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.

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!

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!

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!

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!