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!

 

How to have a super SASSY Valentine

How to have a super SASSY Valentine.

(If you are easily scandalized, please don’t read, 😳)

Roses and chocolates are fine…I guess? If you like that sort of thing? Here are 5 other options to help SASS up your Valentine’s Day…or night? Whatever, lol.

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Scissor Sisters Booty Bucks

Not ready to put a ring on it? The Scissor Sisters have a few hilarious ways to say…mm, I love you??

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They have created super funny Booty Bucks for that special someone in your life. If interested, please DM Melissa on Insta: lil_gingersnap, they are 50% sass, 50% kick ass and 100% fun!

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My two favs are: “I’am so glad we got drunk and had sex”and “You repulse me the least”, lol. Share which you like best??

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What’s Wax Got to Do With It??

Nothing!! Just say no to wax; body sugaring is the way to go! If you are so fortunate to live in the Moncton area, then you are fortunate enough to visit our local goddess, Kimberly, at Kimberly the Studio. I’ve been to lots of fancy places with fancy spas and Kimberly is by far the best at what she does!!

What does she do you ask? She does it all! Lol, she’s been called a Vulva Artist, she will make your vagina look and feel it’s very best! Not for anyone else, but for yourself. She’s an artist and a poet and embodies female empowerment. I make a beeline to her studio whenever I am in town.

Guys, a gift certificates for your ladies will help spice up your love lives. Another way to spice it up, would be to get your backs sugared, lol, just saying.

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I think this pic captures Kimberly’s cool vibe.

Her studio, Kimberly the Studio, is located at 139 Archibald St, in Moncton. If you are too far to visit Kimberly, aw so sorry, I feel really bad for you. Make an appointment with your local ladyscaping artist; you just won’t get the Kimberly experience.

She also wanted me to mention that that The Aberdeen Cultural Center will be hosting their annual fundraiser, l’art en boîte. Valentine’s Day in Moncton is not just heart day, its art day!! For $50, you get to go home with an original piece of art. Check them out, buy your ticket, support local artists.

Get A Heart On!

One of Moncton’s best Restaurant’s, if not the best, is Gusto Italian Bar & Grill. It’s located on 130 Westmorland St. If you haven’t been, I can guarantee you will looove it!

It’s the perfect place to take your sweetheart on your next date night; all their food is amazing, but their freshly made cheesecakes are on another level!

They also have a super cool vibe with lots of dark corners on the main level; perfect for a romantic night out.

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How cute is this Chicken Florentin Pizza? .

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Meet Gusto’s hostess with the mostess, Guylaine, flaunting their gluten free, pecan caramel cheesecake. It’s beyond delicious! I have no idea what’s in the crust, but I could have just eaten the crust alone and been super satisfied; and did I mention it’s gluten free? It’s their feature cake until March.

Netflix & Chill, Solo

There’s no shame if you find yourself in between lovers this VD Day…oh I mean, VDay 😬

Plan the perfect night in; order yourself a heart shaped pizza and a few slices of cheesecake to go; wash it all down with a box of wine and binge watch the first season of  You and Dirty John. You will be counting  your lucky stars that you’re  single after watching, trust me!! Man that is some scary shit!!

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(Also if you don’t know what Netflix & Chill means, look it up 😳)

Custom Condoms!

Here’s an idea, skip the homemade card and go for custom condoms; yes you can have a custom message printed on the package. Full disclosure, I haven’t tried these…yet, but OMG what a fabulous idea!! FYI, all my friends are getting      oui-Liette condoms next Christmas! Lol

I found them online at: http://www.sayitwithacondom.com, because saying it with flowers is so passer.

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I hope this post helps to get you in the mood. Please note, I am not being paid or getting freebies to promote the companies  & services listed above; my shout outs are ligit. Ok…I may get a free slice of cheesecake from Gusto’s every once in awhile?? But just the ones that flop over and aren’t pretty enough to serve to customers, lol.

And I just noticed an unintentional theme, all my featured companies in this post are from female boss ladies!! Except for the condoms, not sure if that is a female led business or not? But it’s a great ideas so probably thought of by a woman?? Kidding…sort of.

Thanks for reading, share the love by liking or sharing!!

Shout out to my nephew Jack for being a great little photographer and all round supporter!

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Trying to keep my balloons in check, the struggle is real! Oh and the theme song for this post is 99 Red Balloons, obvs!

Muah!!

Liette

 

 

Tips & Tricks for Packing Light!

Tips & Tricks for Packing Light

Is it possible to pack for ten days with just a carry on suitcase? Yes! Do I do it often? No! Lol, but I can, I just chose not to most of the time.

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Proof that I practice all my tips included in this post. Me in Paris, getting ready to go out; dressed in black! 

I recently went to Paris with one carry on; here’s how and what I packed.

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Love my new suitcase! My friend Claudia and I got matching ones…just because. 
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Claudia proving that we did carry on. The guy behind her looks super impressed. Chivalry may be dead?? Please note that Claudia follows the same packing rules, she’s wearing her black turtleneck.  Keep reading, it will all make sense ish. lol

The key to having a chic wardrobe is to stick with one main color; my uniform is black, but my frequent flyer and anti-bag checker friend Cindy, prefers navy to black. Do you boo!

The trick is that everything needs to go with everything; when traveling light you need to be focused and plan things out.

My number one item of clothing that I couldn’t live or travel without is a black turtleneck, not in summer, obviously.

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I bought this black turtleneck in Toronto in August. #1. I wore it in Moncton, Canada, in November. #2. Paris in October, #3. Christmas Eve, again in Canada; I wore with faux leather leggings and boots, in case you were wondering; and finally #4. January in Las Vegas, yes it does get cool enough.

My point here is that I have been wearing it for months and I don’t think anyone has really noticed how often I have been repeating it…I guess until now, lol. I paid close to $200, which seemed pricey at the time, but some things are worth paying more for. Go for quality over quantity.

What’s in my suitcase

  • 1 black turtleneck
  • 2 pairs of black jeans, 1 pair of blue jeans, 1 pair of black faux leather leggings and one black pair of yoga pants. If sharing a room, it’s good to lounge in your yoga pants.
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Blazer, 3 pairs of jeans and 1 pair of faux leather leggings.
  • 2 black t-shirts, 1 black and white blouse.
  • 1 black blazer, I worn mine to dinner, it made me feel dressed up and polished.
  • 1 large scarf, mine is leopard. 1 hat and 1 pair of sunglasses, don’t forget your sunglasses!
  • I do all black underwear, my rule is if I am gone 7 days, I pack 9 pairs of panties. 1 black bra, 1 one piece bodysuit, 2 black tank tops and black socks.
  • 1 travel tote bag for the plane, in my previous post, I shared my tips on what to carry in your tote bag, if you haven’t read that post, go read it now…we will wait for you to finish.
  • I travel with a black leather cross body, it’s a men’s Coach bag, I love it!! A cross body bag is a must for travel; make sure it crosses in front of you when in pickpocket areas. I also pack a second smaller leather cross body; I use it for nights out when I just need my wallet and lipstick. I pack makeup in it in my carry on so it is serving a purpose and not just taking up space.
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Invest in good leather bags and they will last for years!! 
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All my bags, for the plane, I put my bigger purse inside the tote bag. 
  • 1 black light weight puffy jacket, depending on where I am going. I didn’t pack for Paris, but did for Canada. The beauty of this jacket is that it balls up into a small pouch that can be used as a travel pillow. The scarf goes in my red tote bag and can be used as a blanket on the plane; planes get cold!!
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Scarf, hat, jacket…check!
  • Black leather ankle booties, black sneakers, mine are Nike and I brought a pair of black knee high suede boots that took up a lot of space; did I need them? No, did I only wear them once? Yes.

Pack it up!

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I rolled up my blue jeans, black jeans, leather leggings and yoga pants. Rolling your stuff does save on space. I do a combo roll and fold; I folded one of my black t-shirts and my blouse. My go to travel outfit lately is a pair of black jeans, black t-shirt and my turtleneck. I always layer up! I also like wearing my Nike sneakers, just in case I need to run to make my connection.

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My toiletries bag looks huge, it’s really not. 

In the picture above, I added my freezer Ziploc with my underwear and socks; and my bag with my toiletries, no liquids!!! Keep your baggie of creams and liquids in your tote bag. You don’t want to have to open your suitcase while going through security, that would be a rookie mistake!! Lol

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I folded my blazer on top and locked and loaded everything in…ok I clicked them in, locked and loaded sounded cooler, lol.

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I have my booties and knee high boots in the other side. I stuffed my hair straightener and other stuff in the boots. Side note, if traveling internationally, make sure you have the proper outlet converter.

My suitcase expands, but make sure you can fit everything in it without expanding, so that if you buy things on your trip…ok, when you buy things, you have some room to…well to expand lol.

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The picture above is what I carry in my tote, again, for more details check out my Flying High post.

In addition to what is pictured above, when I am flying with a carry on suitcase, I add more stuff in my tote bag.

In the bottom of the tote is my jacket, yup it fits!! I also add my larger leather cross body purse. I zip my passport and my iPad in my purse, so this purse in a bag serves as extra compartments. And the very last thing I add is my small baggie with my creams and liquids so that I can take it out quickly when going through security. Please don’t be that person who acts all stunned when it’s your turn to put your stuff in the binds in security….PLEASE!!!

You need to focus or others will hate you!! Joking, a little; put your suitcase on the belt, put your tote bag in a bin, take your liquids baggie out of the tote, lay it beside the tote and take your iPad or computer out too. Take your shoes off and move along!

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Everything has it’s own place and there is nothing rolling around. This tote is great, there is still lots of room for more stuff!  Once through security, I always buy a big bottle of water and shove it in. 

511CE729-062E-41B4-BDF2-FABBAD834D33.jpegYes, I realize my tote bag is almost as big as my suitcase, but you are allowed two bags. The suitcase goes in the overhead compartment and the tote bag with everything you will need during your flight goes under the seat in front of you. It all works!!!

Do you have any packing tips? If so, please share!

Thank you for reading, like and share if you are feeling generous.

Bon voyage!

Muah!

Liette

I ❤️ you Moncton, you snowy little Bit@&!

I love you Moncton, you snowy little bit@&!

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.

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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??

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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.

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See how pretty it looks with all this new snow!! It really is picturesque.

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I thought this was a cool view of the tower.

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.

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Lobster, not just a summer food. The colder the water, the better the lobster so Nov/Dec is the best!! And yes, I realize I have a lobster addiction.

Let it Snow!

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So pretty it looks fake!

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

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So many snowy things to do.

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!!

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Muah!

I will be back in Moncton in February, please save some snow for me! Sorry, I am not being very nice, lol.

Liette