Jody Robbins | Travels with Baggage - A a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust

It’s not October, but it is time for Oktoberfest! I’ve never been to the Munich extravaganza, but I have been to one hell of a shindig at my Austrian friend’s house. I can’t make her annual party this year, but I hope to have a festive weekend, nevertheless. Here’s some fun links to make your Friday better…

Oktoberfest beer hall

So cute! Why Starbucks gets your name wrong.

12 Things about Costco that may surprise you

With cooler nights, this is right up my alley. How to make toast for dinner.

Love these nudes! Your guide to fall makeup. 

5 backstage beauty lessons from New York Fashion Week. 

Shaken or stirred? 7 cocktails to welcome fall. 

A back to school meal plan that includes a shopping list.

So worth the watch! How sugar affects the brain. 

In online dating, everybody’s a little bit racist. Who we are when we think nobody is looking

Thank you feminism! A look at marriage counselling in the 50s and 60s

Origami condom, anyone? New, innovative methods of birth control

Forget fancy condoms, why are breast pumps so ugly and noisy? 

Thank goodness MIT is hosting a breast pump hackathon this weekend! 

Ha! Obama vows to split ISIS into dozens of extremist splinter groups

Nordstrom Calgary Canada

When Nordstrom opens it’s first Canadian location in Calgary at Chinook Centre on Friday, it’s going to revolutionize our shopping scene. For real, ladies. I had a sneak peek earlier this week. Here’s what I’m stoked about:

There’s not one, not two, but three women’s shoe departments! And they’ve totally nailed their merchandizing. All women’s apparel is grouped according to lifestyle, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. A quick glance at the mannequins lets you know you’re heading into active wear, or ladies who lunch, or trendy teenager, or rock mom.

Purse selection Nordstrom

The kid’s section is located beside the second floor mall entrance and next to their bistro (fully licensed with kid’s menu – score!). There’s a cool a play area and lots of designer brands. I was drooling over their fancy dresses for girls and smart suits for boys. Plus there’s mini Uggs, toddler Hunter boots and Converse for babes.

children's rain boots

If this isn’t reason enough to have another kid, I don’t know what is…

But it’s their make up department that really wowed me. They have these trending areas showcasing the latest looks by a variety of brands and a Play Bar, where you can try on loads of product. There’s two Beauty Concierge staff that aren’t commission based, so you know they’ll point you in right direction. Or make an appointment with a beauty stylist for a (free) full makeover. All I can say is, look out Sephora!

Nordstrom doesn’t have a return policy and handles all returns on a case by case basis (with a goal of keeping customers hap hap happy). That rumour about the person in Alaska who returned tires (even though Nordstrom doesn’t carry car tires)? It’s true. Nordstrom took over this building in Alaska that used to sell tires, and the sales rep honored the claim. Wow.

If you’re as excited as I am, check out their Beauty Bash on Friday (tomorrow), Sept. 19 from 7:30-9:30 a.m., before the Grand Opening. There’ll be free consultations, a special gift for the first 2,000 customers, sips and snacks. 

Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom? Are you keen to see what all the fuss is about?

Mad Men Dinner Party

I don’t throw dinner parties much. I used to, but we don’t so much anymore. It just seems like such a hassle. Then I read about this awesome tradition and it made me reconsider. Plus, I’ve recently deduced the best day of the week to have a dinner party is… Friday.

When you host people on Saturday it becomes a much bigger deal. You pretty much lose the day shopping and preparing the meal. Sunday you’re all hung over and the counter full of dirty dishes only adds to the Sunday blues. 

apple punch

That’s why having friends over for supper on Friday is so brilliant. It’s more casual, inherently less stressful and let’s face it, nobody expects a four-course meal when they know you’ve just come from work. Not only is it a lovely way to kick off the weekend, having people on Friday frees up the rest of your weekend. 

Stuffed roast chicken

What to serve for an impromptu Friday night dinner party? I think you can never go wrong with: Roast chicken and risotto or pasta with a big salad and roasted veg. And make your dessert a day in advance, so you don’t have to worry about it. This one is a real crowd pleaser, especially in autumn. It doesn’t really matter what you serve, though. It’s the ambiance you create. If you keep it simple and are less stressed, your guests will be, too. 

Do you host dinner parties? What night do you have them? Do you have any foolproof meals?

P.S. You might be keen to read: A French Dinner Party and The Secret to a Successful Thanksgiving

Cider punch image via.

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hammock yoga

Have you heard of these AntiGravity Suspension Fitness classes? I had heard something about hammock yoga, but I had no idea what it was all about until I checked out Fit Republic in Bridgeland. So far, it’s the only licensed AntiGravity studio in Calgary.

Anti gravity outdoors

This boutique studio offers a wide variety of classes including combining two different programs (Yoga plus Ride equals Yo’Ride). If you’re into fusion fitness, this is your Mecca. There’s TRX, barre, rowing and cool spin classes, where you cycle to fab destinations via video monitor. But it was AntiGravity I was most curious about. 

Anti gravity inversion

AntiGravity is so much more than “hammock yoga.” I mean, who even called it that in the first place? It’s awesome for people with bad backs, compression issues, tight hip flexors, etc… If you have some kind of problem (ha!), check out the benefits here. Most folks come out of class a full inch taller! Sadly, you’ll shrink during the rest of the day.

Anti gravity studio

In the introductory AntiGravity class I took, we hung upside down like bats, stretched it out like vampires, flew like butterflies and chilled inside cocoon-like wraps. There were also amazing stretches to get those hip flexors less stressed and plenty of inversions to decompress the spine. 

Anti gravity butterfly outdoors

It was unusual, interested and definitely something I’d do again. I felt especially limber and supple after class. I’m keen to try their anti-gravity fitness and barre classes, too.

Have you ever tried an AntiGravity class? Do you think it’s something you’d like to try?

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Chipmunk on a tree stump

This weekend could not come soon enough for me. We had a crazy freak snowstorm earlier this week and so many lovely branches from thousands of trees broke off. It looked like a war zone on many streets, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only  grumpy bear with this early onslaught of winter. Fortunately, most of the snow has melted, as has my icy mood. I’m looking forward to weekend of sleeping in, soaking up the September sun and trying some of the yummy looking recipes from Babycakes (I’m so buying this cookbook). Here are some links I enjoyed this week and I hope you do, too!

Somebody threw a drone into a fireworks display and this is what happened. 

Some good ideas here. 5 day weeknight dinner game plan

I always said Safeway flowers didn’t count. 10 things not to buy at the grocery store

Now this is an alarm clock!

Yoga moves to do after sitting at a desk all day. 

Apparently it wasn’t all church socials and home baking. The real life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

How to form good habits and stick to them. 

Made me laugh. Remember these guys (or gals) from university or perhaps your last meeting

The best 404 message

A party disguised a cooler. Behold the Coolest

Did you know MEC organizes weekly women’s runs and cool workshops on topics like bear safety and bike maintenance

How to make ice shot glasses without a mold

Image via Tourism Canmore.

What are your plans for the weekend?

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