Why hello there, 2021 and N&Kers!

Sorry lovelies. Both Kells & I have been MIA during the past few months.

The pandemonia has affected us all greatly on a personal level. And if you’ve been working through this time, you know the precautionary measures have been stressful as well. For employees as well as for your customers, clients and gen pop.

For those folks who have lost their jobs or their businesses… it’s more than just losing income. For some, it’s losing part of their identity. Worries and uncertainty have increased. (I’m not a big fan of that B uncertainty.)

Even if you were planning to leave, the pandemic affected your choice. Choice is empowering. But some have chosen to leave out of concern. Not all job sites are following safety protocols. So though it might have been a personal choice to leave, it put a strain on household finances.

Some folks had the opportunity to work from home. This also came with relationship struggles. Kids were out of school with not a whole heck of a lot to do. Students didn’t get the education they were expecting. Graduations didn’t happen or looked radically different.

Pandemonia has challenged those folks who are retired, too. There may not be a loss of income. But there was a huge losses in social lives, activities, recreation, exercising… surgeries and healthcare were put off.

The whole reason for calling COVID-19 a pandemic is that it is highly contagious and deadly. This virus has taken a lot of lives. This virus has changed quality of lives. There is a profound loss for families, friends and communities.

I can remember a day early in the pandemic in March 2020… Trudes had already announced All Canadians must stay at home. I was walking outside on my lunch break, taking advantage of the lovely weather.

I suddenly realized there was no sound around me for those few moments. No cars, no air brakes on trucks, no buses, no people, no pups, no coffee shop lingerers. I don’t even remember chirping birds or puppy barks. That area is typically bustling at lunch. (Well the entire day, really.) The only sound I could hear was paper gently nuzzling the street in the spring wind.

It was amazingly fascinatingly surreal. How could a microscopic thing –and to boot, one that I hadn’t seen myself–impact us on an individual, municipal, federal and global scale? This thing that’s not quite living is changing our health, economy, societal structure, relationships, state of being… It was a particularly a-ha moment for me. I felt like I was viewing a slo-mo video. But nothing visual was really going on.

Anyways, so here we are in 2021.

New virus variants, some Canadian airlines volunteered to remove sunny destinations (temporarily), masking/distancing/vaccine-ing. Living with the new normal.

Kells & I love to be positive. We love to put a smile on people’s faces. We both try to enjoy life and get inspired to write and take fun photos for y’all. This helps both K & I to be mindful of the positives that life has to offer. But it has been a struggle in the past months. So, we wanted to let y’all know that though we’ve been a bit MIA, we still love and appreciate you N&Kers. And we’re going to bring you more content. Stay tuned! xo, N&K

How are you guys managing? Drop a comment below.

N&K do: Whistler

Why hello there October 2020…

Looks like it’s time for the annual Nals and Kells getaway!

Blackcomb Creek; Whistler, BC

The global pandemic has limited life options this year. But since it’s our birthday, we decided to take off to Whistler, BC. (Coincidentally, Dr. Bonnie Henry has rolled out BC’s Restart Plan: Phase 3. )

Stay tuned for reviews and other fun stuff!

Burlesque Pre-pandemonia¹

On March 11, our boy Trudes announced that social gatherings above 250 would be cancelled. Our Spring 2020 show was scheduled for the following evening. Months of hard work, sweat and practice for this!?!

Gosh Trudes, awesome timing¹.

And the show did go on…

Audience was a bit sparser but the energy was just as awesome.

Knee-deep in Pandemic

Both Kells & I registered for classes before the pandemic precautions. We were waiting with bated breath… will the classes continue or not?

Yes the classes were still on but would be virtual.

Not sure what the final product is going to be like, or even what the format of our final show will be. But it’ll sure be interesting.

Let’s play footsie
¹We’re not making fun or light of the pandemic precautions or our provincial emergency status. The post’s title is merely to point out that our show happened day after the announcement. And it caused a bit of a fuss.
²I kept calling it Corvid because it flows better. (It totally does: covid vs corvid.) The husband corrected me. Covid-19 stands for COrona-VIrus Disease 2019. Technically, corvid isn’t incorrect… and can I point out that #corvid is used more that #covid?

Guess what!

Our next burleque show is March 12 at The Rio🔗.

That’s tomorrow so get tickets toute de suite and come watch us burly across the stage with our fellow babes!

N&K Burlesque Update

We’re now into 2020 burlesque year, folks.

2020 is a year of changes. And here is the evidence…

Two VBC🔗 instructors are on preggo leave³. So, the interim instructors² are bringing in new hot exciting classes.

Nals is taking a tap class. Hmm how does tap tie into contemporary burlesque? Excellent question. Guess you guys will have to come out to watch how Cleo Victory🔗 whips us into shape.

Kells is taking chair level 2. Yes you heard that right. Level bloody 2 with Chastity Twist🔗! Kells is learning how to contort in new slithers. The performance promises to be sizzling.

We are both taking a second class which is with newbie Ginger Avenue¹🔗. We’ll be bumping and grinding down under¹, to classic burlesque moves.

So come check us out at The Rio Theatre 🔗on Thursday, March 12, 2020.  

Footnotes: ¹Ginger is a new instructor but has been performing for years. She’s an Aussie! ²The second instructor is Portia de Favro🔗. N&K were itching to try one of her classes but she’s only doing intermediate and advanced. After a year of burlesquing, we feel that we’re past beginner stage but not quite intermediate.³Congratulations to Cherry on Top and Ariel Helvetica on bringing 2 new tinies to the GVA!

The day I’ll never forget

Sept 16th 1963 changed my life. Yes, I know I wasn’t born yet, and my dad was only 10 years old. But this day changed my life. On this day, a man that I will now never meet, was killed while working for the Vancouver Police Department. He was doing traffic control for a BC Lions game and was hit by a driver and killed. Sept 16th 1963 was the day that I would never meet my dad’s dad. I would never have a grandfather because of this day. I would never know what is it like to go fishing with a grandpa, here stories of his time as a police officer, and never know the man that I have only heard few stories of. Sept 16th 1963 took away memories that I would never be able to make.

Memorial in Victoria, BC located behind the parliament building

Memorial in Victoria, BC located behind the parliament building

My dad was 10. I can’t imagine losing a parent at 10. And sadly, he doesn’t talk about his dad. He wasn’t allowed to, his new step father forbid it and completely cut my dad’s family off from seeing their dad’s family. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I met some of my dad’s cousins and aunts. It’s weird hearing stories of a man you never met. It’s weird hearing people say “your grandfather was so fun” or “your grandfather would have loved to meet you”. Your grandfather. I never had a grandfather. I never called anyone grandpa. (Besides my best friends grandpa, who insisted that I call him grandpa too). To this day, I will say “my dad’s dad”. (And no I never called, or referred to my dad’s step dad as grandpa, he was an awful man and we did not have a relationship with him). It’s so crazy that a man, on Sept 16th 1963, killed a man that I really wish I could have met. I have heard he was so tall and loved to laugh. I hear he was the life of the party and was pretty funny. But one man’s poor decisions took that all way. On the last Sunday of every September, there is a police memorial to honor those who have lost their lives serving. Many people, families municipalities, general public and politicians (mainly because they want to be seen on camera) come to honor those who have died. I sit there looking at the families that have lost their mom/wife, or dad/husband, and though I am sad for them, I’m jealous that they got time with their loved one. It’s heartbreaking to see them hear the name of their family member and watch the tears flow. My dad and aunts are sitting there listening for their dad’s name to be called, their hero, who went to work and never came home.  It’s such an odd feeling of sadness and almost an emptiness.

My dad’s dad

 And I sit there thinking, Sept 16th 1963. Sept 16th 1963, years before I was born, a day that changed my life. And I think, who is the man that killed my dad’s dad. He never went to jail. He turned himself in the next day. He was never punished (except for a hit and run, not murder). It was assumed he was drinking, but he never admitted to that. Who is this man? Is he still alive? Does he remember Sept 16th 1963? Did he go on living his life? Did he ever want to apologize to my dad’s family? Does he know what he destroyed? Does he care? Does he know the man he killed had kids and a wife? That he had family that loved him? That he would have grandkids that would sit at his memorial and wonder? Does he see the news reports of the memorial and think, I’m the reason you are having this memorial? Does he sit with his grandkids and know that there are grandkids that don’t know their grandfather because of him? I would like to talk to him. Is that weird? Not to get mad at him, or yell at him. But I want to know, does he think of these things? This year, Nals came with me to the memorial. I was with my dad’s younger sister and my mom. I go to support my family and represent the families that are impacted by the deaths of the officers that have lost their lives serving their cities and neighbourhoods. I know it’s important to my dad and his sisters that I help remember their father, a man that I would never meet. What was interesting this year, is that during the procession, when the officers walk out, they usually turn and salute the families, but this year, they walked right on by and turned to salute the Premier JH. (Like I said, they come to be on camera and this year, took away from the families). One more thing I will share…my dad’s dad was killed in an intersection I drive through 2x a day, on my way to and from work. Every day, I pass the spot that someone I would know but never meet, died. The report states the driver carried him 80ft before stopping, getting out of his car to look around, and then drove away. I drive this route. This exact spot where Sept 16th 1963 changed my life. Sept 16th 1963; A day that I won’t ever forget.

Memorial for my dad’s dad in the Vancouver Police Department’s office

Change of Choice

I’ve been thinking a lot about changes lately.

Some career opportunities have come up and so a rehaul was due.

A few years ago, I made a huge change. I left the comfort of my full-time job in mental health, to go to a part-time job in the medical field. I needed to switch gears. And the leftover time would allow me to pursue my business idea and some extras.

This was a brilliant move!

Then things started to feel a little stale. Burlesque, getaways and fitness made things a bit exciting and now we’re back to a feeling a bit stagnant.

So, I took a leap of faith on some opportunities that happened to come my way. And, it’s official: I’m back full-time in mental health!

Overall, this is a good move for me and my future. Then why do I feel this anxiety, which is overwhelming at times?

Did you know that stress is multidimensional?

It affects our cognitive, physical, behavioural and social dimensions.

Stress can*:

  • have a positive (eustress) and/or negative (distress) nature,
  • have a time frame: acute or chronic (or even acute on chronic),
  • be planned or unexpected.

There are pros and cons to everything. And that’s okay. It’s in how you process it and to find appropriate supports.

For me, the CBT approach works best. I know that I ruminate in my feelings like a dog rolls around in a rotting carcass**. My previous negative experiences roll into it. And all these feelings become overwhelming. They overwhelm my logic and I sink farther into the well. I also have a tendency to bottle it all up°.

What works for me

  1. I recognize there’s a problem°°,
  2. I label my feelings and thought distortions,
  3. I use logic to break my thought cycles,
  4. I talk it out with a trusted support person.

This is what works for me. I’ve read a lot about these techniques. I’ve done research on it. I’ve facilitated & observed CBT. I’ve had my own multi-modal therapy.

Please keep in mind that I’ve had a lot of exposure and practice so I know what works for me. This may not be what works for you.

If you are new to CBT or its tenets don’t quite resonate, N&K encourage you to research different techniques. And then to get appropriate support.

Here is a list of clickable resources to get you N&Kers started:

The Anxiety & Worry Workbook

Bounceback: Reclaim Your Health (depression)

Women’s Anger Management Workbook

Men’s Anger Management Workbook

Boundaries

Brene Brown podcasts and books

Anxiety Canada

Footnotes:
*Winning a competition can be positive. But, there can be negatives too such as feeling more pressure to win the next comp and feeling like the need to train harder. But maybe you don’t have the resources or social support for this.
*An example of acute on chronic is: having a large distressing debt and then all of a sudden, my car breaks down. I don’t have the money to fix it but I need my car to get to work to help pay down the debt.
**Except I don’t want to roll around in it.
°Not sure why I bottled shit up. It’s probably rooted in not being able to trust. But I’ve learned that I have lots of supportive people around, and I can trust them.
°°It took me a long time to realize that feelings are not fact. Feelings can be overwhelming. There are a lot of tools to help me manage. And I know I can manage when I recognize there’s an issue.

DeButante Dolls: Review of Le Diner en Blanc

What on earth is a white dinner?

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

Long drawn out explanation here

L e R o o t s

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

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

The Registration Process.

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

We ordered our wine and food.

The Day-Of Travel

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

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

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

L e E v e n t

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final

Thoughts

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

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

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

Labour Day Freedoms: oh baby look at all the places we can go!

Labour Day is today in Canada and the US, N&Kers.

After Netflixing the Alcasser Murders (#ElCasoAlcasser) and monitoring the #hkprotest, I reflected on our freedoms.

As females in North America, Kells & I are:

  • lucky to have a (safe) say in living our own lives.
  • privileged to have post-secondary education.
  • lucky to be able to work in our chosen fields. (These are fields that we actually enjoy working in!)

Things aren’t perfect in North America.

People who want a higher education or a better-paying job are not able to get what they want due to lack of resources or system biases.

People are hungry, exhausted, hopeless, depressed…

And imagine other countries where freedoms are less-than, especially for us ladies*.

Sure, there’s room for improvement. But let’s take a moment, this Labour Day, to acknowledge and celebrate how far we’ve come:

  1. how bad working conditions were;
  2. what freedoms our predecessors fought for;
  3. that workers efforts’ deserve respect and appreciation.

It took only one person’s courage to speak out and gather the masses to discuss how to make change.

What should our next steps be?

Equal pay?

Addressing Positive and Negative Discrimination?

Equality vs Equity

Please feel free to discuss in the comments below

Happy Labour Day everyone!

Stay at UBC: Okanagan review

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

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

More info here
Nals Okanagan 2019

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

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

Nals Okanagan UBC 2019_1

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

It’s the cold hard truth.

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

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

T h e P r o s

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

T h e N o n – P r o s

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

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

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

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

P a r k i n g and Transport

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

N&K T i p s

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

Footnotes:

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