This is the first in a series of posts that I hope to do more of, the goal is to highlight locally owned businesses. If you don’t live in my area, you may as well keep reading since you’ve already started, lol.
This week I have a challenge for you. The challenge is for you to find a restaurant, in your area, that is now offering weekly grocery boxes and buy one!
What I love the most about this idea is that we can directly and immediately help support our local restaurants, who are working their butts off to keep the lights on in these crazy times.
The other thing I love about this idea is that, I don’t know about you, but I am getting pretty sick of my own cooking! I am running out of ideas on what to cook, I am always using the same spices so after awhile everything starts to taste the same. Getting a grocery box forces you to think outside the box; sorry, I couldn’t resist, lol.
I am going to make it really easy for my fellow Monctonians by suggesting that you give Gusto Fresh Market Boxes a try. From Judson’s, to Boomerang’s to City Grill to Gusto’s, Brett Judson has been in business on Westmorland Street in downtown Moncton for decades!!! And he and his team have always supported our community. Side Note – In March when the lock down first started, he donated hundred and hundreds of pieces of cheesecakes to both regional hospitals for their frontline workers.
During the initial shutdown, in the spring, Gusto started offering curbside pick up in order to compensate for the loss of income caused by the in-dining restrictions; all restaurants have had to reduce the number of tables in order to follow the social distancing rules. This has been a huge hardship on all restaurants and bars.
The idea of offering Grocery or Market Boxes is trending in most cities; it’s a way for restaurants to make up for some of the business that they are losing on a daily basis because they can no longer fill their restaurants with patrons.
Gusto’s Fresh Market Boxes are an amazing value! They are different from week to week, this week’s box contents are listed below. (for the week of Nov 30 to Dec 4). Anyone who knows Brett knows that you never leave his home or his restaurant hungry, the same can be said for Gusto’s boxes. They are jam packed with high quality products and meats!
I’ve already ordered my box for this Saturday, none of these items are on my regular boring rotation, I am excited to pick it up! This would also make a perfect holiday gift or if you someone in your family or a close friend lost their job due to Covid buy them a box!!
Last week, I got the opportunity to help the Gusto team prepare the boxes. I was the top labeler and I think it’s safe to say that I nailed it!! Ok, full disclosure, their Fresh Market goods are in bags and not boxes, but bags are better for the environment, says me. Plus Fresh Market Bags, doesn’t sound as snazzy.
How can you order?
You can place your order directly on their website: http://www.gustoitaliangrill.ca Orders must be received by 5pm on Thursdays, box pick ups are Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. Just pull into the Gusto parking lot, Guylaine and staff will be there ready to assist you. Pop your trunk and they will place your items in your car for you.
Thank you for reading, I will finish with a mini rant, similar to my mini rant in my previous post. Please be mindful that our local restaurants, bars and businesses have always been the first ones we, the community, turns to for team sponsorships, school fundraisers… and they have always been supportive; they now need our help, so it’s our turn to give back and wow what a big sacrifice for us, to eat amazingly good food, seriously poor us!!
If you are fortunate enough to not have had your job or paycheck impacted by Covid, it’s your duty to support others in our community who haven’t been as lucky. Most places have daily specials in order to help drive business, so check out their social media sites. And the fresh market and grocery boxes that local restaurants are selling are a great value, as they are able to offer products at a lower cost than in the grocery stores, so keep that in mind. You are saving money while helping your community.
Thank you so much, let’s take one for the team and eat out more!! And here’s an idea that my friend Stacey’s family are doing, they order out every Friday night, each week they take turns deciding what restaurant to order from. What a great opportunity to try new places and eating as a family is a gift in itself. OH, one last thing, when you do pick up takeout or eat in, tip your wait staff double what you normally would…I think that’s all for now?
These are a few of my favorite things, the Christmas, buy local, edition.
So it may not exactly feel like the most wonderful time of the year, but at this point, does anything feel the way it’s supposed to feel? So let’s get past that and make this, 2020 holiday season, wonderful in its own, unique, messed up way.
My 2020 favorite holiday things list is very diverse, it’s got gift ideas, but it also includes a few things that have helped lift my spirits; I hope you find one or two things that will help bring you a bit of joy? I’m focusing on supporting local businesses, you can do the same, regardless of where your local is. Oh and they are in random order. I was going to do my 5 favorite things, but I ended up with 7, so two bonus ones, since it’s Christmas, why the hell not?
#1 Have a sweet day!
When I need a little pick me up this time of year, I head to Tony’s for their hot chocolate! It’s my favorite Moncton hot chocolate; it’s thick and creamy and topped with a mini gingerbread person, doing my best to be non-binary.
It’s perfect to kick off a busy Christmas shopping day or decorating day, I highly recommend! Feel free to recommend any hot chocolate places that you think can out do Tony’s, just going to warn you, it’s a tall cup to fill, lol, good luck!!
#2 Alpaca Wool Stuff
I wasn’t really aware of the difference between sheep wool and alpaca wool until, my cousins and I visited Janet and her adorable alpacas at Petitmore Alpacas. And now I am a bit obsessed with warm and cozy alpaca wool stuff!
Check out Janet’s stuff on her Petitmore Alpacas new and improved website, or even better take a drive to her newly designed shop in Harcourt. Call ahead and follow the Covid rules, obvs. I have three of her tuques and mittens and I may ask Santa for a pair of socks?
So what makes alpaca wool better than sheep’s wool? It’s something about the fibers being hallow… and I am not really sure why that’s important, but it is, lol, you may want to Google it? I do know that it’s warmer, stays dryer and is softer.
What I love, love, love is that you can see where your hat or other comes from, we literally met and fed the alpacas on her farm and are wearing hats made from their wool that were knitted by Janet. It’s a bit sad that we have become so removed from the things we buy, and by we, I mean me. Not judging the rest of you, I am trying to be a better consumer.
This is my newest alpaca purchase, I got this blanket in St Andrews at Mermaids Tail boutique and it’s sooooo soft and warm! This would make a really, really nice Christmas gift…just saying.
If you can’t make it to Saint Andrews, call Kim, from Mermaids Tail, she can help you shop and ship to you, it’s just like ordering something from Amazon, except you are supporting a local business, which should make you feel even better about your purchase!
#3 Watch or listen to something Christmassy.
My new fav Christmas special is the The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show. Kacey Musgraves is a cool country singer, but not mainstream pop cool, more like alternative retro cool. During the initial Covid lockdown, after I had finished watching everything on Netflix and was working my way through Amazon Prime Video, I happened upon her Christmas special and it’s so awesome!!! It was June, but it was still awesome, lol. I just watched it again and it’s still awesome.
I am adding it to my yearly Christmas movie/show list, it’s right up there with The Holiday and Love Actually.
Her special has a 70’s retro vibe, she almost looks like Cher in a few of the performances. She’s an amazing singer, she has lots of talented guests. Dan Levy, from Schitt’s Creek, is one of her guests, he plays a sassy elf…oh and I love her outfits and set design. Watch it, it will for sure help you get into the Christmas mood.
#4 Give the gift of self care
Who knew that just staying home would be so stressful? Not having our normal routine and waiting for the daily news briefs to see if our status is changing (in NB we have colours, green to red, we are currently back in the orange zone, booo!) is making a lot of us anxious and it’s making some of us cranky, not naming names.
Self care is more important than ever, so my #4 fav thing is treating yourself or someone you love to a spa treatment.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been to most of the spas in my region; I love NAKAI on Mountain Rd and the Usva Spa Nordik on Magnetic Hill is fab! But the one I am calling out as one of my current favs is Namaste Spa in downtown Moncton, they have an Indian Head massage that will make you feel like all warm and mushy when done. Like super mushy, get up slowly or you may fall over.
A friend asked me if it hurt, she had a scalp massage somewhere else and felt like they were pulling her hair. The answer is a big fat NO! It felt amazing.
Your hair gets coated in warm oil so you will look like a grease ball when you leave, so you may want to bring a hat with you? And, I would suggest booking late day or early evening so you can leave the oil in for a bit. I tied my hair up and didn’t wash it till the next day and it felt like silk.
I recommend taking a look at all the treatments available at your favorite place and try something new; switch it up!! And just book it, we always seem to have great intentions, but it’s my experience that if you don’t just do it, you won’t do it at all. Also, if you get any spa gift cards for Christmas, book your treatment as soon as they re-open, make a date, put it in your calendar and go!! None of this having gift cards in your drawer for years bullshit. If someone gave it to you, then you probably look stressed and they want you to chill the f out!! lol, they would never tell this to your face, but I am…you’re welcome! Side note, if anyone asks if I am stressed and would benefit from a spa treatment, tell them hell yes!! lol
#5 Winging It
I am currently going through a wing phase and I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried every wing place in town, so I am not going to pretend to be a wing expert, but I do know that the Igloo, on Elmwood Dr, has super delicious wings. My fav are their honey garlic, you can get the sauce on the side, but I recommend getting the sauce on the wings. If you’re afraid that the sauce will make them mushy, it doesn’t, they’re still crunchy.
Their official wing night is on Wednesdays, but every night can and should be wing night in my mind.
The Igloo will always have a special place in my heart, it was my dads fav place, he knew and teased all the wait staff, they loved him and he loved them. They are just plain good people and they, and all restaurants and pubs, need our support now more than ever! So eat in or take out.
Also, one mini rant that I will be repeating in my next post. Guess who supports local sports teams and local raffles and auctions for Billy and Mary’s school trip or whatever it is? Small, locally owned businesses like pubs and restaurants!!!! The community is always hitting them up for this or that and they have always been super supportive, they now need us to support them, so check them out on social media, share their specials and tag them when you eat there or take out.
#6 Shop Small
By Shop Small, I mean shop local markets and shops. They really do have the coolest stuff. My favs are those that help support and promote Canadian companies.
I follow The Green Pig on Instagram and they do a great job of posting cool new items. They posted this candle, it’s perfect for gift giving. I bought one as a gift…and one for me, lol. This also proves that social media can help sell your products, it’s an invaluable tool for small businesses.
Other great shops here in Moncton are the Painted Pineapple, Gifts Galore, during the holidays Gifts Galore usually have warm cider for their shoppers. My Home Mercantile and Starving Artist Cafe are also on my regular rotation; side note, I have bought more than one thing from My Home Mercantile after seeing it on their Instagram.
Make a Saturday of it and visit all the cute gift shops in your town. It will for sure get you in a happy festive mood. Oh and if you are boutique/shop hopping in downtown Moncton, stop in at BHome, they have awesome original art and some really cool, unique stuff too, they do all my framing.
These are trying times, I know, I personally love shopping in person and discovering new cool finds, but if you don’t feel safe venturing out, follow local places on social media, order online or order and pick it up.
#7 Cozy Right Picasse Sweatshirts
My lucky number 7 fav things are Chiac and sassy apparel from Dowd Street Studio. I first discovered this company on Instagram, one of my friends in Montreal, Lisa G, posted a few shirts and being from Moncton, home of chiac (a mix of French & English), I knew I needed one.
My Dowd Street collection now includes a t-shirt and two sweatshirts; the sweatshirts are my fav, they feel like they’ve been washed a bunch of times, you know that super soft feeling, that’s how they feel! I also love supporting local woman in business, Dowd Street is one such business. I also love how Moncton women love supporting other women; c’est right cool! 😉
Those are just a few of my favorite things, I think that I am going to start sharing cool items that I am digging on a monthly basis on my FB and Insta pages, so follow me if you are interested in seeing what I am into, @ oui-liette
So go pick up creamy hot chocolate at Tony’s and drink while you shop at My Home Mercantile, BHome and other local shops. Stop in at the Igloo for lunch or take out for supper. Curl up on your couch in your soft Dowd Street sweatshirt, draped in your alpaca blanket from The Mermaids Tale while you watch Kasey Musgrave’s Christmas Special.
Thank you for reading!! Go out there and support local businesses and don’t be a shitty person.
If you liked this one, you may also like this post from last year, it asks the very important question: is naughty so bad?? It’s very deep! lol
Today we are tripping our way to Bouctouche, NB; a super quaint seaside village forty minutes from Moncton.
Day tripping with me are two of my fifty seven cousins, jk, there are only like fifty six of us, lol. Please meet Brigitte and Tania, both are cousins on my dad’s side. Fun fact, growing up I was called Brigitte a LOT during family gatherings. I actually still do, she and I are less than a year apart, I am guessing that’s why? To be fair there were so many of us it was hard to keep us all straight… apparently?
My summer goal is to tour my own province and I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been to the Irving Nature Park in Bouctouche, so today is the day. I’ve been to Bouctouche tones of times, but usually to go to the beach, they have the most amazing warm water beaches!!
So today, my cousins and I are on our way to Bouctouche to be tourists and explore a bit.
The first thing we did as soon as we arrived was eat, obviously!! There are a bunch of places to eat on Main Street. We were craving some Acadian comfort food, so we went to La Sagouine Restaurant, not to be confused with Le Pays de la Sagouine, which is kind of an Acadian theme park, without rides. Sadly it’s been closed due to Covid. If you haven’t been you need to go as soon as it re-opens, it’s an awesome way to soak in some local culture.
Another great way to soak up some Acadian culture is to eat some authentic regional food, which is what we did. The menu above has a lot of Acadian dishes, I’ll translate for those who don’t read French: first is chicken fricot, which is a soup with a spice called summer savory, it’s used a lot in Acadian cuisine. The next item sounds really bad in English, lol, it’s grated potatoes and pork baked in the oven until the edges and top are crispy, it’s soooo good! The next item, crêpe râpée, uses the same potato mixture as the rapé; it’s basically a potato pancake. And the last item is a bar clam pie, which is also to die for!!
We ordered the crêpe râpée, potato pancake, their lobster roll and the seafood casserole. We made sure to save room for their homemade pies, Brigitte wanted to order her dessert first, we told her no. 😬
As you can see Acadian cuisine isn’t exactly light; we waddled to the Irving Nature Park to walk off our lunch.
It was beautiful!! We walked for over an hour, it’s huge! There are areas with picnic tables, there’s a fountain, a play area for kids and beautiful rose gardens; there is something for everyone.
We’ve decided that we are coming back in the fall when the leaves start changing and then back at Christmas time, they put Christmas lights in the huge trees that surround the chapel. Brigitte said that it’s absolutely magical, so we will need to come back.
After our walk we drove down the coast and saw fishing boats, oyster beds and people digging for clams, we call them piss clams, because they shoot out water when you pick them up. These are the type of clams used to make fried clams. We used to go digging clams a lot when we were kids, I haven’t been for decades; I may need to add that to my summer bucket list?
Leaving the Nature Park, we took a left and stayed on the road that follows the water. Our plan was to stop and check out anything that looked interesting; this giant strawberry looked interesting, too bad the u-pick was closed.
Our next stop was at Wood Chuck’s Carvings and Antiques, it was certainly an interesting stop.
They have the most awesome, random things; from old anchors, to antique glassware, vintage hats, to marbles and a giant box filled with old school metal keys.
They also have an amazing view of Bouctouche Bay. I took pics outside while Brigitte tried on vintage hats, we each bought one; now I need to host a special event so we have a place to wear them.
One of the things that I love about living in the Maritimes is seeing fishing buoys strewn across lawns, you don’t see that living in Las Vegas! I am certain some of my desert friends have never even seen a real buoy, they are used by fisherman to mark and identify their traps. The buoys in our area are mostly for lobster traps, our lobster season starts in August.
I got Tania to run out and take a pic of these pink buoys; I’ve never seen pink ones before!!
Then a few kilometres down the road we saw these decorative buoys, I love all the colours.
Had it been super sunny we would have gone to the Dunes for a dip, this cloudy day was perfect for exploring and spending time together.
So that was our day tip, you really should get out there and explore your own area, I am sure there are lots of things that you’ve never gotten around to seeing yet? I am seeing lots of your pictures on social media of you visiting local sights, yay!!
Thank you for reading!!!!! Check out my Instagram and Facebook sites: Oui-Liette. I get thousands of views per blog posts, yay!! But my Instagram page needs some more followers, please?? Lol. I am revamping the look of it a bit.
If you liked this post, you’ll probably love these ones too!
I’ve been noticing that since this dumb pandemic started, there seems to be a lot of new side hustles popping up and a bigger focus on buying locally.
I was really curious about what these side hustlers were doing, why they were doing it and how they were doing, while doing it? Make sense?? Maybe? Lol. Let me introduce you to Bonnie, who makes cakes and treats, Emily who makes funky earrings, Craig who makes beautiful cheese boards and wood stuff and Monique, who will customize pretty much anything you need.
First up is Bonnie, who is Mrs Delicious!
Liette: What made you decide to start your side business?
Bonnie: The idea to start Mrs Delicious as an online bakery definitely came from my close friends and family. They were tasting and seeing all of my creations that I was posting about on social media during the spring and they thought I should offer what I was doing to a wider audience. I guess they thought I had a bit of a gift and thought I should share it.
L: Is this something you had been waiting to do for a while?
B: Haha! Nooooo not at all. I normally have an extremely full schedule and wouldn’t have any room for extras like this. A typical work week for me, pre-pandemic, would consist of anywhere from 50 to 60+ hours of work a week. After a week like that you don’t typically have a lot left to give. Anything I do have left is spent on friends and family. However, at this time, with events on hold, my daily life has changed drastically. I needed a creative outlet and so my friend gave me the extra push I needed, she created a logo for me and I set up a Facebook page and my husband got some stickers made up with my branding and I was off and running.
L: So all the extra time on your hands, because of the pandemic, sparked you to try something new?
B: The pandemic was definitely the instigator for this. I have hardly baked in the past 10 years. I have been concentrating on climbing the corporate ladder and being a Mom to my kids and helping to support my Mom when she was sick. I had a full plate. During the pandemic I turned to the kitchen, it started with a birthday cake for my daughter, then one for my son, then an anniversary cake for my sister and brother in law and it just kept going. I started having a lot of fun with it and trying trickier recipes each time. I was getting so many positive comments on my photos and people started saying, you should do this and sell them. I was very unsure at first but my confidence started to build and the reviews were positive so here I am. Mrs Delicious has been accepting orders for less than a month and I have already had close to 50 orders!
L: I love that story!! Your cakes look absolutely delicious, great name btw, I am waiting for someone’s birthday in order to order one from you. How can people see and order from you?
B:People can order through Facebook at facebook.com/mrsdeliciousdesserts
Post and Studs
Emily’s is an elementary school teacher, who on the side, makes beautiful earrings. She makes them because they let her be creative and they make her happy, she explains that if they make others happy, that is a major bonus! And BTW, I just got a pair and they do make me happy! Mine are hot pink, obvs; here is my chat with Emily.
Liette: What inspired you to start making earrings?
Emily: I’ve always loved creating, aka making a mess. My sister and I started making jewelry as children and it was always something that brought me happy memories. We grew up in an extremely creative household, both of our parents were being creating in some way or another. I’m very thankful to have grown up in an environment that fostered our creativity.
A few Christmases ago, I was making earrings as gifts for loved ones and everyone told me to start selling them. After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to dive in head first!
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business?
E: Having a business was always something that appealed to my creative side, but definitely not my organizational side. It was something I was always interested in, but I am thankful that I can do it at my own pace.
L: Your earrings are beautiful. How long does it take to make one pair?
E: From start to finish, many of the dangles take about four days to fully cure and become ready for your ears! There are quite a few steps involved and this time period can be greatly extended if I make any mistakes. I’ve definitely had to start from scratch on more than one occasion.
L: I bet that it’s been a learning process, not just making them, but marketing yourself?
E: Because it’s my side business, I don’t have the same type of pressure to market myself as many other businesses do. Post and Stud is my creative outlet, and I treat it as such. If it all becomes too stressful, I have the ability to step back and take a break for a few days. This is a privilege I’ve needed and am extremely thankful for. For the most part, I’m able to go with the flow and create relationships with like minded people.
L: How can people see and buy your earrings?
E: They can go to my website: http://www.postandstud.com, my Instagram & Facebook account is @postandstud. My earrings are also available for sale at Sequoia, the Trinity location, The Glow, in Sussex, and Luxe Salon and Spa in Riverview.
I’ve known Craig for a long time, we used to work together many moons ago. I was surprised and impressed when I saw the beautiful charcuterie boards he was posting on Facebook. I knew he was, and still is, an awesome musician, but I had no idea he had mad woodworking skills? It was nice to catch up with him; here’s a bit of our chat.
Liette: I’ve seen the videos you’ve posted online, it’s cool to see a bit of how your boards are made. What motivated you to start your side hustle?
Craig: I had been planning a little side hustle for quite some time. With the lock down and having some extra time it seemed like the perfect time to get started.
L: Did being home during COVID push you to get started?
C: Typically my free time would be focused on making music with my band “Big Bang”, but COVID not allowing for rehearsing I had some spare time to really focus on coming up with some products I wanted to make.
L: What is it about working with wood that you most enjoy?
C: The charcuterie boards I’ve been making came from an apple tree that was in our backyard. I love the three having a completely new life in a completely new form. The cutting boards are made from wood I get from another local business, London Lumber. It’s really like being a kid in a candy store every time I go there. In addition to wood we’ve been prepping to make some concrete products as well, they should be available in the coming months.
L: How can people find and buy your products?
C: Currently my presence is focused on Facebook, bordendesignnb, but I ‘m on Instagram, borden_design, and Twitter, Twitter.com/borden_design, as well. Products and prices can be found on Facebook @bordendesignnb,
Made by Monique
Monique works in early childhood development and is super crafty and creative. She’s started a side company that focuses on custom printing; here’s our chat.
Liette: What inspired you to start your little side hustle?
Monique: I love being crafty and creating things, so after receiving my Cricut (fancy adhesive cutter and printer) as a Christmas gift, I started experimenting with it and watching YouTube videos, A LOT of videos! After trying a couple of different things, I realized I was more interested in designing shirts, onesies, hoodies, etc…
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business? What made you say, I am going to do it?
M: I’ve always loved the idea of having my own little side business that I would fully run myself, so that would be a yes! Once I had mastered designing and applying heat transfer vinyl on a wide variety of fabrics, I decided to invest in a few other important accessories and advertise on social media.
L: What’s been one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to deal with so far?
M: A challenge I’ve had to deal with would definitely be the Christmas rush! It’s generally a busy time of the year in general, but with the added to-do list of getting all the custom orders ready before Christmas, it was a little extra busy for me. Even though it was a big stressful, I am SO thankful that I received so many orders!
L: So maybe we can put it out there now, in the summer, that people should start thinking of their custom Christmas Stockings, Tree Skirts and baby onesies now? lol?
M: That would be great to get orders as early as possible!
L: How can people see your work and order from you?
M: I have photos of almost all my work posted on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/customizedbymonique and also my Instagram account: customizedbymonique. For order simply send me a message via my FB page and I will get back to you!
I am so impressed with all these side hustlers their stories are inspiring and have a few common threads. One is that they are all doing something that they love and that fulfills their creative side, that’s so important, we all need creative outlets. And they are all using social media to promote and sell their goods. I think that social media gets a bad wrap; and rightfully so at times. My advice to those finding social media toxic is to do some major cleaning up!
You’re allowed to unfollow and unfriend anyone who is causing you anxiety. Replace them with local small businesses and services. I recently started following the hashtags #moncton, #newbrunswick and a few others and I have discovered so many neat things about my region.
Social media is the most valuable tool for small/local businesses…oh and for bloggers too, lol.
Thank you for reading!! Start following these awesome side hustlers on FB and Insta!!
As a bonus adding links to my last two links, they highlight local businesses. One is a nursery and the other a glamping site…you’re welcome!!
If you live in Canada, you know how precious and short our summers can be. Before you know it the leaves will be changing and fall will be upon us. In order to make the most out of summer, let’s make a list of all the summer things we want to do and then let’s get out there and do them!
Here’s my list, let me know what’s on yours.
1. Camping or Glamping
So camping hasn’t historically been my thing, but I just went on my first glamping trip and I loved it! There is some sort of camping for everyone, some like roughing it, some meh…not so much, lol. Whatever your preference, get out there and do it!! Even better, do it locally so that you can help support your respective communities that have been hit hard by the shut downs. Also all the cool places that are usually booked a year in advance may now have some openings, as less people are able to travel?
2. Beaching or Laking (yes, I make up words, deal with it).
I’ve discovered that my soul needs to be immersed in large bodies of water; it’s my happy place. True story, when I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be a mermaid.
I’ve been to the beach several times and I hope to be many more before the summer is over. I’ve expanded my horizons a bit lately and have been to a river and a lake.
We are so fortunate to live so close to amazing beaches, rivers and lakes, yet some don’t make time to enjoy them. Get out there! Live a little.
Here is my recommendation, I am going to call a friend and make a date to do it too, since weekends can be so busy, let’s make a date to meet a friend for lunch in a local park. You bring the sandwiches and have your friend bring the dessert or drinks, so it’s easier. It’s a great way to catch up, reconnect and get some fresh air. It’s also a great stress reliever and break in during a busy week.
Another option is lunch at a Food Truck, this can technically count as a picnic! And it’s supporting a local business.
4. Drive in
Drive ins are just plain fun and they’re the perfect way to socially distance. We have two drive ins in my area, one of them have been showing retro scary movies on Thursday nights. My friend Dawn and I are scary movie friends, we both like watching them, usually through our fingers that our covering our eyes, lol. We have just made plans to go this week, the are showing the original Amityville Horror movie…yikes! I’ll post some pics on my oui-liette Facebook page of our movie night.
5. Day Tripping
For this goal, get in your car and drive. Drive to the city or town closest to where you live, go for lunch, walk around, browse local shops and markets; take pictures and just explore.
The four Atlantic provinces have just opened up to each other, which is perfect for day tripping. I have a few day trips planned for the next few weekends, I love road trips! Go out there and make some family memories.
6. Farmers Marketing (the act of visiting a farmer’s market)
This one is so important; I feel like our collective goal should be to visit farmers markets at least a few times a month. This could be a traditional farmers market with a bunch of local vendors or go to the an actual real farm!
We just spent the weekend in Waterborough, NB and shopped at a local strawberry farm market, I got the yummiest jams. I’ve also recently been to The Green Pig and bought a bunch of fresh stuff there.
Go to local u-picks, buy direct from farms! I am already planning my apple picking trip to Verger Belliveau Orchards… ok my mini shop local rant is over, moving on.
7. I Scream for Ice Cream!
This is an easy summer goal that doesn’t have to be super complicated or cost a lot of money. I’ve been doing maybe a bit too much screaming for ice cream lately?
On the next hot day, find an ice cream partner and go to your neighborhood pop up ice cream hut. You may as well splurge for an extra scoop. Or go buy a tub of locally made ice cream and make a fancy Sunday at home; either option will be good enough to check this one off your list.
There is a theme to all my bucket list goals, it’s to slow down and take some time to relax and spend time with your loved ones or just alone time. This is a perfect excuse to do that.
Put your phone down, but keep it close tough, because you’re going to want to take a pic of your bonfire, obviously, lol. Take time to sit and look at your roaring fire, sing some cheesy campfire songs and roast some marshmallows!
Before you bonfire, make sure that your area is green enough to safely do so. We’ve been under a strict fire band for most of the summer, but we just had some rain, so we able to fire it up!!
9. BBQ but make it fancy!
This one is super easy, so I am adding a level of difficulty to it; make your next BBQ a bit fancy by dressing up your table.
Here’s an easy and inexpensive idea, use fruits and greenery as a centerpiece. I am going to try this at my next BBQ. I’ll post my photos on my oui-liette Facebook page, like my page for updates.
Another easy way to fancy it up is to add a big bouquet of wildflowers to your patio table, send me your pics!!
10. Be a tourist in your hometown
I try to be a tourist in my own region at least once a summer. I try to visit all the touristy places that people come here from away to see, but locals rarely go.
It’s fun to explore your local region and pretend that you’re a tourist, you can even buy a tacky t-shirt, live a little!!
I recently climbed up the giant lobster in Shediac, NB. I hadn’t done that in probably 20 years or more, it made me laugh, which is the whole point. What giant thing is your town or area know for? Whatever it is, go take a touristy pic in front of it; I dare you!
Thanks for reading! I am currently working on revamping my Instagram page, go check it out! And I’ll add additional pics on my Oui-Liette Facebook page once I check off more items off this list; so go like my page and gram page if you haven’t already!!
Thank you! Muah!
If you want to read more, here is a link of a funny one; Funny Things A Maritimer Misses When They Leave, I wrote this one when I was living in Las Vegas.
At Home With Stacey And Liette (me); Fancy Pantries.
This is the last post of my, At Home With, series for a bit. They’ve gotten a lot of readers so I will do more; maybe we can peek into people’s homes at Christmas time??
For our finale, let’s peek into some fancy pantries. First up is my friend Stacey’s pantry; she and I love to do fancy things together, it usually involves shopping, but today we’ll be touring our pantries.
Stacey and her family have a gorgeous home, but her pantry is a real hidden gem. If you’re in her kitchen and the doors are closed you would never suspect that there’s an amazing pantry there.
Beautiful kitchen right? Wait for it.
Voilà!! Oh and this is Finn, he’s the sweetest dog ever; I’m pretty sure his dog treats are in the pantry, so he’s on guard duty.
Her walk in pantry has floor to ceiling storage, the layout was very well thought out.
Stacey and I agree that one of the best parts of having a big pantry is that you can hide your small appliances in them.
In addition to all the regular pantry stuff, Stacey keeps her pottery mugs that she has collected from her travels, they are just above her fancy coffee machine. She has pottery from the Maritime all the way to Iceland, from her most recent trip. When traveling, why buy tacky touristy stuff, when you can support local artists? That was rhetorical, there is no reason not to, lol.
Her pantry is filled with beautiful wooden bowls, family pieces and pottery, each item has a story; I absolutely love that about her home.
And during the peak of the pandemic lock down, she joked that the most valuable thing in her pantry was her husband’s jar of yeast.
At Home With Liette
Stacey’s home is on the outskirts of town, it overlooks the city. My home is downtown in the heart of the city; OK it’s a small city, but still, I’m in the heart of it!
I am not going to lie that my pantry is what sealed the deal for my new place. The owner kept telling me it’s perfect for entertaining….I finally had to speak up and let him know who he was dealing with; events and party planner extraordinaire! Sooo he didn’t seem impressed, but I am sure he was blown away on the inside, he was just playing it cool, lol.
Apparently the “new thing” in pantries are sinks; it’s called a wet pantry, who knew? It maybe the most practical thing ever?
So this is my pantry/laundry room/craft closet. What I love most about having a pantry with a sink and a door is that when entertaining, you can store all the messy stuff in there and bring it out when needed. It’s also great to have a place for my toaster and other stuff, so it’s not cluttering my kitchen counter space.
The right side of the pantry is my laundry area; and all the way from Las Vegas is Lucille the cow; she helps me with my laundry. She’s great at folding, but horrible at putting clothes away.
I have so much storage in here that some of my kitchen cupboards are empty. The cabinet to the left of my toaster oven is where I keep all my craft and party stuff…and my skates.
Someone asked me what I kept in the orange boxes above my spice jars and where I got them? They are the boxes that my Nova Scotia Crystal glasses came in; they were too pretty and sturdy to throw away. I keep can goods and food stuff in them. Most of my glass jars are from IKEA.
Can you tell I bought myself a label maker?? To say that I went label crazy when I first got it would be a gross understatement. When I moved I assumed that my pantry would turn into a catch all, but it stays really neat. That saying; a place for everything and everything in its place, rings true.
Thank you for reading, if you missed any of my other; At Home With…, scroll down to read them.
Coming up – I am working on a few fun projects; more decorating, some day trips and believe it or not, I am working on some content for fall. I’m taking advantage of this time off; and if I was working I would be planning all my fall shows, so it seems normal for me to work that far ahead, lol.
Thank you Stacey and Finn for letting us peek into your pantry.
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In this post I would like to highlight a few local businesses who are trying to make the best out of a really difficult situation; they’re trying to make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons…or lemon drop martinis; yes some are making really, really strong lemons drop martinis!!
For the last 6 weeks, I’ve been socially distancing in my downtown Moncton apartment feeling a bit lost and helpless. I’ve tried my best to create positive, entertaining and who are we kidding, sometimes super silly, blog posts to share with my readers.
And as everyone else, I’ve probably been spending too much time on social media? And although there are lots of Debbie Downers out there; I’ve felt a lot of pride being back home in my native province watching my fellow New Brunswickers being so compassionate, resilient and downright scrappy!
Please note that these are just a handful of local businesses. My goal for this summer is to visit every inch of our beautiful province; if you have recommendations of things I need to experience, please let me know. I will also be making trips to PEI and NS once we are allowed to cross borders.
And lastly, I am not getting any freebies from anyone mentioned in this post; the last thing any of our local businesses need right now are people hitting them up for free stuff. OK, let’s get started!
Blue Roof Distillers
When you’re able to make vodka out of potatoes, making lemonade out of lemons seems like it would be fairly easy right? That’s exactly what Blue Roof Distillers are currently doing.
Like so many local businesses they were looking for creative ways to stay busy and keep their staff employed,during this pandemic; while also helping the local community. The solution was to convert part of their distillery to make sanitizer, which has been in short supply lately; their nimbleness is helping to keep our front line workers safe and germ free.
The Strang family started farming in in New Brunswick in 1855; six generations later they are one of Atlantic Canada’s premier potato suppliers.
Devon Strang, Founder/CEO of Blue Roof Distillers, explains the uniqueness of their production; “Our process is unique in every way, Blue Roof Handcrafted Spirits are made from scratch using whole potatoes. Recipes are tailored to the raw materials available lowering the ecological footprint of the farm. Potatoes that are too small to market are now destined for the distillery. The mash, after being distilled, is then gifted to local farmers for livestock feed. The Strang family is proud to be able to offer value-added spirits that are distinguishable different than others on the market. The distillery produces all of its own alcohol and does not blend any commercial ethanol into its process.”
I love the history and the story of the Strang Family Farm and their evolution over 6 generations. I think we really need to be mindful of where our food, and vodka, comes from and we need to support our local farms!
You can purchase their spirits at NB Liquor; please refer to their website for more information on their products and also on how to order their sanitizer.
Blue Roof Distillers are located on the South-East edge of NB, directly off the Trans Canada Hwy, 4144 Route 16, in Malden.
They offer Tours and Tastings at their distillery. I will be booking a tour as soon as we are free to roam and will blog about it, of course.
I couldn’t help but notice that they have a Gin Soda Citrus Blast mixed drink, which goes perfectly with my lemon/citrus theme. So I needed to buy one and have a little taste test; I mean it would probably be irresponsible not to? It was really yummy and refreshing!
Some restaurants are doing their best to keep as many of their staff employed by offering curbside or delivery meals. One such business is Gusto Italian Grill & Bar, located at 130 Westmorland Street, here in Moncton. As they scrambled to get their takeout only operation up and running; they realized that they had fridges full of homemade cheesecakes, just begging to be eaten.
As a small gesture of gratitude to the local hospital staff, owner Brett Judson, decided to make special deliveries to both Moncton hospitals. Keeping it in the family, he recruited his teenage children to cut and package hundreds of pieces of cheesecake.
Gusto is now open for business from 4pm to 8pm daily; orders can be placed by calling the restaurant directly and picking up your order curbside; or you can also order via Skip the Dish and have it delivered.
Check their Facebook and Instagram for their daily curb side specials. My current fav so far is Pasta Mondays! They’ve also just started weekly food boxes, they are an amazing value! All of their specials are listed on their Facebook and Instagram sites.
In case you didn’t know, Gusto’s make the best cheesecakes, like ever!! The one below is their Lemon Cheesecake and it’s to die for! They also have an amazing gluten free Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake; it’s actually my favorite and I don’t even have gluten issues.
The Zesty Lemon
The Zesty Lemon is a cheerful gem, located at 535 Somerset St, in Saint John; who’s lunchtime rush disappeared overnight once the social distancing rules were put in place. They had to take a serious look at their business model and adapt quickly; their solution was to focus on delicious & nutritious meals, ready for pick up.
What I love about their menu in particular are the family sized dinners. Their Roasted Chicken Dinner for 4 comes with a roasted chicken, roasted rosemary potatoes, carrots, gravy and 2 French baguettes. Oh, I also love their flatbread pizzas…and their soups…
With lots of us working from home and homeschooling, having someone else prepared a healthy, home cooked meal is a treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
If you’re in the Saint John area, please give them a try.
Ali is a mother of two, an early education educator and a photographer. I met Ali a few months ago; she photographed me before this whole pandemic thing started. She’s the perfect example of a scrappy New Brunswicker who’s resourceful enough to make the sweetest lemonade from a bunch of lemons.
Sadly, in order to comply with the social distancing rules, Ali had to cancel her scheduled appointments. As she sat home, she wondered if perhaps her photographs could bring some joy to others and also help our community in some meaningful way? She found a perfect way to accomplish both! She was inspired by a photographer in Massachusetts who started photographing families on their front steps. She decided to do the same with her neighbors, at a super safe distance away of course.
When I saw her post her first few sessions online, I thought they were super cute family pics. But as time passed, I started seeing them differently; or perhaps, like so many things these days, I was seeing the deeper meaning? These family porch sessions are amazing time capsules that will forever serve to document this moment in time when the world briefly came to a standstill and we rediscovered the importance of family.
Each portrait is unique and shows the personality of the family being photographed. And in lieu of payment, Ali has been suggesting that her porch families make a donation to Crossroads for Woman.
In these times of struggle, we all suffer, but we don’t all suffer equally. If you are able, please donate to your favorite charity. I am certain it is needed more than you can imagine.
B HOME is located at 333 St George Street in Moncton. I’ve been a customer of theirs for a long time. I support them because I feel that they are true artists and not just a framing place that frame art. You’ll get their artist vibe when you visit their store, once we are allowed back out.
I was a little surprised when I heard that they would be offering curb side service, because I wasn’t really sure how that would work logically; but guess what? It works!
Here are the three easy steps:
Step 1 – Call them to make arrangements for drop off or to have your art piece picked up; I just dropped off a new piece to them last week.
Step 2 – Is a video consultation session. What I found very cool, was that I could show Marc a bit of my home; he got to see my style and aesthetic. I showed him where I hung the last piece he did for me; who knew that BHome would be in my home? Well virtually anyway.
The consultation consisted of him showing me a few options; as he would have done in his store. We successfully chose a mat and frame that I am absolutely in love with!!
Step 3 – Pick up your framed piece!
This is the piece that they are currently framing for me. The mat options above look red, but they are hot pink; I ended up choosing the gold frame. The painting was a birthday gift from my super talented sister-in-law. I can’t wait to see the finished piece. I’ll post pics on my oui-liette Instagram and oui-liette Facebook accounts, if you want to see it when done.
Another fun option, that many may not be aware of, is that if you can drop off an existing frame and your art and they can custom cut a mat for you. This is very economical without having to give up that professional customized look.
B HOME has the coolest Instagram account and stories, you need to follow them!
To close out this post I reached out to the Mayor of Moncton, Dawn Arnold, for her thoughts on how we are doing as a community in these challenging times; turns out she couldn’t be prouder of us!
“I’ve been so amazed by the ingenuity, creativity and innovation that Monctonians are showing right now. Everything from the non-profits that are coming together to ensure that all the kids who participated in the school lunch programs are receiving lunches daily to Co-Pain that has taken their amazing bakery on-line to Notre Dame de Parkton, who now have weekly “box” filled with local products. The City has responded so swiftly and responsibly to this pandemic and I think that will set up well in the post-COVID future.”
“This has given us all an interesting opportunity to slow things down a bit, to think through priorities and how we want to be when we get back to “normal”; and what we want that “normal” to look like. During a time when nothing seems certain, I prefer to think of this as a time when anything is possible…no one would have believed that oil producers would be paying people to take barrels off their hands! If this is possible, truly, anything is possible!”
Thank you to the Mayor and to the businesses who are letting me share their stories. I do believe that New Brunswickers are resilient AF; we’ve had to learn how to pivot…pivot! More than a few times in our past and I have no doubt that we will get through this challenge as well.
We’re leading the country at kicking COVID’s butt after all. We will get through this by leaning on each other and by being kind to each other, which seems to come naturally to us.
I hope this post inspires you to seek out local businesses and service providers; let’s make supporting them a new habit. And maybe, once we are free to roam, let’s roam all over this beautiful province! We should also share the love with PEI and NS too, they’re pretty awesome as well.
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Behind the scenes
I was inspired by my lemon them to ditch my signature pink color, temporarily, for this cheery yellow and I am kinda digging it!
Here are a few pics from my photo shoot with Ali. We had planned to shoot while it was snowing, but Mother Nature in the Maritimes won’t be bossed around! It started to snow, those beautiful, big fluffy flakes, 20 min after we finished.
I’m a visual person; before I start writing any of my posts I need a theme or a vibe to inspire me. I was looking for an angle for this, support local, post when I happened upon this cheerful house in Sunny Brae with bright yellow doors!
Thanks to Mylène and her family for letting us use their house as our backdrop! She and her wife have a really cool neighborhood Instagram page: wherethepheasantsroam. Which just happens to be my old hood; check them out, they seem to have a cool bicycle gang!! Lol
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.
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.
I seriously laughed out loud when I saw this very Maritime take on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls!
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.
Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!
For more pics and quickies, follow me on Facebook @oui-Liette
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 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.
Here are a few of the great things we found!
Nick The Dutch Baker had amazing treats!!
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.
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).
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!!
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!
From cookies to cranberries, this small Christmas Market had it all!!
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