Friday, November 30, 2012

#bringitdowntown tasha tea

Pretty much since Andrew Wilkins opened the doors to Urban Almanac (75 York St.) fourteen years ago it has been one of my favourite shops in Downtown Fredericton.  The store has been constantly evolving and expanding and about 18 months ago he added Tasha Tea and a tea bar.  While I am an avowed coffee drinker, I've loved exploring the high quality blends.  
 enjoy a special offer from Tasha Tea after the jump

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

in threes

My friend Hannah met her husband Aaron at the Miramichi Scottish Festival.  Their wedding was awash in tartan and kilts, bagpipes and heather and they honey-mooned in Scottish castles.  So when it came time to make a gift for their new daughter Sydney, I opted for something that would suit a wee lass on the Highlands.  Kelly Herdrich's "In Threes"  baby and children's cardigan is both classic and contemporary and would look adorable over a long sleeved white tee and a kilt.  Or jeans.  I love baby clothes in non-baby colours and this gold-flecked green is reminiscent of the colours of the Highlands.  It's a shade called Fennel by Berroco Vintage  - a super-soft machine-washable yarn that I can't recommend highly enough for any knit pieces that will get a lot of wear.  I especially love it for gifts for children because busy moms don't have time to be all precious about hand-laundering.

The real finishing touch were the three buttons I found in my button jar (do you have a button jar?  Mine's largely inherited from my late grandmother and I highly recommend them.)  I love the detailing of the little silver buttons.  
This will definitely be a go-to pattern.  It's a relatively quick knit, she sizes up to a child's size five and it's a shape that will be quite forgiving and allow a child lots of wear before it gets packed away.  It's too big for little Sydney yet but it will be a perfect sweater for spring.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

think art stuff

Last week I had the chance to attend another private shopping party at ThinkPlay and Endeavours (412 Queen Street).   Owner Luke Randall gave me the low-down on what's hot this holiday season.  Be sure to check out the Black Friday deals at the end of this post!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

christmas ideas close to home

On Sunday afternoon Alicia Tracy (of The Hot Lollies) opened her charming Lansdowne Street home to showcase local art, craft, food and home decor.  A cozy home, great refreshments, Bing Crosby singing and inspiring talent? Who needs the mall?   If you're looking to love local this Christmas (or anytime) be sure to check out these folks.

The Hot Lollies - Renna and Alicia's gourmet cheesecake lollipops have been the rage since they started in 2007.  The Lil Lollies packs are perfect for sharing! 

Love on the Bum - Bright fluffy tutus, whimsical accessories - if you have a little one who loves to play dress-up, check out Amie Palmer's cute creations.

Tangled Love Decor - Chavah Haddon's creative and colourful refinished, re-purposed and upcycled furniture and accessories will brighten up even the darkest winter day.  One of her pieces might have come home with me...

LS Knits - Crocheted hats, cozy felted mittens and cuddly soft toys - you can check off lots of your Christmas list here.

G.L.C. Jewels – Who doesn't need a little sparkle this time of year?  I love the disco ball studs and at $13 a pair you can stock up on a few different colours.

Kris LeBlanc Art Kris's vivid paintings and prints offer up a colourful take on nature and some of Fredericton's favourite landmarks.

Moco Catering & Kitchen Parties - 'Tis the season for entertaining and if you can't face the thought of spending a holiday party in the kitchen, why not give Chef Brian Foster a call? 

And if you're looking to pamper someone (or maybe even yourself) keep an eye out for Sanctuary Botanicals and B Polished Esthetics!

The littlest entrepreneur.  Sophia was adorable.  You know I didn't get out of there without one of these ornaments!

Monday, November 19, 2012

#bringitdowntown with made you blush (and a giveaway!)

“Holidays are all about the glow.”

It’s a brisk Saturday afternoon in downtown Fredericton and I’m perched in the makeup chair at Made You Blush (59 York St.) while Kyra Baldwin works her magic.   This year our #bringitdowntown challenge was to try something new.  What better way to start than a new look for all those holiday festivities that are just around the corner. 

We had so much fun - there was glitter involved!  It was like arts and crafts for my face! 

My final look, some great advice from the girls and details on a giveaway after the jump

Thursday, November 15, 2012

#bringitdowntown : the sequel

I'm so excited to have been asked to #bringitdowntown again this year.  Like last year Downtown Fredericton invited 15 social media types to Bring the Love Downtown.  Each of us have been given $100 Downtown dollars and the only condition is that we document how we spend it.  This year, in a new twist, five wildcard spots were offered and people made their pitches on Facebook and Twitter.  I'm really happy with the choices - some of my favourite locals were chosen and I know they'll do a great job! 

Last year I brought it downtown by:
This year we've all been asked to get curious and try something new.  I think I'll be spending this evening poring over the Downtown Fredericton directory to find some ideas.  

I'd love to hear your suggestions! Where should I spend my Downtown Dollars?

You can follow all the fun on Twitter - we're using the hashtag #bringitdowntown

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Collect stamps or drink whisky... c'mon!
the quotable Frank Scott on hobbies 

One of my latest assignments for the Fredericton Tourism Town Square Social Hub was a tee-up piece on the NB Spirits Festival happening later this month.  I'm also headed to a whisky Master Class during the Festival.  I thought it would be an interesting challenge since I'm not actually a whisky drinker. In fact I'd never actually sipped a single malt scotch in my life. Whether you're a whisky newbie or a whisky aficionado there's one place in Fredericton you head if you want to learn about scotch: to the Lunar Rogue to see frank Scott.  "The Rogue" has been ranked one of the world's great whisky bars with 400 whiskies on offer - it also happens to be the pub of choice for the TNB crowd so it's kind of remarkable that I hadn't taken the opportunity before to sample their spirits .  Frank and I had a great chat (which you can read about here) and he invited me to a "Pre-Show Warm-Up" whisky tasting.

I'm a bit of a geek about, well, everything, so I love tastings and classes.  And this one didn't disappoint.  Frank was his usual jovial self and he and co-presenter Pierre Mullin walked us through six whiskeys:

Glenfiddich 18 -  Oaky and warming and fragrant with the aroma of orchard fruit this was a good start with the brand that really put single malt scotch on the map in North America back in the day.

Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or -   From nose to finish, this was the one that hooked me. Aged in sauterne casks, the Nectar D'Or is rich with citrus notes and just a hint of coconut and nutmeg.  It's light and fresh and got even better when paired with a strong blue cheese.

Auchentosan Three Wood - My tasting notes for this one read: "Yum. Warm. Yum."  With notes of brown sugar, plum, raisin and orange, this would be a perfect sip by the fire on Christmas Eve.

Clynelish Distiller's Edition:    Cutting this slightly with water brought out notes of dried cherry and chocolate.  However there was a slightly salty quality that didn't really appeal to me.  I learned from Frank that Clynelish is a coastal distillery which accounts for this hint of salt.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban: A great counterpoint to the lightness of the Nectar D'or, this whisky is finished in port casks.  I got interested in fortified wines like port after being introduced to muscat during a visit to Australia's Cofield winery.   The Quinta Ruban boasts a remarkable combination of notes: including dark mint chocolate, sandalwood, pepper, rose, Turkish delight and sweet Seville oranges.  Great sniffing, greater sipping. 

Aberlour a'bunadh; at 59% alcohol, Frank dubs this a high efficiency whisky and recommends cutting it with a touch of water before drinking.  I think I sniffed this one for about five minutes.  An amazing spicy nose, I'd actually prefer dabbing this behind my ears rather than drinking, I think!

As first whisky experiences go it sure beats drinking Jack Daniels out of lab beaker in your college boyfriend's dorm room. (Never happened.  You can prove nothing.)

While I won't be stockpiling bottles of single malt scotch (each of the bottles above cost about the same as my weekly grocery budget and they'd be considered a steal by scotch standards) it's definitely a great little treat to warm up on winter nights in my favourite local pub.  Thanks Frank and Pierre! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

so... where were we?

The last post I wrote was the day before our season opened at Theatre New Brunswick.  The next 45 days or so were a bit of a blur.

We had a great season opener with Oleanna including a very nice review in the Globe and Mail.  Wearing a different blogging hat I had the chance to interview one of the show’s stars Natalie Roy, a Glad Girl if ever there was one.  My friend Ingrid hosted a lovely opening night bash at her gallery  - so much fun!

Opening night of Oleanna at Ingrid Mueller Art + Concepts
 The day after Oleanna opened we started rehearsals for Norm Foster’s new comedy Hilda’s Yard. Watching a world premiere come together is a really special experience particularly when you have a cast like we did – so many wonderful new friends.  Since we opened the week after Thanksgiving we all got together to celebrate and eat turkey together.   

Thanksgiving orphans take over Fred's kitchen
A week later the show was over (we have very short runs here) and I was hosting the closing night party.  And then it was time to get ready for the TNB Gala Hooray for Hollywood.  Which brings us to last weekend and an event fit for Hollywood royalty – an amazing night and a wonderful fundraiser that allows us to keep creating theatre magic.

A few of the details from the TNB Foundation gala - snapped during set-up.
Somewhere in there I had the chance to see Great Lake Swimmers thanks to Denis, wrote a couple of blog posts on local eating and the harvest markets for the Fredericton Tourism Town Square Social Hub and got a good start on my Christmas knitting  - which unfortunately I can’t show you since the recipients tend to read this blog…

And now it’s November!  The days are shorter, the tree branches are bare and the temperature is dipping.   All the makings for a few long winter’s nights and hopefully a little more regular blogging!

So what have you been up to?  I can't wait to hear!