VanDusen Gardens with Jake

Jake Sornsin is one of our Product Development Merchandisers at Classic Accessories.  He takes great responsibility in proposing and researching new product ideas to take into development.  Ultimately, it is a lot of research into category trends and popular items in the market that need to be protected. Jake has an eye for detail when defining the scope of  projects before kicking it over to the Design team to create the idea and move it forward in our development process. Hefollows the project through the development cycle with the Design Team, our Packaging Art Team, and the Quality Control Team. And ensure that our objectives for the item are coming at the correct price for the consumer. Jake took his love of the outdoors to beautiful Vancouver, BC and shares a fun “walk through the park” with us at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens last weekend.

While not as famous as the Butchart Gardens we found the trip equally as beautiful and much easier to access because there is no need for a ferry.

VanDusen is a former golf course converted into a botanical garden in 1970. The 55 acres was converted into one of the most diverse collections of plant life in the world. The highlights of the trip were as follows:

This is my girlfriend, Georgina, and I at a lily pond at the start of our day. This section of the park features plants from the Eastern United States. We are big fans of the lily pads. We waited around but didn’t see any frogs, maybe next time.

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I love totem poles because it’s such a creative, beautiful way to tell a story. The Gitksan people carved these totem poles. The one on the left tells the origin of the mosquitoes. The top is the chief of the blood-sucking mosquito people. Below him is the young woman who killed the Chief and saved her baby and husband (bottom). The pole on the right describes the origin of the Black Bear Crest of the Orca Clan. A man was transformed into a bear and lived among the bears (bottom, bear holding human face). When he returned to his people, a kind old healer helped him become human again (top, man holding the healer). The black bears remained friends with the man and would help him if he was in trouble, so he and his descendants took the bear as their crest. (I got this info from a plaque at the gardens).

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The Butchart Gardens may be more traditional and feature more of a cohesive story but at VanDusen it is all about putting as much variety into the space as possible. This section of the park was like walking in a dreamlike prairie. It feels like a visual overload but I loved it. We tried to take Christmas card pictures here but it started to rain and it distorted the pictures and not in a good way.

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This was my favorite tree at the park. It is a type of conifer found in Argentina and Chile called the Monkey Puzzle tree. These are its leaves, which are scale-like. The tree is incredible; it is considered a living fossil because they can live to be over 1300 years old! It got its name from one of the first Englishman who saw it who proclaimed that the tree would puzzle a monkey to climb. It is the national tree of Chile but is endangered because of loss of habitat, a rise in invasive species, and over harvesting of its seeds which are like larger pine nuts. Word of caution, these trees have very sharp leaves on them, great for pictures, not so kind to fingers!
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Georgina’s mom has those orange flowers (center) in a garden at home. In her garden they grow more like a bush on the ground. We saw some of those as well but thought that this one was much more interesting growing as a tree. The willow in the background makes for a great backdrop.

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This is a type of Japanese cedar. There is an section of them near a pretty pond full of lily pads.  I took this picture from just inside the leaves on one side and marveled at the intricacy of this tree.jake_7a

Here is an Elizabethan maze that is on the grounds taken from an observational terrace. Georgina’s mom went in ahead of us and we tried to go and scare her. She ended up getting out pretty quick and we were so busy trying to scare her that it took us a good 10 minutes to get out! This maze was no joke. Jake recommends visiting the Gardens any time of year! Plan your trip today to see the amazing Fall colors that are just around the corner! You’ll be glad you did.

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VanDusen Gardens with Jake

Brad’s – “One Happy Island” Trip

Brad Dorcik is our Associate Online Merchandiser in our E-Commerce department here at Classic Accessories and wears many hats. On any given day, Brad has his hands on our items’ full lists of content as it is fed to our retailer’s websites. Shopping online? Brad is the guy who makes that happen!  Brad focuses heavily on ensuring retailer sites have all available, up to date content whether that is images, video, text copy and/or fit guides. He ensures our retailers have everything they need to keep our products purchasable and reviews most websites for opportunities to showcase our products even better. Brad also assists fit matching our products to what our customers have in their homes. He is also the ear to many reviews (for the better or worse) and gathers what our customers say and helps generate those reviews into actionable steps for our teams here. Many, many hats that he wears so well. When he told us he was going on vacation, everyone here said “We  hope it’s a relaxing one!” And he did not disappoint. When asked where, he said without hesitation – Aruba!  The tropical island isn’t just a vacation spot, it’s a home away from home for Brad and his family.

Aruba –  ‘One Happy Island’

When mentioning a vacation spot like Aruba, the most frequently asked question is, “Where is Aruba!?”

The sunniest island in the Caribbean, Aruba is located below the hurricane belt approximately 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela. With an average of 82-degrees year round, Aruba provides cool, blond beaches, gentle surf, constant trade winds and warm, friendly people. These are just a few of the reasons why so many families return to Aruba year after year.

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Our family knew in an instant we wanted to make Aruba a big part of our lives. With numerous places of interest and activities, Aruba has something for everyone.


With the constant trade winds garnering Aruba as a world-class destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing, there is plenty more to see beneath the water. Recognized by Scuba Diving Magazine as one of the top wreck diving destinations in the Caribbean, Aruba offers a diverse selection of dive sites to satisfy any level of scuba diver.

Over the years our family has tried a bit of everything the island has to offer. Whether it is parasailing, tubing, jet skiing, horseback riding, plenty of volleyball, snorkeling and scuba diving, the fun doesn’t stop at the beach (especially when the crowd favorite is Happy Hour!)
One of many places of interest, to name a few, is Aruba’s Natural Pool. Also known as “conchi” or “Cura di Tortuga,” is a natural pool of water formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. The rugged terrain surrounding the pool only allows all-terrain, four-wheel vehicles. Or depending upon your mood can be a beautiful hike.
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Another favorite spot, frequented by locals and tourists alike, is Aruba’s Baby Beach. The water is so calm and shallow it’s safe for small children and anyone new to snorkeling. Water levels can reach waist high but deepens significantly towards the inlet. Marine life towards the inlet includes barracuda, squid, parrot fish, blowfish, angelfish, eels, and many other small fish.

Away from the ocean and covering approximately 18-20% of the island, Arikok National Park is an incredible nature preserve and is the largest national park in the Caribbean. The park includes 3 primary geological formations: the Aruban lava formation, a quartz diorite formation, and a limestone formation. The Natural Pool is located in the northeastern section of the park
A diverse culture and European influence shows in both the language and architecture. The local tongue, Papiamento, is derived from African and Portuguese with some influences from American Indian languages, English, Dutch and Spanish. A Sovereign State of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Dutch influence can still be seen from national holidays to the cuisine. With that said, there are now over 90 nationalities harboring the island. You can certainly taste the international diversity in Aruba’s cuisine!

If ever you find yourself on the island, highly recommend Madame Janette’s. The ‘Lobster Thermidor’ is oh so good! Not prepared as it once was but nevertheless good if you fancy lobster.

Brad’s family has called Aruba a ‘home away from home’ for over 10 years. No matter the gained knowledge, the constant wind can fool you with the true temperature. A lesson the island eventually teaches us visit to visit. So be sure to layer up with the sunscreen.

Nonetheless, we love Aruba! If you’re looking for this kind of vacation – don’t wait!

Photo Credits:
Aruba.com
Deborah @ Taste and Tell Blog
Tori @ Gustatori
Ann Angela
occidentalhotels.com
saraquiriconi.com

 

Brad’s – “One Happy Island” Trip

Inspired by our National Parks

We are celebrating our national park’s centennial this year with 20% OFF our Limited Edition RV collection, designed from the colors found in your favorite places to visit on the road!Yosemite_ColorSwatch
Our Silver Sage collection this year is made of our durable and light weight PermaPRO™ ripstop fabric that repels water and protects against dirt and sun damage backed by a limited lifetime warranty.USA_Antelope-Canyon

Our national parks tell distinctly American stories. Whether they inspire you to marvel at the grand vistas, travel along scenic waterways and winding paths, or visit historic buildings and homes, discovery and exploration awaits. There are 84 million acres of iconic, treasured and sacred places protected in America’s over 400 national parks – and it all belongs to us.
If you ask Go RVing what they say their favorite thing is: it’s to simply GO!
Go: with kids, comfortably, pet-friendly, whenever, affordably, leisurely, tailgating, off-roading, seasonally, biking, with ease, outdoor cooking, fishing and hunting, for snow, sight-seeing, city slicking or stargazing!
These beautiful parks are all around us, whether in a 31 footer or simply in your hybrid, a park to see and enjoy really is right in your neck of the woods! Check out where to find one FindYourPark.com and check out the stunning stamp series launched this year that reminds us how amazing America’s Outdoors really is!

We hope you’ll take part in celebrating this year and get outdoors with friends and family. Go see, experience and enjoy and end your trip with our Limited Edition RV Covers – inspired from our parks.

Photo Credits:
Red Rock Canyon – Linda | Las Vegas
Redwood Forest – Suitcases and Sunsets
Grand Canyon – Adventures by Disney s
Antelope Canyon Tourism
National Parks Services
Beautiful Washington | Barb White
Margaret Feinberg

Inspired by our National Parks

Boe’s Argentina Adventure

BoeBaty_PhotoMeet our other Senior Graphic Designer, Boe Baty in our Creative Service department. Boe’s many creative talents work on ads, packaging, image editing and art directs our photography and videography. When we need anything and everything graphic, Boe’s our go to guy! He brings fresh ideas and solutions to each collection we design for and works closely with our Business Development teams to carry our customer briefs through all touch points. When you see our beautiful lifestyles, Boe was behind the camera framing it out for the perfect shot.

So filed in the jealous department, I get to gush about the highlights of his latest adventure – his two week long trip to Argentina. [insert day dreaming music here] One of Boe’s interests when not designing is Wildlife Photography – primarily birds. So when he planned his vacation to Argentina, he knew just where he wanted to go:


The Iguazu Falls are one of the world’s largest waterfalls. They extend nearly 2 miles in a semi-circular shape. Of the 275 falls that collectively make up Iguazu Falls, “Devil’s Throat” is the tallest at over 263 ft high. The falls are on the border between Brazil and Argentina and are surrounded by two National Parks. Both are subtropical rainforests that are host to hundreds of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.

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After days of hiking through the mist and rainforest of the falls, Boe captured these amazing photos of birds and gave us a little write up about each one:

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1.  Chestnut-eared Aracari – a small breed of toucan. The Chestnut-eared Aracari is a frugivorous species, feeding on fruits from several plant species. However, it may also take flowers and nectar. It catches insects, and is known to hunt nestling birds and it takes eggs too. It preys on nests of some bird species, and may attack woodpeckers, driving them from their holes. These birds usually stay well away from the larger toucans, because a hierarchy by size is often established at food sources.
2.  Plush-crested Jay – The Plushed-crested Jay feeds primarily on small invertebrates, mainly insects, and fruits from several plant species. It regularly feeds on maize when available and other seeds during the winter. They are a communal breeder, and commonly 2-3 helpers take part in nesting duties and defense. The young remain within the family group for several months.

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3.  Violet-capped Woodnymph – The Violet-capped Woodnymph is a species of hummingbird. It is found in forest (primarily humid), dense woodland, and gardens in south-eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and far north-eastern Argentina
4.  Toco Toucan – This is the largest species of toucan with a total body length of around 21.5-25.5 inches. Toco toucans eat fruit, insects, frogs, small reptiles, eggs, and nestlings.

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5.  Smooth-billed Ani – The Smooth-billed Ani lives in small groups of one to five breeding pairs, and up to seventeen individuals. They defend a single territory and lay their eggs in one communal nest. All group members incubate the eggs and care for the young.
6.  Campo Flicker – Campo Flickers feed almost exclusively on the ground, walking or hopping along the ground in search of termites, ants and beetles. They sometimes forage in flocks. Campo Flickers have been known to hammer open the large mounds made by terrestrial termites to get at the insects within.

The photos of the falls were taken with his iPhone and the images of the birds were captured with his DSLR camera. Boe has quite the following on Instagram @boebaty_photography which is where he publishes gorgeous photos of the birds he sees on his trips to his everyday life. Click through to his account and give him a follow for more amazing images of birds through the eyes of our incredibly talented designer.

 

Boe’s Argentina Adventure

Road Trip!!!

One of the best things about Summer is the last minute decision to ditch the house and hit the road!

Summer Road trips are the best with long days that give way to warm winds at night. Even if you’ve planned each route, or just grabbed your keys and cooler and said “I’m outta here!”  We’d like to share 7 unique ideas from Jennifer Miller at BootnAll for your next trip down the road:

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Linked from: http://www.bootsnall.com

Road Trip!!!

DOGust

Dogust_RecentNewsHappy Dogust everybody! … wait what?

“Dogust” was founded July 29th, 2008 by the North Shore Animal League of America to acknowledge that the actual birth dates of most rescue dogs are unknown.  To give these wonderful animals their much deserved recognition, the Animal League will be declaring the first day of the eighth month (August 1) as DOGust the First, a universal birthday for shelter and rescue dogs everywhere. What a great way to celebrate man’s best-friend.

Here at Classic Accessories, we’re dog people! Whether your four-legged friend is your hunting companion or traveling partner we have the pieces with the features you and your dog need to make every trip memorable.

Celebrate with us with 20% off ALL of our pet items NOW through Sunday, August 3rd with coupon code: Dogust14

 

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