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 $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 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.

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.

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.