New Brunswick Making Lemonade out of Lemons.

New Brunswick making lemonade out of lemons.

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

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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.

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That’s Devon Strang on the left and Blue Roof’s Head Distiller, Cameron Boyd, on the right.

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.

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If you live in NB and have driven to PEI, you have seen their giant potato; his name is Tater Nate.

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!

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To contact Blue Roof Distillers:

Tel: (506) 538 -7767. Cell: (506) 533 – 0780

Website: http://www.blueroofdistillers.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlueRoofDistillers/

 

Gusto Italian Grill & Bar

 

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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.

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To place your curbside orders: 506-204-7177

Website: https://gustoitaliangrill.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GustoMoncton

Instagram: gustomoncton

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.

Lenon cheescake

The Zesty Lemon

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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.

To see their menu and to place your order visit their website at: http://www.thezestylemon.ca then picked up your order curbside.

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.

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Radiant Photography

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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.

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Ali from Radiant Photography

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.

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Just a few of Ali’s Porch Families.

To view more Family Prortraits go to: https://radiantphotography45.pixieset.com/frontstepsprojectmonctonnorthend/?fbclid=IwAR0WXhUrvM-GSkjOe7MwQB_iI6ikRQkj6_oF6TlaOD-KDnN30YNz0hRtXro

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Ali’s daughter splashing around in her lemony boots!

Please visit Radian Photography’s Facebook and Instagram Sites and make sure to book a photo shoot with her when this is over; fingers crossed it will be soon.

To contact Radiant Photography and book a session go to her social media sites.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/radiant.photography2019

Instagram: radiant.potography_

B HOME

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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!

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Marc from B HOME

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!

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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.

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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!

https://www.facebook.com/bhomemoncton

Instagram: bhomemoncton

web: http://www.bhomemoncton.com

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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!”

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Mayor Arnold, when she isn’t at City Hall, she can be found on the Riverfront Trail, on her bicycle.

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.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog, scroll all the way down and sign up!
Merci! muah!
Liette

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!

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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.

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photos by Ali @radiantphotography

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

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Thanks to Monique for these lovely photos. Check her out on Facebook at: Made by Monique, she’s got some cool custom printing stuff.

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Shop Local This Christmas!!

Shop Local This Christmas!

With 7 days till Christmas, most of us are still looking for one or two….or seven gifts; hey no judgment here.

Why not skip the herds of people at the mall or Cosco and take a walk downtown? It doesn’t matter where you live, each city or town has locally owned shops that would love a share of your business.

I just moved back to Moncton two weeks ago and today I had lunch on Main Street with my friend, Stacey. After lunch, I braved the cold, apparently I am a weather wimp now, lol; and browsed the little shops that line Main Street.

There was certainly a buzz of life to the downtown area. As I walked down Main Street I noticed new restaurants and cafes that hadn’t been there before. I also noticed people, lots of people!!

I could feel my cheeks getting rosy and noticed that I was signing along with the Christmas music coming from Keating’s; even without snow it was starting to feel like Christmas.

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I popped into The Home Mercantile and was greeted with warm smiles from the staff. I am not certain what I was expecting? Maybe some tacky touristy tchotchkes?? But what I found made me feel like I was home.

Yes I realize, home is in the name, so obviously that’s the point. Maybe I am being a bit mushy and sentimental being back in my hometown? But it made me proud to be in a store filled with items that highlighted New Brunswick, Moncton and Canada.

This store is sassy and funny! Which reflects the people who live here. I bought one of these candles below; in addition to smelling really good, they made me laugh! The one I bought says: Calm the Fuck Down! Seriously, how could I not buy it???

I am a sucker for stationary and loved the mix of French and English cards with local regional  humor.

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I seriously laughed out loud when I saw this very Maritime take on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls!

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I bought a NB Home T-shirt that I will wear with pride and I may need to go back to get a tuque or a baseball hat? I’m short a few stocking stuffers and these would be perfect.

As I left with my new purchases, in my material shopping bag, of course; I thought what a great shopping experience.

I hadn’t been annoyed by slow walkers at the mall. I hadn’t experiences cart rage; you know when you’re at Cosco and someone decides to park their huge cart in the middle of the aisle while they chit chat away; man I hate that! Pull over for goodness sakes!!!

I left feeling relaxed and pleased with my sassy, sentimental purchases.

Tomorrow is the last Saturday before Christmas, the malls will be crazy!!! Call your friend and have them meet you downtown. Grab a bite to eat, pick up a hot chocolate at Tim’s and brows the small boutiques in your area.

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My new t-shirt, my lipstick is extra bright to camouflage the scab on my nose, did it work?? lol, not sure? But it’s healing.

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

muah!

Liette

For more pics and quickies, follow me on Facebook @oui-Liette

Funny Things a Maritimer Misses When They Leave.

Funny things a Maritimer misses when they move away.

There are lots of things that you miss when you leave the Maritimes; most are normal things, like your friends and your favorite restaurant… But then there are weird things that you never think twice about when you live here, but as soon as you move away and come back, you feel all nostalgic about them.

(For my American friends, the Maritimes are the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, also know as the island).

Things You Miss

Here are my top 5 weird things

#1: Accents

None of us think we have an accent, but it turns out we all do! And guess what? There are lots of different accents in the Maritimes…who knew??

The first time I noticed this was when I was in Vegas watching the Golden Knights play hockey, they were robbed by the way, but that’s another story. At the end of the game, they interviewed the head coach, Gerald Gallant, who is from PEI. As soon as I heard him speak, I thought, OMG! He sounds like home!! There it was a Maritime accent and I love it!!

There are a bunch of Maritimers who work for my company who live in Reno. One of them, I’ll call him  Pete Post…ok that’s his name, lol. Anyway Pete was in Vegas on a day that I was feeling a bit homesick. I told him that I missed people who talk English with thick, or like my dad would say, tick, French accents. He then proceeded to talk to me in English, but with a variety of Acadian regional accents. He did Moncton, Shediac and Bouctouche. He had me laughing so hard I was crying. Now when I see him, I ask him to talk fake French English to me. I am pretty sure the people we work with think we are weirdos; they don’t get the joke. But whatever la, we think c’est right funny, pis ont rie. Ok that was Chiac, but you get the drift, if you are a Maritimer.

#2. Canadian Content Music

Growing up radio stations needed to play a certain percentage of Canadian Artists on the radio; not sure if they still do? This meant that even though we listened to all the popular music from the US, we also listened to Canadian  bands that my American friends have probably never heard of? Bands like Platinum Blonde, Haywire, Toronto, Headpines…

During university I worked as a banquet waitress, so I worked a lot of weddings. I swear to god that every DJ in the 90’s played the same 40 songs from the 80’s! Tom Cochran’s Life is a Highway, and similar songs, were enough to send me over the edge.

A few days ago, as I was driving and dodging potholes, I found myself signing at the top of my lungs to Patio Lanterns. Yes, Patio Lanterns, from Kim Mitchell; and if you are in my age bracket and Canadian, I know that you know it; and I know that you know every word! I never would have guessed that one of these old songs would make me crank the radio up and sing along, but there I was, patio lanterning my way down Main Street Moncton.

#3. Potholes

I think it’s safe to say that no one, I mean no one has potholes like the ones in these parts. Seriously, WTF?? Lol. Living in Vegas, where things don’t freeze and thaw, and freeze and thaw, then freeze and thaw some more has spoiled me. So I am shocked by the state of the roads when I come home for a visit.

While I don’t miss potholes, there is a weird sense of accomplishment that comes from driving to work and navigating the roads like a freaking gold metal Olympic solemn skier, that is more than a little satisfying. It’s like, damn, I am awesome! It’s 8:30am and I’ve made it to work without scraping the bottom of my car! I’ve never pulled off the 215 in Vegas on my way to work and felt like a rock star for just surviving my commute.

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I am adding this picture, above, so my Vegas friends can see what I am talking about. This is typical and by no means, is I t the worst road. When they have a sign that says bump ahead, that’s when you worry, you brace yourself for dear life! This small section, didn’t merit a sign lol.

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Just a Canada Goose in its natural Canadian habitat!

#4. Snacks

There are lots of food that you miss when you move away from home. My number one thing I miss is lobster, fresh lobster. I usually have one waiting for me at my parents when I land. Fun Fact, Maritimers eat their lobster cold 99% of the time; my American friends are always surprised by that.

So missing yummy lobster is not weird, but missing Roasted Chicken Chips is a bit weird…right?? First of all, they aren’t that good, lol. I thought these were a Canadian thing, but in all my travels across Canada, I have never found them anywhere else but in the Maritimes; and I have looked.

The weird thing is that when I lived here, I maybe ate them once or twice a year, but now when I visit, they make me happy, lol.

Another snack that I took for granted is Cherry Blossoms! These are good, but when was the last time you bought a Cherry Blossom?? I am bringing a bunch back to Vegas with me for my friends to try. (Ok, full disclosure, I landed back in Vegas yesterday and sadly no Cherry Blossoms survived the almost 7 hour flight time…sorry. I did save the boxes though, lol).

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#5 Cousins

The thing that I miss the most is my family, nothing abnormal there right? But on this trip home, I am realizing how much I miss and appreciate my cousins.

Now if you are of Acadian decent and in your forties or older, chances are that you have lots of cousins; I have 24 first cousins.

Growing up I couldn’t escape them, they were everywhere! I had 3 cousins living next door, 3 cousins living across the street, one cousin living in the apartment below us and my brother and I. That is 9 cousins on the same street! We all went to the same school and we all took the same bus. I always thought we were sort of like the Kennedy’s, but poorer, lol.

Cousins tease you, they boss you around, they bite, they kick you, give you black eyes and they tattletale on you; so they aren’t always your favorite people growing up. But as you mature you come to realize that apart from being pain in the ass they also looked out for you and stood up for you; they were allowed to bully you, but no one else was, lol.

Now that we are all grown, there is something comforting about having such a crazy extended family with lots of cousins. You don’t see all of them that often, but you know they are there, ready to back you up or hold you up when you need them. I love you all!!…ok most of you…jk, all!

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Just a few of my « cousines », Brigitte, Maneau, me, Tania & Katelyn. Growing up people mixed Brigitte and I up all the time. One of the pit falls of being one of so many, lol.

This picture above is just a few of my cousins on my dad’s side, all grown up.

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We are a family! I am top row, last one on the right.

Flash back to the 70’s!! Here is the cousin crew on my dad’s side. We have 3 cousins who weren’t born yet, Julien, Katelyn and Curtis.

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Here’s a more candid shot, notice my huge smile, even though I am missing teeth, lol. Also, fun fact, my mom had to put makeup on me to hide a black eye given to me by my cousin Sonya, she’s the one right behind me. It was an accident, but I am totally over it…ish, lol.

Ok, I needed to blow this one up to show my missing teeth. I have to admire the fact that teeth or no teeth, I am giving the camera my biggest smile! I am also happy that I grew into my big mouth, lol.

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Les filles à Neri; my cousins Nicole and Genevieve.

I can’t ignore my cousins on my moms side, here are two of them. If you were an older cousin, you actually made money off the younger cousins by babysitting. My brother and I were Nicole’s cash cows for years! And I made a small fortune babysitting Genevieve and her brother during my high school years.

I hope you enjoyed this fun post. If you live away, what weird thing do you miss most?

Follow me on Insta or Facebook @ oui-liette.

Thanks for reading!! Working on a super fun project, can’t wait to share.

muah!

Liette

 

 

 

 

Fun Things to do in NB – Sugar Shacking!

Fun Things to do in New Brunswick – The Sugar Shacking Edition!

So technically it’s called visiting a maple syrup camp or shack, but I think Sugar Shacking is way jazzier.

Being a native New Brunswicker, I have to admit that I have taken this activity for granted in the past, but I have come to realize that a lot of people have never visited a sugar shack; to my American West coast friends, you really need to add this activity to your bucket list, because it’s awesome…and yummy!!

I hadn’t really put much thought into it before, but maple syrup can only be gathered in a few select places in the world; and New Brunswick is one of those places!

Did you know that Quebec produces 70% of the global maple syrup supply? I think this makes maple syrup super Canadian; Vermont is the State that produces the most in the US.

Sugar Shack Profile

Since I am back in New Brunswick for a bit, I decided to go Sugar Shacking last weekend; it was the perfect way to spend a sunny spring day outside, while loading up on pure sugar.

We visited Trites Maples, I highly recommend them if you are in and around the Moncton area; here’s how to find them.

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It was a beautiful, balmy +12 degrees Celsius, which is almost shorts weather in these parts, lol. It’s a nice walk from the parking lot through the woods to the sugar camps.

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As you walk through the woods you see the maple trees that are being tapped. There are blue lines that run from tree to tree sucking out the sap from the trees.

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We walked around saying; “I would tap that”, just because we thought it was funny.

We ran into a lot of super cute locals and a bus load of foreign exchange students. There is nothing like a beautiful sunny day to get Canadians out and about.

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The mom gave this little guy a stick and was trying to make him use it as a walking stick. He wasn’t having it, he held it like a hockey stick 🇨🇦.

There are two other camps before Trites Maples.

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Leading up to Trites Maples, the trees were tapped with buckets attached to gather the dripping sap; it was so pretty!!

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Some trees were dripping a little faster than others. We were told that it hadn’t been cold enough the night before; ideally it should be -6 to -8 at night and +6 to +8 during the day for optimal sap dripping.

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It takes 40 silver buckets of sap to make one bucket of maple syrup! That’s a lot of drips!!

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The main camp at Trites Maples serve a mean pancake breakfast. The inside of the camp or lodge is beautiful wood, the servers were dressed in black and red plaid aprons…of course! And the pancakes were being flipped by actual Trites men! See the three handsome men bottom right, below. The young one in the middle is obviously still in training, lol, his name is Chris and because we are in the Maritimes, he’s a friend of a friend. Actually, he’s a cousin of a friend, everyone around here is a cousin of a friend; we tend to have big extended families.

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We skipped the pancakes, this time, and made are way to the next cabin; where they sell pure sugar goodness!

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We watched them pour maple butter in maple leaf shaped molds. The difference between maple butter and maple syrup is 3 degrees. If the sap doesn’t hit the right temperature when it’s being boiled, it becomes creamy and butter like instead of golden syrupy.

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You may be thinking; wow Liette, you sure know a lot about maple syrup. I do, because I took the Sap to Syrup tour! Our guide explain how the syrup is made and the tour was free!

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Just chilling, waiting for our tour.

Guess who was our tour guide? Maple butter mold guy! And, yup, he was a Trites too!

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Meet Lindsey Trites, he brought us to where they boils the sap and turn it into syrup, it was very interesting to learn what it takes…and it takes a lot of hard work!!

After our tour, we got down to serious business…eating!! This is why people come Sugar Shaking; for the taffy, or « tire », as we say in French.

For newbies, here is how it works; they pour hot stuff, ok, full disclosure, I am not sure if it’s just regular boiling syrup? Or special boiling syrup? Lindsey didn’t cover taffy on our tour, lol, but it’s poured on a fresh bed of snow. You let it harden a few seconds and then you take your popsicle stick and you roll the taffy around your stick and you eat it!!

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They charge $2 for a popsicle stick; it’s pretty much a maple syrup taffy all you can eat buffet; omg it’s good!

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Side note: I noticed that 80’s skidoo style tuques are hip again, I should have kept mine!

Kids, pictures above, were lined up with their popsicle sticks. I had three, my friend, who will remain nameless may have had 5!!! I won’t call her out, but she is pictured with Lindsey and I above, lol. She was high on sugar on the drive back.

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Liquid Gold

We made our way through the woods back to our car with our supply of maple syrup in hand; I am bringing some back to Vegas with me for my peeps. Maybe it’s because I now live in the desert? But I couldn’t help but notice how quaint, clean and beautifully cool this day of Sugar Shacking had been!!

I left feeling thankful that I get to pop in and do  fun New Brunswick things a few times a year; I see things differently now and appreciate this place more than I ever have.

I would like to encourage those who live here to get out and enjoy this beautiful province!!

Muah!

Liette

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Fashion note, spring Sugar Sacking is muddy, rubber boots are a must!

 

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

Maritime AF!

People often talk about the Canadian provinces as the “have” and the “have not’s”. The Maritimes; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island are often classified in the “have not” column.

We have long been the butt of a lot of Canadian jokes; and that is fine,  with the exception of Newfies (people from Newfoundland), we are the funniest and nicest people in Canada. We can take the jokes because we know who we are and we know how lucky we are to call ourselves Maritimers.

What makes us Maritime AF and right awesome? Here is a short list!

 

Maritime AF

Oh Canada! It all started here boy!

We are the birth place of Canada in more ways than one. The first Europeans to settle in the Americas did so in the Maritimes; first came the French and then the English (First Nations were already here).

Then on July 1, 1867 the Canadian Colonies united to become a Dominion; Canada was born. And where was the Confederation signed?? In Toronto? Ottawa? Nope, in the Maritimes; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to be precise. Mmm I think that makes us Canadian leaders!

We know how to winter! (sorry for posting winter pics in the summer, I know it’s a no-no)

You know you are Maritime AF if you have survived a real Maritime winter. First of all let’s get one thing clear, anything under 30 cm (1 foot) of snow is considered a light dusting in these parts. And we don’t call the army to help dig us out when we get hit with a little snow, sorry Toronto, you’re never ever going to live that one down.

No, when we get hit with a NorEaster, we put our very best skidoo pants on and we dig ourselves out! (for my US friends: Skidoo is a snowmobile brand, it doesn’t matter what brand of snowmobile you have, we call it a skidoo. It is also used to describe things; skiddo pants are snow pants. And it can also be used as a verb, example: skidooing, meaning going for a ride on your snowmobile.)

Have you ever had to shovel the snow off your roof? If so, you are Maritime AF! Then after you are done with your roof, Maritimers help their neighbors; and yes we know our neighbors. Why are we so friendly? Because the next time it snows and we can’t open our screen door because the snow is too high and it opens outward; we know that they’ll come shovel us out. You don’t survive in these parts alone; are communities are strong.

Canadian Winter
A light dusting of snow in Moncton, N.B.

Have you skied, snowsheoed, gone slidding, skidooed & skated all in the same week? If so, you Maritime AF.

Winters here are long; too long to sit in the house and wait for spring, because sometimes spring doesn’t come, it goes right from winter to summer, lol. Maritimers make the best of winter!

Winter Fun
Maritimers, not afraid of a little snow or cold!

Have you ever used snow to cool your adult beverages? If so you are Maritime AF!

Wine Not
No ice? No problem here!

Have you ever been in the forest and said to yourself either out loud or in your head, “I live in a freaking winter wonderland?” If so, you are Maritime AF!

Let It Snow
There is nothing better than going for a walk after a heavy snowfall when the temperature is hovering on or around 0 degrees Celsius.That’s  just hot enough to unzip your jacket and take off your toque; it’s magical.

Have you ever spray painted a snow bank? Yup Maritime AF!

Oh Canada
My coworker Paul Dupuis and I painted a big maple leaf on the snowbank during the Vancouver Olympics to support Team Canada. Crosby, a true Maritimer, scored the winning goal…coincidence? Nope, Maritime AF! lol

The Best Summers Ever!

Just when you can’t take one more minute of winter, summer shows up! She is fickle, so we don’t take her for granted. As soon as she warms up, we are out in our shorts and flip flops.

We also tend to call a lot of things “she”; like summer, weather in general, boats, cars and a multitude of other  things.

Have you ever heard someone say: “How’s she making her?” When said correctly, it sounds like: hoows shemakinger, it means how is your day going?  Also very popular and Maritime AF is: “How’s she going?”, meaning how are you? And for a few extra points you can throw in a “boy” at the end: “How’s she making her boy?”, How’s She going boy?” The boy translates to friend and it sounds more like booy.

The Maritimes are so beautiful in the summer that it makes the 3 months of winter worth it…ok 4 months…fine 6; it makes the 6 months of winter worth it!

Canadian Beach Day
Just a regular Maritime beach day in May.

 

Beach Bunny
Catching a few rays on a sunny beach day in June! See, we are funny!!
Parlee Beach
Summer! Which usually falls on the last week of July and first week of August. The best two weeks of the year!! Lol

We have salt water in our blood; when the sun is shining we flock to the ocean.

If you have gone swimming in the ocean on the May two/four weekend, you are Maritime AF!

Only in the Maritimes!

If you are in the Maritimes and say you are going on the island, you don’t have to specify what island you are talking about, “the island” is P.E.I. Anyone who has to ask what island you are referring to are obviously “from away”; which is how we describe people who are not from here. Used in a sentence: Where is he from? Meh, from away.

Confederation Bridge
The Confederation Bridge or the Fixed Link connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. It spans 13km/8miles. It is def Maritime AF!

If this patched and re-patched road looks perfectly normal to you, you are Maritime AF.

On the road again
If you don’t like the weather here, wait 15 minutes and it will change. The continuous frost and thaw does this to our roads. This road was most likely paved a year ago, lol.

Do you eat your lobster cold? If so, you are Maritime AF. Warm lobster is for sissies, a.k.a. anyone from Ontario.

Lobster
Helpful lobster hint, if you buy cooked lobster and it isn’t on it’s back, you are buying it from amateurs. Keeping them on their backs keeps the juice from leaking out. You don’t want a dry lobster.

Have you ever had Roast Chicken Chips? No? Then you are definitely not Maritime AF. Another clear sign that you are not from the Maritimes, is that you have never heard of #stormchips. That is when they call for a big snowstorm and you go to the store to stock up on chips, it’s a thing, google it.

Speaking of weather, if you haven’t heard from Cindy Day, you aren’t Maritime AF! Who is Cindy? She was CTV’s meteorologist for over a decade. We liked to blame her when she got the weather wrong. Someone needed to be held accountable..right?

We also use the word “right”, right a lot, lol. Example: It was raining right hard last night. It can also be used at the end of a sentence to replace “eh”.

Chips
They are calling for a big storm, you have enough storm chips right?

Kitchen Party

And finally the very best part of the Maritimes are Maritimers! Whether it’s an Acadian tintramar for le 15 aout,  or an Irish or Scottish Ceilidh with Gaelic music;  where you can get your jig on (jig means dancing or get your grove on). You haven’t lived until you have been to a Maritime Kitchen Party, they are by far the most Maritime AF thing on this list!

Acadians
photo credit to grob1993 from Instagram

I hope you enjoyed this post, if not, you are certainly not Maritime AF!! And we probably can’t be friends lol.

I want to hear what you think makes us Maritime AF, there are too many for me to list alone! Leave a comment below.

Feel free to click on like, it’s below my last pic, you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram: oui-liette

And finally, sharing this post with your friends will give you instant Maritime AF street cred…just saying.

Muah!

Liette

Lighthouse Selfie
Thanks to Kadopromo for my fancy hats! Need corporate branded swag? Check them out at: http://www.kadopromo.net

 

Going Viral, Holy Shit!

Going Viral…Holy Shit

This is a true account of what happens when you put something out there and it goes viral. No names in this post have been changed to hide any ones identities, lol, that’s how I roll!

Sunday

For my second blog post, I am torn between which story to go with? Girls Just Wanna Have Tea, a hard hitting story on how to throw a tea party; or New Brunswick, Canada, You’re Going to Hate It! A fun tongue and cheek story about my home.

Late Sunday afternoon, I decide to go with the N.B. story, I read it one last time, hoping that people will get the humor, but if they don’t, how many people will actually see it?? Probably not many. I hit send and go on with my day.

Monday

By Monday morning I have gotten a few comments, I am excited, the first few are from friends, but sprinkled in there are a few from people I don’t know. I am reaching people I don’t know, how cool is that?

During the day, I periodically check my emails, each time I have a few more views and comments. By the time I get home that evening, I am very pleased with myself. My second post is getting much more attention than my first post; where I explored the controversial topic of how to take the perfect selfie.

My post gets its first share on Facebook from Paul, a fellow Monctonian. I am so touched, that he thought my post was interesting enough to share with his friends. By the afternoon, I have a few more shares. This is turning out to be a good Monday!

After dinner, while looking at my blog analytics, I notice, if I scroll down…all the way down, I can see more numbers; how many people have visited my site and where they are from… those sorts of things. It takes me a few minutes to figure things out, but when I do, I noticed that 2,100 have viewed my post in the last 24hrs!!!

Holy Shit!! 2,100 people viewed my post!!! How awesome! I call my mom, I am so excited, I need to share. After 5 minutes of explaining what a blog is, I am still not convinced she got it, I ask her to guess how many people have viewed my post so far?

Her first guess is 100K…really?? My 2,100 views suddenly feel tiny compared to 100K. When I bark back “mom!” she just laughs. I should note that she doesn’t have a computer, she knows how to text and that’s pretty much it, so I decide to cut her a bit of slack.

By the time we hang up, I have instructed her that the next time we speak, if asked to guess my number she would pick a realistic number, pretty much any number under 100K! She asks how many I want, I tell her that hitting 3K or even 4K would be super cool.

A few hours later I pass 3K, then 4K! I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the following people: Barney, Lynn, Staci, Claudia, Aline, Kenda, Cindy and Guylaine; because for the rest of that evening, they get regular text updates on how many people have viewed me; and by regular I mean every 20 minutes…ok maybe every 15 minutes.

When I surpass 5K and am almost at 6K, the texts are all the same, brief and to the point: WTF???  I start wondering if I am reading my stats correctly? One last text to Barney, who is away with his family, sorry, Barney’s family; he confirmed the stats are correct. Barney has become my unpaid technician and blog expert.

Giong Viral Photographer, Blogger
This is Barney! He is also an amazing photographer!

I decide to go to bed, I wondered if I could possibly hit 8K by the morning? I think that it maybe possible? But then reality sets in, nah, it will die down by the morning.

Tuesday

I wake up early Tuesday morning and the first thing I do is reach for my phone to check my stats. Over 8K views!! And lots of new comments. I make certain to reply to each one of them before I get out of bed. Most are recommendations for places I should visit or things I should try. All are polite and make me feel warm and fuzzy.

By the time I am ready to leave for work, I hit 9K views!! I am not sure why, but I instantly start to feel anxious and actually start breaking out in hives. I don’t know why? It’s such an honor to have people take the time to read something you have written. But on the other hand, 9,000 people have just read something that I have written! I think I am feeling a bit vulnerable, which is strange, since I started this blog and I posted of my own free will.

By the time I get to work, the anxiety is now mixed with excitement, after updating my coworkers with my unbelievable stats. I decide to stop looking, plus I know that the numbers will start to slow down shortly.

At lunch with my friend Staci, I pulled out my cell and see that I’ve just hit 13K!!! OMG!!

At this point, I am questioning what is going on here? Why is my little post about my little province so popular? One more text to Barney to ask: when do you know if you have gone viral? To which he replies, “Liette, you are viral!” Yikes!

Our next stop is Party City, I had joked earlier that if I reached 500 followers, I would do what celebrities do and take my photo with giant numbered balloons. It would be cheesy, dorky and awesome!! I decided that 13K is reason enough to celebrate!

I asked Staci if I should be so bold as to as to assume that I will hit 14K before the next morning? I decide to go for it, what the hell. I pay for a number one, a number four and a letter K; I’ll pick them up after work.

Going Viral Shark Week
Staci and I goofing off at Party City. Side note, Shark Week on Discovery Channel Kicks Off tonight!

Later that afternoon, my friend Michael, asks again if I have started getting any creepy emails yet? “No, just yours” I reply. He had sent me a cranky message as a joke, he says, the creeps will come, just wait. He is more of a glass half empty kind of guy, lol. All comments so far have been super supportive, nothing negative to report.

A few hours later, I get my first angry comment, instead of being upset, I think, wow! I have really made it now! It was someone who didn’t think that N.B. being bilingual is an asset, blah, blah, blah. It ended with “this F#@$ing Sucks”, not my blog post, but the fact that French people have equal rights I guess?? I have to approve all comments before they appear on my page. I considered approving knowing that the general public would come to my defense. I think about it for a moment, then decide that I want my blog to be a positive space, so not approving his rant. I am open to some controversial topics, if you want to debate which is better a sticky bun or a “pet de soeur”, bring it on!

For the rest of the afternoon the views and comments keep coming in. Bloggers are sharing and re-posting, local N.B. businesses are sharing. My friend Cindy sends me a note that her friends, who don’t know me, are sharing my post. I can’t tell if she is annoyed or happy about that? Lol, teasing, I think she is at the holy shit stage. She was the first to read my post, I sent it to her for feedback. She offered up some helpful suggestions, thank you Cindy!

By now, the anxiety is gone, I realize that this has taken on a life of its own and that I am just along for the ride.

When I leave work to pick up my balloons, I am already past 15K. What the hell am I going to do with my number 4 balloon now? I decided to skip 5 and get a number 6 balloon. I figure that by the time I get home, I will be at 16K, which I was; now I was just getting cocky.

Next is the reflective stage; what is it about this post that people connected with? I think that I have tapped into a feeling of pride? By highlighted a few things that make N.B. awesome, maybe it have reminded others how great it is? Or maybe it have given others the opportunity or the permission to boast a bit too? I think there is a feeling that N.B. is ignored by those who have never been there. We have been the drive through province, but those who have taken the time to stop, love it. Maybe instead of being Canada’s overlooked province, we are Canada’s best kept secret?

I make plans to have my picture taken with my balloons in front of the Welcome to Vegas sign the next day. Even after being here for two years, I still pinch myself and think, you live in Las Vegas! So the visual of a girl from Moncton, standing in front of the Las Vegas Sign with balloons that say 16K for a blog post about her home province, seemed like something I wanted to do! So doing it!

Going Viral Balloon Selfie
Trying to wrangle my giant gold balloons!

 Wednesday

I wake up to discover that I am at 22K views, so my 16K balloons now seemed silly, there goes $30…US!!

Going Viral Balloons
I flip my 6 to make a 9 and take a picture, but I am already at 22K! #balloonfail

By the time I leave for work I am at 23K & 25K after lunch!

My friends back home are telling me that they are seeing my story all over their Facebook feeds. It feels strange that I am getting my 15 minutes of fame for a story I wrote about my home province, while I am living in Vegas.

I decide to call my dad, I am almost positive my mom hasn’t told him about my budding fame. He is a fairly popular guy in the area. He’s sort of like Madonna and Cher, he only needs one name…Tilly. I didn’t want people to tell him that they saw his daughter on the internet, without knowing what I was doing on the internet, lol. So I explain to him what a blog is and tell him how many views I have gotten, his response is “ya ok”. I hang up telling myself that I am sure he is really excited…on the inside.

By the time I go to bed, things are starting to slow down a bit. My daily total for Tuesday was 13,268K, today my daily total is only 9,645. As soon as I say it, I see how crazy of a statement it is; only 9K today, oh no, am I becoming jaded…already? This week has been crazy and it’s only Wednesday.

Thursday

My morning total is 27,899, I am confident that I will hit 28K in the next few hours. I am a starting to feel a bit detached; it’s difficult to wrap my brain around the reality of this number.

It’s hard to believe that 27,899 people have taken the time to click on my link and read all of, or part of, my little story about N.B. To be honest, I would have been thrilled with 500 views and blown away by 1000 views, the higher the numbers get, the more surreal all of this feels.

By the time I get home from work I have hit 30K! Feeling so thankful and blown away, my brain hurts!

I call my parents and speak to my dad, he is starting to take interest; he asked and I quote: “how is your thing with the people going?” I feel like I am making progress on the parent front!

Going Viral Las Vegas Selfies
Cindy and I make a quick stop at the Welcome to Vegas Sign, sans balloons, lol.

Friday

I think I am suffering from a blog hangover, lol, it’s too much!

I feel that I inadvertently accomplished something that I suspect most bloggers never get to experience. When you start a blog, you want people to like your content and you want to build your followers; I was expecting a slow build. I didn’t expect this and to be honest, I wasn’t ready for it, I was still working out the kinks for gosh sakes!

On my drive home from work, I catch myself making a mental list of all the people who have reached out and sent me a quick email or text and those who have shared my link. And for the first time this week, I get a bit of a negative vibe as I take stock of those who are close to me, who haven’t said boo. In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t such a big deal, I know that, but it does make me think, maybe a bit too much??

I check my stats one more time before bed; my daily numbers are slowing down, it has been a hell of a great ride! But this train is approaching the gate and to be honest, that is fine with me.

Saturday

 I am up early to catch a flight to Oklahoma City for my real, paying, job. Wow, what a week! I have stopped checking my stats every 20 minutes. It was fun, but a bit exhausting.

My daily total on Friday was a little over 2K, my grand total by Saturday night is 33,740. I am going to put it out there, that I will hit 35K!

If someone had told me last Sunday, when I hit send, that I would be sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City writing that I want to hit 35 THOUSAND views on my second blog post, I would have laughed my head off. But here I am!

Here is what I am going to take away from this experience. Ready or not, shit happens, you may as well enjoy the ride! That sometimes failure is easier to wrap your head around than being successful. And that one should not underestimate the power of their community, correction, my community! New Brunswick, maybe small in size and in population, it may have its economic struggles, but the people kick ass! Although I have had views from around the world, the majority are from Canada and of those, I suspect a large part of fellow New Brunswickers.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to read my posts, if you like my style and my swagger, please subscribe; if you do, you will receive an email each time I post something. Which will be once a week. I am pretty sure you won’t want to miss my next post, which will most likely be how to throw a tea party! I bet you can hardly wait, lol.

Thank you! Merci!!

Muah!

Liette