Gmen4

G-men @ Nan Chu

Lately, I’ve been trying to diversify my food adventures and going to Richmond more often. Apart from the worst drivers in the Lower Mainland, Richmond is famous for delicious Asian food! One of the highest rated restaurants on Zomato in Richmond is G-Men, and I’ve heard great things about this place from friends.

Unfortunately, I tried to come here twice already before the third successful attempt. The first time was due to a last minute event I had to go to, and the second time was that there was no parking! Seriously, trying to find parking in that area is so difficult on a Friday night. Finally, the third time we decided to go later and were able to find parking!

Gmen1Takoyaki, $3.75: Since it was our first time here and wanted to try more of the menu, the four of us decided to split a couple of appetizers. We ordered the four piece takoyaki and this was simply delicious! It was drenched in delicious sauce and the takoyaki were a pretty decent size.
Gmen2Potato fries ($4.50): These fries were amazing! They were incredibly crispy and seasoned with such a delicious combination of herbs. We ended up ordering another plate because we all couldn’t stop eating this. In retrospect, that was a bad idea because we didn’t end up finishing the second order of fries and ended up packing it home. But seriously, this is a must try here!
Gmen3Shio ramen ($8.95): Shio broth is made with chicken broth, and is my go to flavour for ramen! My friend and I both ordered the shio ramen. The shio ramen definitely did NOT disappoint. This was amazing. The broth was so well rounded – incredibly flavourful and thick. Meanwhile, the meat was melt in your mouth soft.
Gmen5Tan tan men ($10.25): The boyfriend ordered this because he loves spicy peanut sauce. Again, the broth here was rich and thick, and full of spicy peanut flavour. Although I don’t love spicy peanut sauce as much as he does, I found this to be delicious as well!
Gmen4Shoyu ramen ($8.95): My other friend ordered the shoyu ramen. Again, this was just as delicious as the rest of our meal. Rich, flavourful, and a very generous quality. No complaints.

G-Men was amazing and I definitely will be back. This place lands the spot of one of my top favourite ramen places in Vancouver now. All the food we had that night was delicious and full of quality. I’m already excited for my next visit here! 

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Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray

About two months ago, I posted a picture on Instagram asking what other glasses wearers do when wearing foundation. I normally wear glasses, and I find it so annoying to wear foundation with glasses because the foundation goes on the glasses, which is so gross to me!

Fortunately, I don’t wear foundation everyday so it’s not a struggle I have to deal with daily. Why do I mention this? Well, I recently tried the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray. Does it help prevent foundation smudge on glasses?
Urban Decay Setting SprayI received this sample size from my friend. Naturally, I was very excited to try it because I am a huge fan of Urban Decay products!

After putting on my foundation, I spray this arms length from my face, with my eyes closed (which protects your eyes from stinging and sets your eye makeup too). Initially, there is a slight alcohol smell that disappears pretty quick. It feels as if I’m spraying water on my face, and I always think that my makeup is coming off before the spray dries.
Urban Decay Setting Spray 2I really like how weightless this feels. Once it dries and the alcohol smell disappears, I always forget I’m wearing it because it’s so comfortable on my skin. It doesn’t feel dry or heavy at all!

I spent a day out shopping and then took a nap. Usually, my makeup is a bit smudged after I wake up (Yes, I know it’s bad to sleep with makeup on but I rarely do it, I just forgot this time!), but I was really surprised that all my makeup remained intact. That was when I remembered I had used this setting spray! Needless to say, I was already quite impressed for my first use.

After a few more uses, I have really come to love this setting spray and it is definitely going to become a staple for special occasions, or when I will be out longer than usual and have no time to touch up my makeup.

The BEST part?! It doesn’t leave ANY foundation smudges on my glasses! I just spray this on, and don’t have to worry about ANY part of my makeup smudging, caking, or fading away.

It is a bit pricey at $38 CAD, which is why I would save this for special occasions only. But I highly recommend trying this! 

Received as a present from friend. Opinions are own. 

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Kat Von D Eye Quad 3

Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad

After a stressful and busy summer, I am so relieved that everything has finally died down. With two weeks to go, I am determined to make the most out of it by relaxing and catching up on blogging. I’ve nearly exhausted all of my backup drafts!

It’s been very hot in Vancouver this weekend. Well, hot for Vancouver that is… and seeing how my house is not equipped with air conditioning, the boyfriend and I were uncomfortably melting away despite the fan working overtime. It was not a pleasant at all.

So, we decided to go to the mall and enjoy some of that sweet A/C! I spent a bit of time in Sephora and spontaneously decided to treat myself after what I’ve been through this summer, and because I haven’t purchased any high end makeup for awhile.
Kat Von D Eye QuadI’ve been looking for a matte shadow palette for awhile, and this one just spoke to me. I was in love at first swatch. The colours were incredibly pigmented, and felt velvety soft on my skin. I am a HUGE fan of the Kat Von D tattoo liner and I also love the everlasting liquid lipstick line, so naturally, it is time to progress into the KVD eye territory!

There are four different quads available. I bought the one in rust, which features brownish red matte shades – exactly what I was looking for! I’ve been really into matte shades lately, but most of my palettes are more on the shimmery side so I am glad I bought this!
Kat Von D Eye Quad 2The top, light pink is the base. The brown is to define, while the orange one is to contour. Lastly, the white one has the slightest shimmer and is used for highlighting. I’ve never contoured my eyes before, so this should be interesting!

I am in love with the reddish/orange shade. I LOVE how pigmented and smooth it goes on!

While the shades go on extremely pigmented, are easy to work with, and have no fallout, my one complaint would be staying power. Now, keep in mind that I have really oily eyelids and I always have to use primer if I want my shadows to stay the whole day. Without primer, the shadow lasted a mere two hours, which was disappointing! But I can’t entirely blame the shadow because my eyelids can get pretty oily.
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Even though I love the colours in the quad, I am considering purchasing the shade & light eye palette instead. There are similar colours in here, and a lot more matte shades I can choose from. I can create a lot more eye looks with this palette as well, I feel like the quads are limited because there are only three shades you can work with. We shall see if I end up replacing it with this!

Picture taken from Sephora.com

As I mentioned earlier, I love the quad. As usual, Kat Von D has WOWed me with their products. I have not tried a KVD product that I haven’t liked yet! The pigmentation and feel of the shadows are incredible, but definitely do require a shadow primer if you have oily lids like I do.

Disclaimer: Product purchased by me. Opinions are own.

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Shanghai3

Shanghai Elan Restaurant

Usually, whenever we go out for dinner with relatives, we go to a Chinese restaurant. I don’t blog about these dinners because the food is generally the same and kind of boring to me. However, this time, my aunt suggested we go for Shanghai food!
Shanghai1We went to Shanghai Elan, a restaurant inside Crystal Mall. You can also either enter the restaurant through Crystal Mall or outside along Kingsway. It is located at the end of the Crystal Mall section known as ‘Computer Alley’ – city famous for cell phone & computer repairs!
Shanghai2Chicken w/ spicy sauce ($8.50): Our appetizer chicken came chilled in a spicy peanut chili sauce. It was pretty delicious and had a nice kick to it, meanwhile the sesame and onion garnish topped it off nicely.
Shanghai3Shanghai rice cake w/ meat & veggies: Sorry, couldn’t find the price of this online. The rice cake was chewy and moist. This dish could have had a bit more flavour to it, but it wasn’t bad.
Shanghai4Shanghai fried thick noodle w/ shredded pork and soy sauce ($10.50): Mmm, how I love Shanghai fried thick noodle!

The noodles had a delicious ‘wok hei’ flavour to it. Wok hei refers to the taste that comes from the wok (a huge Chinese frying pan). Despite the wok hei aroma, I found the dish to be underwhelming, and only alright.
Shanghai5Sweet and sour spareribs with vinegar ($14.50): I’m not a fan of spareribs, so I didn’t really like it much. The sauce wasn’t that memorable and I found the meat itself to be very bland.
Shanghai7Hot & sour soup ($10.50): I was very excited to try this as I love hot & sour soup. However, the soup was very bland and wasn’t that spicy. It should have been called a sour soup instead of hot and sour. On the upside, the soup had a generous amount of ingredients inside.
Shanghai8Shanghai style juicy pork bun w/ crab meat ($9.50): This dish was underwhelming as well. Nothing special, it tasted like the frozen ones that you can buy at the grocery market. The inside had a bit of crab meat inside, but the crab meat had a slightly frozen taste and did not taste fresh.
Shanghai10Marinated beef w/ pancake ($6.50): Perhaps the only dish that I didn’t find ‘meh’. This was delicious! The outside ‘pancake’ was thick, but the outside was flaky and crunchy. On the inside, the marinated beef came with cucumber, other veggies, and hoisin sauce. We liked this dish so much that we ended up ordering another.

Overall, Shanghai Elan is a pretty meh restaurant. Nothing too special about it. The service was really slow and not friendly either, but I’m not too surprised about that.

Thanks for reading,
Carmen

Shanghai Elan Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Midam3

Midam Cafe

Originally, my friends and I had plans to try G-Men in Richmond, but we could not find parking. We ended up going to Aberdeen Mall to eat instead. You may think that resorting to food court food is pretty atrocious compared to a restaurant, but Aberdeen’s food court is amazing.

Continuing our streak of bad luck that night, we wanted to try a dessert place in Richmond but it was packed. We decided to just go back to Burnaby, as my friend had told us about Midam Cafe many times.

It is a pretty hard place to find, located right under a flight of stairs and tucked into the corner with no visible signage. But it ain’t an Asian restaurant unless it has those features, amirite? 😉
Midam3Green tea float, $6.99: Essentially a green tea ice cream smoothie. Yes, it was as good as it sounded, judging from how my friend was raving about it. I would have tried it too,  but that’s just asking for death when you are extremely lactose intolerant.
Midam2Rice cake with bean flour & apple sauce: I wanted something sweet that day, which is usual for me because I would take savoury over sweets usually. Sadly, my options were limited seeing that I can’t have dairy, so I settled for the rice cake from the recommendation of the server.

This was a very odd dish, and was not my cup of tea. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was expecting the rice cake to be sweet. Instead, it was very salty and had hints of cinnamon flavour. I also didn’t taste the apple sauce at all. My friends tried it and they thought it was a bit strange too. Maybe we just aren’t used to Korean rice cakes, but it was nice to try something new! I would order this if I was craving something savoury.
Midam1Strawberry sorbet, $4.99: I wanted to order this, but was afraid there was dairy. Luckily, my friend ordered this and confirmed that there wasn’t any dairy, so I was able to try it. It was so delicious that I ended up ordering one myself (especially since i was in a sweets mode and my rice cake ended up being surprisingly salty). It reminded me of the strawberry slush at Milk and Sugar. I found it to be a bit chunky and not blended enough, but it was still full of fresh, delicious strawberry flavour.

Oreo milkshake, $4.99: The boyfriend ordered this and fell in love with the flavour instantly. It was one of the BEST milkshakes he’s ever had in his life. My friends also tried it and confirmed the boyfriend’s thoughts – it was indeed THAT amazing and delicious. To this day, they still talk about how great this oreo milkshake is while I am left imagining how delicious and heavenly this is. Perhaps if I bring my dairy supplements, I can try this out for myself but I find that those supplements do not always work for me.

All in all, we enjoyed our late night visit to Midam and I can see myself coming here again for some late night snacks/drinks. One cool thing to note about Midam is that the place is completely decked out in NBA gear – there is a basketball hoop, jerseys, posters, pretty much a NBA lovers dream in here!

Thanks for reading!

-Carmen

Midam Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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tag

TAG: Boyfriend describes my makeup products

I am very happy that I have a boyfriend who willingly goes to, and suggests, that we go to Sephora together! When we first started dating a few years ago, he had absolutely NO clue what type of makeup products there were. In fact, I remember him asking me, ‘What is a Sephora?’ – how far he has gotten!

Even though he now knows what ‘a Sephora’ is now and has a decent amount of makeup knowledge, I thought this would be a fun tag to do! I got this idea from Celina over at The Celution, you can see her post here.
tagFor this tag, I chose ten products that he is supposed to describe what the purpose is! Let’s get this post started!
tag1Josie Maran coconut watercolour cheek gelee: “Cheek geleeeeeeh…..? Gelleeeeeeeh? I’m going to say blush for your cheeks.”

Estee Lauder BB creme: “BB… I don’t remember what BB stands for… it’s like a… smooths out lines or something.”
tag2Urban Decay makeup setting spray: “Setting spray… is this like primer? It helps the makeup settle and not come off.”

Estee Lauder cheek/lip ball: “Some kind of lip colouring? Lip liner? I dunno.”
tag3Dolly Wink liquid eyeliner: “Eyeliner. It’s used to line your eyes to make your eyes look bigger.”

Beauty blender: “It’s used to blend your foundation. I don’t know how you use it. Just rub it. Rub it all over your face.”
tag4Stila stay all day 10-1 illuminating beauty balm: “Uhh… bronzer? It gives you that dewy effect. Dewy means shiny looking.”

Estee Edit pore vanishing stick: “Pore vanishing stick? It’s the uh.. pore minimizer. It fills in your pores so that your foundation will not look like it’s full of holes.”
tag5Maybelline mineral powder: “Isn’t this foundation? This is the dry powder, I don’t know. What’s the difference between wet and dry again… uh… the dry foundation sits on the surface more and is for oily skin.”

essence lip liner: “Lip liner. It’s used to define your lips.”

That’s it! Some of his responses really had me cracking up, like the Beauty Blender and Stila illuminating balm! Special thanks to the boyfriend for being a good sport and making this post possible! Perhaps I should do a part two because it was a lot of fun, and I do have a lot more makeup that he could attempt to describe =P

I encourage others to try this post out as well! Be sure to link me if you end up doing it 🙂

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Grandma

Life Update | Summer 2016

Warning: Text heavy & personal post ahead

You probably don’t know this, but I took a blogging break this past July. I think I wrote a total of two posts, which is very unusual for me as I love writing. I debated on writing this post because it is more personal. However, I decided that this is MY blog, and I haven’t sat down and written fully for awhile even though I love doing so.

Since I have tons of backup posts, you probably didn’t realize much as I just kept pushing those out! I tend to publish more beauty posts than food posts now, but mostly my drafts were food posts, which is why there was an influx of those. Am I the only one that saves drafts in case I go radio silent?

Anyway, the major reason why I rarely blogged was that in the third week of June-ish, my grandma got admitted into the hospital. She had been in the ER a couple times this year already, with the cause always being a really bad cough to the point where she couldn’t breathe. Normally, she would go back home after a couple days of observation. This time, she ended up being in the hospital for almost a month. Her health progressed worse every day, and we all became increasingly concerned for her. She was already in the hospital for two weeks before we found out she had a tumour in her lungs that was causing the coughing and breathing difficulties. We were told that the tumour was small, and could be treated with radiation. So, my grandma started doing radiation. At this point, all of us visited her whenever we could. After school, I would make my way to the hospital and someone would always be there with her. All of my spare time was spent with my grandma, but I did not mind a single bit because I love her and don’t want her to feel lonely in the hospital.

Suddenly, things went downhill for us. We were told that she had a 12-14 cm tumour behind her lungs, which is a pretty huge tumour. We were also told that the cancer had began to spread. Her health was failing really quick. She barely had enough energy to lift up her arm to wave to us, yet alone talk or eat.

Then came the most terrible news. The doctors told us that her time with us was very limited. What started out as a trip to the ER for a bad cough, turned out to be the most horrible thing we could imagine. My grandma was to be transferred to palliative care. Her body was too weak to continue with the radiation or treatment. The only option was to keep her as comfortable as possible until the fight was over.  On July 16th at 8:25, my amazing, strong, and selfless grandma took her last breath, surrounded by her family that she had worked so hard to raise.

The rest of the month was a blur. I spent most of the time preparing the eulogy, grieving, looking at old pictures and knowing how lucky I was to have her as my grandma. As you could imagine, blogging and writing was the last thing on my mind. Even though I love my blog and it is one of my proudest accomplishments, I barely had the effort to log in to publish a draft, but I didn’t want this place to be a field full of crickets.
GrandmaIt’s hard to believe that my grandma is not here with us anymore. She loved her family more than anything in the world. She would spend all day cooking for us, making enough food to feed a hungry army, plus more. She had such a sweet smile and laugh. Despite missing her terribly, I know that she is no longer suffering.

Pohpoh, thank you for all that you’ve done for me and the family. I’ve never met a family more tight knit and close as ours, and it was because you and grandpa raised everyone so well. Some days are harder than others, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. The past year without grandpa was hard for you, so I am very glad you get to be reunited with your best friend again. I love you.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really realized how important it is to have quality over quantity when it comes to friendships. This month was very difficult, but it made me realize that I am surrounded by amazing people. From checking in on me to giving words of support, you know who you guys know who you are and I really appreciate your care and concern for me.

For the rest of the summer, I am almost done my full time school. I seriously wonder how I was able to hand in all my term papers and assignments on time with all the stress I was going through. Once school ends and I push through this last grind of finals, I plan on just relaxing, relaxing, and more relaxing (aka blogging). Two more weeks to go!

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Nova Scotia Fisherman 2

Nova Scotia Fisherman

No, I am not talking about fisherman on Curiously Carmen today! Rather, I am talking about a Canadian based company that was featured on Dragon’s Den. Can you guess which province this is from? Yup, my first product from one of the Maritime provinces!

I’ve been meaning to try these earlier, but unfortunately my grandma passed away last month and I didn’t have the time to fully test these as I was going over to the hospital everyday beforehand and concentrating on full time school as well. My apologies for the late review, but it’s been a very hectic July.

Nova Scotia FishermanNova Scotia Fisherman started off as a small business selling wax candles run by two nephews. Eventually, they expanded to carrying body care products that features 100% natural ingredients!

To have a little touch from home in their products, Nova Scotia Fisherman proudly features Nova Scotia sea kelp in their products. A portion of all their sales go back to the Nature Conservatory of Canada to protect natural resources, especially in their home province.
Nova Scotia Fisherman 1Hand & body cream ($11.95 CAD): For the past month, I’ve really been loving this hand & body cream and it’s pretty much the only moisturizer I use now. I have absolutely no complaints about it. There is a pleasant, neutral smell to it. The cream is rich and deeply moisturizes my skin without feeling sticky or greasy afterwards.

I can definitely see myself purchasing this cream again. I love using this cream before I sleep, because I wake up with really soft and smooth skin. This would make a great gift for people who use their hands a lot or have constantly dry hands!
Nova Scotia Fisherman 2Assorted soaps ($7.95 CAD): I was sent a few of their soaps to try. Each of the soaps had a lovely scent to it. Before I had time to review these, I stored them openly in my closet so that my closet would smell nice and fresh!

I was expecting more in terms of moisture. I normally just use bar soap when shaving my legs. When I used one of the soaps to shave my legs, my legs were a lot drier than usual and kinda stung (probably because it didn’t have enough moisture from the soap).

The soap also didn’t lather much, but it didn’t bother me. It had more of a waxy consistency, which makes sense because I mentioned earlier that they started out as a candle company. I still felt nice and clean, and smelled slightly like the fragrance afterwards. Which by the way, they do not use any artificial fragrances!

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Overall, I really liked the lotion more than the soaps. I found the soaps to be just alright, and not worth the $7.95 although they cleaned well and smelled really good (naturally).

You can check out and buy their products on their website, with free shipping after $50 CAD. In Vancouver, they are located on shelves in various markets such as Donald’s Market (Nanaimo Street), Pharmasave (Commercial Drive only), Thrift Foods (North Van only), and Whole Foods (West 8th). Check out this page for the full list of retailers!

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essence1

Introduction to essence cosmetics

I’ve been hearing such great things about essence cosmetics, and decided that it was finally time that I tried some of their products myself. essence cosmetics (Not a typo, the ‘e’ is a lowercase) prides itself on quality makeup products, at extremely affordable prices. They are a German brand that launched in the US in 2008, reaching Canadian shelves in 2012.

Today, I’ll be talking about the essence products that I purchased recently! I’ve come to really like the brand and can definitely see myself trying other products in the upcoming months.
essence1essence lipliner ($1.99 CAD): The lipliners were the first thing I tried from essence. For $2, I definitely think they are worth it and they do last a good amount of time (3+ hours without eating/touching). I love that they are really pigmented, and glide on your lips really easily. I really wish they had more than four shades!

essence long lasting lipstick ($2.99 CAD): I already have way more lipstick than I need, but I was really curious as to how this one was. So, I went out of my comfort zone and bought a colour I don’t normally wear- a bright, coral pink! The lipstick is very moisturizing, and creamy. I find that this shade goes on a bit clear, so I normally go over it 4 times to get the shade it actually is.

essence eyebrow designer ($1.99 CAD): I was looking for a new brow pencil to try, and didn’t want to splurge so it was the perfect opportunity to buy the eyebrow designer! I was really impressed with this. Just like the lipliners, the brow pencil glided on really easily, and was very pigmented. I was out for 12 hours, and this did not smudge one bit. However, I took a nap with this on once, and it did smudge off a bit – woke up with less eyebrows, haha!! essenceCan you believe I only spent a total of $12 CAD for all FOUR of these products?! In the picture above, I am wearing one of the lip liners and the coral lipstick. On my computer screen, the lipstick looks a bit darker, probably due to the screen resolution and brightness settings.

Anyways, my first impression with essence is that I absolutely LOVE their products! As a beauty lover who is also a student with no job right now, I love that I can buy makeup products without feeling guilty. If you haven’t tried essence, I highly suggest you go to your local Shoppers Drug Mart and try some now! You won’t be disappointed.

*Products purchased by myself

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Airbnb

Travel: My First Airbnb Experience (Kelowna, BC)

Last summer, I stayed at my first ever Airbnb!

Even though it was my first experience living in an Airbnb, it didn’t really feel like it because I was browsing Airbnb almost daily at times! Our first choice had a strict cancellation policy and we weren’t entirely sure of our dates yet, so we wouldn’t be able to get a full refund if we had to slightly alter our dates.

We ended up choosing this basement suite because it had a flexible policy, so we figured we could at least secure a place during the busiest season in Kelowna! I am really glad we stayed here because it was a great experience.

After finding this place and doing extensive research (proximity to attractions we wanted to go, reviews, host reviews, looking at the pictures thoroughly, etc), we couldn’t have found a better deal for the price.

Airbnb
Photo credit: Kristine, Airbnb

Our host, Kristine, was great and lived upstairs. She was easily accessible via the Airbnb messaging app. The place was very clean, spacious, and matched the pictures exactly. We loved how there was a full kitchen and lots of comfortable space in the suite.

AirbnbEntrance/living room: After entering through a passcode lock rather than a key, you will see the living room and kitchen. After our busy days exploring Kelowna, we spent a lot of time lounging on the couches after. There was also a HDMI cable provided, so I was able to watch Netflix/Youtube off my laptop.

However, I just went back to the review now and looks like Kristine has added Netflix to the suite!
Airbnb2Kitchen: Directly beside the living room, is the full kitchen. There was all the supplies and spices we would ever need, and more! We cooked here once only, which was a smooth experience. We mainly used the fridge to store our leftovers and water bottles.
Airbnb1Bedroom: Across from the living room and kitchen is a small area that fits a queen sized bed perfectly. The bed was very comfortable, plushy, and I slept really well on it. There is also a small twin bed in the laundry room, which is not as comfortable as this bed.
Airbnb3Washroom: The washroom was pretty standard, but I liked how there was a coordinating yellow theme. The shampoo, conditioner, and soap provided was also a good quality brand – Aveeno! I appreciated this small gesture because I usually find hotel toiletries to not work as well.

I would recommend this place for three people, MAYBE four if someone does not mind sleeping on the couch. This place was also very convenience to drive around town and to the attractions. The neighbourhood was very quiet and it felt safe.

It is a 3 minute drive to Orchard Park Mall, which is the largest mall in Kelowna. The longest we had to drive was probably 30 minutes to reach the wineries in the countryside. You could easily reach the major supermarkets such as Superstore and Save On in 5 minutes!

You are probably wondering how you can book this place on your next visit to Kelowna. Well, here is the link to the listing we stayed at!

 *Photos are not mine, and were taken from the Airbnb site

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