I moved to Halifax in university. I didn’t really move here because of university, but there was a boy and a university, so it worked out well.
Before moving here, I had never really and truly lived in the downtown of a city before. I completely loved it.
So many people love Halifax because it is the best mix of small-town intimacy and big-city amenities. I never used to be able to go on a walk on one of the main downtown streets without running into people I knew from all my phases of life.
I lived downtown for years until we moved to Downtown Dartmouth, which might make you scoff, but is still pretty amazing, and puts you within walking distance to Downtown Halifax once you factor in the ferry. But a year ago, we bought a house and moved to the suburbs.
I feel like I don’t spend much time downtown anymore, which is kind of nuts, because I’m here daily. I take public transit into my office which sits on Barrington Street (Barenaked Ladies, anyone?) and has a view of both the harbour and Parade Square. But I have definitely stopped exploring my downtown. Ask me about restaurants or new attractions nearby, and I’m more likely to look at you in confusion than offer any real solid opinions. Unless you want to talk about our new Frozen Yogurt fad. Then I’m all over that.
I was recently invited to spend a #BigDayDowntown in order to reacquaint myself with this constantly evolving place that I fell in love with seven years ago. The theme of this year’s #BigDayDowntown was “People’s Choice” which means that I was encouraged to crowd source how I would spend my day. I asked people whether I should do a family day, a date day, or a personal day and I was overwhelmingly encouraged to take a pampering day for myself.
So how does a Mom take a day off in Downtown Halifax?
I first made my way to Spirit Spa for a pedicure. To be honest, I could have probably benefitted from all of their services, but a pedicure felt like the most relaxing and long-lasting option available. I have strong opinions that every pregnant woman should receive a pedicure at least once during each pregnancy because feet and ankles get sore and swollen, toes become difficult to reach, and that polish stays on long enough to spread positivity throughout many days to come.
My esthetician Christine was amazing and did a fabulous job pampering me. I was brought my first coffee of the day, which was very welcome, and I simply needed to sit back and enjoy the morning. By then end of my pedicure, I had fabulous gold toenails, which feels like the perfect colour to enter fall with.
After leaving Spirit Spa with my happy feet and toes, I made my way to Rousseau Chocolatier. What Mom’s Day Off isn’t complete without chocolate? I’ve been hearing so many amazing things about Rousseau’s that I’ve been tempted to walk the eight blocks on my lunch hour to try one of their chocolates. It is the curse of the pregnant woman – wanting something very specific and not wanting to get off your butt to get it.
When I walked into Rousseau Chocolatier (for what was the first time, unfortunately), I was greeted by a smiling Nathalie behind a display case full of gourmet chocolates. Her husband Julien was making the chocolates in his workshop on the other side of the storefront, behind glass, which is very cool, but let’s not forget that I’m pregnant. I was on a mission for some chocolate quickly.
Nathalie let me sample some coconut chocolate and told me all about their macarons. While my goal in going was to thoroughly treat myself, I also wanted to bring home some treats for my family. I chose some chocolates for myself and picked some other ones that I thought Dan and the boys would like. I decided on the feuilletine chocolates and the peanut butter crandberry chocolates for the boys. (They loved them, and wanted more. Shucks. Guess I’ll just have to go back.) I grabbed a six pack of macarons to share and some chocolates for Dan and I.
I’m still dreaming about those caramel chocolates I tried. It took all of my strength to bring home the second one for Dan instead of scarfing it down myself and going back for more.
By this point, it was lunch time. (Don’t question my planning. I *did* need a snack right before lunch and I *was* still hungry.) Since this was the day to treat myself, I made my way to one of my all time favourite local restaurants – The Wooden Monkey. The Wooden Monkey uses local and organic ingredients and the result is some incredibly flavourful food. I really tried hard to try something new. I promise. But I adore their lamb burger, and I really only ever make it to The Wooden Monkey once a year. Each trip is like a brand new treat to my taste buds. I couldn’t resist the lamb burger, and paired it with their soup of the day: a maple roasted vegetable soup.
For me, the perfect day out includes quiet time in a cafe to really maximize my alone time and get some writing done. My plan was to go to Uncommon Grounds for a latte and some writing, but my family was in the middle of one of the most tumultuous few days we’ve experienced in a while, and I needed to get home. A day of pampering was obviously required but my family was still top of mind. So, I wrote between bites of soup at The Wooden Monkey and then I took my wonderfully full belly and my beautiful toes back home to reality.
It is nice to remind yourself every once in a while why you really love the place you live, and I was so glad that I had this day to give myself a much needed break while loving on, and supporting Downtown Halifax.
I was invited to participate in #BigDayDowntown along with 29 other local bloggers and social media superstars. The Downtown Halifax business district provided me with $150 to spend in the downtown Halifax business area. I was allowed to spend the money and experience the area however I wanted, though I was encouraged to involve my community in the decision making process. Thanks for helping me have a really wonderful day! Follow @DowntownHalifax on Twitter and make sure to check out all the other bloggers who were involved.