annual girls weekend

A couple of weekends ago it was my yearly-girls-weekend-getaway with my girlfriends; ohhh yes, easily one of my favorite and most anticipated weekends of the year. So after prepping all week long for it, including packing lunches in advance, placing all the boys clothes on their bed for the next couple of days, making sure they had their pirate costume ready for a special pirate day at school, putting a dollar each in their agenda for popcorn day, and making sure they both had their electronic device charged for ANOTHER special day at school, well I finally had time to get my OWN bag ready!!!

For the sixth year in a row now, my girlfriends and I are leaving the husbands and kids behind for a full weekend away from home. So far, we’ve been to Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Montreal, Saint-Sauveur, and Fiddler’s Lake. You can read more about last year’s getaway to Fiddler’s Lake here. So this year, the five of us rented a cottage on Air-B-N-B (first time using this service) and it was simply awesome!

Amelie, Vero and I left Thursday after work, then got manicures and pedicures, then got some Mexican food for diner and then headed out to Wakefield QC. It was pouring rain outside and we got stuck in some kind of traffic jam in Ottawa, like what are the odds of that happening at 8 pm on a Thursday night? But other than that, it was a smooth ride in to Wakefield. And then all that was left was to find the cottage. In what seemed like in forever, we finally found it. Not easy to find, somewhere hidden in the woods, all alone, on the side of the mountain, in what seemed like zero civilization, there it was, one of the cutest log cabin ever. One of my friend, the not-very-brave-one, got a bit scared when we pulled into the driveway, but once we were inside, all fears went away as we were just sooo happy to be there.

We unpacked, had a few drinks and then putted on our bathing suits for a trip outside to the hot tub. Heaven! It was pitch black, no kids, no husbands, no noise, except for our favourite tunes and our great convos! We then went to bed right away and slept like babies. Next morning was extremely lazy. We then met the other two girls, Julie and Lysane, at the Nordik Spa at 11 am.

Last time I went to the Nordik was in like 2008. Yep! That long ago. And I must say that it will now probably be a matter of weeks before I go back. I’ve visited many thermotherapy spas in the last 15 years and this one was simply one of the best. I had heard so many good things about it, like about all the new lounge areas, restaurants and bars and so much more. I am truly impressed about all the did to the place since the last time I went. To say we had the best of time is an understatement. We ended up spending 10 hours straight at the spa. The forecast was for a lot of rain, but it held off until about 9pm, so we ended up having a full day of sunshine, which made it even better. One of my favorite spot was the infinity pool, where lounge music fills the air and where you could bring drinks into the heated pool. Let’s just say that we spent a good portion of our day there while making up scenarios on how we would improve the Nordik Spa if we’d own it. I’d say we came to a consensus that it was almost perfect as it is, only missing some floating nachos plates! Well, what? Us girls love snacks!

I later had a hour long massage and it felt so good. The therapist used lavender essential oil, of course my fav, so the smell was just perfect and the massage felt like heaven. So thanks a lot stranger, you were the best!

We then came back to the cottage pretty late, got in bed not too long after and I was immediately out! Next morning we woke up and then even managed to go out for a run. We always bring our running shoes but never use them; well this time we did! We went for a run in the village because the hills near the cottage were way too steep! It was really cold and windy, but running by the river was great. We then treated ourselves to chocolate croissants on the way back to the cabin! Seriously, a well-deserved threat girls.

Every year, we have to bring and share some of the things we’ve discovered since our last getaway. This year I had brought the movie The Greatest Showman; and it was a HIT! We watched it while eating chili, trying not to sing along so the ones that had not seen it could actually listened to it! After the movie, we all shared about our favorite finds of the year over drinks and snacks. We also talked about our goals for the next year (that’s where I mentioned, 2 years ago, that I would like to start a blog!). I absolutely love these talks with my girlfriends, so fun to share about our lives, and about our hopes… it’s a like a new year resolution, but just better, just between us. I think it’s now my favourite part of the weekend.

So later, we decided to get some food delivered to the cabin, which mean we didn’t even get dressed up at all on Saturday. Yeah, that’s what I call a lazy girls vacation, and it felt good, and I think I needed it. It was actually fun to stay in and just continue to chat about everything and anything. I was really looking forward to bringing the girls to The Chelsea Pub, as I had eyed a few items on the menu, but I guess I’ll just have to go back soon as I’m still craving for it!

But like all good things, our weekend had to come to an end. With a freezing rain storm closing in on us, we decided to pack our stuff early, then lounged on the couch as long as we could, and then locked up the cottage and headed home. We did stop for brunch at Biscotti & Co. And OMG, hello, can I live there? The decor, the food and the ambiance was just too cool. Vero and I shared a goat cheese and orange salad and a warm ham & cheese sandwich (on like the best bread ever), leaving us just enough space to try their delicious Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. Again, OMG! I just love everything Dulce de Leche!

So, even after spending an amazing and relaxing weekend with my girlfriends, coming back home after being away for a few day is always great. I truly love my home and I always terribly miss my family when I’m gone. I do need some time with my girlfriends, it is so important, but home is home. Like they say, home is where the heart is, and it really is! And I loved that both of my boys jumped in my arms as soon as I got through the doors.

Well, now that my 2018 girls getaway weekend is thing of the past, we now have to start thinking about next year’s getaway; and since the second year I’ve been trying to convince them all to do this in NYC. And I’ll do the same now! Come on girls, SATC style, let’s go have breakfast at Tiffany’s!

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beau’s oktoberfest 2017

Well, just like that, the best-weekend-of-the-year is now gone. But luckily, we are left with tons of pictures and memories that will keep us going until next year! Yep, Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017 was just as awesome as expected (but way HOTTER than any other Fall activities I’ve ever attended to!).

When I was younger, I spent a few Thanksgivings at my mom’s cousin in Kitchener. My uncle used to volunteer at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and got to bring us with him on many occasions. I remember watching the parades, the enormous beer tents, many dressed up old man with lederhosen and the cutest mascot. A few years ago, I decided to bring Brian to Kitchener to witness this amazing party that is spread over 2 weeks. Hello amazing! Two weeks of Oktoberfest festivities, that is just crazy, right? Well, we had so much fun back then; Brian was really into it, and bought a hat, and some pins, and wanted to go back every year to celebrate… but you know what, who needs to drive that far to have beers in huge steins with thousands of others when you can do it next to your hometown!

So, for those who weren’t there, or those who missed it, or those who didn’t know that this was happening last weekend (although this is almost impossible now, given that my social medias were just flooded with pictures from people at Oktoberfest all weekend long), here’s what you guys missed.  So for the last 9 years, Beau’s All-Natural Brewery has been hosting their own two-day Oktoberfest event in the quaint village of Vankleek Hill, with music, local restaurants vendors, over 60 type of craft beers and all sorts of friendly competition and midway games. This year there was even a Ferris Wheel on site. Although you can’t really compare Kitchener and VKH or the two festivals, this one is a special one, and I got to admit that for me, Beau’s Oktoberfest is just the best party ever!

It was our 3rd year attending the festivities and we still just love to be there as much every time. It is clearly our favorite weekend of the year. I’m thinking of doing an advent calendar or something like that for next year, it’s that exciting! I go for spending time with family and friends, for the AMAZING food we get to try and discover, and for cheering with our community. Brian goes for the beer! Oh, and also for the small stage with the skate park… as every year I lose him for like an hour only to find him back in front of the Black Forest stage listening to music and artist he has never heard of.

So this year, I’ve left work early on Friday, we dropped off the boys at my mom and then left with my step-dad for Vankleek Hill. We later met with friends and with Brian’s cousin and her niece. We tasted beers and then had the most delicious cheese raclette and the BEST chocolate frozen treat from Pascale’s Ice Cream; we’ve then cheered for our friend Carlo during the Keg Toss competition; and then closed the place down and went home for a nap before going back at it on Saturday!

My grandma Lamoureux traveled the world (lucky her) and had brought back (like 30 years ago) lederhosen for my brother. My mom kept these type of amazing souvenirs and I was so excited the day I found it stored in a box in her basement. I’ve been dressing the boys in them for the last 3 years. So, since I take full advantage of every opportunity I get to dress up the boys, we bought a second pair of lederhosen, got them some tickets and brought them over with us on Saturday morning. They were sooo adorable! They got to play at Kinderfest, eat treats and made plenty of cheers… just like their dad, well kind of, with Iced Tea filled cup instead of beer! Their favorite part had to be the Midway games. They loved the throwing-jar-lids-around-beer-bottles game, then played Bumper’s Crop Plinko (my fav), and finally won a Beau’s frisbee. We then sent them off with my sister-in-law for one last camping trip while we kept on partying! Thanks Annick, you’re the best!

So this year Oktoberfest was in September… and it was not Fall weather at all.  In fact, the heat was unbearable. We were lucky enough to find a table in the shade for our group where once in a while we would feel the breeze. We had a rotation going on where one of us would go get the beer, the other one water, and then another one the food. I won’t rate the beer as I didn’t try any, but since I love food, especially Oktoberfest kind of food, here’s my three way tie for the most delicious food at this year Beau’s Oktoberfest:

Cheshire Cat Pub for the all-time best Reuben sandwich I’ve ever tasted;

Meule et Caquelon for the raclette trio plate… cheese is ALWAYS a winner in my book, and this was simply delicious. We’ve actually had it on Friday and then again on Saturday; and

Pascale’s Ice Cream Malted Choco Beer Nut Dip Bar… and I won’t lie, just like the cheese raclette, I couldn’t stop at one for this one either… I had 3. And then when I went for a last one, well sadly for me, they were sold out!!!

I went there with a list of 10 things I wanted to try and tried them all! Overall, all the food I’ve tried or my friends Vero and Karine tried was all so delicious… yeah, they couldn’t order anything without me tasting it… but sorry girls, I have a blog (yep, that’s my excuse now!). Same for the beer, they were all very good, and the reason why I know that, well by the look of things, I’d say that Brian and his friend Mathieu have tried every beer on tap this weekend, every time coming back with a different one saying how nice and tasty it was. They actually drank a lot of water and were still presentable by the end of the day! Hats off guys, I clearly underestimated you both at some point when it was like 40 degrees outside with 5 more hours to go!

The Saturday festivities finished just before 9 for us, while all heading to good old Miss Hawkesbury for pizza, poutine and some tequila shots. Yep… while I went to the washroom, Brian and the girls had the genius idea to order Tequila shots at Miss… very classy! We also had an after party at my Mom’s with some very memorable scenes, including one where Brian showed us why he should be considered a serious contender for next year Oktoberfest Beer Stein holding competition! He did last for over 5 minutes, but hopefully he has already forgot about it by now. If not, I will laugh my ass off next year and will be posting a picture of it here for sure!!!

So this year’s Oktoberfest is over, and it was a memorable one. We took so many pictures and did so many cheers, and that’s what it’s all about! Good friends, good times, good beers, and great food! There were a lot of people celebrating Oktoberfest this weekend, but Beau’s (and Vankleek Hill) always make it feel like this is just a huge friendly gathering and I hope this will never change.

So when Brian asked me on our way back home on Sunday morning if we could go again on both days next year, I could see that he was feeling kinda blue that it was all over, but my answer cheered him up: ‘don’t worry, cause we’ll never miss one day of Oktoberfest, ever’.

Thanks to Beau’s, and to the volunteers, and to the Vankleek Hill and surrounding community for the amazing weekend… we’re already counting the days till next year! Prost!

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yearly girls getaway

It was our fifth anniversary this year… every year we plan, we book, we prepare what we need to bring and then we leave our families for an ENTIRE weekend!  Last weekend was our annual girl-only-spa-weekend-getaway!

We have one rule: never go to the same place twice… but I have to admit that this might change next year as this year’s location was almost perfect!

So back in January, we all met and started to look at the available deals online.  We previously went to St-Sauveur, Mont Tremblant, Montréal, and Québec city, but this year we all really needed/wanted to relax, so we decided to go somewhere more on the ‘country side’ where we wouldn’t be tempted to go out as much; and Fiddler’s Lake was the perfect fit for what we had in mind.

Friday morning we dropped off our kids to school, and on our way we were!  Our first stop was Ofuro spa in Morin Heights.  A Zen-like spa, with Nordic baths, relaxation zones and massages.  It was rainy/snowy, and we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  After 5 hours of total relaxation, we picked up food and drinks for the weekend out and headed to the cottage.  As soon as we got there, we were already in love with the place.  It was huge and luxurious, but with a country look to it, three bedrooms, and floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the nature and trees that were surrounding us.  To make this place even more awesome, we had our very own outside sauna and spa just to ourselves.

On our first night we ended up eating comfort food, watching old music videos and singing crappy songs!  We made a gigantic nacho platter, my ‘famous’ guacamole, and some wings.  And then, as full as we already were, we still decided to heat up a Chocolats Favoris chocolate fondue can with some fruits around midnight!

Ok, so it looks like all we do is sit and eat.  But there’s more to that.  Every year, we set up some personal goals to achieve.  Anything goes.  Last year, I wanted to create a blog (check!) run half a marathon (10km is a half marathon right???) and start up playing guitar again.  So clearly, the blog part got done, the guitar, not so much but I started playing piano again with Liam.  So it’s almost the same…or so I kept telling myself.  As for the half marathon, I just added it to the 2017 list!  We also share our favorite products we discovered throughout the year.  It’s so funny, we never know what’s in store!

Saturday morning, without any kids to wake us up, we all slept in.  Which means we were up by something like 7:30!  It was nice though to spend a lazy morning in our pj’s until 10 and then go out and jump in the spa.  We stayed in there for 3 hours, then had some cheese and charcuterie for lunch.  Then, well of course, it was nap time.  It’s harder to nap when you hear your girlfriends talk and want to sit there and have fun with them, as I didn’t want to miss a thing… but my vacation-mode-laziness and crave for a nap took over… so yeah, I ended up taking a short hour nap, and then went back outside in the spa for another 2 hours or so.  God it felt good.  And it was all we needed, a lazy no rush day with nothing planned, with sunshine, a nap, and all of us lounging in our pj’s.

After a day-long of doing nothing but relaxing, we all got dressed up and ready to go for diner in Saint-Sauveur.  I had the best Goat Cheese salad ever and then some pasta.  It was nice to be out but all we wanted to do was to go back to the cottage and enjoy some more time in our spa (where we spent another 2 hours that night!!!).

You know what, as much as I love love love my spa weekend, at some point I think about my boys and wonder what they are doing and what’s happening at home.  I just love being at home.  I was a stay at home Mom for almost 4 years and not one day I wished I was elsewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always so excited to leave on this little getaway, but a part of me sometime makes me miss them.  At least I know they’ll have an awesome time with my husband!  So before I left, I packed up their little suitcases for the weekend and prepared them some snacks.  This year, they had a sleepover at my mother-in-law on the Friday, and then on the next day, the 3 of them met with my girlfriends’ husband and kids for a playdate that turned into another sleepover.  Our four husbands, with our 9 kids, under one roof, with countless pillows and blankets, chips and candy, and I’m pretty sure without any curfew!  It must have been quite the evening…  Even I wouldn’t tackle such a task!  But my boys were pretty excited to tell me all about their last minute sleepover at their friends and their ‘party without Mommy’!  Apparently it’s happening again next year.  We’ll see about that!

So, back to us at the cottage!  The next morning came by way too quickly.  We packed up our things, tried to find a nice terrace for lunch, only to find hot dogs and poutine!  We did a bit of shopping, and then we were on our way…

It’s always fun to go away but there’s nothing like coming home.  I was greeted by my babies with more kisses than I could have asked for, and that was the best thing ever.

Now it’s all over, and I can’t wait to plan our next getaway.  I really hope we get to do this every year.  I just love spending some relaxing time with my girlfriends; we’ve all changed so much since University, and we sometimes don’t see each other’s enough, but in the end, we’re still the same we’ve always been: just an amazing and truly unique crew that loves spending time together, doing nothing else than alternating between our pj’s and couch and our bathing suits and spa for an entire day!

On my list of places to visit for our annual getaway: Lake Placid, Niagara on the lake, New York and Las Vegas!  Let’s see where we go next time!!!

2016
2016 Cache a Maxime
2016 Québec
2016 Québec

 

2015 Montréal
2015 Montréal
2015 Mont Tremblant

 

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cheers to long weekends

God I LOVE long weekends!!!

Finally, we had a long weekend!  Although it feels like Christmas was just around the corner, it also feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a long weekend to relax and spend time with friends and family!  Last weekend was just perfect; and the weather was AMAZING!

After what felt like the longest week of my life, it was finally Friday night!  With no plans, one of my friend suggested we make dumplings!  So we gathered all our ingredients and started stuffing the wrappers.  We made 120!  Yep, 120!   Pretty sure they’re all gone now, with her 2 teenagers!  So long to prepare, but so worth it.  Of course we had some for dinner that night, like come on, we had to reward ourselves!

Saturday was gorgeous, plus 8 degrees for February felt like we had won the lottery!  Took out our spring jackets an left the house early as we had a full day planned.  We dropped the boys at my Mom’s and then drove to Vankleek Hill for some Beau’s All Natural shopping and tastings!  They had the best snacks selections this weekend: creamy Bacon Carbonara Mac’n Cheese… it was sooo good!  Brian had the Vodka Salmon and their new brew Triceratops.  He loaded up on beers, then had a chance to spin their FeBREWary promotion wheel, and luckily for him, he won a nice Beau’s t-shirt that he wanted!

We had planned a nice day out to Montréal with our friends Mel and Pat.  We love Montreal and don’t go often enough.  We hadn’t seen them since our road trip to Fenway/Boston in October, so we had a lot of catching up to do!

We made it to Montréal, shopped at a local market, found delicious macarons and then we went to play Trapped.  Trapped is a real life room escape.  A one hour game, locked in a room and you have to get out.  A modern clue game!  I love it!  We were so close to get out, like almost there!!!  But we didn’t.  We would have needed another 5 minutes.  We had a lot of fun though.  You all need to try it!

We then went out for drinks at Santos Tapas Bar.  If you’re in Old Montreal, you have to try Santos.  An electric atmosphere, unique décor, gorgeous drinks and delicious tapas.  Pat was obsessed with the number of raspberry in his pink drink!  (Hi Pat!).  It was our second time at Santos and we will be back next time we’re in Montréal for sure!

We then made our way to MangiaFoco as we had reservations at 8:45: a pizzeria and mozzarella bar restaurant.  Our friends had tried it in the fall and they thought we would love it too.  And they were right, we loved it!

What’s not to love… awesome cheese, delicious pizza and wine (for the others!).  We had a charcuterie plate: burrata and bufala affumicata, smoked tomatoes, truffles peaches, pancetta, capicollo and salami, all served with fresh bread.  The cheeses were soft and creamy.  I wish I could hide in their fridge for a night!  We then shared the margherita and uomo pizza.  So good!

The restaurant was awesome; love the decor and atmosphere, and we ended up with the best seat in the house!  From our booth, we could see all the food coming from the kitchen on a white belt… it doesn’t sound like much, but we were so excited to see our cheese plate coming that Mel and I started screaming.  Well, just a little!  I can’t wait to go back!

Sunday was gorgeous again.  We had our first chip stand snack for lunch in the car.  Then we had to burn those calories by snowshoeing.  It was so hot!  We had to take off our coats.  We then went back home and pretended to be in Mexico with the rest of our family by having homemade guacamole and drinks on our deck (surrounded by 5 feet of snow!).

The boys were exhausted from their weekend and went to bed early, so we decided to watch some Sherlock’s episodes.  We both became huge fans of Sherlock Holmes when Guy Ritchie’s movie first came out couple years ago; then the second movie came out, which was even better.  Bry loves to think he’s as clever as Sherlock… not so sure about that one!  So since then, we started to watch the series Sherlock on Netflix with Benedict Cumberbach; so far we had watched the first 3 seasons, which consist of 3 episodes of 90 minutes each.  And we loved it.

This time, for the 4th season, well, it was really good at first (and this won’t be a spoiler), but became more and more disturbing as we were watching.  We watched the first 2 episodes on Sunday night, and I ended up dreaming I was a detective in some sort of crazy thriller all night long.  Then on Monday night we watched the Finale, and oh boy, that was just too much for me, so I ended up not sleeping too well for a second night in a row!  (But still, you got to watch this!).

Monday was family day and unfortunately, I was exhausted and Brian had to work.  So we lounged in our pj’s all day, watched Moana, went for a walk and played all sorts of fun games.

Wish 3 days weekend would happen more often.  Can’t wait for the next one to see what our next adventure will be like!

Hope you had the best of time last weekend, and happy family day to all of you!

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