Setting Your Intentions & Learning How to Ground Beliefs into Your Sub-conscious

Maimuna Jaffer-Thomas (Maia or MJ for short), started her own personal journey towards health and wellness 20 years ago, when she was diagnosed with a debilitating auto-immune disease. Under the guidance of a Dr. of Chinese medicine, and several energy modalities she practised she was able to cure her ailments, thus eliminating prescription drugs! She studied the holistic art of Reiki healing, and now is a Reiki Master. Her success
in self-healing led her to open her own holistic practice where Maia works with a variety of different therapies including Reiki, Lumalight Color Therapy, EFT tapping, crystal chakra balancing, meridian reflexology and more. All her methods are centred on
energy healing, clearing emotions, releasing pain and shifting thoughts. She regularly teaches workshops, a popular one is Neural Network Reprogramming, which accesses the subconscious to shift limiting beliefs and to help achieve goals in all areas of our life, such as good health, relationships, and working in a career that lights you up. Learn how to create new habits to enhance your life. Her next workshop offered for Neural Network Reprogramming will take place on Saturday 20th February, just in time for a post- Valentine’s Day special. If you and a friend, colleague, or partner sign up together, Maia will give both of you a special couple’s discount ($199/person). As she can attest to, working with a partner can help keep one another focused and accountable! Mention this Article when booking your space. For her regular practice, a free consultation is available where Maia will assess your individual needs and find the right therapeutic mode to achieve maximum results. She can build a coaching pkg. specifically designed for you to assist in clearing emotional blocks that are not allowing you to live the life of your Dreams! Check out Maia’s Inspirational Thoughts or purchase product such as amazing bath salts
rosemary and wild orange blend enough for 4 baths at $7:50 Or for $12 you can purchase her magical blend which includes the powerful scents of frankincense, Myrrh, cinnamon, & nutmeg plus. Watch for Crystal Pendants and other products to be added
soon. Stay up to date on Upcoming Workshops & Events on her website.

Maia, (MJ) Thomas.
Shift Empowerment Coach, Reiki Master Healer, Shamanic
Healer, Luma Light Practitioner, Access Bars Practitioner,
Meridian Reflexology.
Call MJ at 1-778-678-7860 or Email:

Heart & Soul Energy

TITLE: Borella Italian Kitchen: A New York Style Pasta Kitchen has arrived at the Westshore

Sometimes timing hits us over the head reminding us, good or bad, that with patience and an open-mind that somehow, on some level the universe truly has our back. That moment when we wonder if a mere coincidence just occurred, or the stars have actually aligned.

When Petr Prusa, owner of Floyd’s Diners and now the new Borella Italian Kitchen in Langford learned of the opportunity to take over the space of the former “Chequered Flag” restaurant at 2345 Millstream Rd—he literally “shopped short” two feet in the door—and knew from the architecture it was supposed to be a pasta joint.  “I live in Langford,” explains Petr, “Nobody does pasta in Langford, and so it made sense.” His previous experience in Italian kitchens gave passion to the venture and the name, well that was easy. Named after a long-time Italian friend, Giovanni Roberto Borella, the love extended to honour that friendship and invite other’s eager to thrive in a new opportunity the chance to live their dreams.

A step through the front doors and it will feel like home. A voice will greet you before you even see who it is, the ambiance warming like sunshine or a cozy fire, and the intimacy of the table set up and candlight, well it’s pretty peaceful and even quite romantic. Perhaps the most accessible place in Greater Victoria for pasta, serving up decadent dishes, Borella Italian Kitchen offers something for everyone. With plenty of parking, a central location, and menu items at an extremely reasonable price (you heard it right, that means Chicken Parmesan, Clam Linquine and most of your favourites are fantastically priced), we think this new place called Borella, is the place to be!

Extremely accommodating and welcoming, this approach extends to the philosophy of creating the greatest team. “In many kitchens there can be a division between the front and the back,” shares Petr. “We try to make it so there isn’t a division. Our kitchen staff is young and have a passion for it [the culinary arts]. Tonight we had a customer who wanted the chicken parmesan with potatoes and roasted vegetables instead of pasta. We don’t regularly stock that, but the kitchen staff wanted this customer to be fully satisfied. Our kitchen will do whatever they can for you. They found some vegetables, and some potatoes that they use in the Nicoise Salad….and they improvised.”

An eclectic collection of art on the walls, nothing seems out of place. Each piece has impact or a story that we’re sure someone knows. The quick service of bread to the table, and discussion of the menu, keeps the regulars coming back, and the word-of-mouth spreading. Even the “old boys” from the Chequered Flag days continue to come by, Petr shares. “Most of the guys drank Labatts on tap, but since we now only serve local on tap, some have converted.”

The next time you think pasta, we hope you’ll join us at Borella Italian Kitchen!

Borella Risotto

Four-Course Delight at Cow Cafe West Coast Grill with Award Winning Chowder

Enjoy the warm ambiance for special occasions and family-style dining at the Cow Cafe West Coast Grill, overlooking the beautiful Cowichan Bay. Right on the water’s edge, the restaurant boasts breathtaking views of Mt. Tzouhalem, colourful float homes and boat docks, along with delectable locally-sourced modern comfort West Coast cuisine. Enjoy a brimming plate of fresh mussels and prawns, sample the vast array of choices on the menu, and sip on any of the local craft brews on tap. They carry a nice selection of The Valley’s wines and fun cocktails like the beer candied caesar.

Like we did, try the best seafood chowder in town—their Maple Bacon Seafood Chowder—award-winning now three years in a row; the second course the succulent Surf & Surf of sauteed mussels, pacific tiger prawns, roasted garlic cream, parmesan, and garlic herb focaccia! For your entree, enjoy the Basil & Cashew Encrusted Halibut and finish with the Caramel Apple Bread Pudding, or the Gluten Free Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae.

A restaurant in Cowichan Bay for many years, owners Matt & Jenn Heyne took it over in 2012 and re-branded as Cow Cafe West Coast Grill. Owner Matt & Head Chef, along with his entire team are locally born and raised islanders who have always had a passion for food. Wife and co-owner Jenn manages the front-of-house with her lovely team of servers, always ready to make your experience warm and memorable.

Hitting close to home, “Almost Free” Magazine’s Publisher Elissa Bergman has a standing date there annually whenever her parents come to visit, at the same patio table each time. The Surf & Surf, Coastal Crab Dip, and Albacore Tuna Tataki, wins the order each time with local wine, craft beer, and a gin Caesar.

Cow Cafe has something for everyone. Come dine with Cow Cafe West Coast Grill for your chance to win culinary prizes and local getaways through the magazine’s 3rd Annual “Dine Around the World in 80 Days” – see page 2 of the February/March issue for details.

Cow Cafe Chowder

Do you know about the 126-year old Bar from Butte Montana at Pioneer House?

With iconic stature – unavoidable even to the driving eye – stands the Pioneer House Restaurant at Whippletree Junction. Originally built to house the majestic “Bar from Butte” the intent was to become a “Saloon”. The licencing fell through and so stands the restaurant of today. Acquired by current owner Gerald John’s family in 1975, the Pioneer House as experienced a multitude of transitions throughout the years.

You’ll discover the Bar from Butte Montana with its timeless beauty located on the North wall of the restaurant. The bars origins were in the St. Francis Saloon from 1890-1971. In its days in Butte it witnessed many quarrelsome card games, dancing cancan girls, and perhaps even a few gun fights (it’s rumoured to have a bullet hole or two). Despite the stories it could tell, it still has its original finish, applied in 1890! One must wonder how this amazing piece of history got to Vancouver Island. In the 1970’s, Whippletree Junction founder Randy Streit stumbled upon the bar still standing proudly in the St. Francis Saloon, despite the fact that the old copper mining town was completely deserted. He immediately dismantled the bar and shipped it home. When selling off the plot where the Pioneer House now stands, the deed contained a note requiring that what was built must house the unique antiquity.

Further to its iconic exterior and rich history, you’ll discover a comfortable ambiance and popular menu. Much of the interior design comes from local logs built by local tradesmen. The mezzanine perches 20ft above ground level for a fabulous bird’s eye view of the rustic antique décor.

The menu serves up local products, house-made dressing (all of which are celiac friendly) and sauces. You won’t get very far past the front door without being caught by the display of tempting in-house baking of pies noticeably their Peanut butter fudge pie and signature ‘one acre’ cinnamon buns!!! Pioneer House is happy to cater to all dietary needs, vegetarian, Celiac and more. Just ask their knowledgeable staff! From the Famous eggs bennies, to burgers, steak, pastas, salads and comfort dinners, rotating feature menus and two themed menus each year! The always fun and exciting Mexican menu runs from the beginning of March all the way through to Cinco de Mayo. The BBQ menu, this year having a Southern twist starts Father’s Day weekend keeping you coming back until Labour Day weekend. With the crowd-pleasing menus, ambiance, drink specials, and fabulous sunny patio…..They hope to see you soon!

Pioneer House Facebook:

Pioneer House

More on our Whippletree Junction Stop: The Best Kept Secret for Art Supplies in Cowichan Valley!

Local Treasures at Whippletree Junction now carries art supplies in addition to local hand-crafted art by the 55 artists represented in the shop. Artist and owner Claudia Ziegler saw a demand for art supplies in The Valley where sourcing it was convenient with plenty of parking and affordable pricing.

With the emphasis on local, carrying almost anything hand-crafted and unique between Victoria and Nanaimo, it’s hard to believe they opened just early last year, January 15 2015, with just seven artists including store owner Claudia.

The list of quality art supplies available encompasses student-grade to professional:

  • Winsor & Newton for Oils and Watercolours
  • Golden and Liquidex Professional for Acrylics
  • Student-grade Galeria for Acrylics
  • Pastels, colour pencils, felts, graphite, charcoal
  • Kits for children, canvases, sketch books, and watercolour pads
  • Adult colouring books
  • And more!

If you are an artist, Claudia invites you bring in your unique art for consideration. Their new and larger Whippletree Junction space tucks behind to the left of Pioneer House and Next to Nature Trading Co. to the left of the parking lot.

From handcrafted jewellery, clothing, to woodwork, to paintings, and now a diverse art supply section, Local Treasures boldly explores the exceptionally diverse. Without a doubt, you’ll find something for yourself or a special gift.

More info at Local Treasure’s Facebook:

Local Treasures

Shopping Local for your Valentine: A Decision in Love-Fudge

ARTICLE on Next to Nature Trading Co / Beaver House Fudge

Karel and Max Bossi of Next to Nature Trading Co—home of Beaver House Fudge—offer a good sense of humour to their clients and in business. When major highway construction in 2000 threatened to dump all over sales at the Trading Co, they decided to start making fudge to get out to the people.

An internationally-known product, Beaver House Fudge maintains ethical business practices in its production. The chocolate used boasts the finest quality from a small, family-owned Swiss company called Felchlin. The spices are fair trade and organic, and although they still do use artificial flavours and colours, all the ingredients must be high quality. The fudge is only made on demand to ensure the highest standards in freshness. Customers will tell you it’s the best they ever had.

Now drooling over fudge, you probably wonder: Exactly what building at Whippletree Junction to find said fudge, and the Trading Co? Next to Nature Trading Co—the small cabin directly to the left of the big cabin, Pioneer House—carries items made by BC artisans. The dream catchers are from a tribe in Mission and are 100% handmade.

There are also fair-trade items, which include Kyber sweaters made of New Zealand wool, lined with fleece, and some have reflective fiber. These popular sweaters are made fair-trade in Nepal, a great way to help the Nepalese earthquake survivors.

Having a personal interest in health and wellness, the Bossi’s look for gifts with fun and function, including mohair socks for cold feet, locally made pottery and a line of gift cards that just make you laugh. In the 23 years the Bossi’s have been in business, retail has changed phenomenally. When they started in 1992, Walmart was not yet established the way it is today. China as a cheap supplier just started. And so, to be an artisan here in BC was easier as the general public was still willing to pay for Canadian wages. With this in mind, the Trading Co continues to practice ethical decision making in their local buying and they retail items that appeal to local residents.

The next time you drive past, be sure to stop in to say hello and sample some of your favorite fudge.

The Bossi’s remember one humorous episode from a US customer who claimed that: “ your fudge seems to satisfy “all my desires…..”

You can also order their fudge from or have some sent to your friends.

Beaver House Fudge

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