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.

Self-Care & The Oxford Comma

We keep hearing about the virtues of self-care. But what exactly is it?

Self-care has various definitions depending on which lens you look through Psych Central, Wiki, Mirriam-Webster, Urban Dic.

Psych Central most most aligns with N&K’s definition: something you do merely for yourself in a healthy manner, deliberate, and with personal meaning*. You may be relieved after finishing your to-do list, but this wasn’t done merely for yourself. You are happy you did the laundry that’s been piling up for weeks, but did you do it just for the personal joy?

Why self care?

We’d counter this with ‘why not?’ We spend all day running around, multi tasking, doing what’s expected or asked of us.

Why shouldn’t we do something that’s just for ourselves?

Self care helps relax and de-stress. (Refer to Livescience article and NIMH article.)

How often do I need to do this?

We believe self care should be done daily.

Self care doesn’t have to be complicated or drawn out.

It could be taking 5 minutes to enjoy the unexpected afternoon sun. Doing a facemask with your kid. Having an espresso and cookie (or nookie) with your partner. Practicing your burlesque moves. Singing in the shower. Making your colleagues laugh with a silly joke. Complimenting a stranger**. Taking your pups out for a long hike.

Nals likes to get up early so she has time to enjoy her coffee in the quiet of the morning. Kells likes to take naps on her days off. We like to catch up when we’re both working in the same part of town.

Yeah but isn’t self care selfish?

Absolutely not! As long as it is healthy, done with awareness and has personal meaning. Our old pal Mirriam Webster’s definition. Sure, self care is focused on oneself.

But self care’s focus is not on self-advantage and not with disregard for others.

What’s the Oxford Comma Got to do with it?*

Nothing directly. But self care and The Oxford Comma elicits similar reactions: debates, strong opinions, and misperceptions.

If you do use either or both, do it consistently and with honest intention.

Comment below with how you do self care. Please keep comments PG-13, respectful and on-topic.

Footies
*yep here’s your Oxford comma, folks. Self care consists of 3 separate points: healthy, deliberate and meaningful. Without that last comma, ‘healthy manner’ means that choking down veggies is self care because it is deliberate and meaningful. Add the comma, and you can see that though eating veg is healthy, it may not be with deliberation or personal meaning. Oxford comma, broken down here https://www.grammarly.com/blog/what-is-the-oxford-comma-and-why-do-people-care-so-much-about-it/
** Avoid creepiness.

Mascara Review: Rimmel Wonder’fully Real

Mascara Monday is back, N&Kers. We know you can hardly contain your excitement! This time we’ll be reviewing Rimmel’s Wonderfully Real Mascara.

So here are our rules

  1. We bought all mascara ourselves (which means nobody is paying us).
  2. We wear each mascara for at least 1 week.
  3. All mascaras purchased were black… and the darkest black they had available.
  4. Every mascara used was put on the exact same way, with only 2 coats.
  5. This is just our 2 cents. This opinion is ours…take it or leave it. Believe it or not.

What do we want in a mascara?

In a mascara, we typically discuss the following points: Lengthen, Volumize, Separation, Curl and Thicken.

The lowdown

The Bad

Everything was initially fantastic. Long lashes for dayzzz. However after a month, I noticed that the product clumped on my lashes. And, at the end of the day, flakes fell into my eyes. I typically use several thin coats plus another mascara. For this tube, I only can do 2-3 thin coats. This product falls short on volumizing and thickening. So, I tried to pair it with another volumizing mascara. And again, I got clumped.

That brush

The brush picks up a lot of product. You must ensure that swipe off as much of the product as can before application. (That is, make sure you can see lots of the pink brush showing through.) Fair warning: this brush is a poke hazard.

The Good

The bristly brush and product lengthen & separate. As such, Rimmel Wonder’fully Real Mascara is a good lengthener and separator. It also keeps the curl. (One must use a lash curler!)

An interesting thing

I felt like sporting the au naturel look a lot with this mascara. At first I thought it was due to the emergence of the PNW summer sun. (The summer makes me feel more like a let’s-skip-work-and-soak-up-some-sun bronzed goddess than a dramatic eye queen.) Or, maybe I was too lazy to add liner? But, I finally figured out why… I noticed that the brush/product inadvertently builds colour at upper water line. Which is fantastic for an au naturel look. And fantastic that Nals was inspired to keepnit low-key.

The Ugly

The ugly truth is that it’s really hard to get a mascara with all of these features. Which is why I typically use 2 mascaras on every application. But I got clumped when I tried to pair this mascara with a volumizer.

Additionally this mascara is hard to remove. After washing, you’ll need to get in there with a cotton-tipped wand.

Recommendation

I probably wouldn’t buy Rimmel’s Wonder’fully Real again unless I was in desperate need of a mascara… and it was on sale.

The brush would be challenging for novices.

The product itself is a bit annoying after 1 month.

Review of: Mozart’s Steakhouse (Leavenworth)

Kells, Cutie T & I went on a fun little girls weekend to Leavenworth in February.

Our first night in, we ate at Mozart’s Steakhouse.

Click to read our other Leavenworth reviews on: Doghaus Brewery and Leavenworth Village Inn.

Make reservations

It was hella busy in February due to skiing. So we had to wait for over an hour for a table. Either make reservations or be prepared to be placed on the wait list. Mozart will text you when your table is ready.

The ambience and service

Despite the fact that it is quite a large space, it felt quiet, rustic and cozy*. Service was good**. Note that you have to walk up steep-ish stairs. If there are folks with mobility issues, inquire ahead about alternative entry routes.

The menu

Varied meats and European fare. Some veggie options. Drinks menu contains typical beers, wines and mixers as well as other surprises.

Our food and drinks

Cutie T & I ordered flights (of beer), which were mostly delicious. For dinners, Kells ordered her usual spaetzle and schnitzel. Cutie T & I couldn’t decide. So, we ordered the Platter for Two. The meals were fantastically delicious with large American portions. The 3 of us were starving. We also have large appetites. And, we couldn’t finish our meals.

N&K Recommendation

Yes you must definitely go! K has been here a few times and each time it has been wonderful.

If you need to kill time before your table is ready, take a boo at the varied boutique shops along Front Street.

Footnotes
* “Cozy” is partially due to dim lighting. So, our photos aren’t crisp and fabulous.

**American and Canadian restaurant service is different. Canadians are a bit more doting. (Not annoyingly so.) However this was also the end of a busy day, near-ish to closing. Everyone must’ve been tired. We waited a bit long for our drinks and asked our server a couple times about it. Our meals also seemed to take a while. But definitely worth the wait!

N&K Update

Heya N&Kers – Kells & I are going to do the Shoppers 5KM Run For Women tomorrow morning. We haven’t prepared as hard as last year because life’s been a little crazy lately.

Have you checked out our latest giveaway, courtesy of Bruncheria Cafe? If not, click here.

We joined burlesque. Kells has already started 2 classes! I will be starting my 2nd class on Sunday.

Kells is interviewing contractors for home renos, hopefully to start soon. I’m trying to get fitter for an upcoming family wedding plus the burlesque show in July.

Kells isn’t feeling well this week. And I’ve been struggling with insomnia.

There’s lots of other stuff going on so it’s been challenging to do self-care and keep our regular routine.

Forgive us N&Kers if this week’s first post is a bit boring. Sometimes that’s how life is.

But stay tuned on N&K blog & IG. We’ll be posting pix from our Run , burlesque class & mother’s day.

N&K $50 Bruncheria Cafe Meal Contest Rules

Click here to read N&K’s review of Bruncheria.

Contest opens May 4, 2019 and closes on May 17, 2019.

  1. Follow Bruncheria Cafe on Instagram*.
  2. Follow Nals and Kells on Instagram*.
  3. Like the post**.
  4. Tag a brunch Friend**.
  5. Each tagged Friend is one entry. Tag as many friends as you’d like**.
  6. N&K will randomly select one lucky Winner and notify the Winner via Instagram message by May 20, 2019. The Winner will get one complimentary meal at Bruncheria Cafe, up to a $50 value***.

A big THANK YOU to Bruncheria Cafe for providing N&Kers with the Giveaway opportunity and the gorgeous photos.

The fine print:

*Though conducted through Instagram platform, this contest is not affiliated with Instagram. **All Tags and Likes must be indicated the original contest post on N&K from May 4, 2019. ***No substitutions or transfers, must be used in the time frame specified by Bruncheria.

Review of Bruncheria Cafe (New Westminster)

Nals and the Mr felt like a spot of brunch one weekend. And, we happened upon Bruncheria Cafe … so in we went. And we were not disappointed.

Hey guess what?! N&K has a new contest starting later today. For more details on the “Win a $50 Bruncheria Cafe Meal” Contest Rules, just click here.

Atmosphere

Casual seating, some areas have wooden benches with comfy cushions. It’s a large airy warmly lit space. Kitchen area is blocked off by a waist-high counter but you can watch the cooks prepare your meal. The service is easy going and friendly. Their inspiration is to have a family-style brunch atmosphere with a European twist.

Menu

The menu has changed since we were last there. Besides the usual delicious fare like Bacon & Eggs and Berry Cream Pancakes, they offer a Yo-conut Yogurt Fruit parfait, Sweet Toast Trio and Pulled Pork Pancakes. The Sweet and Spicy sounds fascinating.

Bruncheria Menu has delightfully unusual items and combinations. And the menu itself is laid out well: pictures with clear descriptions

They have a bevy of beverages: made-to-order espresso drinks, teas and cold drinks.

Our Food

We both ordered Bacon & Sausage Omelette with a side Greek Salad.

Food was delicious. Plates were well seasoned with fresh ingredients. They were simple but complimentary flavours. I loved their Chimichurri Toast – mmm garlic green goodness on crispy toast!

On our next visit, I’ll order one of the following: Probably The Best Brunch Sandwich Ever, Brunch Bowl with Hollandaise and the Build Your Own Brunch.

Best brunch sandwich ever – photo credit: Bruncheria Cafe

Location & Parking

Located on Columbia with paid street parking and easy access to transit.

Online ordering

They offer online ordering and even have their own Bruncheria app. 20% off for pick up orders.

Recommendation

Yassss you should eat here!

Contacts

Click for their: website, online ordering and Instagram.

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Bruncheria Cafe just finished their first year in business. To celebrate, they’ll be posting an IG contest, with a delicious prize.

N&K Tip

After brunch, go window shopping along Columbia, explore the Quay then take a stroll along the water. Or, just head down to the casino for a bit of blackjack.

A very special thank you to Dan and his team at Bruncheria for collaborating with us! He provided us with these beautiful pictures, and the Giveaway opportunity. Click here for entry details later today.

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!

Review of: Leavenworth Village Inn

As we approach this extra long Easter weekend, we wanted to suggest visiting Leavenworth, Washington for a quick trip away. This place is great for everyone: friends, couples, families and all ages.

General Impression

Leavenworth Village Inn is nestled in Leavenworth town, with the same quaint Bavarian as all other buildings. Suite was clean, spacious and luxurious. Note that there is no elevator.

The story goes… Kells & I jetted off with Cutie T for a Girls Weekend in February. We decided to say at Leavenworth Village Inn.

We’ve now stayed in the King Spa Suite twice. We went about 3 years ago with our buds DJ Cocoa*.

Doghaus Brewery, Leavenworth

In-Room Amenities

Sofa bed wasn’t comfy for lil Cutie T. So, we all 3 spent a lot of time watching TV on the king bed. King bed was super roomy & comfy AF! Kells is tall & I’m a big gal but we had lots of room… enough for Cutie T & then some!

Bathroom was huge with a wardrobe, and no tub. That’s cuz the bedroom had a huge jacuzzi.

Kitchenette had microwave, cupboards, sink, mini fridge, dishware°.

Main area also contained a little dining table with chairs, Cutie T’s sofa bed**, TV & mmm toasty fireplace.

There was lots of lighting and windows. There’s free wifi.

Drawbacks

TV doesn’t connect to bluetooth so you won’t be able to listen to your music or watch your Netflix. Counterspace & tabletop space is sparse.

Bookings & Cancellation

LVI is easy to book online. They have a reasonable cancellation policy. We would recommend looking into bookings early… in case there is an event going on.

Recommendation

N&K would most certainly recommend Leavenworth Village Inn. It’s centrally located with lots of parking.

Footnotes
*We can’t forget this trip! DJ was glued to CNN during the Trump v. Clinton thing.
° You’ll need to contact the front desk for cutlery.
**DJ Cocoa took the sofa bed last time. And this time, Cutie took the sofa bed. Unfortunately it had a part that dug into her tiny back. Though they advertised that the sofa bed was use-able, they seemed surprised when we told them it was being used. So, we would suggest you ask them to check the sofa bed BEFORE you arrive. As it was a busy time of year, we had no option to change rooms or hotels.

Herb-My-Life

So if you had read our other posts, Nals and I are working on having a healthy lifestyle. For me, eating is a big part of this. I like a good salad, but I also like a good cookie. But I don’t like a diet. I never have, never will and will probably fail if I try (I know this is not a good positive outlook, but it’t a realistic one).

Nals and I have different bodies, tastes and lives. Which also means, we have different eating habits (unless it comes to good food, we both love good food!). We have different jobs and different day to day activities, so we both eat different. But we both try to eat well (and try to limit our cookie intake).

For me, I have a busy job, that keeps me on my feet, and out of the office, away from the work kitchen, and close to fast food. For years I struggled with bringing a lunch to work, then, bringing a lunch but not being able to get to my lunch in the work fridge, which resulted in my eating out. And generally, this was not a healthy option.

A few years ago, my good friend’s (my fbff as I call her), mom introduced me and my hubs to her business, Herbalife. First of all, her mom is in amazing shape and looks fantastic, which I thought, well there’s no way a shake is going to make me look that good! BUT after a while, her mom convinced me and my hubs to try it.

First impressions were that it was not that good! Haha. Here’s why, I have tried other protein drinks in the past, and they were super sweet, which I got used to. Herbalife isn’t that weird fake sweet. So it took some getting used to. (Now I love it and when I do have another protein I find them gross, way to sweet). Friend’s mom (let’s just call her MomD) gave us a plan to follow. It went like this:

  1. Wake up, shake up (aka, have a shake for breaky, make it how you want it)
  2. Have a snack mid morning (yogurt, apple and nut butter, whatever, just make it a healthy snack).
  3. Shaky Shaky! (have a shake for lunch). This was great for me, fast and easy and not fast food! Plus I could have it on the go. Worked well for my work schedule.
  4. Snack it up, have another healthy snack in the afternoon. (carrots, humus, whatever, just try to stay away from the cookie jar).
  5. Have a healthy dinner.

Easy peasy really! I’ve talked about this before, I don’t do meal prep well. And I have failed many times at it. This makes it so easy, and my prep is done. All I have to do is choose what I want to add to my shake, berries, OJ, peanut butter…not hard choices if you ask me.

Fast forward, in the first 3 months, I did awesome and lost a lot of weight and felt great, I also got in to a car accident that left me needing back surgery which completely derailed me.

Faster forward, I’m herbalifing daily. I have fine tuned the process and found my fave ways to do my shakes. I’m back on track to losing the weight I gained after my accident. But most importantly, I have gotten back to a healthy lifestyle. Would I suggest herbalife, heck yah! Do I know it works, yes, as long as you do it. Do I think we should all do it, no. It’s not for everyone. How will you know if it is for you? Try it for a month, or 2 and see if you like it. You never know, it may just change your life.

Oh and if you want to know what I use, here yah go:
The extras I get cuz I like them are:

Oh! And one more thing, the cost. At first I was thinking it was expensive. BUT when I broke it down, I was not spending any more money than what I would normally spend on groceries. I found that 1 carton of formula 1 and protein powder lasted me one month. Herbalife also offers a 3 day trial pack that includes the cookies and cream and vanilla formula 1 and the total control.

Just so you all know, I don’t sell Herbalife. I only buy it for myself. Yes, I could be a consultant if I wanted to, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time in my busy schedule to dedicate the time to building customers. However, I do know people that sell it and would be happy to connect you with them. If you want to check it out, you can click HERE

I can also help you connect with someone if you are interested in trying Herbalife.

Do you have a good food routine? Please share it with us, we would love to hear what you do!

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.)

VBC 1-2-3 Doe Ray Me





VBC 1-2-3 Doe Ray Me

Well N&Kers, Miss Kells☆ popped her burlesque cherry last week. She & I performed at the Rio Theatre for the Vancouver Burlesque Company’s (VBC) Student Showcase starring Jett Adore (aka: the Prince of Burlesque, The No Pantser Romancer).

People think of burlesque just as “sexy”. And yes it certainly can be with the stocking peels, gyratin’ and inch worming. But it’s so much more than that! It’s BoPo, sexuality & gender welcoming, theatrical, political, comical, satirical, glamourous, vulnerable… It’s fluid and changes with time.

Burlesque isn’t just one thing, which is why it is captivating.

So, c’mon out and check out the next show. Vancouver International Burlesque Festival is April 3-6, 2019.

Footnotes

☆Nals popped her b-cherry last year with VBC’s first Student Showcase at Rio Theatre.

Pup & Circumstance: Review of Doghaus Brewery (Leavenworth)

Kells, Cutie T & I went on a fun little girls weekend to Leavenworth in February.

We decided to visit Doghaus Brewery. Kells had tried Icicle Brewery previously & it wasn’t her cup of brew. so she thought let’s give puphouse a whirl. Plus the $15 Group-on was a fab deal with a flight, pint & souvenir growler.

Doghaus is easy to get to because it’s in the middle of the town. Parking can be iffy so just walk from your hotel. The location has an interesting history, as it used to be a morgue (until the hospital moved its hindquarters).

N&K doing an impromptu photoshoot just outside of Doghaus Brewery.

Eden was our bar wench that day. She is a great hostess, warm, open & friendly… and she was accompanied by sweet and cute-as-a-pup-button Koda. Tasting room is a very small – it fits 8 folks snugly. You really get to know your fellow tasters.

Doghaus has 8 beers on tap that rotate seasonally. The flight allows up to 4 beers to taste which are served in an adorable doggie-treat-bone-shaped thingamabob. Between the 3 of us, we tried the wine beer, winter, fir, fluffy, amber, porter & lager. Our faves were porter, winter & lager.

The small tasting room is a catch 22. You can just walk-in (no reservations or appointments) during business hours. So, you never know who you’re going to get to chat with. But just as you’re getting comfy… to be courteous to the newcomers, we cut our visit short. Getting a bigger room or taking reservations may interfere with the current chemistry.

We really enjoyed our experience! We would not only recommend Doghaus but we’d come back in a pup-beat.

It hurts so boob

So I mentioned that I had back surgery and I had to advocate for myself.

This motivated me to start dealing with the health issues I had been ignoring for years. The first one was my tonsils. They were large and in charge. Basically, I had swollen tonsils all day every day. I made an appt with my doctor, showed her that even though I’m not currently sick, they are swollen and asked to see a specialist. I went to see them, again not sick, and they told me that I should have had my tonsils removed years ago. Which I knew already. So I had them removed (had some complications but survived & trust me you don’t want to hear these bloody details). BUT this also meant I needed to follow up with my breasts.

Zoinks!

Yuppers, I have breast issues. Mainly, they often hurt.

So here’s what they tell you when you are under 40 and you have breast pain: Don’t worry, it’s not cancer, Cancer doesn’t hurt.

Oh good. So you are under 40. You are in pain. And you don’t need to worry.

That’s it?

NO! So I went to see a specialist. And I was told I have fibrocystic breasts. Oh and if it gets worse come back. But there’s nothing you can do about it. You can try prim rose oil, but I have done researched it and discovered there is no evidence that prim rose oil helps. Some people say it does, some say it doesn’t. But I tried it. Can’t say it’s helped.

Sooo, it got worse. The pain expanded in strength and size. So I tell my doctor, who contacts the specialist that told me to come back if it gets worse. AND…denied. The specialist says no because there’s nothing they can do. Then why did you say come back! Arg.

So since I’m under 40, no other specialist will see me, as I’m too young to have cancer.

Here’s what I experience: consistent breast pain throughout the month. Then the pain increases to extremely sharp jabs of pain once or twice a month. On the one side, it radiates down into my arm pit, sometimes even extends further.

My doctor send me for ultra sounds and a mammogram. Let me tell you, having painful breast tissue squished is not a pleasant feeling. I was also sent for an ultra sound of the uterus and ovaries. Which, did nothing to help me. I was told I don’t have ovarian cysts.

You may be wondering what can be done? My doctor says: Nothing.

Yup, that’s right. There’s no pain management. No cure. And no help for fibrocystic breast pain. You are told either rub prim rose oil on it or deal with it. I actually told my doctor that this was not a good option. Women* are too often told to just deal with it. And I feel like I’m looked at as over reacting. As if radiating breast pain is nothing. It’s not cancer, so suck it up. The Mayo clinic says that severe pain or large painful cysts may warrant treatment. MAY being the key word. Let me tell you, when I compare my symptoms, I fall under the severe pain…and yet, I have been told there is no treatment.

According to one article, fibrocystic breasts aren’t cancer, but they can mean you have an increased risk of getting cancer.

The Mayo clinic says that 1 out of every 2 women can get this. The website Healthline.com says that there’s no treatment, but that advil or Tylenol will help. OR putting a hot or cold compress on your breast can help. Let me tell you, in my opinion, those options don’t work.

Soooo…that’s it. Half of women* are dealing with this breast pain on a daily basis and there is no treatment. WOW. Really? Nothing?

Here’s what I don’t get. According to Advil and Tylenol, you aren’t supposed to take more than so many pills a day and if you exceed that amount you should see a doctor. That doctor says take them anyways, since that’s your only option. Oh by the way, for me, taking this form of pain management doesn’t work.

Here’s my rant: Why does something that effects ½ of the breasts out there not have any treatment? Is it because it’s female*? Is it because it’s a female* issue? Makes you wonder, if this were testicle pain would there be treatment?

So what does this mean for me? Well, I need to get back to my doctor. And do a little more advocating!

Update: Went back to my doctor…I have more to say on this issue…stay tuned!

XO Kells

Review of Uli’s Restaurant (White Rock)

Uli’s is a delightful restaurant on waterfront in White Rock.

Nals & Missy R went there for brunch in early February for our 16th Friend-a-versary Celebration. As it was wintertime, it was cool. But that usually-shy sun was shining brightly. And I could easily see where the pier was nipped off in the storm a few weeks prior.

We were the first or second customers so it was wonderfully quiet. Restaurant was filled with wooden tables & chairs, minimalist beachy feel. This went well with the laid back feel of Marine Drive & Pier. Our server was lovely – helpful, attentive but not intrusive.

Our order

We had Baked Brie (carmelized garlic, blueberries and homemade crostini) to start. Missy R had the Schnitzel (Vienna style with rock salt & lemon). I had the Cuban Croquette Eggs Benedict (with fabulous bursts of pepper jelly).

And drum roll…

All dishes tasted delicious. Coffee was tasty strong. Missy R had the perfect Bloody Caesar, extra spicy.

However

The dishes could’ve been warmer, especially Brie. Apparently, TripAdvisor (TA) diners have observed this before. TAers also observed that portions were small. We both have healthy appetites and we thought they were a good size. But we also had drinks and Brie.

We love scratch kitchens!

Other considerations

Parking can be a bit of a pain so take time or carpool. And also take time to stroll along the waterfront. Enjoy the view, salt air, maybe get an ice cream or window shop. And remember: do not get close to or feed the wildlife. Watching Marine Life: safely. What could happen if you: don’t.

Do N&K recommend Uli’s?

Missy R has been here before & enjoyed it. And, yes we both would recommend this place.

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 Announcement

Attention: To All N&Kers

Why hello there you exquisite creatures! Kells & I are keeping the post short for this week as we are heading into our Girl’s Weekend Getaway.

Tonight, we’ll be heading to the Justin Timberlake concert. He was supposed to croon for us a few months ago. But the poor dear had vocal cord issues. We told him “Hey J – Just go home, take it easy. Take care of yo fine self. And come back in February.” And here we are…

After that, K&I are heading to Leavenworth with our friend, Cutie T. We plan on engaging in R&R and stuffing ourselves with chocolate, bratwurst & schnizel! And of course, we’ll be taking a whole truckload of pictures. K&I have lots of new photoshoot ideas, & we’ll have Cutie T as our photographer.

So, stay tuned for Leavenworth posts… and check our IG for BID posts.

Be mine: hot choco

So here in the great YVR a few hot spots got together for the Hot Chocolate Festival.We think end of Jan and into Feb is a great time to warm us up.
Today marks the final day of the Hot Chocolate Festival (boo). But we did get out there and try a few (even though our intentions were to try as many as we could).
We loved some and didn’t love others.
We have a tie for our favourite! They were both so different but both so good. So in first and 1st place is a) the Vegan hot chocolate from Cadeaux Bakery and b) the Bees knees squeeze from Chez Christophe
Let’s talk about a) first. We both love some coconut so to have that hint of coconut with the rich chocolate was a win in our books. Then b) this was delightful sweet treat with honey and lemon notes.
Second place has to go to strawberry fields forever, a dark chocolate and strawberry delight also from Chez Christophe.
Third place is the hot chocolate in a cone from Mink. The cone was a yummy addition. Just wish the drink was warmer (however we get having a super hot drink in a cone doesn’t bode well).
The middle 2 are from Baggio. They weren’t cheap and was underwhelming. They were barely warm and did not have much flavour despite the amazing descriptions. We tried the Almond Joy and Tiramisu for 2.
And sorry to sayEast Van Roasters, you make a mean salted cookie, but your fragrant hot chocolate was just not our thing. We are sure others loved it. But we didn’t get the flavour fusion of the Umami Experience.
We have to say, the Hot Chocolate fest was a great way to get us out and about. And we love that they support women and children. Yummy in a cup plus a good cause. Now that we can get behind!

Restaurant Review: Cold Havana Nights

Both Kells & I have been to Havana (Cuban Restaurant on Commercial Drive) several times. And, since we were having out-of-towners join us, we wanted to take them somewheres new!

No Reservations

Because we were going to a show, we were hoping to make reservations. I checked online 2 weeks before. Son of a buggerball: no reservations during peak times, such as Friday & Saturday after 6 pm. Open Table was right on their site so I tried to book anyways. It wouldn’t allow me to book after 4:45 pm. Our show was at 9 pm so 4:45 would be way too early. I also went to the Open Table app, thinking it might be different. And, nope. Grrr.

The Waiting Game

Half of our party got there before 6 & told that it would be an hour wait to sit inside. So they were seated outside, waiting for us. K&I joined and the 4 of us planned our drink orders (mojitos, V&T, margarita). Things were going ok.

As per the timeline above, we had 20 minutes left to wait for a table inside… but were told by staff that it’d actually be another 40. And apparently, once we ordered patio-side, we’d have to stay put.

The patio seating was assembled-to-order and so it wasn’t 100% comfortable. 2 of us felt that we were in the walkway. But our waiter assured us that we weren’t. And the heaters were keeping us warm. And we were hungry pups. So we figured we’d stay.

However, after another few minutes, our bottoms got cold. Our Gentleman Out-of-Towner got up to speak with the inside folks. He asked for our table listing back. We were told it’d be 1.5 hours. So he reminded them that we were already on the list, just a few minutes prior. Then they said 40 minutes.

When our waiter returned, we again inquired. She checked and told us 1.5 hour wait, even though at this point we were there over an hour. She said once we had ordered the food, inside folks assumed we’d just stay outside and took us off the list… and plus the restaurant had full reservations. Hmmm…

Eat Drink Man Woman

Drink and food service was slow. We ordered appies and said we would all share. Kells hates cilantro, so the waiter made suggestions. I ordered poblano & corn dip. K ordered the avocado tostones. And, the tostones came with cilantro. The waiter apologized and sent it back. Our out-of-towners got mussels, which were fab.

Our Gentleman Out-of-Towner ordered a 3rd beef taco, which never came. Me n Lady Out-of-Towner ordered the flat iron steaks, which were salty but good. The side was a fantastic cauliflower number. K ordered the prawn tacos, which were good with tasty sides.

Mains came 10 mins after appies – which was poor timing. Seemed like we waiting forever for our drinks… then our appies… then it all came spilling out on small table. (For comparison: There were other folks on the patio as well, and they received their food & drinks in a timely manner. One of the tables had 7 or 8 people.)

Would we recommend this restaurant?

K&I have been here before and it was an enjoyable experience. My last time was years ago, just before the fire. Kells’s last time was more recent: after the renos and change in ownership. So, this experience was different and not 100% positive.

But if you’ve never tried Cubano food, definitely go – especially for brunch. And if it’s peak dinner time, we would recommend making an early reservation. That way you’ll get a seat inside, and hopefully your food in a timely manner. If 4:45 is too early for dinner, go anyways. Then take an after-dinner stroll through The Drive, and get yourself a delicious Italian espresso or gelato… or do some window shopping and people-watching.

Sky’s the Limit at SkyCity Hotel in Auckland, NZ!

Nals visited New Zealand this Christmas. She mainly stayed with family. But lucky for SkyCity Hotel… she was able to sneak away one night.

General feel

SkyCity Hotel has a lofty, brightly lit, sparkly feel with huge chandeliers and a marbly lobby. Our floor was carpeted for reduced noise, but felt expansive. There were a few places to sit, in hallway outside of elevators.

Our room

was Kingsize. It too was lofty, with warm colours. Windows are huge almost floor-to-ceiling. We were on 4th floor & got dizzying views. (Views of construction, but still dizzying.) They had blackout drapes and it was quiet due to the double-glaze. There was plenty of lighting options.

The bed

Soooo big and firm. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel Mr. Nals rolling around in middle of the night. (He’s littler than me, but is like a heavy log when fast asleep.) This bed looked perfect for jumpy pillow fights. There was also a glorious multitude of pillows.

The rest of the room

There was a nice little seating area with a loveseat that could fit 2-3 folks.

The desk was a good size with stationary and hotel info.

In-room entertainment

There is a large TV with variety of channels, wifi, lots of places to plug chargers. There might’ve even been a docking station.

Comforts

The hair dryer was proper. It wasn’t that useless hunk of plastic secured to the wall. There was an iron with the board. They had a Keurig-type machine with coffee/tea/hot choco. Mugs, wine glasses and tumblers were provided. There was also a bar fridge and microwave. And inside the closet was a delightful little safe.

Bathroom was spacious with toiletries. We didn’t have a tub but shower was spacious. And there was a fabulous rainshower head!

Hotel Entertainment

Skycity Hotel has tons to do like the Skytower, a casino, conference rooms, a cafe and a couple of restaurants. They also have a fitness room.

Parking

There is self or valet parking for ~50NZD/day. But as it is downtown, it’s easy enough to catch the train (or bus) or use your legs for transport. We also saw motorized scooters zipping about town.

Tips

– Don’t put e-keycard near your phone so you can avoid de-magnetizing the keycode.
– lots of construction going on in Auckland so ask for a room with a nice view.
– within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, liquor stores. I will be posting on local cafes & restaurants soon.

Does Nals recommend Skycity Hotel?

It’s in Auckland’s Central Business District (aka CBD but not to be confused with this other thing) so it’s a central location. Reasonable rates, easy to book and check out. Quiet and luxuriously comfortable.

So hells yeah!
we’d stay here again
in a heartbeat.

You’ve gotta fight, for your right, to heeeaaaalllttthhhh care! (cont’d)

Last week I talked about my car accident that left me with disabling back pain, the struggle to get a specialist appointment… all while completing my masters & working fulltime.

So the doctors ordered surgery. Finally, I was getting somewhere!

The next hurdle.  I was put on the list for surgery, but was told that it could be years before I get it.

I cried.

I was not going to make it.

I wasn’t thinking about hurting myself, but I understood why those in chronic pain end their lives.

More ideas from the physiotherapist

Thankfully, my lawyer was also there to help me. She got my surgery done in a private clinic a few weeks later. I walked out of surgery standing tall. (also vomiting, but I was able to stand up straight).

Heading in for an MRI (post surgery)
  • Here’s what I realized:  I know my body. And after this whole ordeal, I really learned about my body.  
  • doctors also know what you tell them. Which also means that what the doctors hear and what I say can be 2 different things.
  • I need to ask. Ask for referrals to be sent. Ask for results, ask for the better imaging.
  • And when I hear, well you need to do A before we can do B. Ask that B also be started.

The other thing I learned was that I have put a few other parts of my health on the back burner because I just didn’t have energy to to keep advocating for myself. I wasn’t happy about this…also annoyed, that I would have to speak up again to have my health taken seriously.

As women*, we are often not taken seriously when we tell the doctor that something is wrong.

We are often viewed as overreacting or unable to manage the slightest bit of pain.

We often have to put our health on the back burner because we need to care for others.

This has got to stop!

And it will stop with us advocating for our own health.

Yes, this is a scary thought. BUT we deserve it. AND we need to support each other. We don’t need to do it alone. Please share with your sisters*. We don’t need to be embarrassed. We need the support and their motivation to get through.

My back surgery and injury was a motivator for me to get my health in order. As I have shared before, I need to keep active in order to keep my back health in check. BUT this also motivated me to get the other health issues in my self checked out. I will post on those later.

But please, today, share with your closest person the health concern you have and what you need support with.

And advocate for yourself! You are worth it.

You’ve gotta fight, for your right, to heeeaaaalllttthhhh care!

Since we have been focusing on health I think we also need to talk about advocating for our health.

If you are a woman*, you know that this means you have to advocate for your health.

Going to the doctor can be stressful because we are often not listened to and treated as though we are overreacting.

A couple of years ago I was in a car accident. My car was written off and I was left with lower back injuries that increased in pain every day. Instead of getting better, I got worse.

In my professional life, I’m a strong advocate. In my personal life, I don’t like to do this. But my back injury left me facing my biggest hurdle: advocating for myself.

I was going to doctor appt after doctor appt: telling them that the pain is getting worse. After many appts, I convinced my doctor to get me a referral to a specialist, which was set for months down the road.

By this point, I had troubles waking up in the morning due to the pain.

It would take me a long time to sit up and work towards a stand, which was basically me hunched over, holding onto the dresser, breathing through the pain, hoping I won’t wet myself before I could make it to the toilet. I would slowly get ready and hobble my way to the car. After sitting in the car I would have to continue to breathe through my pain before starting the car and driving to work.

Yes, I still went to work. Mainly because I was told I needed to keep moving. And secondly, I couldn’t really afford not to as I was also working on my Masters degree. My accident was in January. By the summer, I couldn’t stand up straight. The pain was so overwhelming I thought I was losing my mind.

I saw the specialist and as soon as he asked me why I was there, I could barely talk through the tears. He told me that I needed a MRI and to see a surgeon. I was on the verge of a complete breakdown, but I was told to keep working and keep moving.

Meanwhile. I finished my Masters and started a full time job. Finally, I was scheduled for the MRI 6 months later and for an appt with a surgeon for a year later.

It was at this point that I knew I wasn’t going to last another year, let alone 6 months. I was taking it day by day. And near the end of August, I walked away from work because I was hunched right over, having tunnel vision due to the pain and absolutely losing it. The pain was so great I couldn’t think. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sleep. I just couldn’t. I went to the doctor and I was given Morphine and offered methadonefor pain management. I declined the methadone. (I know way too much about it to accept it.) So, I took the morphine. It made me sleep but unfortunately did not kill the pain.

Thankfully I had a good lawyer, who was able to somehow convince the insurance company that paying to see the surgeon privately and for an MRI privately was the best option.

This moment changed everything.

I knew it was bad. By this point I had a dropped foot with no feelings below my ankle. It felt like bugs crawling on my skin and I wasn’t able to stand up straight. I wasn’t seeing straight, was on meds that weren’t working, and was hanging on by a thread.

I stopped checking in the doctors to give them the insurance information/updates and started to tell them I need help now.

The MRI showed I had 2 bulging discs and a herniated disc that was pressing itself into my sciatic nerve.

And, no amount of rehab was going to change anything.

I would need surgery.

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion of this article.

Welcome to 2019, you gorgeous N&Kers!

While most others are focussing on New Year’s Resolutions posts… here at N&K, we like to do things a little differently.

First thing is first: let’s look at the importance of routine. We feel that routine rules the roost. Once we get back on the horse, many things fall into place- eating better, drinking less alcohol, watching nutritional intake, exercising more, meditating more, increasing awareness of snarky moods.

NY Resolutions are like “diets”… people think that a new year is going to automatically & magically change behaviours. People don’t think things through, don’t plan for obstacles, then fall off the wagon and say… FML, I’m going back to my old habits.

So… During the holidays, we have likely all have stopped our daily healthy routines. We have been indulging in sweets & savouries, taking lots of down time, having lots of sleep-ins. Or, maybe we’ve been the hosts of a huge family/friend gathering and the anxiety of making things perfect for the guests. Perhaps we are in retail business, so we’ve been stressed with working: making quotas, working OT, plastering on smiles…

Nals started the downward spiral in early December. I was getting ready for a performance. So, I was practicing a lot & doing late night dress rehearsals. I was going to bed late, not eating at my usual times, and not doing meal prep… I wasn’t exercising at my usual times or places so it all went to hell in a hand basket PDQ. Right now, I’m probably sleeping off the ringing-in of The New Year in NZ. (BTW, one of the first folks in the world to do so!) So when I get back into GVA, I’m going to start off by getting proper groceries, doing meal prep, and getting back into my early-to-bed early-to-rise routine. That’ll be best, & also will help me mitigate that bloody jet lag.


Kells’s routine was mucked up due to the common December cold. Usually I just power through the cold and keep it going… but this year I was exhausted and slightly feverish. So I missed one day, then a few days, then a week. Yikes! And here’s the thing, it was so easy to fall. Way to easy. I was getting pretty proud of myself for not falling…be even the mighty fall. Hahaha!

Ok…so I got a cold and I’m not going to the gym, and it wasn’t far after that, I wasn’t eating well and wasn’t drinking lots of water! And it didn’t help I made 4 types of cookies. And we all know it’s coming…holidays, cookies, turkey dinners and we plan for it…even I planned for it. I was determined not to fall but down I went.

But now its time to get back in the swing…and honestly I’m not looking forward to squeezing myself into the gym with all the new years resolutionars. But unfortunately it’s part of the process of getting back at it after the holidays, just happens to fall in January.

I just want to suggest that before you dive into the gym, work on your SMART goals and figure out your motivation (what is motivation, what’s your motivation and how does your motivation help you). Nals and I have talked about it many times in our previous posts so I really recommend scanning through those.

How about you guys? How will you get back on track?

Gabs and Grub at Glowbal Restaurant 

I was invited to a work dinner last month. When the organizer mentioned it was at Glowbal, I was sure I misheard. Never heard of Glowbal. Was it a dinner at Global TV studios? Or…?
Apparently, Glowbal has won some awards and is ‘fusion cuisine’ that is ‘stripped down to North American’ roots. It is in downtown Vancouver’s Telus Garden building. Parking is on the street or in a lot. Or, take transit.
Menu is available right at the door … which is convenient if you’re waiting in line. They have a couple of specials – lunch, cocktails hours, wine dinners.


So, we were herded off to a cosy private room upstairs. Menu was closed but it was a 3 course affair.

For starters: We could choose the Mushroom Truffle Cream soup or Caesar salad. We all ordered salad. This was crispy, bacon-y, dressed in the garlic creamery and topped with delightful curls of parm. I love a good Caesar salad. However, I find that most restaurants drench gorgeous green romaine hearts in some awful glue-like dressing. And I end up forking off the dressing to try to eat the now-wilted romaine.
Second course: I chose the Wild BC Salmon. Most others chose the short ribs. Portions were huge and hot. Seasoning was spot-on.
Third course was a deconstructed berry cheesecake. This was the bit of sweet to end the night. Each table also had assorted macaroons and other too-sweet crunchies. A thin slice of dark chocolate cake and an espresso would’ve ended the meal perfectly.
After we ordered, wait staff brought out the surprise appies – skewers of protein like satay chicken, grilled shrimp, etc. Defo delicious but also a bit odd to eat without side plates.


Wait staff were whisper quiet and quickly filled our wines and waters without asking. Their area to move around was a little cramped with 3 round tables, with half the room carved out for the slides and presenter. It was Christmas party time so whenever the doors were kept open, we could hear the din outside. I’m not sure what they could have done about the noise besides keeping the doors closed. (But during service, this is not possible.)
Ok… but what about the rest of the restaurant? Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, muted lighting, dark wood walls made for an intimate feel, without the cramped space. There are various dining areas: outside, lounge, bar side, mezzanine and private rooms.

Kells has been here before and enjoyed it. Like me, she also thinks this is reminiscent of Purple Café. Our review is here.
Recommendation: if you like traipsing into downtown Vancouver, eating in a busy trendy North American restaurant, then Glowbal should be on your list.

Bad Ass Supercurls

I was browsing some much-needed mascara, when I happened upon this purple goddess called 24 Hour Supercurler by Rimmel.

And guess what I thought? It’s Mascara Monday time for our gorgeOUs N&Kers!


Let’s re-state our review rules:

  1. We bought all mascara ourselves (which means nobody is paying us).
  2. We wear each mascara for a week.
  3. All mascaras purchased were black, and the darkest black they had available.
  4. Every mascara used was put on the exact same way, with only two coats. All eye makeup for the comparison pictures was exactly the same.

That’s it…there are no more rules.

Wait…maybe one more…the opinion is ours…take it or leave it. Believe it or not. These are just our 2¢.


What we want in a mascara

Lasting Curl

Staying Power

Colour

Separation

Volume

Length

Most reviews talk about these 6 points. The first 5 are important to me since I’ve got naturally long lashes2.

The problem is that my durn lashes ramrod straight. So, I’ve got to bust out the eyelash curler first1. Doesn’t matter if it’s a mascara dipped in gold. Without that lash curler, the mascara will not reach its full potential.
Application. So after curling and applying Rimmel London’s 24 Hour Supercurler, I found that the product applied quickly, without much fuss.
Curl power. This product didn’t curl my lashes very much. But, once I cyborg’ed it up1, the mascara worked well.
Staying power. It lasted quite a while. In fact, I found that I needed to get a Q-tip in there after cleansing to ensure all the product was out. (Lots of other people experienced this as well. See some other reviews.)
Separation. That curved brush is thick and it’s got some junk in the trunk. Angle that brush around & work it for your lashes. As the product has a thin consistency, lashes were separated beautifully with no porridge-y clumps.

Colour. Yep, the colour was “very black”. See Volume as this affects appearance of Colour.
Volume. Oh sigh. Here’s where it falls short. I got length, separation, curl power, colour… do you really need volume, too? Can all 5 equally co-exist in 1 mascara? I layer my mascaras anyways, so I’d just pair it with a volumizer.

Interesting tid bit: Rimmel London gives a dupe on fake lashes here. Did this dupe work for you?Did this dupe work for you?

Would I buy again (Yes!) & would i recommend it?

For newbies this is a good starter mascara.

For the seasoned mascara-ists, you’ll have to pair with a volumizer.

Footnotes
1 Mr Nals calls me cyborg when I’m using the curler. I’ve found that when I put curler under the hair dryer for 2-3 seconds, the curl is intense and adding a good mascara suspends it in curl-perfection.
2 My lashes have lengthened and volumized with EyEnvy eyelash conditioner! Our review is available here.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

So finding good fried chicken in the Pacific Northwest is like trying to find fresh seafood in the desert. Its hard to find. I’m still searching for an amazing chicken and waffles in Vancouver.

But there’s this local joint in the heart of gastown that’s pumping out some amazing fried chicken and other great bbq’d meats.
I highly recommend peck in pah for their chicken fried sandwich. And if you are anything like me, I order it sans cilantro.

To me, this has got to be one of the best fried sandwiches I have ever tried. So much yum. And really its so simple. But the fact that their chicken is juicy and fried makes it a win.
Fried chicken not your jam? Well don’t cha worry your lil self about that. There’s much more in this tiny joint. I strongly recommend the fried pickles. Again, they are the best I’ve had.

Don’t want fried. No prob. Try their mac and cheese. The portion is huge. But if you are bold enough and enjoy meat I would suggest adding the pulled pork to the mac and cheese. Its amazing.
Peck in pah also gives each table a few of their house made sauces. Honestly, I havent tried them yet. Not that I don’t think they will be good. But I just haven’t felt my meal needs the extra sauce.
I also like the location and great big windows on this restaurant. Grabbing a window seat isn’t hard since the whole place is windows over looking the brick streets of Gastown.

Oh! I almost forgot. The beers! They have a good beer selection of local beers. Unfortunately I’ve mainly been here for lunch. So I haven’t had the opportunity to drink my way through their beer menu. But I’ve noticed it and plan to try more of it when I can.
Have you been here yet? Or know of the best chicken and waffles in town? Please send us an email or leave a comment below.

Last Day of N&K Christmas: Fun stuff

N&K’s 7 Days oChristmas 

comes to an end

 


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


And on the 7th Day…

Drumroll…

Kells & I are always up for haviNg some fun.  Can you mix ‘giving back’ with ‘fun’? Yassuh!

 

🌲 Day 7 🌲

F u n   s t u f f

St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope

Stanley Park Xmas Train

Snowball Fight 

Press Box Las Divas jam session to raise funds for DTES

Festival of Trees 

Keithmas – rock out to Keith Richards

Canada Helps

Christmas Charities Calendar of Events

Holiday Giving: 20 ways to give back and help those in need

N&K’s Christmas: Day 6: Women

N&Ks 7 Days of Christmas


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!


Kells & I Are passionate about womens issues.  This is Why we chose the 3 organizations to win $2500.

Historically (& we’d say even currentLy), women have gotten The shoRT end of The attention Stick.  

Health, safety & well being of us ladies is not consistently addressed.

N&k Felt today – December 6 – was the perfect day to bring this topic to the Forefront.

 

🌲 Day 6 🌲

We remember: women

What is  the big D about December 6?  Here’s what happened in Quebec, Canada in 1989. 20 Years Later, a movie was made about the Events.

Atira

DTES Womens Centre 

BC Womens Hospital 

Canadian Womens Foundation has tips on other ways to give

Battered Womens Support Services 

My Sister’s Closet 

Women Against Violence Against Women

If you are a Woman* in crisis, here are some supports:

WAVAW (Lower Mainland) 604-255-6344 or call our national toll-free line at 1-877-392-7583

Transgendered People can be at a risk of violence within relationships as well as from strangers.  If you are in crisis, please contact:

https://www.translifeline.org/

YouthLine or call 1-800-268-9688

The Hotline:

US: 877-565-8860

Canada: 877-330-6366

GLBT hotline

Transline

Males can also be victims of relationship violence. If you need help or more info:

Mensline

Mayo Clinic

Hotline

Canada.ca

Family violence:

Justice BC

 

N&K’s Christmas: Day 5: Food

N&K’s 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!


Kells & I love good food.  what a surprise! Christmas is a great time for eating because

1.  there are a Ton of special treats around.
2.  People bust out their pastry & baking skills and go to town.
3. Pnw just got a Whole hecKUva lot colder.  Frost has shown up this morning.  Good food makes you feel warm, cosy & happy.

There are people who don’t have money for food, let alone special treats.  It’s expensive buying all the bits n bobs for baking.  And you still need a stove, electricity and bakeware! How about we look to those who don’t have as much as us… and give others the basic right to eat healthy nourishing food.

 

🌲 Day 5 🌲

Food

 

A Loving Spoonful  – this organization helps folks with hiv & aids.
Food bank – call them to see What types of food they need… or just donate money so the organization can fill the gaps as they arise.
Ronald Mcdonald home for dinner – give a family the gift of your warm dinner table.  Some families Are in hospital, caregiving their sick kIdlet.  Maybe you can be one of the pEeps tha CHANges that.
Union gospel mission
First united church

 

N&K’s Christmas: Day 4: Seniors

N&Ks 7 Days of Christmas 


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


Kells & I love The Christmas season. People are cheerier, more smiley & Gallant.  We also love spending Time with family & friEnds.

For many folks, Christmas can be a super sad time.  If you don’t have many resources or a support network, it can be extremely isolating.

Often, the focus of Christmas is Children.  

Certainly, an overlooked population is our Seniors.

 

Imagine that you have lost your spouse or close friends to (age-related) diseases.  Maybe you’re now in a care home because of your own changing health…  Now you’ve lost some independence.  Maybe you can’t bake or eat certain Christmas treats. Maybe your mobility is restricted, and so are your finances, so you can’t go shopping whenever you want… and you feel that you can’t spoil those peeps around you.

How about we spend some time with Seniors this year? Chances are, those very seniors spoiled you when you were a kid.  And we know that they fought for us to enjoy today.

 

🌲 Day 4 🌲

SeniorS

 

Canadian Resources for Seniors 
BC GovERNMENt site has some tid bits here
BC Seniors Guide 
City of Vancouver Outreaching Seniors 
Seniors Centres – search online for Centres in your area. Typically services are a lounge, game times, tea parties, bazaar meals, holiday gatherings.
Go Volunteer
Better At Home 
Family caregivers of BC has some great tips.
Give back locally… take your neighbor-senior to get groceries to the doctors, or just go for a walk.
Elder abuse comes in many forms: physical, verbal, financial. See Seniors BC for deets

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.

N&K’s Christmas Day 2: Kidlet Christmas

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 enjoy being aunties to our nieces & nephews. There are a lot of kidlets without aunties & uncles or without a lot of resources.

They say that Christmas is for kids, right?  If you want to make a kidlet’s Christmas more special, take a gander at our list below.

This is not a comprehensive list.  Rather, we like to bring creative and quiet organizations to the forefront.

🌲 Day 2 🌲

KidleTS

Baby 
Coats 
Food Bank Baby Formula & Diapers
Christmas Bureau 
Northwest Wildlife Association educates teens & kidlets about wildlife in the PNW 
Covenant House – opens Doors for hoMEless youth

N&K’s 7 days of Christmas Kicks Off Today

N&Ks 7 Days of Christmas kicks off today!

K&I pledged on Giving Tuesday that we’d get the word out about giving back.

And if N&K are winners in the contest, our fave charities (Canadian Women Foundation and CARE, Nellies) will get to split $2500!

K&I love non-human animals.   So why not help the organizations that support pets?

🌲 Day 1 🌲

PetS & non-human animals 

BC SPCA
Humane Society
Wildlife Sanctuary
Wildlife Rescue or this link
Recycle Christmas Trees for bird pens
Burnaby Lake Park
Critter Care Wildlife 
Raptor & Owl Rehab 
Northwest Wildlife Association
An app discusses how to coexist with wildlife, developed by kidlets
Wildsafe BC 

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.

 

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s EyEnvy?

As you delightful N&Kers know, I had a coworker with lashes that went on for days.  Her secret was EyEnvy.

Eyenvy is an eyelash & brow conditioner.

I searched high and low last year and could only find the mascara.  I thought it was peanuts but it actually made lashes a bit fuller.  My review is here.

 

Kells found the actual conditioner.  She reviews it here.

So in July, I finally got a bottle of conditioner.  They recommend applying once daily x3 months then go to every other day.  I noticed a difference about 2 months into the routine.  Or rather, others noticed:

 

a friend of mine said “Your lashes are so full that they’re casting a shadow on your face!”

 

Mr Nals said “They look bigger.”(Man of a few words, that one.)

 

I’m now down to the every-other-day application.  But, it was easy enough to remember to apply & let dry.  My skin & eyes are super sensitive but I didn’t find any adverse reactions.

So N&Kers, if you want to try it: do it!

A couple of N&Kers have tried it, with uber positive results.

 

Blacksmith Bakery

Kells & I were headed off to Langley to do a photoshoot. We were looking for a funky historic site nearby2, but didn’t find it.

So we meandered back to the main drag for some action1

 


we were sidetracked by a cute little candy store 


and then we found this little gem called BlackSmith Bakery.

             Our order              

   Eton mess   Mason jar filled with delightful layers of strawberry jam, meringue, whipped cream.

Yes, it was delicious but layers all had the same notes.

We were wanting something else in there: maybe a bit of citrus flavour or bites of another tart berry. Next time, we’ll likely try something else.

 

 

    truly chocolate cake      smooth, rich. Mmm a perfect 10

 

Blacksmith Bakery specializes in bennies and pizzas.

Seeing as how it was brunch time, we got ourselves:

 

   Funghi benny   

Earthy mixed mushrooms & microgreens topped the E.muffs.

This was definitely our fave.

 

   Smoked Salmon benny    

Papery thin slices of heavenly fish, garnished with fresh dill.

 

The hollandaise was delightfully tangy. And both dishes were served with crisped rosemary potato bites.

 

This place was hoppin’ busy. Apparently this was also where the Ride to Conquer Cancer riders stopped in for a bite. They were riding on a cold gloomy rainy morning. Yet they all piled in like excited chatty munchkins, laughing, drinking their hot drinks and eating food with gusto.

 

    So what’s the verdict?  Thumbs up or down?   

Fabulous place for food – a meal, just a coffee, nibble a pastry or get a pizza to go.
Parking might be a bit iffy if there’s an event.
But it’s a great place to people-watch.  defo thumbs up!

Footnotes:
1 Truth be told we gals got a bit peckish.

2 Nope, it was not the Fort Langley National Historic site that we were looking for.

Review of: Skagit Valley Casino Resort

A few years ago, our friend DJ Cocoa Smoov decided to celebrate his 50th in Vegas.

 

K invited me and… history was made as we realized that we travelled well together².

So, the following year, K&I decided to start a tradition of celebrating our October birthdays away from home. We Started with Leavenworth (Oktoberfest).

Last year, we went to Vegas where The Weeknd performed for Kells on her birthday.

 


Our Vegas reviews of:  Yellowtail    Olives     Ballys


T h i s   y e a r …

due to our work schedules and my limited vacation hours¹, we decided on a mini Run for the Border birthday getaway. Our sole goal was shopping. (So much shopping that we needed to spend a night.) We decided to grace Skagit Valley Casino Resort with our presence.

Kells has stayed here several times before, including a Suite. This time, we were in the Ridge Double Queen.

The hotel was large, spacious, clean, airy.

 

Rooms were decorated in muted tones.  Beds were super comfy: firm but soft (ie: not lumpy). Pillows were snuggly soft. There was a lot of tabletop room.  And a little sitting area. Bathroom was large and well-lit. Hot water took a bit to come in but when it did, it stayed. Rooms were quiet.

In-room amenities: Lots of toiletries including facial-cleanser wipes, TV, hair dryer, coffee & machine, little fridge and microwave. In fact, we would call this a kitchenette area because there was also a cute little sink.

 

Hotel amenities: pool & fitness room. The lobby has a lovely fireplace for the cold days. Staff are lovely. And they have a continental breakfast room. Plenty of free guest parking. Of course there’s a casino. And as per their website, dining rooms and actual shows like the upcoming Clairvoyant Christmas². The surroundings are green & woody. So a lot of rooms lookout on this. We took pictures out there, and ended up seeing deer!

We would defo stay here again!

 

Footnights
1 Oh dear limited vaca days? Poor Nals! Well don’t feel sorry for me. I’m going to NZ next month!

2 Important things to consider when travelling with others: are you a neat freak, does the other person snore, is someone a blanket hog, who’s crabby in the morning til they get their coffee, what do you like watching on the old boob toob?

First Blog-a-versary and October Round-Up

October 2018 was the mark of our First Blog-a-versary!

And to celebrate, we dedicated the last few weeks to Womens Health.

We went to VanCity’s Womens Expo, tried burlesque classes, talked self esteem, tried Sugaring,  did fun photoshoots, did a giveaway, fundraised (see below: And A Word From Kells) and teamed up with Cadeaux Bakery and Sugaring Change.

 

Hope you enjoyed our First Ever Blog-a-versary as much as we did!

We are going to bring more delightful things your way in the next year.

Feel free to contact us for topic suggestions and places to review!

Email or

Message us on:

@NalsandKells

@NalsandKells

Nals and Kells

 

xo, Nals

 

        And a word from Kells       

So in September I decided to join the 30 min Hit Kick the Beep Out of Cancer.

As I mentioned before I have lost a couple of people to cancer and my bestie is a survivor.  So it wasn’t hard to say yes to fundraising.

Over the month, Nals also joined me for a couple of fundraisers. We had a pub night and did guys day…which wasn’t exactly what we did… it was more like bring Nals to the gym with me. It was so much fun to work out with Nals. And she kicked some butt. It’s not an easy workout and she worked it.
Also, throughout the month I took a selfie for every workout (mainly because my bro challenged me to $2 per selfie). But I also tried to step up my game while doing the circuit. People, including the ones I’ve lost, have had to work so hard to fight through their cancer. So kicking hard for 30 mins is nothing compared to what those with cancer face.
Did I raise millions, no? But it really is about
Fighting together as a community.
♥Coming together.
♥Raising awareness together.
Cuz this past month was about fighting for everyboobie and everybooty. Cancer needs to be stopped!! And the only way that it’s going to happen is when we fight together.
Thanks for joining me in the fight. Let’s do it again next year!

xo, Kells

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.

Packs a punch!

Nals tried 30 Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIT)  on Sunday.

It’s a power packed kickboxing and boxing routine for ladies only4. The circuit is designed to hone self-defense skills, improve core and increase strength.

 

                   Activity                  

There are 13 stations that last 2 minutes each.

You start off with a 2 minute jump rope warm up. Next stations are something like:

  1. hook/jab,
  2. sit ups on fitness ball,
  3. round housing a punching bag,
  4. semi sit ups with arms slightly throwing medicine ball¹ straight up,
  5. kneeing an-imagined-assailant-turned-kicking-bag,
  6. hook,
  7. Bridge & squeeze on a fitness ball,
  8. on a mat, turtlekicking & punching a heavy douchebag squarebob-a-thinger, ²
  9. free-for-all kicking/punching the stink out of Bob, the flesh-coloured silicone bust on a pole, with the invisible Punch-Me sign.

There are 3 levels, starting at 1.

 

 

                  Procedure                

So you do a period of time (ie: 30 seconds) of regular-paced and regular-powered activity
then when the buzzer bings once, you either power up or go fast (ie: 15 seconds).  Repeat
Double bing means switch stations.

 

                  Atmosphere                

Loud pumped-up music, very small area (great for focus), personal trainer attention with quick corrections/ encouragements/verbal pushes.
I think I have auditory processing disorder so it was a bit of a challenge to keep all the instructions, directions, movements clear with the music and timer. I think I did okay3, and will obviously improve with more exposure.

 

                  So… ?               

I was totes prepared to join Miss Kells in her Kick the Flip out of Cancer in October. This would’ve entailed getting to the HIT daily.  I work out weekday mornings at 630.  So unfortunately, their hours didn’t work for me. From experience I know I will not go regularly at another time.

There are no drop-ins4. There are monthly pay options.  The fee decreases depending on if it’s month-to-month, for 12 or 24 months.

The trainers are fabulous – full of pep and sugar. But don’t let their smiles fool you.  They’ll push you, bootcamp style.

If you are interested, check them out: 30 Minute Hit!

Foots
1 Nals dislikes medicine balls. Maybe if it came with a spoonful of sugar…
2 Yes, this is indeed the technical term, as per Nals.
3 And by “okay”, I mean I didn’t quit and got a workout, even if I did most of the moves wrong.
4 Except Sunday was one of the fundraising days so it was drop in and a couple dudes came to participate.

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?

Wake Up Before You Go Go

October is Women’s Health month here on N&K. Today, nals will be discussing self esteem.

When I was heavier, I felt bombarded with images of thin, smooth-skinned, tall ladies as ‘beautiful’. If it was North American media, then tanned vixens. And if Bollywood media, then fair-skinned maidens. No one looked like me: pear-shaped, bespectacled, with frizzy unkempt waves & darker skinned… unless it was an actor who played an evil Bollywood mom. Or, was the star of a self-named comedy show (see posts on Tips 1-4, 5-8, 9-10). And I wasn’t any of those adjectives either!

And these thin women were portrayed as The Ultimate Show Ponies, dripping with confidence, promise, fulfilling lifestyles, happiness and sex appeal. Today, I say “Bravo!” to advertising and entertainment sectors for the deep ingrainment. They worked hard to get that image across.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know anyone else that looked like that, either. Move over Manson² and Heaven’s Gate, Media is the Ultimate brainwasher.

Keep in mind, my teen years were spent poring over glossy magazines with shiny images, talking on the phone with friends, and watching TV. We didn’t have internet or cell phones. My escape was TV and staying up late reading books¹. So growing up with rigid ideas of what the perfect 2-D body looks like makes a regular 3-D girl feel less-than.

In all honesty I thought once I lost weight³, I would be happier. Things would magically fall into place. Of course this is real-life, not a fairy tale.

Happiness is something you attain. It is not bestowed upon you.

 

 

I had to really think about what would make me happy. I love reading, photography, the theatre

and writing. I love all kinds of dance. I am happy when beautiful things surround me: people, clothes, art, wine, food. And I am happy after I have challenged myself.

I try to do things to push my personal boundaries like co-writing this blog. (Yes, I love writing but it’s not easy to put yourself out there.) I’ve taken loads of pictures, in public. Then put up these up for you all to see.

 

 

And last week, I started a burlesque class with Kells. Yes, burlesque. I love how bawdy, welcoming, tongue-in-cheek, flirty, raucous it is. And we had no idea about its fabulously clandestine history

This is an intro class, with a lovely range of ladies across sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. About one third took the class to push themselves, have fun and become more comfortable in their own skin.  Some of the same reasons as N&K!

I would say I’m a happier person, having pushed personal boundaries and embracing all aspects of myself. Am I positive and happy 100% of the time? Of course not. Real life has ups and downs. But if you want to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle…
you gotta wake the F up. Self-evaluate and make a plan of change.
Don’t just chug along with life. Grab it by the horns and point it in the right direction!

Footnotes
1 Thanks Judy Blume, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Isaac Asimov for keeping me up too late
2 Charles, not Marilyn
3 According to a female family member, all I needed to do in my teen years, was lose weight, get rid of unsightly zits and get toss the glasses. (She was unsure of this last thing, as presumably, there were attractive librarians with glasses.) This aunt was a solid support to me. She never lied. But, she encouraged my strengths and didn’t let me forget them. And I adored her. (She was the next best thing to sliced bread!) So when she gave me this unsolicited bit of advice, which came out of the blue, I was heartbroken.

Blog-a-versary Give-Away Rules

For our first blog-a-versary, N&K are doing a give-away to Cadeaux Bakery.  October 15, 2017 was when our blog was birthed.  And Cadeaux was one of our first Food Reviews.  So we thought “Let’s pair the two up!”

How To Enter to win a gift card to Cadeaux Bakery:
  1. Go to Nals and Kells Instagram account
  2. Follow Nals and Kells; and
  3. Like our Blog-a-versary post from October 15, 2018; and
  4. Tag a friend that you’d like to celebrate a blog-a-versay, birthday or friend-a-versary cake with.
  5. Give-Away closes on October 22, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST.
Other deets:
  • One name will be randomly chosen, after the Give-Away closes on October 22, 2018.
  • The winner will be advised through an Instagram message.
  • Gift card entitles the person to a single made-to-order 6″ cake at Cadeaux Bakery.  Bakery is located at 172 Powell St, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  This is not an e-card.  No substitutes. 
  • Winner must pick the card up from Nals & Kells, or provide an address for us to mail out. 
  • This Give-Away is not affiliated with Instagram.
  • Thank you to Cadeaux Bakery for sponsoring this Give-Away!

 

 

Divine Trinity of Coffee, Chocolate & Chinwags: a review of Cafe Divano

We’ve been to the Coquitlam & Port Moody locations of Cafe Divano.

The place has a large open airy feel to it despite the rich dark wood furniture. Terrace is large, especially the Coquitlam location.  You can sit comfortably and have your coffee alone while reading the paper… or have a good long chinwag with your friends.

Staff are lovely.  (Check out their facebook page for interesting tidbits on each staff member!)  And, there’s lots of parking.

We’ve had a variety of the tasty food here: sandwiches, paninis, wraps, chocolate desserts, pastries.

They have lovely loose teas that are served like a tisane or you can fog it up with steamed milk. We love the Buccaneer and the Red Velvet. They’ve got the usual fare for espresso drinks and coffee.  We recently tried their divine sugar free smoothies (Peach and Berry) – like fresh fruit goodness in a glass.

 

We have a special place in our hearts for Divano, as this is where we started our photography for our IG.

And hey N&Kers, it’s been almost a year since we started Nals and Kells!  Happy Blog-a-versary!

Kickin’ Cancer

So if you follow us on IG you probably saw that we have been saying we are going to focus on Women’s Health for the month of October.  Part of this will be me documenting my journey on Kicking the Beep out of Cancer with 30 Min Hit. Please follow this link to my page:https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=4292199&langPref=en-CA

I have never done this before, so I am a little  nervous. First of all, I’m not one to ask people for money. So please don’t feel you need to donate to me (but I won’t say no if you want to donate). However, I am asking you all to join in the conversation around women’s health AND to support me while I kick the stink out of cancer this month.

Secondly, the only option for t-shirts were pink. Ugh. I’m not a fan of the pink, or pink, or pink. But I will bring it to the gym every day and get it signed. Oh I should mention, that for every work out we do this month, we get a signature on the pink shirt. Maybe I should set a goal of signatures? Any suggestions? (please leave a comment).

October 1st, here we go. Starting the month off at the gym in a pink shirt, getting signatures and starting the conversation around Women’s Health.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer (not including skin cancer). Also, cancer is the #1 cause of death in Canada. We also know that the earlier the detection the better the outcome. We also know that there is no known cure, and we need to find it! No one should have to lose their life to cancer. No one.

I’m assuming here, but I’m pretty sure that we have all been impacted by Cancer. I have lost 2 important people in my life to Cancer and I have also have a survivor in my life. This month I want to honor my friend Amber, who even while she fought her hardest and even in her sickest moments, chose to be happy and live for every moment. I also want to honor my bests Dad, Rick. He was the cool dad that made those ridiculous jokes and always made us laugh. I will never forget these two.

I also want to use this month to fight for never receiving that call again. The call where your soul sister calls and tells you she has cancer. That call literally took my breath away. It made time stop and has burnt a hole in my memory. I vowed to be with her every step of the way. I was there after her surgery and helped take care of her kids. I am so thankful she is still with me, as I can’t picture my life without her. and I am so happy to say her kids still have her. She is also the one that lost her dad last year. Cancer sucks.

Let me share this one last thing. A couple of months before Amber passed away, I went to see her in the hospital. She was so thin and on oxygen. It was hard to see her so frail. But she smiled the whole time. She laughed and joked and wanted to know the latest news with everyone we knew in our lives. I asked her what can I do to help her. She told me she was happy. She said that after she got the news she had a choice, to fear the future and be sad about her extremely aggressive cancer or she would wake up every morning and say “today I choose to be happy”. That really hit me. My gosh, it’s hard to be wake up happy without knowing you are dying from cancer. And let me tell you, Ams lived her word. She was happy. She was happy to see her friends, happy to have another day with her family. She was happy. I try hard to live by this. And when I hear our song, Sugar by Maroon 5, I get a reminder to be happy. It’s a choice.

So here I am, choosing to do my part for fighting for cancer and choosing to be happy. Please join me. Help me. Encourage me. Follow my fundraising and if you can please donate: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=4292199&langPref=en-CA I hope to post some pictures there soon!

Explicit Expose on Vancity Womens Expo 2018

Kells & I checked out the Womens Expo in Cloverdale this weekend.

The $8 admission gets you into 170 exhibits, workshops & presentations. (FOLKs Were eligible to enter the door prize after geTting 8 vendor stamps.)

Some vendors were assertive but no one was pushy. Everyone was super friendly.


There were the usual suspects: clothing, hair, makeup, food/cooking, anti aging¹, fitness, home decor… But also realty, sensory deprivation, aromatherapy & sexual health.

We stopped or breezed by:

Army of Sass : dance drop-in and set classes for all shapes, ages, experiences and fitness levels.

Avon : cosmetics, etc.

Bathfitter : don’t provide estimates without a free in-home consultation.

Chef Pieter : delicious cream cheese dips like aged white cheddar habanero & cranberry ghostpepper.

Club Pilates : mat & remoter classes.

Edward Jones : financial bits n bobs.

Epicurious : delish spice rubs and bottles of goodness (with little or no salt)

Hanky Panky : sexual health & clothing.

Little Fox Apothecary : aromatherapy goodness.

Mr. Frank’s Spices  : yummy spices that come in funky re-usable shakers.

Pure Romance : sexual health & sexual medical/physio aids

Spark Fitness : small class sizes allow for more instructor attention.

Sweet Legs : kitten-y soft patterned leggings that keep your gams warm. Comes in kidlet, average & voluptuous sizes.

Zealous Art : art parties & classes, she outreaches!


Conclusion

Yes you should go with your girlfriends, sister, mom, neighbor…. set aside a couple hours and maybe even go for lunch.  

Don’t forget to stop at nearby Little UnChocolate Candy Store.


Footies
1 This was a non-surg eye lift, and worked with bee venom. As our Miss K gets all anaphylactical around bee/wasp stings, we thought we’d steer clear.

 

Catch Me If You Can

N&K’s Roundup of Runs in Vancouver, BC

 

Believe it or not, at 12 years old, I signed up for Track & Field.  And I chickened out… then at 40, did I really start running.  

Kells was a track-lete in her teens and took a break when during schooling and subsequent back issues.  And she re-started around the time I did.


So this year, Kells & I did 3 runs.


  

Not all runs are created alike. Which is why I wanted to do a review so that newbie runners have the info to choose wisely.  There’s not only a financial cost, but also the time and energy.

 

Prep & training

We were both mentally prepared and motivated.  

Kells just needed to re-condition.  Her final time was about 30 minutes for 5km outside.  

I needed to start from the bottom middle up. I did some research and decided to do a modified Couch to 5km.  My end time was about 40 minutes for 5km on the treadmill. Running outside was way harder.  I couldn’t run a straight 5km, without walking breaks.


Always check in with a licensed healthcare professional such as a physician, nurse-practitioner or personal trainer prior to starting a new health regime.  This helps you to be physically safe and manage your expectations³.


 

St. Patty’s Run (March)

more info

had such a fabulous energy.  It is the first run of the year in Vancouver. Lots of music, people, hoopla.  It was fabulous and I was pumped but nervous AF!  

Location: Stanley Park 

Raceway: We ran along the seawall so pathway was flat, with minimal incline and wide enough to pass the slower-paced folks.

Length: 5 km walk or run.  Different start times for different levels.

N’s time 38 mins ⇔ K’s time 28 mins

 

Daffodil Dash (April)

More info

Both Kells and I have had loved ones suffer from with cancer.  So this is a topic that is near-and-dear to us.

Location: various across B.C. We chose Tri-cities, which was at Rocky Point 

Raceway: windy, partial paved sidewalk/trail and a lot of forest-y trails with twigs and such things to get underfoot.

Other info: wayyy smaller gathering that started 45 minutes late, not cordoned off so other runners and birders¹ blocked the precious real estate.  

Length: 5 km (which was more like 5.5 km) or 1 km walk or Dash for kidlets

N’s time ≈ 45 mins ⇔ K’s time ≈ 30 mins

 

Shoppers Run for women (May)

More info

Womens health is also an important topic for us. So this was a no-brainer.  

Location: Wesbrook Village in UBC, N’s alma mater

Raceway: trails in Pacific Spirit Park Partial paved and mostly groomed trails with some twiggy undertows.  Minimal incline, paths are narrow at some points.

Length: 5 km walk or run (or 10 km run or 1 km walk), different trails and staggered start times

N’s time: <38 mins ⇔K’s time: <28 mins

Conclusion

After the first run, this gal was hooked.  The freaking energy and positivity was addicting and motivating AF.  We will defo run this next year.  

If I had started with Daff Dash, I wouldn’t have gotten hooked. No siree bob. Energy was way different, which was partially due to the drizzle and smaller crowd. Didn’t seem as organized.  Next year both K&I agreed to do the Vancouver one.  (2018 was the last year for Tri-Cities location anyways.)

We ended with a BANG! Shoppers was defo a larger crowd with music and lots of energy.  Our one critique is that the Walkers should have started last, after all of the runners.  Some of the Walkers sauntered in their possies, shooting the shit.  They were like a human bunting, 3 and 4 across the the path. They bristled at how the runners rudely pushed past them2.  Imagine runners wanting to run in a race! Preposterous!

Our last run was supposed to be the Vancouver Pride Run in July  But I wanted to support my family member in her wife’s Celebration of Life, which was the same weekend.  So K&I didn’t go. 

I was super pleased to see all shapes and sizes, and skill levels.  So if you’re remotely interested, go for it! It is sooo worth it.

Footers:

1  Birders= a gaggle of birdwatchers that was clogging up the trail like an oxidized comedo.

2 The bunts were told to keep 1 or 2 across, and keep path open for runners. Hmmm these Walkers didn’t have a bunt to stand on.

3 I see him a few times a year for the chronic health condition so I just tacked this question on to my visit.  I had also checked in with Koach.  

In da Club

I’m all for trying something new…

A sweet co-worker of mine has been raving about her newest workout and asking me to try it out. First of all let me say I have been to the gym with her in the past and she is a machine. A maniac really. Let me just say…when we went to the gym the first time together she told me that she doesn’t talk to people at the gym and doesn’t like to be interrupted. Yah, I know…maniac!

Soooo this new workout of hers…row class. Yup, that’s right, row class. Doesn’t sound to impressive. Doesn’t sound like anything really. But she swore to me that I would like it and that it would be fun. The plus side, good music. And since I will try something new, I gave it a whirl.

So what is row class? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of people get together and row it out. But here’s what I never understood about rowing before:

It’s more of a leg workout than an arm workout.

I was surprised by this.

So, after the first class I realized that I was pretty much doing it wrong because it wasn’t that challenging. I was super focused on not injuring my back that I didn’t focus on what I needed to do; push off with my legs.

So I had a short lesson on what to do after the class (oh yah, this also happened before the class, but I still didn’t get it).

Since they had a special offer if you bought 5 more classes, I signed up for those to. Might as well give it a good go.

Class 2 I was starting to understand the push off with the legs thing, but class 3 I was getting it a lot better.

Here’s what I didn’t expect:

ABS

Wait…I wanna be clear, I did not get abs…but I certainly felt them! This is an added bonus. My core is probably one of my weaker spots, definitely a soft spot! And with my back issues, I know I need to strengthen my core…so in that aspect this is a great opportunity for it.

So Club Row. Well, I figured the “club” part is because it’s in a dark room with loud music. It’s kinda cool actually. I didn’t get it when my friend was telling me but the dark room allows you to focus on your stride or row (or whatever it is rowers call it). And it allows you to “see” others in the room, without actually seeing them. What this does is allows for the room to move together, which keeps you doing the right thing. If you are off you will know it, cuz you will be the only one rowing out of sync with the rest of the room.

Now the music is all picked to have a certain beat that you can row to. There’s a lot of rap. Which if that isn’t your thing you may feel that it’s not going to be fun. But it works. Personally, I don’t often listen to rap, so it’s a nice change then all the other “gym” or “workout” music.

I’ve been to a few classes now, and have had 2 of the instructors. They were both really awesome. Upbeat, encouraging and loud enough to hear over the music. They are also super happy to help you figure it out and show you what you can do to improve.

Do I suggest you try it: Yup! Why not? You may really like it. Plus they offer a 5 class pass which is a good way to test the waters.

They offer gloves as a thing to rent for $2. Rent them (unless you have your own bike riding gloves). They will save you some blisters.

Oh and bring water. It gets hot in the dark room and you really work up a good sweat.

The 3rd class I did. (started at 5600)

Last class I attended

Finally, getting to Club Row is an interesting task because it’s in the basement! I was not expecting that, nor did I really notice the signs (besides the big one on the sideway at the front door). So if you go, remember to head down the stairs. Once you start heading down you will see it right away. But you gotta go down!**

Let us know if you are gunna try a class. We wanna know what you think! Hey you might even see the maniac there! Haha. Or me!

**UPDATE: ( or foot note) they are closed for 2 weeks as they are moving locations. Something about being too loud for their current neighbours. So I have no idea if you will go up or down or not in their new location. If you go to check it out please see their website.

Pret a porter in Portland

Mr. Nals and I took a jaunt to Oregon in August.

I’m a planner. He’s more of a spontaneous duckling. Who says planning is all the rage¹?  So we didn’t book a hotel. We winged it.

We ended up taking the turn-off into Beaverton and found a place called Shiloh Inn. Looked chalet-ish, with a pool. But wouldn’t you know it – it was ALL booked up!¹

The front desk chicka suggested Peppertree Motel. This was casual, motel-style, low key. There was a little water feature in front & lots of guest parking.

Peppertree Hotel, Beaverton, Oregon

Peppertree Hotel, Beaverton, Oregon

Continue reading

Muscle Development Quarterly

from glamour gals
to funny gals
In March, our lil friend and personal trainer Koach got both N & K into a muscle development regime.  This is a good way to transform your workout from mundane back to great. In honour of Koach’s birthday today, we are writing this post to update y’all on our progress! Continue reading

Anchors Up at Anco Inn

This is an uninspired review for an uninspired motel.

Anco didn’t start off too well. We were finalizing the check in for our 2 night stay. We had travelled >4 hours to get to Courtenay, BC. And it was hot. I saw that the water cooler was > half full. So, as I waited for the paperwork to go through, I went ahead and filled up my water bottle. The staff curtly told me that the water was to drink, not to fill up large containers. Hmm… I guess as a paying customer, one can only drink from their water cooler on their terms.

Continue reading

Let’s get Poke-d

Poké is a popular & quick Hawaiian lunch dish. It translates ‘to slice or cut’.

Typically, poké bowls consist of a rice base, raw fish (or tofu), seasonings, veg and dressing.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had authentic Hawaiian Poké‏ (yet) so bear with us².‌

Continue reading

Vancouver Food Truck Reviews: Premiere Issue 1

Here in the PN-Dubs, we are knee deep into summer. Hot summer and colourful fall are fabulous seasons to explore food trucks. So N&K will be bringing you street food of Vancouver, BC.
You non-Vancouverites may not know but food truck licenses are highly coveted in the GVA. Each food truck license applicant must prove their merits… or strike it lucky in the permit-lottery stream. There are tons of hoops to jump through to get a license.
So, when you have that hot lil food truck gem in your hands, take a minute to appreciate all the hurdles it had to break through to bring you to this bodacious moment.

Continue reading

Mind Games

On Wednesday I posted a pic on our IG account with my photo journey of going to the gym (96 and Counting) but I thought maybe I should expand on it. Share a wee bit more on how its been going…

Soooo, after failing many many times with a workout routine I wanted to try something different. I needed to refocus but honestly, I had no idea how.

Continue reading

Hittin That Cajun & Creole Style at Chewies Oyster Bar

There’s this friend of mine who I see couple times a year, usually on our birthdays.

Since she is partial to brunch – the best meal time for a chin wag – I decided to take her to Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar in January.

It’s a Cajun & Creole joint with locations in Kits and Coal Harbour in Vang-couver¹.
They were out of the Croque Madame so she ordered the Nola Breakfast. It looked delightful & she enjoyed this.
I had BBQ Shrimp & Grits with a Poached Egg². The shrimp were big and succulent.

Continue reading

It’s All Natural!

A few months ago, Nals told me that a coworker of hers has these amazing

lashes because she uses some new serum called EyEnvy. Nals assured me that this sweet coworker of her swears by it. So when I saw it in the store, I bought it. I was a wee bit shocked by the sticker price, but I thought Nals would never lie to me. Plus, I could try it, then review it for you all!

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PS I love you

So as you may or may not know…but Nals and I love to travel. Unfortunately, we don’t get to do as much as we would like with work and life and all. But there are a couple of spots that have a few things we like; sun and fun. Oh and good shopping.

We already talked about our live for Sin City. But I recently got to fly out to another little sweet spot…Palm Springs. And if you have been following us on IG you’ve probably noticed I’ve posted some Palm pics already.
Here’s the thing, I have been hearing great things about PS for years. But it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I finally got to see what all the buzz was about. And let me tell you, I fell in love.

Continue reading

EyEnvy much?

Mascara Monday is baack!

Kells started us off with a bang with several Mascara Monday reviews. (Feel free to search our tag cloud for her Mascara Reviews.)

Today, I will be reviewing
⇒ ⇒ EyEnvy ⇐ ⇐

Continue reading

Dog Day Afternoon

Kells & I kicked off 2018 in Seattle.

 

We stayed at Stay Pineapple Maxwell and dined at Purple Café .

 

Click for N&K reviews:

hotel ⇔ restaurant

 


One afternoon we hopped along to Pike Place.  We had luckily timed it right to view the famous fish throwing.  We saw gorgeous fresh flowers, warm bakeries, meaty delis and sweaty^ cheeses.

We got hooked on Chukar Cherries – air dried cherries from Chukar Farms coated with delightful things such as dark chocolate and truffled milk chocolate.

We took some lovely boardwalk pix. And of course all of this walking*, talking, trying, posing and watching makes a couple of gals hungry.

So off we went in search of a spot of lunch. We felt like some Pike Place chowder but there was a HUGE lineup^^.

So we searched high and low. Finally we stumbled across James Moore Bar & Kitchen on 2nd Ave. We ordered Chicken Wings & Quesadilla (con pollo).

Chicken Wings were gorgeously crispy and tasty. Chipotle sauce was smoky and spicy**. Disappointingly, the mango sauce appeared to be pureed and (we surmised) not made in-house.

Quesadilla was cheesy and delightful with big chunks of pollo. Kells has got that gene that makes cilantro taste bunky and horrible (BOLO for our #hatecilantro #notparslay post).  So, we asked for cilantro to be taken out but… get this folks: the guac (in a specialty South American menu) is not made in-house.


P i k e   P l a c e is easy to get to.  Cobblestones and inclined sidewalks may pose problems for those with mobility issues.

J. M.  was hidden behind some scaffolding on a one-way street in DT Seattle.  We walked but parking looked scarce.  Place was large, with beautiful spacious wood seating. Drink menus were creatively written on walls near the bar.

Conclusion:

∴Pike Place is a must-see.  It is very similar to N&K’s local Granville Island.  But it’s the local’s local market and free so why not!

∴JM was standardly good. We think you should try it if the mood strikes and you’re in the area. We would likely try this place again.  However, there is such a variety of restaurants in Seattle that we’d just as likely be trying out something else.

What are your fave spots in Pike Place?

Have you tried this eatery? 

Penny for your thoughts!

Footnotes

^(sweaty in a good way)

*not that much walking

^^ oh gosh just looking at the chowder site, we see that we can order online grrr. But lucky for you that you now know this vital piece of info.

**Nals is a connoisseur of hot sauces and underestimated its power on the old GI system.  This is not in itself a negative thing as one rarely gets surprised at this age.  However it was unpleasant for an offset couple of hours.

90 Pounds: Helpful Tips 9-10

Whoop whoop! We are down to the last 2 Tips.


Here‘s how the series started, 90 pounds ago.  Read why I changed.  I tell you how I made my changes, using the ME method: Tips 1-4 (includes S.M.A.R.T.ening up your goals) & Tips 5-8.

Kells’s life situation was a bit  different. She is a lifelong athlete.  However, a back injury & years of schooling-and-sitting changed her body.  But, she used the Tips… and here’s how she uniquely applied Tips 1-4 & 5-8.


Let’s forge ahead with our last 2 Tips.
9) Plan  a    h   e  a d.

We all have busy lives with deadlines and schedules. But your body deserves better than junky ass food and a sedentary day.

Think about meal plans, groceries and your exercise regime a week in advance. That way when something unexpected slows you down, you are already prepared. Like a superhero. (But better cuz it’s real!)

Fuel your body.

  • Take advantage of slow cookers and insta-pots;
  • Make extra portions – to freeze or eat again the next day;
  • Remember you can utilize frozen veggies and pre-cut fruit trays.  Or, can it! But don’t forget to rinse off the salty liquid;
  • Have healthy snacks around like veg & fruit tray with homemade dips.  Pre-portion snacking bags of nuts and cheeses for your lunch bag or grab it when you’re running late.
  • Make a versatile dish that you can change up.  For example: veggie chili can be eaten several ways: the usual way in a bowl with toppings, or use it to fill quesadillas or serve with meat/rice;^
  • When making tonight’s meal, cut up extra veggies & onions for tomorrow’s meal. Or, freeze it with homemade herb/spice mixes for future slow cooker meals.
  • How about re-purposing those Mason jars with salads or yogurt parfaits?*;
  • Supermarkets often have healthy meal options like protein & veggie plates in their deli section.

Get (and then keep on)                    m o  v   i    n    g!

Yes absolutely do your dedicated workout.   But you can’t expect it to be as effective if you then just sit on your bum the rest of the day. Keep on moving!

  • Attempt chin-ups with your buddies (see video above for the N&K rendition);
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  (Yes even if your destination is on the 10th floor.**);
  • Sprint up or take the stairs 2 at a time or do lunges in-between floors;
  • Park a few blocks away from your destination, so you are forced encouraged to walk a few extra blocks. (If taking the bus, get off a few stops early);
  • Lunching with colleagues is a great team builder.  Instead of the usual restaurant fare, have a work picnic!  Walk together to a nearby park (or greenspace) & chow down on homemade lunches.  You could have fun themes like having green and Irish foods for St. Patricks Day;
  • Take a romantic stroll after dinner;
  • Plank it! while you watch TV (let your food digest a bit first and warm up beforehand);

The options are endless, folks.

10) Don’t forget about your GD self care.

Kells and I will be posting a lot more on this so BOLO.

Remember I said that this is not a diet.  Diets are typically short periods of radical diet changes to lose weight.  These are not good for your psyche, metabolism, habit reversals or empowerment.

This is a changing-your-outlook on life endeavor.  And folks, life is totes more than just food and exercise!

It is important to do some self care every single day.

This can be as simple as:

  • Waking up early to enjoy your morning coffee in the peaceful silence of the sunrise;
  • Doing a bit of gardening! Spring Equinox was a few days ago. Though weatherwise the PNW is a bit wonky, the plants are sprouting up right on schedule;
  • Stopping to smell the roses or the fresh baked goods at your local bakery. (You can choose to just look and smell, and don’t have to necessarily eat it every time you walk by.);
  • Treating yo-self and yo pups to an unexpected long weekday walk in the park;
  • Paint, sketch, draw;
  • Knit, crochet;
  • Sing in the shower;
  • Sleep in on a day off;
  • Netflix (+/- the “and chill”);
  • Go to the spa;
  • Review that spa experience on your blog;
  • Catch up with an old friend;
  • Tinker with that old beater you’ve had sitting in the garage for years…

So today …

I feel pretty darn good. I have lost some weight and inches.  I have gained muscle, endurance & gumption.  I have found healthier ways to cope.  I have been pushing personal boundaries.  In fact, on March 17, I finished my first 5KM Run! I was 6 minutes faster than my practice runs (which must have been all that adrenalin).  I defo would not have considered doing that even 5 years ago. And we’re planning on doing another one in a month!

Kells and I are going to do a professional photoshoot tomorrow!  Even a year ago I would’ve said No way.

Sure, I still struggle with some stuff like eating too much junk during that monthly hormone change. Or if I’ve not prepared my meal plan a week ahead^^.

It’s been 15 years… and sometimes I get stuck on the thought that I should have lost all of the weight already.  But I know I’m moving forward and challenging myself in a lot of other ways.

I’m a sun-bunny.  I love warm bright days.  In the PNW, the weather may be mild but it’s damp which ≠ warm.  Some mornings I’d rather just stay snuggled in my down duvet. I don’t always feel like getting up at 5 am to exercise.

But at the end of the day I know I’ll feel less ache-y, more energized and closer to my goals if I just get my cantankerous arse out if bed.

And that’s it (for now) for the 90 Pounds and Counting series.  …. Stay tuned for how Kells broke down these Tips to suit her lifestyle.      And we still have reviews coming your way.

What did you think about my 90 Pound Tips?

Common sense?

Surprising?

Ludicrous?

Leave a Comment below!

Footloose footnotes

^ other versatile dishes: grill a whole buckload of chicken & veggie kebabs (protein can also be tofu or veggie ground round).  Use different marinades.  Or, keep the marinade simple but dress it differently at service with salad, in a wrap or other starch. Dressing=  tzatziki or raita style, cumin/oregano/lime, balsamic with fresh rosemary, Thai/Malaysian inspired coconut curry, Vietnamese bahn mi inspired sour-sweet-salty, French Provencal herbs with champagne vinegar or homemade Dijon.

How to MJ salads: starting bottom up: salad dressing, hearty items (beans, peppers, fennel), leafy tenders then top with cheese/seeds/nuts.  Keep upright until you are ready to eat. Then shake it up & enjoy. Use a similar idea for MJ yogurt: plain yogurt, hearty fruit, tender fruit and top off with granola/nuts.

** In our previous job, Kells & I would see clients on the 7th & 8th floors in DTES SROs.  The stairs were old AF, rickety crickety, slanted, with short landings and usually covered in some UFOs (unidentified fluids or objects). And if that sounds treacherous, you don’t want to see the elevators.

^^IDK but it never ceases to amaze me that our pattern (including my spouse with a forever healthy BMI) is that when we don’t prep/plan our meals ahead of time, we scramble when our tums grumble. Which is usually for takeout ⇒ bigger portions, more salt and fat than home cooking. Plus it eats into your budget like a hungry hippo! Take a look at your own household’s patterns.  Meal planning is not hard. It is not a chore.  It is something that helps you to align with your life goals.

Rolling out 5-8

Let’s keep on keeping on…


Just a quick reminder, tips 1 to 4 were using the ME Method:

So let’s continue with Nals’ helpful tips to a healthier life…

5) Reward yourself when you achieve your mini goals.

Nals talks about celebrating your accomplishments by focusing on the real treats of life. 

So what does that mean? That means give yourself praise. Even for the small things. If you worked out, even though you really didn’t want to…celebrate that! If you lost 4 lbs this month, but your goal was to lose 10, you still did something right so celebrate that! You get back on the wagon, and even after a fall… you’re back up… celebrate that!

How, you ask? I like to make sure I am using my employer benefits by getting those massages in. When I need an extra special treat, I will use the RMTs at the Spa. Why? Cuz I need to celebrate my goals I’m achieving! 

Rewards don’t need to be time consuming. It could be a simple text to a friend, letting them know: Hey, guess what? I have been working really hard and I lost a few pounds and it makes me feel good about my goals. Your good friends and support team will be happy to cheer you on and celebrate with you.

Nals makes a good point when she mentions trying to stay away from food rewards. Cheat days don’t work (neither do crazy limiting diets), so try to reward yourself with something besides food.

6) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your goal that week.

As Nals says, this is a learning moment, not a failure. 

Check your SMART goals. Is it that your goals need to be adjusted? This doesn’t mean that they do, but it is a good way to reflect on them.

Do you need to plan for bumps in the road? We can’t always be focused on our goals. Many things get in the way, like work, kids, family emergencies. But how do we look ahead and see how we fit these bumps into our goals? 

Remember in the 1 to 4 tips when I said I was failing a lot and I needed to figure out what the heck was going on? First of all, I was totally beating myself up. And it got me nowhere except down. But I started to learn from it. (It took me way too long… but I finally got there!)  I realized looking too far down the road freaked me out. Overwhelmed me.

So now, I focus on 1 day at a time. I still can’t think long term (months down the road), but I can now start to see a week at a time.

7) Know when to push yourself and when not to.

Hello body, did you say something?  Are you listening to what your body is telling you? Nals and I have a good friend, who happens to be a personal trainer (good friend to have hey?).  She gave us the best advice once about listening to your body. She said that you want to feel your workout the next day but you don’t want to be so sore that you can’t move. A little soreness is a good thing, not being able to sit or stand is a bad thing.

A big part of listening to your body is also monitoring yourself when you are working out. As I said last time, I go to a kickboxing circuit and on each station I try to ask myself: can I push harder or is this pace good? I know when I’m flaking out or when I’m going over board, so I need to listen and adjust.

8) Don’t be ashamed to eat (when appropriately hungry) and to enjoy food.

Oh my gosh, I freaking love food, too. Especially good food. So I need to remember, not to overeat. For me, now I eat until I’m full… not stuffed. I’ll be honest, this takes some getting used to (and includes tip 7, listening to your body).  Here’s how I do this:

1. I don’t eat fast. This gives my body time to process the amount I have eaten already.

2. I don’t fill my plate. We have this tenancy to fill our plates to have every inch covered. But our North American plates can be huge.  You could even try using a smaller plate.


However, this is not the same restricting food.  You’re just changing your focus to a healthier portion.


3. I don’t have to eat all the food on my plate. I think this comes from our childhood: if you don’t eat everything that’s on your plate you won’t get dessert. Guess what? The sweet part about being an adult (!!), is that you still get dessert, even if you don’t finish your dinner. This drives my hubbers crazy! I always leave food on my plate and he always says: Kells it’s just one more bite, why can’t you finish it? And I always tell him: Cuz I’m full. That one last bite can be the difference between full and stuffed. And remember, we don’t want to be stuffed! (plus I like to save room for dessert!)

Again, I want to refer to tip #7, listening to your body. We all have different reasons we eat. I’m a boredom eater. If I’m lazying around the house, you better believe you will find me in the kitchen looking for food. But I have to ask myself: Are you hungry? And most of the time, no I’m not. I’m just bored and want to munch. A glass of water will do the trick and get me out of the pantry! I’m also a chocolateholic when it’s that time of the month. I feel that I just can’t get enough sweets. But again, I need to listen to my body. a little chocolate is fine…6 chocolate bars and a bag of chips is to much (even though I feel I deserve it cuz moon time sucks!).

Also make sure you are getting enough water! I try to make sure I have a cup of water handy. If it’s not handy then I’m not going to drink it. So I make sure I have a water bottle on my desk at work, or a glass next to me while I watch tv. It’s like the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come! Same goes for water, if you pour it, you will drink it. You get it, right?


Speaking of food…do you have a good healthy recipe you wanna share? Please email us so we can try it and share it with others… with a credit to you as our inspiration, of course!


 

Do you have any food for thought?
How do you feel about the ME Method?
Or the Tips? Or how I rolled them out to fit my life?
Please leave a comment below!

 

90 pounds: Helpful Tips 5-8

Oh la la we are on to Helpful Tips  5-8!


So in previous posts, I describe my battles with poor health, the benefits I got when I improved my health and the first batch o’ tips.  You can read how Kells put them into action.

About 15 years ago, I was kinda miserable (more or less on the daily).  I was skimming the surface of life.  I wanted to look a certain way. But I had a devil of a time to changing my unhealthy ways.

I transformed by:

Changing my Motivation.

When my focus switched from I have to look a certain way to I want to live a life that’s healthy, then my behaviours changed accordingly.  What flipped that switch was getting a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition… one where most people don’t seek help til decades later when physical damage has been done. And it’s way harder to change behaviours.  My free get-out-of-jail card did wonders for my motivation.

Empowering myself.

As humans we have this amazing capacity to have awareness, to perceive and to change.  Take advantage of this, yo.

Educating myself.  

I observed my habits and responses, got info on my condition, spoke with licensed health professionals & hob-nobbed with like-minded folks.

Support is important. Though only you can change yourself, you will need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Exercising my goal.

I figured out my game plan by using S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then by golly I exercised that plan like there was no tomorrow! (Uh well in a manner of speaking. One of my motivators was to improve myself for those tomorrows.)

Continuing on with Les Tips

5) Reward yourself when you achieve your mini goals.

Celebrate your accomplishments!  You worked hard to slay that goal.  Of course you should break out the proverbial champagne!

Try to steer away from food rewards. This is so that you keep healthy associations with food. (See point 8 so you know I’m not saying that food is bad.  For me, I needed to break maladaptive associations between food=reward and food=coping strategy.)

Rather, focus on the other treats in life: get a massage, buy some saucy lingerie, go on a vacation, get a makeover (MAC and Sephora give freebies!), putz around in the garden, go to the auto show, take funky photos in the park, sleep in (or take an afternoon snooze), take a tour of your city, read a chapter of the book you were saving up for your hols, start a blog, tinker around with that old jalopy you’ve been meaning to restore…

6) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your goal that week.

Instead, learn from it.

Maybe it was an unreasonable expectation.  For example, do you need to scale back your goal from losing 2 kg/week to 1 kg/week?

Maybe that week was particularly stressful.  Do you need to add a plan for when things get rough?* or maybe you can try again and see what this week will be like.

Maybe it wasn’t the right combo of behaviours.  Instead of exercising AND making dietary changes in the same week… you can start instead by incorporating exercise first. When you have a handle on that, add the food changes (or vice versa).

After your examination, re-do that SMART goal with your newly processed info.

This tip was a huge one for me. I reached that infuriating plateau after a year of steadily losing weight. And oh holy Murphy this plateau lasted for years.  Yes: y e  a   r    s.

I had to remind myself that weight was just one outcome measure.  What about other things I had accomplished? Firstly,  I wasn’t going backwards, which had been my previous pattern with yo-yo dieting.  I was losing inches.  I was gaining muscle.  I was gaining strength.  My 2 fab docs weren’t concerned as long as I was keeping up a healthy regime.  So I thought maybe this is just my body’s way of saying, “Change it up, missy!”^

7) Know when to push yourself and when not to.

Listen to your body.  Why do you need to do 30 biceps curls x3 sets? If you strain your muscles, what good is 90 curls? This step ties in with the base-steps 2 & 3: Empower & Educate.  You figure out what your body is about   ⇒the good, the bad⇐ and then support that hawt-to-trot body! Do things that make it better, not worse.

It’s ok to have limitations.  You can always work up to a goal.  But it’s ok if you try and can’t.  Well how about switching gears from bicep curls to taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

8) Don’t be ashamed to eat (when appropriately hungry) and to enjoy food.

Food is a HUGE issue consideration for me.  I blamed myself for eating like shit because I felt like shit.  These thought distortions are sooo NOT helpful.  I eventually said to myself: I like food and I’m going to learn to enjoy food without feeling guilty.  So I turned back to Tip 3 of Edumacating Myself.  I have happy memories and my family uses food for comforting.

Happy memories: My mom enjoyed cooking which is something we did together as I was growing up.  Food is also a big part of my family’s party scene (a la Big Fat Greek Wedding).  The hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen gives me the warm n fuzzies.  In the first year of dating, Mr. Nals and I cooked our first meal together. We had fun and it’s something we do to this day.

My family also used food to heal – for flu, tummy troubles or recovering from wisdom tooth-ectomies.

Cooking is also a weirdly-wonderful mixture of science (homeostatic v. hedonic hunger, kinky molecules in kitchen science, what grows together goes together) and art (gastroporn, complementary flavours).

 

Food is a way to our cultural history, family connections, memories, biology and soul.  Embrace it!

 

Focus on foods you can eat, rather than the ones you shouldn’t. As per my docs, I should avoid certain minerals… which means I shouldn’t really have my beloved citrus and Mehjool dates on the daily. But I can eat … a whole buck load of other stuff.


Fun food fact**: Chai conjures up images of hot cups of spiced milk black tea from India (often called chai tea, which means tea tea, btw). Cha also means tea in Japanese and Chinese languages.


That’s it for this post, N&Kers! Stay tuned next week: Kells will do up a post on how she broke these Tips down and applied them to her fabulous life.

Do you have any food for thought?
How do you feel about the ME Method?
Or the Tips?
Please leave a comment below!

Footnotes

*I get particularly crabby during those delightful monthly hormonal surges.  So I came up with specific how-tos for those sitches.

^ Oh gosh . The Plateau Years were uber annoying. I changed up all sorts – cut out refined sugars, upped protein intake, quit bootcamp to swim, ate smaller frequent meals, incorporated smoothies, did food detoxes, did Reiki, decreased stress… My weight stayed +/- 10 pounds for years. But I kept losing inches, gaining muscle and endurance. My docs weren’t concerned. What reignited my weight loss was working out daily. My beach-babe friend Coach, who is also a kick ass personal trainer, works out twice daily. So I thought wtf let’s give it a whirl. I’m not quite up to BID every single day but I’m workin on it! Remember that this is a good goal for me. I researched it then spoke with my healthcare team.  Before you make  dietary or exercise changes please consult with an experienced licensed clinician! 

** hmm maybe more like a language fact?

Orange you glad we didn’t say Olives!

(Uhh well actually…guess we just did.)

Jazzed up in our finery, we sauntered on over to Olives Restaurant in Vegas in October.

And as is the case for eye candies, we were appropriately seated at the window. The restaurant is deceptively large. But due to the low lighting, dark rich wood flooring and furniture, it was quite cozy.

Two hotsie totsies, satiated by a lovely dinner.^

You start off with a trio of in-house tepanades, which is served with assorted leavened and unleavened breads. Kells is not an Olive-holic as is I… so I got the trio to myself. Warning though: they’re salty!

We ordered the Truffled Risotto**, Olives Chicken Parmesan & Handcrafted Gnocchetti.

When we were here the previous year with our other friends, I ordered the magnificent Risotto. (I dreamed of this until I could experience it again.  And heyyy this was my lucky night.) Oh my… perfectly al dente rice coated in lavish mushroom creamery. Amazing slight tang of parm and dotted with fine slices of funghi. Kells enjoyed it as well.

Last time, Kells ordered her go-to Butternut Squash Tortellini. I had a mere taste and it was delightful yums. Amaretto wishes and brown-butter dreams.  But this evening, she branched out.

The Chicken Parm was served bone-in. Bold choice for a restaurant. (And we like that moxy.) But bone-in makes for a tender flavourful piece of meat. It was so tasty good, accompanied by roasted garden veg and taters.

The Gnocchetti was quite a lovely surprise. We figured that it’d be good. But not this fantastic! Rich, mouthy Bolognese sauce nestled inside sneaky grooves of pasta. I thought there was a hint of cinnamon. Kells surmised tarragon. Whatever the heck it was, it was molto bene. Excellent job, Olives team!

The portions are healthy. We didn’t finish. And yes, fair enough we ordered 3 entrées to split between the 2 of us… we felt so bad to say goodbye to the tasty morsels. They didn’t deserve to be let down like that. Poor lil guys patiently waited to get into our bellies… and instead got the rude awakening of the bin.  (Not by choice, lil morsels, not by choice.)

Have you eaten here? What was your experience?

Or, have we enticed you to try it out?

The End Pieces

*we were in our twinsies floral cold shoulder get-ups from Torrid. And we were sporting our fantastic strappy black heels from Nine West.

** I’d have to say that this runs a close 2nd to the Crispy Kalbi roll (CKr) at Yellowtail.

^this is where our Blog Story began.

We contacted Olives twice for collabs but they didn’t respond. Imagine. Being too busy to respond to N&K?!  As busy as Yellowtail is, they responded when we reached out.

 

Putting 1 to 4 into Action

Nals started with 4 of 10 tips.

Here’s how I (Kells) put those first 4 into motion…

1) True motivation = YOU.

Nals said she changed her motivation from improving her looks to choosing to live.

What is MY motivation?

First, Let me break it down…what is Motivation? I mean we all know the word and I don’t think we need to Wiki it…but when I look at the word, what am I seeing? What is motivation? For me I see 2 things; 1. Motive and 2. Action. I need a motive and I need to act.

H­onestly, I struggle every day. Unlike Nals, I don’t have a serious medical health condition to motivate me.

So what is my motive?

→At first, it really was to lose weight.

→Look better for others.

My whole life I have never really needed to work out.

  • I eat pretty well, even though I have tried a few fad diets.
  • I was sporty in school, did track and was always moving.

But getting older, doing a bachelors, then a masters, and a pretty serious car accident I realized, weight goes on easy.

Then I had back surgery. This slowed me right down and doctors told me that I would need to take care of my back.

Trust me, this was a slow process.

But it was my motive. I could see my future of being bed ridden and suffering if I didn’t start to exercise. Which pushed me to action.

2) Empower yourself through education & wise choices.
Nals talks about surrounding yourself with like minded people.
And she’s right!

I have a lower back injury. So I can’t just do any old exercise. I needed to find what was right for me. I like to do this kickboxing circuit but I wasn’t able to do some of the stations. It was frustrating because I was able to do them before and I thought I may have to give it up. But I spoke up, talked to the trainers, met with a personal trainer and was able to figure out modifications.

Yes there are days that still don’t work for me. And yes it is frustrating. BUT I keep telling myself my motive.

3) Aim for S.M.A.R.T. goals.

If you read Nals post she links to SMART goals. What’s interesting about this, as a social worker, I get to teach groups and two of the groups I have taught is motivational enhancement and SMART goal making.

Since Nals linked to the SMART goals template, I will give you my example. After years of off and on again gyming, fad diets and yo-yo weight I realized my goals we not working for me. As soon as I start to think long term goals; like I need to work out 5x this week or my brother’s wedding is in July, I need to get in better shape for that, I get overwhelmed and fall hard. I shut down and stop going.

In Sept 2017, I started a project, where I started to count the days I went to the gym consistently.

  • I stopped thinking about how much I needed to do, and
  • I started with one day at a time.

And this has been a huge difference!

I don’t know if you have seen our Instagram page, but I just posted 48 workouts.


(It’s more than 48 now…can you guess where I’m at?)


4) Implement exercise. Keep it enjoyable & doable.

Nals says it all: Enjoyable and doable.

My gym is literally on my route to work. I barely have to get off the road to go in. Completely taking away the excuse that it’s too far away.

I enjoy it. Kicking the stink and punching the fluff out of the bags is so satisfactory to me. I leave it all there. The bags at my gym have felt every negative day, every frustration and every bad thing that happens at my work and in my life.

And let me tell you, it makes me feel so much better. Not only am I getting fit, but I use that moment between me and the bag to focus, pray, and ground me.

That’s it for me. But here’s my encouragement for you:

Take 10 mins to sit down and write out your 1 through 4.

  1. What is your motivation?

When you think about motivation, what does the word mean to you?

2. What education do you need to empower yourself?

Do you need a personal trainer? To see a doctor? Maybe talk with a friend? How will you empower you?

3. SMART Goals

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time frame. And don’t forget these may change…so it’s important to review them often.

4. What do you find enjoyable and doable?

Remember, keep it fun and doable. Working out shouldn’t be a chore.

 

Oh and PS. Nals is a huge inspiration and motivator for me. I have known her a few years now and watching her journey has been a blessing. I don’t think she realizes how much she motivates me! (THANKS NALS!)

What do you guys think of our first 4 tips?
Do-able?
Fabulous?
Inspiring?

What’s your guess for which number I’m at in my workout days?

Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!

 

90 pounds: Helpful Tips 1-4

S o . . . what are the secrets to healthy weight management?


In case you are late to the game, 90 Pounds and Counting is where my life was about 15 years ago.  I was tired, unmotivated and coasting through life.

The follow-up post is available in Part Deux.  Here I discuss my loss of 90 pounds and the other gains I made in life.  Weight loss isn’t just a lower number on a scale.  Meaningful weight loss is about changing your outlook on life.


So we’re going to give you The Secrets straight up.  And for free.  But first, a word from our sponsors.

Just kidding… Truth be told:

  • There’s no “secret”.

→→This is nothing new, and is mostly common sense.

  • You are unique.

→→Celebrities will tout the virtues of V-steaming* or a crimson-foods only diet or whatever fad is hot on the market.

 That is them.

You is you.

  • And no, we don’t have sponsors.  So without further adieu…

N&K’s Tips 1 to 10** for Healthy Weight Management

­

1) True motivation = YOU.

When I changed my motivation from

…i­mproving my looks 

Gotta: fit into those clothes

Gotta: be a certain size

Gotta: look a certain way

(translation: motivation was to fit in with everyone else)

⇒          ⇒       ⇒    ⇒ ⇒

choosing to live for myself

Must: improve my own physical & mental health

Must: improve the health of my future self

(translation: motivation was to make me better because I choose to do it, not because someone guilted me or told me to),

And I found that my behaviours shifted naturally.

This shift happened a few weeks after I was diagnosed with a serious and chronic condition.  (You can read about that in the first post of the series.)

2) Empower yourself through education & wise choices.

You’re a unique human being. But what makes you you?  Learn about yourself, your habits (bad and good), your family’s health history or your own diseases and disorders.

And, I’m not just talking food and exercise, folks. Surround yourself with like-minded supportive peeps.

Like attracts like. If you want to quit tobacco/caffeine/other drugs or want to train for a marathon or get into school… immerse yo’ fine self with people who are interested in doing the same. (Why do you think support groups are helpful!) If you only hang out with peeps who engage in the behaviours you want to change, how is that support adding value to your life?  We’re not saying replace your old friends by making new ones.  We’re saying… look up and see what other people are out there.

3) Aim for S.M.A.R.T. goals.

My overall goal was to lose 115 pounds. From my first post, you know I was intimidated by this number. Who the heck wouldn’t be!?!

So I broke this down into manageable realistic chunks. Click here to access my SMARTified goal template. In the doc, the gloomy gray goal is untenable.  I show you how I made the goals within arm’s reach (in blue).

4) Implement exercise. Keep it enjoyable & doable.

And try to have a workout buddy!

I started by dancing at home a couple times a week. And later on, when I joined a gym, my co-bootcamp babes kept me accountable when I missed a class.

I slowly worked up to what I do now, which is 6-7 days/week.

P r e v i o u s l y . . . On my workdays, I was on the elliptical, with weights in evening. Zumba on my days off.

N o w .  .  .  I’m training for the 5 km, I’m jogging 3-4x/week. (Mixture of treadmill and outdoors.)  On rest days, I’m swimming. Once weekly I’m at my dessert Zumba class.

That’s it for now, lovelies!

What do you think of our Helpful Tips thus far?
What are your thoughts on fad diets and celebrity toutings?
Please leave a comment below.

The footstuffies:

* yes there is a celebrity that’s advising ladies to steam their Vs.  We need to consciously uncouple from that shizen. You should only steam your food, blocked sinuses and your blackheads.

** We can’t put all 10 in one post. That’s ludicrous!  Why on earth would you be back if you’ve got all 10 tips in your pocket now? So we’ll feature Tips 5-10 over the next few weeks.

Purple Nurple

The Purple Café and Wine Bar is an eatery in the financial district in Seattle. It features seasonal northwest cuisine and wine pairings.

When you first enter the place, it looks surprisingly large with high ceilings. However due to muted lighting and dark wood furniture, it is feels intimate. Just off-centre, they have their wine/liquor larder. It looks like a huge wooden centrifuge from the industrial era*. This large pillar runs to the ceiling, with 360-degree shelving. There are stairs snaking around the side like a DNA helix.  (Kells and I wanted to go explore but there was a pesky ‘stairs not in use’ sign… and we didn’t want to make a scene… At least not that evening.)

We were wineless that night.  Kells had a Cosmo, extra tart. I had a beer**.

We ordered the Baked Brie to start. It was gift wrapped in

crispy phyllo, and accompanied by apricots, carmelized onions, walnuts, grapes and house crackers. The whole mess was delightful. Everything complemented each other perfectly. And the grapes were an amazement — halved and warmed, with salt. You may think ‘egads how odd!’ But trust us… your tastebuds will thank you.

For our mains, we couldn’t decide from Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese, seared Diver Scallops with grits (daily special) or Wild Mushroom Rigatoni. We were also eyeing the Veal and Pancetta Bolognese (I love me some parpadelle) and Pan Seared Muscovy Duck Breast. Due to availability and what was popular we went with Scallops and Bolognese.

The Diver Scallops were beautifully seared, toothy but tender and slightly sweet on the inside. Though cooked perfectly, grits were a little flat in flavour. (Grits are hard to season). The Bolognese was rich with al dente flavourful parps.

Kells was here before and enjoyed the Lobster Mac and Cheese. This is also a popular dish…Kells gives it 2 thumbs up. (But someone^ forgot her lactaid and we didn’t want to take a chance with someone’s^ gnarly digestive results if someone^ partook of the lactose-laden kryptonite.)

And we ended with Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée. Holy caboodles!Beautifully torched top…sweet and smoky. The crème was mindblowing… flavourful, great mouthfeel, not super sickly sweet. An amazing way to end a good meal.

Staff: Our waitstaff Maddy was fabulous! She was super friendly, genuine and knew when to come by to ask questions (ie: not when we just took a big bite).

Conclusion: Purple Café is a must-try!

Have you gone to Purple Cafe?
What delights have you ordered?  

Tell us what you think below, in the Comments section!

End bitties

* did scientists have centrifuges in the industrial era? If they did, this is what my mind pictures.
**Wine is not sitting well with Kells’ system these days. This is a sad state of affairs for her. So, in blog-sisterhood, I didn’t get wine even though we were at a winebar.
^someone=Nals

Blasted Mascara!

Well this week can just blast off!

Let me break it down for all you N&Kers. But first, I will go over the rules I follow:

  1. We bought all mascara ourselves (which means nobody is paying us).
  2. We wear each mascara for 1 week.
  3. All mascara’s purchased were black, and the darkest black they had available.
  4. Every Mascara used was put on the exact same way, with only 2 coats and all eye makeup for the pictures was exactly the same.
  5. That’s it…there are no more rules.
  6. Wait…maybe one more…the opinion is ours…take it or leave it. Believe it or not. These are just our 2 cents.

This week I applied Covergirl’s Plumpify blastPRO. Hmmm….where do I start? Ok, let’s start off with what I didn’t like because unfortunately there’s more I didn’t like.

First, the brush. Oi, that brush. I think Covergirl was trying to reinvent the brush, but I’m sorry, did no one try it out before rolling it out? This brush is not soft, oh no, it’s hard and scratches you. If you are like me, you like to get as close to the root of the lash as possible. However, try getting this brush in close! Let me tell yah, you will feel it if you touch your lid. It will scratch you. It should change it’s name to Meangirl.

Once you get past the scratch of the brush it’s an ok mascara. Now, if you like your lashes to have a super natural look, that doesn’t really look like you are wearing anything, this is the perfect mascara. It certainly does not Plumpify by any means. But it will separate each lash with a thin coat of mascara giving you a darker natural looking lash. To me, that doesn’t equal plumpify. Plumpify says bold, big, fluffy, juicy, dark lashes. Not thin and natural.

That being said, this is a perfect mascara (if you don’t scratch  your lids off first) for that day look, going to the grocery store and the gym…but…be warned…it sweats off easy. After my gym routine I did need to wipe off my lids and under eyes. So maybe if you are trying to impress that hottie at the gym, don’t wear this! Unless you don’t sweat like cheese in the sun!

So what did I like? Glad you asked! I did like that it gave a natural look to the lashes. Yes I do like a good bold, dark lash. But not for everything. I mean, do I really need bold lashes for breakfast dates, or dimsum? Ok, maybe I do…but I could settle for a nice natural lash.

Also, I just went and read the reviews on the Covergirl webpage. And people seem to agree with me on the brush. Leelu commented ” If the brush were less harsh and offered softer bristles this would be a perfect product!” Can’t say I would go as far as perfect product…but “less harsh” is a good way to put it.

But like I have said in the past, if you like this one, hey you go girl*.

Side note, when we use a * after girl or women or any gender descriptive word, we are saying we are inclusive of all who identify.

90 pounds and counting… Part Deux

A while back I talked about starting on my journey of self-discovery^.  

Click here to read that post.  

So, let’s cut to 15 years later. . .


Yes, it’s a sad state of affairs but c’est vrai. There’s less of me to hug… (not that I’m much of a hugger anyways)


 . . . I’ve lost: about 90 pounds, a few clothing sizes, some unhealthy habits and coping, some excessive anxiety and some of my self-critical automaton.

 

. . . I’ve gained:        

  • strength.  Initially, I struggled to exercise with 2-pound weights. And now I’ve got me some pipes, yo!* If it wasn’t for tendonitis, I’d be doing push ups left right and centre. Yeah and I’d be an old pro at those burpees.  (You know that unnatural unnecessary abnormal ‘conditioning’ exercise.)

  • endurance. I came across this interesting BBC article  Is Physical Endurance All In The Mind?   Yes I think a large part of it lives in your brain – different parts: making new synaptic connections, challenging yourself, improving your skills.

For example, I could barely do 5 minutes on the elliptical. And now, I can do 60 minutes with my eyes closed**. One of my initial goals was to run 2 straight minutes. And now? Different story. At last count I could run at 4.5mph for 30 straight minutes. That’s on a treadmill.  (Outside running is a different story grr… I’m still working on it.)


I’m training for my first 5k city fun run!  Kells -and Mr. Kells- will be there of course.  (They’ve done a few 5k runs, so it’s old hat to those 2 cute fit bits.)  In our cheering section will be Mr. Nals, mumsey, mumsey-in-law and Lil Kiwi!~  


  • gumptionI strive to push my comfort levels a little. On the last few trips I’ve been on, I’ve done something different. I’ve zip lined, spelunked, explored volcanos and hiked all over the world. For a lot of peeps, this is the norm.  Until now, it was challenging for me.

I’ve also embraced the camera and… have taken loads of photos (on our Instagram).  Previously, taking photos was extremely stressful and a negative experience.  Now: it’s way funner^^ to let go and take quirky pictures.  For our S. F. U. shots 1  2  3, we traipsed around with our photog gear, and vogued L, R & C.  (Good exposure therapy for me: People saw us, were mildly curious and watched for a bit, and then went on about their day.)

In order to take nice pictures, you have to put yourself out there both physically and emotionally. (Think of those photos you begrudgingly take at family gatherings.  Your eyes end up closed or your face is all contorted.  Next time – embrace the photoshoot.  I’ll bet yours will be the best-looking face in the group.~~)

  • a better outlook on life.  When you stop making excuses, see all the awesomeness out there and just do… It’s amazing how wonderful life is.  No, life isn’t perfect.  The world isn’t perfect.  But at least you’re trying to improve yourself.
  • greater self-awareness.
  • the skills to be more trusting and open.  Because of a whole bunch of reasons, I tend(ed) to be private. I’m trying to be more social and… open about me***.  And you know, it’s not too bad. (Not sure the people around me would agree lol.)

So what’s my secret?

 … Just add a pinch of cayenne!


Ha I wish cuz I love me my spicy food.
In all honesty, there is no secret. But I have figured out a few helpful things along the way that I’ll share with you over the next few weeks.  Kells will also weigh in with her thoughts.
Stay tuned, N&Kers!

The end bits and bobs:

^ yes this is cheezy AF. But it’s true.  Weight loss, like many lifechanging behaviours, include gaining self awareness, motivation and then enacting right plan.

* I still have a bit of chicken wing but I’m working on it.

** (though not literally cuz I’d lose my balance).

^^ yep that’s a word.

When I texted the invitation to mumsey, she said, “Oh this is so exciting!” LOL isn’t she too cute for words?

~~ and if not, then there’s always next time, right.

*** This includes more smiling. Apparently my smile is better looking than my RBF.  And hey the content of these last 2 posts were not totally easy for me to divulge either.

What do you guys think?  

RBF vs. Smiling?

Leave us your thoughts and comments on your experiences with weight loss, self awareness, motivation and changing lifelong bad habits.

Get To Know Ya

No N&Kers, this is not a Maxwell song but a review of The Maxwell Downtown Seattle Hotel.

Stay Pineapple is a boutique hotel chain in 5 American cities.  We chose to stay at The Maxwell Downtown. Oh la la.

It is a funky cool hotel, just off of 3rd Avenue North^. The hotel is nestled in a quieter residential-type subdivision. It’s an 8-minute walk from the Museum of Pop Culture, and about 9 minute drive to Pike Place Market.

Their mottos:

  • Stay Naked (laundered bed linens so you can just pop into bed, and not have to pull a blue-light-worthy germy bedspread off),
  • old-fashioned hospitality and
  • pup-friendly (welcome with reservations).

We’d sum up the looks with: bright colours, lots of light and groovy-kinda-retro vibes.

Our room was in the corner, south-facing and on the 4th floor. We had a view of the top of the Space Needle. We had a balcony with some chairs. It was raining, cold and foggy so we didn’t spend too much time out there.

T H E    p R O s:

What first stood out were the non-carpeted floors, the lofty ceiling and big fluffy beds. Though the lobby and hallways were loudly coloured, our stylish room was thankfully muted.

This hotel is chock full of amenities like shuttle buses, in-room safe, microwave, mini fridge, basic beverages and popcorn, on-site gym, pool, espresso & cocktail bars and restaurant. There’s apparently an afternoon teatime in the lobby with pineapple cupcakes. There’s also a secured underground parking (fee).

Gender neutral washrooms!

There are tons of nooks and crannies for cool pictures*.

There are some little eateries within walking distance.

Gym fits 7 people. They have 4 cardio machines, free weights, TV, a bench, towels and water.

TV was a good size and positioned so we could both comfortably watch. We could cast Netflix from our phones to the TV, and loaded music when we wanted. (Wifi is free for guests.)

Saving the best for last… The beds were heaven. Absolute heaven! They were tall, firm, lofty, cozy and pillow filled**.

C H A L L E N G E S:

1. Shuttle schedule and stops are not written anywhere. One can phone the front desk to inquire. The staff are happy to provide a verbal schedule, or make a booking.  So, call the day before if you want to plan around the shuttle sched.

2. Restaurant and cocktail bar weren’t open when we were there (on a weekend).

3. There wasn’t a lot of countertop space in the bathroom or living areas. This was a bit of a problem as we have lots of makeup and girly things. We also require a separate snack stacking area. So things were very tight.

4. In-suite lighting wasn’t wonderful for getting ready. (Usually we share the bathroom, see point 3.) So I had to do my makeup at the windowsill which didn’t work well in the evening.  (Putting on lashes is hard enough in normal lighting!)

5. Pool is small. We didn’t think it would be huge but an average-heighted adult couldn’t do laps. This pool is probably more suited to keep kids busy when the supervising adults want some quieter time.

6. Resort and parking fees.  Nightly rates are reasonable but these fees add another $50/night.

They have fun wood-block games in their elevators.

C O N C L U S I O N:

Yes, we’d recommend this hotel.

Next time we’re in Seattle, though, we’ll probably be checking out other hotels for variety.

FOOTNOTES:

^ Oddly there is a huge mostly empty parking lot across the street in front with an airstream parked on top, like a cherry.
* hint hint… foreshadowing to our upcoming pictures!
** One evening, after traipsing around in the damp cold, I had changed into my jams and was bundled in my bed watching TV. Kells comes out of the washroom and for a moment couldn’t see me. THAT’S how fluffy the duvets and pillows were!

 

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Lately, it’s been raining a lot here in this temperate rainforest climate. It’s a gloomy and cold and damp. Kells and I decided to warm up by popping into a hot shop. So in we go to the casual The Ramen Butcher (RB) for lunch. RB is in the Menya Kouji Group, and pseudo-secretly tucked away into a half-street in Chinatown.

There was a bit of a line up as the place is smallish and it was grub time. But we got in in under 5 minutes. Window seat of course. (Kells insisted on this or we’d walk! JK.)

Ambience:

It’s all woodwork inside, with a collection of seating areas from typical slide-in booths to tall bar-type long tabletops. In the middle of the room, these tabletops have little cubbies right underneath. Handy little place for your wet umbrella* or your purse or your chinchilla**. Unfortunately this creates a problem for us long-legged folks (challenging to comfortably place the thighs under this contraption when using the handy foot bar-rests). Half pints would probably be ok.

Service:

Servers are peppy little ladies and gents that zip around. They are efficient and friendly. Food came in after a short wait, and was hot on arrival.

R a m e n   S c i e n c e:

Have you guys ordered ramen before? I’m not talking about the 3-minute pot-noodle stuff. There is a whole science and process to ramen noodles and soup.

  1. The main difference from other noodlers is that the ramens are alkaline. So they can be dropped into and withstand searing hot temps of broth, without getting limp. (& who the heck wants a limp noodle?) They come in thick versions (tsukemen) or thin (ramen).
  2. The broth is also a bit complicated, made with chicken +/- pork. There’s the thicker, opaque, white broth (paitan). Then there’s the delicate clear broth (chintan).
  3. Lastly, there’s the filling/topping (chicken, pork, egg, seaweed, veg, etc.).
Our RB order

At Ramen Butcher, these are all pre-assembled into menu items but the trio of components is the basic idea. We ordered:
Karaage to start. It was crispy boneless goodness that came with pan-fried cabbage and rice.
– Our lunch main was Chicken Ramen. This dish had thin ramen noodles with the clear chintan broth. It also came with a half-egg, chicken pieces and chicken meatballs. I was a little skeptical that a clear broth would have delicious flavour and mouthfeel. I think of wimpy consommé when I hear clear broth. (But this made me think of pho which is clear and totes flavourful… but is also made with umami-filled beef.)

However, Ramen Butcher did not disappoint. They clearly (ha ha) take their ramen noodling and brothing seriously.   The result is a delicious bowl of ramen.

Critiques:

-The long-tables (as described above).
-Parking is an issue for Chinatown. So take transit or walk. If you have to drive, try to carpool or… come early to find a spot.
-RB is smallish so if you have a party>6, prepare to wait a bit for a table at peak grub time.

Conclusion:
  • Kells has been here before. But, this was my first time. And we will defo be back! We’re intrigued by their gyoza, Red Spicy Ramen, Black Garlic and Classic Tsukemen.  You guys have got to try this place!

Fun fact: Only recently did The Ramen Butcher incorporate English into their Japanese menus.

 

Penny for your thoughts?  

Let us know what you think by clicking on Leave a Comment, exclusively available in this post’s tag cloud.

      End bits        
*There are 2 kinds of Vancouverites – those that carry an umbrella and those that don’t bother. Kells and I are the latter. (We choose rain jackets instead.)
**Fair warning: You can’t bring your pet into a food establishment in Vancouver. Unless it’s a guide dog…or guide chinchilla.

All that Glitzes is Glitter

One cool December evening, we were watching Forensic Files, as I am a criminologist-by-night^. And we found out there’s a Glitter Guy! This dude has been collecting glitter for over a decade purportedly for forensic purposes (but we know he secretly loves to roll around in all that glitter!)

Clearly, this shibbles-n-bits isn’t just for kindergarteners anymore.

And so… what better time, than Holiday Time!, to discuss shimmery glittery goodness.

Today, we’ll be giving you the lowdown on:

1) BITE’s Prismatic Pearl Crème Gloss
2) smashbox’s Be Legendary Liquid Lip
3) Julep’s Moisturizing LipGloss

.One day, I had me a hankerin’ to get some glitterati. I was directed to the BITE Prismatic Pearl Crème line, with 10 coveted colour choices. The Pink Pearl is a light pink opaque with a suspension of light pink glitter. It has cool white-silvery undertones. The Rose Pearl’s base is a warmer opaque magenta with mesmerizing dual-tone glitter (pink-gold). I can’t quite figure out if the base is golden-hued or if it’s just the glitter. But whatever it is, it’s all fab. These glitter glosses (GGs) have staying power and true colour. (eg: it looked the same on me and Kells, and looked the same as inside the bottle.) The base feels like creamy gloss, and there’s no gritty feel to the glitter. Warning: this line is not for the glitter-shy. It bites you right in the kisser. So, if you’re unsure about glitter, you may want to look at the nibbly alternatives below. Check out our gangsta pic where we’re both sporting the Pink Gold. Kells has layered it on top of Fenty’s Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter. I’ve layered it on top of Clinique’s Bold Pop matte lip. (Bold Pop is a rich velvety burgundy .)

For Christmas, my lil work SiSter, got me the Sugar Cane* gloss in smashbox’s Be Legendary line. This line has quite the array of colours from a ka-pow brick red to more muted tones. The Sugar Cane base is a full colour warm brown sugar with prismatic micro-glitter. It feels like a creamy slithery gloss (but not as rich as BITE’s). And with a soupçon of glitter. On my skin, this looks like a dark shimmery nude. I’m actually wearing this under a glossy Julep taco** in our Merry Christmas post on our Instagram.

Julep’s translucent GGs are also dreamy. They have pretty good staying power with that yummy glossy feeling. These are generally sheer with super duper fine glitter. There is a choice of 13 colours.  I’ve tried Glowing (coral pink), Charming (deeper rosy brown) and Adored (baby pink). The Julep glosses are great starters for those just getting into gloss and GGs.

Pink Pearl, Rose Pearl, Bold Pop, Sugar Cane, Low Key & Charming: L to R.

 

THE ANALYSIS

These are all awesome glosses in their own right.

more versatile than you think

What we love about glitter glosses is that are uber versatile. You can wear these:

  • straight on your nekkid lip
  • on top of lipstick… you can do the full Monty as we have in our gangsta pic, or just dot your centres to highlight
  • on top of lipliner
  • … get ready to have your mind blown… put a clear gloss on top of the glitter. Yes you heard me right, folks. When you add that clear gloss taco, your lips resemble a shiny marble. It’s glitterati to the max.

Okay so some other considerations…

Kells and I have a gorgeous gal-pal, Lil Kiwi. She is hyperaware of age-appropriateness of makeup and clothing.  She has a lovely porcelain complexion, warm brown mischievous eyes and an infectious AF laugh. However, she gravitates towards a more natural look, anyways, which is always age-appropriate. (Though lately, she’s branched out a bit, which Kells and I love.) So as I myself am approaching a certain number, I had a sad thought: is glitter is out of my age range? After thorough and extensive processing, the light of reason shone upon me.

My conclusion? “My inner diva is channeled and she wants glitter!” and boom! here you have this post^^.

We hope you enjoy exploring these GGs.

Do you have faves that you’d like to rave about?

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below!

End bits –for you keeners that look this kinda stuff up–

^(in my head)
* (how appropriate as we are both from lands o’ sugar cane)
** Julep gloss taco: Ultra Hydrating Lipgloss in Low Key
^^ this post is dedicated to all the inner divas out there! Here’s hoping we can out them soon.

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90 pounds and counting…

Hold on to your skivvies N&Kers cuz things are about to get real. Miss Nals has a few things to say… so find a comfy chair and grab a big ass cup of coffee.

From the age of 6, I was referred to as “fat”. I would defo agree with this adjective. But news non-flash! Being “fat” does not equate to a good thing in North America (borrowing Martha Stewart’s catchphrase). It’s mind boggling how pervasive that negativity is, surrounding the word “fat”.  It reminds me of the static electricity ball, where moving witchy fingers of electricity reach out and nip you when you least expect it.  It shouldn’t hurt but it does.

You heard of, read about or saw a flick about… That friend who is hesitant to go to her high school reunion. Her high school sweetheart is going to be there and she doesn’t feel she looks her best. But she attends, and comes back elated, stating “He has a fat and ugly wife!” Or “That celebrity-du-jour is looking real nasty, cause she’s gained so much weight.” Or (my fave) when people say “You would be so pretty if you weren’t so fat.”

Sometimes it feels that society says it’s ok to be a mass murderer as long as the murderer is not fat. Someone’s snarky behaviour is tolerated because it comes out of the mouth of a mini skinny.

Let’s not get all negative as there are some delights of being fat:

  • People (often strangers) keep you honest by telling you that you’re fat. And, yelling out-of-the-blue if you’re supes lucky.  (Yes literally shouting out, “You’re fat!”)
  • People have no qualms about sharing their pro-skinny opinions. As a kid, I was watching Roseanne.  When my cousin walked in, she immediately said, “Why are there so many fat people on this show?”
  • People love to offer up free advice, which is always unsolicited. No hello, how-do-you-do or even come-here-often-? as a segue. No way. It’s the straight up dope.  “You know you should cut out ABC and then do XYZ.”
  • You learn to be self-sufficient: as salespeople ignore you or people don’t engage in courteous behaviours like opening the door.

Going across L to R: 2001 Convocation, age 3, 2009 mendhi night, 2009 Wedding Day, age 6 and finally, present day dress & orange scarf!

The start of something.  In my 20s, I was working at a bookstore when a customer called to see if a copy of Susan Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue was available. I was intrigued by the title and read it. And boom my mind was blown! I never considered “fat” as a tool of rebellion. I definitely didn’t feel rebellious but… was I?

Regardless of subconscious rebellions, “fat” as associated with “fugly”, who deems it “unacceptable” and who keeps perpetuating these ideas… I was sick of feeling shitty. I was tired (lethargic yes, and tired of letting other people’s constant fat remarks get to me).  I was physically achey, had a low mood & excessive anxiety.  I had gone on all sorts of diets and they didn’t stick. (The weight stuck, not the loss part.) I was just fed up, and mentioned it to me mumsey.  She suggested that I speak to our family doctor*.  So I did. And he said he could help but first he wanted to do a work up. I thought “C’mon man, let’s just get on with it. I’m in my 20s what on earth can go wrong?”

But they found something… After some more tests and a biopsy later, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. I was lucky they found it early. Most don’t seek help till decades later, when it’s too late to change. So, with a weird feeling of oddly-displaced luck, I toddled off to see my newly-appointed specialist*. She told me I had to lose 115 pounds, and it would take a couple of years.

Oh holy Murphy c’mon really?!? How many times did I try to but I couldn’t even lose 10?!  This left me feeling mighty frustrated and hapless.

But then there came a point where I had to choose: to sit here and pickle in my misery, or to move forward.

So, I started by educating myself on the disease. And then I made small changes.


Please consult a licensed health professional prior to making changes in your life. What is beneficial to me may not be right for your body. And, things that the media depict as healthy may not be appropriate for your needs.


And just like that Miss Nals got her groove back!
. . . I started to exercise. . .     

Some of my enjoyable childhood memories were learning to dance with mumsey (including watching Arthur Murray Dance Studio videos!).  As such, Zumba beckoned me but I wasn’t quite ready to join public classes.  So I started pin-ponning along with YouTube videos 2x/week.  It took some time to find good videos.  But I eventually found Linda Edler, Sid Vicious and Shani McGraham-Shirley.  (Thank you, lovely ladies!)

. . . and I paid attention to what I was putting in my body. . . 

I looked at portions and nutrition labels.  This can certainly be overwhelming.  So, I’d suggest focussing on a couple of values at a time, not the entire label.  (Your focus is decided by you and your health team, not the media or your skinny friend or me.***)


To my amazement, my weight dropped and… holy frig it kept dropping! It was exhilarating.  Like a roller coaster… But uh … actually enjoyable.  (Sorry Kells I know you heart the rollers.)


My specialist said that’s a great start but you need to join a gym, missy. So, I reluctantly joined one**, and got hooked on boot camp. My awesome bootcamp leader Miss Martina (now at Train on Main) knew when to push me and when to back off. I was also inspired by her weight loss story.  And my fellow bootcampers, though all lifelong slim shadies, were very supportive as well.  Ohhhh this was spectacular!

And so my journey continues… Stay tuned for Part Deux.

The footies:

* I must give a shout-out to my fam doc, Dr. H. He was and is wonderful – always gentle, respectful and kind.  And of course a shout-out to my specialist Dr. S.  Both docs are slim, well-dressed and clearly smart.  But never judgemental.  So thank you to you both from the depths of my now-conditioned heart.

** I was reluctant to join a gym because I was anticipating judgemental attitudes.  At the time, there wasn’t a huge variety of gyms.  It seemed like only those who appeared in Jane Fonda videos were at the gyms that I checked out. I have also experienced people shouting out their negative comments to me while I was exercising. A good combo, these did not make.

*** What I mean by this is that we often hear about things like cutting fat or increasing fibre.  However, if you have an allergy or digestive tract issue, increasing fibre may be harmful. Don’t take what you hear at face value.  Find out the what-why-who-where-when before you choose to apply it to your life.

What are your experiences with weight dysphoria? Care to share? Please comment below!

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Light me Up!

I realize that we have already talked about Fenty Beauty and the amazing Gloss Bomb that is a must-buy.  BUT I also need to talk about our girl RiRi’s amazing Fenty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick.

First let me start by saying you must have seen a good IG make up tutorial by now … and we always see that finishing touch of highlighter right before the lipstick followed by that final squinty eye, pouty lip pose. (And yes, some of my fellow make-up enthusiasts are going a bit too far with the highlights.  But we all have to admit, it’s still pretty freaking glorious! It’s like being kissed by angels or dusted by fairies. No make-up kit should go without a good highlighter. Which brings me back to Fenty…

This Match Stix is a must! I have been using it since I bought it and from some of our IG posts you can definitely see that this girl is lit up! Here’s what I love about it:

  1. Easy to put on
  2. You can use a little or a lot
  3. Blends well
  4. Cruelty free

BUT the big win for both Nals and I, is that it’s not just another highlighter for the lighter skin tones.  This Match Stix comes in 10 shades! I bought Starstruck but I need to get Trippin for my bronzed summer look.   I think I have convinced Nals to give them a go too! And I’m not sure if you noticed, but these Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks will stick together (you gotta check it out to know what I mean).

I’m not newbie to highlighters and I do have others, like my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light. I really like this powder, too.  It feels good, it’s vegan and comes in 6 shades. I feel that this powder doesn’t pack the punch that the Match Stix does, so I use it for lunch out with
friends, and not a night out. The big difference however, is the price. You can grab a Fenty Match Stix for $25 or the Hourglass Powder for $55.

I recommend both.  It’s just a question on what you are willing to spend and the look you are going for.

Sleepless in Seattle

That’s right, we are headed to Seattle for the weekend in January 2018!

We thought why not head south for some fun and shopping after the Christmas holidays. But for an added twist: we want your help!

We have been looking at hotels, restaurants and things to do but we want to hear from you. What is your favorite hotel? Where do you like to eat? What is something that N&K have to see when they are taking Seattle by storm? (Hopefully there literally won’t be a storm…but ya know what we mean).

For example, do we lighten it up and Stay Pineapple Maxwell or Five? Or do we boutique it out at Kimpton Monaco or Palladian Hotel? (Really, N&K deserve to be pampered in the Four Seasons but we do realize that won’t happen this trip).

And during those cold rainy Pacific Northwest days…what do we do then? Is it a must that we catch a fish down at the Pike Place Market? Or do we get massages and facials at Penelope and The Beauty Bar? Or do we see the space oddity that is Bowie at MoPOP?

Finally, the food!! Where the heck do we want to eat? I mean The Pink Door and Umi Sake House have our names written all over it…but The Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is so good. And let’s not forget Biscuit Bitch, we have yet to experience this, do we need to eat here?

Please send us your suggestions by commenting below or on our IG acct @nalsandkells or by sending us an email!

Oh, yes, let’s not forget…we will be writing reviews and taking photos along the way. So stay tuned to see if your suggestion is our next blog review!

Belle du jour

Imagine the ambience of a small bustling Parisian patisserie, tucked away in a quiet corner. Quaint garden-furniture-esque seating with walls in soothing hues of blue and off-white. Off to the side, an armoire contains the creamers and sweeteners to tastify your beverages.  The aroma of baked love is intoxicating. And then oh la la the little takeaways wrapped up in cellophane with sweet wisps of ribbon – biscotti, madelines, chocolate dipped trinkets…

Well N&Kers, hold on to your bonnets because this place is for reals, yo. Cadeaux Bakery is situated on Powell Street in Vancouver, BC. The open-concept has a refreshingly honest what-you-see-is-what-you-get vibe.  Bakers and sous-chefs dot the back of the establishment. They work hard to bring us a variety of deliciousness from the usual fare (sweet & savoury croissants, quiches, petit fours, choux patisserie) to the creative (funky cakes, parfaits).

Food is made daily, and thus offerings differ daily**. Kells & I have tried some of the 5-layered cakes (London Fog, Dark Chocolate Cassis, Coconut Choco, Carrot), cheesecakes (Triple Choco Cheesecake, Vanilla), meringues and parfaits. (They also have ice cream and sorbets, but we haven’t yet partaken.)

To complement your food, they have espresso drinks and tea leaved-cuppas. They also have a house made lavendar syrup. Very subtle but lovely.

The sweets are not too saccharine or heavy. The whipped cake icing is amazingly light.  This leaves plenty of room to experience the ingredients and the perfectly-executed baking techniques on your taste buds.

We love love love it here.

Conclusion: you must try this joint.

Apparently, every well rounded review should have a critique. So here goes:
1) It’s not open 24/7 (way to slack off, guys)*
2) Offerings change daily**

*Chef Eleanor, we lovingly plead, if you have thought of an outreach model to cover your ‘closed’ days?
**Daily offerings are a catch 22. We love that you can walk in and not know what loveliness is in store that day. But we tried a savoury bread pudding last year. And my goodness, we’ve been patiently waiting but it hasn’t yet made the second rounds. (At least not on one if our monthly visits.)

Please don’t stop the Fenty

We skipped into Sephora in Vegas, hand in hand like 2 cute little tots in pigtails. Just days prior, I had popped in to the one in Burnaby (that’s in Beautiful British Columbia for you unworldly readers) to pick up my birthday gift* and some many other treats for my fiiine & wiser self. But a girl can always see what’s new with makeup.

And then (cue the angels singing)… our Miss Kells pointed out the mesmerizing Fenty Beauty line. I’ve never seen such an array that celebrates us cocoa-coffee-toffee skin tones.

Kells and I tried on and subsequently picked up the Gloss Bomb.  And as it was her birthday as well, she picked up a few other delights like the lipstick and highlighter, and a delicious Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette.  (The highlighter was so fab AF that it requires a separate post.  So, BOLO!)  The Starlit Hyper Glitz lipstick in Supermoon did the job – nice colour, texture but nothing really differentiated it from another higher end lippie.

(The Gloss Bomb is so bomb that it stands on its own, as pictured here… heh heh.)

And oh my word Rihanna you have outdone yo-self, son! Your butt-stopping product, the Gloss Bomb Lip Luminizer is Universally fantastic. This gloss comes in a funky geometrically cut bottle. It has the scent of sweet something. The texture is not too sticky but has excellent staying power. And the colour is dreamy creamy translucent luminous. What on earth does that mean?* Seriously perfect nude gloss for a darkie like me and for a porcelain-complected pixie like our Kells over here.

So get off your poorly glossed duffs and pick up a gd bottle of this potion, ladies & gents! Oh and hey Rihanna, our one critique is that there aren’t more colours so umm… get-to-steppin.

* It means exactly what I said.
** For my birthday gift I chose the
Tarte blush (paaarty pink) and mini creamy matte lippy (Birthday Suit pink for those 60s-inspired days). Kells picked up Caudalie skin care goop in Vegas. And hey if you’re wondering how the in-store birthday gift offerings compare in USA vs. Canada… They are the same.  Sigh anti-climactic but true.)

Watch out for our All That Glitzes is Glitter in an upcoming Christmas-themed post.  We’ll be trying out Fenty’s Cosmic Glitter Lipgloss & Bite Beauty’s Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss… and we may throw in some other blitzy surprises (if you’re lucky).

It’s a Wrap!

It’s 5 am… Dark, cold, dank. Oh snap. Just like that we are into Pacific Northwest’s fall season. But here I am sipping my delicious coffee (thanks to Primula’s stovetop espresso pot) and happily snuggled in my fleece blanket. What a perfect segue into Fall Wraps.

Kells was inspired to do a photoshoot on Fall Wraps. Big thanks to my snuggly reversible black-and-hot-red wrap from Addition Elle.

So wrap we did…

Just like the cold shoulder, wraps are a perfect fit for any body shape or skin tone. And oh my the choices of colour, fabric/texture, style and embellishments is bound to get a person hot under the collar.

The wrap can be used to cover up a not-so-inspired outfit or can be used as a teaser of more fabulousness to come. Booyeah! Transformed!

Kells is sporting a long grey wrap from Dex, a printed number bought from Sears and a warm grey and black striped wrap from Reitmans.

We suggest, when picking your new fall wrap, that you make sure it can be versatile and worn many different ways. This way you will get the most out of the wrap, from rainy days at home, to dinner out with the girls! However you wear it, just remember this fall to wrap it up!

Sushi Nazi

Have you seen that Seinfeld episode when the boys fell all over each other, trying to scramble to get to the soup nazi on time? Except Elaine wasn’t convinced until she tried the lobster-freaking-bisque? One mind blowing slurp is all it took. And she had to sit right down on some steaming filth of NY sidewalk to appreciate* the experience. When you eat at the Yellowtail in Vegas, you will experience that intensity in your viscera.

Yellowtail Photos_Credit Hakkasan Group

So Miss Kells and I decided to visit our buds** Chef Akira Strikes Back. And boy did he ever. We made our order^.  But the crowning  glory was*** the Crispy Kalbi roll (CKr). Omg the perfection of that first bite… the salty toothy nori, slightly sweet tangy sushi rice then the crispy Korean short ribs nestled like a treasure inside. The textures were amazing. But the flavour of each layer was the rub… distinct and yet played so well with each other in that perfect little sandbox. Then the holy trinity of the topping: fresh micro-greens and the K-rib sauce. So yes. It was life-changing.

Myths of the CKr: a) hot crispy ribs are going to get cold and/or b) the steam will make them soggy and thus, c) one should gobble it up toute de suite.

The stone cold reality: it was so good that Kells and I inadvertently slowly dotted our meal with the CKr. We wanted that golden goodness to last as long as freaking possible. And my word, subsequent bites were as amazing as the first. (No need to chase the dragon here!)

So Chef, standing ovation for this genius invention. My only critique would be that I didn’t get my own mofo roll.

*pronounced the dignified English way (as in up-reece-ee-ate)
**not actually our buds but we are all-inclusive up hurr at N&K
^we also ordered: the real crab-stuffed California roll and agedashi tofu. The Cali roll was fine, nothing to write home about.  (We found this surprising because uh hello: real crab, no Jackson Pollack-ing here! We finished the roll but will not be ordering it again.)  The agedashi tofu was defo amazing… Just like me, it had a just-right crispy exterior, soft melty insides and covered in a mind-stopping numma-nums sauce
*** my heart is beating in sweet anticipation just mentioning the CKr

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Hakkasan Group for allowing us to use their beautiful photo for our Yellowtail Restaurant post.

The Cold Shoulder.

 

We love love love the cold shoulder and feel that this is a look that can suit all women*.

During our last trip to Vegas, this fall, we were sitting at the airport waiting to head south for some S&S (sun and shopping), when Nals looked at me and said: you really like the cold shoulder don’t you? I was wearing a beautiful royal blue cold shoulder top from Kenzie with basic white capris pants from the Gap when I threw Nals a smirk and showed her the cold shoulder!

As we toured around Las Vegas we noticed that we were getting the cold shoulder everywhere. Women* of all heights and shapes were rocking the cold shoulder. And we got to say; we loved it!!!! It wasn’t long after that Nals joined the ranks of cold shouldering with a lovely floral dress from Torrid paired with a sexy pair of heels from Nine West. I couldn’t help but go twinning with my friend in a floral dress also from Torrid. And no, it didn’t go unnoticed that we were dressed alike! And yes, we have the same purse!

Here’s what we love about this look:

  1. It doesn’t matter your size or shape, the cold                                                                 shoulder fits perfect.
  2.  It can be taken from casual to dressy with the                                                                 simplest of changes.
  3. It’s sophisticated and sexy all in one.

We will say, the verdict is still out on a plain cold shoulder t-shirt. We find these a bit frumpy and unstructured. Nals and I have yet to find one we love, but girl if you got it, rock it!

Love this cold shoulder? Shop at Reitmans for this knitted cold shoulder, Silver Denim for the jeans and Steve Madden for the knee high boots!

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AirBnB: How tos

Lately I have been here there and everywhere (unfortunately without my side kick, Nals). We both love love love to travel and quite honestly, I’m pretty darn sick of staying in hotels.

So a few years ago I started using AirBnB/VRBO.

Here’s what I love:
  • You can find a home away from home. It’s not a stuffy hotel room, with no kitchen. And yes I realize that you can find hotels with kitchenettes, but they just aren’t the same.
  • The experience of being one of the locals. You are in a home, a neighbourhood, part of the scene, instead of just visiting it.
So how does one successfully navigate finding the perfect location? Great question! Here are some of my tips!
  1. Know your price range. Use the filters tool to screen out all the places that you can’t afford. No point on wasting your time on the luxury properties that are out of reach.
  2. If you are like me, I want my own place and I don’t want to share a space with others. Not that I don’t like people, I just like having quiet moments to myself. I also like walking around in my unders and I don’t like people watching me do that. So I change the filter to only show me spaces that are my own and private.
  3. Because there are sooooo many places on AirBnB it’s a good idea to add the filters that you need. I prefer to have a kitchen and wifi,I automatically start with these filters. However, if there are certain things I want, for example, my hubs and I will be going away in a few weeks for our anniversary, and it’s hot, so I wanted a pool! (and boom, we are spending time at private home with a pool, kitchen and wifi!).
  4. Don’t get carried away with filters. Pick only a few that are important to you. Yes, there are lots of options to choose from, but having more than 3 or 4 filters will limit you. For example, I just searched for properties in Kelowna, BC. I put in random dates of Feb 12th to 16th 2019. The search came back with 300+ homes on 18 pages. When I added the filter “entire place”, and dropped my price range t0 the max of $250/night. I still had over 300 homes on 17 pages. BUT dropping the price to a max of $200/night, it brings it just under 300 homes. That’s still way to many to search through. Adding kitchen; 255 homes, and wifi; 244. Now if I add pool; 30! OR suitable for pets; 22! (we like to travel with our pups, but this limits us big time!)
  5. Location, location, location! Shuffling through 300+ homes is impossible! So don’t even try! (Please don’t!) Use the map option and zoom into the locations that you want. Close to the city, out by the lake, or up in the mountain. Use this tool, it is probably the most helpful and will bring down your search to the area best suited for you (and any travelers you are bringing with you.
  6. If you see a place you like, ♥ it, and add it to a list. You can have lots of lists and get to name them yourself. Don’t over add to your list. You will use this list to narrow down your search. I have 3 things I use to add to my list.
  • Pictures, if I like what I see
  • Cleanliness rating (I look for 5*)
  • I read 2 or 3 reviews and if they are good, I heart it.

7. Finally, once you have a few keepers in your list, start comparing them. Read the descriptions well. I often find things hidden, like if there is no TV, or if there is a cat that lives on the property. Things that you may or may not want. You may also discover that the place is a carriage home just off the main area of the owners house, and that they will be sharing space with you.  This is also when I read through the reviews. Try to read some that don’t give the property all 5*. Other guests are good at pointing out things that you may have missed. If there is something that you don’t like about the property, delete it off your list. I try to narrow it down to 2 properties. Then I will message the hosts about any questions I have, like what’s the parking  like? or are there any condiments in the fridge?

So far, all the hosts that I have had, have been amazing. They answer all my questions, communicate well and have been super helpful with anything that I have needed. I’m sure most people have used AirBnB at this point. But if you haven’t, it’s important to remember that the hosts will also rate you. Their comments are seen by other property owners. Things happen, sometimes glasses break and accidents happen. It’s good to let the host know these things. Don’t forget, to follow the instructions for when you leave. Every host has a different set of rules. These help the cleaning staff, as well as others following you to enjoy the property after you leave. My rule, is to treat the property as it is my own and if I were the host.

Finally, if you are staying at a property for a week or more, try asking the host for a deal. They are often willing to discount if you need to stay a while!

Have you AirBnB’d? What are your tips to finding the perfect place? Please share your tips with us, we would love to hear them!

Puff Balls

Beta 5. Need I say more?

You know exactly what I mean if you have been here before. And if you haven’t, get going. Like now!

A few years ago one of my coworkers would bring these amazing puffs of delight into our office cuz his sister used to work there. I was obsessed with them. But every time I asked about them I could figure out where they were or remember the random off name. Earlier this year, I was determined to find them. I work a few weekends throughout the year, and one of my weekend partners loves good food just as much as me. So we usually have a culinary experience for our lunch breaks (if time allows). A few months ago I was telling her of these amazing balls of delight and she was all in and we started to google. Well to our surprise, they are in the next neighbourhood over from our work place. A quick drive and boom, we were filling a box (each). I think my first go around I bought 6 puffs. And I think I ate 4 of them to myself.

So here’s the thing, if you like 1. Amazing flavors, 2. Sweetness, 3. Richness, you will love the Beta 5 balls.  And I mean LOVE them. I find it extremely hard to just buy one or 2. Every time I go there I want to try all the flavors. I just googled them to see what they have right now, which will be different when you search them….but right now they have a couple of my faves. Like the Raspberry Earl Grey, Salted Caramel, Vietnamese Coffee and Variations of Chocolate Cream. But if you ever see the Lime one, it’s also a must.

You must be wondering, how big are these puffs, since they are charging $5 a puff. Well they are about the size of your fist (or a small fist, if you have big hands then, no, small hand fist). And trust me, they are worth the 5 bucks. They will change your life. Make grey skies turn blue. Turn a frown upside down. It’s worth it.

Now that I have been saying all these amazing things, you will find it surprising that I will manage to bring them home and cut them in half and share them with my hubs. He doesn’t realize however, I have probably already ate 3 of them at work all to myself. But I still do bring some home to share. That’s gotta mean something, right?

Oh I should mention, Beta 5 also sells other things, like ice cream sandwiches, also very good. And chocolate. If you know me well, you will be very very very surprised that I haven’t tried their chocolate yet. I always look at the bars, and I really do want to try them…I just realized when I’m there that I have already spent a lot of money on cream puffs so I should probably limit myself. Their bars start at $9. Which to be honest, I find a bit pricey for something I don’t know I will love. I only imagine they are that amazing since their puff balls are.

Do I suggest you go to Beta 5? I don’t think I need to answer this. OF COURSE I DO!!! THEY ARE AMAZING!!!

So get going…go on…shoo!