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Showing posts with the label Canada

How to apply for a US Nonimmigrant (tourist) visa in Vancouver, Canada?

I just had my interview for a US Tourist (Nonimmigrant) Visa this morning, and in this post, I want to share the process and my experience to hopefully help you with your application.
I am a Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) card holder with a Philippine passport. Do I still need to have a valid US Visa to enter the US? Absolutely!
How much does it cost to apply for a US tourist visa from Canada? USD$160.00 (depending on the conversion rate; I paid around CAD$215.00)
How do I apply for a US tourist visa (as a Philippine passport holder with a PR card)? Part 1. All onlineComplete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.Pay the visa application fee. It's all online. You will need a valid credit card to do this.Schedule your appointment.Read and follow the instructions carefully and thoroughly. Part 2. Prepare things to bringYou are required to print the DS-160 with the barcode. Yes, a printed copy is required. If for some reason, you didn't, there's a nearb…

Best Baked Potatoes in Vancouver: Russet Shack

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It's delicious, flexible, and affordable.

Every Wednesday, Gumstix pays for our team lunch which I manage (meaning I order food for the team).

One of the places we're consistently ordering from is Russet Shack. Today I want to share what customized baked potato variety I have tried from this place. Yes, I daresay that this is the best-baked potatoes in Vancouver. If there are other places that you think is better, please let me know in the comments below, and I would love to try them out.

Chili & Cheese PotatoGreek Potato with chicken shawarma, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauceChicken Avocado with Chipotle Sauce PotatoMexican Potato with avocado, beef chilli, chicken shawarma, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.Canadian Potato with steak
You can visit their website at Russet Shack (https://russetshack.com) to learn more. They are also on DoorDash, SkipTheDishes, Foodora, and LazyMeal if you prefer to have it delivered.

First Book for 2019: Zero to One by Peter A. Thiel

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I borrowed a few books from the Vancouver Public Library, and the first I read and finished is Zero to One, Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter A. Thiel.


In summary, the book discusses questions and things startups should ask in their quest to build things that will change the world. Below are the seven question, in the book that you should ask for before launching that product. If you answer, yes to all seven items, then your chances of success will be higher.
Can you create breakthrough technology?Is now the right time to start?Do you have the right team?Are you starting with a big share of a small market?Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don't see? I have a couple of product ideas that I think can be startups but going over this question, I always have a tough time answering 4, 5, and 6.
I highly recommend re…

Review: Moxie's Grill & Bar, Richmond

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It's Therese's birthday, and she always chooses a casual dining pub to have lunch or dinner with the family.
Three years ago (2016), we went to Cactus Club CafeTwo years ago (2017), we went to Earls Kitchen + Bar RestaurantsLast year (2018), we had Romer's Burger BarThis year (2019), we went to Moxie's Grill & Bar Moxie's Grill & Bar First, I love the service! Our server, Jessica, is friendly and she didn't hover around us as other waitresses do at other places.
Second, I like the ambiance. Since we went there on Saturday for lunch, it's practically empty except for two other tables. We had fun catching up. It's been a while (Christmas?) since we're all together sharing a meal. It's great to spend time together.
Lastly, the food is okay. I won't be coming back for the food, that's for sure. For appetizers, dad ordered Calamari and Tableside Fresh Smashed Guacamole which is amusing and fun to eat. Jessica smashed the avocado in fro…

Back in Vancouver

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After 10 hours looking at clouds and admiring the icy window,


Being back in Vancouver is good! What's the first thing we did as soon as we landed (and after security check)? Eat. Specifically, eat fish and chips from Pajo.



Fish and Chips Dinner Pajo is a Steveston, Richmond local fish and chips place. It's one of the first fish and chips place I've tried when I migrated to Canada. I had it on my second day. Anyway, Jomar and I had salmon and halibut for dinner.


We went home; unpacked and it's already 11 at night. Time to sleep because we're both going to work the following day.
Wicked Cafe Breakfast After a surprisingly good night sleep, we're up and ready to go back to work. However, our fridge is empty, and we have no food for breakfast. Instead, we decided to have breakfast in a cafe which we always walked by on our way to work.
Wicked Cafe (7th and Hemlock) For breakfast, I decided to have vegetarian pie (which feels like a vegetarian lasagna) and vegetaria…

Where to eat pie on Pi day in Vancouver?

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It's the only day of the year we eat pie. That might be an exaggeration. We eat pie on Thanksgiving as well.

Pi Day 2019 After work today, Jomar and I decided to go to Granville Island Public Market to eat savoury pie and sweet pie for dinner. Laurelles Fine Foods We decided to have our savoury pie from Laurelles Fine Foods. I chose the Salmon Pie while Jomar picked the Chicken Pot Pie. I like the chicken better.


A La Mode After eating our savoury pie, we had sweet pie for desserts. Just like last year, we picked two pies from A La Mode. I (as predicted) chose Pecan Pie while Jomar wanted to try the Coconut Cream Pie. Surprisingly, I didn't enjoy the Pecan Pie as much as I did last year. It was too sweet. The Coconut Cream Pie is good but nothing like the buko (coconut) pie we have from the Philippines.


Where did you eat pie today?

Day 0 of PH Vacation. Valentine's Day at Vancouver International Airport

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This post is first of my PH vacation series:
Day 0 of PH Vacation. Valentine's Day at Vancouver International AirportDay 1 of PH Vacation. Time with FamilyDay 2 of PH Vacation. Confirmation and Time with FriendsDay 3 of PH Vacation. ErrandsDay 4 of PH Vacation. Interview and OcularDay 5 of PH Vacation. High School FriendsDay 6 and 7 of PH Vacation. Jomar's HometownDay 8 of PH Vacation. Food and Pre-Cana SeminarDay 9 of PH Vacation. Last Day
I'm sleepy. I'm writing this in the International Terminal of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) while we're waiting for the boarding of our flight to Taipei. We will have a transfer there for approximately 1.5 hours before our flight to Manila.

Why we're going back? We're going to Manila to organize and finalize our Catholic wedding in the Philippines in July. As you already know by now, Jomar and I are already married in Canada but we want to be blessed under the Catholic faith so we're having this wedding with f…

Closest Filipino Restaurant: Josephine's Restaurant and Catering

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The closest Filipino restaurant to our house (that we know of) is not walking distance and that's saying a lot because Vancouver is a walkable city. It's 18 minutes via bus or 35 minutes via walk.

Josephine's Restaurant and Catering I grew up in the Philippines and somehow it will always be home. I love Filipino food and cook at home but there are dishes that are just too complicated to cook that eating out is always fun.

Jomar and I tried Josephine's Restaurant and Catering one Saturday for lunch. It's beside another Filipino store, Aling Mary which has freshly baked Pandesal (yum!). When you're walking along Main Avenue, you can actually smell the freshly baked bread. It smells so good!

The food is awesome. We tried as many type of viand as we could because they have a combo of 2 viand plus rice. We even needed an extra rice because we ordered too much.

Plus, turon! I will definitely come back because this is the closest place I could have all the Filipino fo…

Lots of love at Heart Stock Noodle & Tea

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It was the first Monday of the year and we're adjusting back to work. Jomar and I decided to have dinner at the small Vietnamese restaurant close to the office.

The Food This is my favorite pho place in Vancouver. We ordered Vietnamese Spring Roll to get us started.


Then, Jomar a large House Special Noodle Soup and I had a Vermicelli bowl with Grilled Chicken and Grilled Pork Chop.



I love the broth in Jomar's chosen pho! Unfortunately, we didn't realize that they have desserts until we're home and I am looking at photos online.

Closest Pizza: Bella Pizza

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Bella Pizza is the closest pizza place at our house and it's the first time we tried it.

Pizza by the Slice Jomar and I decided to eat in and observe Bella Pizza. It seems to be the only pizza by the slice in the area. There's Fresh Slice along Granville (between Broadway and 8th Avenue) and Panago along Broadway (between Birch Street and Alder Street) which I believe also offer pizza by the slice but this is surprisingly popular.


Pizza quality is okay. It's not the best but by the 3rd bite of my Pepperoni pizza, it's not too bad.

Pasta and Wings My biggest regret is ordering the Buffalo Wings and Lasagna because it's not good.



Are we going back here? Maybe or we'll just take the extra steps to better tasting pizza at Domino's or Panago.

Finding the right wedding dress

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As you know, I got married last 2017! Now, Jomar and I are planning for our Catholic wedding in the Philippines with more family and friends. Based on our initial list, we're looking at 300 guests (but knowing that not everyone will come, we may be down to 200-250).

I will be writing a series of post in the coming week (or month) on how our remote planning is going. Please feel free to leave a comment for any questions!

This post is about finding the right wedding dress.

What's your priority? When I dream about my wedding, I don't know what style of wedding dress I want to wear. I know it's going to be white but that's about it. Being a plus size woman, it's extra challenging to find the dress so I need to make decision and know my priorities in selecting my wedding dress for my Philippine wedding.
I will not be spending more than $1,000 CAD (around Php 40,000) for a wedding gown. I want to look good without worrying about breaking the bank.I don't need a cu…

First Date Night of 2019 at Cactus Club Cafe

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Last January 1, Jomar offered to treat me to dinner. He asked me to look for an open place on New Year's Day. Fact: almost all places are close during Holiday in Vancouver. However, it must be my lucky night because Cactus Club Cafe a few blocks from our place happens to be open.

Cactus Club Cafe Cactus Club is one of those places you only go to on special occasion like The Keg, Joey Restaurant, and maybe to some extent Earls Kitchen + Bar. This is the 3rd time I've been here. The first time is for Therese's birthday 3 years ago, then to my parent's anniversary last year. However, out of the 3 Cactus Club I've been to, this is the most beautiful one I've been to. The Victorian era fireplace, the huge painting, and beautiful chandelier. It's unexpected.



The Food We were there 30 minutes before 6:00 PM and their happy hour is just about to end but we were able to order some cocktails and appetizers at a discount.



For our main course, I had the grilled salmon …

Hello 2019!

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2018 has been a busy year. I stopped writing here mid of last year because I got promoted at work (yay!) but has been really busy.

One of my goal for this year (and was my goal last year) is to write 1 post each week. Last year is also the first time I didn't have a year-end summary. Oh well. Let's  be positive as we welcome the new year.

New Year's Eve I arrived in Canada last 2015 and I spent NYE for 2016, 2017, and 2018 thinking and dreaming of watching the fireworks in Downtown Vancouver. I didn't go those previous years because of the cold and crowd. I told my brother during my first NYE in Canada that we should book a hotel in Downtown where we could see the fireworks, avoid the crowd, and be warm.

Pan Pacific Hotel That dream came true NYE of 2019. Last September, I booked a hotel room at Pinnacle Hotel. However, in November, I learned that the fireworks display won't be visible from any of their rooms which is unfortunate. I, then, called Pan Pacific Hotel …

World Food Tour: A Trip to East Africa at Simba's Grill

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As part of my World Food Tour series, Jomar and I went to Simba's Grill Vancouver. They are an African Restaurant according to Foursquare.

It's our first time to try African cuisine. Let's see how it went.
African Restaurant Category There are 7 restaurants categorized in Foursquare as 'African Restaurant' and I searched the description for usually the top 3 and decide from there.


I would prefer to go to the first suggestion BUT in this case Jambo grill is a fusion of four countries, Iran, India, Africa and Canada which is why I decided to go to Simba's Grill. They described the cuisine as 'East African Fusion Cuisine'. That's good enough for my food tour since they're combining favorites from East Africa.

Simba's Grill We arrived at West End at around 6:30pm and we didn't know that there's an abundance of restaurant along Denman Street. There are even line up to a Ramen place nearby.

It's easy to spot Simba's Grill because it…

World Food Tour: Cinco de Mayo at Sal y Limon

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Last month, Jomar and I started our World Food Tour by visiting Afghan Chopan and Bakery for Afghan Cuisine. Today, Jomar suggested that we skip the alphabetical Foursquare categories and go straight to Mexican Restaurants because it's Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Restaurant Category Because we're in North America, there's an abundance of Mexican Restaurants in Vancouver. I picked the first one on Foursquare recommendation and we went to Sal y Limon.


Sal y Limon We arrived at Kingsway and even inside the bus we can see the long lines outside. It was 6:30 in the evening and it was so hot outside. While waiting, I was silently praying that the food is worth the heat and the wait.


Appetizer We had Nachos with chicken. If you check their website and their printed menu, Nachos is not yet there but it's printed on a paper along with the kid's menu near the counter.



I love their Nachos! The topping was generous and not just on top of the nacho. It was delicious.
Main Course Pe…

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