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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
And there are always new vendors and new things to see.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eeps! It’s the day before Halloween! I woke up a bit ago from a nightmare….literally. And I thought, why not tell a story about the haunted tour we were on recently.
Have you been on one? A ghost tour, I mean. I went on one a long time ago but it was rather boring and not quite what I expected. It was more theatre than anything else. I think (hopefully) the local tour has improved over the years.
Four weeks ago (today) I got married. While we were on our short honeymoon, we decided to check out the local ghost tour on our second night. I had been anticipating it since I spotted the poster while checking into our room. We stayed in Lunenburg (Nova Scotia), a beautiful little coastal community that we both love, and one that is rich in heritage and (haunted) history.
You may recognize Lunenburg as it’s been a prominent cast member in many movies and tv shows, including Locke & Key (the cast and crew had just left a few days before we arrived), Haven, Delores Claiborne – the list goes on. It’s beautiful colored, sits on the sea, and oozes with nostalgia. And since we’re still sitting in the middle of a global pandemic, we weren’t feeling the far and wide travel for a honeymoon – yet.
So the second night of our stay, we returned from dinner (a short walk down the hill to a lovely little spot called Banker’s Hollow. See? Even the names of their restaurants are cool) just in time to get changed (this girl needed sneakers) and ready to head to our tour.
We met a small group just off the block our hotel sits on and prepared for our walk. We had a lovely tour guide who had grown up in Lunenburg, left for many years, and returned to raise her family. She provided us with a glowing lantern and we made our way throughout the town, stopping here and there to hear the stories of the town’s history and the tales of haunt that accompanied each stop.
One of these properties has even been investigated as the focus of a paranormal tv show.
The tour was entertaining and spooky and was totally worth the money. If you have the opportunity to go on a haunted walk or tour, definitely take advantage of it.
Last year in November or December my mom was hit with a really bad cold. She sounded horrible – coughing, stuffed up. All the shitty stuff.
One night I called my parents’ house from the gym and my nephew answered. Not out of the ordinary as my brother and sister-in-law live fairly close by, and my nephews spend a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa.
Upon hearing his deep little voice, I said “Hi Sweetheart! How are you?” After a moment, the response I received in the same deep, throaty voice; “It’s your mother!”
It’s a week away from Halloween. I’m just sitting down watching Hocus Pocus (the first viewing of the season), burning my pumpkin candle (one of many), sipping my Lightfoot & Wolfville rose’, and, although I’m into the Autumn spirit, all I can think about is Christmas is Coming!
Every year, two things I find inspiration in the most are Halloween and Christmas. Halloween is so much fun almost always gives me something to write about throughout the month of October. It’s a little different the last year because I’ve moved and I had surgery, but I still am always in the spirit. And always thinking about things to write about.
This year, this moment, as I’m watching one of my favorite Halloweeny movies, and thinking about re-watching Eastwick, an annual tradition for me, I’m waiting for November 1st so that I can begin the Hallmark movie watching. I can’t bring myself to do it until after Halloween, but it’s been on my mind.
And I guess I’m not the only one in the mood, my friends have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies all weekend, AND last weekend I saw a house with a Christmas tree up in the living room already. And I’ve seen at least 3 holiday commercials so far. So, come on November 1st!
And I’ve already been planning out my Christmas festivities. Well, brainstorming some at the very least.
And last year my Yule Blog seemed to hit off well, so I think I’m going to ride that train again this year. I’ve got some things up my sleeve: festivals, parades, wineries, parties and dinners, Bad Moms type Christmas shopping (aka drunk shopping) <- we’ll see about this one. Tried this one a few years ago with some girlfriends and we had a blast….nothing like being riotous in December.
I will be on the lookout for any and all Christmas festivals. I’m in the mood and it’s gonna last for months. When it comes to Christmas, it really does feel like it’s ice sculptured into my soul. My family is huge on Christmas. We have always celebrated big time. My family is filled with an abundance of love and giving and sharing and Christmas is our time to go a little over the top.