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Cherry Picking with Barb

21 Apr

It’s Cherry Picking season!

Hi, I’m Barb! I have had a chance to form some opinions and discover some of my favourite frocks in my first few weeks working at Cherry Velvet and I want to share them with you.  I’ve worked in the Plus Size clothing industry for many years now and being a Plus Sized woman who doesn’t do frumpy or boring, I’m thrilled to have landed in the perfect spot! I am surrounded by adorableness all day long and I see potential in every style and print so picking only three was harder than I thought it would be. Cherry Picking is all about choosing the sweetest, juiciest and plumpest fruit and that’s exactly what I tried to do here. Enjoy!

Chrissy Hothouse Floral

This dress is just so flattering! Honestly, I normally wouldn’t think a bold floral like this would be my first pick but I was taken in with the beautiful coral red with subtle pops of green. I love wearing anything with a little green in it because it sets off my green eyes. This dress fits like a dream and has the perfect amount of coverage at the bust and the little sleeve. I feel like this dress is perfect for attending a summer wedding or dance. Who wouldn’t want to make that skirt flare while twirling around the dance floor? Honestly, a gal could get married in this dress—it’s that special.

Cherry Velvet Chrissy dress in Hot House Floral

 

Danielle Shutterbug

I LOVE this print!! Vintage cameras of all shapes and sizes and not a hint of “Cheeeese”! The colours are amazing, too. I adore the combination of acid green, orange and aqua. These are the ultimate classic “old school” shades that remind me of  60’s and 70’s retro modern trends. Yes, I am old enough to remember that era, thank you very much! The little collar and three button detail on the front are so stylish and give this dress a classic, crisp feel. I would wear this dress to an art opening or a cocktail party, or… anywhere, actually.

Danielle Cherry Luau

Once again it was the print that made me choose this dress. I love the cut too, so much so that I chose two different Danielle dresses in my picks. This rich coral background with creamy flowers, green leaves, and bright red cherries is just perfection in my opinion. This dress takes me back to Hawaii with its warm tropical hues. The colour is so flattering to my skin tone and I can’t wait until I can wear it when I have a bit of a summer tan. Delicious is the word I would use to describe this dress. Now, where is that Mai Tai I ordered?

Cherry Velvet Danielle dress in Cherry Luau

 

Come visit me at the studio sale this weekend!!

→ Fri. Apr. 21 2-7pm
→ Sat. Apr. 22 11am-5pm

1635 Powell St. Vancouver, BC
(Street parking available right out front and in the lot off Woodland Drive beside the Flag Shop)

Love Barb for Cherry Velvet XOX

The Happy Theory of Colour

30 Mar

It’s been a long, dark, and dull winter here in Vancouver and many of us are looking for the bright glow in the gloom. Lately I’ve been giving the idea of wearing more colour a lot of thought. Like, why am I choosing a dark colour today? Brighten me up, baby!

When I go to the salon to get my nails done (you know, that amazing shellac stuff that last and lasts) I spend an inordinate amount of time choosing from the delectable colours on display. Such an easy way to brighten up! I pick some luscious juicy pinks or reds, or go a little crazy with green sparkles like I did for St. Patty’s day. But is this enough, I think? NO! I’m craving something more. I want to be bright from head to toe… bright like a beacon in the fog.

CND Shellac Nail polish colours

CND Nail polish at Salon Sixty Six in New West

For years, colour theories abounded. Do you remember what your ‘season’ is? Carole Jackson’s wildly popular theory called Colour Me Beautiful, a book that reduced your colour palate to only those supposedly compatible with your skin tone. Maybe you remember the advice: choose a “non-memorable” colour for your clothes. The theory was that no one would remember what you wore, so you could wear it again another day.  For almost a decade, What Not to Wear’s Clinton Kelly and Stacy London put every single woman who appeared on their program in the same dark denim and black blazer outfit. It’s dull, I say!  Any time someone tries to dictate what colour we’re allowed to wear, resist! Instead, why don’t we simply choose the colours that make us happiest?

Even before the weather catches up to this feeling of bright exuberance, as the flowers pop their happy colourful faces out of the ground, I’ve decided to choose more colour: 

Cherry Velvet Sabrina Black Dahlia

Cherry Velvet’s designer Diane Kennedy wearing a Sabrina dress in the Black Dahlia Print

Pink Fluevogs, Pink Nails, Cherry Velvet dress

Heidi Daus Necklace              Sonja Picard rings                     Fluevog Shoes

Clothes should make you happy.  Choose something bright today like this outfit with hot pink shades; don’t worry so much about matching everything. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Now, go brighten someone else’s day!

XOX Diane

 

The Retro Reconnect

7 Jan

These days, amazing technology allows us to have so many people’s lives “@”our fingertips. It’s very easy to get caught up in “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) and forgetting the simple pleasure of connecting with people through something other than a glowing screen. With many making the new year’s resolution to make more time for people, we thought it’d be neat to talk about a couple of ways you can put your cell phone down and be more present, socially-speaking.

cell phone texting

It started with the typewriter, then those darn BBMs and now it’s safe to say the text message reigns supreme. Remember when “msg” used to be that stuff you found in bad Chinese food? Now it’s the auto-corrected alternative to making time for people. What a shame!

But thankfully, with scrapbooking becoming such a trend and crafting megastores so common now, it’s becoming clear that the long-lost art of the handwritten note is coming back in full force and we think that’s swell!

hilda-letter

Despite the convenience of sending an email, nothing beats that feeling of delight when the mail arrives and you see a handwritten envelope addressed with your name. With card companies releasing cards for practically every occasion, and Pinterest tutorials inspiring everyone, there are so many ways a note written by hand can have as much personal flair as your unique fashion sense. Who wants a Vacation Snapchat that will disappear in a day, when you can send a little postcard keepsake! Or show off your love of nostalgia with retro inspired card designs for niceties such as thank you cards and…

invites

Which leads us perfectly into our next suggestion…

1713741

why not create a little FOMO for everyone, yourself – Send out darling Retro-inspired invitations & host an old fashioned house party!

No, we don’t mean

We mean

These days, people have taken to packing bars and restaurants to the ceiling with party reservations for every occasion. Why subject you and your guests to shouting over obnoxious music and overpriced food & drink when you can show everyone what a party that has Retro Class and Modern Sass looks like!

And the best part? Being hostess  means getting to suggest cocktail attire! Whether you’re holding a dinner party or just getting everyone together for drinks, going that extra mile to get gussied up always turns a simple get-together into a glamourous evening out for your guests. Even if everyone’s technically staying in!

retrococktailparty

house-party-1950-from-look-mag-debutante-who-went-to-work

…And it just so happens we know the place to get a cute dress (or two)… <3

Do everything you’d do out on the town; dance, take fun pics with the girls…
…and never have to worry about someone spilling a drink on your Cherry Velvet dress. 😉

So go ahead, unplug! Disconnect* and reconnect the old fashioned way.

XOX Cherry Velvet

**And after your retro recharge, ease back into modern communication by joining our mailing list & following us on FB, Twitter & Instagram!**

Gluten Free Treats!: Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery

29 May

 

Hey you know what we think of cupcakes here at Cherry Velvet! We were thrilled to discover a new gluten free bakery, that specializes in all kinds of sweet treats. Their cupcakes are delish!  Gluten free seems to be the newest thing in food these days, but for those of us that can’t tolerate gluten, it’s not just the latest fad, but the way we have to eat to stay healthy. (Because we think  cupcakes are at least good for our mental health!

 

 

So why go gluten free?  Gluten-free diets aren’t just for celiacs or those with wheat allergies. Eating wheat, even whole wheat, can actually do more harm than good. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of the population may be intolerant to the high-gluten content in wheat being produced today.  The reason is that we don’t completely digest all of the wheat, leaving the undigested portions to ferment. Because wheat is found in so many foods, most people only discover their intolerance to gluten when they go gluten free and their overall health improves dramatically.

 

Ray Porcellato, founder of Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery, acquired his love for baking at a young age from his mother Pixie. When he saw the demand for gluten-free products going largely unfulfilled, Ray decided to continue that family tradition and launched a bakery that would create gluten-free baked goods that had the same taste and quality he grew up with. I’ve chatted with Pixie and she is adorable,  it’s the the next best thing to going to visit grandma for homemade baking!

While the great thing about Cloud 9’s  baking  is definitely the taste, the next best thing just may be their amazing selection of treats! They have marshmellows and wine gums made from real red and white wine that are fantastic and totally addictive! I am in love with the peanut butter cookies and brownies, the lemon tarts and cupcakes and their mini  ‘foccaccio style’ picollo buns. They really taste as good as homemade and especially of  their sweet treats, you would never know they were gluten free.   Swing by Cloud 9 Bakery next time you’re in New Westminster and are in the mood to treat yourself to something delicious!

Cherry Velvet  xox

Crazy for Cupcakes

5 Apr

Cupcake creation is a definite art. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise, for they clearly have not tasted the moist, melting texture of cake combined with a creamy, dreamy frosting and the sophisticated, symbiotic flavors of a truly memorable cupcake.  This post is not so much a ‘how to’, but an ode to the cupcake and a discussion of the elements that make it an artful treat. While we cannot claim to be cupcake connoisseurs (let’s leave that to the professional bakers), we’ve done our fair share of cupcake eating, and there is something to be said for the appreciation of cake and frosting at its finest.

In the case of a cupcake, outer beauty is important—we think it should be as pretty as a flower, or a crinoline set upside down. Even if you’re not an expert decorator, the impressive ease of an icing tip and bag cannot be overstated, and is an inexpensive way to achieve a professional result. Take a look at some great frosting tips on our “How-to Cupcakes” Pinterest board.

Other cupcake decorating essentials include pretty cupcake papers, colored sugar sprinkles and sparkles, and flavorful additions like chocolate curls, toasted nuts or coconut shavings, citrus peel, and fruit or caramel drizzle. Like any decorating or design project, it’s important to think of the visual texture as well as the flavor.

Often, the most complementary flavor combinations are inspired by other edibles.  For example, a ‘Margarita’ cupcake could combine a rum cake with lime icing, and be garnished with a lime sliver and clear sugar sprinkles to imitate the salted drink rim.  Or a ‘Salted Caramel’ cupcake—think chocolate cake with rich cocoa frosting, a caramel drizzle, and a light sprinkling of coarse salt! These perfectly balanced cupcakes are not only a feast for the eyes, but an explosion of complementary flavors in your mouth.

What’s our favorite cupcake you ask? Well, it would have to be our very own ‘Cherry Velvet’, which we imagine to be red velvet cake with cherry-vanilla icing, wrapped in red and white polka dot paper, and topped off with a maraschino cherry… Yum!

Here are our favourite picks of delicious cupcake flavors from an article on the “40 Best Cupcake & Icing Combinations of all Time” (being the cupcake fiends we are, we of course altered some of the combinations to suit our tastes!):

  •  Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes with cinnamon frosting
  • Peach cupcakes with almond honey frosting
  • Bourbon vanilla cupcakes with coconut cream frosting
  • Green tea cupcakes with lavender frosting
  • Butternut squash cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • Strawberry basil cupcakes with balsamic frosting
  • Ginger cupcakes with honey frosting
  • Earl Grey cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting

 

Have a favorite cupcake or cupcake decorating trick? Tweet it to us using the hashtag #cvcupcakes

xx Cherry Velvet

Seven Deadly Sins: A Dinner of Decadence with Diamond Minx

27 Feb

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the most fabulous dinner party hosted by an even more fabulous woman: burlesque queen Diamond Minx.  If her name and profession are any indication, the party—her very own birthday celebration—was destined to be an indulgent and luxurious event… with a twist of course.

 The menu, based on the 7 Deadly Sins, was a mouthwatering seven course meal featuring the most decadent of culinary delights.  From the foie gras to the oyster duo, and the raspberry granite to the rack of lamb, and finally to chocolate terrine and blood orange reduction, each dish was expertly (and beautifully) prepared to seduce the senses. Delightful smells, appearances, tastes, and textures—none were left wanting.

With fanciful attire, seductive food, and spirited entertainment, Miss Diamond Minx’s birthday affair could easily rival one of Marie Antoinette’s famously lavish, late-night parties.

This was a night to remember…

xox Cherry Velvet

Cherrylicious Valentine’s Treats Just For You

13 Feb

In anticipation of tomorrow, Happy Valentine’s Day to all you Cherry Velvet gals out there!  Whether you’re single or attached, we hope you all have a wonderful day full of love.  Most importantly, we hope you take a moment to celebrate and love yourself, because you are FAHbulous DAHling! 

And because no celebration is complete without something sweet (did you see that rhyming genious just there?), we’ve rounded up some of the most adorable, decadent, and delicious cherry inspired treats…

Find more goodies and the recipes & sources of the above here on our new Pinterest account!

With undying love (and a serious sweet tooth),

xxx Cherry Velvet

The Cherry-Lemon Summit

23 Aug

I met the ferociously fabulous Ms Lemon this balmy Friday after work, at the new Acme Cafe.  Located right beside the landmark store for slutty shoes—Model Express—the café happens to be central between my work and hers. If you’ve never been, Acme has that classic retro diner feel that fits in with the changing character of the area, elevating the neighborhood with its shiny, squeaky clean newness.

The menu is choc-full of updates on classic comfort foods like mac n’ cheese, meatloaf, and eggs benny—all the things we crave—and at fair prices too!  To my delight they had gluten free bread (YES!), so of course I had to have the ‘High-falutin’ Grilled Cheese’, something I haven’t been able to indulge in for a long time!  Dream with me here: cheddar, swiss, brie, and cranberry-Grand Marnier relish…Delish!

The only thing greater than the food was the company; animated, cheeky, full of expression—Dani Lemon is a bombshell and the archetype CherryVelvet gal.  Blogger, actress, singer, lawyer (with her own firm!)… She is the perfect example of a strong, independent woman. Passionate about helping small, savvy businesses reach their full potential, Ms Lemon specializes in “licensing, technology, Internet, e-commerce, media and communications law,” and has some major experience under her belt. As many a small business owner would agree, running your own business can be expensive and exhausting…but so rewarding when you can operate how YOU want to.  

“I want to take away all of the excuses small businesses have for not seeking legal advice when they should.”

 I think Danielle Lemon Law Group is onto a great thing. It’s a company filled with passion and, in true Lemon style, ‘Fresh Advice’.

 So what do two business owners turn to when the shop-talk is over? Why, dessert, dating and dresses, of course! (Ms Lemon has already put first dibs on our latest frock that hasn’t even hit the stores yet…the Barbara dress in the limited Black & White Polka dots)  We obviously saved room for pie—that carb-laden, sugar bomb of retro deliciousness! Two plates, two forks, one key lime slice, one lemon meringue…swirls of creamy, fruit filling. Puffy meringue, custard, flaky melt-in-your-mouth crust!

Heaven. It’s pie at Acme Café.

xox CherryVelvet

Fashion For The “Other” You?

11 Aug

I have a confession to make. I have an alter-ego. By day and during the week I am a sales agent for pretty plus-size fashion. My personal style varies from tights, tunics and Chuck Taylor’s to dresses, cardis and flats. I love dressing up and I love dressing down in jeans, t-shirts and boots. It’s all good and I’m lucky that I can dress for how I feel from day to day, no dress code for me. My alter-ego though, she’s a little more complicated. Her style icons are Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. She’s all big hair and false eyelashes. She wears cowboy boots with dresses and skirts and orders western shirts from Southern states on the internet. You see, my alter ego is a country/honky-tonk singer in an all male band. In a week or so I will be heading to a little town in a valley carved by the mighty Thompson River. This is true cowboy country. The people who live here are ranchers, farmers, hunters and fishers, artists and musicians. They are also some of the kindest and most welcoming folks I have ever met. This music festival is set in front of a backdrop of some of British Columbia’s most amazing scenery. The climate is semi-arid desert, hot and dry. What’s a girl to wear?

I’ll be leaving the wigs at home because there’s nothing warmer than a hair hat. False eyelashes, if I can get them on right. Cowboy boots? Maybe, but probably too hot. I’m thinking my Polka Party Cherry Velvet dress and bare feet. This vintage inspired dress just works for so many occasions! Do you have yours yet? What will your alter-ego be wearing this summer?

xoBarb

(aka Ms. BarbaraJane)

Summer time and the living is easy…

25 Jul

What is your idea of the perfect summer day? When you look back at your past life do you ever have the feeling that those special feelings of long, lazy summer days are gone forever? Sometimes it seems like we can only remember but not quite grasp that feeling. It’s hard to imagine how it would feel for me now, having the whole summer off to hang out at the lake or camp with my family or just running wild in the neighbourhood. Life has become more complicated and life is so full of responsibilities, work and duties that it feels like an impossible dream. As I grow older I realize it’s more important than ever to grant myself the peace and joy of a summer vacation, even if it’s just for a few days.

Here are a few things that I like to do to try and stay sane and recapture that endless summer feeling.

  • Get outside. I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible when the weather is good, especially those hot summer days when sitting in the shade, trying to catch a breeze, wearing a big floppy hat and reading a great book are the only things on the agenda.
  • Add water to the occasion. A brisk swim in the ocean or a lake is a summer necessity for me. Better yet if I can spend a long summer day sitting by a pool, lake or on my favourite beach. When it’s not possible to go to the water I have been known to stick my feet in a wading pool or run through a sprinkler. It’s all good.
  • Eat something juicy. I love summer fruit and living where we do we have access to so many amazing local fruits and vegetables it would be a shame not to indulge. Ripe, sweet cherries heavy with juice from the Okanagan, peaches, plums, watermelons, and berries all feel like summer to me. Fresh corn on the cob from the Fraser Valley takes me right back to my childhood when we would ride our bikes to the farmers house down the street and buy freshly picked corn from a table manned by the youngest of the farm folk. Could there be corn so sweet anywhere else in the world?
  • Share time and food with friends and family. Picnics, barbeques or cocktails and snacks on a restaurant patio are all great ways to wind down, relax and enjoy the warm weather and warm friendships.
  • Enjoy a refreshing cocktail or a yummy fruity drink. Whether you like to add alcohol or keep it “virgin” there’s nothing like a frosty glass of something icy cold on a hot summer day.
I know everybody has  different ideas and different realities to contend with, for example, I don’t have children so I can indulge in my own fun whenever I like but I reckon if I had kids it would be a blast to try to recreate some of my past summer joy for them.
What is your favourite summer memory?
What takes you right back to endless summer?
xoBarb