Madison’s 1212

Do you ever find yourself studying, reading, or writing (your blog perhaps) in a coffee shop, but you start to crave a freshly cooked meal over pastries and packaged food? A “coffee x cowork” restaurant has made its way to the centre of Inglewood, bringing Calgarians a comfortable space to dine, work, and enjoy craft drinks and dishes. This new, chic restaurant and workspace is called Madison’s 12|12 and is named after its location on 1212 9th Avenue SE.

I found out about Madison’s 1212 through Jason after he had an entrepreneurial networking event at the restaurant and discovered that a friend of his was one of the owners (i.e. Jared Salekin). Recently, Jason and I have been trying to limit our eating out to save on expenses – I think every one of you can relate to that – so it wasn’t until Jared mentioned to Jason that they were having a promotion that we were finally encouraged to see what this place was like.

What was their promotion, you ask? A brand new breakfast menu with $1.50 beermosas and mimosas during brunch (10 am to 2 pm) on Saturdays and Sundays! Not bad, right? And it’s still going on, guys, so make sure you check it out before it ends this weekend (November 26th)!


If this is your first time hearing of Madison’s 1212, they’re really big on nachos (#nachos4life!). They have a unique and flavourful variety of nachos on their breakfast and lunch menus and some of their other dishes come on a bed of yummy tortilla chips, including their Huevos Rancheros which was #delish. I thought they did a great job with their breakfast options, especially since they only just started serving these items on the menu, but they really nailed it with their nachos.

_MG_0809It was a tough choice between their Korean, Poke, and Mac & Cheese nachos, but man, the Korean pick did not disappoint. Who knew Bulgogi beef and kimchi on dry corn chips would be so out of this world? I can’t wait to go back and try the others as well as their Cinnamon Berry nachos for breakfast.

Thanks to a collab with Talk Vegan to Me Clothing, Madison’s 1212 introduced some trendy vegan options on their menu as well. So for those of you who don’t eat meat or dairy, do not fret! The Wilted Kale – Roasted Yam nachos as well as the Green Smoothie are made specially for you!

Madison’s 1212 isn’t just about craft drinks, comfy workspace, and innovative nachos. Their aim is to build community as well as build off community inspiration. I’m very excited about this place and where it goes, and I hope all you Calgarians or Calgary visitors get the chance be a part of it somehow!

Kombucha: True Büch

I first came across Kombucha this summer at the Raw Eatery & Market in Kensington. Having never heard of Kombucha, Megan (one of the owners at Raw) informed me and my friend that it was a fermented black or green tea drink that promotes certain health benefits such as gut health. Thanks to my Asian roots, I’ve known many teas to be quite beneficial for your health, but fermented tea? Now that was interesting. Raw had a variety of flavours on tap that sounded much too amazing for me to pass on, so I tried my very first Kombucha drink and it tasted delicious – I wish I could tell you which flavour it was!

*Kombucha fact: Kombucha is not a recent healthy food concept; in fact, it originated in Northeastern Asia over 2,000 years ago. (I guess I was just late in finding this out.)

T_MG_0717.jpghe brand of Kombucha that I tried at Raw was a local producer: True Büch. I wanted to try more of their flavours so I proceeded to look them up and found out that they’re local! The fact that this husband-and-wife team brew their Kombucha locally made me love the product even more. I then found that a ton of local stores, shops, and yoga studios were selling their bottled drinks – in particular LIV, my now yoga studio. So when I had the chance, I made a Kombucha run and bought all three flavours that LIV had in store: the ginger (a classic), the blueberry rooibos (which is so far my fave), and the vanilla chai (Jason’s fave).

These natural, carbonated and sweet drinks are a great alternative to a hot tea drink when you want something more refreshing. On top of that, they are complete with enzymes and probiotics to boost your health and immune system. If you would like to try True Büch’s amazing Kombucha flavours, check out their many locations here! You won’t be disappointed.

In-text Photo Credit: Jason Meng Visuals.

Disclaimer: This post is not at all sponsored.


Discovering Yoga

About a year ago, I became really interested in yoga and in discovering a sense of flexibility and strength that I had never really delved into before. I lost touch with yoga and Pilates after I quit figure skating a few years back, and after becoming a regular gym-goer, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started losing some of my flexibility if I didn’t commit to frequent and proper stretching. I developed an urge to teach my body to do challenging yoga poses but after a couple of stretching mishaps, I realized I had to go back to square one and learn correct technique and yoga progressions from a professional.

For a few months, I put yoga aside until this August when I started my new-grad job and discovered that I had a yoga studio at the base of my office building downtown. This was my chance to finally try my first class in years! The studio is called LIV Yoga + Wellness and they offer a $59 special for new clients that provides you with a whole month of unlimited classes. It seemed to me like there wasn’t much to debate on, so I purchased my pass and started going to weekly (or more) yoga classes.

Since I started, I learned that there are in fact different styles of yoga practice that fit different needs. There’s hatha, yin, flow, and a variety of muscle group-focused practices as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to enough to name my favourites, but I do prefer classes that don’t intertwine too much with spirituality. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that yoga and similar exercises are beneficial for both physical and mental health, but I don’t feel completely comfortable with opening myself up to a spiritual connection that significantly differs from my own faith. And what’s the point in going if you’re not 100% emotionally comfortable, right?

I still love being able to discover new ways to build my stability muscles and my flexibility back. I also love the welcoming vibes and the amazing teachers and staff at LIV; their passion and their care for us students is undeniable. But maybe yoga isn’t for me after all and it was simply a path for me to discover my true passion. That I will leave to God to decide.

I can’t wait to share with you guys when I’ve finally found my niche!


Featured Photo Credit: Jason Meng Visuals.

Date Night at The Lake House

It was my two-year anniversary with Jason this past Monday, and we decided to keep things simple this year: a nice, quiet dinner date in town. My first pick was to go to Raw Bar at Hotel Arts, which is undoubtedly my favourite restaurant in Calgary – their New Year’s Eve menu is off the charts! – but sadly, it’s closed on Mondays. So I decided to look for a place we haven’t been to yet, a place perfect for our occasion. So I literally typed “best date restaurants Calgary” on Google and the first one that popped up was The Lake House. It seemed like a cute, quiet place, the menu looked fantastic considering I’m a seafood fanatic, and the restaurant’s name and location indicated that it overlooked Lake Bonavista. So Jason and I were pretty much sold and decided to look no further. _MG_0795

Our reservation was for 6:30 pm and we couldn’t have picked a better time. We quickly snatched the last window table and watched as the sun was setting and the water was calming. The hostess asked us if we were celebrating a special occasion and after we said yes, the server came with two glasses of bubbly! Free wine?! They already won my heart and I hadn’t even started eating yet.

Their mains offered two very delicious-sounding seafood options so it was hard decision for me. Jason, being the meat lover that he is, went with the sous-vide bison striploin. After a long internal debate, I finally went with my tummy’s instincts and ordered the seared red spring salmon and we took the Creole-style PEI mussels to start.

The mussels came in a rich tomato sauce that made us salivate. We inhaled the appetizer in an instant and cleaned the bowl with our bread. (Please excuse our table manners but the sauce was so good!) Our mains came soon after and we dug right in. I hadn’t had a salmon fillet like that in a long time… Slight crunch on the outside and so soft and moist in the inner layers. It came with a black bean sauce as well as the avocado _MG_0798mousse, which was a seriously great touch. Unfortunately, my photos won’t do it justice so I’ll have to let you imagine this yummy fillet drizzled with cashew crumbs and on a bed on mini crab meat dumplings. Jason’s bison came with an aged cheddar fondue which was an amazing combination, but nothing beat my salmon.

The Lake House was an honestly wonderful experience, one that you can’t get anywhere else in town, that I know of. The service makes it top three on my list of fine dine restaurants but the view of the lake takes the gold. Even Sky 360 couldn’t beat this one for me.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The only item that was on the house was the sparkling wine, which I am much grateful for!

My Leap Into Natural Products

Up until recently, I didn’t give much thought as to what I’ve been putting on my skin, in my hair and how it transfers into my body. I would generally choose products based on affordability and how much I enjoyed the scent. Yes, I know I wasn’t the only one who’d grab the cheapest beauty care item off a Wal-Mart shelf, or go with a multinational and reputable brand because, well, everyone else uses it. But I realized that although I’m still in my early twenties, I wasn’t getting any younger. I needed to start paying attention to the stuff I was putting on my body, face, teeth and hair every single day.

My awareness started when I could no longer stand the dryness in my hair throughout the winter months. My boyfriend Jason encouraged me to try applying Argan oil on my hair, as well as cutting down the frequency of the times I washed it. I had been told many times from friends that washing my hair every day was in fact damaging it and stripping away the natural oils from my scalp, but my fear of smelling like a grease ball always stopped me from trying to wash it less frequently. But Jason’s encouragement and his carelessness for my potentially funny smells pushed me to give it a try. He then persuaded me that going paraben- and sulfate-free was the way to keep my hair growth strong and healthy. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

So. I was making healthier choices for my hair, but I hadn’t yet done the same for my body and face. What I realized was that it really takes someone to reach a level of dissatisfaction before they think to make any changes. And I was pretty content – or, at least, not dissatisfied – with my skin and the routine products I used to care for it. It took me a while to realize that my skin won’t be like it is forever and I need to strive to make it better.

_MG_0833-2.jpgI came across Skwiik products at GimmeSomeSugar back in February of this year. They just so happened to have a 50% off all Skwiik items at that time and I was in need for another birthday gift for a friend. I thought she might enjoy the body scrub (or body polish, as Skwiik likes to call it) so I grabbed one for her and one for myself. For a few months, my Herb scented body polish sat under my sink collecting dust, until one day I had enough of my darned ingrown hairs and thought I’d give the salt scrub a try. It left my legs and underarms feeling smoother than ever and my feet free of cracks and calluses! I didn’t even need to moisturize, despite Calgary’s dry air.

It became my go-to body exfoliant and just this week I purchased the Molido body polish. The Molido has become my new fave – it smells like a peppermint mocha! I feel so tempted to lick the salt off my body it smells so good… And in actual fact, I probably could! All of Skwiik’s products are all-natural. They carefully handcraft each one with a perfect blend of essential oils and natural ingredients. Although perhaps I should restrain myself from tasting them…

My third item so far is the Beaux Rêves lip balm: a collaboration with Ollia Macarons & Tea, my number one favourite macaron shop in town. The lip balm’s oils and butter are infused with Ollia’s Beaux Rêves tea, making this a match made in heaven. It leaves your lips with a cool breeze and it’s perfect for right before bed.

All in all, if you’re looking to make a change in your beauty products and dive into some more natural options, I recommend looking into your local curators. Because smaller businesses like Skwiik and Ollia care about what you put in or on your body.

Disclaimer: This is in no way a sponsored post.