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Fred UnLEEshed: Aug. 22, 2017

LUSH LIFE : While retail stores have come and gone on trendy Robson Street, Lush Cosmetics has been a fixture on the tony strip for 20 years.

LUSH LIFE: While retail stores have come and gone on trendy Robson Street, Lush Cosmetics has been a fixture on the tony strip for 20 years. Best known for their handmade bath bombs and all-natural facial and hair care products, the firm’s flagship store closed at the beginning of the year to undergo an extensive expansion. Nearly nine months later, the shop — one of 259 stores in North America — is set to open this week, bigger, brighter and even more eco-friendly. Philanthropists at heart, the firm has been deeply involved with the community in Vancouver and its surroundings since the business was first established in 1996. Through dedicated charitable giving programs, Lush has donated over $2.8 million to 219 grassroots organizations in B.C. VIPs, media and friends got an exclusive sneak peak of the renovations prior to the Aug. 24 grand opening. This year alone, the locally owned company expects to make 20 million bath bombs. The introduction of its soon-to-be-released Jelly Bombs, made from mineral enriched seaweed, is expected to bolster production further.

SCIENCE EXPERIEMENT: The trend of charitable long table dinners has gained popularity over the years. Not only are they Instagram-worthy, they’ve proven to be a great vehicle to showcase our local bounty, spectacular spaces and culinary talents. Science World is the latest organization to get in on the summer-dining pastime. In partnership with the Dirty Apron Cooking School, the downtown attraction presented Alfresco, an intimate culinary experience, created by chef David Robertson and his team from the cooking academy. The outdoor dinner also featured three members from Robertson’s kids cooking camp — Marcus Teoli, Malia Bulat and Sasha Meshcherekova. The budding chefs were front and centre, along with CEO Scott Sampson, welcoming guests. Taking in the million dollar False Creek views, attendees enjoyed an unforgettable five-course family-style dinner from Science World’s stunning green roof terrace. Proceeds of $20,000 from the debut culinary-do will benefit Science World’s Super Science Club, an after-school science club that aims to get inner city youth in grades 1 to 7 excited about science and technology.

DINNER FOR DAMES: A society of successful professional women determined to give back, the B.C. Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier recently presented Summerdine, their annual summer soiree. Held across the province, the fundraiser saw 30-plus venues — restaurants, wineries, cooking schools and culinary venues — donate one table for the concurrent $79 per person dinner party. Charity tables at Kissa Tanto, Chambar, CinCin and other fine rooms in the city were quickly snapped up. Twenty seats on the sky deck of a luxury yacht hosted by Pacific Yacht Charters and catered by their executive chef Mardy Ra was another coveted reservation. Before festivities began, all 258 seats were fully committed, helping net the charity more than $20,000. Dining for a cause, funds raised will go towards scholarships for women looking to enter the culinary and hospitality profession.

FULL BLOOM: Ballet BC, in partnership with the Social Concierge, reprised their summer event Babylon for a second year. The contemporary dance company performed a short al fresco program at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The cultural space was transformed by some of the city’s top florists into an indoor outdoor floral paradise inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. One of the most Instagrammed vignettes belonged to Ayame Villarroel. Much demand for her custom-cut flower walls, the DIYer’s Blooms and Paper business is literally blooming. “I was planning my daughter’s first birthday party and I was looking for a flower wall backdrop,” she said. “I didn’t find what I was looking for so I decided to make the flower wall myself.” Soon after the party, the requests flooded in, and within the year, Villarroel’s beautiful paper backdrops have taken the city’s social scene by storm. To meet demand, Villarroel left her full-time banking position to focus on her budding business.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20 a.m. on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM; email: [email protected]; Twitter: @FredAboutTown.