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

IDS: Ideas +

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kells

Mmm wine

Nals was in an anniversary trip in the Okanagan last month.  And of course, we had to do a little dipsy doodle around a couple of wineries.

Super Natural British Columbia is home to over 300 wineries.  A lot are concentrated in the Okanagan area.

MORE INFO HERE
The Mr was my designated driver so I only went to a couple wineries in the area.  Lake Country has a whole host of wineries including Gray Monk Estate Winery.
Tastings are $5-7 for 5. You can choose from a selection of say 10 wines.  If you purchase bottles, then the fee is typically used towards the purchase.

Blind Tiger is a newer winery.  It is a small family run certified organic winery that opened to the public in 2015. 

My sommelier* was fantastic.  He was a young energetic fellow who excitedly talked about the various wine-related outtings that he had recently been on.  He was an absolute delight!  He asked what wines I like, suggested some and off we went.  He was the perfect sommelier: funny, warm and also left room for me to explore the tasting notes. 

Where to buy: Only through their winery or virtual store.

Click here to reach them.

At Blind Tiger I got: Pinot Gris (2017), Reserve Pinot Noir (2017) & Speakeasy Red (2014).

Ex Nihilo has great range of wines and especially full-bodied reds. 

Tasting wasn’t the nicest experience.  It was a larger bustling winery.  The sommelier’s lukewarm detached demeanor led me to one conclusion:  That  she was a rogue ex-operative from an Archer-esque outfit… and her arch nemesis Barry finally got her 20**.

Where to buy: since the ex-operative was not chatty, I have no idea if they have shops that carry their goods in the GVA.

Click here to reach them.

At Ex Nihilio, I got: Chaos Rosso Red (2018) and Reisling (2017).

Recommendations

I loved Blind Tiger because they were friendly & non-pretentious.  Reminded me of the delightful Les Corcelettes in Oliver.

El Nihilo had delicious wines as well, but this was not a warm and fuzzy tasting experience.  I also wanted to buy the Voignier… but both the tasting & purchase was reserved for “members”.   I don’t know what this means but the sommelier didn’t invite or tell me how to become a member.  I guess as long one leaves with delicious bottles of wine… What else matters?

I would recommend drinking wines from both vineyards. 

However, the tasting experience was far more enjoyable at Blind Tiger and so I’ll be plugging them whenever I can!

Let’s Play Footsie-notes
*Not sure if sommelier is the correct term.  I thought it was better than Taster Guy or Taster Attendant.
**The Ex Nihilio sommelier wasn’t rude per se.  She answered my questions albeit in a detached fashion… with an underlying je ne sais quoi.  Something else clearly had her attention.  Eyes darted around, preoccupied energy, latency of responses… The only conclusion is that her rival finally sniffed out her shoddily-disguised witness protection deets.

DeButante Dolls: Review of Le Diner en Blanc

What on earth is a white dinner?

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

Long drawn out explanation here

L e R o o t s

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

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

The Registration Process.

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

We ordered our wine and food.

The Day-Of Travel

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

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

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

L e E v e n t

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final

Thoughts

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

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

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

Stay at UBC: Okanagan review

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

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

More info here
Nals Okanagan 2019

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

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

Nals Okanagan UBC 2019_1

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

It’s the cold hard truth.

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

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

T h e P r o s

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

T h e N o n – P r o s

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

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

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

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

P a r k i n g and Transport

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

N&K T i p s

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

Footnotes:

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

20 Years in the Making

So I (Kells) sucked it up, put my fears on hold and went to my 20 year grad reunion. 

Back ground: I was not one of the “cool” kids. I had many friends and floated from group to group but I never had that crew. I didn’t sit in one spot, or hide out in the back field. I simply survived high school by roaming, moving and saying hi to those that would say hi back. I viewed myself as a band/theater geek. But no one asked me to the prom (however I was more than happy to go with my bestie), I tried to avoid the school bullies and I learned to just laugh at myself (especially before others could laugh at me). 

So 20 years has come and gone. (I did go to my 10 year reunion, it was still weird). People still had their clicks but what was neat was at the 10 year reunion, one of the dudes that was always mean to me came up to me and apologized. It was really shocking but very nice of him to do. I totally respect him for that. 

I didn’t know who I would see, or what to expect. I went to the reunion (even the 10 year) without the hubs. I tried to say hi to everyone I could, though some did not recognize me and some still snubbed me. 

But I wanted to share the things I didn’t expect.

  • 1. A few people told me they had a crush on me. Surprised me as I always had a low view on my looks in high school, so never thought anyone would like me. Plus I was generally a foot taller than most people, which made me stick out, or above the crowd. Also made me self conscious.
  • 2. I heard other people (even those I deemed as cool) talk about trying to survive. One person mentioned staying in  their clump, because to them, survival was in numbers.
  •  3. Most people agreed who the school jerk was. He was there too. I didn’t get to talk to him, but if I did, I was gunna tell him he wasn’t nice. Why not? I would want someone to tell me if I were mean to them in high school cuz I would like to apologize. (Not that I expected him to apologize).
  •  4. A couple people thanked me for always being so nice to them. I didn’t realize I had that impact. They even remembered things about me I didn’t! It was so touching. 
  • 5. I got this at both my 10 and 20 year: “you’re so pretty now”. Dont say that. It’s mean. This time I responded with, thanks, I think you are trying to be nice, so I will take that as a nice compliment.
  • 6. People said they didn’t remember me until I started talking and laughing and this is what they remember me for. Sad cuz I laugh like a donkey but atleast I was remembered for laughing!!! I will definitely take that.
  • 7. I had fun. Who knew? I laughed so hard, that my abs hurt, even 2 days later. I stayed up way to late and I went to sleep feeling happy.
  So why was I so happy? Well I suppose a few reasons... 
  • 1. I realized that jerk in high school is still a jerk and that it wasn’t me, it was him.
    • 2. I went in to the reunion hoping to just have fun and not hide. Mission accomplished!
  • 3. I’m happy with my life. I have everything I could ask for. I laugh. I live. I love.
    • 4. It was nice to hear feedback about my high school self that was completely different than what I though I was. Where I saw fluttering from group to group to try to hide/blend, others saw as social. People saw me as kind, laughing and fun. And guess what, I am those things!  
The location of the 20 year reunion
I have so many friends that don’t want to do their reunion because high school sucked. But I heard from many of my classmates that it sucked for them too!! Thank goodness high school isn’t the best years of our lives! I want to live my best life now, and feel that I am. I want to encourage you to attend your reunion! Talk to people. Ignore those who still suck and learn that our negative self high school image is not what others have seen!
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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!

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!