CountDown Events's blog

This Week's #FF Erica Lam of The Style Spy

Name: Erica Lam

Occupation(s): Editor-in-Chief of
Who is your role model: My mother.
What do you like most about your job: Being creative. Whether it’s brainstorming new story ideas with my managing editor Jan or thinking about ways we can work with brands , I have the freedom to try new things and experiment.
Daily ritual: I’m always checking my social feeds, including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and I sip on green tea with honey all day.
The most rewarding part of my job is: The readers. I always appreciate it when people say they read the site. Whether it’s today or six years ago, it’s still the same feeling and excitement. My team and I work so hard, so it’s always good to hear that people are fans and love it just as much as we do.
What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? Perseverance. I’m a big believer in working hard. Successful people don’t happen overnight. Work hard and keep driving, then you will be that much closer to reaching your goal.
Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: Interviewing David Beckham in LA. Yes, he really is that good looking. Vera Wang in New York. She’s very smart and a straight shooter. Wouldn’t expect anything less from a woman who’s built such an amazing empire.

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
Describe your personal style: Classic and understated.
Dream vacation spot? Bali.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? My friends.
What has been your favourite event to attend? I attended some pretty cool events at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this past March, I got to meet one of my favourite social media personalities Gary Vanyerchuk.
Favourite Restaurant: Guu. I love the laidback atmosphere and when the staff behind the bar greets you loudly in Japanese.
What is your biggest indulgence? Sour keys candies, they’re so addictive.

If there was more time in the day you would: Sleep or reflect on the day. I feel like we’re really over-stimulated with technology these days and we forget to take a quiet moment to sit back and reflect.
Favourite social network: Tough choice, but at the moment: Instagram.
Favourite Blog: I have so many favourites for different reasons: Gawker, Mashable, Who What Wear, Apartment Therapy, Springwise and Zen Habits to name a few.
Where do you go for good ideas? Blogs and Twitter are great sources of inspiration.
Last song you downloaded: Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia.
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Quitting my job many years ago to pursue The Style Spy. This was when blogging was in its infancy and many people didn’t even know what the term meant. I took a leap of faith cause I knew I found something I was passionate about. It’s always challenging, but that was my best decision ever.
What are you obsessed with right now? The app Draw Something. I’m not the best artist, but it’s still really fun and you get to be creative.

Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) I’ll be relocating to Montreal in June. It’s a big step for myself and Style Spy. We’ll continue to serve Vancouver as always, but this will give me a chance to build the readership out East. I can’t wait!

We’d like to thank Erica for being our #FF this week, and we wish you all the best when you move to Montreal. To connect with Erica be sure to check out their website at and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to view next week’s #FF.

This Week's #FF Anna and Kristina from the Shopping Bags

Name: Anna Wallner (AW) and Kristina Matisic (KM)

Occupation(s): AW: President and Executive Producer, Worldwide Bag Media Inc., Co-host of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag, A & K’s Beauty Call and The Shopping Bags, Author.
KM: CEO and Co-executive producer at Worldwide Bag Media Inc. Co-host of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag , A & K’s Beauty Call and The Shopping Bags, Author.

Who is your role model: AW: My mother. And Oprah Winfrey.

KM: My mother. She has worked so hard her whole life and has always stayed true to herself, her values and her principles.

What do you like most about your job: AW: I like making something out of nothing. That is what keeps me coming back for more.
KM: I like the variety, we’re doing something different almost every day. It’s not a nine to five desk job and I’m out meeting new people and doing new things. I also like working with a partner. It really helps to share the burden.

Daily ritual: AW: Newspapers and tea when I wake up. If I don’t have 20 minutes to myself for that, the whole day is off.
KM: A morning cup of coffee and (most nights) an evening glass of Chardonnay. The two pillars of my day!

The most rewarding part of my job is: AW: Having a viewer tell me I made them laugh or that one of our shows is set on their PVR! What a compliment!
KM: One of the most rewarding things is having people come up to us and tell us they really enjoy our programs. They say it helps them relax and unwind, plus often gives them a good chuckle. That’s great to hear. I’m also proud of being a small business owner and providing jobs.

What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? AW: I think our biggest strength is perseverance. The fastest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t.
KM: I don’t give up very easily. Being tenacious is a must. My ability to stay organized is also a great asset when wearing so many different hats on the job.
Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: AW: President Bill Clinton, having my picture taken with Tom Cruise (he’s not as short as you may think), a chance meeting with Jackson Browne and the after party with U2 in Las Vegas. But Oprah still eludes me!
KM: Anna and I met Bono once at a party and ended up having a long conversation with him about relationships and how difficult it can be to make marriage work. That was pretty surreal!
Favourite quote: AW: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
KM: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
Describe your personal style: AW: Eclectic. I find inspiration from my travels and both well known and emerging designers. I love discovering new fashion and my thirst for show stopping shoes seems impossible to satiate!
KM: I have a pretty classic style. I like clean lines and shapes, like a great pair of jeans, a well made blazer, a dress that hugs but doesn’t cling. I am loving this season’s vibrant colours but most of the time you’ll find me in neutrals. Stripes are usually about as bold as I get.
Dream vacation spot? AW: skiing the alps. I have traveled a lot and visited some amazing places – Burma is one of the coolest places I’ve been. I absolutely love to spend time in the mountains and Aspen is my favourite annual trip. But skiing the alps is at the top of my bucket list.
KM: Almost every summer I got to the small town of Baska on the island of Krk in Croatia. It used to be a small fishing village on the Adriatic, but now it’s become more of a tourist destination. My family has a 300 year old house there, right on the water Though I’ve been living in Canada for over 40 years, when I get to Baska, I feel like I’ve come home.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? AW: My friends around a dinner table after some wine and food has been had. Cherished memories!
KM: My dog! She’s got an incredible mop of hair which can often stick up in every direction. She cracks me up almost every single day. I’ve also developed a recent obsession with taking pictures of trees, especially flowering ones. Luckily here in Vancouver there’s an endless supply of breathtaking flora.

What has been your favourite event to attend? AW: The birth of my niece Isla is something I’ll remember forever. I have a fabulous photo of her little hand grabbing onto my finger. I also love weddings – especially when they’re out of town. Everyone’s happy and it’s usually a reason to play dress up, which I love to do!
KM: As someone who enjoys dining out a lot, I like to go to restaurant openings. I’m always looking for somewhere new to go.
Favourite Restaurant: AW: There are so many! Vij’s (Vancouver). Umberto di Trattoria (Whistler), Cloud Nine (Aspen, Co), Balthazar (NYC), The Polo Lounge (LA) and The Ivy (also in LA and always with Kristina over chardonnay lunch!)
KM: Oh so many! Vij’s, Le Crocodile and La Buca are three staples. But I also love Flying Pig and Bao Bei for their good food and fun atmosphere.
What is your biggest indulgence? AW: Shoes! And the best food ingredients I can possibly get my hands on.
KM: I’m a bit of a clothes horse, though I do have an excuse, I need lots of options for my work!
If there was more time in the day you would: AW: Sleep longer. Take my dog for longer walks. Spend more time over dinner.
KM: Exercise more. I work out about three times a week but if I had more time (and more energy) I’d try to bump that up to four of five times.
Favourite social network: AW: Twitter. I’m a news junkie.
KM: Facebook. I love its power to reconnect. I just recently got back in contact with a woman I worked with in Japan 20 years ago. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and now we’re catching up regularly.

Favourite Blog: AW: The Moment. If you like food, fashion and culture, you might like it too.
KM: Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Especially her “Go” travel articles that give tips on where to sleep, eat and shop in various locales.
Where do you go for good ideas? AW: Out into the world! I travel, go to restaurants, movies, listen to new music and talk to people from all walks of life.
KM: Magazines, newspaper articles, blogs, talking to friends, having conversations with the experts in your life like your doctor, grocer or waiter. Good ideas can come from anywhere.
Last song you downloaded: AW: First Train Home (Imogen Heap). The entire Ellipse album is amazing.
KM: Young the Giant’s self titled album. It’s a couple of years old now but I was only recently introduced to their music. Love “Apartment” and “St Walker.”
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? AK: There are so many it’s hard to narrow it down. But most recently? I got a german shepherd puppy. Anyone who has one knows what I’m talking about.
KM: Making a wedding cake for Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag was pretty challenging! Three days of work. Baking takes so much precision and patience, not two of my strongest virtues. In a bigger picture sense, staying in TV for almost two decades has been very challenging in and of itself. It’s a tough business, with a lot of ups and downs. Going through divorce is the most challenging personal thing I’ve experience.

Lola as a Puppy - Photographs provided by Anna and Kristina

What are you obsessed with right now? AW: The colour red.
KM: Morocco! We’re going there to shoot an episode of Grocery Bag in June and I’m really excited. It has always been on my list of must-see places. I can’t wait to explore the markets and eat the food. I hear the smells, colours and sounds are incredible.
Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) AW: We’re exploring our digital future and how we’ll exist in such a huge world of content with so much to choose from. We’re working on a new website and a new web series. Stay tuned!!
KM: We have two new shows this year. Buy.o.logic ( airs on OWN Canada. It’s an entertaining health show, think Shopping Bags meets Dr. Oz. And Get Stuffed ( a high octane travel adventure show is airing this summer on OLN.

Thank you Anna and Kristina for being our special guests on this week’s Friday Follow feature, if you would like to see more of Anna and Kristina connect with them on Twitter at @AnnaandKristina and to see more news on special guest #FFs follow us on Twitter at @CountDownEvents.

This Week's #FF Kelsey Dundon of The Anthology

Name: Kelsey Dundon
Occupation(s): Writer, copywriter and blogger at
Who is your role model: My dad. He’s a writer so he’s always supported my creative career and he’s always willing to be my proofreader -- I can’t even tell you how many 15-page essays he patiently waded through while I was doing my degree in English Literature. (Sorry about that, Pops!)
What do you like most about your job: The fact that it sure ain’t boring! I’m balancing so many things it makes me dizzy, but it definitely means each day is an adventure.
Daily ritual: Every morning I make an intense fruit and veggie smoothie. If I don’t start my day with one I go into kale and flaxseed withdrawal.
The most rewarding part of my job is: Sometimes I wish I went into medicine so I could answer this question with “Saving lives.” But in reality the most rewarding part of my job is getting fanmail from my mother. She’s a HUGE fan of my work.
What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? Aside from the ability to write? Being a people person.

Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: Miss America was an absolute sweetheart, even as she politely declined my request to try on her crown.
Favourite quote: “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Describe your personal style: Colourful! Literally and figuratively – I like to keep things interesting.
Dream vacation spot? All of them. I could really use some time away from my desk/computer/Blackberry so anywhere on this planet sounds great to me right about now.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? The desert. I just got back from California and the light at certain times of day makes me seem like I’m a photographer who knows what I’m doing. (Which I’m not.)
What has been your favourite event to attend? I’ve had a blast at every single event I’ve hosted.
Favourite Restaurant: When I can actually manage to get a table: Les Faux Bourgeois.

What is your biggest indulgence? Vintage clothes. I have so many they’re spilling out of my closet, which reminds me: it’s time for some spring closet-cleaning.
If there was more time in the day you would: Spend more time jogging through the forest with my puppy.
Favourite social network: I love pretty pictures so I’m addicted to Pinterest.
Favourite Blog: Designer Kelly Wearstler posts the most weird and wonderful photos on her blog My Vibe My Life. I totally dig it.
Where do you go for good ideas? For anything visual I turn to blogs because they’re an endless source of inspiration. For anything writing-related I pick up a good old-fashioned magazine because you can actually rely on people to use compete sentences.

Last song you downloaded: “I’ll Take Care of U” by Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX (I like it so much more than Drake and Rihanna’s version).
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Starting my own business was no picnic, but it paled in comparison to scaling a 1,200 foot cliff in the Rockies. Turns out reaching the summit doesn’t cure one’s fear of heights.
What are you obsessed with right now? My house! I am giving it a major makeover at the moment and all I want to do is troll home décor shops.

Photographs provided by Kelsey Dundon

We’d like to thank Kelsey for being our #FF this week, we really enjoyed getting to know her. If you like to learn about Kelsey visit her on her website at and follow her on twitter @TheAnthology. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to see who our next fabulous #FF will be.

Sunny Inspirations from CountDown Events!

The Month of May has arrived and this year Vancouver is not known for its sunny weather (yet)! Today we are working on a gorgeous colourful wedding that's just around the corner and so we thought it would be appropriate to share some of the goodness with all of our lovely fans and followers! Today's inspiration is the colour of sunshine ~YELLOW!

Enjoy. XOXO

We can hardly wait for the sun to come out and play this year, and we are SO excited to share our upcoming weddings with you. So be sure to stay tuned with us for the next sneak peek of our inspirations and join us on Pinterest, and our Facebook page. Don’t forget to always check back with us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to hear about our next exciting post.

This Week's #FF Ashley Child of Blush Bridal!

Name: Ashley Child

Occupation(s): Senior Bridal Consultant and Vera Wang Expert at Blush Bridal & Special Occasions

Who is your role model: My grandmother. She passed many years ago, but was easily one of the classiest and most elegant women I have ever known. I hope to be blessed with her grace, beauty, passion and humor.

What do you like most about your job: I love the fashion. Wedding gowns have always held magic for me. A wedding gown is arguably the most expensive and glamorous dress a woman will ever wear, and I am fascinated by what an incredibly important style statement that is for a woman.

Daily ritual: I like my sleep so mornings are pretty chill for me. And it’s all about enjoying a good cup of coffee. Getting dressed in the morning is arguably the most difficult part of my day because, while I have complete confidence in my skills dressing others, I feel horribly confused when it comes to dressing myself! Once I’m at work, it’s often a marathon of appointments, emails, phone calls, research and follow-up of all kinds. I steal every minute I can to stay on top of bridal fashion news and what’s happening with our designers. In the evenings, I work out- usually running 30-45 minutes on the elliptical. Then downtime is spent catching up with friends and family, and watching reruns of ‘Ally McBeal’ and the early seasons of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

The most rewarding part of my job is: Being part of such a special and exciting time in the lives of each of my brides. I love getting to know the bride and her friends and family, and I feel a great sense of honor to be included and trusted in helping her find the dress.

Photograph provided by Ashley Child

What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? I honestly feel that it’s my passion and knowledge of bridal fashion. Because I love the fashion and because the dresses hold such magic for me, I’m constantly reading about them- whether it’s the spec books for our designers or the latest bridal magazines. I bring this knowledge to my brides and it helps me relate to them- partially because I’m reading the same things they are as they shop for a dress, but also because it allows me to quickly reference and/or explore all options of what’s available to them. This ultimately helps me in finding them the right dress.

Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: I was most star-struck having nearly met designer, Amsale Aberra (creative director for the Amsale, Christos and Kenneth Pool collections). While attending bridal fashion week in New York City, I unexpectedly ended up in the same room as her. One of our reps said she’d introduce me at the end of our meeting, and I spent the next half hour with my heart beating out of my chest. Unfortunately Amsale left before our meeting was over and I never got the chance. But having loved her since seeing A343 on the cover of The Knot magazine in 2000, I was completely overwhelmed- even just being in the same room as her!

Favourite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Wayne Gretsky

Describe your personal style: I am undeniably eclectic in my personal style. For work I wear all-black, in which case I tend to gravitate to very clean and modern looks. Outside of work it’s hard for me to break away from black, arguing it’s “classic Audrey.” But I’m drawn to myriad of different looks: from the boho vintage-inspired looks at Anthropologie, to the bright and graphic prints at BCBG, to the relaxed and safari-inspired summer collection at Banana Republic.

Photograph provided by Ashley Child

Dream vacation spot? Paris is and always has been the dream. I’m drawn by the history and the most notably, the art. But I’ve become fascinated by the mix of classic romanticism and modernity. I’m also dying for a real, Parisian croissant!

What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? When given the opportunity, I love the challenge of photographing people. I think portraiture is such an amazing art form!

What has been your favourite event to attend? Attending bridal market (aka bridal fashion week) in New York City was a dream come true! For someone who grew up loving fashion, particularly bridal fashion, it was amazing to actually go to the runway shows and be among the very first to see the new collections. I’ll never forget it!

Favourite Restaurant: Here… it’s a tie between Rodney’s Oyster House in Yaletown and Bella Sushi in North Vancouver. Afar… it’s Alfredo’s in Rome (their pasta changed my life!!).

Photograph provided by Ashley Child

What is your biggest indulgence? Lee’s Doughnuts at the Granville Island Market. My top picks and long time faves are the Old Fashioned Plain and the Butter Crunch.

If there was more time in the day you would: I’d spend less time in front of the computer.

Favourite social network: Facebook.

Favourite Blog: Snippet & Ink – for daily wedding inspiration. They have the most incredible colour/inspiration boards! And Vera Unveiled – The Vera Wang Blog. It’s the world according to Vera, so what’s not to love?! But it also include my all time favorite category/feature anywhere: “Behind the Dress.” Here she posts her original sketch for a gown and then talks about her inspiration behind creating it, and ultimately what the finished result and how they created it. I live for this!!

Where do you go for good ideas? If and when I’m looking for creative inspiration, I turn to the places and things that inspire me most: Anthropologie, West Elm, Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, my personal collection of art books and fashion illustrations, the music on my iPod, and to my family and friends.

Photograph by Jasalyn Thorne Photography

Last song you downloaded: It’s rare for me, but I actually just downloaded two full albums: ‘Love is a Four Letter Word’ by Jason Mraz, and ‘How Do You Do’ by Mayer Hawthorne. Both albums are great!!
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? I think saying good bye to someone you care about, no matter the situation, is always the most challenging thing to do.

What are you obsessed with right now? My sunglasses- I wear them and will the sun to come out. And avocados! I want to add them to every meal!

Photograph by Jana Vackova Photography

We would like to thank Ashley for being our #FF this week. If you’d like see Ashley, you can visit her at Blush Bridal and we can’t wait to see her at the Vera Wang Trunk Show. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents as we bring you other fabulous #FFs every Friday.

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