As you know a lot of social media is not real life and some of it, is flat out fake. I get messages or run into people who read my blog or follow me who say that they love seeing all the fun things that I am up to.
And although I don’t post anything fake, it only shows one small part of my life, it shows the fun parts; my highlight real. I would hate to think that my online life would make anyone feel bad about theirs.
What I don’t post are the hours alone in airports or the times that things don’t go according to my plan, I hate when that happens! Since my blog is about my life, I thought maybe I should get real and share that pretty pictures don’t always tell the whole story.
Two things that may surprise you about me; one is that I am a home body at heart. Yes I travel a lot, and love it, but I love being home too. And if I am being honest, I actually don’t know where my home is? Is it in Moncton, where my family is? Or is it in Vegas where my stuff is?? I really don’t know anymore.
The second thing is that I am a very private person. Yes, I have a blog and may appear to be an open book, but my close friends know that I find it hard to share all my stuff. So this post is me venturing out of my comfort zone.
Why am I venturing out of my zone? I just think that we all have our own struggles in life and I would hate for someone to think that they are alone in their struggle.
I try really hard not to compare myself to others, its a losing battle, so don’t do it either, lol. And I am a naturally positive person, but sometimes life kicks you in the balls. I am currently dealing with that now; and it sucks big time!!! If I have to look for a silver lining, I guess it’s teaching me what’s really important in life; don’t sweat the small stuff, yup, I get it.
As a woman, and probably men too?? We sometimes struggle with feelings that we are not enough; not pretty enough, not thin enough…not enough enough, lol. I know I do, and every once in awhile I need to have a chat with that little voice in my head. I have to slap that little bitch and tell her to shut up!! I am pretty sure that these periods of self doubt are normal, so you aren’t a freak if you have similar thoughts.
All this to say that no one has it all figured out, nothing is perfect, life is messy! We are all just trying to do our best. My dad keeps telling me, that no one gets out of here alive… gulp!!! I always knew that was true, obviously, but once you are faced with the fact that you are losing someone, that saying takes on a much deeper meaning. We all go through things that change us; wether it be sickness, divorce or death of a loved one. So let’s be nicer to each other, because you never know what the person next to you is dealing with.
Please keep reading my fun and positive posts about travel and how to throw amazing parties. Just know that I know, that sometimes it’s hard and know that you are not alone.
Montréal in February isn’t for the faint of heart; but it is a beautiful and vibrant city no matter what time of the year…but maybe just a bit more vibrant in the spring, summer and fall?? Lol
If you do decide to come here in February, you will need a few essential items; like a tuque (it’s a beanie for my American friends), mittens, they will keep your hands warmer than gloves; and winter boots. And by winter boots, I mean boots with grips, a fur lining is a plus too.
In this post, I tried a new hotel, visited a Nordic spa, did a bit of shopping and ate on the run; oh and I ducked into a historic church.
I was here for a quick work trip and tried to squeeze as much as I could in the short time I was here. Here are my suggestions if you find yourself in Montréal and are wondering what to do…in February.
I love trying new hotels and one of the advantages of traveling off season, February is off season, is that you can get really great rates. This trip we decided to try Le Saint Sulpice Hôtel Montréal, it’s a chic hotel in the heart of old Montréal.
The hotel is located on rue Saint Sulpice, which is located right behind Notre Dame Basilica; now I am not a huge church person, but this one is impressive.
Above is what it looks like during the day; below is a night view, if you are in the area, you may as well peek inside, it’s really pretty.
When checking into the hotel, we lucked out and got upgraded to suites, which is another perk of traveling off season. Always be nice and chatty with the front desk people…always!!
My room had a large seating area with a stone wall.
It overlooked rue Saint Sulpice with a great view of the cobblestone roads, there are cobblestones under the snow, I promise, lol.
But my favorite part of my room and the hotel was the bathroom! More specifically the tub!
This is my dream bathroom; not only did it have a big shower, it also had a big tub! I love baths!!!
They also had L’Occidane bath products, which are super fancy!! I brought all my leftover bottles home.
We flew in on Sunday and by the time we checked into the hotel it was early evening. The temperature was -12 Celsius, which for some of my readers doesn’t sound that cold, but because Montréal is on the water, it’s a damp cold, so it feels colder. What could be more fabulous than a Nordic Spa on a wintry Sunday night?? Nothing!
Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal is located just down the street from our hotel. We asked the concierge at the hotel for the address, he said take a right, you’ll see and smell the eucalyptus steam.
If you haven’t been to a Nordic Spa, they have hot baths and saunas with cold dipping pools and cold showers. So you go from the hot sauna to the cold shower to the hot pool, followed by the cold dipping pool; and then you repeat.
I did the hot bath and the cold dipping pool. It’s so cold it picks your skin; the trick is to dip quickly and go back to the hot pool. It’s supposed to be good for you; it was surprisingly invigorating. I don’t like saunas and the cold shower just seemed like a dumb idea, lol, so I skipped those. They also have relaxation areas where people go to to relax and nap.
I get bored “relaxing” for too long, I did sit there and people watched before moving on. The one thing that I don’t love about Nordic spas is that you aren’t allowed to talk. I guess that may be the reason why some people go? But I am chatty.
After I soaked, dipped, relaxed while silent; I went for a massage. And wow! It was one of the best massages I have ever had!! My masseuse’s name was Nicholas, he was from France; if you go, you should ask for him. He was awesome and his Parisian accent was dreamy, ok, I actually don’t know if he was from Paris, but his French accent was very different than the accent Québécois and Acadiens. Not that it was better…ok, it may have been a little better? But just because it sounded more exotic to me. No offense to the Quebecers or my fellow Acadians…ok, enough about accents, moving on, lol.
I walked back to the hotel so relaxed I didn’t even feel the cold, I realized that this was the perfect way to spend a Sunday night in Montréal…in February.
Next time I am in town I am going to try Bota Bota Spa-sure-l’eau; it’s a spa on a boat, it looks really cool! Let me know if any of you have been there, if so what did you think??
Montréal is probably one of the chicest cities in North America; top three for sure! So it goes without saying that the shopping here is amazing!
Here are my fav stores.
You should start in and around rue St Catherine; there you will find the Hudson Bay and the Eaton’s Center.
For my American friends, The Bay is a huge high end department store. It was a fur trading company founded in 1670 and is the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world. All that to say, it’s a big part of the history of Canada and a great place to shop; it’s similar to Sasks Fith Avenue Department Store.
The Eaton’s Center is a huge mall, located in the middle of downtown. Montréal has an extensive underground walkway, you can get in and around The Bay to the Eaton’s Center without having to go outside; which comes in handy on cold winter days. I braved the cold and walked outside, living in Las Vegas for a few years now, I felt that walking in the cold may help me get my Canadian street cred back?
Rudsak is a Canadian company; it’s described as a luxury fashion company. It’s on the pricey side, but their items will last forever!! Almost every item in their store was black or gray, so my kind of place. It’s my bff’s, Guylaine’s, fav store.
They had everything you need to survive a Montréal winter in style! They also had beautiful purses. I felt butterflies in my stomach as soon as I saw them, but walked away before I fell in love; as I walked away I repeated in my head: you do not need another purse…you do not need another purse!!! Ouff, that was a close call.
They have a few locations, I went to the one inside Eaton’s Center.
Aritzia is another Canadian company; it was founded in Vancouver. They focus on individual style and quality garments. They also have a store in the Eaton’s Center; if you haven’t shopped there, check them out. Their clothes are more affordable than Rudsak. They remind me a bit of Zara.
COS is my current fav store; it’s a Swedish company with locations scattered in key chic cities around the world. I’ve been to the store in Toronto and Paris; they also have a store on rue St. Catherine here in Montréal. I didn’t make it there on this trip, partly because I didn’t know they had a store when I was downtown and partly because I didn’t want to know for fear of buying something. My bag is already over weight, I’ve been gone three weeks, so I needed a lot of stuff and winter stuff is heavier; but I will visit on my next trip for sure.
One thing that I will say about COS, is that if you check them out online, you may think they are very boring, the clothes on their site look boring, but their stores are super chic in person. They offer classic pieces that will never go out of style. They also have cool hip pieces that are sure to become classics. They have great quality stuff, so I don’t mind paying a little bit more; but prices aren’t super crazy. My friend Aline first introduced me to this store…thank you!
I am giving a shout out to the Banana Republic on St Catherine just because it’s one of the bigger Banana stores that I have been in and the building is historic and funky. I bought a blouse!! It’s light weight so shouldn’t add any weight to my suitcase, in case you are worried about me, lol.
Montréal is a foodies dream, so many amazingly yummy places. It’s fun to discover hidden gems as you walk through the city. Montréal is know for their smoke meat sandwiches and their bagels, personally I prefer Montreal bagels to New York’s.
I would recommend making friends with your hotels concierge; they will know all the best places to eat.
Because this trip was super short, we didn’t have time for a fancy meal. We did grab a pizza before our spa night. Pizzeria Bros is almost across the street from Notre Dame; you can create your own pizza, each pizza is cooked in its own red pizza oven, super cute and yummy, easy on the budget too.
Montréal has a definite Euro vibes, there is literally a coffee and/or pastry shop on every corner, especially in old Montréal. While walking back from my meetings, I stopped into Olive and Gourmando; I had heard so many good things about this place, I needed to see what all the talk was about.
It was packed!!! I didn’t have the patience to wait in line in the cold doorway, so I got a few things to go. My fave was the blueberry tart. It’s obviously the “it” place to meet with friends, but if you are looking for a quiet place to catch up, this isn’t the place, lol. It’s more of a see and be seen place.
Even though my time in this beautiful city was short, and cold, I tried to soak in as much as I could. There is so much to do and see, 24hrs is a joke, but it’s better than nothing. There was a winter festival happening the week after I left, the locals are not afraid of a little cold; so there is lots to do in the winter; but there is something magical about the city in the summer.
My next trip back is planned for July, I will do a follow up post at that time that showcases the summer vibe. So what’s your favorite thing to do in Montréal?
A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme!!
This year I decided that it would be fun if our Christmas Eve Dinner had a theme; and since plaid seems to be the latest new hip trend, why not make it a plaid theme? If you are Canadian, it’s been hip forever, lol; plaid and Christmas are a natural fit so I thought it would be easy to pull off.
I did find that finding the perfect plaid item to wear was, well hard to find, lol. What I envisioned wearing wasn’t available at the local mall and I waited too long to order something online. But I am no quitter! Plus all but my guests are pumped and on board; so full steam ahead with my Mad for Plaid theme!
What to wear?
Can you have a plaid theme dinner without asking your guest to dress up? Probably, will it be as fun? No! No, it won’t. (teasing, feel free to skip to my pictures of plaid dinner table ideas if you don’t want to deal with my plaid shenanigans)
My Christmas Eve guests have been asked to wear some sort of plaid. I left it open to interpretation; I am looking forward to seeing everyone plaided up! (yes I know plaided isn’t a real word, but it should be!).
I finally found something I like, it’s a beautiful red and black plaid shawl that I will for sure wear again; it’s basically a huge blanket. My mom has a funky pair of red plaid pants that I am sort of lusting after. She’s the most stylish woman I know! My dad will wear a red and black buffalo pattern shirt so he and I will match.
When it comes to decor, concentrate on your dinner table. I always make that my focal point. I think most people associate plaid with rustic and homey comfort; I personally think of a tall rugged Canadian lumberjack named Alex or Jean-Guy…..lol, ok moving on; the point I was trying to make before I got distracted by visions of lumberjacks dancing in my head is that it’s so easy to pull off a plaid themed dinner table. All you need is a plaid tablecloth or piece of fabric, mason jars, pine cones and a pop of something green and red.
Last year I filled mason jars with cranberries and floating candles. Some green branches, fairy lights and red balls. So easy, yet so pretty!!
This year I will have gray and black table clothes with red napkins. I will repeat the other same items from last year; hey, if it isn’t broken, no need to fix it!
Pro Planner Tip
Here is a super helpful tip for any and all parties, big or small; the key to creating a cool vibe for your guests is lighting! So please dim the damn lights!!!
Light some candles or load up on fairy lights, nothing ruins the mood like bright overhead lights…you’re welcome!!
I wanted to post this before Christmas in case someone is looking for ideas on how to dress up their dinner table. I will share pictures of my Christmas Eve Dinner on my Facebook page, oui-liette.
Enjoy these last few days before the big day. I know they can be stressful; it may seem that everything I do has to be perfect. That’s actually not the case. I pre plan as much as I can and then the day of any of my personal parties or huge corporate events, I am pretty chill and roll with the punches. Don’t let the idea of perfection ruin the moment. Life is messy not perfect! Lol, enjoyez-vous!
This post is a love letter to my snowy hometown of Moncton, NB. It was originally posted in November, but re-posting in honor of the big snowstorm that just hit.
Monctonians have long had a love hate relationship with snow and winter in general. We complain about how much snow we get, but then brag about how much snow we have gotten. And if Fredericton gets 25cm of snow, we are quick to pipe up that we got 35! Take that Fredericton!!!
It’s sort of like wanting to break up with your boyfriend, but then wanting him back if someone else shows interest in him. It’s twisted, yes we know, but that’s just how it is. We wear our snow storms like a badges of honor.
Most Monctonians live for those 8 weeks in the summer where the weather is absolutely perfect! But there is something to be said about living in a real live freaking snow globe!
Maybe I just appreciate it more now that I live in the desert? Last December I did my Christmas shopping in flip flops; that just felt wrong!
Some of you may be feeling a bit of hostility towards me right about now; knowing that I am back in sunny Las Vegas and will be missing January, February, March and April…oh and May…lol.
But you have to admit that there is something pretty magical about the first few big snowfalls of the winter…right??
Are we missing something uniquely Monctonian?
Each great city has it’s own distinctive building or tower. Paris has the Eiffel, Toronto has the CN Tower, the big Apple has the Empire State Building; well Moncton has the Bell Alliant Tower. I think we take it for granted because it’s …well it’s just there; we see it every day without giving it much thought. And who are we kidding, our skyline is pretty sparse and our tower isn’t super fancy. But I think we need to embrace it as a symbol of our city. And come on, you have to admit that it looks extra special surrounded by a fresh coat of snow. So look up next time you are in the downtown area and take it in.
See how pretty it looks with all this new snow!! It really is picturesque.
Moncton Comfort Food.
Do you know what else is awesome about Moncton in the winter? Lobster!! Lobster in the winter? Yes!!
Do you think people in Toronto or Paris eat lobster on a random Wednesday in November, for no particular reason? No, no they don’t. But we do (if you don’t, you really should). We don’t need a birthday or a special occasion; we eat it because we can. And it’s only $15 per pound this time of year. Ok some Maritimers reading this, like my dad, are thinking, wow that’s a bit pricey! But trust me, it’s not. It’s basically the price of a pizza.
In addition to lobster, when I come back home to Moncton, I try to make it to Pizza Delight for garlic fingers, Greco’s for a donair and Deluxe for a fish and chip. Yes there are lots of finer dining places, but I seem to crave these Moncton staples the most.
Let it Snow!
Yes winter in Moncton is long…really, really long, but that’s just all the more reason to get out there and enjoy it!!
It’s easy to take for granted that we can go snowshoeing or skating in our local parks and trails…heck, a lot of Monctonians can skate and snowshoe in their own backyards. Lol
So let’s enjoy this pre-Christmas, now post Christmas snow, in our quirky little city where people are polite and friendly; unless you are a snow plow driver pushing snow into a freshly shoveled driveway!
There will be enough time after Christmas, like now, to complain about the cold and snow when you are looking for parking at the Avenir Center; or meeting friends at Gusto’s, St James Gate or the Pump House. When the pretty snow is all dirty and frozen solid. Yes, there will be lots of time to complain then. Full disclosure, I won’t be here. I will be back in sunny Las Vegas listening to the locals complain about how “cold” it is. Please know that on behalf of all Monctonians; I will be silently judging them…pfff, they have no idea what cold is! But I do, we do, because I/we are, and will always be Monctonians.
Please note that no disrespect was intended towards Fredericton, just a bit of NB teasing.
Sorry if you were offended by the word bitch…oh wait, not sorry. Lol
Oh and feel free to give me a hard time when I start posting hiking or kayaking pictures on social media of all the outdoor things I am doing in February; while your tears are freezing on your cheeks because it’s day 7 into the -30 something cold snap that will inevitably falls upon, not only Moncton, but all of New Brunswick. I will deserve your snarky comments, lol.
Until then, you can find me outside snowshoeing with friends or drinking hot chocolate at Clémentine or Café Archibald. Because I really love this little city, it’s people and this early pre-Christmas snow!!
I will be back in Moncton in February, please save some snow for me! Sorry, I am not being very nice, lol.
A strange thing happened to me when I moved to the US; I have never felt more Canadian. Having traveled throughout the United States for the past 15 years, I didn’t think moving to the U.S. would be all that different; and in many ways it wasn’t, but there are a few key things that make Canadians…well Canadian. Here are just a few.
But first, I want to kick off by saying that this is, in no way, an anti-American post. You don’t have to put something down in order to lift something else up. And that may be the most Canadian thing in this post?
After much reflection, here are my four categories that, I believe, all Canadians have in common and make us Canadian AF.
Sorry, but we really are that polite!
It’s a stereotype that all Canadians are polite; I am sure there are a few Canadian assholes out there roaming around, but most of us are uber polite. And yes, we do say sorry a lot…sorry about that.
If we bump into someone, we say sorry, but if someone bumps into us we still say sorry. It’s just automatic, we really can’t help it, it’s in our DNA. I once tried to stop saying sorry so much, to be a bit more “hard core” or “cool”; just something I thought I would try on for size. But it didn’t work, it kept slipping out…sorry!
Why do we do this? Here is my theory; if we are in the wrong, we say sorry because it’s the right thing to do. Now when someone bumps into us, we still say sorry; are we really sorry? No, we aren’t, but by saying sorry first it gives the other person the opportunity to say sorry back. It gives them the opportunity to redeem themselves as a decent human being, lol. Saying sorry is Canadian AF.
The Good Ol’ Hockey Game!
It’s true Canadians are crazy for hockey, it unifies and defines us. How much as it creeped into our national identity? Well I suspect that at this very moment every Canadian reading this, now has Stompin’ Tom Connors Hockey Song in their head…you’re welcome!
Stomping Tom is a great example of a true Canadian Icon; did he have movie star looks? Nope! Did he rule the pop charts? No, not even close. He was a scrawny cowboy born in Saint John New Brunswick and raised in Skinner Pond P.E.I, who sang songs about Canada in a nasally voice. Songs like Sudbury Saturday Night and Bud the Spud, trust me, teen girls didn’t have posters of Tom hung up on their bedroom walls.
But his song about our national sport is played in rinks across Canada. You are Canadian AF if you can’t help but sing the chorus when it comes on: “Oh! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name. And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hoceky game.”
When we hear that song we know what night it is? Americans have Friday Night Lights. Canadians prefer Saturday nights, why? Because it’s Hockey Night in Canada! That’s why!
It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are from; millions of us share the same childhood memory of getting dressed in our skidoo suits, putting our skates on and going outside to play. There was always that one dad who would flood his backyard and make a skating rink for the neighborhood kids. I was lucky enough to have “that dad”.
We played for the cup every day; we pretended we were Gretzky, Lemieux or Maurice the Rocket Richard. We would stay outside till our toes and cheeks were numb or till we got hurt, whichever came first.
Proud of the Maple Leaf
Canadians are a bit more reserved when it comes to showing our nationalism. Unlike the U.S., we are a bit more chill and reserved. Maybe that’s why we love hockey so much? It gives us the opportunity to wave our flags without feeling like we are showing off.
Our pride comes out in funny and unique ways. When with Americans, we often feel the need to point out fellow Canadians. Example: A Shawn Medes song comes on the radio:” hey he’s Canadian”. A rerun of Star Trek comes on: “did you now William Shatner is from Canada?” We see a picture of Michael J. Fox: “he’s Canadian too, did you know that?” Howey Mandel, Pamela Anderson, Alex Trebek, Lorne Michael, Canadian, Canadian, Canadian, Canadian!
Feeling the need to point out each and every Canadian that we see or hear while with non-Canadians is Canadian AF.
Although we aren’t known as an “army nation”, we are very proud of those who have served. Canadians, although very polite, are scrappy as hell! We have served alongside the U.S. in every major war since World War I, except for the War on Iraq.
We have a reputation around the world as Peace Keepers, of that we are very proud.
Not to brag, because that can be seen as un-Canadian, but I think we have more heart than anyone else out there. Yup, I said it!
When the Tragically Hip announced their farewell tour and the CBC aired their final concert, the whole country watched…I am serious, the whole country watched. And those who were away, watched online. And when Gord passed away, the entire nation mourned. That makes me very proud to be Canadian!
The Great White North
No we don’t live in igloos, no we don’t have polar bears in our backyards; we have moose and deer…geeze! And yes we do have summers here too.
We get a bit defensive when we are asked those questions. But truth be told, winter is a big part of being Canadian. It’s the one thing that we all have in common; it gets cold and it snows.
I believe that Canadians talk about the weather more than anyone else in the world. We do so, so much, that it has turned into a greeting. Instead of saying hello, we will say: “nice day eh?” or “some cold out there eh?” And yes we do really say “eh”, but Americans say “huh”…a lot!
I read somewhere that the highest rated Canadian channel on television is the weather channel. It’s because we have weather, lots and lots of weather. I now live in the desert and I must say, I miss real weather, lol. Full disclosure, I don’t miss it in February when I am in flip flops! lol
If you think 0 degrees Celsius in February is a warm day; you are Canadian AF!
If as a child, you fought with your mom, because she made you wear your Halloween costume under your skidoo suit; you are Canadian AF!
If you have sworn at a plow driver at some point in your life; you are Canadian AF!
If you are from Saskatoon, Yarmouth, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Rivière-du-loup or any other Canadian AF city and have secretly made fun of Toronto for over reacting after a snow fall; then you are Canadian AF!
And finally, if you have ever heard of Saskatoon, Yarmouth, Red Deer, Fort McMurray or Rivière-du-loup; you are definitely Canadian AF. 🙂
Thanks again for reading all the way to the end! To my Canadian AF country men and woman and to my American friends. Let’s not forget or let anyone try to convince us that we aren’t friends and partners!!
Please feel free to share this post with your friends, that would be mighty Canadian of you, lol. Like and comment below; what is your most Canadian AF thing?