Falling For Fall!

Falling For Fall!

Happy Fall! Yes, I know that fall doesn’t officially start until September 21ish, but hey the pumpkins have been out in the stores since August, so I feel I have shown a lot of restraint.

I loooooovvvvveee fall!! It’s what I miss the most about living in Las Vegas. I have two back to back trade shows in September and October so it’s going to be super busy, BUT!! I get to fly back to Canada for some vacation time the week before Halloween and you better believe that I am going to pack in as much fun fall stuff as possible!!!

I love making bucket lists, some may think they are silly? Here’s why I make them and why I encourage you to as well. We are all so busy, I feel that if we don’t consciously make plans, the days, weeks and months can zoom bye in the blink of an eye, and bam!! It’s Christmas and you’ve missed fall altogether!

So here’s my fall bucket list! (FYI I am saving my Halloween activities for my Halloween list that I’ll post Oct 1ish. Hey, I wasn’t kidding about loving lists!!)

1. Fall foliage and fresh air!

Since moving to the desert, I’ve discovered that some of my friends, here on the West Coast, have never experienced a full on autumn fall foliage fest. Yes the leaves on the trees here do change colors, and while three trees with yellowish leaves are cute,  that’s not really fall.

You need to experience a full on fall, in all its glory, at least once in your lifetime! The most vivid colors are in the North East of the US and the South East of Canada; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have the prettiest views, but I could be a little bias? lol

I encourage all my West Coast friends to add this to their bucket lists and to all my East Coast friends; get out there and enjoy!!! Go for a drive, go for a walk, take pictures and smell the fresh air! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you do know what happens after fall right??

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The pictures above are all from the Moncton area, seriously guys, how freaking amazing are these color??!! It’s simply spectacular!!

2. Sunflower Selfie!

Local farmers don’t exactly have it easy these days; a new way to supplement their incomes is by creating corn mazes, u-pick pumpkin patches, apple picking and sunflower festivals; and do you know what? I am all for it!

Look up what’s happening in your area and then get out there and enjoy! My Facebook feed has been full of the most beautiful sunflower selfies this past week.

The Green Pig Country Market in Salisbury, NB is having a sunflower festival and I am so bummed that I am missing it. FYI, in October, they have a huge corn maze and a zombie paint ball shooting tractor ride. I will be in that area at that time, so I’ll be there!

Please get out there and support your local farmers it’s a win, win!

I am going to do my best to find a field of sunflowers in Nevada, wish me luck!

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Soooo it turns out sunflowers don’t grow in the desert…booo!! Since I am not one to give up that easily, I made my own sunflower fun!  It’s amazing what you can do with a hot glue gun.

You maybe wondering if I looked like a nut driving around Las Vegas looking like a sunflower? Maybe? But here’s the thing that I love most about living in Las Vegas; no one cared, everything and anything goes here. It’s pretty wild! It’s probably the perfect place for me and my weirdness?

Funny story, I asked my mom a month or so ago if she thought I was weird? She said of course you are, but that’s why people like you!! Good to know, lol. 🌻🌻

3. Apple of my eye!

Apple picking has always been one of my fall traditions. As soon as the apples are ready for picking, usually mid to late September, my Facebook news feed will be flooded with pictures of my Canadians in apple orchards. Not only is it a great way to get some fresh air, it also offers lots of Instagramable moments.

And what do you do with all those apples? Make a yummy apple crisp or apple pie! Picture it, it’s getting chilly outside, which of course makes you want to nest and bake. Can you smell the apple crisp coming out of the oven? Mmmm, add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream; oh wow, I am getting hungry! lol. Add that to your fall bucket list please…you’re welcome.

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4. Fall fashion.

There is something about fall that makes me want to shop; you do that too, right? Once the air starts to get cooler; it’s time to pull out your sweaters, blazers and boots. In the fall I like to take inventory of what I have in my closet and what I need to replace.

My fashion strategy is to pay more for key pieces that will last me for a few seasons. I mix those pieces in with less expensive items that are a bit more trendy.

This is the year that I need a new pair of boots, fancy boots, not winter boots. I bought a pair of high heeled black leather boots in Chicago; I am going to say 6 or 7 years ago? At the time, I felt that they were too expensive, but I loved them and I knew that would never go out of style. I got them re-heeled and shined up a few years ago, which extended their life.  They ended up being a great investment, I certainly got my money’s worth. But, sadly their time has come and I that makes me super sad; first world problems I know, so no need to point that out, lol.

My new boots are 1970’s inspired black suede. I sent my mom a picture. I remember she had a similar pair when I was young; hers were a deep dark red, they were beautiful. I am digging that 70’s vibe. My friend just got a pair of cool bell bottom jeans, oh, I am getting a bit off track…sorry.

I also “needed” a new black purse…ok, maybe need is pushing it? My new fav purse site is: Wanderers Travel Co. I got a tan/caramel purse a few months ago that I absolutly love, but it’s not black, hence the “need” for a new black purse.

I have always, always been a fan of a leopard print, so I am super happy to see all the leopard prints out this fall; not that it ever goes out of style, but this fall it’s bigger than ever. My boots and a new purse were a little pricier, but my skirt was a steal of a deal. I got it at GAP,  it was 40% off, yay me!

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I am loving my new fall fashion items! I will pair my skirt with a nice black turtleneck instead of a white t-shirt as shown above. My wardrobe inventory uncovered 10 black turtleneck sweaters!! Sadly, I am not even kidding. I think I have a bit of a black turtleneck addiction. I can’t even rule out buying a new one this fall/winter, it’s a definite possibility, lol.

Oh and not that anyone asked, but here is my older, new purse from that same site. I think it’s just going to look better as it ages and gets a little banged up.

Thanks for reading! I am not really sure what happened? This post started with leaves, sunflowers and apples and finished with shopping. It’s pretty obvious that I just let my posts go where they want to go; I don’t always have full control, lol. I may have gotten too excited and a bit off track? Shit happens, lol.

I would like to give a shout out and thank you to my fall photographer, Barney! He also shot my spring pics; I guess that makes him the official oui-liette photographer? I’am not sure if he is fully aware yet? I will let him know after he takes my winter pics, lol.

Fun side note, we shot the sunflower pics in August on a cool 107 degree evening. My skin looks all fresh and dewy, ya, that’s sweat! Lol

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Please get out there and make memories with your friends and families!!

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muah!

Liette

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Hotel Safely

Hotel Safely – Better Paranoid than Dead!

Tips to keep you safe!

I have probably slept in more hotel rooms in the past 6 months than the average person will stay in the next 6 years, ouff it’s been a lot! I am writing this post from one now; fun fact, I can’t wait to be back in my own bed in Vegas!

I am lucky that I get to stay in nice hotels in “safe” areas. But I do watch a lot of Dateline so I am naturally always on high alert when on the road, especially when I am traveling solo. My main goal in life is to not end up on an episode of Dateline; I am weird, I am aware.

On this trip I was shocked when I was told that the hotel I am currently in, which is a really nice hotel, had a horrible incident a few weeks ago. The hotel is attached to a mall and a pharmacy. Long story short, a woman was robbed and beaten to a pulp in the elevator leading to the pharmacy!! I have used that elevator on previous trips! It really isn’t a shady area. I guess it serves as a reminder that shady people can be in none shady areas.

Here are my personal safety tips that I am more than happy to share with you!!

Hotel door check 

Where you aware that people walk the halls in hotels checking doors to see if they can find one that isn’t complete shut? This has been a huge issue recently in Las Vegas.

Have you been in a newer hotel and noticed that the doors slam shut by themselves? If your door isn’t completely shut it will open if someone simply pushes on it. Some older hotels may not have this feature?

When leaving or entering my hotel room, I close the door shut myself and  then pull on the handle to make sure it’s shut. Your door needs to click so it can’t be pushed open.

Not to freak you out, but this is a thing. People have been robbed while in their rooms; while they slept! Being in your room is apparently not a deterrent, that was the shocking part to me; and in one instance, here in Vegas, a couple was robbed then killed. If it’s happened here, it can happen anywhere!

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If you see someone who seems to be loitering in the halls, call the front desk!!

Peep holes

Ok, this one may boarder on paranoia? But I am standing by it!!

I am fully aware that peep holes theoretically help keep you safe, because they let you see who is at the door without opening it. But I have always been a bit weary of them. I’ve always wondered if people would be able to peep in? Then I heard the story of a woman sports caster who was filmed while she was in her hotel room, minding her own damn business! Her peep hole was tampered with.

Now will your peep hole be tampered with? Probably not, but do I feel safer with a post it note over mine? Hell yes!

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I travel with a few office supplies in my laptop case; one day I put a post it note over my peep hole and it stuck….get it? Lol, so now that’s what I do, it makes me feel better; so crazy or not, I do it.

This picture below is my worst nightmare, hence my post it notes obsession.

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Door stop

This is my new fav safety feature. Have you ever checked into your room and notice that you’re in an adjoining room? It’s super creepy and it makes me feel unsafe that the only thing between me and a potential psycho killer is one door lock; they don’t even come with a door chain.

I have always thought that the chain and metal thingy on the inside of your hotel door would keep the bad guys out. But after doing a bit of research I have discovered that if someone really wants to get in, it’s not that difficult; these won’t keep them out.

But there is something that will help reinforce your door, all your doors, not just hotel doors. What is this magical high tech safety tool? It’s a cheap rubber door stop!! I just bought four for $9. I am adding 2 to my suitcase for when I travel and spoiler alert, I will be giving these to all my travel friends this Christmas as stocking stuffers.

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Is this overkill for US and Canadian travel? Maybe, but remember, better paranoid than dead!

Valuables in your room

The previous three tips were to keep people out of your hotel room, but what about the people who are able to get in your room?

In all of my travels, I have only had one incident where something was “removed” from my room by the hotel staff. I accidentally left lose cash in my jeans pocket and just like that, pouff, $80 was gone.

We know not to leave money or jewelry laying around, but you may be leaving something more valuable in your room unattended? What’s more valuable or just as valuable as cash? Your medication!

One of my friends recently shared that she ran out of her medication way before the end of the month. She suspects that the cleaning staff may have taken some of her medication while she was traveling? If you think about it, it’s super easy to do; who among us keeps a daily count of the number of pills left in their bottle? It would be so easy to take some, but not all, without being missed right away.

Do not disturb

I am not very worried about hotel staff being in my room, I like having my bed made for me! I do make sure anything valuable is in my purse and not left in my room.

But I do have coworkers that I travel with who, once checked in, put the do not disturb sign on their door knob and turn on the TV when they leave their rooms. Some will keep the do not disturb sign out for their entire stay. They just don’t want strangers in their room alone with their belongings and that is a perfectly valid feeling; so remember that is an option for you on your next hotel stay.

You can even call housekeeping and let them know that you won’t require your room cleaned during your stay. If you run out of clean towels, they can deliver to your room while you are there; please tip if you ask anyone to bring anything to your room, it’s only fair.

Valet park

I am a big valet park fan, is it because I am a bit of a diva? Partly, but the main reason is that I refuse to park and walk alone in a parking lot or garage in a strange city.

And if a hotel doesn’t have valet park, don’t be shy to ask hotel security to walk you to and from your car. This winter I was in Moncton, at downtown hotel, that didn’t have valet parking. Their main lot is well lit and close to the main hotel door, but their overflow parking is a building away; it was dark and shady. I actually drove back to the front desk, from the overflow lot, and asked if someone could walk out to meet me; they were more than happy to oblige. Please know that this is an option, hotels want you to have a great experience on their property, they will assist if asked.

When I was younger and a bit more timid, I would put myself in situations that didn’t always feel safe, but with age comes a “fuck that shit” attitude!! If it feels iffy, don’t do it!

Be friendly

My final hint is to befriend the hotel staff. I make friends with the concierge, in addition to getting great recommendations on where to eat and where to go, they can also keep tabs on you. They are usually stationed by the front entrance of the hotel, say hi to them as you come and go and remember their name.

On my last trip to New Orleans we made friends with our concierge, every evening he knew where we were planning on going.

I also always ask the front desk staff if it’s safe to walk around the hotel at night? A few times, they have flat out told me that it wasn’t safe. I once asked for directions to an outlet mall via the train; the front desk staff told me in no uncertain terms, that I was not to take the train alone! If someone tells you that, listen, they know their city better than you do.

If you are afraid or nervous about anything, talk to the front desk staff; learn their names, tell them, hey I am alone, can you have someone walk me to my car? Tell them where you are going and when you expect to be back. A side effect of being friendly is they will remember you on your next visit and may even upgrade you! Friendliness is always in fashion.  If finally again, you see something that makes you feel uneasy, tell someone, because it’s better to be paranoid than dead!

Those are my safety tips, do you have any to share that I haven’t listed?

Travel safe!

muah!

Liette

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Viva Vintage Vegas!

Viva Vintage Vegas!

On our agenda today is a Viva Vintage Vegas tour. We’ll shop, get a makeover, eat then visit an outdoor museum for old neon signs.

The “old” downtown area is in the process of a fabulous transformation. The Art District or 18b, because it encompasses 18 blocks, is a very cool and hip place with art galleries, vintage shops and funky restaurants. It’s way more authentic than than the strip and if you visit you may run into some real live Las Vegas locals! Don’t worry, they won’t bite, they are super nice people.

First things first, let’s shop! All the shops below are found on Main Street. (If you don’t get the opportunity to visit Vegas, then please venture out to your local vintage and antique shops! Also, I always check out how shop owners show off their stuff. It can inspire you to consider different color pallets.)

Patina

Patina offers vintage furniture, home decor and a huge collection of unique vintage clothing.

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I was served by Katie, who is one of the owners of Patina. She explained that the boutique started off more focused on vintage furniture, but the clothing section has taken on a life of its own; with regulars coming to Vegas expressly to shop in her store.

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She and her partner hand pick each item, they were getting ready to head out on a buying spree in a few weeks. How fun would that be?

 

Their vintage clothing is mostly from the 60’s, lets just say the colors were so vibrant I didn’t need to use a filter. I bought three things.

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They also have beautiful glassware, vintage luggage,  furniture and much more, check them out!

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I tried to convince myself that I had room for this hot pink chair in my bedroom, but I don’t…booo! I love how they are showing pink with yellow accents, it’s not a combo that I would have thought that I would like. It’s brave, beautiful and inspiring.

Antique Alley Market

I love this store!! It’s huge so it’s almost impossible to see everything and they seem to have everything.

I must admit that I past by it several times without going in, because the facade doesn’t have a lot of flash. But I’m happy I finally did because it’s got some great stuff and prices are reasonable.

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I collect vintage Murano glass candy dishes, ok I only have 4, so it’s not a huge collection, lol. It reminds me of my grandmother. She had this beautiful big green dish on her coffee table that we used to spin around, we were kind of bratty. I don’t think we ever broke it, which is a miracle. I have no idea where it went, but I would love to find it.

I have a pink dish from my mother’s cousin, I found another in the same color, so had to have it. And now I think I am starting a pink collection, but the other colors are all so pretty…sorry, all this talk about vintage candy dishes may not be as interesting to others as it is to me, lol.

Ok, just take a look at this picture of my budding collection and I will stop talking about candy dishes, lol.

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Ok, I so I lied, but look how pretty they are. My new one is the one on the left…ok done, moving on.

Vintage Vegas

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Main Street is littered with cool funky places. Vintage Vegas is a smaller boutique, but jam packed full of cool stuff. The signage: Dead People’s Junk ans Cool Crap, caught my eye; I had to go in!

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I love these vintage Pyrex bowls!! My bff and I, back in Canada, are always on the lookout for vintage Pyrex. Yup, we’re nerds, but stylish ones!!

Retro Vegas

When I moved to Vegas this was the first vintage shop I visited, the pink caught my attention, naturally. They have beautifully painted flamingos on the side of their building  perfect for photos!

They have tones of modern mid-century furniture, which is my all time favorite; along with stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I am really starting to feel the 70’s vibe these days too.

The price point here is a bit more expensive, but they have high quality pieces.

I love this kitchen vignette! And look, they are pairing pink and yellow. Mmm, could this be a new trend? This is giving me some cool ideas.

And as I am writing, I just noticed that my pink candy dishes have yellow in the center! I guess I am already on trend.

Atomic Lounge

After you’ve shopped stop in at Atomic Lounge for a retro makeover. I went for the Va Va Voom hair and makeup  package; they also have a package where they pick you up in a pink Cadillac, it doesn’t get more fab than that!

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This was so fun! It would be the perfect activity for a girls trip. They do lots of weddings as well.

This was a lot of makeup!! Definitely meant for nighttime. I have to admit I felt like my grandmother with my hair in pin curls, but it all came together. This look called for a lot of hairspray!! I am not a big hair product person so it felt really funny and stiff. She told me to leave it for an hour and then I could brush it out for a softer look. It looked more modern with just a hint of retro vibe once I brushed it out.

My stylist was awesome! Ask for Becki. The lounge decor was funky and cool, just like you’d expect it to be.  And look, more yellow! I love these chairs.

 

Let’s Eat!

There are a bunch of cool hip restaurants nearby and this is where you will meet actual Las Vegas locals. These restaurants are also a lot less expensive than on the strip.

I recommend trying Carson Kitchen, it has super interesting small plates that you can share.  It’s urban neighborhood dining at it’s finest.

The Boneyard Museum

After dinner when the sun goes down, head to the Boneyard Neon Museum. It’s the perfect way to send your Viva Vintage Vegas Day!

Tours are $50, $35 for locals. You have to buy your tickets ahead of time, I have been on the day tour, but need to go on the night tour when the signs are on.

This isn’t your ordinary boring museum, first of all it’s outside and second of all, it’s full of neon. The museum is saving and honoring Vegas history for generations to come.

You will have lots and lots of picture opportunities, selfies are welcomed!

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Photo from Boneyard Neon Museum

Bonus Feature!

Since you sat through my candy dish fetish, I will let you know that The Arts District also has the most Instagramable graffiti walls in Vegas!

The streets between Main and Commerce have cool alleys. The best one is on the corner of W 50-70 Imperial Ave and Imperial Ave. Do be careful and travel in packs, don’t go down dark alleys; you will run into some colorful characters if you venture too far. You can also rent bikes and cycle around.

Just a few of the murals you will see. Try to venture off the strip next time you are in town and check out the Art District. Be nice! And have fun!

Muah!

Liette

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Kiss My Axe!

Kiss My Axe!

Axe throwing is the new hip thing to do and after the week I’ve had, there was nothing that sounded better than throwing a sharp object at something! I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile and I’m so glade I did, because we had such an axe-cellent time!

It’s sort of like bowling, except instead of throwing a ball you’re hurling a super sharp axe. We booked two lanes at the Timber Lounge on 19 Orange Lane in Moncton; which is located next to the Pump House Brew Pub. Check them out online at: http://www.timberlounge.ca , on Facebook under: Timber Lounge Axe Throwing – Moncton. Or on Instagram at: timberloungemoncton. (they didn’t pay for our night, but hey if they wanted to invite us out back, we would be down for that… just saying.)

I’d never swung an axe before, but full disclosure, I am pretty sure I am a direct descendant of some hunky Viking, lol, so I assumed, I’d be super good at it.

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We were greeted as soon as we walked in and after signing in, we got drinks while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. Because why not have a few drinks before playing with axes, right?

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The Timber Lounge has a really cool vibe. We got lucky and had the back lanes, which  gave us a bit of privacy, as it wasn’t always pretty.

Our guide, who’s name escapes me, sorry. So I’ll call him Hans, since that sounds very Vikingy; his name is probably Marc or Jean? Lol. Anyway, Hans, explained the safety rules and showed us how to throw properly; during our practice throws he gave us pointers. He coached us and encouraged us all the way through. Hans was awesome! Please tip Hans if you go and he is your guys.

We each managed to get a bullseye, some…Stacy, got a few more…ok, a lot more.

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My cousin Nicole had perfect form and the most graceful swing, but still managed to finish last. Sorry, Nicole; she’s naturally good at everything, so she can handle a little ribbing.

 

My brother, Serge, showing us how it’s done. He started strong, if I’m part Viking, then I guess he is too? But he got beat in a tie breaking axe-off by me!!

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Our axemen and axewomen, top left, Kenda the small but mighty, Bullseye Stacey, Liette la Viking. Bottom left, Mary Helen aka Mrs. Brady, Serge, the silent one and Gina the beautiful beast; if there was a prize for best biceps she would win!

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Mr. Bullseye or Stacey, won in a hard fought final round, beating his opponent, me, by one point. It was a nail biting finish…ok probably just nail bitting for me, because I really wanted to win, lol.

What I liked about this activity is that at the end of each round, you start fresh, so if you sucked, you can theoretically redeem yourself.

We started with a round of round robin and then, the top 4 axed it off, before the final axetravaganza; where the top two battle for the win.

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Fun fact, Mary Helen had the most “unique” swing, and by unique, I really mean wonky, lol, but ranked #2 in bullseyes.

If you are looking for something fun to do, this is it!! We had so much fun! It exceeded our axepectations, (most fun axe puns provided by Stacey and Gina).

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I really think we all would have played better had we been wearing plaid. Our next tournament, I think plaid, tuques or Viking Hornes will be mandatory!

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I highly recommend the Timber Lounge Moncton; Lord tundering Jesus it was fun! (Ok, not sure why I am closing this post off with a Newfie accent? It just felt right, lol.

All the hipster cities now have axe throwing bars, look it up and try it!

muah!

Liette

Like, share, comment please!

 

Fun Things to do in NB – Sugar Shacking!

Fun Things to do in New Brunswick – The Sugar Shacking Edition!

So technically it’s called visiting a maple syrup camp or shack, but I think Sugar Shacking is way jazzier.

Being a native New Brunswicker, I have to admit that I have taken this activity for granted in the past, but I have come to realize that a lot of people have never visited a sugar shack; to my American West coast friends, you really need to add this activity to your bucket list, because it’s awesome…and yummy!!

I hadn’t really put much thought into it before, but maple syrup can only be gathered in a few select places in the world; and New Brunswick is one of those places!

Did you know that Quebec produces 70% of the global maple syrup supply? I think this makes maple syrup super Canadian; Vermont is the State that produces the most in the US.

Sugar Shack Profile

Since I am back in New Brunswick for a bit, I decided to go Sugar Shacking last weekend; it was the perfect way to spend a sunny spring day outside, while loading up on pure sugar.

We visited Trites Maples, I highly recommend them if you are in and around the Moncton area; here’s how to find them.

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It was a beautiful, balmy +12 degrees Celsius, which is almost shorts weather in these parts, lol. It’s a nice walk from the parking lot through the woods to the sugar camps.

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As you walk through the woods you see the maple trees that are being tapped. There are blue lines that run from tree to tree sucking out the sap from the trees.

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We walked around saying; “I would tap that”, just because we thought it was funny.

We ran into a lot of super cute locals and a bus load of foreign exchange students. There is nothing like a beautiful sunny day to get Canadians out and about.

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The mom gave this little guy a stick and was trying to make him use it as a walking stick. He wasn’t having it, he held it like a hockey stick 🇨🇦.

There are two other camps before Trites Maples.

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Leading up to Trites Maples, the trees were tapped with buckets attached to gather the dripping sap; it was so pretty!!

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Some trees were dripping a little faster than others. We were told that it hadn’t been cold enough the night before; ideally it should be -6 to -8 at night and +6 to +8 during the day for optimal sap dripping.

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It takes 40 silver buckets of sap to make one bucket of maple syrup! That’s a lot of drips!!

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The main camp at Trites Maples serve a mean pancake breakfast. The inside of the camp or lodge is beautiful wood, the servers were dressed in black and red plaid aprons…of course! And the pancakes were being flipped by actual Trites men! See the three handsome men bottom right, below. The young one in the middle is obviously still in training, lol, his name is Chris and because we are in the Maritimes, he’s a friend of a friend. Actually, he’s a cousin of a friend, everyone around here is a cousin of a friend; we tend to have big extended families.

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We skipped the pancakes, this time, and made are way to the next cabin; where they sell pure sugar goodness!

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We watched them pour maple butter in maple leaf shaped molds. The difference between maple butter and maple syrup is 3 degrees. If the sap doesn’t hit the right temperature when it’s being boiled, it becomes creamy and butter like instead of golden syrupy.

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You may be thinking; wow Liette, you sure know a lot about maple syrup. I do, because I took the Sap to Syrup tour! Our guide explain how the syrup is made and the tour was free!

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Just chilling, waiting for our tour.

Guess who was our tour guide? Maple butter mold guy! And, yup, he was a Trites too!

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Meet Lindsey Trites, he brought us to where they boils the sap and turn it into syrup, it was very interesting to learn what it takes…and it takes a lot of hard work!!

After our tour, we got down to serious business…eating!! This is why people come Sugar Shaking; for the taffy, or « tire », as we say in French.

For newbies, here is how it works; they pour hot stuff, ok, full disclosure, I am not sure if it’s just regular boiling syrup? Or special boiling syrup? Lindsey didn’t cover taffy on our tour, lol, but it’s poured on a fresh bed of snow. You let it harden a few seconds and then you take your popsicle stick and you roll the taffy around your stick and you eat it!!

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They charge $2 for a popsicle stick; it’s pretty much a maple syrup taffy all you can eat buffet; omg it’s good!

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Side note: I noticed that 80’s skidoo style tuques are hip again, I should have kept mine!

Kids, pictures above, were lined up with their popsicle sticks. I had three, my friend, who will remain nameless may have had 5!!! I won’t call her out, but she is pictured with Lindsey and I above, lol. She was high on sugar on the drive back.

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Liquid Gold

We made our way through the woods back to our car with our supply of maple syrup in hand; I am bringing some back to Vegas with me for my peeps. Maybe it’s because I now live in the desert? But I couldn’t help but notice how quaint, clean and beautifully cool this day of Sugar Shacking had been!!

I left feeling thankful that I get to pop in and do  fun New Brunswick things a few times a year; I see things differently now and appreciate this place more than I ever have.

I would like to encourage those who live here to get out and enjoy this beautiful province!!

Muah!

Liette

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Fashion note, spring Sugar Sacking is muddy, rubber boots are a must!

 

New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

If asked to describe what New Orleans is like, I would describe it as an assault on your senses; it’s all too much.

It’s too much food, it’s too much music, the smells are too much, the people are too much, there is too much culture; it’s just fabulously too much!

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Be prepared to have crazy hair, it will either be too fuzzy or too flat, or a combo of both.

Here are my to 5 things to do in New Orleans that are too much!

#1 Too much history and culture!

New Orleans oozes culture; it’s impossible not to soak in the culture and history of the city. I don’t think there is any other city in the US with such a distinctive vibe and energy.

If you are a first time visitor you need to take a guided tour because there is just too much to see and do. I have done a few walking tours and a bus tour. Both types were excellent, if you do a walking tour in the summer make sure you are dressed properly and stay hydrated, because the summer heat and humidity is way too much!

There are also several night time walking tours that are fun and will be cooler and to say that the city comes alive at night is a huge understatement. I recommend you visit one of the cemeteries and the Garden District; and of course the French Quarter, which is so full of history, that you almost need a guide to fill you in on all the fabulous and tawdry history.

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This was our cemetery tour.

#2 Way too much music!

New Orleans is the birth place of jazz; if you love jazz, you have to visit!! You will want to go to French Street, but music floods pretty much all of the French Quarter, it doesn’t matter where you go.

While shopping on Royal street a few years ago, I made my way outside to find that the street had been closed and a band was playing. They played three songs, packed up and the street was open again. Spontaneous concerts seem to be the norm.

Each bar on Bourbon Street has music blairing; most have live bands, country, R&B, Cajun… there is something for everyone. The music spills out into the streets with musicians on every corner.

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A spontaneous concert on Bourbon Street.

Everytime I’ve been to Jackson Square I have heard students busking, the talent is amazing!

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Students at Jackson Square.

#3 Bourbon Street is waaaayyyy too much!

Bourbon Street is over the top too much. I have been to New Orleans 6 or 7 times now and I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Bourbon Street virgins a bunch of times. I have noticed that most react to Bourbon Street in the same way; they are flat out freaked out! Lol

And here’s why; it’s an insane place! It does assault the senses, it smells, it’s dirty and it’s home to a few ligit scary people.

People who think that Vegas is a wild place have never been to Bourbon Street. I think it puts a spell on people and makes them lose their minds…or that could also be the alcohol?? Lol, no one knows for sure?

Each person who I’ve taken there for the first time come away thinking, omg, this is too much! But then something happens, once the shock of it all fades a bit, intrigue and fascination take over. This usually takes 24 hours, then they are hooked.

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I was walking behind these ladies on Bourbon Street and just needed to snap this pic. They were on a mission.

The French Quarter is a contrast in extremes. You can dine in the most fabulous restaurant and then cross the street and walk past the most raunchy strip club.

On this past trip we left Bourbon Street at 6:30pm on a Friday night to make our way to the airport to catch our flight out; as we left, the crowds of people were already starting to file in; things were starting to get crazy…and it was 6:30!!! Lol

You need to experience this for yourself, it’s better to travel in a pack, go with the “no one left behind” rule and just be smart about things. And the number one rule, do not walk in puddles on Bourbon Street, it’s not water!!!!

#4 People watching, so much to see!

You will see and hear the most amazing things in the French Quarter; on this past trip, as I was walking down a side street when I happened upon a wedding procession. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; I was honored to be part of it in some small way. It started with a police escort, followed by the bride and groom literally dancing in the street accompanied by a band and their friends and family following behind waving handkerchiefs. It was so beautiful it looked staged! We saw two wedding processions during our walk, I think it’s a very common thing in these parts. The video and pictures below really captured the moment.

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Everyone who encountered the procession stopped, clapped and danced; there was just no way not to smile and be happy. This to me embodies the spirit of New Orleans. After all their motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler »; Let the good times roll.

 

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Another example of New Orleans contrasts is that a few blocks away from Bourbon Street and it’s hedonistic revelers is Jackson Square. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, learned that fun fact on my walking tour!! You almost expect to see a princess in a horse drawn carriage to pull up at any moment.

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This is Cathédrale Saint-Louis, apparently Walt Disney was a huge fan of New Orleans and could be seen in and around Jackson Square sketching and soaking in the sites and sounds; he was also very inspired by the jazz music that floods the streets.

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As I was coming out of one of the little boutiques that surround Jackson Square, I saw another wedding party making their way to the front of the Cathédral; I decided to follow them…ok so I may have some stalker tendencies? Lol, I am attracted to pretty dresses, what can I say??

Voilà! A horse drawn carriage and a princess…ok, it was a bride, but she was obviously fulfilling her princess dream.

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The bride was ok, but this little flower girl was adorable!! The dress, the flower crown, the hair…the dress.

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#5 Too many unique boutiques and shops!

Even though Bourbon Street feels very frantic, the surrounding cobblestone streets remind you that you are in the South where there doesn’t seem to be a big rush. You need to embrace this laid back vibe when boutique hopping.

There are so many little shops; I even love the real trashy touristy shops that seem to all sell the same things. But there are also unique shops where you will be able to find treasures to take home.

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Bourbon and Canal Street are lined with shops selling beads, masks and feather boas. I love the colors.

I love, love, love roaming around going from shop to shop. I always discover new places. On this trip we stopped in a shop that looked like just another mask shop until we went inside. It’s called Masquerade and is located on St-Anne Street. All the masks are hand made out of leather, they are mini works of art. I am kicking myself for not buying one for next Halloween. I hate having reverse buyers remorse, when you regret not buying something.

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We found one shop that looked like several others that sell spices and rubs, but it turns out they also give Cajun and Creole cooking classes, how fun would that be?? I am adding this on my to do list for my next trip.

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New Orleans School of Cooking, definitely going to try a class!!

There are voodoo shops, we found a super cute milliner shop (hat maker) on Royal Street; I found a funky lamp shop and lots of antique places. One place that I would recommend going to is the Local Artist Co-op, it’s located on Dutch Alley. It’s behind Cafe du Monde, which is the super popular places for beignets.

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I always buy something here and love supporting local artists.

And if you want a few touristy things go to the French Market, you can hit Cafe du Monde, the Local Artist Co-op, then just keep walking and you will hit the French Market.

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Ok, I may have taken too many pics of cute shops? I couldn’t help it!

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Modern Mid-Century lamp shop on Royal Street.
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Who doesn’t need candy and crazy scary animal masks?? Decater Street has lots of funky shops.

Here are my finds for this trip; a Kelly green leather clutch, it comes with a wrist strap and body strap, in case you are wondering lol. A small framed hand painted skull from the Local Artist Co-op. I buy a lot of art when I travel, they don’t need to be big or expensive. I love having reminders of my trips in my house. And I couldn’t resist a feather mask, pink of course!

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I came, I shopped, I ate, I left! I left really, really full! lol

Too much amazing food!!

My most favorite thing to do in the South, not just in New Orleans, is eat! They have the best food on earth!! There is just too much good stuff to add to this post, I will dedicate a full post to all the yummy things to eat!

Bonus Thing To Do!

Because a visit to New Orleans means that you will be walking for hours, I always stop for a quick and cheap massage. There are a few places almost on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street, you will see an Asian man sitting outside trying to entice customers to come inside.

We made our way inside for a 30 minute foot massage, then we let ourselves get talked into a 30 minute neck massage, prices are great and it feels soooo good!

Here’s a funny story, as soon as we sat down for our massages, we could hear a ruckus outside. It just got louder and louder until it turned into a full on fight. The top picture is Staci and I nervously discussing how super relaxing it was to have a fight during our massage. The funny part is that the little man on his bench outside didn’t even flinch. It eventually quieted down, so we did get to relax and enjoy. New Orleans is full of surprises, you really never know what you are going to see or hear.

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bottom left is me relaxing after the street fight outside was over.

I hope this post has given you the urge to visit this beautiful city; there is just too much not to love!!

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Les bons temps ont roulé, so now it’s time to go.

I already can’t wait to go back!!! Stay tuned for all the yummy food we ate in New Orleans ans Mississippi! That will be coming up in the next few weeks. Next Sunday I will share my day in a maple syrup sugar shack! I should be down from my sugar high by then? lol

Muah!

Liette

Hot Air Balloon Tips

Hot Air Balloon Tips

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If you wonder why some of you see my feature picture twice,  I post it twice so that those who subscribe and read from their emails can see it too. 

In this post I will share a few tips on how to prepare for your first hot air balloon ride. I consider myself an expert now that I have been up in one exactly one time! Lol

Ok so I am not an expert, but I can share a few tips, here we go!

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We were driven to the desert where we watched the balloons being set up and filled with air, they were way bigger than I thought they would be.
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This photo was taken by my friend Sean Miller, he brought his big camera, I just use my iPhone.
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Photo by Sean Miller.

Hot Air Balloon Fashion

The perfect way to ruin your ballooning experience is to show up dresses improperly. Chances are you’ll have to be onsite before dawn; make certain you’re warm enough to get you through till sunrise. We had a few in our group who were cold and cranky before we even got off the ground. I was happy we didn’t end up in their balloon.

The trick is to dress in layers, I had a t-shirt, my trusty black turtle neck and a light fleece like zip jacket. I threw a pair of light gloves in my cross body purse before leaving the house and I actually wore them before lift off. It gets cold in the desert before sunrise.

You also need sneakers; sandals and flip flops are a no, no. And make sure you are wearing socks. When you are in the air, your bottom half can get cold, while your top half gets hot; the big burners that heat the balloon air give off a lot of heat.

You also have to climb into the balloon basket, like literally climb, straddle the side and get yourself inside, so make sure your pants will accommodate this movement. I wore jeans with stretch.

If you have long hair tie it up or wear a hat, you don’t want your hair getting caught up in the burners.

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What Should You Bring With You?

The views are absolutely spectacular, so make certain your phone is charged, you’ll want to take a lot of pics. My friend brought his camera and small case; I had a cross body purse that I use when I travel. There isn’t much room in the balloon basket so just bring a small bag.

The air is cool the higher you go, so I packed tissues and my sunglasses in my bag. They provided us with a bottle of water.

Safety First

You will have to sign a waiver, we had to sign two. The captain will go over the safety rules and will make you practice a rough landing position, aka a crash landing. I obviously knew there isn’t landing gear on these things, but I never really put much thought into how they landed. They can hit pretty hard, bounce and drag before they come to a full stop…oh and the basket can tip over…with you in it.

We had a smooth landing, but I was ready! My knees were slightly bent and I was facing in the direction that the captain had instructed us to face. I took these rules very seriously; I may or may not have “bossed” other passengers to turn around and face the other way??? I can’t really recall for sure in all the excitement, but that could have happened?? Lol

What I found a bit surprising is that the balloon basket is sub divided into sections. So there isn’t a lot of room to move around. This is so you don’t bounce around in the event of a rough landing.

I am not really scared of heights, but I am scared of falling to my death. The basket sides are high, I am 5’7, the side of the basket was mid boob height on me, lol. This made me feel secure; you aren’t dangling over the edge, you are pretty contained.

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You can see the basket dividers in this pic. There is another divider between me and the lady beside me. You can fit 2 people per section.

Enjoy the Ride!

It was such a cool feeling to float, we reached a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. It was very peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend a balloon ride to anyone visiting, who is feeling adventurous; and to locals who want to see Vegas from above. It was $140, tax included, so not crazy expensive.

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This pic was taken by moi, not too shabby!

The colorful balloons against the blue sky were so pretty it almost looked fake.

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Vegas Hot Air, Sin City Balloon Rides, is the company we went with; they had three balloons in the air that morning. There were a few other balloons from different companies in the air when we ventured out. They look deceivingly small in the air.

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We flew over this balloon, the view and colors were awesome!

We got a great view of the strip in the distance, but the view of the mountains that surround Vegas was spectacular. I am fairly certain most tourist that stay on the strip aren’t even aware that Las Vegas is in a valley. You don’t see the mountains when on the strip.

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Photo by Sean Miller

What Goes Up, Must Come Down.

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I think we were in the air for over an hour ish? Time flew bye, pun intended.

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It’s a balloon tradition to have champagne after each ride. Captain Mike was awesome, all the staff were friendly and made it fun. Side note, captain Mike had the nicest teeth, lol. I felt, I needed to add that completely irrelevant detail… you are welcome!! 😜

I highly recommend Vegas Hot Air Sin City Balloon Rides, tell them Liette sent you. They will have absolutely no idea who the heck I am, lol.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any ballooning questions!

Muah!

Liette

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