This month of May, the cocktail brains and taste buds of OPUS Bar have created a drink that traps Mad Men’s Don Draper and Roger Sterling into a tumbler. The suited men swim around a colossal cube of ice, soaked with the hard bite of rye, perfumed with the smoky musk of cigars, and sticky with the zest of an orange.
The Cohiba Old Fashioned, made with Calvados infused with Cohiba cigars, is a refreshing splash of amber which will warm your body as the cool spring air descends on bare skin.
Hold it in your mouth to savour the rich flavours before swallowing. The aftertaste will keep flirting with the back of your throat until it compels you to take another sip.
~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider
La Pentola’s Whole Roasted Branzino
Winter leaves us hollow and empty, and craving something warm and rich to fill the void. In contrast, after a hot summer’s day, our bodies bursting and beaming with sunlight, all we can imagine eating is the lightest possible fare.
On such a blazing day, a month before summer’s official debut, I sat in La Pentola at OPUS Hotel waiting with mouth watering for chef and co-owner Lucais Syme to present me with a succulent Northern Italian dish, the Whole Roasted Branzino, only available at the restaurant between Wednesday and Sunday.
Swimming in a pool of herbs, tomatoes, and lemon, the presentation of the flavourful white fish will cause conversation to pause as mouths slowly drop open and taste buds secrete. The tender meat slips off bones and deliciously moistens the mouth with its juices. Intersperse heavenly mouthfuls with a refreshing sip of white wine - we suggest the Suavia Soave Classico or Vietti Roero Arneis.
Eat slowly and lingeringly to appreciate the sensations, and bustling Yaletown will quickly be replaced by the breezy Mediterranean with each bite consumed.
~ Sandra O’Connell
Mad for PARTYSKIRTS
If there’s one thing girls like to do, something that has stayed with us throughout the decades, it’s twirling. Seriously. From lush, green meadows to clothes-strewn bedrooms to resplendent ballrooms to gritty street corners, we spin to feel the wind whoosh through our hair and fingers, to blur the world around us into a dream-like state with a smile plastered on our faces.
But twirling is not truly twirling without the appropriate miniskirt swirling out around us - capturing the breeze under the hem and thrilling wandering eyes with a glimpse of flesh.
PARTYSKIRTS by Skot Apparel, the latest fashion fever out of Vancouver, are made to be twirled. The brilliant silk skirts designed by stylish and business-minded sisters Lauren and Mariel Armstrong are the most desired party companion in the city (and soon to be many more cities). Flirtatious, eye-catching, and, most importantly, fun, the skirts meet exploring and desirous attention from men and women alike, and make every night something to celebrate.
Meet Lauren and Mariel…
What kind of woman wears a PartySkirt?
Every woman! We love to see a PARTYSKIRT on a girl with a t-shirt, jean jacket, and flats and a lady length on a girl with a fitted blazer and heels. One skirt, one million ways!
What’s been the most exciting moment since starting your company?
We have two moments - hosting our own PARTYSKIRTS party at Blubird for our spring launch. AND our Teen Vogue online feature - it has been a whirlwind ever since!!!
Do you have plans to expand to retailers in the US?
Absolutely! Stay tuned to hear about our PARTYSKIRTS events we are planning in the US, hopefully for Fall 2013.
Lauren: Magenta (there is something about pink that makes you feel fabulous!)
Mariel: Poppy red (it is girly and stands out!)
What fashion icons inspire you?
Lauren: I love the 1960’s and Hitchcock movies for fashion inspiration. Grace Kelly has always been my favourite.
Mariel: I am inspired by street style. And I don’t believe in fashion rules, I always make my own.
Get your own pretty PartySkirt online here and give it a spin at OPUS Bar.
~ Sandra O’Connell
Big hearts at the CampOUT gala
Beauty is not only found in art, fashion, nature and faces, and it’s not about facades, textures, and surfaces. Beauty lives inside people, exposed by a simple action or expression of love. And nothing is more beautiful than the act of giving.
Last week, inside the airy downtown residence of John Evans, co-owner of OPUS Hotel, dozens gathered to raise funds for CampOUT, a summer program supported by UBC that encourages queer, trans and allied youth to be themselves, develop leadership skills, build self-esteem, and embrace diversity.
With the walls bulging from our expanded hearts, we listened to the sincere words of John Evans, Louise Cowan, VP Student Services UBC, Fred Lee, Reiko Mackenzie, and Kasondra Cohen-Herrendorf and John James Wilson, representing Face of Today. Everyone expressed what the charity means to them, stressing the importance of the program and touching our hearts with warmth.
While nibbling on savoury treats from C Restaurant and drinking wine provided by Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Wineries, the crowd showed their generosity by sponsoring multiple campers and bidding on an enticing array of silent auction items. As the moon shone and the sun set, and the sweeping view became more radiant, people exchanged stories and memories of camp and acknowledged their proud association with the cause.
When the evening ended, everyone left with the captivating look of inspiration in their eyes.
Find out more about CampOUT.
Images by Joshua McVeity
~ Sandra O’Connell
Upon the vivacious walls of our OPUS rooms hang a collection of artwork that have as much personality as our lifestyle muses. They make one stop to stare, provoke an emotion, and reflect the creativity we so adamantly encourage. OPUS is proud to have these prolific Vancouver artists featured in our rooms.
Every generation has its pop icons and we all have nostalgic references that awaken memories so vivid they may still live. Michael Miller’s youth spent absorbed in video games is evident in his ‘The Nintendo Generation’ series, which depicts characters of that era in all their animated glory.
Tiko Kerr’s vibrant colours and electric, yet somewhat contorted images were created as a reaction to government cuts to the arts. The luminous cityscape paintings from his Lush Life series are a peephole into his immense imagination and creative breadth.
At first glance, one may be offended by the guns used as imagery in Mark Mizgala’s art, but if you stand still and stare a little bit longer, it’s apparent that the guns are, in fact, broken water pistols. The iconographic paintings appear ironic and childlike, yet portray another message under the surface layers of perception for each individual viewer to decipher.
With his series of urban shopping carts, Taizo Yamamoto forces us to acknowledge an often ignored object present in all cities. The images are a study in street anthropology, portraying homes and possessions packed into metal cages on wheels.
Alana Rothstein’s pulsating images of sensual colours and provocative scenes are a glimpse into another person’s life. Her art is an expression of a memorable moment in time captured in its most brilliant light. We are honoured to have her contribute to our ART + IDENTITY + TRAVEL package.
- Sandra O’Connell
Whether going by Prince, the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, or simply a seductively cryptic symbol, the musician’s name carries an opulent weight. The mere uttering of his title can chime off a series of arousing notes into the air. He’s an icon of several generations, his songs relevant to consecutive decades of ears.
Prince’s music is attached such cataclysmic moments as a young Julia Roberts singing in a tub of decadent bubbles in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, while a young (yet still grey) Richard Gere looks on with amusement; 1999 when his eponymous song suddenly rose to popularity again 17 years after it was released; and that warning label every teenager tries to hide from their parents that states “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics”, which was birthed after the words in Darling Nikki made a certain politician with children squirm.
The legendary musician just finished a Vancouver tour where he turned crowds delirious at The Vogue Theatre for a staggering four shows.
If you missed it… or just can’t get enough Prince… here are some of our favourite Prince numbers…
In some (most) situations, this tune is an unspoken cue to take off your clothes.
View video here
Not only does the video give us a satirical glimpse to 1992, but the song has the power to turn any situation into a dance floor.
View video here
Rock and pop icons, Lenny Kravitz and Prince, merge to curl the toes of an anonymous American Woman at Rave Un2 the Year 2000.
View video here
- Sandra O’Connell