What’s the 411?

Heyyyyyyy… it’s me!  I know I’ve been hella quite with zero original content on my blog for a minute.

2017 began and I seemly fell off the face of the earth…according to this space. :/

Thanks for still remaining a PPMeow! follower, reader, fan, and friend….and for those kind emails sent asking about why such a long absence from writing for this blog. ❤ ❤ ❤

The first half of 2017 has been filled with adventure and struggle.  And I’ve been trying to figure out how much of myself I’m comfortable sharing so publicly, on what started out as a fun-fashion-focused forum.

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The first half of 2017 has been filled with adventures and struggles…

I don’t really deem myself a “fashion guru” or someone who’s opinions on clothes, shoes and the like, really matters. I like what I like. And write about it. That’s all. 🙂 Because of this, it just left me feeling a bit like a fraud running a fashion and lifestyle blog with the recent events of my life taking up so much brain space.

Since my last post … here’s a listing of all the the major things that have happened in the life & times of moi:

  • Got restructured out of a great team and job after 7-years of being with the company. Yup. Just like that.
  • Became a beach-bum in L.A., California.
  • Started a new job with a new company, and re-adjusting to cubical life.
  • Dealing with undiagnosable chronic pains in the tops of both my feet and legs.
  • Transformed into a nun for an evening with a self-sewn outfit.
  • Battled (can continue to struggle with) something called “walking depression”.
  • Cleaned out my closet (finally!) and donated a bunch of things to charity.
  • Got a new iPhone 7s with a fabulous camera.
  • Started a series called “Shameless Bathroom Selfies” on my Instagram channel 😉
  • Travelled and explored a whole bunch of places in New Mexico.
  • Flirted with, dated and sexxx’d some boys. 😉
  • Made major gains with Operation: Apartment Refresh.
  • Got MRI results that showed a large disc herniation of my spine, and finally given proper meds to manage the pain.
  • Sold MANY of my beloved heels in exchange for wine was the wise thing to do.
  • Took a short-term leave of absence from work (doctor’s orders) to really focus on healing and dealing with my spine issues.
  • Embraced the importance of wellness, rest and self-care…which in my case means regular spending on Physiotherapy & RMT.
  • Made NEW friends and visited them in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
  • Discovered a new product and the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur.
  • Did various yoga classes for 30-days in June.
  • Saw NKOTB – BoyzIIMen – Paula Abdul in concert!!!
  • Attended the Garden Gatsby Party and got caught on camera, in daytime 20s garb, lindyhopping poorly.
  • Got summoned for jury duty for the first time ever.
  • Became a fur-mom again to a senior dog named Max…and ever since I’ve been filling up my social media channels with pictures and videos of him. #sorrynotsorry
  • Had a neuro consult with some uncomfortable real talk.

Phew!!! 😮 That’s a lot of news in one recap blogpost.

So, in addition to the fashion forward fun, what I did and what I wore, shopping hauls, kitchen mis/adventures, product reviews, etc, that you’ve all come to know and love of Petite Plus, Meow! … I’m thinking of trying something new with this blog space and write about some of the above personal experiences … IF there is any interest/appetite out there of hearing it.

I would love to know what YOU want me to tackle first from this list???  Tell me in the comment section below or send me a personal message 🙂

Then stay tuned every Monday and Wednesday for new content, plus throwback posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Hope I can count on you to join me then. ❤

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Asian Adventure: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Food, Fun & Fashion

Here we go. The last instalment of PPMeow’s Asian Adventure.  (Sorry it’s taken me so long to post)

The last of the three cities I visited was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I left Toronto, Canada with weather of -11 degrees Friday, February 27th…. to arrive in KL to +38 degrees on Sunday evening, March 1st! 😮

It was so hot ALL-THE-TIME there!

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The crowded streets of Chinatown in KL

KL is the capital and most populous city in Malaysia.  And was the ‘home-base’ for my 3-week trip to South-East Asia, as my friend Dee lives there.

With the weather being oh-so hot, it was difficult to get motivated enough to leave air-conditioned quarters to venture out into the crowded city for exploring.

Also, it was in this city that I totally got hooked on Game of Thrones – and managed to  binge-watch all 4-seasons during this trip.  Yup!  I did it. And I’m not at all sorry. 😛

But, as compelling as Jon Snow is, I did manage to see and do things in this fashionable city…

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The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers,  are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur
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The towers at night…magical!

The main religion there is Islam, with significant Buddhist, Hindu and Christian minorities.  And such a wide variety of fashionable people out and about all the time from each of these religious groups.  I was very tempted to take random shots of people’s outfits to show you what I mean … buuuuuut I wasn’t sure that would go over so well with the locals, so sadly I have no proof to show in this post.  But believe me – some highly fashionable folks out there friends!

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On the Rapid Lite Rail headed into downtown KL

The subway system there is pretty great – so long as your destination is close to a subway station.  Otherwise, the streets of KL can be a real challenge to maneuver alone.  Roads on a map have been compared to ‘spaghetti noodles’ – not at all like the convenient grid system of Toronto streets I’ve come to know and love.

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Selfie with Soup Bowls

I arrived shortly after the celebration of Chinese New Year … so many of the cityscapes and shopping centres still had decorations and lanterns hung…
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THE FOOD!!!

Lucky for me, Dee had a long-list of delicious meals I HAD TO TRY while I was visiting… and everything I ate while in Malaysia was amazeballs!!!!

The dish on the left (below) is Laksa soup.  There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles.   The one I had was curry laksa, I’m pretty sure. 🙂IMG_6735

The dish on the right (above)  is Nasi lemak, the national dish of Malaysia.  It is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf.  Basic simple nasi lemak typically comes with with an egg, anchovies, cucumber, and sambal belacan.   This dish is so popular and tasty that people sometimes eat it for all three meals of the day.

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My first oyster eating experience of my life! Slimey….but tasty!
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My first coconut of the entire trip!!! mmmmm….coconut!

THE SHOPPING

There are so many shopping malls in KL! All with the A/C blasting to give everyone a bit of relief from the blazing heat, I’m assuming.  IT’S SO HOT THERE!!!

The Central Market is an award-winning tourist attraction and shopping destination, while preserving the significance in showcasing the nation’s arts, culture and heritage.

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Some of the cute fascinators and headbands on display …. I really had to control my impulsive shopping habit while I was out and about.DSC03423

For this reason, I was strict with keeping  my purchase limited to super unique and unlikely to find anywhere else 😉

Here’s what I BOUGHT:

You remember me needing an East-Meets-West outfit for Vietnam, right?  Well, I picked up that batik wrap skirt from KL’s Central Market.

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In that same store I found this lovely lightweight  navy & green hibiscus floral patterned fabric … that didn’t look like much when I unfolded it…. but then when worn it was the coolest soft pant ever!!!   Can’t wait to rock this for summer in Toronto (if the weather cooperates, that is).

IMG_7556For my fellow 80s kids out there…. do you remember those jellybean shoes of your youth?  Well guess what I found in the shops of KL?  YUP!!! Jellies for Adults!

I couldn’t decide which pair I liked more….so I bought both! 🙂
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When it comes to accessories … there are so many adorable things.  I just couldn’t decide.  But lucky for me that Dee picked these up for me – THANKS DEE!!! They have quickly become my favourite go-to pair of earrings.

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Suddenly I moustache you a question… 😀

The last piece of uniqueness for my closet was this uber soft, reversible  vest-scarf-hoodie thing.

At first glance the pattern of this garment drew me in, dark and light grey patterns.  But upon closer inspection, it was so interesting and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, that it had to be mine. 🙂

It’s already gotten many ooh’s and ahh’s when I debuted it to the office last month.

IMG_7180And in true tourist fashion, I hit up a local grocery store to pick up some hot sauces and tea as souvenirs for my folks.  PS:  That TomYum paste yields delicious soup – check & follow my Instagram for proof friends 😉

IMG_7002SWING DANCING FOR ST PADDY’S DAY

Last, but certainly not least, was KL’s Swing Dancing scene!!!  I was lucky enough to check out two dances while I was visiting… and got to celebrate St. Paddy’s day in my newly tailor-made gingham dress from Vietnam.

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Did I mention it was motherlovin’ HOT in this country!  The moment you step outside you are sweaty-kins …. so lindy hopping in this heat was madness that made your EYEBALLS sweat.

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KL Swing peeps…pointing West to Canada 🙂

Here’s a few silly, sweaty-glowing faces of the KL Swing Gang who were totally welcoming and oh-so fun to dance with.
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There you have it friends!  You’ve relived my entire PPMeow Asian Adventure with me!!

Thank you for reading, following and commenting throughout my travels.  Hope you enjoyed these recap posts.  OH, and in case you’ve missed any previous ones….you can find them all below.

PPMeow Asian Adventure includes:

  • Asia: What to Know Before you Go – click here for blogpost
  • Clothes vs. Backpack – click here for blogpost
  • 30+ hours of Travel – click here for blogpost
  • 22 Days, 3 Countries – click here forblogpost
    • Boracay, Philippines – White Sand Beach – click here
    • Hội An, Vietnam – VLX – click here
    • Hội An, Vietnam – The Ancient City –  click here

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Asian Adventure: Hội An, Vietnam – The Ancient City

Although much of the trip was spent dancing with  VLX …. I was able to check out a few sites, ate some amazing meals and even got to visit a tailor to get some custom threads made!!!

A few noteworthy things to mention if you are planning on visiting Vietnam:

  • There is a VISA requirement for this country.  From my earlier post, What to Know Before you Go, many Asian countries issue visas free of charge on arrival at major airports and land-boarders. Vietnam is NOT one of these countries.   There are a few online service providers that will help get you started with the Vietnam Visa process, we used:  http://www.myvietnamvisa.com/   The application process is simple enough – just go online and apply. But the cost has gone up unfortunately — the online processing fee is $20 (just remember to select Canadian dollars).
  • Make sure the name you put in is exactly as your passport, that your passport number is correct, and that you put your arrival date correctly. If any of these are incorrect, you might have to pay a heavy fine upon arrival.  This takes about 2-3 days to process and they will email you a letter – which you will need to print and bring along with $45 USD in cash exactly, to be paid with CRISP bills – no joke.  If your bills are wrinkled or ripped, even slightly, your money will be rejected at the counter and Visa denied.

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    The Japanese Bridge – Hoi An
  • In addition to this letter, you will be required to fill out a form at the counter that you will have to frantically fill out before they will take your money.  Some online service providers send out this form with the letter.  Our service didn’t. FYI.
  • Oh, you also need passport photos – which you might want to get while you’re overseas travelling – as North American passport photos are usually highly overpriced.
  • The currency used is the Vietnamese DONG – maybe the best currency ever, by name alone 😉  Everyone is a Millionaire there, as $100CAD translates to $1.7Million Dong!  It took me the entire 4-days to get used to the giant bills to pay for anything correctly there.

If you’re not already following me on Instagram … Here are a few snaps from my adventures in Hoi An …


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THE FOOD!!!

I’m a huge fan of asian cuisine … but the amounts of delicious foods that were eaten my short time in Hoi An was magical – and sooooo cheap!!!!!

VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE (CAFE SUA DA)  – This is oh-so delicious.  Made with Vietnamese coffee press + Sweetened condensed milk filling a tall glass filled with ice to its brim!

AND then these BLOSSOMS –  Hoi An fried wontons are covered in a salsa-like topping of vegetables and sweet and sour shrimp or pork …. they are crispy, mouth-watering works of art.

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VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE (CAFE SUA DA) HOI AN FRIED WONTON BLOSSOMS

OK! The below dish is called Cao lầu – it is a regional Vietnamese dish made with noodles, pork, and local greens, and is only found in the town of Hội An.

Naturally, I ate as much of this as I could while I was there.

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Cao lầu and Larue Beer – genuine Hoi An street-must-eats!

WHAT I BOUGHT

In terms of souvenirs I behaved myself.  My purchases included: two medium-sized fabric lanterns (for my balcony), coconut bowls, Viet snacks for coworkers AND the most delicious coffee ever + metal coffee distiller!

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My biggest excitement …and spending … took place with the custom-made clothes!!! 😀

Everyone who had visited Vietnam before, had told me how great the tailors were out there.   I was loosing my mind trying to narrow down my choices of what items I wanted to get made.

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The tailor I used — visited them a few times to get the following pieces perfect for moi!

Before leaving for my trip, I picked pieces that I’d been coveting that didn’t come in plus sizes at the vintage/reproduction boutiques I frequent.  And found my TOP FOUR items I wanted to get made:

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1. Hello, Yellow two-piece midi-crop top set
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2.  Green Gingham
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3. The bow-tie dress shirt & 4. overall skirt with pockets

Buuuuut there were TONS of cool ideas and dress designs hanging all around me at this little shop.  And I’ve got a problem and weakness for pretty frocks.

In the end …. SEVEN new pieces actually came home with me!  And when all was said and done, each item cost me approx. $42 CAD.

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Saving this floral frock for Toronto Vintage Society’s Annual Tiki Party this August 29, 2015 – save the date friends 😉
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Bird Dress

Which is pretty awesome, considering I selected premium fabrics + lining, got to add my own ‘design’ ideas such as adding POCKETS to everything …. and each piece is unique to fit me perfectly.

Nobody in Toronto is gonna be wearing my outfit. Huge Bonus 🙂

Stay tuned for upcoming blogpost highlighting each of these outfits specifically!!! Thanks for reading! xo

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Asian Adventure includes:

Boracay, Philippines – White Sand Beach – click here for blogpost

Hội An, Vietnam – VLX – click here

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Food, Fun and Fashion (coming soon, I promise)

Asia: What to Know Before you Go – click here for blogpost

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Asia: What To Know Before You Go

PPMeow! turned one year old a few weeks ago … and in an effort to make the most of this New Year,  I took a START-STOP-CONTINUE approach to help me focus on what I wanted to accomplish and focus on.

I promised myself to START Shopping Less, to Travel More!  

Well…I’m doing just that friends!!  I’ve taken the bulk of March off work to explore South-East Asia!

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In 2012, I was fortunate enough to finally visit The Motherland (India) …without being limited to strictly visiting one distant relative’s home to another, as I remember doing as a child on our only family trip to Calcutta.   This time I travelled with a gf  — we took 21-days to explore several cities in Northern and Eastern parts of India, which included: Delhi – Varanasi – Agra – Jaipur – Pushkar – Udaipur – Goa – Mumbai.  This was the most adventurous trip I had ever taken – complete with 8 near-death experiences.  Click here for a few pics of that fab trip.

That was my first time travelling to Asia as an adult.  And in preparation, I did a bunch pre-trip research at that time.  Research that I needed to refresh myself on as I prepare for this next visit in a couple of months.  So I thought I’d share my tips with y’all in this post 🙂

According to The Rough Guide’s First-Time Asia there are 5 ESSENTIALS to know before you go…

1.  Visas & Boarders

A Visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued. The country issuing the visa typically attaching various conditions of stay, such as the territory covered by the visa, dates of validity, period of stay, whether the visa is valid for more than one visit, etc.   Many Asian countries issue visas free of charge on arrival at major airports and land-boarders. You simply show that your official your passport is valid for at least another six months and that you have a ticket out of the country. India, however, requires visitors to buy a visa in advance before arriving.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.16.32 PMThis table gives a broad outline of visa requirements in Asia, You should confirm the details of a visa requirements for a particular country before travelling as rules at each embassy changes often.   The forms can be lengthy and may require you to hunt down info that you may not know off-hand.  So, best to start the visa process early, if you can.

2.  Booking the Flight

Once you have your visa application, you can now BOOK A FLIGHT.  The travel industry is hugely competitive business so it pay to shop around! talking to a travel agent will help you come up with interesting alternatives within your destination as well.  Some of the sites I’ve had the most luck with are Flight Centre; CheapFlights.ca; and SkyScanner.
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3.  Travel Insurance

Whatever the length of your trip to Asia, it is strongly advised that you arrange travel insurance to cover medial treatment and perhaps the loss of personal possessions. If you get seriously ill or are involved in an accident, your insurance coverage will enable you to get the best care as well as medical evacuation to your home country, if necessary. The insurance industry is also a highly competitive one, so shop around and price compare on websites to help you make your mind up. Also check with your company benefits provider, as well your credit card providers –  there might be some cardholder deals available to you for travel insurance. 😉

4.  Vaccinations

Preparing for a great trip doesn’t just involve packing right, it also involves preparing yourself medically to ensure your travels are healthy and worry-free while you’re there and upon your return.

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This Incredible Map Shows All The Infections That Vaccines Could Have Prevented Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/map-of-vaccine-preventable-infections-2014-1#ixzz3OrGLkI6n

It is wise to get medical advice as early as possible about which vaccinations you require for your trip as many are given as a course of two or three intervals in order to be effective. You also need to find out early about the type of malaria-preventative medication that is recommended for other areas you are visiting as you may need to start taking tablets in advance of departure.  While your family doctor may offer some injections cheaply or free, you may want to contact a private travel clinic to make sure you get the most specialized information available.

5.  Budget

Last, but certainly not least, is determining a BUDGET.  When planning a big trip like this, everyone’s budget will be different and unique to them.

Now, the Western Dollar goes a pretty long way in Asia.  Here are a few “sample budgets” to help illustrate top-end…mid-range…low-end begets might work out when traveling to different parts of Asia.  Hopefully to give you a better idea of how much things will cost and how much you should expect to be spending on certain things.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.50.03 PMCongratulations —- You are now armed with the essentials to know before you go and travel Asia!!!!

Are any of you thinking of doing any big travel this year? Where are you off too?  Did you find this post helpful as a starting point to getting your travel ducks-in-a-row?  Hope it helped you recognize the importance of planning BEFORE a big trip.  Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

Ooooh…I’m getting excited (and nervous) for MY big South East Asia trip now!!!   I’ll announce the countries I’m planning on visiting this March in my next wanderlust post.  Stay tuned friends. xo

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A Look Back to Travel in 2012 & 2013

So I’ve been pretty fortunate to have done a bit of travelling the last few years:

2012

I took 21-days to explore North, East and South India

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Followed by a few days in Amsterdam, Holland…..

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That summer I was a California Girl for a week, flew to LA …

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
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The all-knowing Zoltar from the movie BIG

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Dane Cook doing standup at The Laugh Factory in LA
Dane Cook doing standup at The Laugh Factory in LA
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In front of Beverly Hills High – 90210

 

Then we drove up the coast to San Francisco

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And by the end of the year I took an all-inclusive beach vacation in St. Lucia.

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2013

Got to explore Canada – flew to SK and drove across AB to camp in Fernie, BC.

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Then took an adventurous trip to South America to explore Peru:  Lima – Sacred Valley – Cuzco – to climb Machu Piccu.

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2014…TBD.

Having just bought myself a condo, travel has been put on hold for a bit.  But I’m starting to get that “itch”.  Where shall I go?