Thoughts on Burlesque

As you N&Kers know, both K&I are taking burlesque classes through Vancouver Burlesque Company. In fact, 2 each this term!
So, this will be K’s 2nd & 3rd performances. And my 3rd & 4th performances.

Instagramming our way through chair burlesque

When I first started burlesque, I was shy about telling people.

I thought I would be judged for the type of dance, or that I would dare to do it because I don’t have a dancer’s body. And culturally speaking, I was taught to be modest. Prancing around in your undergarments is not modest. I’m also too old to take on something like burlesque! And lastly, there are only a handful of visible minorities in burlesque. I definitely felt out-of-place. This translated into me being shy about talking about it.

Holy batman! All these internal battles!

Rectifying internal battles

Type of dance: I try to educate people on the burly history. It’s not just about shaking your tail feathers. This is another way to express how you’re processing society’s zeitgeist. Don’t believe me? Then look at all the sub-genres: nerdlesque, contemporary, chair, etc.

Dancer’s body: Burlesque initially came out because poor folks poked fun at the richie-rich operas/shows. With burlesque, essentially, anything goes. Different bodies, shapes, colours, abilities… it is about you telling your story. How are you interacting with the audience?

Too old: Yes, I’m older than my instructors and classmates. But, the only person who has made me feel ‘too old’ is me. Last showcase, there was a 60+-year-old woman who did a saucy chair solo. She was fantastic!

Modesty: This term means to act demure, and can include dressing in a non-sexually aggressive manner. Is it a vehicle of oppression? Perhaps it is to be deliciously explored in future burlesque?

When you are on stage, you are taking on a persona that’s bigger-than.

Maybe you’re klutzy? Super comedic? Have the ability to sensually slither along the stage? Have long legs? Expressive face? Love performing in drag?

Now…

… I talk about being in burlesque all the time. I’m excited that I can be part of it! I’ve got access with Vancouver Burlesque Company. (Screaming Chicken, K&I are coming for you, soon!) It’s affordable both financially and timewise.

The benefits

I’m engaging in self-care. I’m getting fitter and honing in on different fitness goals. I get to dress up, make costumes, have fun, learn to move, meet new people, dance with Kells, listen to music, feel inspired, feel empowered, feel confident, have a creative outlet and be around positivity.

I’ve learned that I’m not as klutzy as I thought I was. I’ve got a bit of rhythm. I’ve learned that I can jellybean, plank off of a chair, go from a standing position to the floor then do an inchworm push up in heels… all in rhythm to music!

Stage Presence

Performing on stage isn’t for everyone. With VBC, you can actually just take the class without doing the final show. And, last Fall when I took my first class, I didn’t plan on performing. But by the end, I thought: why the frig not?

Being on stage is simply exhilarating. Hearing the audience cheer and whistle. Feeling those positive vibes. Performers excited and buzzing with adrenaline. It is a fabulous feeling!

So, if you are remotely interested in this genre, K&I encourage you to take a class with VBC (or SC). Or in the very least, come and check us out. Tickets available online here.

Morphe Me

Last week, we talked about taking off to Leavenworth, WA on our last Girl’s Weekend Getaway in February. We stayed at Leavenworth Village Inn (review is here).

Whispers of Morphe

On our way to Leavenworth, we stopped off for road trip snacks at Target in Bellis Fair. We kept seeing ads for the new Morphe eyeshadow palettes.

Kells & I love makeup, and are pretty well-versed on brands. But we hadn’t heard of Morphe. And we were defo intrigued. Then Nals spotted one of the cashiers sporting mesmerizing coral-pink salmon-berry eye makeup. After almost-creep-status staring, Nals complimented her. She beamed and whispered, with the confidence of a makeup seductress, “Morphe*”.

Of course we booted off to Ulta Beauty. And right up front, with a resplendant shining halo, was the Morphe display.

What’s the deal with Morphe?

Morphe is a company featuring professional-grade products at an affordable price. It came to Ulta Beauty in October 2017. (Unfortunately, Ulta is not in Canada.) But a year later, Morphe made its debut in Canada at Sephora.

Why welcome to Canadian soil, Morphe.

So did we get some?

Hells yeah we did! Kells got a deliciously rich red matte lippie.

I picked up a concealer. And, I got Boss Mood which features metallics and mattes in purps, berries and greens. Having seen our previous pictures, in case you didn’t pick up on it: I looooove colour. When not at work, I am pretty adventurous with eyeshadow application.

Cutie T is building her eye makeup collection and got a neutral nude palette plus a Morphe eyeshadow primer.

Store Atmosphere

Ulta’s atmosphere is between that of a Sephora and a drugstore, but closer to latter. Testers were available but MUAs, mirrors, tissues, applicators were in short supply. I think the concealer was not the best match for me. But it’ll do for now.

Application & Wear

The actual product was easy to apply and blend. Eyeshadow needs to be built up to get the desired effect. I find that because of my darker skin tone, most shadows/liners need to be layered on. And there’s some fallout especially with the Morphe glitters.

Recommendation

I’m glad I got the 24USD eye palette. It’s definitely worth it! Boss Mood is good for folks who are adventurous. But palette still contains some neutrals and basics, too. I was also eyeing the full Fall into Frost and a mini neon palette.

Morphe has a good selection of small, full and quad eye palettes. They’ve also got singles. They have a fairly good selection of concealers for dark and porcelain skin tones.

What are you waiting for? Go forth and explore Morphe, N&Kers!

Footnotes:
The cashier pronounced “Morphe” as more-fee (as in morphine) but we think it’s pronounced morfh (as in the caterpillar will morphe into a butterfly). Interestingly, one of the staffers at Leavenworth Village Inn pronounced the word “chic” as chick, rather than French way sheek. American adorableness!

It’s all about the pits

Small world! Miss Kells & Miss Balm work out at the same gym. One day, they got to talking. And, one thing led to another. So here we are: seeing if Pure Pit Balm’s assertion that “it’s da bomb”, is fo realz.

Pure Pit Balm is a natural deodorant for underarms.

What is a natural deodorant?

“Natural” deodorants can be made at home. They are typically a mixture of emollients & baking soda… plus maybe some essential oil for scent. The general idea is that they’re made from ingredients you have in your pantry.

Why mess with a good thing?

I’ve got an antiperspirant that works. So why change?

  1. There are notions that antiperspirants can contribute to the development of brain diseases in older age☆. Apparently this has not been replicated in recent studies. But it got me to thinking about slapping random things on to my skin.
  2. I work at a scent-sensitive location. And of course Mr. Nals (the ginger) is scent-sensitive°. So this made me think of crap that we randomly inhale – chemicals galore in perfume, lotions, cleaners, soaps, fresheners.
  3. Antiperspirants make my pits ashy gray. When I’ve tried to go without, my pits clear up*. This is just for esthetics but I’m not a big fan.

Do you know that skin is the largest organ?

Why not just quit using it?

I ‘ v e t r i e d ! But it gets real stanky at certain times. So, I’ve purchased commercially-made “natural” deodorants, crystals, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel and plain coconut oil. These irritated or cut the skin, dried it out, required frequent reapplication, stained my clothes and were ineffective.

So getting back to the belle of the ball…

Pure Pit Balm is made with shea butter, coconut oil, non-aluminum baking soda +/- essential oil for scent. Kells is allergic to shea butter and couldn’t participate in the review.

My concerns were that I’ve used natural deodorants before, with minimal positive effect. But Miss Pure Pit Balm perservered and supplied 2 complimentary jars – Sensitive (unscented, less potent) and Lavendar (more potent).

My experience

I first tried Sensitive. Application: After showering, I applied a pea-sized amount to each dry pit. I let my body heat melt and absorb the product. Then I got dressed. Effects: It actually worked great! There was no irritation and no stink! Now remember: it’s not an antiperspirant. So I still got swamp pits. (Translation: more laundry for me.) That was ok because it meant I wasn’t putting crap on my skin. And, my skin looks vibrant, healthy with no bloody ingrowns!

I’ve used it daily for >1 month. At the end of the day, or after exertion, I occasionally smelled an earthy alkaline odour. I think this was the result of an intense love affair betwixt my sweat and baking soda. So if I felt like I was getting sweaty, I’d wipe & air dem pits out. This seemed to mitigate the odour.

In conclusion

The product comes in a little glass jar (2.5 ounces, 74mL). With typical use, it should last 3 months. You can choose scents: Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Lavender or unscented Sensitive. Sensitive contains less baking soda so it was easier to smother on than Lavendar. Oh but la Lavendar smelled divine. As it was full-strength, my sensitive skin was physically irritated because I rubbed it in too much. This irritation was only intermittent, mild & always went away after a minute. Miss Pure Pit Balm suggested I stick with Sensitive, and to not use after hair removal.^

There’s an informational brochure, details on jar labels and a fabulous website.

Recommendation

Nals would recommend Pure Pit Balm. In the very least, you should try it out just to give your pits a break from excess chemicals. Plus, you’d be supporting a small local (Canadian) business!

Facebook

Instagram

Buy on Etsy

Yes! Pure Pit Balm is sure da bomb.

Footnotes
☆refer to this article.
°Both my mum & I loved scented lotions and potions. We bought vats of it, and madly rolled around in them like pups in a dead skunk carcass. So when I met Mr. Nals & he told me perfumes bother him, I was upset. And when we moved in together, I had to give my carefully curated scents to my mom. Oh Van Cleef & Arpels First, how I still long for you & TommyGirl.
*Ashy gray pits are mainly an issue for people of colour.
^(If you’ve paid attention to labels or estheticians before, you know that you actually shouldn’t even gym or sweat or swim within 24 hours of waxing. Let alone, adding deodorant.)

Review of Sephora Mix & Mingle Lip Set

N&K meant to post this review around Christmas time, but our schedules got a little crazy with work, family time, holiday stuff, New Zealand and the burlesque show. And so here we are…

Sephora‘s Mix & Mingle Lip Set Limited Edition 2018 is a lovely little minx offering lip pencils (but I’m calling them crayons) and glitter glosses. The colours range from light nude to deep browns to coral red and to a dark mythic purple. The crayons are pointed so neither a sharpener nor a liner are needed. Colours are fairly long lastingly rich. Feel is smooth. Look is that of a creamy lipstick. Translucent gloss is not gritty and doesn’t slip off easy. No colour bleeding.

Other features:

  • Slight sweet scent & flavour;
  • Crayons are great for ombre look;
  • Glosses are also lovely on their own;
  • Colours are good for Kells & my skin tones. Plus you can customize colours by layering;
  • Good for day & night looks;
  • For cleanup, you will need a good makeup remover;
  • Crayon caps are very short & tend to pop off. So place in a snack sized zippy plastic bag, to avoid colouring the inside of your Calvin Klein handbag (grr);
  • No colour names so if you like the singles, bring in the empty shell to match up to existing singletons. Or, sets are still available at Sephora Australia, Shape, Poshmark & Amazon.
Here are the colours swatched on Nals’s arm (T to B): lightest nude crayon, white gloss and then pairing matching gloss on top of matching crayon, etc. (L to R in lippie box.)

N&K Recommendation:

Other reviews are positive. And, yes we agree that it is definitely worth the buy. In fact, Kells & I have added this set to our quick go-to photoshoot bag!

N&K sportin Sephora M&M Lip set

N&K’s Christmas Day 3: Blankets & Sleeping Bags

N&Ks 7 Days of Christmas continues!


K&I pledged on Giving Tuesday that we’d get the word out about giving back.  And if N&K are winners un the contest, our fave charities (Canadian Women Foundation and CARENellies) will get to split $2500!


 

K&I love to be warm and cosy.   And, here in the PNW, it’s getting pretty nippy.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be cosy?  A good coat or blanket can cost >$50.

But what if you couldn’t afford this? Or you have  dependents to feed & keep warm, too? This brings us to the list that we’ve compiled for you generous N&Kers.

 

🌲 Day 3 🌲

BLANKETS, SLEEPING BAGS, COATS

 

Blanket Drive  – an oldie but a goodie
Nightshift Ministries – a faith-based organization that meets the needs of people where they are at.
Many companies have partnered up So that you can drop off at a blanket at convenient location: Blanket BC.
Got coat? The Straight has a fab list right here.
Coats for Kids & Families 
Lotus Light did a Care Package last year with sleeping bags.  Nothing listed yet for this year but here’s a link to 2017.

Giving Tuesday

Kells & I love shopping, looking good, eating well and just enjoying life. And, we love to give back when we can.

This year we want to feature 7 Days of Christmas Giving. And why not introduce this on Giving Back Tuesday which is today, november 27.

This is a global movement to… you guessed it: give back. What a perfect time than right after Black Friday? Giving back comes in many forms:

donating money or items

fundraising

raising awareness

giving time (volunteering)

And which charities or organizations, you may ask? Any one that you see fit, folks!

So stay tuned for our fabulous 7 Days of Christmas Giving starting December 1.

 

Candygirls: Review of Sugaring Change

Sugar sugar, oh honey honey, you are my candygirl…

Kells and I fancied something a little different on Saturday morning.  So we hopPed along to Sugaring Change.

Kells had tried this out a few weeks prior1.  And She Suggested i Give it a whirl.

So What exactly is Sugaring? Chantelle has a wonderful description on her company’s site. But here at N&K, we also like to research neutral info. And, we found this.2

              Let’s nutshell  

  • All-natural product3
  • No strips – less environmental waste
  • No dip-sticks – less waste, no chance of the The Double-Dip4
  • Your body heat warms up the paste – no heated product means no burning skin
  • Hair can be short, some websites state 1/8″

 

                     Procedure     

You are provided with personal wipes to sanitize (for intimate areas). All natural kaolin clay mixture is then dusted to ensure skin is dry.

Sugar is applied in direction that is opposite of the hair growth. While keeping skin taut, sugar is pulled off in the direction of hair growth. Thus, irritation is significantly less5. It only takes off a layer of dead skin5.

Larger areas can be sugared5. You use the same ball of sugar for a few pulls. Before application, sugar is thick, honey-coloured & seemingly translucent. After a few pulls, the sugar becomes whiter with different texture.

               How It Felt   

I’ve been waxing for years. It’s painful and sting-y, though you do get used to it. Waxing any part esp underarms and the under-carriage is painful. First waxes started off quite painful (say, 6 out of 10)6 and still are (5/10).

On legs and arms, Sugaring just feels like a bit of tugging and pulling. Ladyscaping with Sugar is pain level of 3-4.

After Sugaring, the skin wasn’t irritated or tender. And I am a sensitive little vittle. But not after Sugaring Change!

              Service Time   

Shaving takes ages and you risk nicking or razor-burning yourself. Waxing yourself is tricky (especially on arms!) as you hone your technique5.

Sugaring takes the same time as a salon wax.

 

           How Long Does It Last?   

By the time we post, it will be about 1 week. We are both still smooth! Sugaring lasts the same as wax, so 2-4 weeks. But after a few sessions of Sugaring, follicles reduce their hair production. Apparently, Sugaring pulls out live follicles.

↓ follicles ≈↓ hair growth. Makes sense, right?

 

               Aftercare  

Make sure you read about Sugaring Aftercare on Chantelle’s site. It’s different from shaving and waxing.  After shaving and waxing, I wash with warm soapy water then apply aloe moisturizer.

At Sugaring Change, esthetician Danica gently applied a warm towel to remove residue. Then she applied a witch hazel & tea tree spritz and finished with a moisturizer.  Chantelle applied a clay mask to Kells, after ladyscaping.

Danica suggested that if there was stickiness or residue, to apply a warm towel. But avoid rubbing, showering or watering the skin for 12-24 hours. And when you resume showers, exfoliate q2d to discourage ingrowns.

 

                             the atmosphere   

Intimate, medi-spa feel with a small waiting room. There are lotions and potions to ohh-and-ahh over (including EyEnvy, which we reviewed previously).  Treatment rooms are large, well-lit.

        The Estheticians   

Chantelle & Danica are wonderfully gentle, understanding and professional. I’ve only ever gone to one other person for ladyscaping. (& I went to her for years for other waxing before I even considered ladyscaping.)

 

      TRAUMA-INFORMED PRACTICE  

What exactly is this? I haven’t heard about TIP outside of healthcare! Essentially it is meeting the person where they’re at.  Sugaring Change is very Person-Centred.

I had not been to Sugaring Change or met Danica (or Chantelle) before. This was a huge step in trust for me. I discussed my hesitations with Danica. She validated my feelings, and we discussed ways to cope (stress ball, communication, etc). Danica was so lovely that I don’t know why I was worried.

Both Chantelle and Danica explained very precisely what she was doing before doing it.

Sugaring Change is also a place of Body Positivity. They Sugar all shapes, sizes, genders, trans-folks…

     Cool faCts   

Sugaring products are either made on-site or purchased from a local supplier.  So Sugaring Change also supports local businesses!

And when you get serviced at Sugaring Change, you are contributing to HOPE International Development Agency.  This agency empowers women and girls in Cambodia.

And empowering women is what N&K are about!

 

          T h e   v e r d i c t        

Probably not a surprise but we love this place!
If you remove hair, or are considering it, you MUST try Sugaring Change.  
And if you mention this blog post (or just n&k), you’ll get $5 off of your first service!
How’s that for some sweet delight?

Footnotes
1 Disclosure: Chantelle gave us a discount on services specifically to review Sugaring Change. Neither she nor Sugaring Change sponsored this post. This review accurately reflects our thoughts.

2 Wikipedia seriously? Yeah we know. There were lots of sites that had the same info as Sugaring Change, but they also focussed on sugaring-at-home methods. We just wanted info on sugaring. So, if you don’t like our Wiki citing, check out their References & External Links sections.

3 The reason that this is fab is because you can eat all the readily-found ingredients, and pronounce them! No additives, human-modified chemicals, unnecessary junk. But just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean you should jump into making it at home. You can also cook up poisons at home (by accident or on purpose). Doesn’t mean it’s safe. So… we recommend you go to a salon that Sugars first.

4 My theory that most things in life can be tied to a Seinfeld episode is true. (Partly cuz I say it, and partly cuz it’s the truth!) And in keeping with the Wiki love, here’s the link to that “spectacular” episode.

5 Waxing & Shaving is usually done opposite of hair growth.  Waxing also removes a layer of live cells. W&S are done in small areas at one time.

6 Well what exactly does 6 out of 10 mean? Excellent question! Pain is subjective, and certainly depends on culture, gender, socialization, reporting ability & a whole bunch of other stuff. Many health professionals use the Faces Pain Scale . So, for me 6 out of 10, indicates moderate pain.

7 If you water your skin too early after Sugaring, you run the risk of whiteheads.

Food Truck Review: Manger á Portland

This is a special ed of Food Truck Reviews.

We started off with Things to Do in Portland. We will continue today with a summary of our food tour.

Farm Boy Drive In

A sleepy eatery in an odd duck corner of Olympia. Here the corn dogs are crispy fresh, the official certificate of The Daughters of American Revolution has made an impression (literally & figuratively) on the wall and where a visible minority is rarely seen. Staff were nice. Corn dog was corny tasty. And, we had that feeling that a climactic horror movie scene was about to unfold.  We made sure not to overstay¹.

Lompoc Tavern

Is right around the corner from Pecularium. Large airy tavern with a terrace, and lots of nooks and crannies to squirrel away into. We had beef burger sliders (delicious) and Southwest Chicken salad (lovely spicy dry rub on grilled chicken that crisped up real good under the hot loving grill. And, this fit in quite nicely with the greens and other healthy crap. With numma nums dressing².)

Lima Peruvian Restaurant

We’ve never had Peruvian food so this was a delight. We ordered Ají de Gallina . This is a Creole4 dish consisting of shredded strips of chicken cooked in a creamy sauce. Sauce contains ají5 and milk. It is accompanied by potatoes, white rice, hard-boiled egg and olives3. To Mr. Nals and I, this dish sounded very different from anything we’ve tried. It had a rich mouthfeel, but wasn’t overwhelmed with a fatty taste. It was smooth creamy perfection with different bites of chicken, potato or egg inside. Also had some wine to give it complexity. Fair warning: this dish was not made to feast your eyes.

Our next dish Bisteck a la Chorillana is described as “Fried steak smothered with sauteed onions & tomatoes served with rice and fried potatoes.” This dish had more pungeant flavour so it was a great contrast to the chicken dish. Smoky grilled flavour, acidic, delicious.

San Francisco Mexicana Tienda
Facebook and Menu

We didn’t take pictures but in the deli section, we ordered Taquitos and Tostado. Amazing fresh ingredients, crispy, flavourful. It is so worth it to come here just to eat, nevermind their glorious market area where you can buy groceries, snacks, hot sauces and drinks.

Food Pods

…are a convenient gathering of food trucks in parts of downtown Portland. The Mr and I visited 2 of them.

Phat Blue Buddha

We got the Korean Beef & Rice. The meat was tender, flavourful. The whole dish was perfection. The chef-owner is super friendly and apparently spent some time in B.C.

Don Jalapeno Mexican Food

Mmm delicious Tacos. Tender tasty meat, crispy fresh veg and tortilla were magnificent! And reasonably priced so you can try a few different ones without breaking the bank.

 

These are just a few places that we tried in Portland, Oregon in August.

Have you tried any of these places?

Footnotes
1 A bit of artistic license. But don’t they say art imitates life?
2 In Amur’ca, the portions and salads are very different from Vancouver’s. Ask for dressing on the side unless you like globs of gloop.
3 You may have noticed that Lima’s menu does not list this dish. I remembered the name of the dish and so I went off-roading on The Google. I found a description on Adventure Life.
4 Creoles in Peru? Yessuh!
5 WTF is a Scoville unit?