2018 Blog Year in Review

2018 Blog Year in Review

Ok so technically my blog has only been live for 6 months, but a half year in review doesn’t sound as sexy.

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I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on my year…half year, and thank all who have read, liked, commented and shared my posts.

I launched my little blog in July, and in my first 6 months I have gotten a little under 50,000 views, but hey, it’s Christmas ish, so what the hell I am rounded it up to 50K! Merry Christmas to me!!! Lol

This success is mostly due to my NB post: New Brunswick, You’re Going to Hate It! This one struck a nerve and still gets 100’s of views some weeks!! But I am also just as proud of my others smaller posts.

Here are my highlights of 2018!

Fav Event

My favorite event this year was a Halloween post on how to throw a Wickedly Haunted Dinner Party. Why? Because I got to hang out with friends I have known since I was 14; we ate and pranced around my bffs backyard dressed like killer bunnies. How can that not be my fav event of 2018??? Lol

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Want to jazz up a dinner party? Just add fun accessories, it doesn’t even need to be Halloween! This Christmas I bought reindeer sunglasses, we had so much fun with them!

Most Popular

If the picture below looks familiar it’s because it was plastered all over social media for a few weeks in July and August. It was shared and shared by tens of thousands of people. To quote my best friends teenage daughter: « even my friends are sharing… and they don’t even know her ». I couldn’t tell by her tone if she was impressed or annoyed? Lol

I owe my friends a huge thank you for this as I just shared on Facebook and it took on a life of its own.

This success confirmed that I have something interesting enough to say; I’ve never considered myself a great writer and still don’t, but I did think I had interesting things to say in a fresh entertaining way.

Fun fact, in the over forty thousand views and hundreds of comments, I only got two haters. I think those are great stats!!!

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On my peak day, this post got 16,000 views in 24hrs! Freaky!

Best Trip

I travel a fair amount, probably more than most? My favorite trip this year was my trip to Paris with my good friend and work partner in crime for the last decade, Claudia. We booked this trip on a whim, she said, I want to go to Paris. I said, me too. She said let’s go and I replied, ok. FYI flights out of Vegas are way cheaper than out of Moncton!

We are both planners by nature, but for this trip we mostly winged it and had a marvelous trip!

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FYI, Paris is always a good idea!! Lol

Fav Activity

My favorite activity of the year was tough, because I have done some super fun things this year. A close second was biking through the gardens of Versailles during my Paris trip, but the official winner is my camel safari with my nephew Jack.

Did you know that you can take a camel safari an hour and a bit outside of Vegas? Yup, you can!!

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If interested and in the Vegas area check these guys out: http://www.camelsafari.com

What’s Next?

My goal for 2019, in addition to keeping my content fresh and amusing, is to learn what the hell I am doing, or what the hell I should be doing?

I have fellow bloggers who regularly share my posts with their readers, thank you so much for that!!! I am going to be asking them for helpful hints on how to better promote my site. But I must say, Facebook and all my friends out there have been very good to me this year!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!

My ultimate goal is to grow this baby so that one day, maybe I can make money and be a blog supa star!!! Can I be a blog supa star in my late, late forties?? I plan on finding out and having some fun doing so.

In the meantime, please continue to read and enjoy my shenanigans. I really do appreciate and am touched and blown away by everything!!! You write and want people to read and enjoy your point of view, but when they do, it’s sort of mind blowing! Lol

So thank you for blowing my mind!! Lol

I hope you all have a very sassy new year!!

muah!

Liette

 

A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme.

A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme!!

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This year I decided that it would be fun if our Christmas Eve Dinner had a theme; and since plaid seems to be the latest new hip trend, why not make it a plaid theme? If you are Canadian, it’s been hip forever, lol; plaid and Christmas are a natural fit so I thought it would be easy to pull off.

I did find that finding the perfect plaid item to wear was, well hard to find, lol. What I envisioned wearing wasn’t available at the local mall and I waited too long to order something online. But I am no quitter! Plus all but my guests are pumped and on board; so full steam ahead with my Mad for Plaid theme!

What to wear?

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This was my initial vision…yeah, I didn’t find anything this chic!! 😳

Can you have a plaid theme dinner without asking your guest to dress up? Probably, will it be as fun? No! No, it won’t. (teasing, feel free to skip to my pictures of plaid dinner table ideas if you don’t want to deal with my plaid shenanigans)

My Christmas Eve guests have been asked to wear some sort of plaid. I left it open to interpretation; I am looking forward to seeing everyone plaided up! (yes I know plaided isn’t a real word, but it should be!).

I finally found something I like, it’s a beautiful red and black plaid shawl that I will for sure wear again; it’s basically a huge blanket. My mom has a funky pair of red plaid pants that I am sort of lusting after. She’s the most stylish woman I know! My dad will wear a red and black buffalo  pattern shirt so he and I will match.

 

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This would have also worked; there is nothing more Canadian than plaid and jean on jean, right?!

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Decor

When it comes to decor, concentrate on your dinner table. I always make that my focal point. I think most people associate plaid with rustic and homey comfort; I personally think of a tall rugged Canadian lumberjack named Alex or Jean-Guy…..lol, ok moving on; the point I was trying to make before I got distracted by visions of lumberjacks dancing in my head is that it’s so easy to pull off a plaid themed dinner table. All you need is a plaid tablecloth or piece of fabric, mason jars, pine cones and a pop of something green and red.

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This was not a staged photo. This is a real live Canadian male wearing plaid, holding an axe, while standing in the snow, lol. Is he an actual lumberjack? Sure, why not? (No he isn’t).

Last year I filled mason jars with cranberries and floating candles. Some green branches, fairy lights and red balls. So easy, yet so pretty!!

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We picked the pine cones ourselves; combined with the greenery my table smelled like Christmas!!
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I added a few shiny red balls.
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A few mason jars with cranberries and floating candles, instant cool mood lighting.
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This is my pallet for this year’s tables, i will add some greenery, floating candles and some mini lights. I think it’s going to look soooo pretty!

This year I will have gray and black table clothes with red napkins. I will repeat the other same items from last year; hey, if it isn’t broken, no need to fix it!

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Pro Planner Tip

Here is a super helpful tip for any and all parties, big or small; the key to creating a cool vibe for your guests is lighting! So please dim the damn lights!!!

Light some candles or load up on fairy lights, nothing ruins the mood like bright overhead lights…you’re welcome!!

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This is my cozy plaid wrap. Apparently this red and black pattern is called Buffalo… who knew? Photo creds to my nephew Jack!!

I wanted to post this before Christmas in case someone is looking for ideas on how to dress up their dinner table. I will share pictures of my Christmas Eve Dinner on my Facebook page, oui-liette.

Enjoy these last few days before the big day. I know they can be stressful; it may seem that everything I do has to be perfect. That’s actually not the case. I pre plan as much as I can and then the day of any of my personal parties or huge corporate events, I am pretty chill and roll with the punches. Don’t let the idea of perfection ruin the moment. Life is messy not perfect! Lol, enjoyez-vous!

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Merry Christmas!

Muah!!!

Liette

 

Santa’s Ho,Ho,Ho’s! Taking cookie baking to the next level!

Santa’s Ho, Ho, Ho’s!

At first glance this post looks like it’s  about baking cookies; and it sort of is. But as you read you will discovered that it’s more about spending time with loved ones. That being said, these two recipes kick ass!!

 

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Our 2017 cookie crew.

In this post I will share our grandmother DesRoches’ super simple and yummy Scotch Cookie recipe. Full disclosure, there is no Scotch in them; nor was she Scottish, lol.

We also always make peanut butter balls, they aren’t always pretty, but they are always super delish! I guarantee that you will love our balls. Scroll all the way down for both recipes.

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Our two best ballers!!

This family cookie baking tradition started a few years ago. I invited all the ladies on my moms side of the family over on a Sunday afternoon to bake Christmas cookies; because baking cookies alone is depressing, so the more the merrier!

Now lots of people bake cookies during the holiday, which is awesome, but we had to take it to the next level. Because that’s what we do…ok, that’s what I do, but they always follow me willingly!

How do you take it to the next level? Matching aprons, that’s how. I had custom aprons made for all of us; and you can too! I think this was the key to making this an annual event; because now that we have aprons, like it or not, we are kinda committed.

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Just a bunch of Ho! Ho! Ho’s!

Having matching aprons or hats will make you feel like team; I promise, you will have more fun if you match!

Our sassy aprons have our names on them, but you could also just do matching aprons. Or get blank ones at a craft store and bedazzle them. You have lots of apron options. I am used to ordering in bulk because of my job, but I also do it for my personal parties. I always use Kadopromo, if you are buying in bulk, go with a company who does this for a living, the prices are better!! They often have a minimum number of items you need to order in order to get the best price. Here is who I use, but the internet is full of suppliers, there is no excuse not to match! lol: https://kadopromo.net/

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We must have been really good this year because Santa gave us an early Christmas gift, that will help us mix it up!! See below.

What you could do, is have a group fund, where everyone gives $20 and the head elf buys the group gift; either an apron or spatula? We have had our aprons for years now, we just order more as our family expands. It’s a one time expense, so it isn’t so bad at all.

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We ordered monogrammed spatules from Kadopromo!! Full disclosure, Kadopromo are not paying me to promote them. I really do use them because they rock!!
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Ok now I am just showing off, look how pretty they are with their tiny bows!

For our cookie baking, each ma tante and cousine (aunts & cousin) bring an ingredient; it’s not fair to expect the hostess to provide all the ingredients. And don’t forget your empty container to bring some back home.

 

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This is our official invitation for this year’s party. This may actually be our 4th event, not our 3rd? Oops!! Lol

We take lots of pictures, it’s fun to look back over the years. Because we are such a big family, some of us are scattered all over the place; it’s nice to have memories of those who can’t be with us this year.

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We miss you Evangeline! We hope you are back for a Canadian Christmas next year!

Mémère DesRoches’ Scotch Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2bls of  Butter
  • 1 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 4 cups of Flour. Yup only 3 ingredients!!
  • Well 5 if you add the frosting and cherry for the tops.

Directions

  • Combine brown sugar and butter, mix till smooth and creamy.
  • Add flour
  • Once the mixture is creamy, make into small balls, a little bigger than a quarter. Take a fork and gently press them down (don’t smush, just lightly press so the fork leaves horizontal marks).
  • Bake 350F for 18 minutes
  • Add pre-made frosting, I like cream cheese, but you can do vanila.
  • Cut up bottled red cherries and place on top
  • EAT!
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This is how they should look!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 cups or rice krispies
  • 2 ounces of paraffin wax
  • 1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Melt butter and while it’s hot stir in the peanut butter
  • Mix well and add vanilla, powdered sugar and rice krispies
  • Melt chocolate chips and paraffin wax
  • Dip balls into melted chocolate
  • Cool on wax paper or parchment paper
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Don’t forget the parchment paper!!
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Our 2018 crew of Ho! Ho! Ho’s! lol

Giving Thanks

I am thankful to you for reading and I am also so thankful for my family! There is something about belonging to a tribe that tightens around you in hard times and makes you laugh, but also let’s you cry if you need to! They say you can’t pick your family; if I could, I wouldn’t swap a single one!!!

So what is your ultimate Christmas cookie?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you from me and the fam!!!

muah!!

Liette

 

 

I’m Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

I’m Dreaming of a Pink Christmas!

If you haven’t noticed yet I’m kind of into the color pink at the moment; it’s my second fav color, after black. If you think Christmas needs to be all about green and red, think again. Here are a few ways to go rogue and introduce another color to the holidays. I chose pink, but you can chose any color you like!!

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Christmas Tree

You can go all the way or just some of the way, lol. Christmas trees are now available in lots of different colors. Here’s a small pink tree; I would put it in my bedroom…just because.

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If an all pink three is a bit too much pinkyness; you could just do pink balls or  a pink ribbon to your traditional green tree.

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The tree above isn’t my tree…yet! But it will be, maybe next year? I am going to load up on pink balls after Christmas when everything is on sale.

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I also love this wreath, again super simple; really love, love, love the pink and green!

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Gifts Galore have this stunning pink and silver garland in their entrance. The metallic bells make it very rustic chic!!

BTW, Gifts Galore on Main St in Moncton, is the best pink store in town…ok, it may be the only pink store? Either way, you should check them out.

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So this tree isn’t pink, but look how pretty it is against the pink window!!

I couldn’t resist taking a picture in front of Gift Galore’s pink door!!

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Wrap It Up…in Pink!

I always try to pick a color or theme for my gift wrapping. Last year, everything had cute moose on them. This year I am using a touch of pink.

Pink can be cheesy, which isn’t necessarily bad, lol; but I think it can also be sophisticated. Here is my attempt at a bit of sophistication, lol.

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I was inspired by the green tree in front of the pink door in the picture above.

For my wrapping paper, I went with brown craft paper from the Dollar Store. Instead of a store bought bows, I added some green Holley leaves and pink sparkly berries. I think these look cuter in person than in the pic.

I am also using hot pink tissue paper in my gift boxes and bags.

This is my way of keeping things fresh. I tend to change my Christmas color pallet every few years; but I always find a special place for my sentimental family favorites. Thanks for reading!! I hope your getting to enjoy the hustle and bustle of this time of year!!

I would like to know if you are you more of a Christmas traditionalist or do you like none-traditional colors?

Pink not your thing? What are your Christmas colors??

Muah! Merry Christmas!!! And Happy Holidays to all!

Liette

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Taking a break from making snow angels

Christmas Photo Shoot in the Desert.

Christmas Photo Shoot in the Desert.

On an early…really early morning in October, my friend Sean and I ventured into the Las Vegas desert to take a few Christmas photos. Sean is a great landscape photographer and wanted to practice portraits. I needed a few shots for my upcoming Christmas card, so off we went. Here are some of the pics.

Cover Shot

It’s always best to take pictures at dawn, dusk or when it’s overcast. Sean and I are both from the East Coast of Canada; we didn’t realize how quickly the sun rises in Vegas. Because Las Vegas is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the sun doesn’t slowly rise, it just pops up.

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Sean wanted to try a few shots with the sunlight behind me. I clicked away with my iPhone while he set up.

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The sun peaking out from behind me, makes me look like I am glowing…like an angel! lol. That’s not what he was looking for though.

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This is the shot he was looking for. It looks like it was taken at sunset, but it was taken just a few minutes after the previous pictures above. I think it looks really cool! My head is blocking the sun, making the rest look dark. Well done Sean…well done, lol.

Desert View

This is a classic Sean landscape shot. Different photographers have different ways of working. I am used to moving and the photographer taking shot after shot in quick succession. For most of these, I needed to stand still for longer periods of time…without talking, lol.

My prop for the day was a large Christmas wreath. I still think it’s odd that Christmas happens in places without snow…that seems very unnatural to me.

& magic mountains

These shots in front of the Seven Magic Mountain sculptures were the first shots we took, before the sun popped up, hence no squinting and shadows. These sculptures are 15 minutes off the strip. There were two other photographers taking pictures while we were there. It’s a popular spot!

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I have discovered that it’s hard to maintain a natural smile when standing still.

Wreath

The picture below is of a Joshua trees; there are lots in and around Las Vegas.

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Trying to be artistic with my wreath. 

Here is Sean and his big lens! He now thinks he needs a new camera to go with his big zoom lens. I took all of these with my iPhone; not to brag, but I am a fairly good photographer as well, lol.

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And that’s a wrap!! Thanks Sean!

I will use some of these pictures for future blog stuff. Just wanted to share.

Muah!!

Liette

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Thanks for reading!! 

Country Christmas Market

Country Christmas Market

A friend invited me to a local Christmas Market just 40 minutes outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. Having been to all the fancy Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria, her expectations were high for her little hometown market of Bouctouche, NB.

We were both pleasantly surprised! Unlike craft shows where a lot of the vendors sell similar things. This Country Christmas Market had a wide variety of vendors and absolutely beautiful treasures.

I encourage anyone in the Moncton area who is looking for something to do tomorrow, Sunday Dec 2, to make the trip out to Bouctouche; it’s well worth it!

Christmas Country Market

Christmas Markets are popping up in big and small cities this time of year; please make sure to take advantage. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to support local artists!! It’s a win/win.

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The Bouctouche Christmas Market was held in their new farmers market building.

Here are a few of the great things we found!

Nick The Dutch Baker had amazing treats!!

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I had to have a cookie with jam in the middle, I remember my grandmother used to make these….yum!

My fav items were these homemade wooden cutting boards, see below. I have seen them go for a few hundred dollars each in bigger cities; the large one below was $60!!! Bummed that in my excitement, I didn’t catch the name of this vendor…sorry.

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These were truly works of art!

My favorite vendor was Sarriette Boutique.  I could have bought every single item they had for sale; and their displays and packaging were on point!! (Side note, Sarriette is French for Summer Savory, which is a spice found in Atlantic Canada).

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I can appreciate a great logo and well thought out marketing, great job!
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They even had Kombucha on tap!

No Canadian Market would be complete without some maple syrup products; now I may be biased, but I am fairly certain that the East Coast of Canada makes the best!!

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Did you know that Maple Syrup is referred to as Liquid gold! And did you know that Canada has an emergency reserve of Maple Syrup?? It’s true!

I was surprised to discover that a lot of my West Coast friends have never heard of Maple Cream or Butter. I am bringing some back to Vegas with me so I can blow their minds! lol

I’ve seen lots of beach glass art, some are cheesy, but Sea Glass Concepts had some super cute art! Check them out online!

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From cookies to cranberries, this small Christmas Market had it all!!

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These are almost to pretty to eat.
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Proud to say that I am supporting our local cranberry farmers. I am going to freeze these and use them for my Christmas Eve table decor. They are the absolute perfect shade of reds. Apparently you can eat them too! lol

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I had a great time at the Bouctouche Christmas Market; what a fun day! The only thing missing, as per my friend, was spiced wine! We will make that suggestion for next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! Oh and be nice! Santa doesn’t visit assholes! lol

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This is the market we visited, find one in your area.

Liette

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

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

This post is a love letter to my snowy hometown of Moncton, NB. It was originally posted in November, but re-posting in honor of the big snowstorm that just hit.

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Monctonians have long had a love hate relationship with snow and winter in general. We complain about how much snow we get, but then brag about how much snow we have gotten. And if Fredericton gets 25cm of snow, we are quick to pipe up that we got 35! Take that Fredericton!!!

It’s sort of like wanting to break up with your boyfriend, but then wanting him back if someone else shows interest in him. It’s twisted, yes we know, but that’s just how it is. We wear our snow storms like a badges of honor.

Most Monctonians live for those 8 weeks in the summer where the weather is absolutely perfect! But there is something to be said about living in a real live freaking snow globe!

Maybe I just appreciate it more now that I live in the desert? Last December I did my Christmas shopping in flip flops; that just felt wrong!

Some of you may be feeling a bit of hostility  towards me right about now; knowing that I am back in sunny Las Vegas and will be missing January, February, March and April…oh and May…lol.

But you have to admit that there is something pretty magical about the first few big snowfalls of the winter…right??

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Are we missing something uniquely Monctonian?

Each great city has it’s own distinctive building or tower. Paris has the Eiffel, Toronto has the CN Tower, the big Apple has the Empire State Building; well Moncton has the Bell Alliant Tower. I think we take it for granted because it’s …well it’s just there; we see it every day without giving it much thought. And who are we kidding, our skyline is pretty sparse and our tower isn’t super fancy. But I think we need to embrace it as a symbol of our city. And come on, you have to admit that it looks extra special surrounded by a fresh coat of snow. So look up next time you are in the downtown area and take it in.

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

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I thought this was a cool view of the tower.

Moncton Comfort Food.

Do you know what else is awesome about Moncton in the winter? Lobster!! Lobster in the winter? Yes!!

Do you think people in Toronto or Paris eat lobster on a random Wednesday in November, for no particular reason? No, no they don’t. But we do (if you don’t, you really should). We don’t need a birthday or a special occasion; we eat it because we can. And it’s only $15 per pound this time of year. Ok some Maritimers reading this, like my dad, are thinking, wow that’s a bit pricey! But trust me, it’s not. It’s basically the price of a pizza.

In addition to lobster, when I come back home to Moncton, I try to make it to Pizza Delight for garlic fingers, Greco’s for a donair and Deluxe for a fish and chip. Yes there are lots of finer dining places, but I seem to crave these Moncton staples the most.

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

Let it Snow!

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So pretty it looks fake!

Yes winter in Moncton is long…really, really long, but that’s just all the more reason to get out there and enjoy it!!

It’s easy to take for granted that we can go snowshoeing or skating in our local parks and trails…heck, a lot of Monctonians can skate and snowshoe in their own backyards. Lol

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So many snowy things to do.

So let’s enjoy this pre-Christmas, now post Christmas snow, in our quirky little city where people are polite and friendly; unless you are a snow plow driver pushing snow into a freshly shoveled driveway!

There will be enough time after Christmas, like now, to complain about the cold and snow when you are looking for parking at the Avenir Center; or meeting friends at Gusto’s, St James Gate or the Pump House.  When the pretty snow is all dirty and frozen solid. Yes, there will be lots of time to complain then. Full disclosure, I won’t be here. I will be back in sunny Las Vegas listening to the locals complain about how “cold” it is. Please know that on behalf of all Monctonians; I will be silently judging them…pfff, they have no idea what cold is! But I do, we do, because I/we are, and will always be  Monctonians.

Please note that no disrespect was intended towards Fredericton, just a bit of NB teasing.

Sorry if you were offended by the word bitch…oh wait, not sorry. Lol

Oh and feel free to give me a hard time when I start posting hiking or kayaking pictures on social media of all the outdoor things I am doing in February; while your tears are freezing on your cheeks because it’s day 7 into the -30 something cold snap that will inevitably falls upon, not only Moncton, but all of New Brunswick. I will deserve your snarky comments, lol.

Until then, you can find me outside snowshoeing with friends or drinking hot chocolate at Clémentine or Café Archibald. Because I really love this little city,  it’s people and this early pre-Christmas snow!!

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Muah!

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

Liette