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The Biggest Day Downtown

3 Sep

We have absolutely loved participating in the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Big Day Downtown and were thrilled to be invited back again this Summer.

The kickoff happened at the super secret underground bar ‘Noble’ located underneath The Middle Spoon. At Noble we picked out three adventure-themed cards to help guide our big day.

We selected Exotic, Fun and Cheerful.


With the task at hand and a $150 Visa we were ready to get started!

We picked a beautiful sunny Saturday to take on Downtown Halifax and we kicked things off at Parade Square where we took in some of the Dog Days of Summer event. Sylvia was interviewing the doggie stars of Neptune Theatre’s Legally Blonde and those little furballs were exactly what we needed to set the tone for an amazing day.


The Dog Days of Summer were jam packed with the most adorable four legged friends you’ve ever seen sporting some seriously awesome outfits. We’re talking dogs in tutu’s, dogs in biker gear, dogs in bowties. They were very well dressed and very adorable.

Category: Cheerful, Fun, Some were exotic!

From there we headed down to Bishop’s Cellar to enjoy an afternoon wine tasting. If you didn’t already know, Bishop’s Cellar offers a free wine tasting from 11am – 1pm every Saturday!

In addition to drinking all the wine, we gave ourselves the mission of picking out wines for each other that we thought we might enjoy. This being a relatively easy task because as long as the word WINE is on the label we will drink it. We found some amazing wines with super fun labels all under $25.00!


As it turned out Sylvia’s Mom happened to be in Bishop’s Landing so she joined us for the rest of our adventure!

Category: VERY cheerful, fun and exotic!

Following the great time at Bishop’s Cellar the team was feeling the need for a snack and let’s be honest, more wine. We decided to stop by A Mano for a lovely lunch on the patio. Bishop’s Landing has so much to offer, and it means that we could go from our wine tasting to lunch in just a few steps, the beauty of spending a Saturday downtown Halifax.
We were greeted at A Mano by the always friendly and cheerful staff, they set us up on the patio. We ordered a number of dishes to share, including two types of a pizza and a few starters. And of course we enjoyed some wine from A Mano’s lengthy wine list.
Our server took great care of us, and returned quickly with our snacks and drinks. We have a great time, and I can assure you we will be back again soon.
Category: Exotic, cheerful and oh so fun!

So what do you do after a delicious meal of pizza and wine? You get a treat! (Obviously). Luckily for us, A Mano is conveniently located only a few steps from one of Halifax’s finest purveyors of sugar… Sugah! Gourmet chocolate bars (hello Maple Crusted Dark Chocolate bar… nice to finally meet you), ice cream, vintage candies to remind you of your younger years – how can you not have fun in a place that’s wall-to-wall sweet stuff? Great selection, helpful staff, (and animal-friendly). Sugah, we like you a whole lot.


Category: Cheerful and fun! 

Talk about exotic and fun! Joel loves cigars. He loves that they’re handmade with care and attention to every detail and really loves the variety and particular flavours and aromas of each one. And most importantly Joel loves Paul Stulac’s Smoke on the Water in Bishop’s Landing.

The store features a large walk-in humidor, with a wide selection cigar brands. There are plenty of Cubans, including the famous Cohiba and Partagas lines, and lots of cigars from other major producers like Nicaragua and Honduras.

The only problem with Smoke on the Water really isn’t its own fault. The prices are high. In Canada, tobacco (whether it’s in cheap cigarettes or fine premium handmade cigars) is levied with huge taxes, making cigars far more expensive than the U.S. (but comparable to other countries with socialized medicine like England and Australia). But, they’re worth every penny.

Each cigar provides well over an hour of relaxation, and time to spend with one’s self or with friends, enjoying the product of a handmade process. From the planting of the tobacco plants, to the picking, to the fermentation, to the selection of the various parts (the filler leaves, binder leaves, and wrapper leaves), to the masterful rolling, every single premium cigar has been handmade.

The proprietor of Smoke on the Water, Rodney, is knowledgeable and passionate about cigars. With his help, Joel picked out a few cigars for the group, including a delightful Punch and a CAO LX2.


Later that afternoon Joel enjoyed his LX2 and thought about the wonderful day spent with his best friends enjoying the fantastic sites, sounds, and stores of Downtown Halifax.

Category: Fun, Exotic

Another HUGE thank you to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for letting us loose in Downtown Halifax! We enjoyed one of the most cheerful, exotic and fun days in recent memory!

Overalls and Fanny Packs

5 Aug

A while back I saw of picture of Jessi Cruickshank sporting overalls. She looked SO cute in them that I thought, I MUST HAVE OVERALLS AGAIN!

Most of my younger years were spent wearing snazzy Oshkosh overalls in varying colours and patterns, and then when I was 10 I went into a denim overall phase.

Don’t even get me started on the Tommy Jeans overalls trend that ran rampant through my Jr. High School. My parents refused to shell out the big bucks for the Tommy Hilfiger overalls and suggested I save up babysitting money to get them.

Not only did I take them up on this challenge, I began my career as a shopper of the finer things on a budget. A local kids store sold Tommy Jeans overalls for kids. Being a shrimp at the time the largest kids size (which looked exactly like the smallest ladies size) fit me and they were about half the price!

So the day came and I got my Tommy overalls and felt like the coolest kid around.

So naturally when I saw Jessi in the overalls I wondered if I too should bring these back into my life for the fourth time.

I was discussing this with my Mother-In-Law and her statement put me back into place. “If that girl can look that cute in OVERALLS, think of how cute she would look in other clothes! You don’t need overalls. Overalls are for working.” Good. Point. I now don’t own overalls in my late 20’s. That is for the best I think.


Look at Jessi looking all cute in her overalls.


Overalls in their natural habitat.

Now let’s move on to another trend that I can’t say I was ever crazy about but has never truly seemed to die.

Let’s talk about The Fanny Pack. The words alone make me shudder a bit. I get it. Having a bag you can wear on your body to keep your hands free is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t need to be this way!!!

Rhianna has decided to take it upon herself to make The Fanny Pack cool. Surely Rhianna of all people has someone to carry her bag, keep her things safe, pass her lip gloss when she needs it. But no. She brought Gucci in to this to try and make this seem OK.


For a minute there you were like hey that’s cool. I want one right?

Honestly, I think her Gucci fanny pack is not so bad at all. The problem is this. If Rhianna (or any stylish trend-setting celeb) wears a fanny pack, the rest of the world now thinks it’s ok to continue to wear fanny packs.

They are pulling out their 100% polyester neon green gems from 1980 and saying things like “I knew these were going to come back in style one day!” and shoving all of their precious goods into a pouch attached to their waists.

There are so many alternatives to The Fanny Pack that are far more fashionable and even more practical. Cross body bags, messenger bags, back packs, your pockets, the list goes on. Please, choose your bag wisely.


We’ll Miss You Cory

14 Jul

This morning I woke to the news of Cory Monteith passing away and I must admit I’m pretty torn up about all of this.

To be honest I didn’t know for the longest time that he struggled with addiction. You never heard reports of erratic behaviour or saw pictures of him that would make you question his sobriety.

In a world full of celebrities who are publicly on a downward spiral constantly resisting help, Cory seemed to know his demons and  tried to tackle them which made me want to see him overcome them even more.

I just re-watched his 2011 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos and Strombo addresses the fact that usually fame leads to the deterioration of a person struggling with addiction, but in this case it seemed to help him want to get better. Monteith seemed genuine in saying that his drug addiction stemmed from not fitting in as a kid which makes this news all the more heartbreaking.

The family at Glee seemed like a closely knit one and the place where he finally fit in. So much so that he even found love with Lea Michelle there. With a huge ensemble cast like this, so many people were there to build him up and support him and I can’t imagine the incredible sense of loss and pain that comes with the death of someone you were rooting for so very badly.

My heart is with Cory Monteith today. By tackling bullying, gay rights issues, love, loss, and even bad decisions as Finn Hudson on Glee –  he gave so many other kids who felt out of place someone to look up to.

He will be missed.



MS Bike Tour!

10 Jul

On July 27th and 28th I will be embarking on the Windsor to Wolfville (Nova Scotia) leg of the MS Bike Tour.

I’m really excited to take on this new challenge as I’m not a seasoned road biker but I think this is an amazing way to support a great cause.

I know that there are SO many organizations out there that people lend their support to – so I’m trying to be a little different in how I go about raising money.

We are doing the bike tour to support a local family in HRM who has been significantly impacted by this disease. So I want to offer this to a local business:


For a donation of $250 and a t-shirt ( or other swag that will allow me to still ride a bike safely) with your company name / info on it – I will sport your gear while doing the 50km bike ride from Windsor to Wolfville.


What’s in it for you? I will not be a speedy biker so you have 50km of slow bike riding along a well seen route to gain exposure for your business AND you can feel good about doing it.

If this is something that interests you please leave a comment below with an email address to get in touch!

If this level of support is not for you but you’d still like to donate to our team please visit .

Legally Blonde – So Amazing It Might Be Illegal!

12 May

Recently we had the pleasure of going to see Legally Blonde The Musical playing at Neptune Theatre.

We love going to Neptune Theatre and after the stellar season they’ve had, I had high hopes for the musical adaptation of one of my favourite movies.

Neptune Theatre did Elf some serious justice, but I was still a bit nervous given my love for Legally Blonde the movie, and the fact that it wasn’t a musical. WELL. I’ve learned again to never doubt Neptune Theatre. Within seconds I was thrown into a place of extreme delight. Seriously. I was like a kid at Christmas hanging onto every last note. I smiled and laughed so much I’m pretty sure my face still hurts.

Lindsey Frazier starred as Elle Woods and was so full of spunk and life it was ridiculous. She was over the top in the best possible way and should Reese Witherspoon not be busy arguing with Atlanta Police and had the delight of seeing this play, I think she would agree that Lindsey was Elle Woods to a tee.

The Greek Chorus – which was essentially the imaginary travel version of Delta Nu, was nothing short of hysterical. The girls who made up the Greek Chorus had fantastic songs, hilarious lines and great comedic timing.


And for the songs. Well, they were nothing short of amazing…and awfully memorable to the point that I can’t stop singing them….

Oh my god, oh my god you guys*, did I mention there were dogs in the play? Real life dogs? In outfits?


Overall the audience seemed to have a total blast and even in moments that were so insanely ridiculous, people were lapping it up. A lady next to me who I learned at intermission had never even seen the movie was losing her mind laughing with her daughters. Even The Husband was laughing up a storm.

So once again – another amazing production at Neptune Theatre. You just can’t miss this one. Legally Blonde The Musical will be playing at Neptune Theatre until May 26th!

* Oh my god, oh my god you guys. This song is fabulous. Now this isn’t from Neptune Theatre but it is way too fun not to share.

Really dairy free? Or just sort of?

16 Apr


I love food. LOVE food. But a couple of years ago after years of struggling with stomach issues, it was discovered that I had a dairy allergy. Those who know me will know that if I was given the option of eating only two foods for the rest of my life (without the risk of getting scurvy) I would pick pizza and bubblegum ice cream. To say I was a dairy fan would be an understatement.

Needless to say, the first few months of completely cutting dairy out of my life were extremely challenging. Because this is an allergy, and not lactose intollerance, I couldn’t just load up on Lactaid and be on my merry way. Trust me. I tried. Also at the time, goat cheese alternatives weren’t widely available and I was stuck eating mostly soy based products that tasted like plastic.

In the last 2 plus years things have changed a lot and people are becoming more in tune with what they are eating and as a result restaurants have also followed suit to ensure that people can visit their favourite eatery.

For the most part, my visits to restaurants are riddled with me asking a million questions to ensure I’m not going to leave there a bloated, uncomfortable disgusting mess, or I just avoid most restaurants all together and stick to a select few that I know I can enjoy something, worry-free.

In the past three weeks or so I’ve had TWO situations where I was told I was eating something either a) goat cheese based or b) dairy free all together.

In both situations it turns out they weren’t and as a result spent more time than I’d like feeling awful and keeping close to the facilities. (TMI I KNOW but I’m trying to illustrate a point here.)

In my case (to my knowledge) my encounter with dairy will not land me in the hospital, however, there are a lot of people out there with serious allergies that could result in a trip to the hospital, or even worse.

If as a restaurant your menu states something like “please advise server of any allergies” my hope is that you would stand true to that and advise patrons if their meal option won’t jive with the allergy they’ve told you they have. TRUST ME. Us allergy ridden kids would much rather NOT eat something instead of eating something that is going to wreak havoc on our bodies. On top of that we’re more likely to come back to your restaurant because we can trust we can eat there.

What restaurants may not realize is that sometimes it’s not the obvious foods that have dairy in them. For example, battered french fries usually have dairy in them, some types of buns have dairy in them, most pestos have dairy in them… And when I say dairy I don’t just mean STRAIGHT UP MILK.

Basically any kind of cheese that comes from a cow, modified milk ingredients, butter, buttermilk, milk powder etc… falls into that category.

So my ask is this. If you’re a server at a restaurant or a restaurant who can make modifications to your food for people with allergies, please do take the time to ensure that you look beyond the obvious. There is nothing worse than paying money to eat a meal only to worry the entire time that you’re not being taken seriously and will ultimately feel like garbage.

And as for you sufferers out there – below is a list of a few places in Halifax that are incredibly accommodating for people like us – aside from the obviously places like The Heartwood etc…

Morris East – You can have your pizza and eat it too! They are WONDERFUL here for taking the time to get to know their patrons and they even have a coconut milk creme brule.

A Mano – Again, have that hankering for pizza? A Mano is another great go-to and they have delicious creamy goat cheese that can go on top of that pizza pie. And for dessert? Sorbeto which is also dairy free! AND they even do sorbetto to go so while you’re friends are all stuffing their faces will dairy filled ice cream while walking the Halifax Waterfront, fear not. You can enjoy a treat too.

Salty’s – Having spent many years working at Salty’s in my younger years, this kitchen is staffed with an amazing team who makes a lot from scratch and so they know the in’s and out’s of what they’re working with.

The Sweet Hereafter – They have vegan cheesecake THAT TASTES LIKE CHEESECAKE. The lovely duo at The Sweet Hereafter have made a point to offer vegan flavours for quite some time now. They do their research and they’ve instilled the utmost confidence in me that I can eat pretty much an entire cake to myself and only feel bloated because, well that’s a heck of a lot of cheesecake.

Q – Despite Pulled Pork always leaving me feeling like I need a nap, the team at Q has always gone above and beyond to make sure I’m eating safe foods. Even if it means going bun-less.

The Foggy Goggle – If the Internet’s Joel Kelly can make this his second home, the rest of us can eat here with peace of mind. Again, with a great kitchen, they know what they’re putting in our mouths, and they can make sure they keep the bad stuff out.

Ok – that list makes me look like a glutton, but I warned you. I love food. And when I eat out I want to feel comfortable, safe and enjoy every last bite!

Let me know if you have any other go-to restaurants where you know you can have a great meal or treat!



Celebrity Dopplegangers – Mr. D Edition

10 Jan

They say everyone has a twin, and it turns out that not only celebrity animals have celebrity animal dopplegangers, but real human celebrities do too.

I was watching the Season 2 premiere of Mr. D. and I kept shouting out the various other people that the actors looked like when it dawned on me. Is it a prerequisite to have a fellow famous person as your doppleganger to be a male cast member on Mr. D? This is my theory, let’s see if it holds up.

Gerry Dee (Mr. Duncan) & Jon Dyer


While Jon Dyer may not be a TV star, he is a dead ringer for Gerry Dee. In the summer I was driving down Spring Garden Rd. when I thought I spotted my old friend Jon Dyer walking down the street. I wave, and I see that he is waving back… only when I get closer it turns out it’s Gerry Dee. Facepalm. To make things stranger, I turn the corner and who do I see? THE REAL JON DYER.

It’s important to note that Jon Dyer and Mr. D’s share the same favourite epic dance song, Walk Like an Egyptian. I don’t think I need to go on to confirm that Mr. Duncan & Jon Dyer are not only physical dopplegangers, but emotional ones too. A DNA test may need to be done.

Darrin Rose (Bill) & Jason Sudeikis


This one has been bothering me for quite some time. Luckily, since Jason Sudeikis has been all over Perez Hilton this holiday season, I was able to put my finger on this on Monday.

You cannot tell me that Darrin Rose & Jason Sudeikis are not IDENTICAL TWINS. And since there is no information on Darrin Rose’s birthday on the Internet I’m willing to bet that they share the same birthday, if they are in fact not actually the same person. Now the real question – WHICH ONE OF THEM IS IN THAT COFFEE COMMERCIAL?

Booth Savage (Principal Callaghan) & Patrick Duffy


If you’ve ever watched TGIF you know that Patrick Duffy played the Dad in Step By Step. It needs to be noted that my research partner initially felt that Erika Estrada was the obvious doppleganger. I will let you draw your own conclusions on that one.

Jonathan Torrens (Robert Cheeley) & Ellen Degeneres


At first Jonathan Torrens thought that only his daughter confused him for Ellen Degeneres, but as it turns out – so does everyone else. With heads of flowing blonde hair and Twitter accounts that never fail to provide laughs, it’s easy to confuse these two.

Wes Williams (Paul Dwyer) & Milt Stegall


While my knowledge of celebrities may appear limitless, sports celebrities are a particular area of weakness for me. Enter research assistant who instantly identified Xavier’s favourite teacher Mr. Dwyer as the doppleganger of Milt Steegal. Former CFL Line Receiver, and current TV football analyst. And while I am not familiar with Stegall’s work, I can confirm that he and Mr. Dwyer are in fact face twins.

Mark Little (Simon) & Kevin McHale


Mark & Kevin have more in common than just their looks. They also spend much of their time on camera in high schools. And given that Mark is a member of the comedy troop Picnicface, I can only assume that he would challenge McHale (Artie from Glee) in a dance off any day of the week.

Mark Forward (Mr. Leung) & Dion Phaneuf 


This was a tricky one, which Mark should use to his advantage. He’s a bit of a chameleon. We searched through images of various celebrities that we felt could be his doppleganger. My research assistant strongly believes that Mark’s #1 doppleganger is Brett Favre circa 1990, however, you try searching for images of Brett Favre on Google without throwing up in your mouth a little. As a result we went for the obvious second choice, Dion Phaneuf.

Suresh John (Malik) & Maharishi Mahesh


This was another easy one for my research assistant to identify. Being an avid Beatles fan, he quickly figured out that Suresh John looks just like the Beatles famous Yogi Maharishi Mahesh who was the inspiration behind the epic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Certainly not a bad guy to be mistaken for.

Brian Bannan (Jeff Lemire) & Chris Carmack


Although it appears as though Brian Bannan hails from Canada, he might as well be an Orange County import. If he were to have punched Ryan in the face in the first season of The OC we would have been none the wiser.

Given the remarkable resembles of these lads, I’m going to go ahead and say that my theory is correct. All male cast members of Mr. D. do in fact have fellow actor dopplegangers.

**Photos borrowed from, Google Images, and Jon Dyer Himself.

Holiday Treats – The Dairy-Free-Style Remix

2 Dec

It is December which means we can finally spread Christmas cheer by singing loudly for all to hear!

But while we are spreading Christmas cheer we often tend to be eating lots of treats that are often filled with copious amounts of dairy.

For kids like myself who can no longer enjoy the fruits of cows’s milk this can be a really frustrating time of year. You can remember the delicious taste of eggnog, the melt in your mouth deliciousness of your Mother-In-Law’s shortbread cookie recipe, and yet you can partake in none of it!

Thankfully there are more options than ever to get snacking this holiday season, and a lot of them taste AS GOOD as the real thing.

I just wanted to share some of my favourite alternatives for holidays treats that us dairy-free folks can enjoy:

– Starbucks Soy Peppermint Mocha: I had no idea but there is no dairy in the chocolate syrup used to make a Soy Peppermint Mocha. So go ahead – enjoy one of these holiday favourites without fear!

– Cheese Platters: I love cheese. Always have, always will. Delicious goat cheese options make a great a good alternative to traditional cheese plats. Goats cheese cranberry logs, goats brie, goats mozza can all be put together on a plate for a delicious appy for holiday guests.

– Shortbread Cookies: This is my ultimate holiday weakness. Take your favourite shortbread recipe and replace the regular butter with goats milk butter or lactose free margarine. Last year I tried the lactose free margarine version and they didn’t quite cut it. This year I made the goats milk version and certain members of my household couldn’t even tell the difference from mine to their Mom’s own!

– Hot Chocolate: Thankfully marshmallows are dairy free. But what good is a marshmallow without a hot cup of cocoa to accompany it? Delicious and not so bad for you version. 1 cup of coconut milk mixed with 1 tsp of cocoa. The coconut milk is sweet enough that you don’t even need to add any sugar. Whisk together, throw in a marshmallow and enjoy!

And last but not least. Egg Nog. There are some dairy free alternatives that you can enjoy if you have a hankering for egg nog. The two I’ve found locally are Noel Nog (Almond Milk Based) and Soy Nog. Both of which taste pretty darn good although not QUITE authentic. Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the top and you will find your treat tasting a bit closer to the original.

So there you have it. My ideas for a dairy free holiday season!! If you have any other ideas let’s hear them!

Elf – The Musical

28 Nov

For whatever reason Holiday cheer came early to me this year. I felt compelled to get our Christmas tree before Dec. 1st, have some rum and eggnog, pop Glee Christmas into the car cd player and sing at the top of my lungs.

Naturally a visit to Neptune Theatre over the holidays was high on the priority list to keep my cheer up. For as long as I can remember, anytime that I’ve been in Nova Scotia for Christmas I’ve made it to Neptune Theatres holiday production. Beauty & The Beast remained high on my list of favourite holiday productions, but I had concerns about Elf. How were they going to take such a hilarious Christmas movie and do it any justice on the stage? I shouldn’t have doubted the amazing cast and crew at Neptune, but can you blame me for being concerned? Will Ferrell was Buddy the Elf in the movie. His humour knows no boundaries and Buddy was such a perfect role for him.

Regardless of my minor worries, we arrived at Neptune and I brought my Christmas cheer along with me. From THE MOMENT, and I really do mean the moment the play started I was in love.

The adaptation from the movie to a live musical production was seamless. Everything you loved from the movie made it into the play and it was wrapped around a catchy little song that you almost didn’t realize wasn’t in the movie. There were sets for everything imaginable and they were adorable and hilarious.

Don’t get me wrong. The entire cast of Elf – The Musical was amazing. They had great voices and were completely charming but Mark Uhre was not only the lead role in Elf, but he was truly the star. He was able to take the role of Buddy The Elf and keep it crazy and over the top without it ever feeling forced. Mark Uhre never made me feel like he was trying to be Will Ferrel, he was just being Buddy The Elf and it was perfection.

There is one scene where he plays the bells and I swear I almost fell apart with laughter.

After the play ended I was chatting with a lady who sat behind me who thought the play was amazing, and I asked if she’d ever seen the movie. She hadn’t, which solidified to me that Neptune Theatre’s Elf is really just for those of us with some Holiday Cheer that we want to sing loudly for all to hear.

Elf – The Musical is easily the best thing I’ve seen at Neptune Theatre in recent memory. Take your boyfriend, or girlfriend, husband or wife, borrow a kid, but seriously just get your butt to see Elf. If you don’t you will become a cotton headed ninny muggins. That’s just science.

This Needs to Stop – Bananas in Pyjamas

31 Oct

So a conversation on Twitter sparked a YouTube search of the Bananas in Pyjamas theme song. Instead I found a full episode so I thought hey, why not. After singing the theme song (ps if you know the final lyrics to that song I’ve been trying to figure them out since 1996…) I noticed the episode was called “Garden Gnomes” so naturally I continued to watch.

I’m not going to lie I laughed more than I probably should of given the demo of this TV show but it’s cute and they are Bananas in outfits with cute little Australian accents.. so what’s not to like.

Anyway about 3/4 of the way through I stopped the video to continue watching X Factor but I was compelled to finish. Please watch the video and tell me what you think is missing?

OK if you didn’t figure it out. THERE IS NO MORAL TO THIS STORY!!! You can’t very well go around breaking people’s stuff, posing as faux Garden Gnomes, then go have snacks with your friends and never explain why on Earth you were dressed up AS A GARDEN GNOME! What’s next B1 and B2? Do you play hide and go seek AND THEN NEVER FIND YOUR FRIENDS?!

To think that the youth of today were raised on such craziness. Next I’m going to learn they weren’t even real bananas.