2020, or the year that all our plans died, has been a challenge to say the least, but we’ve made it to October! With Halloween a few weeks away, I think we should plan on having a really weird Halloween, but let’s make weird work for us!
Here are a few ideas to make Halloween 2020 the best, weirdest, global pandemic Halloween ever!
If you’re a regular reader you know that I can be a bit sassy, but these ideas are legit aimed at making great Halloween memories for you and your kids…of all ages…ok there maybe a few sassy variations, so if you don’t have kids, keep reading and just add booze to every idea.
A New Way to Trick n’ Treat
Omg I love this ideas!!! Ok, let’s say that something really scary happens right before Halloween and old school, regular, trick or treating gets canceled. How can we salvage some sort of fun?
Here’s a great way to trick or treat, while socially distancing, Covid style.
How excited would your kids be if someone rang your doorbell and when they answered, there was a special treat waiting for them?
So I have a few ideas for this one. This is a great way for grandparents, aunts and uncles to surprise their little munchkins. Go to the dollar store and buy a plastic pumpkin or use some sort of small bucket. Fill it with treats, attach a helium balloon, get a white one and draw on eyes and a mouth and add a little note; then drop and go!
Another option is to make plans with the moms and dads from your hood to exchange treats with. You can get the kids involved, let them pick the treats for their friend’s buckets and then bring them along for the sneaky drop off. Coordinate times so each child is home at the time of their drop off.
Or…make them for your own kids and leave them at your own door. Ok, one last variation, drop them off to your adult friends and family too, add a few mickies and chips, whatever. I’d love to get a special treat like this myself!
Host a Spooky Night
Plan a spooky meal, invite a few friends if it’s safe to do so, if not, make it a family thing or whoever is in your bubble. Get the kids involved in the meal prep, remember your ultimate goal is to make memories.
Step 1 – make your table fancy, so it’s not just a normal dinner. Add some bats or pumpkins, use cloth napkins; let the kids drink out of fancy wine glasses, you can get them their own plastic ones from the dollar store, if you’re afraid of using your crystal, lol. Then during the meal, take turns making toasts to each other, ching, ching or cling, cling.
Step 2 – A spooky menu
Plan a spooky menu, like these mini pizzas, just make it fun, let them make their own, finally one night that they are encouraged to play with their food!
These mummies below are super fun, they just need a bit or bloody ketchup!
And if your kids are a bit older, gross them out with this creepy meatloaf. Have them help you make it, or even better have each person make their own, mini meatloaf.
Don’t forget about dessert, if they can’t go out to trick or treat, bring the treats to them; and make it fun!
Finish up your night with a spooky movie.
Play Dress Up
It’s been my experience that getting ready to go out can be more fun than actually going out. Even if things get canceled you still need to dress up!!
So why don’t you plan some sort of group or family costume? Get everyone ready then snap some family pics, let them be silly and make faces, I promise they will look back on these pictures with fond memories.
Or pack everyone in the car and go stand on the front lawn of their grandparents/family/friends and have them take a pic of your zombie crew. You get to show off your costumes and it gets the kids out of the house.
If you have teenagers, force them to participate!! Have everyone dress up in black and have a contest who can draw the coolest or strangest looking skull face. And for your family pic, if they don’t smile, you can tell yourself they were just in character.
Bark at the moon! (Ozzy Osborn reference for my bro, plus it sounds better than Howl at the moon.)
Hey! Did you know that Halloween falls on a full moon this year? Get your people outside and have them howl at the moon! No, seriously, go outside and start howling, it’s dumb, silly and I promise you’ll feel like a dork, but you’ll end up laughing and making your kids laugh. Then, when they’re older they’ll remember that Halloween when there was a full moon and their parents took them outside to howl at the moon.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you just have to roll with things and make the best of shitty situations; this is even more important if you’re a parent. It’s basically your job to make certain your kids don’t feel like they’re being cheated out of the “normal” fun things in life, like Halloween. Make abnormal fun and exciting! Good luck, be safe and stay healthy!
After posting my Bouctouche edition of Day Tripping in NB, my friend Lisa, who now lives in Montreal, told me about a lavender farm in Bouctouche that I needed to visit.
It just so happens that the following day I had a beach day planned at the Dunes in Bouctouche with my friend Alie. I asked her if we could make a stop before heading to the beach and she was onboard.
She had never heard of Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm and she’s originally from Bouctouche, so we looked them up and we were off!
As we approached the parking area, we could see rows and rows of beautiful purple lavender fields. As we got out of the car, I could feel myself getting more and more excited; if you don’t feel happy walking in fields of lavender, there is something seriously wrong with you..like seriously, you need to get that checked, lol.
These fields are an Instagramers dream and we did see a few photo shoots while we were there; the owners, Carly and her husband Paul, welcome anyone who want to visit and walk their fields, sniff their lavender and take a few pics.
I asked Carly what inspired her and her husband to start a lavender farm here in Bouctouche of all places? Carly has a British accent so it was very apparent that she isn’t from the region, she’s from Whales, but Paul is from the region.
They met 26 years ago when they were both working on a cruise ship, Carly still works on ships as a Cruise Director. She explained that they had all of this land and decided to plant an acre of lavender and see how it would grow? Well it grew so they planted another acre and then another; they now have 4 acres in total; and having traveled the world they wanted to bring a bit of the French countryside to New Brunswick.
They are in the process of restoring their barn, it’s already beautiful, I can’t wait to see it when it’s fully completed. They’ve already booked two weddings!!
Look at all of this natural wood!! It’s so impressive when you walk in and look up.
They also have a shop in the barn where you can buy their lavender products. I bought their facial scrub and body lotion and I need to go back for some lavender oil.
I also bought a bunch of fresh lavender and should have bought more, it’s the prettiest darkest shade of purple that I’ve ever seen, it’s my new fav colour.
Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm is the first agrotourism lavender farm in the province; Carly explained that because of our winter’s their fields will never be perfect or look exactly like the ones in Europe, but being able to visit a lavender farm, then cross the street to a beautiful beach, Les Dunes, followed by a fresh lobster roll, at Pirate des mers, on your way home seems pretty close to perfect to me!
I asked Carly about their future plans for their lavender farm, their venue lends itself perfectly to weddings and events, so they will be hosting more events in the future, as the word gets out. Their lavender product lines will grow, as will the size of their fields, but her ultimate goal is for people to come visit the farm and to just breathe, she wants us to relax and to “take a breathe”.
I love that sentiment and you really feel that vibe when you’re on the farm. Some will never get the opportunity to walk the lavender fields in the countryside of France or England, but you can walk the lavender fields of Bouctouche!! Ok technically they are in Saint Edouard, but tomato, tomato…did you just read that with two different pronunciations?? Ah!! Of course you did! Lol
Thank you so much for reading!! I am going to share a few more amazingly pretty pics and here is a link for my two last Day Tripping in NB posts. And finally, I have a cool give away coming up so go like my Instagram page: oui-liette for details on how to enter to win my Sassy Summer Basket!! Launching my contest this Friday.
Défi Best Lobster Roll in le Sud-Est/South East NB
Lobster is serious business in these parts of Atlantic Canada; the Bay of Fundy has the best lobster in the world! It’s a fact, look it up.
I grew up eating lobster, my grandfather’s family were lobster fisherman, as was my father’s favorite uncle on my grandmother’s side. His name was Livain and he used to take us out on his fishing boat and let my brother and I help him pull up his “special” lobster trap. Looking back, it now seems a bit fishy that there were always a few lobsters waiting for us.
I am sharing these details of my childhood to demonstrate that I am more than qualified for this special challenge; to find the best lobster rolls dans le sud-est du Nouveau Brunswick! We also mix our French and English in these parts, so try to keep up! Lol
**I obviously didn’t try every place in le sud-est, but I did my best. Feel free to leave a comment if there is a place that I need to try.
For our first lobster roll we went to Shediac, pronounced: shed-dee-ack, for my none Maritime friends. Why was Shediac our first stop? Because it’s the lobster capital of the world, that’s why.
Here’s the proof in case you didn’t believe me.
Golden Fry, Shediac
I’m not going to lie, when I opened my bag and saw that the mayonnaise wasn’t mixed in with my lobster, I was a bit worried; I like it all mixed together, but it was really yummy!! The lettuce, which I don’t love in a lobster roll, I prefer celery, was fresh and crisp, so I didn’t mind it. There was enough mayonnaise and most importantly the lobster didn’t taste frozen!!! I am giving Golden Fry a solid 8 claws out of 10.
Chez Léo, Shediac Bridge
Chez Léo has been open since 1961 and reminds me a lot of my dad; he used take me there for fried clams. Here’s another fun fact, it’s on the other side of a bridge that only has one lane. It has no lights or stop sign, yet people instinctively take turns going across; three cars will go and then the fourth car will let a few cars from the other side cross. That may not sound abnormal for my fellow Maritimers, but in Toronto or the US that would cause anarchy, lol.
Back to lobster rolls; the lobster was fresh, they asked me if I wanted with or without mayo, which I appreciated. It was tasty, giving it a solid 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
It’s funny that Moncton, even though it’s exactly 15 minutes from the ocean, isn’t considered a coastal town by the locals and not the place to go for a great lobster roll; like Monctonians are way too far inland to know anything about lobster, lol.
Hynes Restaurant, Moncton
Hynes restaurants is probably Moncton’s oldest dinner; it’s been around longer than I have.
Their lobster was lightly mixed with the mayonnaise, which I like and they didn’t have lettuce, which I appreciated. Some places add lettuce as a filler, I am not down with that trick! Lol. The lobster was most likely from a lobster pack, which is frozen, but that’s fine, most places do use lobster packs for their lobster rolls.
Giving Hynes a respectable 7 claws out of 10.
Skipper Jacks, Moncton
Skipper Jacks apparently has a new menu, according to my mom, who had lunch there recently; she had the lobster chowder and raved about it. I got a lobster roll to go and it was delish!! The bun was toasted extra crispy the way I like; they didn’t have their lobster mixed with the mayo, but I am starting to change my point of view regarding this important aspect of lobster rolling.
The lobster tasted fresh and not frozen and it’s one of the few rolls so far that had pieces of tail and not just claws and knuckles. I am giving Skipper Jacks 9 claws out of 10!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Euston Park, Moncton
This was my first time at Euston Park, which is an outdoor eating/bar area. It’s so cute!!! But how was their lobster roll??
It looked really pretty, the bread was fresh and crunchy, the lobster was overflowing out of the bun and it was tasty. The curveball is that it included Tarragon; it wasn’t a traditional lobster roll, it was a fancy lobster roll. My first bite was like oh!! I wasn’t 100% sure about it, but my second bite was like, ok, I could be down with this?
I am going to give it 8 claws out of 10, but if you aren’t a fan of Tarragon then this isn’t the roll for you; roll on. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
You can’t be on the hunt for the best lobster roll without rolling into the Bay of Fundy.
Fundy Take-Out, Alma
Our first stop is the little shop on the right of the entrance of Fundy National Park, it’s appropriately called Fundy Take-Out.
This lobster roll was ok, I can imagine how good it would taste after a long hike in the park. There could have been a little more mayonnaise, but the bun was the best to date; it was nice and crispy. I found it a bit bland and had to add a bit of salt, which is fine. I think the more lobster rolls I eat the pickier I am getting? I am going to give Fundy Take-Out 7 claws out of 10; which is still a solid score. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Our next two stops are in Cape Pelé; Fred’s and L’aboiteau.
Fred’s Restaurant, Cape Pelé
I had options at Fred’s, with or without mayo and with or without lettuce. I’m not going to lie, having the mayo just drizzled like this looked weird and plain, but it was yummy, the lobster was fresh and the bun was crispy. Giving Fred’s 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
L’aboiteau has a restaurant in the beach area and a small place right on the wharf; we ate at the wharf location.
This lobster roll had pieces of tail; it was fresh, crispy and super tasty! I am giving this roll a 9 of 10 claws!!!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
I obviously didn’t get a chance to eat at all the lobster places, sadly. A few places in Alma were closed when we went, due to COVID. We didn’t make it to Bouctouche, where in the past, I’ve had the best lobster rolls ever. That’s why none of the lobster rolls on my list got a 10 out of 10; I was saving some room for Bouctouche. So please when doing your own taste test, do not forget to go to Bouctouche!
Of the 8 places I visit, two places got 9 claws out of 10; Skipper Jacks in Moncton and L’aboiteau Wharf in Cape Pelé. They both had juicy pieces of tail, oh that sounds odd and mildly inappropriate, Lol. What I meant is that most places only had pieces of lobster claws and knuckles; that’s what made the difference for me and why they scored higher.
Let’s be real, it’s really hard to make a bad lobster roll in these parts, but these two stood out from the crowd.
Thank you for reading, I hope you get to try a few of these places on your own this summer. It’s a tough job, but I am willing to keep eating local lobster rolls until I’ve tried them all…you’re welcome!! Please shop local and tip your server a bit extra! Especially the seasonal places.
Feel free to recommend a place I should to try, here in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page.
Hey check mes pen d’oreilles de homard!!! 🤣
Behind the Scenes Extras
Fun fact, I thought that others added celery to their lobster rolls, but turns out they don’t, but they clearly should! Try it.
I created a fun side list; here are the winners!!
Best View – Alma!! To be eating your lobster roll on a wharf or beside an actual fishing boat is pretty awesome. The boat, pictured here, will be completely submerged at high tide; FYI for my readers that aren’t aware of our crazy tides.
Best view runner up was L’aboiteau. This view is not too shabby either.
Most Impressive Lobster – Shediac, it wasn’t even a competition, it’s ginormous. I invite locals to climb up on it and take tacky tourist pics; live a little. I hadn’t climbed up in….mmm a decade or two?
Cutest Lobster Accessory
Torn between my Sex, Drugs & Lobster Roll t-shirt and my giant lobster earrings. I chose not to wear them together as that would be too much; yes, I guess that’s the line! Lol
Cutest Lobster Shack – It’s a beautiful shade of purple, so it wins! Sadly it wasn’t open yet for the season, but it still wins as cutest and I will be back!
At Home With Guylaine in Moncton and Claudia in Las Vegas; the bathroom reno edition.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy checking out other people’s homes; not to be nosy, but to see how they have everything setup and to see what their personal style is. I find it inspiring to see beautiful and interesting spaces.
It’s funny that I am grouping my friends Guylaine and Claudia together, they have never met, but they are very similar in a lot of way; they both have impeccable style and classic taste in decor and best friends, lol.
At Home With Guylaine
Guylaine and I have been friends since we were 14; she’s a mother of three, helps run her family’s restaurant and is an interior decorator. She recently redid her on suite bathroom, in her classic ranch style home, on a budget.
Both Guylaine and Claudia are experts at finding great deals. Just because you’re working on a budget, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style; it just means that you need to be more creative and resourceful.
Guylaine’s bathroom vanity was a standard builders cabinet, which was fine; she had been wanting to update it for years and finally got around to it.
She found this vintage record player at a secondhand store; you know the huge cabinet kind that your grandparents used to have? She removed the top and replaced it with a piece of quartz; and voilà! A beautiful, one of a kind, vanity. This modern mid-century piece fits in perfectly with her decor vibe that she has throughout her home.
The record player cost her $50 and was in great shape, she polished it up with cream varnish and it was good to go. She had the front part, in between the two speakers, cut and hinged, so she does have some storage. The quartz and faucet cost $1,200; for a grand total of $1,250, which is a steal of a deal for a bathroom vanity with faucet.
Saving money on the cabinet allowed her to splurge on the quartz; when working with a budget, you need to prioritize where to spend and where you can save. And most importantly you have to be on the hunt for great pieces and have imagination to see their full potential.
She update the faucet to match the gold on her shower doors; a complete shower redo wasn’t in her budget, in order to update it, she replaced the 80’s style sliding doors with the frosted stripes for clear class doors.
The painting above her toilet is a Guylaine original; she took all of the leftover cans of paint she had laying around from other projects and created this abstract landscape; it was one of her Covid projects.
She kept the same large mirror, but changed the light fixture. She’s an expert at lighting, her advice is that every light in your home should have a dimmer; EVERY one!!! When I’m entertaining she’s in charge of lighting and creating a super cozy mood.
She replaced the old flooring with extra large tiles; her one regret is that she didn’t have in-floor heating installed while the floor was ripped up.
Her old bathroom layout included a large closet, she did something that sounds crazy; she reduced the size of her closet in order to gain a bit more space in her bathroom. She has a super big walk in cedar closet in her basement, so she could spare the space by streamlining her bedroom closet.
This freed up space for this cabinet that she found at Homesense; Homesense is the Canadian equivalent to Homegoods in the US. This cabinet and her old school record player originally didn’t have any legs, she added legs to both to give them more of that mid century look. This is a good trick to steal…you’re welcome!
She painted this wall a light shade of blush/beige ish and is planning on adding a chalk paint stencil pattern to it; I’ll post pictures of this finished wall on my Oui-Liette Facebook page when done.
I don’t have written permission to show you the inside of this cabinet, but I’m sharing it anyway! She said it was too messy, but this is life, and life is messy.
Look how much extra storage this cabinet provides. Mixing old pieces with new will make your space look more natural and evolved than going out and buying everything at the same place; I am not a big fan of things being too matchy, matchy.
While we’re on the topic of cabinets, I wanted to show you this cabinet that she has in her bedroom. It’s a great antique find that she cleaned up and had a piece of marble cut and placed on top. Tile and counter top places sell small remnant pieces, you can get them for cheap ish and have them cut to size. It’s a great way to elevate any piece.
At a home with Claudia
Claudia and I have been friends and work partners for almost 15 years now; we share a love for travel and spas! Claudia is a mother of two and an expert in her field of marketing.
She recently did a major renovation to her main floor bathroom, the before and after pics are very impressive.
A great way to save a bit of money is to do as much of the work on your own. Claudia’s hunky husband, Paul, helped out with a lot of the manual labor for both her main floor and kids bathrooms. Turns out he’s great at breaking things!
She chose shades of grays and white for this bathroom, which remind me a lot of a spa, coincidence? I think not.
The tile trend in the last few years has been white subway tiles, but both Claudia and Guylaine opted for much larger tiles, which I think is great for smaller spaces.
She decided to tile three walls and the floor in gray slate, except for a section in the shower, which is a darker gray. She also upgraded her shower head to a rainfall head.
Side note – tiles are a lot less expensive in the US; I know some of my Canadians are probably wondering how the heck she was able to tile three full walls and the floor! Lol. Tile deals are available in Canada, you just need to be on the look out for sales and remnants.
Claudia’s big splurge was building this custom shower; it was absolutely worth it!
In order to make the bathroom appear larger, she added a glass wall in the shower and opted for a compact sink and hung it off the floor; floating the vanity makes the room look bigger and it also allows for a basket underneath for extra storage.
Both Guylaine and Claudia have a teenagers at home; let’s take a peek into their kid bathrooms.
Guylaine’s second full bath, is long and skinny. She jazzed it up with a bold colored accent wall; don’t underestimate the power of paint.
She replaced the flooring with these wood plank ceramic tiles, they look like real wood.
This long wall needed some big art, which can be expensive; she photographed her three children and zoomed in on their eyes; from left to right, meet William, Madeleine and Emma.
I love this idea, it shows that you can create something really original, personal and cool without breaking the bank.
Claudia’s kids bathroom was completed on a tight budget, but you’d never guess by looking at it.
The vanity for this bathroom and her main bathroom are both from Ikea and were very affordable.
The wall behind the vanity looks like wallpaper in the photo, but it’s actually tile. The tile was gifted to her from her good friend who had leftover sheets after her own home project.
I love Claudia’s attention to detail, like the cut out nook in the wall that she painted black, see above. This extra storage space means that she has less things cluttering on the counter top.
I also love these his and her hooks, they’re super cute and keep her kids from fighting over towels.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this quick bathroom peek? And thanks to Claudia and Guylaine, who love decorating, but don’t love getting photographed. What I find cool is that both of their photos were taken by their daughters.
Also if you are in the Moncton area and want to hire Guylaine, she will be launching her new site shortly, in the meantime, you can email her at: email@example.com, not to brag, but she did the Gusto decor and is uber talented…full disclosure, she is my bff, but she really does have great taste and vision.
My next “At Home With” will focus on kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.
I’ll be sharing a video of my own bathroom on my Oui-Liette Facebook page tomorrow; it has two super cool features that I love, like my Facebook page for updates and bonus pictures.
At Home With…Nancy. Take a peek inside her 150 year old country house.
Have you ever been out for a walk or a drive and wanted to peek into someone’s window to see what their homes look like inside? OK, that’s creepy, lol, and probably slightly against the law? This series of posts will let you take a quick peek inside without being charged for stalking.
I’ve asked a few of my friends to share their favorite rooms and features of their homes with us; first up is my friend Nancy.
At Home With Nancy
Nancy and her family live 30 minutes outside of Moncton in this beautiful 150 year old country house.
To be honest, I could have featured her whole house, it’s beautiful. Her home is a mix of old pieces with colorful art from all her travels; if I had to describe her style, I would call it eclectic farmhouse chic. Farmhouse chic is in no way country, if that makes sense? It makes perfect sense to me,
My favorite room in her home is her hexagon, screened in, addition.
They spend a lot of time in this room; in the summer they eat most of their meals here and it looks like the perfect place for an afternoon nap. The natural wood and neutral colors makes this room feel like you’re outside, which I think was the point.
In the center of the room is a teak wood table, surrounded by comfy wicker chairs. Once the trees outside bloom, the room takes on a tree house feel.
She has a beautiful pendant light hanging from the ceiling; it must be so cozy at night. Nancy says it’s the perfect place to see the moon and to gaze at the stars.
The hammock hangs in front of the screened in windows, perfect for lazy naps, sans mosquitoes or black flies.
This old cabinet matched perfectly; the finish has been stripped down to its natural wood. It adds a bit of extra storage and it’s the only other piece of furniture in the room.
This is Bee and she buzzes around the hive like she owns the place! She enjoys facecloths and socks almost as much as she loves jumping into the river.
Home Office/Craft Room
Nancy has been working from home during the pandemic, so I asked if we could take a peek at her home office too?
Her second floor home office is a tranquil blue. She has colorful and whimsical pieces of art and pictures from her travels and local artists throughout her home. A lot of the wood pieces in her home, like her desk, have been stripped right to the wood; it creates a consistency throughout her home.
she has a lot of different boxes and containers for storage that are perfectly stacked, everything looks staged, but she had no clue she would be giving us a tour today and that I would be photographing her space. Who lives this organized in real life?? lol, I need to reflect on my cluttering habits on my drive back into town.
She has a door in her office that leads to a small balcony which floods the room with natural light. I can see her taking coffee breaks from her balcony in the summer and fall.
Her office also doubles as her craft room; she’s very artistic.
Her grandmother’s antic cabinet holds all of her crafting material. She works with a lot of feathers, which she keeps in clear plastic containers, they add fun pops of colors. My crafting area is not this neat!!
What does she do with the feathers you ask? She decided to pimp out the light fixture in her stairway; it’s now officially a piece of art. She says that her favorite part is when the feathers move in the breeze. I want her to make me one!! I need one!!
She also creates feathery headpieces; she made some for a joint birthday tea party for Claudia and I a few years ago; not that it was a competition, but mine was way bigger than Claudia’s! Lol
Nancy has an outdoor shower; her summer project is to install this vintage bathtub and make a spa like area outside in her backyard. She’s very “at one” with nature. She didn’t want to pose for the feature image so I jumped in her bathtub with my hot pink rubber boots…technically, they’re my cousin’s hot pink rubber boots.
I can’t wait to see how she sets this up in her backyard. I may need to test it out? I’ll bring my own bubbles.
Thank you for reading, feel free to share and subscribe to my blog below. I’ll be sharing a few more; At Home With…posts, in the next few weeks. The next edition will be a bathroom renovation from my interior decorator friend.
Behind the Scene
Nancy and I kept our distance, but I can’t say the same for Bee and I; she needed a few head rubs. I needed to share one more pic of Bee, she’s just a big bundle of love.
Bee jumping in a clean bed with her dirty paws!! It’s a good thing she’s super cute!
In this post I would like to highlight a few local businesses who are trying to make the best out of a really difficult situation; they’re trying to make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons…or lemon drop martinis; yes some are making really, really strong lemons drop martinis!!
For the last 6 weeks, I’ve been socially distancing in my downtown Moncton apartment feeling a bit lost and helpless. I’ve tried my best to create positive, entertaining and who are we kidding, sometimes super silly, blog posts to share with my readers.
And as everyone else, I’ve probably been spending too much time on social media? And although there are lots of Debbie Downers out there; I’ve felt a lot of pride being back home in my native province watching my fellow New Brunswickers being so compassionate, resilient and downright scrappy!
Please note that these are just a handful of local businesses. My goal for this summer is to visit every inch of our beautiful province; if you have recommendations of things I need to experience, please let me know. I will also be making trips to PEI and NS once we are allowed to cross borders.
And lastly, I am not getting any freebies from anyone mentioned in this post; the last thing any of our local businesses need right now are people hitting them up for free stuff. OK, let’s get started!
Blue Roof Distillers
When you’re able to make vodka out of potatoes, making lemonade out of lemons seems like it would be fairly easy right? That’s exactly what Blue Roof Distillers are currently doing.
Like so many local businesses they were looking for creative ways to stay busy and keep their staff employed,during this pandemic; while also helping the local community. The solution was to convert part of their distillery to make sanitizer, which has been in short supply lately; their nimbleness is helping to keep our front line workers safe and germ free.
The Strang family started farming in in New Brunswick in 1855; six generations later they are one of Atlantic Canada’s premier potato suppliers.
Devon Strang, Founder/CEO of Blue Roof Distillers, explains the uniqueness of their production; “Our process is unique in every way, Blue Roof Handcrafted Spirits are made from scratch using whole potatoes. Recipes are tailored to the raw materials available lowering the ecological footprint of the farm. Potatoes that are too small to market are now destined for the distillery. The mash, after being distilled, is then gifted to local farmers for livestock feed. The Strang family is proud to be able to offer value-added spirits that are distinguishable different than others on the market. The distillery produces all of its own alcohol and does not blend any commercial ethanol into its process.”
I love the history and the story of the Strang Family Farm and their evolution over 6 generations. I think we really need to be mindful of where our food, and vodka, comes from and we need to support our local farms!
You can purchase their spirits at NB Liquor; please refer to their website for more information on their products and also on how to order their sanitizer.
Blue Roof Distillers are located on the South-East edge of NB, directly off the Trans Canada Hwy, 4144 Route 16, in Malden.
They offer Tours and Tastings at their distillery. I will be booking a tour as soon as we are free to roam and will blog about it, of course.
I couldn’t help but notice that they have a Gin Soda Citrus Blast mixed drink, which goes perfectly with my lemon/citrus theme. So I needed to buy one and have a little taste test; I mean it would probably be irresponsible not to? It was really yummy and refreshing!
Some restaurants are doing their best to keep as many of their staff employed by offering curbside or delivery meals. One such business is Gusto Italian Grill & Bar, located at 130 Westmorland Street, here in Moncton. As they scrambled to get their takeout only operation up and running; they realized that they had fridges full of homemade cheesecakes, just begging to be eaten.
As a small gesture of gratitude to the local hospital staff, owner Brett Judson, decided to make special deliveries to both Moncton hospitals. Keeping it in the family, he recruited his teenage children to cut and package hundreds of pieces of cheesecake.
Gusto is now open for business from 4pm to 8pm daily; orders can be placed by calling the restaurant directly and picking up your order curbside; or you can also order via Skip the Dish and have it delivered.
Check their Facebook and Instagram for their daily curb side specials. My current fav so far is Pasta Mondays! They’ve also just started weekly food boxes, they are an amazing value! All of their specials are listed on their Facebook and Instagram sites.
In case you didn’t know, Gusto’s make the best cheesecakes, like ever!! The one below is their Lemon Cheesecake and it’s to die for! They also have an amazing gluten free Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake; it’s actually my favorite and I don’t even have gluten issues.
The Zesty Lemon
The Zesty Lemon is a cheerful gem, located at 535 Somerset St, in Saint John; who’s lunchtime rush disappeared overnight once the social distancing rules were put in place. They had to take a serious look at their business model and adapt quickly; their solution was to focus on delicious & nutritious meals, ready for pick up.
What I love about their menu in particular are the family sized dinners. Their Roasted Chicken Dinner for 4 comes with a roasted chicken, roasted rosemary potatoes, carrots, gravy and 2 French baguettes. Oh, I also love their flatbread pizzas…and their soups…
With lots of us working from home and homeschooling, having someone else prepared a healthy, home cooked meal is a treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
If you’re in the Saint John area, please give them a try.
Ali is a mother of two, an early education educator and a photographer. I met Ali a few months ago; she photographed me before this whole pandemic thing started. She’s the perfect example of a scrappy New Brunswicker who’s resourceful enough to make the sweetest lemonade from a bunch of lemons.
Sadly, in order to comply with the social distancing rules, Ali had to cancel her scheduled appointments. As she sat home, she wondered if perhaps her photographs could bring some joy to others and also help our community in some meaningful way? She found a perfect way to accomplish both! She was inspired by a photographer in Massachusetts who started photographing families on their front steps. She decided to do the same with her neighbors, at a super safe distance away of course.
When I saw her post her first few sessions online, I thought they were super cute family pics. But as time passed, I started seeing them differently; or perhaps, like so many things these days, I was seeing the deeper meaning? These family porch sessions are amazing time capsules that will forever serve to document this moment in time when the world briefly came to a standstill and we rediscovered the importance of family.
Each portrait is unique and shows the personality of the family being photographed. And in lieu of payment, Ali has been suggesting that her porch families make a donation to Crossroads for Woman.
In these times of struggle, we all suffer, but we don’t all suffer equally. If you are able, please donate to your favorite charity. I am certain it is needed more than you can imagine.
B HOME is located at 333 St George Street in Moncton. I’ve been a customer of theirs for a long time. I support them because I feel that they are true artists and not just a framing place that frame art. You’ll get their artist vibe when you visit their store, once we are allowed back out.
I was a little surprised when I heard that they would be offering curb side service, because I wasn’t really sure how that would work logically; but guess what? It works!
Here are the three easy steps:
Step 1 – Call them to make arrangements for drop off or to have your art piece picked up; I just dropped off a new piece to them last week.
Step 2 – Is a video consultation session. What I found very cool, was that I could show Marc a bit of my home; he got to see my style and aesthetic. I showed him where I hung the last piece he did for me; who knew that BHome would be in my home? Well virtually anyway.
The consultation consisted of him showing me a few options; as he would have done in his store. We successfully chose a mat and frame that I am absolutely in love with!!
Step 3 – Pick up your framed piece!
This is the piece that they are currently framing for me. The mat options above look red, but they are hot pink; I ended up choosing the gold frame. The painting was a birthday gift from my super talented sister-in-law. I can’t wait to see the finished piece. I’ll post pics on my oui-liette Instagram and oui-liette Facebook accounts, if you want to see it when done.
Another fun option, that many may not be aware of, is that if you can drop off an existing frame and your art and they can custom cut a mat for you. This is very economical without having to give up that professional customized look.
B HOME has the coolest Instagram account and stories, you need to follow them!
To close out this post I reached out to the Mayor of Moncton, Dawn Arnold, for her thoughts on how we are doing as a community in these challenging times; turns out she couldn’t be prouder of us!
“I’ve been so amazed by the ingenuity, creativity and innovation that Monctonians are showing right now. Everything from the non-profits that are coming together to ensure that all the kids who participated in the school lunch programs are receiving lunches daily to Co-Pain that has taken their amazing bakery on-line to Notre Dame de Parkton, who now have weekly “box” filled with local products. The City has responded so swiftly and responsibly to this pandemic and I think that will set up well in the post-COVID future.”
“This has given us all an interesting opportunity to slow things down a bit, to think through priorities and how we want to be when we get back to “normal”; and what we want that “normal” to look like. During a time when nothing seems certain, I prefer to think of this as a time when anything is possible…no one would have believed that oil producers would be paying people to take barrels off their hands! If this is possible, truly, anything is possible!”
Thank you to the Mayor and to the businesses who are letting me share their stories. I do believe that New Brunswickers are resilient AF; we’ve had to learn how to pivot…pivot! More than a few times in our past and I have no doubt that we will get through this challenge as well.
We’re leading the country at kicking COVID’s butt after all. We will get through this by leaning on each other and by being kind to each other, which seems to come naturally to us.
I hope this post inspires you to seek out local businesses and service providers; let’s make supporting them a new habit. And maybe, once we are free to roam, let’s roam all over this beautiful province! We should also share the love with PEI and NS too, they’re pretty awesome as well.
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Behind the scenes
I was inspired by my lemon them to ditch my signature pink color, temporarily, for this cheery yellow and I am kinda digging it!
Here are a few pics from my photo shoot with Ali. We had planned to shoot while it was snowing, but Mother Nature in the Maritimes won’t be bossed around! It started to snow, those beautiful, big fluffy flakes, 20 min after we finished.
I’m a visual person; before I start writing any of my posts I need a theme or a vibe to inspire me. I was looking for an angle for this, support local, post when I happened upon this cheerful house in Sunny Brae with bright yellow doors!
Thanks to Mylène and her family for letting us use their house as our backdrop! She and her wife have a really cool neighborhood Instagram page: wherethepheasantsroam. Which just happens to be my old hood; check them out, they seem to have a cool bicycle gang!! Lol
Could this social distancing actually bring us closer together? This post will include a few ideas on how to celebrate with friends and family during these crazy times; but more than that, I think it demonstrates how we are changing the way we interact with each other and our rediscovery of the importance of being kind to each other and to ourselves.
I’m not going to lie, the prospect of spending my 50th birthday by myself in my apartment, by myself, seemed a bit dismal and depressing. But what I hadn’t considered is how creative and thoughtful my friends and family would be. Could all this extra time apart help bring us closer?
The pace of our daily lives has slowed to a, sometimes painful, crawl; our routines and our interactions with each other have been completely flipped upside down. One of the side effects is that we are having to connect with each other in different ways; maybe even better ways?
Here are some great ideas if any of your people have birthdays or celebrations during this social distancing time. But you really don’t have to wait for a special occasion to make someone feel special and loved…just saying.
The week before my birthday I started getting birthday cards in the mail, a lot of cards! I had forgotten how nice it is to open your mailbox and see brightly colored envelopes; some even took the time to make me a card, seriously, how freaking thoughtful is that?
The keyword here is thoughtful; I feel like we are all being more mindful of the effects that our small gestures of kindness are having on others.
The thought of my friends taking the time and effort to go out of their homes to buy me a birthday card; or getting their glue sticks out to make me a card; or digging through their storage to find a Halloween Card in order to customize it for me, because they know that I love Halloween, tugs at my heartstrings and has made me feel so special.
This card campaign as also helped to spread out this warm and fuzzy feeling; they are still coming in. I think we should bring snail mail back!! Are you thinking about someone? Instead of shooting them a quick text, send them a note or card.
Parking Lot Parade Party
The morning of my birthday, I was puttering around my apartment, thankfully I was dressed with my lipstick on, ready to take on the day when I heard some honking coming from outside my window; when I looked out I saw 15ish cars with hot pink balloons parading down my street.
I was so touched, and yes, I cried, just a little. The theme of this post is love; my friends and family took the time to do something nice for someone else; I was so fortunate to be the recipient of all of their love. Had I had a party, my friends would have showed up to help me celebrate; but the thought that they coordinated meeting in a parking lot close to my place; where they decorated their cars with pink balloons and signs was extra special. As they made their way to my place, cars they passed pulled over and let them pass. This was so much more memorable than any regular party; the only shitty part is that I couldn’t hug anyone. Lots of hugs for everyone when this is over!
Feeling la Love!
When challenged with strict social restrictions, we are having to find new ways to stay connected and to show our love for one another.
I was invited to a super cozy lunch for two in a friend’s garage that included a 12 foot long table, perfect for social distancing. We sat there without any distractions, no checking our phones, we didn’t have anywhere else to be. We ate leftovers, laughed and listened to Van Morrison.
If you are feeling disconnected, put your best face covering on and go sit in your friends driveway! Thinking of someone? Send them a card or drop off a plate of cookies; simple, inexpensive acts of kindness are appreciated more than ever.
A few friends and I have started weekly zoom calls, my friend Kenda made the observation that she couldn’t remember the last time we were all in town at the same time and able to celebrate a birthday all together. Four out of the six of us travel for work and planning events has always been a scheduling nightmare.
I am noticing that we all seem more present when we spend time together now, even if just via video. Josette mentioned that when things get back to “normal” she is going to try to let go of a lot of the things that stressed her out and all the things she thought she “needed” to do. Our lives are much simpler now and it’s kind of nice?
We then decided that we should all make side ponytails as an homage to our 80’s roots; speaking of roots, some of us are starting to sport some pretty gray roots!! lol
Thank you for reading! In these crazy times be generous with your kindness and attention; if you love someone, tell them! If you see that someone is struggling a bit, reach out and be kind; it doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.
And finally if you have any extra love to share, subscribe to my blog below, just scroll down a bit. Or you can follow me on Facebook or Insta at oui-liette
Stay safe and be kind!
Behind the scenes
For any new readers, behind he scenes are just extra fun facts and bonus pics.
I brought up the banners and balloons from my birthday parade and set them up in my dining room, see the pic below. Notice the frames picture on the right; that’s my cousin Brigitte. She added her picture in with the group gift that she and my two other cousins gave me. She also edited their birthday messages in the group card. Her behavior perfectly demonstrates our families sense of humor; and explains a bit of my unique weirdness. ❤️
I am blessed to come from a family and friends who love to laugh and have fun!
I didn’t have a big 50th birthday party planned, I know it’s shocking! But I did have a girls trip to Palms Spring planned for the weekend after my birthday. I had planned a theme for our après party, party; the theme was/will be: Let them eat cake!! One may think that a Marie Antoinette theme would be difficult to pull off? One would be wrong, lol
This tulle skirt and rock n roll t-shirt was/will be my party outfit. I was feeling a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to wear it anytime soon; so I decided to put it on and wear it around my apartment last week; it made me feel fancy and festive, so here it is, someone needs to see it!
My awesome photographer Jack!
I also wanted to share this painting that my sister in-law made for me; I absolutely love it! The picture doesn’t do the colors justice.
Had anyone told me six months ago, or even two months ago, that I’d be super excited to get face masks as gifts for my 50th birthday, I wouldn’t have believed them. This jazzy one was hand made by my cousin Nicole, it’s reversible and freakishly comfortable.
Let’s face it, spring has pretty much been canceled this year! So let’s focus on early summer shall we?
I think it’s going to be epic! And I really, really, really need to believe that this week in order to not lose my mind. So let’s start planning all the fun things we’re going to do and wear once we’re allowed to leave our homes.
I’m far from a fashionista; I pretty much always dressed in black, but I‘m going to fake it for this post and declare that I think the trend this Springummer, (just made that up, hoping it will catch on, lol), will be lots of bright colors.
It makes sense if you think about it; we’ve just survived a global pandemic for goodness sakes. We’ve gone days and days…and days without bathing. We’re sporting inches of gray roots and have had to Google; how to remove gel or acrylic nails.
The very second the social distancing order is lifted, we’re all running to see our hair stylists and manicurists. It only makes sense that we will also be gravitating towards bright and happy colors.
I’ve prepared a Pinterest Springummer mood board for us; you’re welcome! Now do I expect us to walk out of our houses looking like delish funsicles? No, this is just for inspiration, I wanted to show how layering bright colors together can be so pretty and cheery; who would have guessed that acid green, mauve and light blue would go together??
Now I am going to need you to go check out your closets and take inventory of all the bright colored things you currently have, don’t roll your eyes at me, I know for a fact that you have nothing better to do! So go! I’ll wait.
Once you’ve finished taking stock of what you have, we can start planning our big Springummer kick off; ok, admit it, Springummer is starting to grow on you!
I searched my closet and I really wasn’t lying when I said that I wear a lot of black; everything I own is either black or gray!! Ugh this is seriously sad. I did find a few colorful accessories, but I’ll obviously need a few new bright key pieces.
Here are my colorful things; the shoes are two toned, pink and red, they are the most comfortable slide ons ever; the purse is a raspberry pink, it looks red in the pic. My little clutch is a Kelly Green and my shoes are acid yellow.
On the top of my list of things to buy, while stuck in my house, is a nice pair of hot pink dress pants!
Will I be brave enough to wear a red blouse with it, à la Sarah Jessica Parker, as seen below? Maybe? But if not, my future pink pants would look super cute with a light black blouse and red shoes!! I could definitely pull that off!!
OK, I’ll be brave and I’ll add a red blouse to my future pink pants, because I am loving this look! I am also loving the the green and blue combo, so will give that vibe a try as well.
Sooooo who’s going to try to be a bit more colorful this Springummer?? Anyone? I hope this post has got you thinking ahead and planning what you’ll wear when we can go out in public again.
Thanks for reading, I needed something light and fluffy this week. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook at Oui-Liette; just in case you miss me in between posts, lol.
Oh and thanks to all my Australia readers!! I think Australians and Canadians share similar values and sense of humor? So maybe that’s why I am getting so many Aussie readers?? I love it!! Thank you!!
Behind the scenes
I’ve been adding a few behind the scenes to my posts lately, let me know if you like them or not?
Since we are housebound, I didn’t have my regular photographer to take my pics, but that didn’t stop me!
Do these look like they were taken in a professional studio?? I think they kind of do. I took them myself in my living room. I tapped a white cardboard to the back of my couch; I faced my window so I had tones of natural lighting.
Ideally I should have worn a colorful top, but this gray top was…well it wasn’t black. I did add an extra pop of color with my lipstick and I had the prettiest pink eyeshadow, but you can’t really see it in the photos.
Here’s my high tech backdrop! It kept falling off; duct tape doesn’t stick on velvet very well.
I thought that while we are socially distancing ourselves, we could make plans for spring together; which in Atlantic Canada happens…mmm, mid June ish? Kidding, it’s more like the first week of June, still kidding, sort of.
I love color, it makes me happy; and in these uncertain times, I feel we need to focus and surround ourselves with things that are bright and cheery.
I feel that we all have a fav color that brings us joy. If you’re not sure what your current fav is? Take a look at your home and your wardrobe and see if there’s one color that stands out more than the others?
At the moment I am grooving on green. Ha! I bet you thought that I was going to say I pink? I do love pink, but I’ve been gravitating towards green for awhile.
I think that green is a perfect way to jazz up your life this spring. But hey, you can do yellow or whatever color speaks to you?
In this post I’ll show you how I am using green to cheer myself up; full disclosure, it may leave you green with envy? 🤢
For years I’ve been on the lookout for a green couch and I finally found one!! It wasn’t super expensive; I got it at IKEA a few years ago and I am still in love with it!! I’ve also seen it featured in a few magazines; that’s enough proof for me that I have excellent taste!!
Some may be freaked out at the thought of having such a bold colored couch? But take a look at your current living room. I bet most of you have very neutral walls and furnishings? So why not go bold with one big piece of furniture? Or you can play it safe and pick a bold accent color in the form of pillows or other? Whatever you’re comfortable with.
Now I am not a professional decorator, but I pretend to be one, in my mind, lol.
And in my make believe imaginary decorating life, I felt that I needed to add a few pops of green throughout my home to make it all make sense; make sense??
My kitchen, dining and living room are one open space; I have a huge green feather circle hanging over my dining room table area. It’s an African headpiece; obviously it’s not authentic, I bought it in Vegas. It makes me soooo happy!
And I have a big green glass ball that I have in my dining room. It’s just decorative, but these types of glass balls were used as fishing buoys back in the day. And yes those are pink bunny ears on my giraffe, it’s almost Easter; I felt it was appropriate.
My bedroom in Las Vegas had a green accent wall. It was the exact same color as my couch; and I loved it so much that I think I am going to paint my Moncton bedroom wall the same color. That way I’ll have a few pops of green throughout my apartment without everything being too matchy matchy.
What I love about this color is that it looked dark and moody at night, but bright and cheery in the daytime. I am currently searching through my boxes trying to find the paint chip, I know I saved it.
A great none expensive way to freshen up your kitchen, this spring or summer, is to fill a bowl with limes, lemons or oranges. They look pretty and they smell good!
Now that our homes are all springy; let’s spruce up our closets.
I’ve been looking for a green coat for a long time and I finally found one on my last trip to Providence, RI at Zara’s. The weather is finally getting mild enough to wear it; not that anyone will see me wearing it, since we are all hiding out in our homes. But this too shall pass, eventually…oh please let it pass!!!
This is the first coat or jacket that I’ve bought in decades that isn’t black. My spring fashion goal is to expand my horizons a bit.
I am now on the hunt for a pair of green shoes. I love these, but they are only available in the UK; the hunt continues!!
I hope you enjoyed this light and fluffy green post that included a splash of decorating and fashion? If you didn’t enjoy it, at least you read it all the way to the end!! lol, so thanks for seeing it through; nobody likes a quitter!
Behind the scenes!
So what does one do when stuck inside the house while socially distancing? Have your nephew take lime pics of you of course! Duh! Someone asked me if my feature image was faked? Nope, my head was really surrounded by limes.
I love being creative and I sort of want people to see my feature blog post imagine and think; WTF is she up to now? And then they are forced to read my post out of sheer curiosity!! Lol
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This Valentine’s I am feeling a darker, moodier vibe. It maybe because I am back in Eastern Canada where the days are shorter, darker and colder? But I love it! I love curling up on my couch watching the snow fall; that’s probably one of the only thing you can’t do in Las Vegas?
For this Valentine’s Day, my challenge and wish to all of you is to love your life! And to fall in love with yourself! Ok, that maybe easier said than done?
I am finding that the art of loving your life is to not compare yours to others. Everyone, no matter how rosy and happy they look, is struggling with something. Life is hard!! That’s a fact that we tend to forget. But nothing worth having is easy, so appreciate what you have when you have it!
One of my favorite “loving my life” tricks is to find people who make me laugh and to spend as much time with them as possible; bribery works for me, but hey, you do you, lol. My other trick is to do ridiculously stupid and fun things; preferably with the same people who make you laugh.
As I get older, I really have zero fucks as to what others think of me or my shenanigans. If you think that wearing a crown when you visit Buckingham Palace is dumb; well that’s your prorogative, but we obviously can’t be friends, lol.
It’s been my experience that my fondest memories are the ones where I let lose and was a bit extra with the people I love.
I wish all of you a heartfelt, lovely, ridiculous Valentine’s Day! If it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, don’t do it…well unless it’s your job; and who are we kidding, you need to make money. Ok, new plan, is it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, come up with a new plan! Then stop doing it.
P.S. – some of my crazy cousins are coming over tomorrow; we’ll be decorating Valentine cupcakes, but with a twist! Check out my Facebook page: oui-liette, for pics of our cupcake night.