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 √† 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… ūüėČ

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.

No Comments
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 N¬ļ32 Gradual Self-Tanning Cream | 7. B√ČIS Travel Accessories | 8. Naked Snacks 9. Written Word Calligraphy Monogram Wax Seal | 10. Landeau (not quite a stocking stuffer, but better)
No Comments
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

No Comments
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



No Comments
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


No Comments

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!


No Comments
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.

No Comments
Collabs Lifestyle

New Years Refresh with Project Skin MD

Project Skin MD lounge

What better way to kick off the New Year than with a post-holiday, hello 2018 refresh from Project Skin MD?Project Skin MD lounge

At the beginning of Fall (yes, last year lol!), I had the honour of experiencing the Silk Peel Microdermabrasion Treatment at, in my opinion, the best lifestyle clinic focused purely on skin health and natural beauty. ¬†At 34, I’m still in denial at the thought of “aging” and have always thought that anti-aging creams and regimens would be a thing in the far, far future. ¬†Now, when I look in the mirror, I’m not sure if I should be kicking myself or kick-starting a skin care regimen to preserve what’s left of my youth ūüėČ ¬†Probably the latter…

To be honest, I’ve never been one to be overly obsessed with the latest and greatest in skincare and makeup products. ¬†My skincare routine is literally cleanse, moisturize, cleanse, moisturize. ¬†I typically purchase my cleansers and moisturizers from the local drugstore – a habit that my skin care specialist at Project Skin MD highly recommended against (more on why later on in this post). ¬†As I age, I’m more curious about what products are out there, what procedures are available to me (short of plastic surgery) and what steps I can take to make sure I age gracefully. ¬†Sure genetics seem to be on my side, but I am noticing those famous laugh lines and forehead frown lines (I have this weird habit of squinting my eyes and frowning when I’m in deep concentration – probably as a result of poor vision LOL).

Back to my Project Skin MD experience! ¬†First of all, have you ever been to a boutique clinic where you can tell the owners and their interior designer nailed every little detail of their design and decor – so much so that no matter where you turn, it’s completely Instagrammable? ¬†I mean…

Project Skin MD lounge

And then there’s the actual treatment. ¬†Talk about rejuvenating, refreshing and Project Skin’s promise, R&R = Results & Relaxation – all the ‘R’ words!! ¬†The treatment began in the PS Glow Room – a space within Project Skin MD that opened in November 2016, solely dedicated to introductory medical aesthetic services such as medical facials, peels and microdermabrasion.

I initially anticipated the Silk Peel Microdermabrasion Treatment to be slightly painful because of all the stories I used to hear from back in the day about microdermabrasion (they’re all exaggerated!) and the after effects (think red, burnt skin). ¬†This microdermabrasion treatment had¬†none of the above and I can attest to the fact that I felt like my skin had undergone a deep, deep¬†much-needed clean. ¬†Using a diamond treatment tip with vacuum and suction technologies (it feels funny at first, but you’ll get used to it!) to exfoliate and remove dull skin cells from your face, this treatment was unlike any facial I’ve ever experienced. ¬†My skin actually felt CLEAN and refreshed!

And why should only my face feel clean and refreshed? ¬†I’m so excited to partner up with Project Skin MD to give one of my lucky followers/readers a chance to win their very own Silk Peel Microdermabrasion Treatment experience!! ¬†To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below. ¬†Entrants must be 18 years or older and able to attend the Vancouver location of Project Skin MD for their treatment.

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Project Skin MD, PS Glow Room and/or their affiliates.  We received a complimentary Silk Peel Microdermabrasion Treatment in order to complete this review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


No Comments
Collabs Lifestyle

Experience Ayurveda: Bombay Beauty Co. + a Giveaway!

Bombay beauty co rose clay mask ayurveda

Every single relationship I’ve made through social media over the past few years has made a tremendous impact in my life and has not only allowed me to explore my creative curiosities, but they’ve also shaped me into the person I am today. ¬†Without the encouragement and support of all of the inspiring women (and men!) that give me that push, whether positive or negative, The Swank Social wouldn’t be where it is today.

So when the CEO of Bombay Brow Bar reached out to me about her new (and absolutely GORGEOUS) concept store located in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, I was smiling from ear to ear. ¬†You see, Ravy and I first connected¬†years¬†ago – I’m thinking it was around 7-8 years ago – at the time when Bombay Brow Bar was just starting out and my family blog, SwankMama, was taking off. ¬†I remember her being so sweet and thoughtful, but we never had a chance to connect other than through email. ¬†Years flew by, life went on and we added a few kids into the mix, and here we are today!

Ravy recently launched her concept store, Bombay Beauty Co., which is focused around balance and the beauty of Ayurveda. ¬†The story behind Ravy’s newest venture is inspiring yet heartbreaking, but her passion and the reason why she started creating her own line of natural beauty and skin products using the Ayurveda practice, and what later evolved into the space now known as Bombay Beauty Co., is the type of story that inspires me on a daily basis.

As soon as you walk into Bombay Beauty Co., you’ll notice that Ravy has incorporated its sister brand, Bombay Brow Bar, into the design, decor and colour palette. ¬†Think rich marble floors and accents, dramatic curtains and mirrors, and touches of gold sprinkled throughout. ¬†Trust me, as soon as you get over the gorgeousness of it all, you’ll almost forget the real reason you came!

I was treated to their signature Bombay Rose Facial – a therapeutic and luxurious Ayurvidic inspired clay facial experience using Bombay Beauty Co.’s all natural Bombay Rose Signature Collection. ¬†It was seriously the most relaxing facial I’ve ever indulged in. ¬†Not only can you feel the mask gently extracting all of your skin’s impurities, but you’ll be able to relax for the full 40 minute treatment while enjoying a calming hand and head massage. ¬†While there aren’t any physical extractions performed during the facial, my face instantly felt rejuvenated and more nourished (the cold weather is doing a number on my skin!).

Ravy and her team have also created a house line of all-natural Ayurvedic inspired skin care products locally made in Vancouver. ¬†When speaking with Ravy about her inspiration and desire to ensure that her skin care line is accessible by every woman can experience the beauty of Ayurveda at an affordable price. ¬†After all, self-care equals self-confidence and self-love – three of Bombay Beauty Co.’s empowering mantras!

Win a Beauty of Ayurveda Experience!

Bombay Beauty Co. has generously offered to give away TWO Bombay Rose Facials to one of our lucky readers Рone for the winner and one for their BFF!  To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway is open worldwide to entrants 18 years of age and over.  You must be able to claim your treatments at Bombay Beauty Co. located at 829 West Cordova, Vancouver, BC, Canada (inside the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel).

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Bombay Beauty Co., Bombay Brow Bar and/or their affiliates.  We received a complimentary Bombay Rose Facial in order to complete this review.

Photography:  Janelle Saccucci

a Rafflecopter giveaway




No Comments
Celebrate Collabs Inspiration Lifestyle

A Winters Dream Holiday Tablescape

It’s already December (how?!) and all I can do is reminisce about a holiday styled shoot I created a few years back with my lovely and very talented friend, Amy from Confetti and Co.!

When I started The Swank Social, it was all about celebrations, confetti and creative collaborations. ¬†It was a fun time and I made so many connections through the work that I did, but it wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. ¬†Plus, I had a personal reason why I decided to go back to work full-time (best decision ever!) and slowly concentrate on growing The Swank Social as a blog during my spare time lifestyle blog. ¬†It only took a year to finally grasp and understand how to balance my time.

Actually, scratch that.

I still don’t know how to balance my time. ¬†I’m almost certain that I’ll never figure that out, but here we are!

Okay, back to the holidays and Christmas.  And back to the days where a crisp, white studio space was extremely hard to come by.  We booked (the now defunct) Sugar Studios for our collaborative shoot and started working our magic:

holiday tablescape floralswooden name laser cut placecardsholiday tablescape sugar cookie placecardchristmas holiday floralsholiday party tablescapechristmas holiday tablescapeholiday party tablescapechristmas holiday tablescape setupchristmas holiday styled shootchristmas holiday tablescapechristmas holiday tablescapechristmas holiday friendschristmas holiday cheers

While I do miss the days where I got to plan and execute events that were dear to my clients’ hearts, I’m so fortunate to have this social platform that allows me to keep creating, collaborating and styling! ¬†Currently, I’m just trying to let it settle in that it’s almost Christmas!!

xx Kristina



Styling:  The Swank Social and Confetti & Co. | Photography:  Studio 86 Creative Design | Floral Arrangements:  Celsia Floral | Placecard Cookies:  Whisk | Wooden Name Placecards and Balloons:  Confetti & Co. | Custom Menu and Print:  Kardz Kouture | Plates and Table Decor:  The Cross Design | Chairs:  Eclat Decor


Flatware:  West Elm | Glassware, Wooden Chargers and Napkins:  Indigo

No Comments


Instagram has returned invalid data.