Here comes the sun and with it, a new 'Girl in Focus'. This season's 'Girl' is Cindy Yu, the founder of The Vancouverite, an online destination for lifestyle and wellness with over 18,250 followers on Instagram! Cindy has spent the last twenty years working with some of the largest corporations in real estate, healthcare and software. Besides her busy life in the corporate world and with The Vancouverite, she is also co-founder of Joue Design (a textile design firm), a new contributing writer to HLM Magazine and a mother of two. She covers a number of lifestyle topics from fashion and design to food and travel - and most recently, wellness. She writes from wherever she is travelling, including Paris where she was at Fashion Week covering the shows for The Vancouverite. Cindy has lived in Vancouver her entire life and shares her life with her boyfriend and two boys, traveling frequently, cooking, drinking wine and entertaining friends.
CeeCee: Hi Cindy, welcome to the Coquitlam Centre family! Let's get started. What's your day job?
Cindy: I’m a communications executive at a very large software company.
CeeCee: What's the best part of your job?
Cindy: I work with great, high performing people all over the world from diverse backgrounds.
CeeCee: What's your biggest strength?
Cindy: Being able to build relationships with people, regardless of their background or level in an organization.
CeeCee: Software...not exactly fashion. So what made you decide to start a lifestyle blog?
Cindy: It started back in 2014 when I was attending the shows at Paris Fashion Week and one of my girlfriends convinced me to write about the shows from a Vancouverite’s perspective. It was initially a reluctant decision as writing is what I do as part of my day job in communications but I grew to love it. And today I write about a number of topics I’m passionate about, including travel and wellness.
CeeCee: I'm glad your friend convinced you! What are your goals for 2017?
Cindy: My biggest goal for 2017 is to write more about the topic of wellness – particularly work-life balance. This is something so many of us are constantly striving to find and it’s an unending journey.
CeeCee: Definitely something I struggle with. What are your hopes for your blog?
Cindy: I’m hoping that my readers will find inspiration and commonality in the stories that I write about (especially around the daily struggling of balancing work and life).
CeeCee: What's your next big life goal?
Cindy: Wow this is a tough one to answer. But along the lines of striving for work-life balance, I was juggling too many things in my life and I made the decision to leave one of my businesses (Joue Design) this year. It’s a difficult thing to admit to doing too much – I think so many of us are overachievers and in doing so, we sometimes burn out and/or do things only half-heartedly because there’s only so many hours in the day. And for a perfectionist like me, I’m very hard on myself. If I’m not giving 100% I need to ask myself why and whether it’s something I should continue to be doing. I feel like deciding to leave Joue was a watershed moment for me and perhaps I’m now entering this next phase of my big life goal, which is to begin to de-stress.
CeeCee: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Cindy: Hopefully already starting to decorate my dream home in Whistler. I haven’t found it yet – nor can I afford it yet, but it’s my goal. I hope to continue de-stressing and build a life in Whistler – one of my favourite places on the planet.
CeeCee: How would you describe your style?
Cindy: It’s pretty eclectic. It entirely depends on my mood; but I love well made, tailored clothing with incredible detailing. And once in a while, I love a pop of colour – and a great stiletto.
CeeCee: Who are your style icons?
Cindy: Olivia Palmero and Mary Seng (a blogger).
CeeCee: I'm also a fan of OP. What's your must-have item this season?
Cindy: A chambray, off-the-shoulder blouse with bell sleeves.
CeeCee: Total must have - it's all about the sleeves! Who are your favourite retailers at Coquitlam Centre?
Cindy: H&M, Hudson's Bay and Town Shoes.
CeeCee: Go-to accessories?
Cindy: A bag with a pop of colour and a great pair of stilettos.
CeeCee: Girl after my own heart. What would you never wear?
Cindy: The whole pajama trend, and wearing bras outside of t-shirts.
CeeCee: I'm with you on that. What's the best fashion secret you've learned?
Cindy: Understand your silhouette, know what looks good on you, stick with those staples and accessorize on top to stay on trend.
CeeCee: Very good advice. If you could only wear one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cindy: If I had no nerves in my feet, stilettos. I have this thing about my height - never feeling like I'm tall enough.
CeeCee: Haha, I also love a good stiletto but sadly, my feet don't love them. Ok, what are your top tips for instant style or tricks for making any outfit look stylish?
Cindy: You can rock any look by adding a great pair of heels. Seriously. I’ve worn joggers, a white tee, and a blazer with heels to an event. And I’ve never felt more comfortable.
CeeCee: I agree, heels instantly elevate any outfit. What are your favourite beauty products?
Cindy: A great moisturizer. I'm currently using Belief's The Truth Cream Moisturizing Bomb.
CeeCee: Never underestimate the importance of moisturizer. What's your trick for getting out the door fast and still looking great.
Cindy: Concealer, a soft brush of bronzer on the cheeks and lip balm.
CeeCee: What product is your go-to skin saviour?
Cindy: Any of the face masks by The Face Shop. They're cheap and work so well after a long day!
CeeCee: You have beautiful skin so I'll have to give one of those a try. Signature scent?
Cindy: Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey fragrance, layered over her Grapefruit Body Oil.
CeeCee: What's your favourite movie?
Cindy: Love Actually.
CeeCee: Aww one of my favourites too. It isn't Christmas until I watch Love Actually. What's your ideal night out?
Cindy: Enjoying a custom cocktail at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge made for me by head bartender Grant Sceney, and then dancing all night long to live music with friends.
CeeCee: What song gets you up on your feet?
Cindy: Oh a few! Music plays a huge part in my life! "This Girl" by Kungs, "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran, "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay.
CeeCee: What do you never leave home without?
Cindy: My iPhone.
CeeCee: Favourite Vancouver outing?
Cindy: Hiking in Lynn Canyon then beers on a patio somewhere.
CeeCee: Hiking and beer, so Vancouver haha. What are the 3 things in you bag you can't travel without?
Cindy: Gravol (I get motion sickness when I fly), my iPhone and moisturizer.
CeeCee: What country have you always wanted to visit?
Cindy: Iceland for it's rugged, natural beauty.
CeeCee: Wow, that wasn't what I expected. What's the most important thing you've learned about yourself travelling?
Cindy: I like variety. While I like beaches, they bore me very quickly. I'm a city girl or a mountain girl.
CeeCee: What's the most important thing you've learned while travelling?
Cindy: I live a very sheltered life here in Vancouver. To say I’m fortunate to live here is a gross understatement.
CeeCee: Nothing makes you appreciate home like being away from it. Speaking of amazing Vancouver, what is your favourite food?
Cindy: Oh my gosh. Just one? Then it’s Japanese – in all forms. Sushi, izakaya, ramen…
CeeCee: Least favourite food?
Cindy: Indian, although I'm starting to appreciate more curries!
CeeCee: Favourite dessert?
Cindy: Crème brulée.
CeeCee: Favourite restaurant?
Cindy: I live in Vancouver! That's an impossible question to answer! Asian - Torafuku, Fine Dining - Hawksworth and L'Abbatoir, Casual - Au Comptoir.
CeeCee: Favourite way to exercise?
Cindy: Going for a long hike.
CeeCee: Best way to decompress?
Cindy: Taking a bath.
CeeCee: What's your guilty pleasure?
Cindy: Watching Friends re-runs or any movie by Nancy Meyers.
CeeCee: Haha, I just recently started re-watching Friends on Netflix. I can't get over how young they all look - plus that 90s fashion!! What's your secret talent?
Cindy: I was a concert pianist when I was younger and taught piano for 10 years to put myself through university.
CeeCee: What do you love most about Vancouver?
Cindy: The geographic beauty, the climate and the food.
CeeCee: Yes, we are pretty spoiled here! What's the most important thing you've learned about yourself being a mom?
Cindy: I had no idea I could love another human so unconditionally.
CeeCee: What's the most important thing you've learned from your boys?
CeeCee: What advice would you give other working moms?
Cindy: Always, always take time out for yourself. Even if it’s 20 minutes to sit in a bathtub. No point in being a superhero if you’re mentally and emotionally exhausted all the time. I learned the hard way.
CeeCee: Very good advice! Well, thanks so much for sitting down with me. We're so excited to work with you this summer!