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And So It Begins…

It was an incredibly busy weekend for me and I felt like a complete busy body having not sat still for most of it – and consuming way more chocolate and coffee than I wanted or required.  But I’m finally just sacked out on my couch getting some work done and thinking about Christmas.  Yep.  I’m already there.

I went out fairly early this morning in search of a birthday present and stores were already in full holiday mode with big crowds and long lines.  Too much for me, I will admit, on a sunny November morning – the day just after Remembrance Day.  But, here I am with another Christmas movie playing in the background while I’m working and whittling away.

I always have loved the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the holidays… I usually love the crowds and the displays and the noise (okay, maybe not so much the noise) and running into a dozen people you know.

New Yorker

Via The New Yorker

And I’m there.  For the most part anyway.  But today is just too sunny for me (and maybe I’m just too tired from the hustle and bustle of the long weekend) to be venturing out to get some Christmas shopping done.  I was in and out of stores like a flash today.  I’ll have to save my energy for this coming weekend because I KNOW the hustle is coming up and fast.

~Cheers.

Jingle Belle

We’re just a few mere days away from December and I’ve been furiously working on becoming Christmas spirited.

It’s Black Friday Weekend and I had plans for weeks to get out shopping. And I did. But let me take you back to the start of the weekend.

Friday night I met up with a girlfriend right after work for cocktails and music. We had Christmas sangria while we talked and laughed and sang along (very loudly!) to the performer. It wasn’t specifically Christmas tunes, but he threw in a few carols, and the night was exactly what I’ve been needing as I continue to crawl out of my funk. We had a (snow) ball.

Yesterday, Saturday, I headed out for a day of sale shopping with another friend. The hustle and bustle of Black Friday was full effect. I felt like Wilma and Betty with their charge cards.

The crowds were pleasing and we zig-zagged throughout the mall and shops, bypassing strangers and friends all with the same mission for the day.

We tried on Christmas party dresses and picked out presents and made notes for our Wish Lists (see below).

(Honestly, if I had seen this, I probably would have just grabbed it.)

We took in the decorations and the scents and starry-eyed gazes of the kids lined up to see Santa and Woody the Talking Tree.

Today I put up my Christmas tree and decorations while Hallmark movies played in the background. A Christmas candle is burning and my lights are glowing, and although the weather today is warm and sunny, I feel like the season is definitely upon us. And I’m breathing it in.

Sunday Morning After – Yule Blog (Part 1)

It’s about 5pm on Sunday. I’m sitting in my living room watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, sipping warm mulled wine, and listening to the wind blow and snow fall outside. That’s right! It’s snowing! It started around lunch time and has been coming down heavily ever since. I’m not prepared for the snow. I’m not ready for road salt and slushy walks and soppy socks. But I am ready for the holidays to start. And this weekend has booted it into full force.

This weekend kicked off the annual Holly Days in my town. The last few years I’ve made the efforts to get my butt out there and get into the swing of Christmas things, and I stayed true to my newest tradition.

Friday happened to be my day off, and I woke up to a dusting of snow on the lawns. This was perfect coinciding with the later evening’s festivities. I soaked in my hot tub and watched the sun burst through the sky, however, and what little snow remained was soon gone…melted away by a determined sunshine, in spite of it being ridiculously cold. I was excited for what was to come in the evening. I had plans with a friend, and a hoard of ideas for how we were going to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.  But, a half hour before I was set to head out, she texted me that she was ill and was canceling.  Not a huge problem. But these community activities are always more fun with a friend. Fortunately, BFF Angie invited me to come with her and her kids. And that’s what I did. Plans were a little bit different than I had initially intended, but we had a fantastic time! We got to see Santa, we got to mingle with friends and our town, we got to see the tree lighting, and we got to have dinner together. The kids had a great time and so did Angie and I.

Yesterday, Saturday, was the annual Acadia Craft Expo. As noted in past entries, Amy and I have had a standing date for this event for years. Amy, a graphic designer, has designed for this for years and always gets us free tickets. It’s always a lot of fun for us. We spend most of the fair getting tipsy on boozy vendor samples and spending too much money on things we don’t need. I held myself back this year and only got the basics…wine (from a vendor I fell in love with last year), and a garlic brush. I also brought home some candy cane fudge, but only because I had to break a $10 for Amy and it just felt right to do this. The fudge is good but way too rich and sweet. It’s a one bite is enough kind of thing, and believe me, as good as it is, one bite is more than enough.

With today’s snowfall, Sunday seems to have solidified the beginning of the Christmas season for me.

~Cheers

The Air Out There

We are two days away from Halloween – and I just can’t get in the mood.

Every year I look forward to October (my favorite month!) and to Fall and to Halloween. But this year, I’m just not feeling any of it.

I have been extremely sleep deprived lately; having another onset of insomnia episodes. I’ll fall asleep fairly easily, most of the time, but waking up as early as 1am, without the ability to get back to sleep. My mind reels, and then I get angry, and I lay there. Wide Awake, waiting to get up and start my damn day. And with the sleep deprivation comes emotional roller coasters. It’s terrible. I don’t feel like myself a lot of the time; and the last few days I’ve been going through a depression that 100% got the best of me yesterday. I cried off and on for most of the day, to the point I was sobbing in a restaurant (which resulted in our server asking twice if she could give me a hug), sobbing in my car in the parking lot of a grocery store, sobbing in my bathtub, and sobbing in my husband’s arms. On top of sobbing at work and having minor meltdowns throughout the day. Last night, however, I had a few glasses of wine with a girlfriend after work, and then taking a few sleeping pills before bed. I slept about 10 hours, with the exception of a 5am wide awake, staring at walls session, before drifting back off. My body and mind needed the recoup.

That’s who I’ve been lately. That’s not who I am normally. And it’s affecting my outlook on everything, including my love and excitement of Halloween.

We have also been experiencing an Indian Summer of sorts ’round these parts, with warm weather and humidity, and it hasn’t felt too much like autumn weather this month. With the exception of today. This morning we woke to frosty lawns and air so cold we could see our breath. And of course, the sunshine and changing colors of trees and falling leaves have all left us with the impression of a regular October, for the most part, it’s felt like an extension of summer, complete with mosquitos.

I haven’t even participated in any spooky movies for October. Although, we did watch the new Halloween a few days ago and it sucked terribly. Honestly, whose idea was that? I was rooting for Michael Myers this time.

But yesterday. Let me tell you about yesterday morning. When I left my gym shortly after 7 am, I came outside to darkness, as the sun struggled to come up, and as I walked to my car, I took a deep, long inhale and it smelled like Christmas! The air was crispy, but not cold, and I could taste cool December and cloves and chimney smoke. And I am so entirely in the mood for Christmas. I cannot wait to start watching Hallmark movies and decorating and sharing glasses of spiced wine while sugar cookie candles burn. Maybe Christmas is what I need to bring me out of this funk that I feel I have fallen so deep into. I crave the noise of carols playing while we roam streets, and the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, and the crowds of people who walk by smiling while struggling to balance their bags of presents and food.

I cannot wait to be in it. To be in the air of Christmas and the full fledge of holidays. I am not looking forward to cold weather and wearing boots (and pants!) and having cold toes all the time. But I am eager to become overjoyed with the abundance of love and gratefulness that oncoming Christmas makes me feel.

The air out there changes me. And I am desperate to breathe it in.

My Covid Fail Wedding

Tomorrow is my first Anniversary. 

And I thought, what better time than now to tell you about my long-awaited, Covid-fail wedding.

We got engaged three years ago in September.  It was a beautiful and completely unexpected proposal for me. 

It was the last night of summer (before kids went back to school) and Hubs and I were on vacation.  In the early evening, we went to the beach and walked the sand in the earliness of the sunset.  We were walking and talking and hugging, when, out-of-nowhere, he whipped out a tiny box and asked me to marry him.  I promise there was more to it, but it’s our little story and I’m not ready to share it all here yet.

I started planning the wedding almost immediately.  I picked out my wedding dress a few weeks after our engagement.  It was the second dress I tried on. I kept going back and forth between the first and second dress (the first one had pockets!), but the second dress won.  In fact, when I tried it on the first, second, and third time, the entire wedding store gasped and stopped and stared.  And I fully believe I made the right choice.  My dress is a designer, and the only one sold in Canada.  It was basically a one-of-a-kind.  And it suited me to a T.

I still love this dress…..
…but the world knows I love shit that glitters!

Hubs and I had chosen May 2, 2020 as our date.  I had always dreamed of a May wedding.  Right in the smack-dab of Spring.  Neither of us wanted a summer wedding…too hot.  And the Fall has too much going on (my Birthday, for starters, and we all know how I feel about my Birthday!).  It’s also the season of my parents’ anniversary, my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary, my SIL’s birthday, my nephew’s birthday, my aunt’s birthday, Thanksgiving (here in Canada), and, of course, Halloween.  So, a May wedding was set.

My friend Kim was also planning her wedding at the same time.  In fact, we got engaged on her birthday.  Soon after, she got engaged and we decided to plan our weddings together.  This was her second wedding, but we were flipping ideas off each other.  We had already been spending Wednesday evenings together since August, as we were having date-night to watch the 90210 reboot.  So, we decided to extend the date.  She would come over early and we would start scrapbooking our wedding ideas.  We were printing off everything we loved that we’d pinned on Pinterest, and gluing them in our books while we sipped wine, and Kim was pestered by the cat, before watching our show….while Kim was still being pestered by the cat.

The scrapbooks came in handy when we met with vendors, or needed visuals.  I still have mine and will likely keep it forever because I’m basically a hoarder.

The next thing on my list, and part of my dream wedding, was booking a venue.  I have always wanted a church wedding, and to have my reception at the Ballroom at the Cornwallis Inn in our town.  The Cornwallis Inn is a castle-like creation that was a built a century ago as a hotel.  Eventually, it was turned into apartments, with the lower levels hosting businesses.  But the Ballroom has remained just that.  And it’s remained the dream for little girls like me, to have their wedding in that glorious room.

So, a few weeks after our engagement, we went to check out the room.  This is the first of things that could go wrong with my wedding.  The room was being renovated.  It was half-torn apart, with no kitchen.  And the owners could not guarantee when the renovations would be finished.  Maybe by May, maybe not.  The room was very expensive, and we could only have it for one day – from 10 am to 1am the day of the wedding.  That means, all the decorating and clean up would have to be done in that time frame.  If we wanted to get in the day before or the day after, we would have to pay the entire day’s fee again.  But, I had my dream, and so we booked it.  

Then we tried to make arrangements to book a kitchen.  So, let me mention that not only was the ballroom kitchen not available, the manager would also not allow our caterers to come in and use it.  We were told we could bring in the cake, but that was it.  Another kitchen would have to be used.  This is not ideal for anyone, but we attempted to figure it out.

My mom, who is a Saint, by the way, was my co-planner.  In fact, she did most of the planning. She helped me book all the vendors (with the exception of the DJ).  We went to see decorators and photographers, and talked to caterers.  She did everything for me and she deserves a damn medal.

Eventually, with the shit-show booking the ballroom, we decided to book a different venue.  I was heartbroken that my ballroom dream was being shattered.  But, without a kitchen and without a guarantee that renovations would be complete, I had to make the decision.  When we met with the decorator, I had taken my trusty scrapbook with me and showed her my ideas.  My statement was “I want people to walk into this room and believe they’re in a ballroom.”  And she did just that. 

We got everything else booked by early January.  In early February, I changed jobs. Three weeks later, Covid hit.  And we were sent into lockdown.  And, my May wedding was cancelled.  For the first time.

My work had us split into teams and I had to work only two days a week.  Some weeks I didn’t work at all.  So, in that time, I was supposed to be packing up my home (in preparation to move in with Hubs).  But I had a difficult time with the Covid isolation.   I had not seen my parents or my nephews or my friends, my wedding was cancelled, I wasn’t working, and I did not fare well with being that isolated.  I was walking and working out a lot.  Thank goodness for Amy (Whoreface) because she was working out with me by Zoom almost every day.  In fact, I was doing a lot of free bootcamp workouts daily so that I could have some interaction with people.  

I wallowed in my wedding cancellation pity.  But, we had picked another date in September and continued to prepare.  I did NOT want a September wedding.  Not at all.  But, we picked one anyway.  By the end of June, the isolation had lifted and I had gone back to work full time.  Thank goodness.  Things were getting back on track, and I was looking forward to the September date.  In August, I moved in with Hubs.  A short time later, our September wedding was cancelled due to the rise in Covid numbers and the restrictions.

I should also mention that our vendors were great, with the exception of the decorator.  Our decorator booked 2021 and 2022 weddings before her initial 2020 weddings were rescheduled.  She had a huge deposit from us (the biggest, actually) and refused to work with us to rebook our wedding fairly.  Therefore, our new wedding date(s) selections were minimal because she was a money-hungry cow! (I said it, and I stand by it.)   

So, we moved on to booking a third date…..May 15, 2021.  This actually turned out to be a great date, and I was getting my May wedding again.  However, restrictions were still tough and people were not permitted to travel.  One of my bridesmaids was my cousin Anne, who lives in British Columbia.  She and her husband had booked their flights as soon as I had asked her to be in the wedding, right after our engagement.  We also had more family from BC coming, as well as Hubs’ sister in Ontario, friends from New Brunswick, and even from Cape Breton, at the far end of Nova Scotia.  Covid restrictions was not permitting people to travel outside their communities.  We also had about 160 people on our guest list, and restrictions at times allowed for 5, then 10, then 50.  Who do we nix?  It was devastating.

Things were looking good though – well better, in the beginning of 2021.  Plans were coming along.  I popped into my parents’ house to try on my dress.  Something I had not done in about six months.  Something I should have been doing all the time because my dress DID NOT FIT.  Remember how I said it fit me to a T.  Well, initially, it’s as if that dress was designed specifically for me.  But, all the working out had not helped me because we could not get the dress done up in the back.  FML!  After I cried, I jumped on the horn with the wedding shop and talked to the seamstress, who, remembered me and the dress because it was so beautiful and one of a kind.  We made an appointment for me to get my big butt down there and get started on alterations. It had to be let out in the side just a tiny bit, but it still had to be altered.  Fail.

In April I actually got to have a wedding shower.  Spots were limited though.  We had to book a hall for this, which allowed for 20 people.  I was having a great time at my shower, when a press conference began and stated restrictions were going up again and my wedding was not going to happen.  For a third time.  Literally, my wedding was being cancelled again – in the middle of my wedding shower.  What could I do but laugh through the tears?

During the late summer months, word got out that restrictions would be lifted again in early Fall, and so a new date was settled on …October 2.  The day before my birthday!  I did not want an October wedding.  But I really did not want to wait another 8 or 9 months.  So, October 2 it was.  In addition to that, On October 5 a new vaccine mandate was coming out.  If you were not vaccinated and could not provide proof (aka your vaccine passport) you would not be permitted to be in public places, and would potentially lose your job, and could not gather.  We wanted to ensure our wedding was inclusive, although we all had our vaccines.

At the end of August, I had another shower.  This time, my aunt hosted it in the City so that my friends and family from that area could attend.  It was perfect and I was so happy that I got to share this with them, as the first go did not allow for the travel.  That night, however, my uncle passed away unexpectedly, and it was, and still is, devastating for our family.  I don’t think any of us have recovered, and likely never will.  We did pay a lovely tribute to him, and other dearly departed loved ones (including my Winston) at the wedding and I am so glad we did.  It would not have been right to not include them in our day.

In September, as we scampered around to finalize plans and make sure everything was underway, talk of new restrictions was always on our minds.  But, things were coming along.  Until a shit show happened with our venue and the booze certificate.  I had been in ongoing communications with the liquor licensing lady (that’s her official title, by the way), and at one point, a few weeks before the wedding, she said to me “You know you can only have 20 people at your wedding, right?”  FAWWWWWKKK NO!!  I did not know that!  Are you kidding me?  We have 130 people (30 had declined) on our guest list!

That afternoon I ended up at the Emergency Room with severe chest pains and palpitations.  I was hooked up immediately to an EKG.  My friend, who works at the venue, contacted me and got it worked out with the LLL that the certificate would be put in the Venue name – allowing for our full wedding guest roster, and they would take responsibility for it.  Part two of this ended up as a fail because no one noticed, until the wedding reception, that the certificate allowed for booze from 8pm, instead of 5 or 6 pm as we had initially requested.  We had to beg the booze handlers to open the bar early.  

Hubs and I had also completely forgot to get rings.  So two weeks before the ceremony we were scrambling once again.  However, the first ring I tried on was the ring we got.  It matches my engagement ring perfectly.  Hubs’ ring needed to be fitted for him, which normally takes several weeks, but the jeweler worked some magic and had it ready in less than a week.  Once again…Oops.

I had also been working on getting someone to do my makeup.  I had tons of ideas, but the look I had wanted was very distinct and glamorous.  I booked an appointment with a makeup artist, showed her my ideas, paid her a lot of money for a trial, booked my wedding party, but came out looking like another person – a person with a no-makeup on look.  I did not look like myself. I looked plain and weird and I was pissed off. 

Glam makeup I’d asked for…..

What I got. Who is this person?

I cancelled all the appointments, and had to find someone else to my makeup.  The new artist was great…she still didn’t accomplish quite the look I was going for, but she came close…ish.

I’m always staring in the sun….always sqinting

The Tuesday before the wedding, I had called in the morning the suit company to make arrangements for the men to pick up their gear.  Their records did not reflect our October 2 wedding.  Somehow, they had our wedding slated for the following March.  MARCH!  March was never a date we had even considered.  Also, Our wedding was four days away!  I almost threw up.  I panicked.  I cried.  I think I died once or twice.  The manager called me back and said he was on it…he would pull shit together to ensure we had our suits.  Whew.

A few days before the wedding, my cousins and fam arrived from BC.  I was elated.  Anne is just what I needed to calm and keep me laughing and not stressing.

Wednesday and Thursday the suit manager called me again several times to ensure things were coming and the suits would be ready.  

Friday morning and early afternoon, as we decorated and taken care of the last few details, I’d been attempting to get in contact about the suits.  After lunch, the company stopped answering my calls.  Our rehearsal was set for 5pm.  We had not heard anything for hours and I was panicked.  We had less than 24 hours before the wedding and we had no suits!  

As soon as we walked into the church for the rehearsal, I was greeted by our minister, a cool dude around our age, who is hip and funky and we love him.  When he asked me how I was doing, I burst into uncontrollable sobs.  It was now after 5pm and we had no suits.  He took me into a separate room and calmed me down and stopped the flow of tears.  

One of my Maids of Honour, Angie arrived shortly after with her daughter, who was our flower girl.  I had initially bought Haley a dress for the wedding, but then found the perfect one to match.  I gave the first dress to Angie a while earlier and asked her to dress Haley in it for the rehearsal.  When Angie arrived at the church, Haley was wearing a different dress.  She then told me her dog had gotten the dress and ripped it to shreds.  * Sigh *  Sounds about right.

As we were preparing to leave the church after the rehearsal, and getting ready to head to dinner, a few cars pull into the church….guys arriving with the suits!  HALLELUJAH!

The Groom and his men grabbed their suits and dispersed to try them on.  Most of them worked out well…except for my dad’s suit.  It didn’t match and he was missing pieces.

Here is the email I sent to the Suit Company

What an epic fail!  Our wedding was scheduled for October 2.  Our groom and groomsmen had been sized and resized.  We drove an hour and a half each way both times to Moore’s.  We had emails and phone calls and in-person dealings with the store reps.  Last week, our suits were not ready when they were scheduled to be picked up and we found out, just 3 days before our wedding, that the suits were entered for a date the following year (a date not even close to our date).  Our suits did not arrive until 6:30 pm the night before our wedding, after our rehearsal, causing a lot of stress and turmoil.  The store stopped answering our calls that same morning because they had no answers for us.  Once the suits were delivered to us – at the church! – the bride’s father’s colors did not match and his shoes were too small.  The only redeeming factor from this crapshow was Michael the (new) manager (a lovely person who did everything he could to help the situation which included heavily discounting and having the suits delivered).  This was not a favorable memory.  No bride should be bawling at her rehearsal with chest pains because of this kind of mismanagement.  Terrible.  This was supposed to be a happily memorable occasion!  Michael gets gold stars for his efforts, but the rest of the service team gets massive fails!! Awful!”

 We moved on from the church to the dinner, and from there we had a wonderful time.  I stayed at my parents’ house that night with my cousins and they had me in stitches laughing, as always.  As we were getting ready for bed, and I was washing my face, I got the skin underneath my eye caught in the facecloth and pinched it.  I, of course, ended up with a black eye for my wedding.  Because that’s just part of who I am.  I mean, honestly, would anyone expect anything less?

Not to worry, I had a glam pair of Sunnies that I bought the day I got engaged, which I hoarded til the wedding day.

I woke up the next morning – the morning of my wedding – and sent a mayday text to my makeup artist.  She worked some magic that afternoon and most of the damage was hidden.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch…mostly.  Right before I was to walk down the aisle, I had a panic moment.  I started to cry, but thankfully Anne is Anne and started telling me fart jokes and my moment passed.  

Annie-Lou…My knight in shining armour and fart jokes

I walked down the aisle with my dad to the standard Wedding March, until part way thru where I had instructed my pianist to, as a surprise to everyone, switch over to Walking on Sunshine.  I rocked out for a minute, while my dad looked at me like I was simple, and then resumed to the Wedding March.

Shortly after the ceremony started, my (very expensive) veil broke and fell to the ground.  I turned to my guests and said “Of course that would happen!  Of course it would!” 

But aside from that little glitch, the rest of the day was absolutely perfect.  With the exception of the booze time, and the catering staff being cows and made me (with the help of my bridesmaids) carry my own cake from the kitchen to the far end of the room.

We danced til the end of time.  We mingled, we had some wine, and we loved every single person there.  When the night was over, and we said goodbye to our guests, we made our way to our suite.  As soon as we got in our car, I told Hubs I needed a drink.  I was so hot and thirsty.  He was hungry, so we made a 1 am dash to the McDonald’s drive thru.  When we pulled up to the window, the girl looked as us and asked if we just got married.   I said yes, that we’d just left the reception.  She said “Oh my God!”, slammed the drive thru window, and appeared a minute later asking if we wanted ice cream.  OKAY!!

We got to the hotel, stuffed our faces, and hubs basically passed out shortly after.  I had makeup to take off, hair to take out, a dress that I did not want to get out of, and my feet hurt.  I was wound up, and it was also, by this time, my birthday.  I sat on the edge of the bathtub, until after 4 am, soaking my feet and scrolling my phone and reliving the day.

A day that, in spite of all the fails and epic disasters, was well worth the wait.

Did I mention that tomorrow is my first anniversary? Hubs and I had planned to be away for this date to celebrate. Last month we booked the same hotel that we stayed in for our honeymoon and we were looking forward to our vacation. Earlier this week, he tested positive for Covid, and we had to cancel. Again, would I expect anything less?

We have postponed for later in the month, so it will happen. But, I mean, HONESTLY!!

New Obsession (I Need Your Help)

A while back I became obsessed with finding a skirt I had seen in an online magazine. I looked everywhere for it, and discovered it was from H&M. Then my obsession turned into a one-woman hunt to track it down. Which, of course, I did.

Now I’m, once again, on the hunt for a skirt.

I found it on Shein’s site – someone posting her review on the tank top; of course, there’s no mention of the skirt.

I have searched Shein’s site until my eyes crossed. I have checked Amazon and Google. I’ve even loaded the photo to Google to do a visual search. Apparently, this skirt exists nowhere.

If anyone can locate it….please link me or leave me a comment. It’s so pretty and chic. I have total googly eyes for it.

😍😍

Sandy

#shein #skirt #motif #chicskirt #assymetricalpencilskirt

Christmas Yule Blog – Part 4

We are supposed to be at a Christmas party tonight. But, Covid has us stayin’ at home. Our numbers are rising here in Nova Scotia, and the new variant is kickin’ our butts.

So, instead of our Jingalingin’, I’m touching up my roots, preparing to watch a movie with the hubs, and thought that, while my color is processing, I’d Blog about my recent adventures.

I had yesterday off, which worked out well because it gave me the opportunity to get out and get some shopping done. I met with my friend Velvet in a nearby town. (All our little towns are connected and are usually a hop, skip, or a jump away. Its when we travel to the City that we actually have to travel any distance.) We decided right away to hit this little local coffee house, North Mountain Coffee (https://www.northmountaincoffee.com/) , for a holiday drink. I had a peppermint mocha and she had a hot apple cider (which she ended up spilling all over her later in the day.). North Mountain Coffee is local to Berwick and is family owned and operated. It’s a sweet little gem of a place.

Once we grabbed our drinks, we walked up the street to a big discount store. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but I always seem to find at least one little treasure in there each year. And this year was no exception. I found a gift that I know will knock it out of the park. After a bit of shopping, we roamed across the street for lunch at the Union Street Cafe. If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you will recognize the Union Street as a place I frequented years ago for weekend drinks and entertainment. Although ownership has changed (it was formerly run by my friend Jenny and her family), the atmosphere remains unique and the food is always delightful.

After lunch, we continued down the street to another local treasure. Market Between the Mountains (https://www.marketbetweenthemountains.ca/) is a magical place I have heard about for a few years, but never managed to visit. Until Friday. And oh my! What a spectacular treat.

I am a sucker for bath bombs and candles, so this Market is right up my alley. But they have so much more than that.

They have hand crafted soaps, bath and shower bombs, beard oil (and entire lines of men’s grooming products), candles, jewelry, jams, local candies and hot drink mixes, clothing, ornaments, souvenirs, purses and bags, wedding stuff, wine glasses, and so many other unique gifts. I managed to get a few gifts – and maybe something for myself. Check out their Facebook site or their webpage (https://www.marketbetweenthemountains.ca/).

We checked out a few other locations and I met a man on or travels. He asked me if I’ve been good this year and we had a good chuckle.

After a few more stops, we decided it was time to head onto our separate ways. All in all, it was a fun little local adventure.

OH! I almost forgot. I found out Friday that I won second place in my office’s Ugly Sweater Contest.

This fuzzy sweater has jingle bells, lights, tinsel, flashing icicles, a snow globe, a mittens clip, a partridge in a pear tree, decorations, and a Christmas stocking – which holds a full bottle of wine (tied with a bow).

Cheers!

Christmas Yule Blog – Part 3

Last week was the Annual Acadia Craft Expo in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (home of Acadia University). As always, Amy (Applehoe) and I had our standing date to tour the fair together. We have done this every year for years; usually planning on getting tipsy on all the booze samples, and spending way too much money. It’s always fun and always worth the day (and money) spent.

The craft fair is situated in and about the Acadia Arena and usually people are shoulder to shoulder. Covid really hadn’t changed that that much. Maybe not quite shoulder to shoulder this year, but shoulder, small gap, shoulder. Although I always tote how I love the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I really don’t like crowds. But I’ve done well at these craft fairs….I haven’t punched anyone yet. So yeah, I’ve done well.

I promise it’s a lot more throat-punchy inducing when it’s loaded with people

Amy and I switched things up a little this year and arrived before lunch. We usually go early afternoon and come out after dark. But, we went in early and came out with the sun still shining. We roamed our regular route, stopping at our favorite vendors, and trying new.

Two of my favorite purchases (aside from the above) this year were maple butter and wine. First of all, have you had maple butter? I had not. I am from Nova Scotia and I had not had maple butter until last week.

This is a game changer. O.M.G!!!!

This sweet, creamy butter is mouth watering and delicious on its own or as a condiment. You can buy this particular brand (and many more other products, including maple infused chocolates!) here https://www.newville.ca/shop

We each also bought some wine from the friendliest woman we’ve ever met. I love wine and I like to have at least a bottle laying around, always. Even though I’m not a big drinker, I like to have a glass here and there. Especially at Christmas. And Nova Scotia has a multitude of wineries and vineyards, so it’s always exciting to try a new local.

I can’t wait to try this!

Some of our other favorite vendors who we’ve purchased from over the years:

There are always beautiful crafts and jewelry and art work. I have picked up some lovely gifts over the years (and kept my share). I fell in love with these butterfly earrings this year. Although, I didn’t purchase them.

Some of the craftsmanship is so exquisite

And there are always new vendors and new things to see.

Cheers.

Christmas Yule Blog – Part 2

A Quilting We Will Go

Today my friend and I used our lunch breaks to go to the museum. ….I know! Who does that?

Well, let me tell you. We did. But we had good reason. It turns out, my mom’s Quilt Guilt are part of an exhibit at the museum, and many of my mom’s works-of-art are on display. And when I say many, I mean more than half of the exhibit is her work.

The quilts are all Christmas themed and each crafter is unique in her work. My mom, like me, likes shimmer and sparkle.

Quilters are a type of artist on their own level. Their blankets tell a story and are usually made with love. My mom’s quilts are pretty incredible, and each time I have received one, I have received it with a heart full of love and tears in my eyes. I have seen how much time and work go into one quilt. And each one is worth more than any amount it would be sold for.

The first quilt I ever received was handmade by my grandmother. It was a My Little Pony quilt made in purple and white blocks and I cherish it to this day. I have always known how much love went into that gift, and I will never let it go.

And so, I know how much thought, creativity, effort, and love has gone into each of the quilts on display at the museum today.

This is not my mom’s, but I love it.
Angie was full on into it

It wasn’t a bad way to spend a little bit of time on a rainy Monday break. I’m proud of my mother, and I’m jealous of all these quilters and their crafts. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. (Maybe that’s why I write.)

The quilts will be on display for a while longer, and each one (and more!) are for sale. They’d make lovely Christmas gifts.

~Cheers

Christmas Yule Blog – Part 1

Friday night was the kick off of our Town’s Holly Days festival…the start of celebrations of the season and Christmas. My friend Tanya and I met after work and started our tour around town.

Our first stop was the Artisan Market held in the Ballroom (where I was initially supposed to get married) at the Cornwallis Inn. The room was jam-packed full of vendors local and “from away” who showcased their wares, every home craft from ciders to jewelry to pastries and preserves. My favorite from this market was an exhibit of carved bees wax candles.

This little Christmas tree with it’s sparkle was my favorite.

From there, Tanya and I made our way to Centre Square (town’s central location for parking and parties). It was all decked out as a lone booth sat waiting for Santa to arrive, while there were places for photo ops and tons of lights strung throughout the square in anticipation of the evening’s festivities.

The square….waiting for the night
Always take advantage of photo ops
The Square after dark

After a few photos and a little roaming and shop-stopping, Tanya and I made our way over to one of the local pubs to meet friends and have a drink. We made our way through town as 6 o’clock approached to witness the tree lighting. After the lighting, we did some shopping and strolling. Most shops were open late for the night and all were decorated and inviting.

As we stumbled (yes, we had drinks, remember) down the main street, making our way to the tree, meeting and greeting tons of people, we also ran into some beloved characters….some highland dancers , a few from the Nutcracker, and one old soul who secretly loves Christmas.

Finally, the time had arrived – the lighting of the Town’s tree. Everyone gathered ’round the corner, as the massive tree stands in an intersection leading into and out of the town, so it’s the first and last thing you see. Leaving a lasting impression.

‘Tis the Season.

So Close

I always feel so inspired in October to write about Halloween and Fall, and in November to start writing about Christmas and all the holiday festivities. It’s my favorite time of year (although I always long for the summer sun and a tan), and I can almost always find something to write about. And so here I am.

Now since Remembrance Day has officially passed us, I can fully admit that I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies already. Y’know, I used to hate them…the sap, the goofy storylines. But now, I appreciate them and I look forward to them. My friends have been watching too so I know I’m not alone in the viewing. In fact, my dear Aunt Donda has decided to start hosting a weekly Hallmark movie night. And, although I live an hour and a half away now, I am determined to indulge with her – if even only virtually. I am looking forward to those upcoming Wednesday nights.

And thank goodness for the channels that play the Hallmark movies On Demand. Between that and YouTube, I can maneuver through pretty much all the gems this season. Including one old favorite – Christmas Under Wraps. A Candace Cameron Bure gem from 2014. It’s pretty much the first Hallmark movie I’d seen and I have watched it every year since. It’s not perfect, and some parts are really, REALLY lame, but I like it.

via Hallmark

This week kicks off the first of many Christmas festivities ’round these parts, and I’m super excited. I have a very busy weekend planned and I can’t wait to start sharing my Yule Blog again.

There have been so many moments over the years that have left a landmine mark in my heart when it comes to Christmas: Going late night shopping with my cousin Tanya in the City and stuffing our faces with Chinese takeout at the end of a very long night; my annual Christmas party; cocktails with friends while we’re dressed like we’re headed to the junior high prom; staff parties (which, I’m sure Covid-19 has put another stupid damper on that!); baking and mulling wine and cider, and rocking out to Christmas albums while wrapping presents and driving from here to there.

I’m very much a traditionalist, and now I’m married…..an old ball-and-chain….and I’m looking forward to creating new traditions, while holding onto the old as much as I can.

~Cheers.