Thursday, July 28, 2016

Three Thieves

Country: USA (California)
Varietal: Pinot Grigio
Vintage: 2014
Price: $16 range

Why did I decide to try this wine? The named the label say it all... I spotted this wine and couldn't pass it without buying a bottle.

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? Unfortunately, a glass. Unfortunately because I love the description on the bottle, the name and the look of the wine. The description on the bottle reads: "This is the tale of the master, the hustler, and the dreamer. Three rogues whose love for the vine is rivalled only by their belief that great wine is not a pleasure reserved for kings, but rather a privilege of life."

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? Uma perforated suede ankle boot by Michael Kors

How would I describe the wine? It smells like cotton candy and is dry with a tangy after-taste. The smell and the taste of the wine really don not match. I don't love this wine, but have to say the more I drank of it the more i enjoyed it. I think this wine would be very good with a meal.


Monday, July 25, 2016

DIY Paper Pinwheels

My brother is getting married in 2 months minus 1 day! On top of regular wedding planning stuff, this means that we are in full "wedding event" mode - bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, you name it.

Yesterday, my Mama and I kicked off the festivities by hosting a bridal shower for his fiancé (let's call her "V"). Before getting into the paper pinwheels you should know a little more about this future sister-in-law of mine to really appreciate the theme and decor of the bridal shower. V is a happy-go-lucky gal that loves to dance, is up for anything, will kick your butt in any fitbit challenge and someone who brings a positive energy with her everywhere she goes. She loves popcorn, softball, sea-dooing, kayaking, dancing (so much its worth mentioning again), and my brother. He is one lucky guy!

Because V loves popcorn we decided to go with a carnival theme for her bridal shower. All of the decorations were based around the popcorn booth... the rest just kept coming and coming. Pinterest gave us so many ideas it was challenging to narrow them down - thankfully, as we planned things, made decorations, etc. everything fell into place and some ideas seemed impossible to leave out while others became easier to overlook. 
carnival party

Paper Pinwheels quickly sky rocketed to the top of the list! I mean, how fun are these things?! They look amazing and I knew right away they would make a perfect "picture" to replace the picture that was originally on the wall in V's house.
paper pinwheels

Here is how to make Paper Pinwheels:

What you will need:
12" x 12" square scrapbooking paper
scissors
string
scotch tape

It is important to use square paper... the size doesn't really matter, it all depends on how big you want your pinwheel to be in the end.

Step 1: Fan fold each sheet of paper then fold the fan folded paper in half.

                  
Step 2: Place each sheet of paper wrong side up with the centrefolds meeting together. Tie a piece of string around the centre to secure the two sheets of paper (now fans) together.
Step 3: Carefully stretch the fans to meet the edges of the fan next to it and secure them together with scotch tape. There are many tutorials that suggest using double sided tape, glue or staples... I tried all of the methods and found scotch tape to be the easiest, fastest and to help the paper together the best. Even if the scotch tape is on the "good" side, don't worry... it doesn't show when the final product is ready.
And, voila! you made a paper pinwheel! One you get the hang of this it will take only a few minutes to make each one. I made a whole bunch of them in order to have enough to cover a large painting. These would also be great to hang from the ceiling or mount individually if you ceilings and walls permit.
DIY Paper Pinwheels
These were a huge hit at the bridal shower and made an awesome decoration. I will be making them again I'm sure!

My shoes for that: Michael Kors Berkley T-strap Silver Heels - because a certain bride-to-be will be wearing these to walk down the aisle in 2 months minus 1 day!













Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jacob's Creek Classic

Producer: Jacob's Creek Wines Barossa Valley Way
Country: Australia
Varietal: Pinot Grigio

Vintage: 2014
Price: $12.79

Why did I decide to try this wine? You can't go wrong with wines from Australia... 

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? bottle.

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? While drinking this wine it felt like it would be garden party appropriate and as a wine with the name "classic" in it can only be paired with classic shoes. Louboutin Mary Janes ('Charlene Pumps'),  these are at the top of my wish list!

How would I describe the wine? This wine smells like fresh air and has a dry aftertaste. I would describe the flavour as a "true white wine". That likely doesn't tell you very much, unless you know my wine pallet very well, so here is what the bottle has to say: "fresh lemon & pear flavours with green apple notes." I didn't get the citrus or apple taste at all...but maybe you will!


Photo Credit: Closet Confections Blog via Pinterest

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grande-Anse, New Brunswick

A small town with a big lighthouse! Grande-Anse is the gateway to the Acadian Peninsula - a region in north eastern New brunswick rich in culture, seafood and nature.

If you are looking for a perfect place for a picnic or a stop at the beach or a walk along the shoreline, Grande-Anse is the perfect stop.
             
We visited Grande-Anse in early April (2016) as a bit of a road trip... see the sights and show off the New Brunswick scenery to my in-laws. It was early in the spring so the grass wasn't green yet, but we still made the best of the situation and were able to get some pretty good pictures.
   
This is sure to be one of many road trips to the Acadian Peninsula! 

My shoes for that: hiking shoes... like these for example.

Monday, July 18, 2016

10 things you can do with a baby on your back

Some people love baby carriers and wraps, while others don't seem to use them at all. I fall in the middle ground... I didn't use a wrap or sling with my little dude, but as he got older (3 months or so) I started using a carrier to go for walks on nice winter days, around the house on those fussy afternoons and every now and then when a stroller wasn't the best option. At that time I was carrying him on the front of me with him facing me. This is really the only option I could see for the carrier I have; he would have been too small for anything else and certainly could not have been on my back at that stage. 

I really enjoyed being able to walk around the house and having some relief on my back and some use of my hands while carrying him on my front. However, I was not comfortable to do anything too major while carrying him on the front of me. Cooking seemed hazardous and trail walking dangerous as I couldn't see my feet very well... so, when we took the next step and switched to carrying my little dude on my back it opened up a whole new world of carrying opportunities!

Carrying my little dude on my back is much more my style (and his). Neither of us are very cuddly, so now we can "snuggle" and do stuff at the same time. Most of the "things to do" on my list are household chores, but let's be honest... when your little one is fussy and wants to be held, stuff around the house can only wait for so many days before it needs to get done. Side Note: I worded this carefully, since the Mr. does ALOT around the house and would call this a false post if I said things needed to get done everyday... he knows me better than that and knows that if I can't sweep the floors in a day I will still sleep well that night and try again the next day. Second Side Note: The picture to your left...me with no make up, messy hair, but a smiling little dude - what #momlife is all about!

And here it is... 10 things you can do with a baby on your back:
  1. Sweep/Swiffer the floors - washing the floor is really challenging!
  2. Dishes
  3. Laundry - if you have stackable machines this doubles as a workout!
  4. Light Exercise - lunges, squats, arm exercises... this should really read as "heavy exercise" since you have an extra 20 lbs or so on your back!
  5. Online shopping
  6. Walk - on the beach, on trails, etc.
  7. Go get the mail - seems simple, but it's one of those things I always forget to do
  8. Cooking - cutting/prepping food as well as cooking it
  9. Dance Party
  10. Blogging - this post may have been written with my little dude on my back, haha ;)
My shoes for that: Indoor sneakers (like little kids going to gym class) or barefoot! 



Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Beach House

Country: South Africa 
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2015
Price: $12.79

Why did I decide to try this wine? The name speaks for itself. This wine has been calling my name for some time now, and yet I was always hesitant to buy it. For some weird reason I had it in my mind that I didn't like ones from South Africa... was I ever wrong!

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? bottle.

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? My "go to" shoes for around the house (which in my case is at the beach) are always Old Navy Flip Flops, so for that reason I think wearing casual flip flops and sipping oaths wine would be delightful.

How would I describe the wine? This wine is light and really tastes like you are sitting on a beach house deck. My over-all description would be: "summer in a glass".

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eat Dessert First

My achilles heel is dessert. Specifically - ice cream, squares and fudge. 

The past week has been really hectic travelling to several locations, trying to keep my little dude on his schedule/happy all while preparing for my soon to be sister-in-law's bridal shower, attending a wedding, visiting friends and trying to lose the last of the baby weight. The more you get to know about me, the more you will know that as much as I try to eat healthy and exercise regularly I can easily be led astray by ice cream, squares and fudge!

My mother-in-law makes the best squares and fudge in the world! You can ask anyone in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and you will get the exact same review. I am not sure what she does differently, but she makes them better than anyone else! No exaggeration...

Last week was not great for weight loss, but it sure was tasty! Here are the recipes for you to also indulge in:

Enjoy!

My shoes for that: Premium Ice Cream Flats (Aren't these amazing?!)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Appellations

A few weeks ago, while attending my girlfriend's bachelorette party, I met Moira. Moira operates UNWINED... check out the website for more information and possibly to book your own wine tasting party! I realized at the party that although I have enjoyed consuming wine for a number of years now I wouldn't say that I ever took the time to fully appreciate it or understand it. 

This has all changed since attending the interactive wine tasting party Moira hosted that was both fun and educational. She gave us "regular" wine drinkers that opportunity to taste (properly), smell and come up with all kinds of crazy descriptions for the aromas and flavours the delighted our senses. This experience has been the source of my "smell test" for the wines I  have described for you (in my own way) throughout these wine o'clock posts.

Besides learning about acidity, alcohol levels, bubbles, etc. my favourite take-a-way from the wine tasting party was learning what Appellations are. "An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown..." - Wikipedia. One of the appellations I have already featured at wine o'clock is Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay is the first wine appellation for Nova Scotia wine and is a variety that I really enjoy. Each winery makes their version of Tidal Bay a little bit different from that of their neighbour and that is what I love about it - tasting them all brings a sense of familiarity and yet uniqueness all at the same time. My favourite Tidal Bay so far is from Luckett Vineyards and was my inaugural wine o'clock post. Check it out if you missed it! Stay tuned for more Tidal Bay tastings coming soon.

Full disclosure: when asked at the party what an appellation was I promptly answered (positive I knew what I was talking about) that "appellations are a mountain range, you know like the appellation trail in northern NB, Quebec and Labrador" . I was VERY wrong! At least I gave everyone a good laugh... hahaha.

My shoes for that: Bow fancy flip flips - perfect for the beach or vineyard touring.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cabot Trail in a Day

The world famous Cabot Trail is a scenic drive everyone should take the time to do at least once in their lifetime. If you only have a day, love to eat delicious food and want to see "everything" - this  is post for you!

In order to do the trail comfortably in a day you will begin your trip from somewhere in Cape Breton... the typical beginning/end of the trail is in Baddeck. Lucky for me, Baddeck is the Mr.'s hometown! There are many places to stay (The Silver Dart Lodge, Telegraph House and the Dunlop Inn to name a few). Once you have your starting point, you are ready to begin the journey around the Trail!
  • Leave Baddeck in the morning and head toward Englishtown - before arriving in Englishtown you will have the option to turn toward the Gaelic College in St. Ann or continue a bit further and cross the ferry. We cross the ferry... for a few reasons: 1) It's a cable ferry and so kind of a neat thing to go on if you have never done so before and 2) the ferry boat itself is named after the Mr.'s great grandfather! How cool is that?! So there is a bit of nostalgia behind crossing the ferry for us and it would feel wrong to avoid it.
  • The Clucking Hen / Butter Tarts
  • Next stop is The Clucking Hen café & bakery - even if you have already eaten breakfast you have to stop! My mandatory purchases include butter tarts (at least 6... I mean you will get hungry along the drive, might have to share, etc.) and oat cakes. They also give out little cards with the recipe for their oat cakes, so be sure to pick up a copy. Almost across the street from The Clucking Hen is a glass store (I forget the name, but its in a large house... there is a sign!) This place is worth stopping at as well. There are many neat hand-crafted items perfect for gifts or a treat for yourself. If you are lucky you will even get to see something being made in the workshop while you're there.
  • Now that you've had a snack and are back in the car, buckle up for a longer stretch of driving. Enjoy the views and make your way up Cape Smokey, commonly known as Smokey Mountain. This is by far the scariest part of the drive! Going up the mountain as a passenger (as I always am) you have the pleasure of feeling as though you might fall off a cliff at any given moment as you follow the winding road to the top. Once you reach the top, it's time for your next rest stop. Get out of the car, catch your breath and walk a little into the trails. This is the first major photo opportunity so get out your selfie stick and snap a few! 
  • Your next stop will be in Ingonish. Sometimes we stop at the beach for a few minutes (if you have never touched the Atlantic Ocean, this would be a good opportunity to do so!), however, we usually stop at the Keltic Lodge. You will see it from the road and can follow signs to it very easily. From here you will get panoramic views or the coastline, the beach and of course the beautiful grounds at the Lodge. By now, you are likely ready for lunch. Well, hold that thought for the next stop along our journey!
  • It's time! Time for lunch and the best chowder there is... this is not a joke, I have tried A LOT of chowder in my day and this chowder really is the best! Stop in Neil's Harbour and drive to the the end of the road where you will find The Chowder House. The test of your self-control will be when you see the menu... yes, I know everything looks and smells amazing, but trust me, get the chowder!
                        
  • Now that everyone has a full belly, drive to Cape North and turn on Bay Saint Lawrence road where you are now heading off the Cabot Trail for a small detour. This part is not mandatory and we don't do it every trip around the Trail, but the view is quite spectacular. Drive to end of the road (even if you feel like you are lost or heading to the end of the earth, haha) until you arrive at a very small town called Meat Cove which is located at the most northern tip of Cape Breton Island. There is a campground which is a perfect place to stop for a few pictures before heading back out onto the main Trail.
  • Now that you are back on the main Trail - you are likely ready to open those butter tarts you bought earlier! Savour each bite and enjoy as you drive up and down a few mountains and possibly stop for a few photo-ops at some of the look out points.
  • My favourite look-out stop is coming up next! You will begin to see the coastline again and will pass by signs for the Sky Line Trail... Side Note: You won't have time in one day to take in the Sky Line Trail, but your next trip around the Trail, this is worth making time for! At the bottom of French Mountain, just before you arrive in Cheticamp you will see my favourite  look-out. Stop here! Take a deep breath. Yes, it really is that beautiful! Second Side Note:  I didn't include a picture here on purpose! You need to see it for yourself!
  • Once you arrive in Cheticamp you have 3 things to do: 1) If you have run out of butter tarts, stop at Aucoin's Bakery to restock on some tasty homemade baked goods. 2) Decide if you are hungry for dinner yet... if yes, stop at Wabo's and grab a slice of pizza. If no, check if you will make it to The Dancing Goat before it closes for the evening and wait for the next stop. 3) Stop at Flora's and buy a souvenir.
  • You are now on the last leg of the race... as you drive through Margaree enjoy the view and be sure to stop at The Dancing Goat if it's still open by the time you arrive. And really, even if you're not hungry, get a loaf of bread for tomorrow, some scones, etc. You will thank me later.
  • And now, after a fun-filled day of exploring and eating you will arrive back in the Baddeck area.
We have gone around the Trail many times, and although the scenery remains much the same, driving the route in different seasons will change the feel entirely... try a day trip in early October to see the leaves changing colours in the fall for example! One of the great things about the Cabot Trail, is that if you ask ten people what to do, where to stop and what to eat you will likely get ten different answers - all that really means is no matter how you decide to do the Trail you can't go wrong as long as you're doing it!

I hope you loved your day trip around the Cabot Trail as much as we do! 

My Shoes for that: Birkenstock Mayari Sandal

Monday, July 4, 2016

My First Mother's Day

I always thought of Mother's Day in the same way I think of Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve... holidays that we celebrate because we are "supposed" to but not because we really want to. I mean, I love receiving something pretty on Valentine's Day or going to a NYE party, but can't a girl get something pretty any day of the year from her significant other the same way she could party with a countdown to midnight any night we all wanted to? I am not against these holidays I just never really understood why everything should be so expensive for things we could all do any other day... anyhow, I digress.

My First Mother's DayAlthough I have had a reason my entire life to appreciate Mother's Day, this year felt like the first time it mattered to me. Now, I too am a mom and I waited anxiously with anticipation for the day, almost like a child does Christmas morning. Thankfully, I was not disappointed! When we arrived at our friend's house Friday evening for our weekend visit these flowers were the decoration in our room to greet me. I was over-the-moon excited!

And then, finally on Sunday morning, I was awakened by the smell of a fabulous brunch being prepared after sleeping until 9am! A 9am wake up call is virtually unheard of as a mom of a then 6 month old, so this was really a fantastic start to the day. I was given a necklace that featured a family tree from my boys (The Mr. and Little Dude) and spent the day with both of them. It was really a fantastic, low-key, better than I could have asked for First Mother's Day

My First Mother's Day
The real part of this story begins here however. I had a great day and am thankful for that, but I also felt guilty for not appreciating Mother's Day more in the past. Since Little Dude has arrived, I have such a huge appreciation for my mom and really, all mothers. The amount that they put up with at home in the run of a 24 hour shift all while keeping the house in order, keeping everyone happy and keeping a smile (no matter how fake) on their faces absolutely amazes me. And just when that 24 shift ends, they get back at it and start the next 24 hour shift without any breaks or sick days. Most of us are fortunate to have husbands, wives, or someone in our lives that makes these 24 hour shifts possible and believe me when I say every mom out there is incredibly thankful for you!

My mom is the mom that makes being a mother look effortless. She will do anything for everyone else EVERY TIME and never look for anything in return - she shows up within a moments notice to help, leaves when you hint to her because you just need some alone time, makes dinner for us (yes, all her babies and their significant others) any night just to get the family together, will go for multiple walks a day to help us all stay active and healthy, and really she is quite simply the most amazing Domestic Engineer there is. She keeps everything and everyone going smoothly 24/7/365 days a year. Last, but certainly not least, watching her as "Nanny" (what my Little Dude knows her as) is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience as a daughter. She seems absolutely thrilled to play with him, watch him grow, help him learn new things, pose him for photo shoots and really just to be around him. I am quite certain the feeling is mutual as he is beyond excited to see her arrive and upset to see her leave.

So, to all of you who feel like I felt about Mother's Day I urge you to stop and consider all of the things your mom does and has done for you. If nothing else, she deserves a phone call or a card to let her know you remembered the day and you appreciate her - put a reminder in your smart phone now - Next Mother's Day is on SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017!!!

My shoes for that: Live in the MOMentum flats