I don’t know about you, but for me, 2017 has started off pretty great.
And you guys, I am so, so thankful for that.
I don’t mean this to sound like one of those superficial, “My life is wonderful and amazing! Aren’t I the luckiest person!” things that you sometimes see on blogs and social media in general. That kind of thing has spawned quite a bit of talk about the “fakeness” of our online world, and how it can be discouraging if your own life isn’t as perfect as what you see on Instagram.
But Instagram doesn’t present the full spectrum of life, right?
Let’s be honest here. Sometimes, life isn’t so wonderful. I believe every single person on the planet goes through tough times in their life – even those folks who look so perfect on Instagram. The kind of times where it takes all your strength and energy just to keep putting one foot in front of the other every day.
Starting back in 2008, those were my kind of days, and I had some pretty rough things to go through. I won’t go into all of the details here, but these were big, life-changing, what-the-hell-is-happening-here kinds of things. Just when I thought I was turning a corner, and things were going to calm down, life would throw me another curve ball. Things kept building and building until they hit a peak in 2012.
I would never, ever, ever, want to repeat 2012.
But gradually, ever so gradually, day by day, things began to become what I call “the new normal”. Slowly, ever so slowly, things have been getting better, and I can say that for the last year or so, just about everything in my life has been pretty good.
It took a long time to get there, though.
Maybe those rough days helped me to realize that I need to truly appreciate the good times when they come. Tough times will return at some point – they always do – but right now I am deeply, deeply grateful that there’s been a lot of good.
So let’s talk about a few of the things that have made me happy in March.
First, it’s been the people. I’ve met a lot of incredibly warm, easy to talk to people this month, and several are people that I first “met” online. With all the negative things there can be on social media, I’ve been lucky to find some fabulous people there, who have turned into real life friendships. Last week, I finally connected with fellow blogger Valerie for the first time over coffee, and it was so great to finally meet in person. The week before that, I met up with Dina, another blogger, whose work I love exactly for its authenticity about “real life”. Because we’d been chatting online for so long, we felt like we knew each other already, and immediately settled in for a fun night out. Dina wrote a post about our meet-up, which you can check out here.
Then there’s these two fantastic women.
Kaley is another blogger whose work I’ve been reading for years, and we met first through our mutual love of books and blogging. Dana isn’t a blogger (yet, anyway!) but she was the very, very first person to send me a note of encouragement about my blog a few years back. There’s an interesting correlation among all these people I’ve mentioned, actually.
If I hadn’t started blogging, I might never have met them. And that would have been a horrible shame.
The second highlight of March was our trip to New York. Ken and I spent a few days in Westfield, New York, and I have a couple of posts coming up very soon about it. I had to mention it here though, as it was definitely one of the best things of the month. I also met up with another online friend there, Karen, who is an absolutely brilliant photographer, and such a lovely person too. We got to know each other a bit better over a glass of wine at her brother Mike’s winery. Yes, lucky her, her brother owns a winery! There’s more coming up about this in a post very soon too.
Which brings me to wine. The third highlight of the month had to be Cuvée. I had a great time the whole weekend, tasted some incredible wine, and continued to meet more super nice people. I won’t go into any more details here, though, cause I just wrote two posts on it. If you missed them and want to read more, here’s both The Grand Tasting and Cuvée en Route links.
Onto number four, which had to be the scrumptious food I tasted this month. One of the first things that comes to mind would be the meal we had at The Cork 1794 during our trip. I had some of the most tender, delicious calamari I think I’ve ever eaten, and a creamy, luscious, seafood lasagna that I’m still salivating over two weeks later. Ken had the chef’s chicken and corn chowder, plus the bison meatloaf, and I thoroughly enjoyed the samples I stole from his plates too. Make sure to stop in if you’re ever in the area.
My other March food highlights would definitely include the Tastes of Niagara Pop-Up, which you can read all about here. Also, the Tropical Heat cooking class I attended at The Good Earth, which you will read about later this week.
Oh, and this bread….
About a month ago, I started to see some amazing looking bread pictures from Lavishly Simple on Instagram. They got my attention with just three words: Garlic cheese bread. I wasn’t sure at first though – was it a new bakery opening up in Niagara, or just people who liked making bread for their own consumption? So I sent them a message, and found out that they DO make it for sale. Not only that, but as they work out of Niagara-on-the-Lake, they would deliver it to me. I had visions of waking up Saturday morning, with warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread being DELIVERED to my house. Sounds like a pretty perfect way to start the weekend, huh?
Well, Bill delivered the bread to my house, and it WAS still warm from the oven. It took all my restraint not to slice it open right away, but my patience most definitely paid off. The bread was delicious, and the next week I ordered another loaf, and a few more goodies. The chocolate zucchini bread with a bit of spice is totally decadent without being overly-sweet or guilt-inducing.
And the fifth thing I loved in March was….
The Lucy Desi Museum in Jamestown, New York.
What a fun couple of hours we had here.
There are two parts to this museum. The first is the museum itself, which tells Lucy and Desi’s story – covering their lives from birth, through their marriage, the creation of I Love Lucy, and their lives afterwards.
But I have to say my favourite part of the exhibit was the Desilu Studios section.
They had a recreation of the I Love Lucy set
and one of the set for the California episodes!
With all kinds of memorabilia that told the story of the show.
But I had the most fun here.
If you don’t know the famous Vitameatavegamin episode you can watch a clip below. To quickly sum it up, Lucy is doing a TV commercial for a health supplement, but she doesn’t know it contains 23% alcohol. As she keeps practicing…..well, you can guess what happens.
I had a blast. I even had my own Vitameatavegemin attempt up on Instagram stories – Thank goodness those stories are gone after 24 hours! Nobody can do it like Lucy.
Super, super fun.
So, March was most definitely a month full of lots of good stuff, and as always, it’s your turn now.
What things did you enjoy in March? I’d love to hear them.