must when traveling with young kids) and meet up with our friends for a quick drink. The kids ended up hanging out together until early in the morning – just chilling, watching movies and playing video games. That in itself brings a huge smile to my face knowing that I can give my kids the relationships with their friends and family that I didn’t have growing up.

The next morning we enjoyed the yummiest brunch at our favourite breakfast spot, Eques (conveniently located on the second floor of the hotel). I’m honestly not a huge fan of hotel food, but Eques is on another level! I’d seriously recommend everything on the menu, including the à la carte (buffet) which is what the kids ended up getting. My favourite is definitely the crab Benedict and I end up getting it every time we eat at Eques (you have to try it!).

Since we were also in town for #BlackFriday weekend, it only made sense to check out the deals and get a head start on our holiday shopping at The Bellevue Collection, which is conveniently attached to the hotel via a series of sky bridges. I can’t tell you how genius this is, especially for families with strollers and wheelchairs, or just families in general. You basically don’t have to venture outside in the cold if you don’t want to and parking is free on the weekends.

Then it was time to reserve our spots for Snowflake Lane, which starts at 7pm nightly until Christmas Eve. We were running a bit late and missed our chance at front row curb seats (we heard some people had started waiting at around 6:00 – 6:15pm), but that didn’t stop us from capturing the magic from the parade starting point:

Even though the crowds were insane (get there early!), it was so much fun to experience Snowflake Lane with our friends – complete with holiday themed floats, snow and Santa Clause, of course! I feel like a yearly tradition might be starting… 😉

Have you seen Snowflake Lane in person or are you thinking of going in the future? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

xo, kristina

Disclaimer: All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Hyatt Regency Bellevue and/or their affiliates. I received a complimentary stay at The Hyatt Regency Bellevue in order to complete this review.

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Celebrate Lifestyle

Holiday Gift Guide 2019 | Stocking Stuffers

You guys! I can’t believe the holiday season is already creeping up on us! I’m still trying to get over “how did 2019 fly by” and I’m not too sure if I’m ready for Mariah Carey’s holiday jams quite yet.

Truth be told, I’ve been trying to get out of a so-called social media rut. Over the past couple years, I’ve been casually scrolling my Instagram account while feeling uninspired. Everything started feeling fake to me and somehow along the way, the fun of being an (also so-called) influencer was removed from the equation. Fast forward to present time, I’m starting to feel a little more inspired and hope to share more of that with all of you.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I figured I should share some of the luxurious items that I absolutely love and know you’ll definitely want to slip into your stockings for the big day:

  1. Vancouver Candle Co. | 2. K’pure Naturals x So Luxury Bedtime Bundle Gift Box | 3. Leah Alexandra Jewelry |4. Gisou Bee Based Hair Oils | 5. Chelsea King Scrunchies | 6. + LUX UNFILTERED Nº32 Gradual Self-Tanning Cream | 7. BÉIS Travel Accessories | 8. Naked Snacks 9. Written Word Calligraphy Monogram Wax Seal | 10. Landeau (not quite a stocking stuffer, but better)
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Celebrate Collabs Travel

Tenth Anniversary Celebration at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue

It’s been a while since hubby and I had been on a kid-free vacation, so last weekend I decided to surprise him with a night away in Bellevue, Washington to celebrate our TENTH anniversary. We typically don’t celebrate our wedding anniversary, as much as we do our dating anniversary (14.5 years sounds a lot more important than 10, no?), but I figured this one was too important to miss 😉

We used to visit this city frequently a few years ago and instantly fell in love. It’s almost like a home away from home for us – we’re fairly familiar with the city, but there’s always something new to discover.

When it came to start planning this “impromptu” weekend away, I knew we had to stay at our favourite Bellevue hotel – the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. Not only do we always feel at home at the Hyatt Regency, but it’s location is extremely convenient and houses all the amenities we could ever need. From the Regency Club, to its close proximity to shopping at The Bellevue Collection via connecting sky bridges, to its nightlife (there’s a lounge/club INSIDE the hotel + a slew of hip restaurants within walking distance), to its…well…convenient 24/7 restaurant that’s perfect for those late night eats (we still can’t believe that we JUST discovered this gem!).

Our day started off late as it normally does. Luckily, my amazing mother-in-law suggested the kids sleep over the night before, so all hubby and I had to do was sleep in (!), get ready and make our way across the border. It had been so long since we’ve been away (2.5 years to be exact!), which is insane for former frequent “border crossers” such as us.

Not much was planned except dinner reservations at a restaurant we fell in love with years ago – which turned out to be a bust (it must be under new ownership or something, and is not affiliated with the hotel, in case you were wondering) – but, as always, we made the best of it and just winged the entire night. I find that we always have the most fun when nothing is planned! We walked to The Bellevue Collection and shopped for a bit, and then ended up at Earls for late-night drinks after dinner. Everything is within walking distance to the hotel and, as an added bonus, parking is free on Friday & Saturday nights!

The night ended up back at the hotel where we popped another bottle of champagne (thanks to QFC + our late night Uber driver). Actually, back to Uber…it was our FIRST time taking an Uber haha. I should have documented the whole experience on my IG stories because it was abso-freakin-hilarious. We had no idea what we were doing…we crossed the street a few times and the driver couldn’t find us (hmm, I wonder why LOL). Then we got dinged for a “late” charge? Apparently the driver went to the hotel and not to where we actually were. Oops.

After a couple drinks, we made our way to Suite – a lounge inside the hotel – and danced the night away. We didn’t have any responsibilities the next day, so why not?!

The next morning was spent at Eques – the best brunch spot in Bellevue, in my opinion. Every time we’ve dined here, it’s been exquisite. They offer a full breakfast buffet, but I prefer to order off of their menu. You really can’t go wrong with root beer float waffles (it’s SO good), tiramisu pancakes or a crab benedict. I had every single one of the above (and maybe more, haha) and I can honestly say nothing ever disappoints at Eques. Their smoothies are also to die for and if you’re celebrating an anniversary like us, mention it to your server and they’ll whip up a special anniversary smoothie from their “secret menu” (pssst…it may just taste a lot like blackberry lemonade this summer ;)).

Before you head out, make sure you take a photo with the giant “30” in the lobby to help celebrate the Hyatt Regency Bellevue’s 30th anniversary from now until the end of May! Post the photo to your Instagram page with the hashtag #HRBelle30 + #sweepstakes. For full contest details, visit @hyattregencybellevue on IG.

Are you planning on staying at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in the near future? I’d love to hear about your experience or past experiences in the comments below!

xo, kristina

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Collabs Design Interiors Lifestyle

Find Your New Home at The Residences at Willoughby Town Centre

Whether you’re a young couple looking for your first home or an empty nester looking to downsize, finding an affordable home in the Lower Mainland is no easy feat. I personally know of more and more couples and families venturing out to the Fraser Valley in search of their dream home with convenient amenities at their doorstep.

Look no further! Enter The Residences at Willoughby Town Centre – a collection of boutique-style, low-rise condo units located in Willoughby’s most walkable neighbourhood.

With the first floor of the building housing 15 commercial units and an additional commercial building that will showcase a restaurant and office space, you will literally have the world at your fingertips (do you even need to leave your home now, ever?). Floors 2-4 of The Residences will consist of 91 open-concept 1 to 2 bedroom homes ranging from 526 to 1,101 square feet with many amenities, including:

  • Parking – 1 stall for 1 bedroom homes and 2 stalls for 2 bedroom homes
  • Storage – all homes
  • Appliances – standard with an appliance upgrade package option
  • Completion – approximately Spring/Summer 2021
  • Rentals / pets allowed
  • Amenities – guest suite, rooftop patio entertaining space and amenity room

While we (myself & the kids) were practically drooling over the showroom of one of the larger floorpans at The Residences, we all fell in love with the open floor plan, spacious bedrooms and living space, roomy patio (with an included gas hook-up for those BBQ parties!) and hidden features within the kitchen, including the hood fan. Oh and let’s not forget about the his and hers walk-in closet in the master bedroom. I think that space might actually be big enough for both mine and hubby’s ever expanding wardrobes, haha!

Each home comes with a choice of two modern designer colours schemes – Modern (surprise!) or Traditional. My personal choice would probably to lean towards more of the Traditional colour palette – I tend to gravitate towards the lighter tones paired with wood-like finishes.

Now imagine living in a neighbourhood where you can conveniently walk to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for your dinner or enjoy a night out on the town – without actually having to leave further than a two-ish block radius from your home. If that’s not winning, I’m not sure what is!

After viewing the showroom, we took made our way down to the Shops at Willoughby Town Centre. I found the cutest boutique, Wildflower’s Style & Co., which carried a number of vegan and natural clothing, accessories and beauty lines including one of my faves, K’Pure Naturals. The kids, of course, ventured into a local candy store and we all ended up eating sushi across the street.

For more information, details and answers to frequently asked questions, contact The Residences at Willoughby Town Centre sales team at

Kristina xo

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Collabs Lifestyle

Lily & Roo – A Toxic-Free Kitsilano Nail Salon

It’s really true when they say the stars align.  Hubby had recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the dangers of toxic chemicals and fragrances in household products we use on a daily basis (something I’ve been telling him for years, but it really takes someone other than me to verify these things LOL).  It then catapulted me into a mission:  to eliminate ALL products that contain toxic chemicals and/or the words “fragrance” and  “perfume”.

Fast forward to a few days later to when Lily & Roo reached out to me.  Like I said, the stars aligned.  Keep reading to find out how…

A couple weekends ago, I had the opportunity to treat my daughter to a mani/pedi at the most darling nail salon, Lily & Roo.  Located in the heart of the Kitsilano neighbourhood in Vancouver, Lily & Roo provides a haven for clients of all ages while focusing on providing treatments with ethically sourced products that are non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free.

Zoë was literally SO stoked for this appointment.  The night before ended with “I cannot WAIT until tomorrow, mama!” and the morning of started with “EEEEKKKKKK!!!  We’re getting our nails done today, I’m so exciiiiiiiitttttteeeeeeed!!”.

The main reason I waited until Zoë was six to get her first mani/pedi was because, before Lily & Roo, I hadn’t found a nail salon that was safe enough for my little one.  I didn’t want her breathing in the toxic chemicals and tried limit her exposure to nail polish as much as I could.  Thankfully, I can now say that Lily & Roo will be our go-to salon for our girls days 🙂

As we entered the Instagrammable salon, we were greeted by smiles all over – from the salon owner, Chole, to her staff and her customers.  Zoë walked straight to the nail polish wall and selected ten shades of pink (surprise, surprise!).

The entire experience was incredibly blissful.  My heart was exploding with pride watching Zoë experience her first mani/pedi like a pro.  She opted for a multi-coloured look while I went for a neutral 9-free gel polish (my first gel experience!).  I was hesitant to try gel at first, but you can’t really go wrong with polish that will last up to three weeks!  Plus to finish off our polished looks (see what I did there?!), we selected matching nail art for a few of our fingers.

All of Lily & Roo’s polishes are vegan, 9-free and cruelty-free.  As for gel removal, they’ll gently file the surface of the nail so that acetone use is minimized.  For those who prefer to veto acetone all together, they offer a peel-off base coat option that can easily be removed in the comfort of your own home.  If that sounds pretty amazing to you, you’ll want to keep on reading…!!


We would LOVE for you to experience a mother/daughter date at Lily & Roo complete with a mani + pedi for both of you (or bring a friend, your own mom – it’s up to you!).  Simply head over to my Instagram account @theswanksocial for entry details:

  • follow @theswanksocial + @lilyandroovancouver
  • tag a friend in the comments.  Each tag is one entry.
  • BONUS:  share the entry photo in your stories and tag both of our accounts

The giveaway is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Instagram.  All opinions in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Lily & Roo.



Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Lily & Roo and/or their affiliates.  I received a complimentary gel mani/pedi treatment and Zoë received a girls mani/pedi in order to complete this review.

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Lifestyle Style

Back to Basics


It’s about time I got back to my creative self!  I guess I’ve been in a slump of sorts this past year – maybe it’s because I’ve been judging and comparing others’ Instagram accounts to my own or maybe it’s because I’ve been just too damn busy with my nine to five and this thing called LIFE.  To tell you the truth, it’s all of the above.

But enough about that.

One of the things that I’ve found really helps me get back into my creative bubble is surrounding myself with like-minded creatives.  The motivation, ideas and encouragement I get from this community is like nothing other.  It also helps fuel ideas and just gets my mind going with content that I can create for my blog, Instagram and collaborations.

If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you’ll see that in the past, I was very camera shy.  When I started The Swank Social, it was more of a styling venture where I would help my clients style their events and photoshoots.  From there, I ended up going back to work full time and TSS became more of a lifestyle haven for me.

I often get a lot of questions about my photos.  Why don’t we see more of you?  How do you know which pose to do and when?  Have you always been comfortable in front of the camera?

Answers:  I’m still camera shy (and it seems to be getting worse with age!), I don’t and yes/no.

Yes, I still feel awkward in front of the camera, but what really helps me is having my photographer direct me.  Just tell me what to do and when to do it!

This pretty much happened when I went on this impromptu photoshoot with my friend, Andrea of The Trademark Agency.  She chose the white brick background (in front of a sports store at a local mall) and basically told me what to do, step by step.  “Smile…smile…SSSSSMMMMIIIIIILLLLLLLE!!!!” “Laugh….laugh….LAAAAUUUUGH!!!”  Haha, yes it was hilarious, but it obviously got the job done.  What do you think?

Dress:  Aritzia

Blazer:  Aritzia

Booties:  Vince Camuto



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Collabs Lifestyle Style

Time for a Little Self-Care

coquitlam centre_fresh for spring

coquitlam centre_fresh for spring beauty_kerastase_the swank socialcoquitlam centre_fresh for spring_kiehls_the swank social blogcoquitlam centre_fresh for spring beauty_marc jacobs decadence While the rest of Vancouver waits patiently for the rain to stop and for the return of the sun, I’m over here prepping my skin for a major Spring refresh!

We all know how harsh the cold winter weather can be on our skin.  For me, my cheeks and hands get extremely dry, and every year I seem to try product after product after product.  I’ll share some of the products that have worked for me in another post, because I think it’s important that we give your skin the TLC it deserves right now!

Self-Care Saturday

  • WHEN:  Saturday, April 14, 2018 from 12 – 4pm
  • WHERE:  Coquitlam Centre (Event Central Level 2 between Gap and Luluemon)
  • WHAT TO EXPECT:  Join Coquitlam Centre for an afternoon focused on self-care, wellness and refreshing your skin for Spring with beauty and skin care experts including local bloggers and influencers, Gelsea Mae and Bree Aylwin, as well as TV and media personalities, Mary Zilba and Fiona Forbes.  Visit the #FreshForSpring Care Stations featuring select Coquitlam Centre retailers, all while sipping on DAVIDs TEA, indulging in Purdy’s Chocolates and entering to win over $3,500 in amazing door prizes.
  • #FRESHFORSPRING BEAUTY BOX:  From April 2 to April 14, enter to win 1 of 5 #FreshForSpring Beauty Boxes ($350+ value) filled with everything you need to refresh your skin for Spring!

coquitlam centre_fresh for spring beauty box_giveaway_the swank social#FreshForSpring Giveaway!

Love what you see?  Win your very own #FreshForSpring Beauty Box right here!  Coquitlam Centre is generously giving one of my supporters a #FreshForSpring Beauty Box worth over $350!  To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway is open to Vancouver / Lower Mainland residents 18 years and older only, and ends Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9pm PST.

Disclosure:  All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Coquitlam Centre and/or their affiliates.  We received a #FreshForSpring Beauty Box and a form of compensation in order to complete this post.

Product photography:  Janelle Sacccucci

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Easy Birds Nest Mini Egg Recipe


If you’re anything like me (aka Last Minute Queen), you’re currently frantically scouring Pinterest for the perfect last-minute Easter treat to smush together for the 30 to 60 (maybe 90?) little ones in your kids’ classes.

Am I right?!

Looks like you’re in luck because I’m sharing that perfect treat for you right here!  While it’s not completely original (it’s a Pinterest find for sure), I always resort to these easy, no-bake, under-an-hour birds nest treats when I’m running behind or when it feels like the week has just creeped up to me and I have nothing.


Bird’s Nest Easter Treats (No-Bake)


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups dried chow mein noodles
  • mini eggs (3 to 4 per nest)


Melt butter and marshmallows together in a large saucepan on low heat.

Stir vanilla extract into the butter/marshmallow mixture and add chow mein noddles, stirring quickly to coat the noodles evenly.

Remove from heat.  You’ll want to work quickly for the next step (think Rice Krispie squares!). For each nest, form a ball and push down with your thumb in the middle of the ball to create the “nest”.  I used a mini cupcake pan, which made it easier to shape the nests.  Repeat.

Add 3 to 4 mini eggs to each nest and voila!


This recipe should make about at least 30 nests (good for one class!) depending on the size of each nest.  Enjoy!


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Collabs Lifestyle

The GLOWrious Effect

What does being GLOWrious mean to me?

It means a lot of things, but the one thing it means to me at this point in my life is self-care.  As in taking care of myself before I take care of others.  Not saying that my family and my kids don’t come before me (believe me, I make sure our lives are in order and everyone is taken care of lol!).

While some may have strong opinions about self-care or may feel that some of the things in this post come across as selfish, I’m a strong believer that if I take care of myself, it means the relationships I cherish the most in my life will be healthy, positive and fulfilling because I feel healthy, positive and fulfilled.

you are glowrious project skin md

How I stay GLOWrious:

never neglect yourself 

I made a conscious promise to myself that no matter what happens once my kids entered my life, I would never neglect myself.  This means taking uninterrupted showers once a day, doing my hair and my makeup in the mornings, and scheduling regular beauty maintenance appointments (a girl’s gotta look good!).  Now, I’m not going to lie – the showers and getting myself ready happen on a daily basis, but the beauty appointments?  They do get pushed onto the back burner if life gets too busy!

                                                                                                                         spend time with your partner

A healthy relationship with your partner or significant other will do wonders for your surrounding relationships.  My husband and I have always showed affection in front of our children, we always converse with a very sarcastic sense of humour (something the kids definitely picked up on), we laugh 1,000 times a day and we (sometimes reluctantly) talk about the trials and tribulations of our lives.  You know, the things we’re ashamed of and things we want to change to personally better ourselves and our relationship.  Marriage, and relationships in general, take a lot of work!

I often complain about how tired I am and my 18 year old step-daughter told me it was because I don’t got to bed early enough because I watch tv with my husband until late.  She’s probably right, but here’s the thing:  it’s our thing.  An hour or two of alone time after the kids go to bed is healthy for us to wind down, de-stress, cuddle on the couch while binge watching The Crown, and reflecting on the day and the world around us.  It may look silly or boring to the kids, but they’ll be eating their words one day when they get to where we are!

feed your soul

I’m not sure about you, but I feel like I literally grew up on burgers, frozen food and pre-packaged foods.  It’s definitely a North American thing, but it’s not a thing in our household.  I live for home cooked meals and it’s probably because of the influence from hubby and my mother-in-law.  The fact that you know what you’re putting in your food is gold.  And it makes you feel good!  I love experimenting with foods from different cultures and incorporating the dishes in our home, but I don’t love cooking (isn’t that the way it always is?!).  Luckily, we have some balance in the kitchen where hubby will cook a majority of the time (blessed!).  So, it’s basically a fair 70/30 split and I win, haha!

                                                                beauty sleep

I’d feel more GLOWrious every day if I actually got more than 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  I know that.  So, it’s my ongoing goal to go to bed a bit earlier, manage my time better and get that beauty sleep!

#iamGLOWrious project skin md#iamGLOWrious project skin md#iamGLOWrious project skin md

So now you know how I stay GLOWrious each and every day!  It’s always a work in progress and is never as simple as it sounds.  I have to constantly work at these aspects of my life and remind myself that consistency really is key.  After all, if you’re happy and glowing on the inside, you can bet you’ll see that contagious GLOWrious glow come out on the outside!

What Does GLOWrious Mean to YOU?

#iamGLOWrious project skin md the swank social

Shop the exclusive #iamGLOWrious apparel line at Project Skin MD, snap a pic and share what glowing means to you on social media.  For every photo tagged with #iamGLOWrious, Project Skin MD will generously donate $1 to BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive an #iamGLOWrious tee from Project Skin MD with the intention of fully supporting their GLOWrious cause.  The opinions and views in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinion or views of Project Skin MD and/or their affiliates.

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