Self Care Sunday is the newest thing; why? Because we are so busy taking care of our kids, our jobs, our parents; that we have zero time to take care of ourselves. But guess what? If you burn out everyone around you will be screwed!!
Self Care Sunday is finding a bit of time every week to do something to help re-charge your body, mind and soul.
Here are 5 easy ways to chill the f@$# out!
When I am not sitting at my desk in the office; I am in an airport or scrunched in an airplane seat; It can be stifling. My remedy is to go out and get some fresh air.
There is something about being outside that calms me; wether it’s going for a walk in the desert or snowshoeing in the forest, being outside centers me and quiets the voices in my head…you guys have those little voices too right??
Work It Out!
To prep for this post, I did an informal poll and a lot of you mentioned that working out helps keep you sane…I don’t get it, but whatever, lol, kidding ish.
Nicole, one is my very best cousins, she says that her workouts keep her present and in control; and that feeling of accomplishment afterwards is a big win!
Feel the Rhythm of the Beat!
One of my friends is living a modern version of The Brady Bunch, between her and her boyfriend, they have 6 kids!!! One of her passions is dancing. On Sunday’s she cranks the tunes and dances in her kitchen while she does her meal prep for the week.
I have another friend who got so tired of seeing her kids playing video games, that she turns the games off and makes them dance with her. At first they rolled their eyes, but now they look forward to it. They learn the newest dance moves together, she’s now an expert flosser.
Learn Something New
Another friend in a house with three teenagers has decided to learn how to play guitar; it’s something she has wanted to do for years. She has paid for guitar, piano and drum lessons for her kids; now she is finally taking the time and focusing on learning how to play.
In my informal poll, many have said that they just need a bit of quiet time by themselves. With the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, I can relate to this one.
Find some time and a quiet corner to read. Fill up your tub and take a warm bath or get in your car and go for a little drive…alone; being alone with your thoughts can help keep you grounded.
How do you chill and re-charge? Maybe by reading my Sunday blog posts??? Lol
Thanks for reading! Have a great week! Be kind to yourselves.
On our agenda today is a Viva Vintage Vegas tour. We’ll shop, get a makeover, eat then visit an outdoor museum for old neon signs.
The “old” downtown area is in the process of a fabulous transformation. The Art District or 18b, because it encompasses 18 blocks, is a very cool and hip place with art galleries, vintage shops and funky restaurants. It’s way more authentic than than the strip and if you visit you may run into some real live Las Vegas locals! Don’t worry, they won’t bite, they are super nice people.
First things first, let’s shop! All the shops below are found on Main Street. (If you don’t get the opportunity to visit Vegas, then please venture out to your local vintage and antique shops! Also, I always check out how shop owners show off their stuff. It can inspire you to consider different color pallets.)
Patina offers vintage furniture, home decor and a huge collection of unique vintage clothing.
I was served by Katie, who is one of the owners of Patina. She explained that the boutique started off more focused on vintage furniture, but the clothing section has taken on a life of its own; with regulars coming to Vegas expressly to shop in her store.
She and her partner hand pick each item, they were getting ready to head out on a buying spree in a few weeks. How fun would that be?
Their vintage clothing is mostly from the 60’s, lets just say the colors were so vibrant I didn’t need to use a filter. I bought three things.
They also have beautiful glassware, vintage luggage, furniture and much more, check them out!
I tried to convince myself that I had room for this hot pink chair in my bedroom, but I don’t…booo! I love how they are showing pink with yellow accents, it’s not a combo that I would have thought that I would like. It’s brave, beautiful and inspiring.
Antique Alley Market
I love this store!! It’s huge so it’s almost impossible to see everything and they seem to have everything.
I must admit that I past by it several times without going in, because the facade doesn’t have a lot of flash. But I’m happy I finally did because it’s got some great stuff and prices are reasonable.
I collect vintage Murano glass candy dishes, ok I only have 4, so it’s not a huge collection, lol. It reminds me of my grandmother. She had this beautiful big green dish on her coffee table that we used to spin around, we were kind of bratty. I don’t think we ever broke it, which is a miracle. I have no idea where it went, but I would love to find it.
I have a pink dish from my mother’s cousin, I found another in the same color, so had to have it. And now I think I am starting a pink collection, but the other colors are all so pretty…sorry, all this talk about vintage candy dishes may not be as interesting to others as it is to me, lol.
Ok, just take a look at this picture of my budding collection and I will stop talking about candy dishes, lol.
Ok, I so I lied, but look how pretty they are. My new one is the one on the left…ok done, moving on.
Main Street is littered with cool funky places. Vintage Vegas is a smaller boutique, but jam packed full of cool stuff. The signage: Dead People’s Junk ans Cool Crap, caught my eye; I had to go in!
I love these vintage Pyrex bowls!! My bff and I, back in Canada, are always on the lookout for vintage Pyrex. Yup, we’re nerds, but stylish ones!!
When I moved to Vegas this was the first vintage shop I visited, the pink caught my attention, naturally. They have beautifully painted flamingos on the side of their building perfect for photos!
They have tones of modern mid-century furniture, which is my all time favorite; along with stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I am really starting to feel the 70’s vibe these days too.
The price point here is a bit more expensive, but they have high quality pieces.
I love this kitchen vignette! And look, they are pairing pink and yellow. Mmm, could this be a new trend? This is giving me some cool ideas.
And as I am writing, I just noticed that my pink candy dishes have yellow in the center! I guess I am already on trend.
After you’ve shopped stop in at Atomic Lounge for a retro makeover. I went for the Va Va Voom hair and makeup package; they also have a package where they pick you up in a pink Cadillac, it doesn’t get more fab than that!
This was so fun! It would be the perfect activity for a girls trip. They do lots of weddings as well.
This was a lot of makeup!! Definitely meant for nighttime. I have to admit I felt like my grandmother with my hair in pin curls, but it all came together. This look called for a lot of hairspray!! I am not a big hair product person so it felt really funny and stiff. She told me to leave it for an hour and then I could brush it out for a softer look. It looked more modern with just a hint of retro vibe once I brushed it out.
My stylist was awesome! Ask for Becki. The lounge decor was funky and cool, just like you’d expect it to be. And look, more yellow! I love these chairs.
There are a bunch of cool hip restaurants nearby and this is where you will meet actual Las Vegas locals. These restaurants are also a lot less expensive than on the strip.
I recommend trying Carson Kitchen, it has super interesting small plates that you can share. It’s urban neighborhood dining at it’s finest.
The Boneyard Museum
After dinner when the sun goes down, head to the Boneyard Neon Museum. It’s the perfect way to send your Viva Vintage Vegas Day!
Tours are $50, $35 for locals. You have to buy your tickets ahead of time, I have been on the day tour, but need to go on the night tour when the signs are on.
This isn’t your ordinary boring museum, first of all it’s outside and second of all, it’s full of neon. The museum is saving and honoring Vegas history for generations to come.
You will have lots and lots of picture opportunities, selfies are welcomed!
Since you sat through my candy dish fetish, I will let you know that The Arts District also has the most Instagramable graffiti walls in Vegas!
The streets between Main and Commerce have cool alleys. The best one is on the corner of W 50-70 Imperial Ave and Imperial Ave. Do be careful and travel in packs, don’t go down dark alleys; you will run into some colorful characters if you venture too far. You can also rent bikes and cycle around.
Just a few of the murals you will see. Try to venture off the strip next time you are in town and check out the Art District. Be nice! And have fun!
So technically, I didn’t, I don’t…I mean I haven’t ever said I do; but what’s that expression? Those who can’t do teach?
Here’s why I am qualified to give wedding planning advice:
I’ve been a real live party/events planner for the past 15 years; and a wedding is basically a big event.
Before that, I was a hotel convention sales manager and dealt with many brides; but the job that most qualifies me to give wedding advice was my four year stint as a banquet waitress, while in University.
I seriously must have I worked hundreds and hundreds of weddings! And if I hear the song, “I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, one more time, I am going to lose my freaking mind!…oh and I was a bridesmaid twice; both friends are no longer married, but I hardly think I can be blamed for that?? (and they did result is some pretty amazing children!)
Here are my top 5 expert tips
What’s your vibe?
You need to decide what vibe you’re going for? Here’s a hint, if your DJ plays, “ I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, you have failed in creating a cool vibe, lol.
But seriously, before you start planning you need to do a bit of soul searching on what you and your mate want your wedding to be?
You’ll be surprised by how many decisions you’ll need to make and you’ll be shocked at how quickly things can snowball out of control, so you need a plan.
In order to help you figure out what’s your vibe, you need to decide what kind of bride you want to be? Are you a Princess Bride, a Hippie Bride, a Shy Bride or a Party Bride? Ok, I just made those up, but they are brilliant!
The Princess Bride wants to be…well a princess, obviously. She wants a full ballgown with 8 to 10 bridesmaids. If you want a Princess wedding, then don’t look at beachfront locations. Ballgowns and beach balls don’t mix.
Now if you’re a Hippie Bride a beach wedding with a flowy dress and flip flops are a perfect fit!
The photos below are of a Princess Bride in all her glory! The horse drawn carriage, the adorable flower girl and the castle.
The bride in the picture above is definitely a Party Bride. The most important thing to a her is to have fun. Her dress is fun, her shoes are fun; she’s literally dancing in the streets.
One of my cousins is a Shy Bride, she knows her vibe and is owning it. She doesn’t want to be on display or be gawked at, which is the princess bride’s dream.
Knowing this she has planned a super small fall wedding in a rustic cabin. No head table and no fussiness, oh and she is bringing her dog and I am pretty sure she and her dog will have a matching dresses, lol.
Adding your own quirkiness to your big day is endearing. The trick is to know your vibe and keep it consistent.
I absolutely love this picture above of my friend Stacey on her wedding day getting her glam on. I love it because, this is Stacey’s vibe. She’s always calm cool and collected. There’s no need for a big entourage and no drama. FYI, she is still happily married; I wasn’t a bridesmaid.
Show me the money honey!
Weddings are expensive!! So before you start making plans and spending money, you need a plan. You need to list out what’s important to you and what’s not.
Here’s an idea, right off the bat. What if you could take an extra few thousand dollars from your wedding and spend it on your engagement ring? Since it’s something that you will wear everyday and have forever; as opposed to something that will be over in a day?? Just a thought.
Now if you’re a Princess Bride, there is nothing I can say to you that will sway you away from all the bells and whistles; and if that’s what you want, then go for it!
For those who are more budget conscious, you need to list out your priorities. If I was planning my own wedding, I would spend money on my dress and the photographer. I would skimp on other things in order to stay within my budget.
There are things that I would skip altogether, like wedding favors and the grooms cake; and here’s why. Now, full disclosure, when I throw parties, I always have a party favor, but, and this is a big but, I host small gathering so I buy nice favors. If yo can’t afford a nice favor, maybe just skip it? Also a lot of wedding parties make their own favors, which is very sweet, but depending on what it is, you may want to focus your energy on other things?
While working as a banquet waitress, I will tell you that more than 50% of your party favors end up being left behind and thrown out; same thing with the grooms cake?
Let’s just say that a grooms cake is out of fashion anyway and move on. If you have your heart set on having a wedding favor, go with a bottles of wine or home made jams or something like that. I am going to be harsh here, but the only people who want something with your face or your initials on it is your mother and your crazy aunt Carol.
You may also want to revisit your wedding cake. I would get an amazing looking cake, but it would be a small cake for you to cut in the photos and take home with you. If you are doing a full meal, your guests are going to be too full for cake by the time it’s served.
Or do cupcakes or donuts, something a bit different that people will remember. If you do want to serve cake, get a big slab and have the venue serve your guests.
Fun fact; did you know that some wedding cakes are fake?? Those big fancy cakes that you see couples cutting, some are just one layer of real cake and the others are foam covered with icing. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a fake cake?
Another great way to save money is to select an amazing looking venue so that you don’t have to spend lots of money on decorations. And here’s a question to ask yourself when deciding if you should spend the money or skip it? Will your aunt Carol remember it in a year?
If budget wasn’t a concern you could have huge overflowing flowery centerpieces on each table a la Kardashian. But just modest flowers on every table in a large wedding is going to cost you thousands of dollars without making a huge impact. Now let’s ask the question; will aunt Carol be able to remember what type of flowers were at her table in a year? The answer is no! So why not boost up and spend a bit more money on your bouquet and skip the table flowers? Candles are less expensive and create a cozy mood.
It’s also worth exploring a different kind of wedding. A former coworker of mine has opened an amazingly brilliant business. They do pop up weddings, elopements and engagements and they are spectacular!! You need to check out their website: https://www.thehytch.com/ and follow them on Facebook, (The Hytch) and Insta, (thehytch).
The locations are breathtaking, the pictures are soooooo pretty! They currently offer pop up weddings, renewals and engagements in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Denver.
Be prepared to be blown away by crazy beautiful wedding photos, all provided by The Hytch. These are real couples and real weddings. I feel like I need to add that because they are so Instagrammable, they look staged.
I am going to show the picture above to my cousin Brigitte, she is going to love this idea.
This is definitely the kind of wedding I would want. I would want a winter wedding…maybe I should book it for 2020? Yeah, that should give me enough time to find the perfect man right??!!
I think it’s possible to have an amazing chic wedding on a limited budget, you made need to think outside of the box? And maybe as you get older your priorities change? But a small intimate wedding seems like are a better choice then spending a down payment on a house on a wedding; but that’s just me, you do you!
Know your limitations
Do you get stressed out hosting a dinner party for 8? If so, you might not have what it takes to execute the perfect wedding by yourself? And that’s ok; know your strengths and be real about your limitations.
Get a wedding planner or recruit your friends and family. If you are asking friends and family members to help you, give them specific tasks and don’t overload one person, spread it out! If you aren’t paying them, you need to be nice and thankful!!
You can also lean on your venue manager to help with centerpieces and a few other tasks…within reason.
One thing you should never do is be setting up your own reception in your wedding dress! If you can’t get in your venue the day before, delegate, delegate, delegate! I have seen brides blowing up balloons for an arch while all made up and in their dresses. Don’t do it!!!
By show up, I mean, be present. It’s a big day with lots going on. You will be running on excitement, nerves and adrenaline. You have been working on this day for months and have spent a lot of money; you need to make a conscious effort to stop and enjoy your day.
You also need to eat and stay hydrated, plan ahead and have healthy snacks, or chocolate…either or, on hand when getting ready.
And when at the reception, pace yourself with the champagne, a puky bride is never cute!!
Let It Go!
So it’s your big day and you are present; now let it go!
I have witnessed so many bridezillas, in the early nineties, before that was a thing, we just called them crazy brides.
Here is the best advice that anyone will ever give you on your wedding day; let things go!! I have witnessed so many crazy brides sabotage their own wedding receptions, it was hard to pick just one crazy bride story.
But here’s a good one; this one bride poked her head into the ballroom before we opened the doors to see how the room looked. It looked beautiful, btw, but she proceeded to freak out because the salmon colored napkins, looked more peach than salmon. Freaked out may be an understatement, because she had a full blown, stage 5 meltdown over salmon napkins, minutes before her guests arrived. May I add that the lights were dimmed and candles lit, the napkins were perfectly salmony.
To make my point, I googled the color salmon and the color peach, can you tell which is which??? No, no you can’t, because there isn’t a difference. Lol
Needless to say, she never really recovered and looked pissy all night. I have seen so many brides look absolutely miserable during their wedding receptions; don’t be that bride!
The only way to enjoy yourself the day of your wedding is to roll with the punches and go with whatever happens. If anything goes wrong on the day of, and something will, let it go! First of all, chances are you will be the only one who notices that something is off; so don’t point it out or make a big deal, just let it go!
I have one great example of a bride who rolled with it. The MC was speaking and said that he had a game that would determine who wore the pants in the family. He explained that the bride had to hug each male at the reception and the groom each female and that whoever did so and got back to their seat first would be the one who wore the pants in the marriage.
The groom looked horrified and after an awkward moment of silence, you could tell this was not planned; the bride stood up, hiked up her dress and stared running to the first table to start the hug fest. The groom quickly followed and the crowd went wild!
I love, love, love this picture of my parents. Tell me they are not adorable!! My dad looks like a movie star. There is something really glamorous about old wedding pictures. Their 53rd wedding anniversary was this past May.
At the end of the day, your wedding is one day in hopefully many, many days together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding that you lose perspective and focus more on the wedding than the marriage…said the single girl. But think about it, you know I am right.
I am pretty sure I will be a fun bride…just saying, lol.
My dad recently passed away, a few weeks before his death, one of my cousins asked him for relationship advice. He told her to be herself and that she needs to find someone who makes her happy, if he doesn’t make you happy, don’t marry him. Treat him like you would want to be treated and you will be ok, because you are a good person. It seemed like simple advice, but if you stop and think about it, it really is that simple!
I hope you enjoyed this post even if you aren’t planning a wedding at this very moment or are already married. If you are happily married and want to share your words of wisdom, please do!!
And if you are happily divorced, you probably have words of wisdom too! Sharing is caring, lol.
I am working on a really fun blog post, but it’s not ready to be posted yet. So in the meantime, I thought I would share a bit of what goes on behind the scenes and what my blogging process is.
Not that anyone has ever asked me to share my process, but hey if I waited for invitations before doing stuff, I’d be pretty bored.
Everything I’ve read about blogging says that you should have a content calendar and follow it. I don’t really do that. I do list things out when I have lots of ideas, like leading up to Halloween and Christmas.
But some months, when I am not traveling, I just free ball it and wait for ideas to pop up. I try to post every Sunday. This week, I had nothing until Wednesday night. And then I came up with a really fun idea, that will be ready to share in a few weeks. But that didn’t help me for this weeks post. I had nothing, until I had the brilliant idea to blog about blogging, so here we are…you’re welcome, lol.
I am a visual person, so I often get blog ideas from photos. I also tend to come up with my best ideas late at night when I can’t sleep. For a morning person, I actually do my best writing late at night in bed.
I may start posting mini posts on Wednesday’s? And I would like to share more videos; and there is no time like the present. Someone asked me to post more pictures of my place here in Vegas, so here you go.
For those who don’t know me personally, I’ll share that the past 6 months have been rough for my family and I. My father is dying, there, I said it, it’s out there. It’s something that we are preparing ourselves for. It’s unbelievable how something that seems unimaginable, becomes something that you learn to accept.
Wow! That took a dark turn! Lol, I am sorry, I wanted to share that because but I wanted you all to know that my little blog has been a life saver for me these past few months. It has given me something creative to do and it has kept my mind busy.
Sharing can be scary
My two most popular posts were also the two posts that I was the most nervous to publish.
My second oui-liette blog post ever, “New Brunswick, You’re Going to Hate It”, got close to 50,000 views; I am pretty sure that was my 15 minutes of fame and now I am a has been, lol. But I think it’s better to be a has been than a never have been…right?
Before posting, I was worried that people wouldn’t get the tongue and cheekiness of it. But they did! And I was shocked by how people connected with it!
Fun Fact the feature image of this post was taking while tubing down the Miramichi River, but my blurb about how much people would hate tubing while watching bald eagles flying overhead, was cut out, because the post was getting too long.
The other post that I was afraid that no one would read was Senior Living. It was supposed to be funny, but it didn’t turn out that way. I considered deleting it because it wasn’t sassy or fun, but I guess life isn’t always sassy and fun. It’s harder to share real feelings than hints on how to throw a fabulous party.
Thanks for reading both the light and fluffy posts and the more serious ones. I love and appreciate all your comments, please keep them coming.
Ok changing the tone a bit, but this also falls in the scary category. Guess what happens when thousands of people read your posts? You get lots of creepy messages from men! All the comments I’ve gotten directly on my blog have been great and respectful, both from men and woman, thank you! But man I have gotten some creepy messages on Facebook messager,ugh! Thankfully I know how to use the block button.
99.9% of the photos in my blogs are photos that I’ve taken; I am pretty proud of that. A lot of bloggers use stock photographs; not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Fun Fact, here’s where the blogging magic happens, in my bed!
I took photography in University for two years. I have a fancy camera that I never use; most of my pics are taken on my phone. I am not a great technician, but I think I have an eye for styling and knowing what will look cool.
My fancy photo shoot pics are taken by my friends Barney or Sean; a few were taken by my nephew Jack. If I use someone else’s photo, I will give them a shout out.
Some people have made comments like; “oh you take a lot of pictures of yourself”. To that I say, yes, yes I do. I really enjoy the process of coming up with a creative idea and then making it happen. It’s not as easy as it looks, if it was, their profile pictures would be much better…oh snap!!
This one below is for those people, I was going for an old Hollywood feel. Not sure if I like the black and white or the color better? What do you think?
The stronger or interesting the feature image, the more views the post will get. I think my marketing background has certainly helped me make my little blog look fancy.
I don’t consider myself a great writer. I just try to write the way I speak. I am fairly certain, I have way too many “lol’s”, in my posts, but what are you gonna do?
I also make words up, on purpose. Example, in last week’s post, I wrote that I was “patio lantering my way down Main St”. I know that lantering is not a real word, but I don’t really care, “lol”.
Thank You Next!
So what’s next? As mentioned above, I have an interesting post coming up. The post is pretty much written, I just need a few cool pictures so I have a fun photo shoot planned for this week. It could be really cool or an awesome disaster; I will share either way.
I am also working on another fun project. My part is done, but others are working on finishing it. I hope to have it back in my hands to share around the end of June ish.
On the travel front, I have a huge work event here in Las Vegas soon. Then in June and July I will be going to Edmonton, Moncton then back to Vegas; then Tulsa Oklahoma, Moncton and back to Vegas for a bit.
I am also going to start submitting some of my blog posts to different publications and sites to see if they get picked up; hey the worst thing they can say is no right? I am also learning how to better partner with companies.
So this was a different kind of post, did you like it? lol
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there and thinking of all the people who have lost their moms. If anyone runs into my mom tomorrow, please give her a hug for me!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two other camps before Trites Maples.
Leading up to Trites Maples, the trees were tapped with buckets attached to gather the dripping sap; it was so pretty!!
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.
It takes 40 silver buckets of sap to make one bucket of maple syrup! That’s a lot of drips!!
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.
We skipped the pancakes, this time, and made are way to the next cabin; where they sell pure sugar goodness!
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.
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!
Guess who was our tour guide? Maple butter mold guy! And, yup, he was a Trites too!
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!!
They charge $2 for a popsicle stick; it’s pretty much a maple syrup taffy all you can eat buffet; omg it’s good!
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.
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!!
If asked to describe what New Orleans is like, I would describe it as an assault on your senses; it’s all too much.
It’s too much food, it’s too much music, the smells are too much, the people are too much, there is too much culture; it’s just fabulously too much!
Here are my to 5 things to do in New Orleans that are too much!
#1 Too much history and culture!
New Orleans oozes culture; it’s impossible not to soak in the culture and history of the city. I don’t think there is any other city in the US with such a distinctive vibe and energy.
If you are a first time visitor you need to take a guided tour because there is just too much to see and do. I have done a few walking tours and a bus tour. Both types were excellent, if you do a walking tour in the summer make sure you are dressed properly and stay hydrated, because the summer heat and humidity is way too much!
There are also several night time walking tours that are fun and will be cooler and to say that the city comes alive at night is a huge understatement. I recommend you visit one of the cemeteries and the Garden District; and of course the French Quarter, which is so full of history, that you almost need a guide to fill you in on all the fabulous and tawdry history.
#2 Way too much music!
New Orleans is the birth place of jazz; if you love jazz, you have to visit!! You will want to go to French Street, but music floods pretty much all of the French Quarter, it doesn’t matter where you go.
While shopping on Royal street a few years ago, I made my way outside to find that the street had been closed and a band was playing. They played three songs, packed up and the street was open again. Spontaneous concerts seem to be the norm.
Each bar on Bourbon Street has music blairing; most have live bands, country, R&B, Cajun… there is something for everyone. The music spills out into the streets with musicians on every corner.
Everytime I’ve been to Jackson Square I have heard students busking, the talent is amazing!
#3 Bourbon Street is waaaayyyy too much!
Bourbon Street is over the top too much. I have been to New Orleans 6 or 7 times now and I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Bourbon Street virgins a bunch of times. I have noticed that most react to Bourbon Street in the same way; they are flat out freaked out! Lol
And here’s why; it’s an insane place! It does assault the senses, it smells, it’s dirty and it’s home to a few ligit scary people.
People who think that Vegas is a wild place have never been to Bourbon Street. I think it puts a spell on people and makes them lose their minds…or that could also be the alcohol?? Lol, no one knows for sure?
Each person who I’ve taken there for the first time come away thinking, omg, this is too much! But then something happens, once the shock of it all fades a bit, intrigue and fascination take over. This usually takes 24 hours, then they are hooked.
The French Quarter is a contrast in extremes. You can dine in the most fabulous restaurant and then cross the street and walk past the most raunchy strip club.
On this past trip we left Bourbon Street at 6:30pm on a Friday night to make our way to the airport to catch our flight out; as we left, the crowds of people were already starting to file in; things were starting to get crazy…and it was 6:30!!! Lol
You need to experience this for yourself, it’s better to travel in a pack, go with the “no one left behind” rule and just be smart about things. And the number one rule, do not walk in puddles on Bourbon Street, it’s not water!!!!
#4 People watching, so much to see!
You will see and hear the most amazing things in the French Quarter; on this past trip, as I was walking down a side street when I happened upon a wedding procession. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; I was honored to be part of it in some small way. It started with a police escort, followed by the bride and groom literally dancing in the street accompanied by a band and their friends and family following behind waving handkerchiefs. It was so beautiful it looked staged! We saw two wedding processions during our walk, I think it’s a very common thing in these parts. The video and pictures below really captured the moment.
Everyone who encountered the procession stopped, clapped and danced; there was just no way not to smile and be happy. This to me embodies the spirit of New Orleans. After all their motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler »; Let the good times roll.
Another example of New Orleans contrasts is that a few blocks away from Bourbon Street and it’s hedonistic revelers is Jackson Square. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, learned that fun fact on my walking tour!! You almost expect to see a princess in a horse drawn carriage to pull up at any moment.
This is Cathédrale Saint-Louis, apparently Walt Disney was a huge fan of New Orleans and could be seen in and around Jackson Square sketching and soaking in the sites and sounds; he was also very inspired by the jazz music that floods the streets.
As I was coming out of one of the little boutiques that surround Jackson Square, I saw another wedding party making their way to the front of the Cathédral; I decided to follow them…ok so I may have some stalker tendencies? Lol, I am attracted to pretty dresses, what can I say??
Voilà! A horse drawn carriage and a princess…ok, it was a bride, but she was obviously fulfilling her princess dream.
The bride was ok, but this little flower girl was adorable!! The dress, the flower crown, the hair…the dress.
#5 Too many unique boutiques and shops!
Even though Bourbon Street feels very frantic, the surrounding cobblestone streets remind you that you are in the South where there doesn’t seem to be a big rush. You need to embrace this laid back vibe when boutique hopping.
There are so many little shops; I even love the real trashy touristy shops that seem to all sell the same things. But there are also unique shops where you will be able to find treasures to take home.
I love, love, love roaming around going from shop to shop. I always discover new places. On this trip we stopped in a shop that looked like just another mask shop until we went inside. It’s called Masquerade and is located on St-Anne Street. All the masks are hand made out of leather, they are mini works of art. I am kicking myself for not buying one for next Halloween. I hate having reverse buyers remorse, when you regret not buying something.
We found one shop that looked like several others that sell spices and rubs, but it turns out they also give Cajun and Creole cooking classes, how fun would that be?? I am adding this on my to do list for my next trip.
There are voodoo shops, we found a super cute milliner shop (hat maker) on Royal Street; I found a funky lamp shop and lots of antique places. One place that I would recommend going to is the Local Artist Co-op, it’s located on Dutch Alley. It’s behind Cafe du Monde, which is the super popular places for beignets.
And if you want a few touristy things go to the French Market, you can hit Cafe du Monde, the Local Artist Co-op, then just keep walking and you will hit the French Market.
Ok, I may have taken too many pics of cute shops? I couldn’t help it!
Here are my finds for this trip; a Kelly green leather clutch, it comes with a wrist strap and body strap, in case you are wondering lol. A small framed hand painted skull from the Local Artist Co-op. I buy a lot of art when I travel, they don’t need to be big or expensive. I love having reminders of my trips in my house. And I couldn’t resist a feather mask, pink of course!
Too much amazing food!!
My most favorite thing to do in the South, not just in New Orleans, is eat! They have the best food on earth!! There is just too much good stuff to add to this post, I will dedicate a full post to all the yummy things to eat!
Bonus Thing To Do!
Because a visit to New Orleans means that you will be walking for hours, I always stop for a quick and cheap massage. There are a few places almost on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street, you will see an Asian man sitting outside trying to entice customers to come inside.
We made our way inside for a 30 minute foot massage, then we let ourselves get talked into a 30 minute neck massage, prices are great and it feels soooo good!
Here’s a funny story, as soon as we sat down for our massages, we could hear a ruckus outside. It just got louder and louder until it turned into a full on fight. The top picture is Staci and I nervously discussing how super relaxing it was to have a fight during our massage. The funny part is that the little man on his bench outside didn’t even flinch. It eventually quieted down, so we did get to relax and enjoy. New Orleans is full of surprises, you really never know what you are going to see or hear.
I hope this post has given you the urge to visit this beautiful city; there is just too much not to love!!
Les bons temps ont roulé, so now it’s time to go.
I already can’t wait to go back!!! Stay tuned for all the yummy food we ate in New Orleans ans Mississippi! That will be coming up in the next few weeks. Next Sunday I will share my day in a maple syrup sugar shack! I should be down from my sugar high by then? lol