Monday, April 30, 2018

Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review

 Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review
By Kat Thomas and Matt Bourquardez
Recently Edible Skinny was lucky enough to spend 8 days in The Netherlands. Between the canals of Amsterdam and the windmills of the North Sea, we discovered this country far and wide. And while on our trek of this Dutch wonderland, we utilized our time as kickass reporters to test out some travel items, Welcome to: “Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review.” So Cheers to exploring the globe! Or as they say in The Netherlands... Proost!

Dank je! On our way to discovering Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (aka the Kingdom of the Low Countries), we decided to learn some of the language basics. Enter online language course Babbel... the comprehensive learning system combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology. This isn't just about listening, interactive online courses improve your grammar through playing with your computer's microphone. Within days our vocabulary and and pronunciation skills were amped up to 11. Which was about the number of words we remembered when we got over to the Netherlands. But Hey, we said them like an authentic Hollander! ;-)

It sucks to get sick when your traveling, and unfortunately this happened to Matt on our trip... Luckily we had some Olbas Oil on hand to speed up the process of healing. Originating in Basel, Switzerland over 100 years ago, Olbas Oil is a blend of six essential oils made from healing herbs. These kickass oils are pure plant remedies (some of the nature's secret weapons in maintaining wellness). Olbas contains essential oils of peppermint (aromatic stimulant), eucalyptus (promotes oxygen absorption), cajeput (sinus soothing), wintergreen (warm soothing effect when used in massage), juniper (stimulated metabolism), and clove (strong stimulating aromatic). Since Kat didn't succumb to the sniffles, we deemed this the “good stuff” to prevent and protect yourself from those common cold breeding airplanes!

Kat LIVED in Cotopaxi’s Kusa Hybrid Jacket while in chilly Amsterdam... And not just because it’s made with llama-fleece (cause who doesn’t LOVE some llama LOVE...). This Hybrid features some SUPER technical things like 20D ripstopnylon fabric, which is finished with a DWR to create a light, durable, water-resistant outer shell. And below this technology Cotopaxi has applied their unique llama-fleece insulation to keep you nice and warm when the mercury dips. Plus it’s a Do-Goodery company! Cotopaxi designates 2% of their revenue to help alleviate poverty around the world. Their products are guaranteed to last 61 years, the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world! So stay European warm in Llama style!!!

THIS BAG WAS A LIFESAVER! The Moshi Tego Sling Messenger blends functionality with a sleek Asian minimalist design. The Tego was PERFECT for biking the streets of Amsterdam. The cross body messenger, is wearable on the left or right shoulder, features a quick-release strap for easy access, and an ActiveStrap for added stability on the move. Smart yet refined, each bag in the Tego series is constructed with concealed rear zippers for added security when we hit the streets of Europe. Crafted from a lightweight and durable fabric, this messenger bag is cut-proof and weather-resistant to keep your belongings secure and dry. Plus it's SUPER DUPER sophisticated looking making you look like you're wearing a bag from the FUTURE! ;-)

This is life hacking at its best! This lightweight collapsible water bottle can roll up to the size of an orange when your done using it! The bottle loops around your wrist for easy carry or attaches to your bag for quick access. Nomader is rated for temperatures of below 4 degrees to 248 degrees, making it safe to use for boiling water, hot beverages, and frozen margarita drinks. This space saving water bottle is perfect a post TSA filler up!!!

If your a fan of Edible Skinny, you know we are FANS of Ashley Black’s FasciaBlaster®!!! So we were delighted to test drive the FaceBlaster™ while voyaging in the North Sea. The FaceBlaster™ is a completely new fascia straightening design with 3 tiny, dainty claws that employ the same benefits of the FasciaBlaster® for smaller, delicate areas. It was specifically designed for the face and can help release tension, fascial adhesions, and tightness between the smallest joints and bones in the hands, feet, and neck. So for anyone with tight necks from carrying bags (READ US) or have TMG for stressing over delayed flights (also READ US): THIS IS THE PRODUCT FOR YOU!!!

Hollerback! This anti wrinkle button down has the ability for any traveler to go from Backpacker to Business Casual in 5 minutes! Ministry of Supply interviewed dozens of women to understand their clothing demands...they then went to into the laboratory and got to work. The result is their Easier Than Silk Shirt: machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, and as flexible as Kayne West's politics... ;-)

Orthotics with soul! When walking upon cobble-stoned streets, taking care of your toesies and feetsies becomes a priority! But Hallelujah, Soul Insole’s minimalist and flexible design works with your shoes, not against them. The biomechanically designed shape of the Soul Insole effectively redistributes pressure evenly across the foot to relieve pressure from the heel and forefoot. An arch booster that can be added to a full length insole or placed in any shoe. Soul Insole uses the medial wall and existing structure of the shoe to increase support to your arch (which means it will feel different in each shoes). Soul Insole prevents overpronation while training the foot to maintain proper alignment and gait, helping to relieve symptoms of Plantar Fascitis. Hip Hip Hooray for feetsies so happy they can dance the night away!!!

Never been disheveled again! The TravelWise 5 Piece Packing Cube Set is a travel essential that allows clothes to stay folded and neat when packed in their own "small drawers". These cubes have been featured on PopSugar, Marriot Traveler, and Reader's Digest and are FANTASTIC for staying organized. Constructed of lightweight, durable nylon, these multi-sized cubes compartmentalize similar items such as shirts, pants, swimsuits and electronic accessories to streamline packing. They are FAB for staying organized on both short and long trips and help travelers avoid over packing. The open mesh top makes searching for misplaced items a thing of the past. Travelwise is available in nine colors (including PINK)! Each set includes 1 small, 2 medium, and 2 large cubes to organize different sized items when traveling.

These were our GO-TO bars on this trip. Many protein bars on the market are a blend of sugar, more sugar, and artificial ingredients. Not KIND, this 12g of protein bar comes primarily from nuts such as whole peanuts, almonds, and soy. For that long train ride from Amsterdam to Eemshaven (8 hours) their Double Dark Chocolate Nut Bar was PERFECT solution to tiding us over!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Matt Bourquardez is a Writer for Edible Skinny. He has traveled the globe and rarely sees his house.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley
By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky to spend a few days exploring Conejo Valley for a Father/Daughter Getaway. Now we (sheepishly) admit up until this time we had only driven through this area of SoCal on our way to more “well know” (READ: overcrowded) vacation destinations. But with a few days of R&R on the docket, we decided to catch a break in Conejo Valley.

Known as a home away from home, Conejo Valley is located less than 30 minutes from the beaches of Malibu and 45 minutes from Los Angeles. It's the ultimate drivable daytrip! It's all the fun of Santa Barbara or Paso Robles, yet none of the crowding of nearby destinations.

Conejo Valley is a multifaceted gemstone full of majestic views for hiking (or just enjoying while sipping a glass of wine), eclectic dining venues for the foodies (minus spending 30 minutes in line parking your car), and boisterous breweries to have a good fun time (perfect for Pappa Thomas)! So here's a few experiences we had while discovering Conejo Valley!

BTWs: in case you were wondering (because we were) Conejo means “Rabbit” in Spanish! ;-)

The first stop on our visit to Conejo Valley was the brewery and showroom, 14 Cannons in Westlake Village. Constructed in 2017, 14 Cannons produces beer by award winning brewer Nic Bortolin while also showcasing the industry’s leading vendors. Full of “Independent Spirit,” the name 14 Cannons is a tribute to the owner Marshall Haraden's great, great, great, great uncle, Jonathan Haraden who captained the American war ship Tyrannicide in 1777. The ship was part of the Massachusetts State Navy fleet and was infamously armed with 14 Cannons. This spot was the perfect place to christen the weekend! In between games of Skeeball (a Ab Fab favorite of the New Jersey native Thomas Gals), we sipped on some Bestlake Blonde (their version of a Blonde Style Ale that is perfect for 365 days of Sunshine) and Peanut Butter Cup Dessert Ale (a Sweet Stout that reminds you of the day after Halloween).

Lure Fish House
It was then off to Lure Fish House, a restaurant that was recommended to us by three separate Locals! East coast class with a relaxed California vibe, Lure Fish House featured fresh and sustainable seafood right from the ocean. Lure prints their menus daily to reflect availability and guarantee freshness. With four locations (including the Thousand Oaks space we dined at), it featured a full bar with specialty cocktails along with an oyster bar serving mollusks galore! While there we ordered multiple bottles of Wente Chardonnay, which paired perfectly with our seafood smorgasbord of Calamari, Fanny Bay Oysters, and 3-lb Lobster we dined on!

Westlake Brew Co.
After the rocking meal we had a Lure Fish House, it was off for some live music at the Westlake Brew Co., aptly names as they were also in Westlake Village! ;-) With live music every Friday and Saturday night, the brewery offered libations for those looking for live music and the craft beer culture in a modern warehouse location. Their philosophy: to always be in pursuit of something better. Something they must be doing pretty well as the packed space had the ultimate good night vibe with cover band jams, shuffleboard games, and craft beer suds.

That night we settled our sleepyheads at the fantastic Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks. The newly renovated Courtyard by Marriott Thousand Oaks, CA hotel is TripAdvisor Award of Excellence winner. It's located off US-101 for super duper easy access. Their spacious lobby, which includes media pods and a full bar, was the perfect place for people to chill on a Friday night (it was definitely kicking when we returned from Westlake Brew Co. around midnight). And unlike Los Angeles hotels parking was included. The Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks' outdoor heated pool and spa, surrounded by lush landscaping, were perfect for hours of entertainment Saturday morning. There's nothing Pappa Thomas enjoys more in hanging out in a hot tub while playing tunes on the speakers. Needless to say they were, extremely accommodating... it's definitely a hotel that allows you to have fun and doesn't get in your way!

After a delightful nights rest, we were ready to hit the deck for Day Two of Visit Conejo. We were off to experience a bit of American history at the renowned Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is one of Conejo Valley's most unique and treasured attractions. Located in nearby Simi Valley, visitors can step aboard Air Force One used during Reagan’s presidency and view an exact replica of the White House Oval Office.

Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of Conejo Valley, the Library's 300 acre site, represents the "shining city on a hill" often referenced by President Reagan. Air Force One, a 2700 Boeing 706, guards a 65-foot window with views as expansive as the legacy of this eight term president. The plane was the official travel of seven US Presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush. The Reagan Library received 27000 in a decommissioning ceremony on September 8. 2001 at the San Bernardino International Airport. It was disassembled over a nine-week period by nine-person crew from The Boeing Company into the following sections fuselage, tail, stabilizers, engines, main landing gear, and wings. It is now celebrated at the Gipper's library as a monument to the location that also serves as the final resting place of the nation's 40th President.

Along with taking a fabulous tour of Air Force One (a favorite of Pappa Thomas) exhibits are presented at the library throughout the year, their newest arrival and only Southern California stop: Genghis Khan! The Genghis Khan exhibit showcased hundreds of artifacts from Genghis’s 13th century Empire, the largest collection ever to tour. The one-of-a-kind exhibit portrayed Genghis’s reputation as the greatest conqueror in history as he dominated three times more land in his lifetime than Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.

Finney's Crafthouse &Kitchen
Our final meal of this fabulous two day Father/Daughter Getaway was at Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen in Westlake Village (and coming soon to Santa Barbara!). With a slogan of “Craft Beer Spoken Here,” the combination of chef-inspired food and their craft bar makes the space an inviting gastropub that attracts guests of all types, especially the locals. It's the perfect place for day drinking on a Sunday or a afternoon Saturday date night. Offering 30 craft beers on draft, a full bar featuring hand-crafted cocktails, fine California wines, and a menu to die for (Get the Bacon Blue Burger: Roquefort, onion strings, bacon, house-made BBQ and a pretzel bun – Super Duper Yummm!). Keeping it fresh, flavorful and at times, unexpected, Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen hit it out of the park!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at