Tac/Quila Restaurant Review (Palm Springs, USA)

Kells & I were in Palm Springs🔗 last year for our annual birthday jaunt.

We had dinner at Tac/Quila🔗. This restaurant has a nifty story. A lawyer couple decided to change careers. They popped their restauranteur cherry by opening FARM🔗. Then came the second baby Tac/Quila🔗.

Tac/Quila🔗 showcases the rich Jualisco foods, tequilas and mezcals.

MENU🔗

Drinks🔗

Kells & I shared a flight of margaritas (Kiwi Mint, Watermelon, Pineapple, Blackberry, Lime). I’m not particularly fond of tequila but I do love cold fruity drinks. And boy these went down smooth. (Good thing we shared or we’d’ve been in trouble with our own flight.) They all had distinct flavours that we loved. Kiwi Mint, Watermelon & Pineapple were our top 3.

Nibbles🔗

Kells ordered Calamari and a couple tacos (al pastor, chicken). I ordered 3 tacos – carne asada, calabacitas & carnitas. The food was delicious.

Each taco had a distinct focus and accoutrements. Truly enjoyable.

Atmosphere

Restaurant had inside and outside seating. However, because of the layout, it seemed like 1 seamless area. There was something to look at everywhere from the ceilings, walls, tables… foliage, people, food or funky carpentry. There was a bustling lively energy in the air. The waitstaff were great.

Recommendation

You must get the flight of margaritas for sharing. Tacos and calamari are bang on. We’d definitely come to Tac/Quila🔗 again.

Foots ¹We had access to the larger pre-pandemic menu last year. But this miniaturized menu is a pretty good cross-section.

Review of Fisherman’s Market & Grill (Palm Springs)

When we were in Palm Springs last fall, Kells & I stopped into Fisherman’s Market & Grill🔗.

They have various locations with different tiers of service. The one we went to is self-service, self-ordering. We didn’t want anything fancy on our first night travelling in… so this was perfect.

Ambience reminded us of Vancouver’s 🔗 Granville Island🔗. Unassuming, knowledgable staff, licensed, casual seating, lofted ceilings.

I was craving seared scallops. When I ordered it, the staff said that this would burn the outside while leaving the inside dangerously raw. I usually eat seared scallops or sashimi-style so this was news to N (as well as K). Not sure if it was due to USA’s FDA guidelines¹? But I wasn’t going to argue.

I got the Hawaiian combo with salmon, jumbo shrimp and mahi mahi because it had a bit of everything. Kells got the Surf n Turf with lobster tail and steak. We also ordered a side of charbroiled² scallops. And of course a couple beers to wash it all down with.

The sides (rice pilaf, coleslaw) were nothing to write home about. The fish needed a bit more citrus but good. Shrimp was on this side of being rubbery. Scallops were okay. Lobster and steak were good.

Service

Was friendly. Food came out in a timely manner. (Staff bring orders out to tables.)

Cleanliness

Appeared fine.

Parking

This location was in a strip mall, so parking was a-plenty.

Recommendation

Not a destination eatery. But, if you’re in the area and hungry for a casual atmosphere… sure it’ll be fine.

Footnotes
¹food regulations differ by country. Click for more info: Canada’s Food Inspection Agency🔗. USA Food & Agency 🔗.

Mascara Review: Rimmel’s Wonder’lash

Well N&Kers, it’s time for another Mascara Funday!

Our previous Rimmel review was on the Wonder’fully Real mascara🔗, which is available here🔗.

Today, Miss Nals will be reviewing Rimmell’s Wonder’lash mascara🔗.

Their website states “Do you need a solution to your clumpy mascara?
Wonder’Lash mascara with argan oil is your best secret weapon to perfectly full, smooth, zero-clump volume! …Experience beautiful volume and lash definition in one smooth, easy stroke… and left feeling conditioned”.

Click HERE🔗 for more info

Reviews on their site🔗 are favourable at 4.2 stars (307 reviews).

Makeup Alley reviews🔗 give it 3 stars (75 reviews). Comments are similar as on Rimmel’s site.

Now for our actual review

Lengthener

Yes-ish. Because it separates so well, my lashes looked a bit longer (but sparse).

Separator

yes, like a hot damn.

Volumizer

Nope, not even when paired with a volumizer.

Curl

I curl before and after applying mascara. This mascara initially holds the curl well… then they look wonky.

Thickener

Product colour is black, which you’d think would help the appearance of thickening. In fact, because the separation was so thorough, there was significantly less volume/thickening effect.

Application

This bristled beast of an applicator looked like it meant business. But I guess it was more of an empty promise that never was.

Other considerations

Mascara didn’t interfere with my contact lenses.

×It stuck on like a SOB. Despite triple washing, I didn’t always get all of it off. But it didn’t irritate my eyes.

This is a available in a waterproof version (turquoise tube).

Recommendation:
I’d skip this mascara.

Review of Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland

We had opportunity to take a girl’s trip to Portland🔗 recently.

It was our friend Cutie T’s first time in the PDX so we wanted to stay in a central area, park then walk everywhere. We chose Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland🔗

The entrance is magnificent

As you can see, the hotel’s entry is elegant from the outside and… magnificently opulent inside. It reminds us of old gallant hotels for the rich riches but not gaudy or tacky.

The staff and service

Everyone was warm and friendly. Check-in was fairly quick, as we were pre-paid.

As soon as we got to our room, the front desk texted us to say if we needed anything, just let them know. We needed extra pillows, blankets, a straightening iron, suggestions for a night out… and they got back to us!

To the room…

Elevator and walk to to the room was delightful.

… And beyond

This King Suite was sumptuous!

Seating areas

Yes lots of areas to park your sweet booty.

Bathroom

Large, airy, light. Shower, tub, lots of counterspace.

Sleeping areas

The king bed had a sliding door with a huge TV, dresser, comfy chair, night tables with lamps and plenty o’ plug ins. The bed was fabulous firm. I didn’t feel Kells move around at all. In the evenings, the three us snuggled up with snacks and the TV.

Cutie T preferred to sleep solo on the sofa bed. She had her own TV. Mattress looked a bit thin but Cutie T slept fine curled up in the mountain of blankets and pillows.

Lighting & Space

King bed had large windows with sheets and blackout curtains. There were some floor ceiling and table lamps. Seemed a bit dark in the foyer but who cares.

Room felt very airy, due to the vaulted ceilings.

In-room amenities

Mini bar, intimacy kits, snack items and room service are available for additional costs.

Included in-room are animal print robes, landline, basic drinking glasses, bar fridge, hair dryer & delicious toiletries. Other things available upon request (such as Keurig, tea, cutlery and coffee pods).

In-room entertainment

There were 2 TVs. TVs don’t have internet or bluetooth capabilities. There is cable with pay-per-view options.

Hotel amenities and entertainment

With resort fees, you can use the fitness room.

Coffee, tea, swanky hot chocolate in lobby in the mornings.

Wine, beer, amuse bouche are available every evening 5-7 pm for all hotel guests. They also have live music in the lobby.

Concierge service also available by text.

Transportation

Valet parking was included in our package. But we were close enough to walk everywhere downtown.

Recommendation

Yes we absolutely recommend it.

Voodoo Donuts

We had opportunity to take a girl’s trip to Portland🔗 recently.

And of course we had to pop in to sample a bit of somethin’ somethin’ at the infamous Voodoo Donuts🔗.

Voodoo Donut’s crazy decor and outrageous flavour combos go right along with the city’s slogan “Keep Portland Weird”.

for more info on stumptown’s classy slogan, click here🔗.

We got there around 9 pm. The lineup was only about 20 minutes. Warning that it can be as long as 2 hours. Since they’re open 24 hours, we suggest checking in on the lineups… and go later if it’s nutso.

We got:
-guava colada: kapow guava in centre and soft coconut donut surrounds.
-mango tango: yep it’s mango jelly and is fluffier.
-dirty old bastard: PB&C have joined forces, firmer texture like a fritter.
-portland cream: like the Boston cream but not custard. It was an indescribable flavour. We’d skip this.
-maple bacon: yep exactly like it sounds. This will be your jam if you enjoy maple syrup waffles with a side o’ pig strips.
-apple fritter: classic and a goodie.

K&I have healthy appetites. But one Voodoo donut could easily feed 2 or 3 folks.

Go check them out!

Review of Castelli’s Italian restaurant (Palm Springs)

While in Palm Springs in October, K&I wanted a bit of dinner.

We wandered aimlessly for hours, parched and starved. And we finally came upon Castelli’s Italian Restaurant🔗,

Read about our other Palm Springs adventures and reviews here

Ambience

We had no reservation and came at dinner time. We were seated outside the kitchen, but with a view of outside patio. This was a great vantage point for people-watching. Restaurant was dimly-lit restaurant. There was that comforting din of murmurs, cutlery clinking, busy-ery. Walls were decorated with pictures of crooners, The Godfather, other Italian ex-pats. There was also a piano player and singer. Our pony-tailed curliqued friend was really good!

Waitstaff

Efficient, pleasant but not too chit-chatty. They were incredibly observant. As they were leaving or coming back into the kitchen, various staff picked up our excess dishes, or offered cutlery. I love when people work as a team. This makes me feel supported, and like anyone on the team can (& will) help.

Our order

Starter: Crab-stuffed Mushrooms. These were good but not stellar. All dinners also come with garlic toast. This was toast-tastically flavourful, crispy. We had to get a second basket.

Nals’s dish: Risotti Con Funghi. Nals isn’t into shiitake but this dish wasn’t shiitty at all. Risotto was delightfully toothy. “Sauce” was creamy and just coated the rice for perfect separation and flavour. And the con funghi flavour was bang on!

Kells’s dish: Ravioli d’Aragosta: delicious vodka horgonzola cream sauce with 3 large freshly-made ravioli. These monster ravioli were filled with mega lobster. Good flavour contrast of sauce and filling.

Dessert: Chocolate Lava Cake a la mode. Moist, flavourful and rich. Worth every bite.

Recommendation is 100%

Hands down, no question: if you are in Palm Springs and want a delicious Italian dinner: you must go to Castelli’s🔗.

Nals CoverGirl Supersizer Mascara3

Mascara Review: Covergirl’s SuperSizer (Lashblast)

All right N&Kers, it’s time for another installment of N&K’s Mascara Funday*!

Today, Miss Nals will be reviewing Covergirl’s SuperSizer (Lashblast) 🔗. 

Their website states “The Super Sizer Mascara gives you 400% more corner-to-corner volume for full, fanned out lashes. Our amazing Lash Styler transforms even small lashes— just twirl as you apply it to your lashes for an instantly Super Sized lash look. Opthalmologically tested, suitable for those who wear contact lenses”.

Click here to read that description on their site

Reviews on their site 🔗are basically favourable at 88% (1161 reviews).  Covergirl has suggested they contact Customer Service to remedy an unfavorable situation, if a reviewer mentions it.  People might respond to this with of course they would because they don’t want bad PR. But, it takes time to read each review and respond accordingly°.

Makeup Alley reviews 🔗are also favourable in scores (218 reviews, 68%) but comments are varied°. 

Nals CoverGirl Supersizer Mascara3

Getting back to the N&K review…

Nals’s lashes are long (partially due to EnEnvy 🔗 and our reviews are here 🔗 and here🔗) but straight.

Lengthens

Yes! (And even at the corners with the stumpier baby hairs.)

Volumizer

Not so much, despite the flared bristly brush and thin product.  Reminds me of a product that contains fibers such as Rimmel’s Wonder’fully Real mascara 🔗 (N&K review is here🔗). 

Separation

Product clumps with >2 layers.

Curl

I curl before and after applying mascara**.  Mascara holds the curl well through out the day.

Thickener

Product colour is black, which helps the look of fuller lashes. But since it clumps with >2 layers, there’s not a lot of thickening effect.

Application

Due to flared brush with bristles in a spiral formation (like DNA or pineapple seeds), application is best when you follow instructions on the package.

✓Mascara didn’t interfere with my contact lenses.  ✓This particular tube had staying power and was waterproof.   
×But it stuck on like a SOB.  I  use an oil-based facial cleanser (such as Julep’s Love Your Bare Face🔗).  I tried all-sorts like soaking my lashes with Julep cleanser then gently rubbing to lift up product.  I used makeup remover before cleanser… And then tried after.  I tried to triple wash my lashes.  And there were days that I didn’t get all of it off.  I still haven’t found the best method because each time is slightly different.

Recommendation

This is not a good mascara for a newbie/novice due to the application instructions and difficulty of removal.

For the experienced mascara-ista… I probably would not recommend it again due to difficulty of removal and clumping properties.

Footnotes
* formerly known as Mascara Monday
° To give you guys an idea, it probably takes Kells and I a couple hours to post and publish ONE post.  Formatting, uploading pictures, viewing and re-editting take scads of time.  Add additional time to take photos, picking topics and then writing.  So, both N&K appreciate how much work goes into it. However, the varied comments on Makeup Alley give us pause. Why are comments different on the CoverGirl vs. MUA site? Hmmm…
** MUAs might balk at this double curling, as the curler could pull lashes out after mascara-ing.  But I curl when mascara is dry as a bone.  If you double curl, don’t do it wet!

IDS: Ideas +

I (Kells) have been busy this week. I’m planning my besties engagement shower for this weekend, but staying true to myself, I needed to add more things. So I went to Address Assembly on Wednesday night then the opening of Vancouver’s Interior Design Show on Thursday night.

If you follow us on IG you may have seen a post several months ago about me renovating. Well this is still happening. But it also means that I get to indulge in my 2nd greatest passion, interior design!

My friend, and former school mate, invited me to come to IDS to check it out, and see the launch of her newest company Ffabb. So of course I’m going to say yes!

First, Address Assembly was a smaller scale IDS, with local designers showcasing their beautiful crafts. They was everything from jewelry to hand crafted cutlery to a swing set seating area to couches to wall art. It was like an art gallery where you were allowed to touch, feel and sit on the displays. Plus they served alcohol and had a meat and cheese platter. Can’t go wrong with a meat and cheese platter! Cool side note, I hear the host Kate, was in my grad class. Sadly, I don’t know that we ever spoke! But very cool she’s doing such a neat event! I’d like to say “I knew her when” but I didn’t, so I can’t.

Address Assembly is still happening till the 29th from 10 to 6 at 550 Malkin Ave in Vancouver. It’s free! But you can make a donation which will go to the BCSPCA.

Now IDS, its happening now till the 29th of September at the Convention center downtown Vancouver. It’s got big venders from Volvo and Versace to smaller Vancouver based companies, like my friends newest company Ffabb. I want to share Ffabb with you. But first I’ll finish my thought on IDS. I really enjoyed my time. What I wish is that companies that are promoting their business at IDS, would give special promotions or something. I did pay to get it after all!! Some places did offer a promotion, like Bear Blooms who were letting people spin for extra free boxes or giving away a free box when you signed up. Would have loved to signed up but can’t because of my renos. But other exhibitors just wanted to give you their boring speech. Like, I get it, it’s a stone sink. I don’t want your stone cold sales speel about it. No offense, most people there are just to look and get ideas. They don’t want the ugly potato sack you are trying to sell as a lounge chair. Inspire me! Don’t bore me. Overall it was neat. I got a flamingo drink holder from Norburn lighting. Don’t ask me why a flamingo drink holder is good advertising for a light fixture, I’d rather a coupon! But hey, people stopped me to ask where they could get their flamingo.

Ok, now Ffabb. Here’s the thing, I’m over the top impressed and proud that my highschool grad class has someone in the IDS. How freaking cool is that!? And not only that, its a real amazing product. It’s not some ugly art piece that looks like burnt popsicle sticks glued to a stand (yes this was there, yes it was ugly, yes it looked just like burnt popsicle sticks on a stand) but this small town girl and school mate, from the class of ’99 has made a furniture line you actually want to own. It’s locally made, it’s got heart, it’s made with love and its sooooo nice. I’m obsessed with the “angler” and I desperately want/need the Coasty Slim: lagoon sectional in my life. Please check out this girl’s amazing work and design. I also noticed her website says -20% off until Oct 15th!! Now that’s worth looking into!

I’m pooped! If you need a lil inspiration and want something to do while dt, you’ll go to the IDS. If you do, please visit the Ffabb booth! Plus there’s pillow balls!

Kells

DeButante Dolls: Review of Le Diner en Blanc

What on earth is a white dinner?

ESSENTIALLY, IT’S FANCY WHITE BYOE* PICNIC IN A SECRET LOCATION. 

Long drawn out explanation here

L e R o o t s

Well it started off in the 80s in France with a french dude who wanted to host an elegant outdoor dinner.  He asked his buddies to meet at the park but dressed in white, to be easily identifiable. 

Then… His son started the tradition in Montreal 30 years later.  It trickled into Le Grand Pomme… And now it’s in like 80 cities, worldwide.

The Registration Process.

  1. You put your name down for Vancouver’s DeB waiting list.  (We did this in Winter 2018),
  2. You’ll be emailed 3 more times with VIP RSVP dates (different invitation levels May-July),
  3. Once you get to level 3, you choose your Table/Team Leads, meeting location and if you’d like: booze and nibbles.

We ordered our wine and food.

The Day-Of Travel

When we registered, I didn’t know if Kells was working so I figured the best thing to do was to choose Skytrain option.  (We both live near-ish to stops.)  But it was evening rush hour and we got some snarkerton looks**.  Some peeps smiled and asked if we were going to “that white party”. 

Not gonna lie, N&K’ers: travel was onerous.  But, we’ve got some workarounds for next year.

The Location is revealed only after everyone in your group has arrived.

L e E v e n t

After setting up, it became evident why this was popular. 

3500 folks sat in carefully arranged rows of personalized tables – different food, centrepieces, candles, disHes, attire. 

We brought our own tables. But, since they were all the same shape/size with the white dressings, the whole thing looked like one seemless En Blanc party.  And if there’s one thing Nals enjoys, it’s symmetry

Once all folks were set up, we started off with the napkin wave.  Then we tucked in. 

When I was in Home Economics in highschool, I loved the din at the end of the class when we’d sit, eat and talk.  It was warm, enveloping and cozy.  The low conversational murmur, infectious laughter occasionally breaking through, soft clinks of cutlery and glass…  That’s exactly what DeB reminded me of.

Because the N&K Team & Table Leaders were organized, we were set up in great time.  We chatted with our lovely teammates.

We had a special guest that evening: DeB royalty Francois and his wife.  It was her birthday and Francois serenaded her.  He was probably a bit tipsy, and the singing was a bit off-key but it was the ballsy thought that counts.

When it was dark enough, we ended off with a magical moment: the signature group sparklers.

When it was dark enough, we ended off with a magical moment: the signature group sparklers.

Final

Thoughts

DeB criticisms include pretentious, classist, overpriced, not family friendly and lost the original intent. Kids are not allowed on-site due to alcohol. But other than that, we found that there were a variety of folks there. Some were dressed in simple whites and other tables had lavish lights and overhead deco.

N&K can tell you is that it was a fun, friendly, magical evening. We will definitely be doing it again next year.

Footnotes
*Bring Your Own Everything like food, real cutlery, tables, chairs, table linens and centrepieces. Note that alcohol can only be purchased through DeB.
**Not because we had so much stuff but because we looked so cultishly regal in our blanc ensembles.
¶ This could be because I like to organize things or maybe it’s a facet of biology.

Stay at UBC: Okanagan review

The Mr and I went away to Kelowna for our anniversary.  

The Okanagan, which is in BC’s interior, has a mild and humid continental climate. 

More info here
Nals Okanagan 2019

There is something to do for everyone from outdoorsy stuff like hiking and water sports, R&R’ing, winetasting (also beer and ciders), eating locally-grown stonefruits, festivals and simply enjoying the scenery.

So as per usual, the spontaneous Mr doesn’t book ahead, which leads me to do it last minute’.  So the well-priced rooms, funky finds, one-of-a-kinds are probably gone!  However, I ended up finding accommodations at UBC.

Nals Okanagan UBC 2019_1

Whaaaat?!! Accommodations at a university? Yes indeed folks.

It’s the cold hard truth.

G e n e r a l I m p r e s s i o n

We were in the Queen Studio room** in the Monashee Residence*. It is a straight-up clean room with no bells and whistles. No fancy soaps, luggage racks, room safes or artwork. There was a double bed, a desk, table & chairs and full kitchen. The bathroom had a narrow shower stall, with sink outside. They provide towels, kitchenware and very basic toiletries. It felt dorm-y but also home-y. There are tons of pictures available on their website and from other reviewers.

T h e P r o s

  • The building and room require fob entry so it feels secure.
  • Each room has its own inclusive wifi.
  • The room was large and airy with one small screened-window.
  • The setting is gorgeous – very peaceful.
  • Laundry is available. Purchase cards at Guest Accommodations.
  • The awesome staff is available 24/7 at 1290 International Mews.

T h e N o n – P r o s

There is no in-room TV or telephone so bring your own electronics. There isn’t a lot of counterspace.

Sink & toilet were slow to drain (perhaps just in this particular room). Showerhead is not adjustable (problem for short or tall poppies).

The bed was a bit small. (We are used to Queen.) It was also not supportive so whenever the Mr flopped, I felt it. The pillows were flat.

There weren’t extra pillows or blankets. This was major for me because sometimes I’m a bit colder or want more pillows.

P a r k i n g and Transport

Parking is 50% discounted for guests. Parking options are close by. During summer it’s slow. But during the school year – likely a different story.

If you want to sight-see or pick up larger grocery items/clothing, you will need transport: a vehicle or take transit (stops on-campus).

S u r r o u n d i n g s

Surroundings are beautiful and serene. UBC Okanagan sits on top of a hill so you get a great view of the city. There’s a bit of green space for hikes (be mindful of the bear warnings).

On the other side of highway, there’s permanent housing, a little convenience store, liquor store, pub and Chinese restaurant.

R e c o m m e n d a t i o n


The whole point is to sleep well in a hotel room. And we didn’t sleep well on the first night”. But, if we stay overnight in Kelowna again, I will ask them if there are firm-bed options. I love the idea of staying away from the downtown core in a beautiful setting, so I wouldn’t discount this option in the future. Also, UBC is the Mr.’s and my alma mater.

N&K T i p s

  • Double check that linens, kitchenware is included in your room.
  • You don’t need to download HONK app for parking, if you have a credit/debit card. Just make surr yiu choose the 24- or multiple-hour accommodation parking option.
  • Make sure you get the guest coupon code for parking.
  • Take the time to walk around the campus. It really was serenely beautiful.
  • in our room, coffee was provided. I brought my stovetop espresso machine with my own coffee. Bring tea PRN.
  • I’d recommend picking up basic snack, tea and breakfast groceries before checking in. That way, you can get to exploring as soon as you’ve settled in!
  • Research the wineries, cideries and breweries. These are abundant, and in convenient-to-explore clusters.
  • Explore the lake options and watersports. Plus other outdoorsy stuff.
  • Explore funky fruit stands and orchards.

Footnotes:

* This building was assigned to us. There were several other options. Not sure how they make the allotments. Maybe based on room types? Length of stay?
** If we had booked ahead, our options would be greater . I see there are king beds available. Not sure if mattress quality is the same?
‘ He doesn’t like to be tied down because a better deal could be around the corner. Or, maybe something off-the-beaten path. Read about our last-straw Portland adventure here … which we didn’t book ahead but turned out pretty good.
” For the following night, we slept well because we were so zonked.