Call of the wild

Connecting with nature's elements at Vandusen gardens.

[Folding table ($80), turkey feathers ($10 each), and etched glass vase ($15) are all available at the Cross (1198 homer street, 604-689-2900,]

Karen Khunkhun
Cohost of the Todd and Karen Show on the Fox
Karen Khunkhun may be in radio, but fans know her face from her days on Citytv. She started in broadcast six years ago with Larry and Willy doing the traffic reports and now finds herself back on the Fox, currently cohosting the afternoon show with Todd Hancock. A life in rock radio means she spends most of her time checking out live bands. "Lots of unknown ones and known ones," she says. "Right now, especially in Vancouver, the whole music scene is changing so much. When I first started, there wasn't much of a scene. Now there're so many bands and types of music, it makes the job exciting." Her work blends well with her summer pastimes: "I love having people over, and it's always the drinks before going to a show. That would be my calling if I weren't a broadcaster: summer drinks with garnishes–and it's all about the garnishes. My friends are great, because even if the drink sucks they say they love it." Her reconnect with the elements comes via the seawall. "That is definitely my way to connect to nature. I live right by the city and right by the water."

Folding table ($80), branch coral ($55), Indian purpura porcelain tea light ($30), and starfish porcelain tea light ($40) are all available at the Cross.

Tasha Chiu
Live Eye host, Breakfast Television
Tasha Chiu will never say her job is repetitive. She spends her workdays on a multitude of locations doing everything from flying around the Cirque du Soleil tent to riding motorcycles. She is the Live Eye host on Citytv's Breakfast Television. Recently extended from three to four hours, Chiu's job is to know what goes on in Vancouver. But with every possible event filed in her notes, she still chooses to escape come summertime. "My family has a cabin on Gambier Island, and I don't get there as much as I used to but I try to get there once every summer. It's so peaceful just to hear the water trickle against the rocks. The smell of citronella candles, your burger tastes better, and just sitting out there you want to sit as long as you can because you don't hear anything. No cars, nothing." In the city, escape comes via outdoor eats and deck picnics. "One thing I try to do in the summer is eat outside on the deck. There is something about eating outside that has a novelty to it. It's special because you can't do it all the time, and I love barbecue. If I could barbecue every day, I would."

[Organic wood basket ($110), wood ball ($35), and stoneware mushrooms ($20 each) are all available at the Cross.]

Jessie Farrell
Country singer
Jessie Farrell first set foot to stage and mouth to microphone at six when she participated in a local singing competition. Influenced by performers like Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, and Lucinda Williams, Farrell has made the trek from recording independently to a deal with 604records and Universal Music. And her first single "Let's Talk About Love" just hit the Top 10 list on the country-music charts. Part of the whirlwind includes re-recording vocals tracks with producer Garth Fundis in Nashville (think Emmylou Harris and Trisha Yearwood) with her album Nothing Fancy set to release this September. In her precious down days, Farrell does find summertime inspiration. "Picnic food becomes a staple as soon as the sun comes out: potato salad, corn on the cob, barbecue chicken...lots of cold beer, and sometimes we have Prosecco," Farrell says. Reconnecting with nature come the summer months is simple. "Right now I'm experiencing a real heightened awareness and connection with the Canadian landscape. I saw a moose swimming the other day, longhorn sheep, I've seen cougars, elk, bears, deer, tons of geese and birds," she enthuses.

[Folding table ($80), three-tier pedestal ($79), Josephine candles ($40 each), Mimosa Martini candle ($40), and Mimosa Martina candles ($23 each, small size) are all available at the Cross.]

Alexis Fletcher
Dancer with Ballet B.C.
Alexis Fletcher realized at 14 that dance was what her life was supposed to be about. After finishing high school in Comox, she attended the Arts Umbrella Graduate program in dance where she received two years of professional training. The youth company attached to the Arts Umbrella afforded Fletcher the opportunity to train with established choreographers. The payoff came quickly when she was snapped up by Ballet B.C. her graduating year. "It's been an amazing road for me, and my first two years [at Ballet BC] have been incredible and I just signed my third contract. There are a lot of good dancers and not many jobs, so I feel very graced to get such an amazing job so young. It's the kind of company that gives young dancers lots of opportunity." In her down time, her reconnect with nature comes thanks to the city's beaches. "The beach is a big one for me. Being close to the water and mountains is important for me, so during our summer months I do a lot of walking. The most important part of being on the West Coast for me is the ocean. It's very connected to my creativity and my spirituality."