ABCs of Summer

I read a Hello Giggles post recently that featured The Single Girl’s Totally Do-able Summer Bucket List. The last item on the list intrigues me: “Go somewhere for each letter of the alphabet.”

I like this idea a lot. In fact, this will be my new spring/summer project. Perhaps “have an experience” for each letter of the alphabet is a more attainable goal; it could include anything from going to a Concert to eating a Popsicle to building a Sandcastle.

Now, the fun part. Creating my list. I’ve come up with an idea for every letter, but this will be a completely fluid list. If I decide halfway through summer that Popsicle should be Picnic, so be it. It’s not about checking things off a list. All that matters is having a fun summer with at least 26 memorable moments to savour.

Summer

The List

Art. I will embrace all opportunities to experience art, but more specifically, I will visit at least one new art gallery. Perhaps Dart Gallery?

Beach. I will be spending most of my 10-day summer vacation on Port Hood Beach, as long as the sun gods permit. But I hope to get out for a few more beach days in/near the city this summer too.

Cocktails. I want to go out specifically for cocktails at least once this summer. It’s so easy to stick with my usual wine, cider or patio beer when I go out, but I do love a good cocktail.

Day trip. I try to venture out for at least one day trip within Nova Scotia each spring/summer. I’m not sure where I’ll go this time, but I’d like to head somewhere new.

Explore. Take a different path than usual on one of my Shubie Park walks. Explore a local neighbourhood I never visit. Get out of the car on a day trip and go for a walk, not just through the main street of a community, but beyond.

Festivals. I attend a few festivals every summer, so this won’t be difficult. I’ll try to hit up as many as I can, including Chestico Days (Port Hood), Greek Fest, Multicultural Festival, and Halifax Jazz Festival.

Ghost Walk. I’ve never done it.

Hot Fudge Sundae. An opportunity to be completely indulgent.

Indian food. Okay, admission time. I’ve never really had authentic Indian cuisine. I mean, I’ve had a taste here and there, like Samosas. But that obviously doesn’t cut it. I’m not sure what’s holding me back because I enjoy most other ethnic cuisines. I think maybe I’m overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. I definitely need to do this with folks who know their Indian food so they can hold my hand through this. Who’s in?

Jazz. I have tickets to one Jazz Festival concert so far, and hope to attend at least one or two more.

Kites. My friend Kirk and I have a tradition of flying kites on Citadel Hill every couple of years. Maybe this year we’ll try somewhere new, like a beach.

Lobster. It could be freshly caught along the shores of Port Hood and served with my mom’s potato salad. It could be a Lobster Benny from Saege. It could be any number of lobster dishes from local restaurants. It could be ALL OF THESE THINGS.

Movie. As in the outdoor variety. Whether it’s alFresco Film Festo (yes, I know they changed the name but I like this one better so suck it), Open Aire, a drive-in or someone’s backyard, I want to enjoy at least one fresh air film.

Niche. I know absolutely nothing about soccer, but I hope to participate in a soccer pool with friends this year. And I hear Niche is the best place to watch soccer in the city. So I will watch a soccer match at Niche.

Oxford. I love going to movies at the Oxford and don’t do it often enough. I will see at least one movie here this spring/summer.

Popsicle. Simple. Summer on a stick.

Quizzes. I will unabashedly take all the Buzzfeed quizzes I want this summer. But I won’t share my results. Unless they’re awesome.

Rocky’s. Rocky’s Filipino BBQ inspired the Summer of Streetmeat, and I will need my summer fix.

Sandcastle. I haven’t built one since I was a kid.

Tree. Find a tree. Sit under the tree. Read a book under the tree.

Ukulele. Okay, this is a bit of a stretch. I got stumped by the U. It would be hilarious and awesome to own a ukulele, but unless one of you wants to unload one for free or very little coin, this probably won’t happen. I may come up with a different U idea later on. Any ideas? Put ‘em in the comments.

Volunteer. The last time I volunteered was the Word on the Street Festival a couple years back. I shouldn’t let that much time go by without giving back to the community.

Water Fight. An epic water battle broke out last summer at an annual summer getaway with friends and their families, and I was not prepared. Won’t happen again. I need to invest in a Super Soaker or similar. Maybe a large tub of water balloons too.

X Marks the Spot. I thought it would be a struggle to come up with an X. But it came to me right away. Oak Island and its famous treasure hunt! I’ve never been. So technically I could take care of D and X in one fell swoop, but I’m sure I can manage more than one day trip this summer.

Yogurt. As in the frozen variety. My friend Lindsay and I have pledged a series of themed summer adventures over the last couple of years. Remember Summer of Street Meat? Well, this summer, we’ve pledged to try every single Froyo joint in Halifax. It will be a tasty adventure indeed.

Zoo. I mean, there’s only so much you can do with a Z.

Project Weekend

This weekend has been all about getting things done. I’ve been procrastinating on a few projects in varying stages of completion. And now? Well, I still have a few. But less than yesterday! One project in particular has been on pause for a year and a half, but it’s now complete. I finally have a headboard.

I was inspired by a post I found on Pinterest about spray painting rubber floor mats to use as wall art. It’s a super easy project (even for me) with a cute and colourful result.

I gathered 3 cheapo rubber floor mats from Zellers at $10 a piece. I found cuter ones elsewhere, but they ranged from $15 to $20, and I had set a $50 budget total. I also picked up a couple cans of Krylon Spray Paint in Blue Ocean Breeze. I grabbed a few nails from my tool box, an empty egg carton, and some newspaper to protect the floor from the spray paint. That’s everything I needed for this project.

Step 1: Spray paint the mats.

My memory is foggy as this part was done a long time ago, so I can’t remember how many coats it took to cover the mats completely. I’m pretty sure I used up both cans of paint.

Spray paint the mats.

Step 2: Spray paint the nails.

The nails won’t be hidden when the mats are affixed to the wall. It probably won’t be very noticeable, but why not spray paint the nails anyway? This is where the egg carton comes in handy.

Step 2

Step 3: Hang the mats.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Have a look at one of the painted mats – cute, right?

Finished mat

The finished product. By the way, this Krylon colour looks completely different depending on the lighting. It might be a good idea to spray paint a small piece of cardboard or something and place it in the spot where the mat will hang to ensure it’s the colour you actually want. The difference between the photos above and below is not a trick of the camera. Luckily, I prefer the mint to the aqua. Now I just need sheets that match the mint.

Finished headboard

When Good Eats Are Good Deeds

Y’all know I love to indulge in a great meal out from time to time. Treating myself to the experience of enjoying delicious food and drink in a social atmosphere with friends has got to be one of my favourite guilty pleasures. For the next 7 days? Eating out in Halifax and Dartmouth actually benefits a fantastic cause thanks to Yelp! So get out for a meal or two or seven and enjoy it guilt-free. Here’s how: from September 23 – 29, dine at any of seven participating restaurants and drop your receipt in the official Yelp Eats box. For each receipt over $30 (before tax and tip), these restaurants will donate $10 to Feed Nova Scotia. All the details, including the list of participating restaurants are available here. You can even join Yelpers for group outings to the participating restaurants throughout the week. I can’t wait to check out Saege Bistro tonight.

Did you know Yelp Canada raised over $10,000 for local hunger relief organizations across the country last year? I am so lucky to be able to afford to eat out from time to time, especially when so many people in our city don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Events like this make me so happy and proud to be part of the Yelp community here in Halifax. All the participating restaurants deserve huge kudos for donating a big chunk of their bottom line this week. Just one more reason I love our city.

Dartmouth Cash Mob!

Have you ever attended a cash mob? I have. It’s an incredible experience. A mob of customers descends on an unsuspecting shop owner, each with a commitment to spend a minimum amount of cash. For the shop owner, it means so much: an unexpected influx of cash, a feeling of belonging in a community, and the added benefit of word of mouth business that will likely continue long past cash mob day. I can tell you first-hand – being a part of this type of movement is very special. Now’s your chance to get involved! Downtown Dartmouth is planning a cash mob for Saturday, September 1st at Fisher’s Stationary on Portland Street, Dartmouth.

Here are the deets, straight from Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.

“Fisher’s Stationary has been on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth for over 50 years, and many people remember it as the place they got their school supplies. Mrs. Fisher has stayed in business and continued to believe in Downtown Dartmouth. This is a great way for the community to thank her.” said Tim Rissesco, Executive Director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.

Everyone interested in participated is asked to meet at the Alderney Farmer’s Market at 10:45 am and to bring $10.00 to spend. The participants will leave Alderney Market and arrive at Fisher’s Stationary at 11:00 am.

Downtown Dartmouth will have prizes and give aways for everyone that participates in the Cash Mob and invites everyone to enjoy lunch in downtown Dartmouth and explore the other shops and services.

Follow @DT_Dartmouth on Twitter or like Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission on Facebook for more information. Be sure to keep your eye on the event hashtag: #DTDCashMob.

Homeward Bound

My Canada Day long weekend will be spent back home in Port Hood, a small but mighty fishing village along the coast of the scenic Ceilidh Trail in Cape Breton. For the first time I’m aware of, Port Hood will be hosting some Canada Day festivities. I’m told there will be a pig roast, fireworks, and of course – music. We like our music. Not only that, tomorrow the new ice cream bar opens up in the centre of town. This excites me greatly. You guys, it’s a good weekend to be in the ‘Hood.

I will also be bringing some Buttons ‘N Baubles pieces to the Chestico Museum gift shop for the summer. In addition to some cute bobby pins, button earrings, rings, and button hair elastics, I made a few necklaces using maps and satellite images of the area. I hope tourists and locals alike will enjoy these.

Port Hood Necklaces - Buttons 'N Baubles

Anybody else venturing out of town this weekend?

Capturing Dartmouth

I have been on a mission over the last few days to find the perfect spot to snap a panoramic photo that is uniquely Dartmouth. This photo (once it finds me) will be my blog banner image. My mission has taken me to many of my favourite outdoor destinations – Shubie Park, Graham’s Cove, Lake Banook, Sullivan’s Pond and the Dartmouth Waterfront. It’s a rough life I lead.

One of the best places to photograph Lake Banook is up on Sinclair Street. I snapped this pic earlier with my phone. I’ll head back another day with my camera. I’m curious. Do you have a favourite or secret spot to snag a uniquely Dartmouth photo? Let me know in the comments please!

Image

Play It Over and Over

I’ve had a few irons in the fire lately. One of these irons has kept much of my focus over the last six months, and today it flipped out of my hands and burned me in the process. I may have a permanent scar. Perhaps I’m slightly bitter melodramatic.

It’s the remaining irons I’m grateful for. Now that I have one less thing to obsess about, I can throw myself into some really exciting projects. I just completed the first major edit of my children’s book. It still needs a lot of work, and it’s really more a personal project than a commercial one. But, you guys? This is crazy exciting for me.

I’m happy to report some brand new Buttons ‘N Baubles pieces will be ready for the shop very soon – maybe later this week. Expect to see some Dartmouth love incorporated. Chestico Museum in Port Hood has agreed to carry some of my new items in the gift shop this summer. Tourists will be putty in my hands. I think. Maybe. We’ll see.

Most importantly, Summer of Street Meat has officially launched with stops at two food stands in Hubbards – we had a hit and a miss. More to come on this subject once we’ve had a few more visits (and lbs) under our belts.

So as it turns out, keeping busy is a family trait. Some of my talented cousins (Brennan, Gordie, Kelly Jean, and Mitch MacDonald) have started a band called Company Road. Their first song has been rolling around in my head all day, helping to soothe the burn.

Things I’m Excited About – Summer of Street Meat

Summer 2012 now has a theme. My friend Linds came up with the idea of heading off on drives around HRM and beyond in search of food trucks this summer. I am totally down with this. Exploring and eating? What’s not to love?

We’ve only just begun rounding up our list of destinations, but one of the first food trucks to catch my eye can be found right here in Dartmouth. Soups On The Move is Burnside’s more personable answer to the Soup Nazi. Well, one can only assume. If they have Lobster Bisque, I will park my car there and never leave.

Do you have a favourite food truck or street meat vendor in Nova Scotia? Let me know in the comments.

Things I’m Working On

I have a little something up my sleeve and will be re-opening my Etsy shop soon. Some Dartmouth love will make its way to the shop, involving this:

Dartmouth Map

Dartmouth Mystery Map

I can’t divulge the details just yet. My first creation is a gift to a friend, and I would very much like it to remain a surprise. I’m just waiting on a few supplies to arrive before I get going. Last summer, Chestico Museum featured some of my jewelry and accessories in its gift shop. If they want more items again this year, some Port Hood love will be featured too!

Time to get crafty y’all.

Things I Miss About Living in Downtown Dartmouth

For just over two memorable years, I lived in a character-filled cross section of ‘flower’ and ‘tree’ streets in Downtown Dartmouth. How could you not love living in a neighborhood surrounded by streets with names like Tulip, Dahlia, Maple, Pine, Beech, Thistle, Rose, and Myrtle? It’s my favourite area of HRM, and I hope to live there again.

For one, it’s perfect walking distance to so many awesome places. It’s just a short jaunt to lovely Sullivan’s Pond. I’ve spent many a sunny day there, playing frisbee, reading on a bench or blanket, or strolling from lilac bush to lilac bush. The smell of lilacs is my jam, and there’s no shortage here.

Sullivan's Pond

Birch Cove Beach on Lake Banook was my go-to spot after work on sunny summer afternoons for a quick swim and perhaps a fun game of water frisbee with a friend.

Saturday mornings often found me at the Alderney Farmer’s Market to leisurely browse the offerings and maybe treat myself to a pair of earrings, a brownie, fresh blueberries or whatever delights were up for grabs. A boutique NSLC shop is conveniently located here too, so often occasionally a bottle of wine was my treat of choice. Saturday evenings (and many weekday evenings too) were spent with good friends raising a glass at Celtic Corner. A cold beer and Maple Curry Chicken Penne will turn your day right around – guaranteed.

Sunday mornings used to be all about Ducky’s brunch. Sadly, Ducky’s on the Waterfront is no more, but Downtown Dartmouth brunch options have expanded since I moved out of the downtown area. Both MacAskill’s and Nectar serve delicious (and reasonably-priced) weekend brunch. Expect a post dedicated solely to Dartmouth brunch options in the near future – it is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Two if by Sea came on the scene just after my departure, but no post about Downtown Dartmouth is complete without mentioning this champion of the area. It almost hurts to think this amazing cafe with the best cappuccino in the city is a mere 3 minute walk from my former Downtown Dartmouth abode.

And as Haligonians like to point out, Downtown Dartmouth has an amazing view of… well… Halifax. I’m no Halifax hater (I heart you too, Halifax!), but I will admit to cringing when I hear this listed as Dartmouth’s best feature. It is, however,  quite an amazing feature.

I’ve only scratched the surface of my charming former Downtown Dartmouth neighborhood. I’ll come up with another post at some point to shine a spotlight on some of the lesser-known delights of this part of town. In the meantime, check out the recently revamped Downtown Dartmouth web presence.