The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Justine Boulin

Justine is a photographer, runner, partner to her best friend Ryan, and a mom to baby Brayden. Living in Vancouver for the past 12 years, Justine found her calling taking photos. She started up B Life photography all while on mat leave and taking care of newborn baby. It’s something she’s extremely passionate about and has recently launched her website & business. If you’d like to check out her work (or have her do your families photos!)  have a look at her facebook page: B Life Photography  or her website.  She also does a photo a day project with her son that she chronicles on her blog – The B Life.

What characteristics define the Vancouver Housewife?

Busy. Likely working 9-5 or on their own business from home. Most families in Vancouver can’t afford Vancouver living without 2 incomes. Busy with the kids on the weekends – beaches, ski hills, Stanley Park, trails – there’s just so much to do for families in Vancouver. I doubt you’ll see many Vancouver ‘Housewives’ sipping martinis and clubbing until 2am on Saturday nights..unless of course you star in your own reality show. Or many giving up their careers to strictly be a stay at home money – and this might be out of necessity rather than choice since living in Vancouver is soooo expensive!

Are you a good representation of a Vancouver Housewife? Why?

In some ways yes… maybe more then I’d like to be. Haha.  I wear lululemon (mostly because it’s comfy and I used to work for the company so have a LOT) – and considering so do half of Vancouver ‘housewives’ I suppose I have the uniform! I’m out walking my baby in the Ergo carrier. I use as much clean & organic products as I can.  And on the weekends, as a family, we head out to parks, hike, and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer. And I’ve basically spent my entire maternity leave building up B Life Photography so I have an at home business while I’m raising our son – which I find a lot of ‘housewives’ are now doing in Vancouver.

In other ways I’m a terrible housewife. I’m awful at cleaning, I never have dinner ready when Ryan (partner) gets home, I’ve never thrown a dinner party nor had the energy to organize one. And the biggest reason I’m not so much a housewife is that I’m not a wife at all as we’re not married! This is something I’m actually finding more and more common these days.. we’re more likely to plan for our 2nd baby before we plan the wedding! We’re a family and that’s what’s important.

 Do you feel that living in Vancouver in some way defines who you are? Please explain.

For sure. Vancouver is a great city for kids with so many parks, beaches, sports programs, trails, restaurants, etc etc. We spend a lot of our time doing these things. All this stuff comes at a cost. And we sacrifice a lot of other things so we can upgrade from our apartment to be able to afford a house one day. And not one of the dumpy 1 million ones showcased on your weekly feature, but we’d love to be able to afford a townhome or smaller house one day. The fact that this will cost us a million dollars minimum – it may or may not happen. If by the time baby 2 comes and we’re not there, we’ll likely have to move out of the city – which is unfortunate. Saving for this and trying to make it work so we can stay living in this city and raise our family here means we aren’t going on fancy vacations, or having multiple cars, or wearing designer clothes..I think this is pretty realistic for most young vancouver families.. unless of course you got chosen to be on a reality show which really isn’t too realistic at all. So in that way – living in Vancouver definitely defines who I am.

Have you ever had cosmetic surgery, Botox, Restalyne injections, etc.? If so, please provide details. If you haven’t had any of the above procedures performed, would you consider it?

What’s Restalyne?? Haha. No I’ve never had any of those..

Other than your children (if applicable), what is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?

My son of course, although only a year is a probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. Other accomplishments just for me would include running multiple marathons (including New York & Boston) and getting B Life photography up and started. I’m very proud of that and photography is something I’m very passionate about.

Has the desire for affluence/power/money been a motivator in the choices you’ve made for your life?

Nope. I’ve left several career jobs that paid decent salaries & gave me the freedom to travel and such because they ended up making me miserable. Nothing was wrong with those careers, just not for me – I guess you can say I hadn’t found my ‘thing’ yet and money wasn’t something to sway me to stay.

Tell us about your stuff. What do you like to buy, collect, etc.?

I had to read this question twice to make sure I hadn’t misread it. Stuff?? I have a mountain buggy stroller that’s worth $800.. yet I wear old navy jeans. Does that count?
I honestly don’t have a lot of stuff. I don’t collect anything and I hate clutter so am constantly getting rid of things. I’m not a jewelry person, I don’t collect purses or expensive pairs of jeans.. I do like toms though – I have 6 pairs – 2 are in my size, and 4 are in toddler size ;). I guess I can say my camera equipment & software.. it’s not a cheap profession to be in by any means so it makes up for my lack of other ‘stuff’!

Do you have “staff” in your home? (E.g. nanny, driver, chef, etc.

I wish. Ryan says I like to boss him around.. but he rarely listens so if he was in fact my staff I would have fired him long ago. Kidding of course. Kind of…

Do you belong to any clubs, teams, groups or social organizations?

I belong to a few online photography forums but that’s about it. No country club memberships for this housewife.. it’s sad, isn’t it!

Finish this sentence: “My life’s motto is ….”

This one makes me laugh.. all I can think of is what the ‘housewives’ on the show say. My life’s motto is to get rich, get married 5 times, collect vast amounts of jewels, drink endless martinis, wear short skirts & heels until I’m 60, never tell my age, keep on with my botox, and to never let my dark roots show in my died beach blond hair..

Actually that’s a lie, I haven’t died my hair since 8th grade… and I prefer wine to martinis. The rest is true though.

Ok…in all seriousness – my life’s motto is to believe in yourself above all others. Find your passion & stick with it.. don’t stop trying to search for that if you’re unhappy with your life, job, career – don’t give in to the daily ‘grind’ of get up, work, go to bed , etc if that makes you miserable. Find what you love, who you love and where you love being – make it all happen together.

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As a special thank you for participating, Justine will be receiving a special gift from Keeley Saunders of Mary Kay Cosmetics.  “After moving back to Canada from living overseas for seven years. My husband and I find ourselves pregnant and welcoming opportunities in our new city, Vancouver.  Mary Kay to my life in May of 2010. Through Mary Kay I help women to discover their inner and outer beauty. Through our amazing skin care and make up I am able to teach women how to take care of themselves and help with fun easy make up looks. I also teach smoky eye clinics and foundation matching.”

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4 Comments

  1. I got a “judge-ey” vibe from this. Like being a mother/housewife means you can’t go out and have a cocktail on occasion. Or that if you wear heels and a miniskirt you’re some vapid, fame-hungry gold-digger. I’m a mom to 2 beautiful girls. I wear workout clothes to and from the gym only. Skinny jeans and a pretty top are just as comfortable. I like to wear stilettos. I meet up with other moms occasionally and we drink martinis. I work part-time, my husband looks after the kids when I’m not at home. I try my best to live a balanced life. Is my life better? Is a yoga pant wearing, zucchini muffin making mom’s life better. No, just different. We should just stop with the judgements.

    • Hmmm…I didn’t find this submission judgey. I do agree with you about cocktail time, though…this mama loves dressing up and hitting the town once in a while! We have to remember we’re not just moms and treat ourselves to a break every so often!

      • I appreciate your reply. I think sometimes I feel as if I need to conform to an ideal. Around these parts that ideal or stereotype(?) is that of the lulu wearing mom. Perhaps I over reacted a touch. Glad to hear that my friends and I aren’t the only ones who enjoy a night out sans enfants and avec cocktails!

    • sorry you felt it was judgy. I assure you it wasn’t. And I also assure you I like to get dressed up and go out for drinks too! although, like I said I prefer wine to martinis ;). And I would LOVE to wear more stilettos and skinny jeans.. those opportunities just aren’t presenting themselves often these days and I much prefer the comfy clothes while at home with my 1 year old.
      This was my perspective of a ‘housewife’.. and there are many many more just as great ones! :).
      ps – I can’t remember the last time I baked muffins (or anything!) or went to yoga (I like the clothes.. not the yoga type!)
      cheers to you.

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