I Love...

This gratitude post was inspired by Schmutzie's post on Aiming Low. I wrote one of these a while ago at my old blog.  This one is my update. In no particular order...

My grandmother's house, Pandan, Daet Camarines Norte

... my grandmother’s house in the Philippines, with its jasmine and rose bushes, rice paddy field, and kalamansi trees...
... summer day trips to small towns just outside the city...
... watching my daughter dance ...
... that I lived with my husband first before we got married...
... having the door held open for me...
... the crack of the hard caramelized sugar top when I dig into a creme brulee...
... Scottish accents...
... white walls I freshly painted myself...
... teaching my HOT HULA fitness® classes to the best group of women I know...
... the annual Holiday Season pictures of the SOS childrens village we support every month...
... that the moment I sit on the couch, Cora comes and lies down on my lap...
... my house right after a good cleaning...
... watching new episodes of The 100 and The Umbrella Accademy on Netflix and reruns of Phineas & Ferb on Disney+...
... the feel of a fresh pair of contact lenses...
... how light my head feels after a long overdue haircut...
... that, sometimes, all I need is a quick swipe of my favourite lipsheer to make me feel better...
... how saying just one word would set my husband and me laughing over a shared memory...
... real-life royal weddings...
... the feeling after Goodwill comes and takes 10 boxes of my clutter away for other people to use...
... walking around Hilo, Hawai’i on misty days...
... when my online accounts notify me that I’ve been paid...
... going out for breakfast with my sister...
... dancing hip hop with my dance group...
... spending the whole day in pajamas...
... the caesar’s salad at Stella’s that has the perfect amount of garlic and parmesan...
... rediscovering what flowers I had planted when they pop up again in the Spring...
... the warmth of the Summer sun on my face...

How about you? What do you love right now?

50... aka "Oh, Crap, She's Back!"

Yes, this week, I turn 50!!!

 Feels like only yesterday that I was just turning 40.  It was a weird decade, and frankly, I'm glad it's over.  I'm leaving the bullshit behind, pressing the reset button, starting new, and celebrating!

So, as my gift to myself, and to you too, of course, I humbly and excitedly throw open the doors to my "new and improved" online home...

Welcome to NenetteMayor.com!

Come on in. Grab a drink. There's a teapot of darjeeling on the counter, some sangria in the fridge, and a bottle of Drambuie on the bar.  You'll probably recognize some of the furniture. I've decluttered a lot but kept many of my favourite pieces. So, it's pretty similar, but less sweet and more saucy, with a hint more cowbell.



[Republished from LifeCandy.net 2011]

{image by iyer venki}

As y'all know, I LOVE organic coconut oil.  A lot.  A "buy a dozen jars, eat it, slather it all over me, recommend it to other people, slather it forcibly on those who resist" kind of a lot. It's an addiction, I tell ya -- I may need to seek therapy.
I blame the island girl part of me.  She's weird.  And a little slutty.

My Makeup *Lingerie*

In My Makeup Lingerie
I'm Nenette, and I'm a makeup minimalist.

BUT... I'm also a girlie girl.

Yes, I admit it.  I love my lipstick, great skincare, smelling good, and looking cute.  And it goes beyond personal hygiene.

I want to look head-turningly good... double-take good... look-up-from-your-phone-for-more-than-a-second good.

Well, maybe, but that's a topic for a different post.  Ahem...

Okay, I want to look more than presentable, but do I always have to slather on makeup to reach that level of hottie hottitude?

How I Created a Tropical Style Garden on the Canadian Prairie

North West Garden
I'm a tropical girl.  And as a tropical girl, I must have a tropical garden, surrounding a 1-story plantation-style house, in Hawai'i.  Of course.
Well, I don't live in Hawai'i, my house is a 2-story Tudor style stucco'd monstrosity, and I'm in the Great White North that is Zone 3.  Remember the Canadian city that in 2013 was reported to be colder than the surface of Mars?  Yeah, that's this place.

Anyone in their right mind would say "screw it", throw their garden dreams out the window, and plant daisies, tall prairie grass, and purple coneflowers as far as the eye can see... or at least until the edge of their property line.

However, since I'm EXTREMELY stubborn, and not entirely in my right mind, I didn't do any of that.
Instead, ...

Svelte Review: My New Fave Leggings

A long time ago, during my foolish youth, I swore I would NEVER wear leggings...  

:. I always felt SO NAKED wearing them. Seriously, they hide nothing.  I don't want dirty old men, except my husband, staring at my ass!  

:. They aren't very "forgiving". I'm a 40-something mom of 2, for pete's sake!  I'm still working at getting in shape, but until I get there, I had no business wearing leggings. Of course, my girlfriends (bless their hearts) were all "Nenette, you look fine!  What are you talking about?!"  My typical response was "Do the words People of Walmart mean anything to you?!"

 :. They are so impractical. OMG, where are the pockets?!

That all changed when I got cold...
Two winters ago, I got a really soft thick pair of leggings for Christmas.  The temps had just hit -35C, and I was not into wearing jeans that night.

So I threw on the leggings, and my life forever changed. They kept me toasty warm... They S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D to accommodate my huge dinner... They looked cute and slimming paired up with the long babydoll top I put on...

Next thing you know, I'm wearing leggings ALL. THE. TIME....  Shopping.  Hiphop class.  Parent Council meetings.  Gardening.  Business meetings. School pick-up. But there was still something missing from my legging life...  

Enter Svelte

A few weeks back, I received an email asking if I'd review one of the beautiful items from Svelte Shapewear.

Now, ordering online is usually hit-or-miss with me, and in the past, shapewear would totally drive me mental, restricting my breathing and movement.  But they are a Canadian company, and I'm a Canadian girl who loves shopping local.

Plus, Founder Liliana Turecki, like me, is also a 40-something busy mom, and if anyone would know my wardrobe struggles, it's another 40-something busy mom.  I knew I had to take a look.

Browsing the site, I was impressed with their beautiful selection of tops, skirts, and even jeans, but I knew exactly what I had to try:  Cargo Leggings.

I'm all about the pockets, people.  I would be lying if that wasn't the deciding factor. I said 'YES!', and before I knew it, these beauties arrived at my door.

Perfect for an evening at Zumba.

In the package, they were so tiny, but when I slipped them on, OMG, they were so comfortable! Are these my perfect leggings?  Yes.  Yes, they are...  

:. They are beautiful, strong, and versatile... also, sexy and stylish! Made with ultra-soft quality cotton spandex, these cargo leggings are both flattering and well-constructed.  They look classy enough to pair with high heels, yet strong enough to use for Zumba! And no matter how much I bend, they keep their shape.

Me resting after a quick Zumba dance.  Not even kidding.

:. They controlled my tummy comfortably and effectively. Constructed with a 4-way stretch spandex, the tummy panel flattens my belly even on the most bloated days without making me feel constricted.  

Check out how slim they make me look! They are seriously comfortable. In fact, I'm completely unaware of them when they're on. They work with my body, not against it.

Feeling a little badass in these leggings, no?

:. They have pockets! Need I say more? No, but I will!  I put cash in my pockets.  My ID.  Even my phone!  I can quickly run out of the house without grabbing a purse.  So awesome!

 :. For everything you get, it's a reasonable price. I normally wouldn't purchase a pair of leggings for anything over $20.  Especially online.  It's never easy to know what you're getting when purchasing online.  But these leggings are COMPLETELY worth it!  And yes, because they're so well-made, these leggings will last for a very long time.  So much mileage!

Thank you so much, Svelte, for making these amazing leggings!  This will be the first of many Svelte Shapewear leggings (and other things!) I'll be wearing for sure.

10 Reasons Why I'm Glad It's Fall

Mere seconds before the leaves fell... really.
Yes, it's Fall.  And I love it.  Please don't hate me and throw your boots at me -- you'll need those in a month.  OMG, just kidding.  I still love you, and Fall, and if you read my list, you just might like it too...

1: The weather is cooler and much more tolerable. 
Do not let my tanned island-girl exterior fool you. I not only hate extreme cold, but extreme heat as well, and Winnipeg can reach up to the mid-30 Celsius range with a lovely matching humidity. Gross.
Fall is just right. So is Spring, but that's for the "10 reasons why I'm glad it's spring" list.

2: Fall fashions finally return.
Boots. Trench coats. Scarves (or in my case, sarong as scarf). Knits. Soft hats. Frankly, I'm tired of the almost-naked attire choices. To stay comfy, I have to wear very little, which means more sun exposure. And fat exposure. Again, gross.

3: My birthday! Woohoo! 
I'm one of those people who totally adore celebrating their birthday. Hey, I took a ride around the sun! And I'm still alive! Isn't that something to "Woohoo!" about?!

4: Fall tv schedule. 
I don't know about you, but I find end-of-season cliffhangers completely suckish.  Completely. I blame Dallas and the whole "Who Shot JR?" I wish I'd shot JR and ended this whole farce. But over the summer, I do miss new episodes of all my returning faves, and I'm glad they're back, like an old friend... who owes you money.

5: Flannel sheets.
I love flannel sheets! They're warm before you even get in! I'm all for the soft-n-cuddly.

6: Stews!
My stews rock... 1 pound of stewing beef, chopped carrot, chopped parsnip, thyme, stock.
Simmer for 3 hours.
Then smear all over your body.
Oh, wait, no -- eat.
Too warm and heavy for the summer, but perfect for the Fall.

7: No more mosquitoes.
I apparently have delicious blood. The little vampires just love me. And it's so nice when it gets cool enough to make these jerks miraculously vanish.

8: The return to a schedule.
With hubby and the kids back at their respective schools, life's become more predictable.  Seriously, if left to our own devices, we'd never get anything done. Why? Because we suck at planning. During the summer, we rarely planned anything. We would wake up and decide what to do that day. But because we also suck at making decisions, we would end up just watching tv or napping. Okay, that's not bad either.

9: Festivities - Halloween and Thanksgiving.
I LOVE food- and costume-centric holidays. Okay, I love the food part. Turkey and pineapple-glazed ham make my world go 'round.

10: Christmas shopping.
I don't often shop. I always feel guilty when I spend money on myself. But since I usually buy my own Christmas presents (Cam and the kids wrap them up and put them under the tree, then I act all "Oh, how beautiful! I had no idea! It's just what I wanted!" And they giggle. Like school kids. Even Cam.), I can go crazy! Within budget.

Bonus: The return of body hair.
Since I'm covering everything up anyway, I don't have to shave my legs. Booyah!!!

Okay, your turn.  Why are YOU glad it's Fall?  And if you're not... geez, why the hell not?! (I still love you though.)

5 Reasons Why Hula is Fabulous for Fitness

"I've lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks, and the only thing I've done is taken hula classes!", "The waistband of my jeans is getting looser!", and "Yeah, one more tahitian ote'a! I can take it! Woohoo!"

Okay, maybe that last one was a bit of an exaggeration - most of my students considered the ote'a a form of torture - but hula and tahitian dance fitness stories really are quite common, and as a Polynesian dance instructor & dancer, I've heard and witnessed many of them firsthand. In fact, I credit my hula & tahitian practice with aiding my own weight loss in 2006.

Even Flare Magazine featured hula dance - along with an interview with me as their hula expert - for their September 2005 Issue dance fitness article Shall We Dance: Wake up your workout...!

Yes, the Polynesian Dance is much more than just a pleasure to watch. Don't let the gentle, fluid movements deceive you. It truly is a killer workout!

Here are 5 reasons why your health could benefit from daily island dance:

1: It builds beautiful lean muscles.
A common complaint from my new students after the first class is "My muscles were SO sore after that class!" Yes, it takes muscles to move those arms and hands to tell a story! You will feel soreness in the upper arms (deltoids), and depending on how deeply you bend your knees for each kaholo (the popular basic side-to-side traveling hula movement), you'll also give your core and lower body a blast.

2: It packs a great cardiovascular punch.
My dancers are always amazed at how out-of-breath they are after a 30 minute show! Make your own half hour hula dance CD and burn 279 calories every workout... double that if you mix in some short blasts of fast tahitian ote'a (each song is about 1.5 minutes of intense hip shakes).And you get that all without the joint-jarring common with other high-impact workouts.
For my own workout, I created a high-intensity interval training hula CD for myself by putting in an ote'a song after every 2 hula songs. Just 20 minutes of that, and I'm done!

3: It's a weight-bearing, bone-building activity.
The continual kaholo is just like walking, and one of the many health benefits of walking is its ability to turn around rapid bone loss that occurs in menopausal women.  This is one of the simplistic examples, but you catch my drift.

4: It helps build grace and coordination.
Hula makes you use muscles that most likely have never been used in combination before. Many of us call it waking your hula muscles.  With every part of your body doing something different, many times in opposite directions, you'll find your coordination and balance challenged and strengthened.
This is fantastic for the brain as it builds new connections.

5: It's fun!
Your hula workout can be as varied as the numerous hula songs out there! Mixing it up with tahitian numbers, dancing with friends, and even performing for loved ones offers options that can make your hula workout unique every time!

So, after all of that, you're dying to try it, right?

Well, if you live in Winnipeg, you're in luck! I'm a Certified HOT HULA fitness® Instructor, and I teach classes live and online!  Click here for MORE INFORMATION!

I can't wait to see you in class!