Thursday, August 31, 2017

There's a Shoe for That - August Round Up

There's a Shoe for That

Here is your monthly round up of "My Shoes for That" for August... Just in case you missed a post or have been dying to find out where to buy the shoes you have everything here in one place!

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission.**

There's a Shoe for That
Mr. Black's Little Book
Shahan Gold Loafers

(sadly, these shoes are really had to find. Best of luck to you in your search!)


Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy Wedding Anniversary {to us}

I don't usually think too much about our wedding anniversary. In fact, in the 6 years we've been married this is only the second time we'v actually been together on our anniversary date. And to be fair the other time was in 2014 when we were at a work function of mine, so yes... we were together but it almost doesn't count as being together (not in my books anyhow). This year feels a bit different for some reason. We didn't do anything fancy to celebrate, we didn't buy gifts, but we were together. This year feels special and it is.

We did go to a new pub in our town the night before our anniversary as a little date night to celebrate. We started talking about what we've done over the past 6 years together, everything we have accomplished as a couple and how there is so much adventure yet to come. What struck me the most about our conversation is that it focused mainly around travel and experiences (other than Little Dude). 

We reminisced about the big trips we've taken almost every year: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Banff, Newfoundland, Cuba to name the ones we highlighted. And then laughed about all the times we've gone to Montreal - how really it's our home away from home and our #1 getaway location for a multitude of reasons.
San Francisco - our big trip 2014
The biggest take-a-way from the night was that we didn't talk about any furniture we've purchased, cars we've owned, shirts that have been ruined, or anything material for that matter. The entire conversation was about our biggest accomplishment, Little Dude, and all of the fun we've had travelling and making memories.
Canmore - our big trip 2016
So, to all of you newly weds out there or seasoned life partners listen up:
It's what you do that counts, not what you buy. Get out there, see the world and laugh your way through life together.


My shoes for that: Barefoot - sometimes you need to feel the sand between your toes to appreciate the beach your walking on and the life you're living.
Santa Maria - our big trip 2015

Monday, August 21, 2017

Finding Our Home

finding our home
We have had our home for just over a month now and things are finally starting to come together. We finally having dining room chairs in the house and have moved the patio chairs back outside, our fireplace arrived a few days ago and I have almost chosen curtains for the living room and dining room. Everyone says the finishing touches always take the longest, and I can now confirm that they are right! 

When we decided to start looking for a house last winter we started the process like most people do now-a-days: we started shopping online. I looked at hundreds of properties, dreamed about what it might be like to live in a mansion, contemplated the adventure of a fixer upper and had a ball looking through all the houses available.

Eventually I snapped out of the dreamland I was living in and starting looking at properties that were more realistic for our budget and that only needed a renovation that we could conceivably take on (i.e. a very small one!). I seemed to end up on the Keller Williams site quite often based on the houses that were appealing to me and so I signed up for notifications from Charlie Vienneau's website so that I would get an email when new listings came on the market. To my surprise I received an email from Charlie the next day letting me know that if I was interested in a house he could help me as a buyer and could show me all listings (unless they were exclusive) and was not limited to showing only his listings.

I don't know about you, but before receiving this email I had no idea I could use a realtor (and for free I might add!) to help me find a house! I felt relieved and figured we had nothing to lose so why not give Charlie an idea of what we were looking for and see what he could find for us.
finding our home
About a week later we met with Charlie - he gave us printouts of all the houses that met our criteria which included a bit more information than what is provided online. Online you do not typically see the monthly electricity bill, heating bill or property taxes but this information was all provided in the printouts. I loved this since it gave us the true overall picture of what our monthly costs would be in any of the houses we were considering. In true Jenna fashion I made up a spreadsheet to compare the numbers and was glad I did! Just because a house was more expensive didn't always make it a bad deal if the less expensive house had a much higher property tax bill or electricity expenses. It was certainly an exercise worth doing.

On a side note for a minute... you might be wondering how we chose Charlie? It wasn't because of his initial email that we chose him although that did have something to do with it. I knew Charlie's daughters when I was in high school and knew of Charlie as a real-estate agent but didn't know him well. Kind of one of those people that I would say hi to, but not be 100% sure if he knew who I was. So the honest truth is that I thought he would be perfect since he has a good reputation and I kind of knew him, but not well enough that if it didn't go well it would be awkward to end up hating each other. Thankfully, it turned out quite the opposite and the experience was extremely good!

Back to the house hunting...

We narrowed down the houses to 5 that we wanted to see. Charlie lined up visits to all 5 of them (and even a 6th we added at the last minute) on a Saturday morning. For anyone that has ever organized events before or tried to line up meetings you can appreciate how much time and effort we saved by having Charlie line up the visits with all of the other realtors and homeowners! Only 1 out of the 6 houses we visited that day was one of Charlie's listings so there was quite a bit of coordination behind the scenes that we didn't have to worry about. All we had to do was show up at house #1 at 11am. It was kind of like being on Property Brothers, haha.

In the end we went back to the house we ended up buying 1 more time and visited a 7th property that was listed after our initial house hunting Saturday before making our offer. Charlie was essential in advising us in what we should and should not ask for in our offer, what we should expect the seller to agree to or what would be crazy of us to ask for as well as guiding us on what he felt would be a fair price offer for us to begin with. In the end, it was pretty obvious that he knew what he was doing since our offer was accepted within 24 hours without any changes to what we had asked for!

When you are looking 
for your next house: 
I would strongly recommend using a realtor! They know the area better than you do, they have an idea of the neighbourhood (and even in the neighbours in some cases!) and as a buyer you are not paying anything extra to have them work for you - it's really a win win.

Last, but certainly not least the Mr., Little Dude and I would like to thank Charlie for working around our crazy schedules - meeting us at his office on a Sunday morning and doing house tours at 9:00pm. Charlie's flexibility and commitment to helping us find the home that suited us the best was second to none. We never once felt rushed or pressured - we were encouraged through the entire process to take our time, get the feeling, and think about any of the houses as long as we wanted. Having Charlie as a realtor truly made buying our first home a great experience.

My shoes for that: Miss L Fire "Home Sweet Home" shoes
finding our home

Buying or selling a house?! Give Charlie a call 
he would be delighted to help you :)

Charlie and I had so much fun working together we decided why stop once the house closed - a special thank you for sponsoring this post and helping me share my story with other home buyers. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mr. Black's Little Book

It just occurred to me that I haven't posted a red wine in forever! AND even more importantly that there is less than 130 days until Christmas! Which of curse is not entirely relevant until you look down at the picture of the bottle of wine which was taken by one of my mother in-law's Christmas trees :)

Name: Mr. Black's Little Book
Varietal: Shiraz
Country: South Australia
Vintage: 2014
Price: $24.49

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Food for Thought {at the park}

Food for thought
As of this summer Little Dude loves the park! I have to say, I have also come to love the park. It's a great way to be outside in the fresh air, let little ones get some energy out and give us adults something to amuse ourselves with rather than just watching them play in the yard. 

Recently we were at our local park when we came upon a new and somewhat awkward situation. Another family arrived (mother and three children) and started playing. Soon after the other mother was offering her children snacks - a variety of crackers, food pouches, etc. I didn't think much of this since most moms bring snacks along for their little ones and it was getting close to dinner time so it made sense that she would offer them something. I wasn't prepared for her to offer Little Dude a food packet however. 
Food for thought

In the moment I nearly froze. I guess I was just shocked that she would offer Little Dude one of the food packets, mind you I should clarify that she immediately looked to me for approval, listed what foods were in the mixture and asked if he was allergic to anything. 

I replied that he wasn't allergic and at that she opened the packet and gave it to him. He sat with his new little friend for 30 seconds and they ate food packets together. 

The reasonable mom in me thinks:
  1. This is not a big deal. We live in a small community, the food packet was clearly not opened before and she technically asked before giving it to him. 
  2. If I didn't want Little Dude to have it I should I have said so. 
  3. What a kind gesture that she would even offer one of her children's food packets to my son. There was no need, but she clearly didn't want him to be left out. 
The crazy, not so rational mom in me thinks:
  1. Who does this?! How is this any different than taking candy from strangers which we have all been taught NOT to do since we were kids ourselves. 
  2. This other mom should have known better... offering food to a toddler and then me saying no is only going to result in a rage of anger (from everyone!)
  3.  Leave my kid alone - Stranger Danger!
Thankfully in the end the rational mom in me prevailed and I didn't start some kind of mom fight over a packet of food at the park! In the end, she meant no harm and was genuinely trying to be kind. Is it bad, that we naturally think the worst even when people are trying to do nice things?! I guess that's a topic for another day... now, back to the swing set!

My shoes for that: Sport Sandals

food for thought

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Twenty Bees Pinot Grigio

Name: Twenty Bees
Varietal: Pinot Grigio
Country: Canada (Ontario)
Vintage: 2015
Price: $13.00

Why did I decide to try this wine? I was in a grocery store where my family doctor happens to have his office located on the second floor and it was really one of those weeks. The kind where you have a million things to do, only 5 working days, a family to be with and having a glass of wine sounds like it will at least help make everything feel normal again. So, this wine is sold in that grocery store and with no time to go to the liquor store the convenience of its location won!

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? Bottle. It was really a lovely surprise.

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? The taste made me want to choose pink shoes, but I couldn't get past the name and had to go with something bee-ish... these are definitely over the top, but so suitable!

How would I describe the wine? This wine had a beautiful strawberry jam scent that made me think of making jam with my Gram. The taste was actually a lot more subtle than I expected based on the smell but it was quite good.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FestiVille Baddeck

The good thing about writing about an event is that it's fresh in your mind and you can give some honest feedback right away. On the other hand, the event is over so all of you readers have to wait a whole year before being able to experience the next FestiVille in Baddeck.

If you're anything like me you like to plan your vacations well in advance and get great ideas all year long... this is something to add to that travel list you have so you can time your Cape Breton visit accordingly.

How does it work?
The concept of this festival alone is brilliant. Like many small towns there is one main street that goes through the heart of the town.

The main street is closed for 3 hours (6pm to 9pm) on two different evenings in the summer for vendors, entertainment, food trucks, etc. to set up. Basically, it is a three hour block party for everyone to enjoy twice a summer!

I think this is a great concept for all communities - it takes a lot of organization, planning and support, but it is well worth it for the sense of community and economic value to the community through two evenings.

What's all the fuss about?
There are activities for all ages! This really is a community festival you won't want to miss. This year in particular I was thrilled to see Heather Rankin performing. There were also many local artists performing, buskers and even a bouncy castle, but for all you Rankin Family fans out there you would agree with me that Heather Rankin's performance really stole the show!
The festiville is all about community. Bringing people together for a free evening of fun activities in one space for all to enjoy. It is a spot to run into old friends, make new ones and enjoy being part of the action. Little Dude and I had a great time running into some of our Nova Scotia besties in particular.

My shoes for that: Ipanema Mesh Sandals 
My sister-in-law (who you might remember from my post about going to Paris...) bought these at Patchouli Accessories Boutique in Baddeck on our first day of vacation. 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Kempt Road Waterfall

Kempt Road Waterfall
In Point-à-la-Croix, Quebec only about 5-10 minutes from Campbellton, NB hidden down a road is a beautiful, yet unexpected trail which leads you through an enchanted forest to Kempt Falls. 

A friend of a friend had told us about this place and we instantly decided to find it and take advantage of their discovery and see it for ourselves. The adventure became a girls' day that included Little Dude... at his age he can't tell stories outside of the adventure so he is still allowed to participate in such girls only activities. 
Kempt Road Waterfall