My Marketing Adventures with World’s End Vintage

On December 21st, 2012, Nothing Happened

Well something happened. I had a wardrobe sale. My very first since moving into my new studio space in Wabi Sabi warehouse. Actually my very first ever. I called it (cue dramatic voice) THE END OF THE WORLD WARDROBE, VINTAGE AND ODDITIES SALE.

Not too long after the sale, I opened a vintage Etsy shop and called it WORLD’S END VINTAGE. Now I’ve been doing my best to market this shop online to all of my lovely internet friends. This is what I’ve learned:

1) Internet Marketing Takes Work

I never expected it to be a cake-walk, but it really does take a ridiculous amount of marketing to sell one item. Or just to get views and likes. There are about 7 social networks that I share every one of my items on when I list them. Not to mention the 5 Etsy groups I am a part of. Once I have a larger number of items in my store I plan to start marketing to blogs as well.

2) How to Politely Solicit your Friends

One of your most important online avenues is Facebook. Most anyone who runs a business or is selling a product knows this by now. And the best way to get “likes” on Facebook is to solicit your friends. So I do my best not to be that friend who invites people to “like” pages on a regular basis or who sends out oodles of event invites to people who don’t live anywhere close to the event’s venue. Be kind to your Facebook friends and they will generally be kind to you.

I put out a politely worded request on my FB wall for friends to “like” my page and ended up with over 100 “likes” in less than 24 hours. On the flip side, don’t be embarrassed to promote yourself or your business. If you never mention your page, how are your friends supposed to “like” it?

Reciprocate – if you have friends with businesses or other pages, show your support by “liking” them. That way those friends will feel more inclined to help you out by “liking” your own pages.

3) Why you should Spread Out Your Updates

While it’s good to list a lot of items, I listed about 8 the first day and have been adding 1-3 items every other day. I don’t want to add all of them at once because I know if I keep updating my social media, people will come back to see updates. Plus you’ll appear more frequently in people’s news feeds and Etsy’s circles.

4) Reasons to Find a Mentor or ten

Find somebody who can impart their wisdom to you so you won’t have as much of a learning curve as they may have. Get people to critique your shop, the photographs of your items and your prices. Participate in threads on related Etsy teams and try to get people invested in your success. It’s a lot easier to be successful when you’ve got lots of people on your team instead of battling by yourself.

Help promote other shops and try to become a part of a few different groups. Find a friend or two who can keep you motivated – maybe you can trade off modeling each others’ clothes or jewelry for listings or craft together if you’re selling handmade items.

5) Setting Goals helps your shop flourish

It helps immensely to set goals – both long and short term – for your shop. I find this is the best way to manage your work when you’re working for yourself. For instance, one of my goals for my Etsy shop is to be able to pay off in sales what I pay for my studio in rent. Since my studio is the size of a large closet, rent isn’t that much, but you gotta start somewhere.

Secondly, set up a POA for how to reach your goal. My current POA is to list 1-3 items every other day and to spend 3-4 hours doing online marketing (all of the above) every MWF. Once I have more items in my shop (30 sounds like a good number) I’ll start trying to get some interest from bloggers and other local groups. Maybe I’ll create some flyers or postcards to put in stores around town.

I’m still working on my marketing strategy, obviously. But it’s getting there! With any luck, I’ll be selling more soon.

to follow my store, check out the links below

Here are some pictures of my studio just for fun.

Costume Studio in Wabi Sabi Warehouse

This is the back half of my costuming studio. Somehow I’ve managed to fit two full Z-racks back there plus a desk and two shelves piled high with boxes etc.

Costume Studio at Wabi Sabi Warehouse

Here’s the pretty side of my costume studio. I have curtains dividing this section from the back so it can be used as a fitting room. I also put up all of those shelves myself and the cheval mirror was a gift from the costume designer on We’re the Millers.

Hot Damn, Hotlanta!

First night in Atlanta, GA

First night in Atlanta, GA

A week or two ago, I headed to Atlanta to work on a webseries called “Getting Out“. I had just finished working as a Stylist on a music video by musical artist Sean Cooney down in Savannah, and to keep myself awake driving from Savannah to Atlanta at 4 am for my 9am call time in ATL, I decided to write a rap. A few days later, I posted it on Youtube. Check it out below.

I was kinda going for a “cute and sweet” face before busting some rhymes, but according to my brother, it “just makes [him] uncomfortable”. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. I’m planning to post another rap soon-ish. Maybe this week. You’ll know when it happens.

Getting Out…in Atlanta

I arrived in ATL barely ten minutes before call time and feeling slightly like death (but just slightly). Luckily, there was a little bit of down time during the shoot, and I napped on whatever was available to me (mostly chairs, the floor, face down on a table…). I did try napping standing up once. I wouldn’t recommend it.

The webseries is a college-y comedy about 3 roommates + a girlfriend (my character) who are just trying to get out of college. In the first episode, the guys get a new (female) roommate, and shit happens.

We made a promo where Connor, one of the roommates, tries to show us how to “Dougie”. The results are pretty hysterical. Plus I’m super awkward in it, my favorite thing. For your viewing pleasure:

On Set of “Getting Out”

It’s not a film project without a few bumps in the road, and “Getting Out” was no exception. But somehow we made it through a week of filming (plus a pickup day the following week), and I even got to do a little bit of makeup. I created a black eye for roommate Ian after a raucous party episode, and did Riley(new roomie)’s basic makeup on one of our shoot days. And I have to say, I do enjoy acting, but I think I get more out of the artistic/creative side of things. I love creating a character through their clothes and makeup.

Heath's black eye on Getting Out

Heath’s black eye on Getting Out – still need to practice making black eyes, but this is what I came up with on short notice.

Coincidentally, our boom operator/sound mixer/entire sound department, Bryarly Bishop, has a vlog and made a behind-the-scenes video for Getting Out. It’s mucho entertaining. Have a look:


Days off…Enjoying Atlanta

We’d planned to get all five episodes done in a 5 day week (a little ambitious, I know), and we ended up a little bit behind. So we made the following Tuesday our pick-up day, and I had a few days off to check out the town.

Midsummer Music Festival

I crashed on my friend Pam’s couch, and she, her roommate Broek and I headed to the Midsummer Music Festival in Candler Park, about a 5 minute walk from Little Five Points. On our way there we grabbed a beer at a pub, and Pam and Broek tried “Poptails”, alcoholic popsicles. When we got to Candler Park, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was celebrating their 35th anniversary, and we had a great time dancing along to their New Orleans brass.

MidSummer Music Fest in Atlanta, GA

Midsummer Music Fest

Indian Lunch Buffet at Chopaati

On Sunday, I met the cast and crew of Getting Out for lunch at Chopaati. According to Broek, Decatur is the best place to go for Indian food around Atlanta. Many of the crew had never had Indian food before, so I sort of became the “expert” even though I had no idea what any of it was. My whole reasoning behind going to a buffet instead of a sit-down Indian restaurant is so I can see the food before I put it on my plate! But everyone seemed to enjoy it, so I must have done something right.

Delicious Indian Food Meal at Chopaati in ATL

We attacked this meal. And it was delicious.

A Different Way of Riding

Later that afternoon, Pam and I went horseback riding, and I learned a few things about endurance riding, a very different style from what I do (hunter/jumper). In endurance riding, you ride for long periods of time – as long as 24 hours. Everything from the tack to the horse’s gaits are different, but it didn’t take me too long to figure it out, and we spent a lovely afternoon on the trails.

Touring Historic Oakland Cemetery

Pam & Broek suggested I check out the Historic Oakland Cemetery, so on Monday, after somehow failing to locate the High Museum of Art, I had lunch at a deli in midtown, then drove over to the cemetery and managed to find free parking.

Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

I wandered around for a bit, then got a phone call from a good friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while and spent the next few hours chatting with him. And let me tell you, if you ever want to have a private conversation in a city where you don’t have any privacy, go to a cemetery. There’s usually only a handful of other wanderers, and they’re generally respectful enough to leave you alone. Plus you probably look like a crazy person talking to your dead relatives…or something.

Secluded path in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

There is something about cemeteries that is so peaceful and calming that I absolutely love. Maybe it is how expansive they are compared to the number of wanderers there. Or maybe it is the absolute stillness that makes me feel connected to past generations. It is the only place that is simultaneously empty and crowded, and I love being alone without feeling alone.

Shadow-girl in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

Dorn Brothers Photography Art Show

On Tuesday, we finished our pick up shots for Getting Out then headed to IHOP for some red velvet pancakes (not everyone in the cast is 21, so grabbing a beer was kind of out of the question). Afterward, everyone went their separate ways, and I had a little time to swing by the Dorn Brothers‘ “Ghost of Old Highways” Art Show wrap party at the Carroll St Cafe to say bye to Pam and check out some pretty incredible photography.

The Dorn Brothers were also the photographers on a music video I worked on called “Black Curtain” by the same musical artist, Lovett, and there seemed to be a handful of people at the art show who’d worked on both. So it was pretty cool to see some familiar faces.

On Wednesday I passed through Columbia to see my fam, then headed back to Wilmington for my next adventure.

[craftyprojects] Paisley Curtains with Blue Trim

I’ve decided to start a new series entitled “Crafty Projects” so you can look forward to more of these in the future! My first crafty project is a pair of custom curtains I made for the apartment I just moved out of (typical).

Crafty Project 1: Paisley Curtains with Blue trim

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Finished product

Step 1) Measure your windows and pick out your fabric.

Measure length and width of your windows. Decide if you want your curtains to cover the windowsill, reach the ground, or just touch the sill. Keep in mind where your curtain rod is and how low your curtains will hang when determining how much fabric to buy. How do you want your curtains to look when they’re drawn? If you prefer a gathered, bunchy look, add some width to your measurement. Add a few inches for seam allowance.

I found a pretty green/blue paisley duck cloth with a blue cloth for trim on sale at Hobby Lobby 30% off of $8/yd. Duck cloth is a heavier fabric, so it’s great for curtains. It all depends on the look you’re going for, though. If you want something drapey and gauzy, then make sure you pick a fabric appropriate for that.

Step 2) Measure two panels, cut, and hem sides

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

pressing the hem

To hem edges, fold edge about 1/4 inch, press with hot iron, then fold again about 1 inch to achieve a clean line. Repeat on all four sides. Pick a thread color that will blend in, and stitch the hem along its edge.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

hemmed edges of curtain panels

Step 3) Cut and hem trim, loops

I wanted my trim to echo the loops I planned to stitch to the top of the panels for them to hang from, so I cut four equal strips of blue cloth, then hemmed them closed. Depending on the look you’re going for, you probably want to keep the hem as close to the edge of the strip as possible to help conceal the stitch. My stitch ended up almost in the middle of the loops because I didn’t think about this factor when I was pressing it. Stitch it closed with a thread that matches.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

hemming the trim and the loops

Step 4) Add Trim, mask mistakes

As you can see, I hemmed my two panels a little unevenly. Thankfully, I could make up the difference with trim! If you have this issue, simply stitch your trim a little lower on the uneven side. Just make sure you don’t adjust your stitching path too – you don’t want a slanted stitch!

Fold the edge of the trim in, and stitch closed.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Adding trim to curtain panels

Step 5) Add Loops

Determine how many loops you want to have to hang the panels from, as well as their length. Cut your strips accordingly. Hem. I decided on 6 loops stitched close to the top on the back, and lower in the front for a unique look.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

pinned loops

Find the center of your panel, and measure out where to pin your loops. Pin first on the short side, then stitch. A standard stitch pattern would be to create a box, then to stitch a big X through the middle of it. Really, though, for something this small, as long as you stitch at the edge of the loop and the edge of the panel, you should be fine.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Pin front of loops

After you stitch the back, fold your loops to the front and pin in place. Make sure you’re measuring right, because if your loops are uneven, your panel will hang unevenly. Stitch in place.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

finished curtains

Et Voilà! Your finished curtain.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Finished curtain

News and Goals at GWDE

Things have been busy here at GWDE!

You may or may not have noticed that my posts over the last month or so have been sporadic. I’ve been quite busy with life and haven’t made the time to update. I’ll admit I was also getting a little tired trying to catch up on my September Road Trip posts. Whew! Glad that saga is complete.

A FEW GREAT THINGS HAVE OCCURRED RECENTLY:

• GWDE turned 1 year old! I started this blog back in January 2011 6 months after I’d moved to Montreal. One year, a blogging award, and 60 posts later, I’m still going strong. Here’s to another year!

• Roseanne from itsallyogababy.com featured my yoga mat bags on her site, and I’ve begun listing new items (including vintage skiwear!) on my Etsy page. I will also be distributing coupons the first weekend in March at a Yoga mini-retreat taught by Diane Barnes of Mindful Living Studio.

• In the meantime, I’ve been applying to graduate schools for Creative Writing (should be hearing back from them by April. Wish me luck!), and started working in wardrobing for film.

• In January, I worked as Wardrobe Assistant to Malgosia Turzanska (Costume Designer for MGMT’s Time to Pretend music video!) on The Edge of the Woods, and have been assisting her a couple of weekends on her current project, Child of God.

• I also came up with simple modernized Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O, and JFK costumes for a music video for local singer/songwriter Chieftan (FB page going live next week). With any luck, the music video will be up later this week.

• On top of all that, I’ve started working part time and moved into a new apartment…yesterday. I’ve also been volunteering at an art gallery and (trying to) volunteer at a local theater.

Life is, for lack of a better word, busy.

I do have a few goals for the next few months. They include:

1) Establishing a fitness program and healthy diet that I can stick to (posts on healthy recipes! and fun exercises!)

2) Gaining more experience in wardrobe/costuming through local and out of town opportunities (indie films to go see!)

3) Creating an idea board for my Etsy site & adding new items in my store (follow my tumblr for updates)

4) Continuing to minimize my possessions by throwing away or donating anything old, used, or rarely used (you should look forward to a post in the near future with pictures of awesomely hilarious items I’ve dug up from my childhood)

5) Downloading more Kindle books and reading them all (I will tell you all about my lovely Kindle and why it’s my favorite toy ever later)

6) Watching more classic films and films in general (I’ve got a looooonnng list, but I’d like to write a review here and there too)

and last, but certainly not least:

7) Updating my blog more often and with more pointed topics (see above)

My Art Binge in Washington D.C.

Somehow I managed to make it to D.C. within an hour of dinnertime, completely catching my friend Kate off guard. Luckily for her, dinnertime in D.C. means one thing: traffic crawling at the pace of a slug. So in the hour it took me to travel a few blocks, Kate stopped by a delicioso Ethiopian restaurant in the cute up-and-coming neighborhood of Bloomingdale in which she lives and was ready to mangia by the time I arrived. We spent the evening catching up, chowing down, and watching Singing in the Rain (a great classic. If you haven’t seen it, jump on that!)

The next morning we spent breakfast at Big Bear Cafe oggling indie boys and discussing the world’s problems, and by 11 we found ourselves sitting on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial trying to decide what to do next. Oh yeah, did I mention that the Washington Monument (the phallus-like structure that dominates the D.C. skyline) had apparently been affected by the August 23rd earthquake and was closed for repairs? Yeah, weird, I know. Maybe they will change the name to the “Leaning Tower of Washington” or the “Leaning Tower of Pisa II” (if they’re feeling particularly original). Ok, yeah, so it’s not actually leaning. But that would be cool, right?

I also got to experience the D.C. Metro – which is a bit like a nuclear fallout shelter crossed with something out of a sci-fi film. It also runs like a zebra in the Sahara being pursued by a lion: only because it has to. And it sucks most when the lion catches up aka a bridge is being worked on.

Spacy Metro System in Washington, D.C.

We walked down the mall next to the long stretch of museums. D.C. is awesome for a number of reasons, but I think by far the best thing about it is how FREE most/all of its museums are. This is probably an attempt to make up for how friggin expensive everything else is…but we’ll take what we can get.

I wanted to do something not every tourist does in D.C., so we decided to check out the African and Asian art museums that are situated right in front of the Smithsonian Castle (Arts and Industries building). On our way there, we passed through the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, a quaint walled public garden that had tree branches and vines hanging overhead, brick walkways, and a number of different species of plants. There were a handful of businessmen and women eating their lunches quietly on benches in the garden, and birds hopped around picking up crumbs. It was incredible to see such a beautiful natural space in the middle of the downtown area of a big city.

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden in Washington, D.C.

We also walked through the Hirshhorn and National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens on our way to the African and Asian Art Museums. I spotted another of Louise Bourgeois’ huge spider sculptures (you may recall I saw one in front of Ottawa‘s Museum of Art), a Rodin, and a number of other really neat sculptures (see the slideshow below to check ‘em out!).

We finally made it to the African Art museum and explored its multiple floors complete with video presentation before heading to Teaism for lunch. This is a must-do if you are close by and like sushi and/or tea at all. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but definitely worth it. They even serve you your meal in little sushi boxes just like in Japan! Seriously, go there. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Sushi Teaism Washington, D.C.

On our way to the Sackler Gallery of Asian Art, I was glancing around the street like a child with ADD, when I noticed two people waiting at the crosswalk next to us. I recognized the girl from somewhere – suddenly I realized that she was one of my friends from college! I flagged her down and we all decided to meet up for drinks later that night.

At the bar that night, Kathleen told Kate (whose full name is coincidentally Kathleen) and me that her boyfriend (another college friend) was working in Alexandria, and suggested we grab lunch with him the next day. Who knew this would be just a huge Richmond reunion?

The ridiculousness continued the next day when we ran into yet another Richmond friend having a coffee on the porch of a Starbucks on King street in Alexandria. Apparently Washington D.C. is where everybody goes after graduating from UR.

We also checked out a cute coffee shop called Misha’s that was expensive (I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record), but it had a really unique vibe and a line practically out the door.

Menu board at Misha's in Alexandria, VA

Later, we met Richmond friend Ryan for lunch at another Ethiopian restaurant (we really like Ethiopian food), spent some time catching up, then saw him off to his stage managing duties for a local theater company.

That night, I met up with a couple other Richmond friends I hadn’t seen in forever at H street bar Church and State, which was small, hipster and had real confession booths! The bartenders were friendly and the music was good, but it was very expensive. I discovered later that all D.C. bars are expensive (well, everything in D.C. really), but let me just say, $21 for a rail double G&T should just not happen. Especially when you can get a Hendrix G&T for $6 in other parts of the world *cough* Richmond *cough*.

The next day I said goodbye to Kate and headed off to Richmond, VA: my last stop before home!

Ottawa, ON: Caught in the Rain

September Road Trip Wrap Up

OK, I am finally starting to wrap up the blogs on my September road trip. *Whew* this has taken me so much longer than I expected! I can’t believe it’s already December. (Side note: my graduate school apps are due on Thursday, so that’s part of the reason I’ve been rather MIA). The good news is, I have tons of other stuff I’d like to write about so there will be no running out of material here! I’m going to try to keep these next few brief so that I can get them out in the next week or two and move on to something else (delicious holiday recipes perhaps?).

After this post on Ottawa, I’ll write one each on New Jersey, Washington, D.C, and Richmond, VA. Only three more to go! After that you will hear all about my more recent travels (Nashville, Vancouver, Seattle, Coeur-d’Alene, Idaho and Bozeman, Montana) as well as a comparison of three completely different restaurants’ Eggs Benedict (my new favorite breakfast food apparently), and my decision to play through and review all of the Final Fantasy games (the result of many hours in the car from Vancouver to Montana with only a Gameboy for entertainment).

As always, thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you continue to enjoy reading my posts. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Ottawa: A city of parks

Ottawa Public Park

To avoid embarrassing my friend Liam, I am going to skip the bizarre saga involving his (former) roommates. Suffice it to say that they were not entirely thrilled to have me crashing on their couch and basically said that they didn’t want me to be in the apartment without Liam there. So, while Liam was at work most of the day, I wandered around Ottawa.

Lock System Ottawa Canal

Apparently the city is made entirely of parks. My first morning there, I decided to take a walk via the canal to the large lake I had caught a glimpse of the night before to rent a kayak and spend a little time on the water. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas. The girl in charge of the tiny floating boathouse showed me the weather radar on her computer. “There’s a huge storm coming through, so I can’t let you go out on the water,” she said. I looked up at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. There were two people out on the water in a paddle boat. But, having been struck by lightning before, I decided to heed the girl’s advice (not like she gave me any other choice). She made up for it by giving me the password to the wireless internet from the restaurant next door. I headed inside to grab a bite and update my blog.

10 minutes later, the downpour started and another dock worker had to motor out to the couple in the paddle boat to ‘rescue’ them. I hung out in the restaurant until the rain let up then decided to take a walk along the lake.

Maybe it was the two weeks of traveling, or maybe I had mono, but I was freaking tired! I decided to take a nap on a grassy knoll by the lake where rabbits and ducks and the like bounced around at my feet (no exaggeration). I dozed off and on for a half hour or so as runners came and went. A man sat on a bench by the path and glanced at me quizzically. Eventually, the rain started up again, and I reluctantly retreated to the drooping branches of a large tree (I’m no tree expert, but since this was in Canada, I’m just gonna say it was a Maple tree).

Raining in Ottawa Public Park

Trees are great, but I still got a little wet. Luckily I had my postage-stamp-sized umbrella, so I was able to ward off the rain a little bit (although I got pretty soaked from the waist down). I continued my wandering with the unfortunate realization that I had to pee. An hour later and there seemed to be no end to Ottawa’s park system. It would have been great under other circumstances – sunshine and available bathrooms – but at the moment, it was frustrating.

Hidden Garden in Ottawa Public Park

Eventually, I happened upon this secluded garden located in the woods of one of the large parks. Faced with the possibility of not being near another toilet until dinnertime, I decided to revert to my camp counselor days from last summer and found a spot a ways from the little path to pop a squat. As you do. In the public park. Yup, and I’m not a homeless person. Then I went along my merry way back into the park. Climbing a tree in Ottawa public Park

Later, I decided to climb a tree and chill for a bit, got stuck and had to talk myself into dropping down 10 feet. Meanwhile, the rain picked back up.Climbing a tree in Ottawa public Park

I wandered for another couple hours, through Carlton University, across a busy street and into the Agricultural Museum, which was closed by the time I got there. I checked out their gardens then tried to find my way back to civilization. I was starting to feel like a vagabond. I half expected to feel a beard growing on my chin and a cardboard sign to materialize in my hands. I can only imagine how I looked to passers-by. Public Garden Ottawa, ON, Canada

In the end, I made it all the way back to the boathouse where I had started my day. From there I walked to Little Italy, which was probably the choice I should have made at the beginning of the day (don’t be deceived by the tacky neon sign, Little Italy is actually pretty cute). I had my computer with me and decided to locate a wifi hotspot. Lo and behold, a few blocks away there was a Starbucks. I love Starbucks. (Did I mention I have recently visited the mother of all Starbucks in Seattle? Don’t worry, you’ll hear about it.)

Little Italy sign Ottawa, ON, Canada

A little while later, my friend Liam called to say he was back from work, so I packed up my things and started the trek back to the apartment, got turned around/wasn’t really paying attention, took some pictures of the lighted path next to the canal, consulted my map, asked directions from a cyclist, then realized I was only two blocks away. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure why I didn’t use my smart phone the whole day. Probably because I had an Eris. A word of advice: don’t buy an Android Eris. Lighted walkway in Ottawa, ON, Canada

The next day, Liam didn’t have to work until 10am, so we left a little early and headed downtown to drive by all the stuff you’re “supposed to see” in Ottawa, which is mostly just the Parliament building and the art museum.

Parliament Building in Ottawa, ON, Canada

 

Spider Sculpture in front of Ottawa Museum of Art

I found a similar sculpture in a museum in DC

Nice View in Ottawa, ON, Canada

It would have been a nice day for kayaking.

Quebec City: Everyone’s at the free Cirque du Soleil show

Quebec City, day 2. Kim and I have taken our time getting up and head back to St. Joseph street around 10:30 to find breakfast. End up eating the most amazing sesame seed baguette sandwiches at this little boulangerie not far down the road called La Boîte à Pain. I have found baguette sandwiches in Montreal, but nothing ever came close to what you can find in France. This sandwich did more than come close; it surpassed the French version. Definitely recommend this place for breakfast/lunch/snack/just to enjoy the smell.

Architecture/Painting in Quebec City

Afterwards we returned to Jean-François’s apartment, packed our things, thanked our host and jumped in the car to locate our next airbnb residence. This time we had to cross the river to the south shore, ville de Lévis. After a bit of confusion, we got on the ferry and headed across the river.

On the Ferry View of Chateau Frontenac

A few hours and two ferry rides later we were parked and back on the Quebec side of the river, looking for something to do. Jean-François had left us a nice long note about the best places to see and some cool events happening in the city. We decided to go look at some of the historic buildings and find somewhere to grab a pint. We wandered up this cute winding cobblestone street, and heard some smooth jazz music coming from an open door not far away.

I peeked my head around the door. “Are you open?” I asked in French of the elderly bartender (there was no one in the bar and it sounded like the band might just be practicing). He chuckled and said, “Oui, oui bien sûr.” After ordering a pair of Boreale blondes, we decided to sit and play a game of chess while listening to the band – who, it turned out, were three teenagers (at least one of which was probably related to the bartender) – who were still working on their routine. Regardless, they were pretty good, and we enjoyed their music. We asked the bartender to take a photo for us – it’s not the best quality, but definitely a fun memento!

Playing Chess in a Jazz bar in Quebec City

After our game of chess, we decided to go see the free Cirque du Soleil show down near the river that was being performed under a huge highway overpass (maybe that’s why the bar is empty? Everyone’s at the Cirque du Soleil show?).

Crowd at Cirque du Soleil show in Quebec City

We arrive at the show 15 mins or so later after getting directions from a very friendly pedestrian carrying a soccer ball and a gym bag. Things are just picking up – costumed performers are walking through the standing audience, and a couple of them jump up on stage, shouting into megaphones. They directed us to dance, jump, wave our arms, and do the wave. Then, once they had everybody’s attention, more and more performers gathered onstage and began their first choreographed dance of the evening. As always, the Cirque du Soleil performance was very…fun. Their costumes were silly and fancy all at once, and the characters didn’t so much talk as emit noise. Throughout the show, there were firedancers, hula hoopers, flying trapezists, and a number of other dancers, musicians, and clowns. My favorite part was a number that included a few trampolines that at first were out of site, so when you see the first guy fall, it doesn’t look purposeful. But then he bounces right back up and other performers join in. Though the show was pretty short – only about 45 minutes long, it was still amazing that we got to see Cirque du Soleil for free! Where else can you achieve that feat?

Cirque du Soleil Performers in Quebec City

After the show, we ate smoked meat at a little restaurant on the way back to the ferry (this is a Montreal must, btw) and caught the bus home. The next day we drove through the old city to see the sites we missed before – the boardwalk in front of Chateau Frontenac,Boardwalk at Castle Frontenac in Quebec City Rue St. Jean,Rue St. Jean Quebec City the Old Port market, Old Port Market in Quebec Cityan art fair we just happened upon near the Grand Allée, Art Fair in Quebec Citya cute garden with a statue of Joan of Arc, Garden with Joan of Arc Statue in Quebec Cityand a cool park with a historical lookout. Park, Historical Lookout Quebec CityCheck out the beautiful views!

 

Bromont: wineries and chocolate museums

View of Montreal from The Summit Park in Westmount

After packing my car until 3am and then getting up at 8 to finish up, Kim and I finally rolled out of Montreal around noon. A few weeks earlier I had bought a Groupon for a wine tour in a rural area outside of the city, so we went in search of the place. Of course I had subconsciously wanted to make this a difficult task so I wrote down neither the name of the place nor the address. “We’ll just call them and get directions” I said to Kim. Not exactly my best plan ever.

winery in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

So after driving back and forth for a good hour (at least) we finally make it to the a winery. I had spoken to the lady at the winery about 10 times on the phone by now so as we entered the boutique at this winery, I approached the woman behind the counter and asked if we were at the right place. I took her look of confusion to mean no. But she offered us a free wine tasting, and who can say no to that – I mean really? So 25 dollars lighter and a bottle of Port heavier, we left to find the Groupon winery with clear directions from the lady (who was apparently from Geneva) at the first place.

Bromont Countryside...one of the ski hills but I'm not sure which one

We managed to get there without much more confusion, and were finally able to enjoy our Groupon-bought wine tasting and complimentary bottles of wine. Quebec is actually famous for their ice wines (most of their regular wines, to put it bluntly, are awful), so we went home with a couple bottles of delicious dessert wines.

Afterwards we headed to “Old Bromont” and had lunch on a beautiful terasse before checking out the adjoining Chocolate Museum. They had dozens of types of chocolate from all over the world. There was even a picture made entirely from chocolate! We did our best to avoid anymore detours and were (finally) on our way to Quebec City!

view from the terasse at the restaurant/chocolate museum

Picture made entirely of chocolate

Thanks to Kim for the pictures!

Goodbye Montreal…completing my bucket list

I am finally on the road and have officially said goodbye to Montreal and my friends there. Before I start off on my adventures in Quebec City, I thought I’d do a post about working through my Montreal bucket list. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to complete everything on the list, but I guess that means I shall just have to come back soon!

What became one of my favorite places in Montreal, the Botanical Gardens, I actually visited a few times since my resolution to check it out. I loved the Japanese and Chinese Gardens and even walked all the way up to the “Tree House” which, much to our dismay, was just a museum about trees and not something built by the Swiss Family Robinson. My friend Sung visited me halfway through August and accompanied me to the garden, where we found an exhibit of artwork by Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming. The sign mentioned there were 12 pieces in total, each displaying a person performing a different Tai Chi move. Sung and I decided to try to find them and create our best imitation of their poses. Check out some of our attempts below.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find all 12 of them. Granted, we didn’t exactly search for them, but we were a little disappointed nonetheless.

Strangely enough, when I on the way to spa Bota Bota with my friend Kim for two-for-one-Tuesdays, we came across another four statues that had to be by the same artist. Funny thing is, they weren’t anywhere near the Botanical Gardens! They were actually in a little park in the Old Port.

Ju Ming Tai Chi Sculpture

Just another beautiful day in the Old Port on the way to the spa…

Ju Ming Tai Chi Sculpture

…mimicking statues’ tai chi poses, as you do…

Ju Ming Tai Chi Sculpture

…doing my best not to fall over…

Ju Ming Tai Chi Sculpture

I’m not sure if these are four additional statues, or just the four that seemed to be missing in the gardens. Regardless, they were pretty cool.

I also completed a few other things on my list – among them trying the flying trapeze, checking out the cemeteries (pics below), and attending the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Musée des Beaux Arts (I’ll be posting something more extensive on this as soon as my camera starts functioning properly again and I can upload the pics).

Cemetery Montreal

At the cemetery, Kim and I encountered a very nice security guard who gave us a ride to the bathrooms down the hill (“didn’t your parents tell you never to get in a car with strangers?” he said) and pointed out the oldest, most interesting parts of the place. People here are so nice!

Cemetery Montreal

Kim and I noticed a trend: headstones that are also benches. Personally, I think it’s quite nice. If you’re going to come spend a quiet moment with a family member, may as well have somewhere to rest while you’re there, right? Ok, maybe it’s creepy, idunno… Cemetery Montreal

After the cemetery, we checked out the view of the city from the Observatoire (and later from the Summit in Westmount). Will post more pictures later if I get around to it.

Check back in a day or so for more updates on my travels! Will likely write more on Mtl Bucket list, then Quebec City, then Maine, etc… I have also started a new tumblr: “Read the Sign”. It’s a photo blog of funny, stupid, or ridiculous signs (mostly road signs) that I’ve seen out and about. You can follow those updates here.