Big Day Downtown… Part One

A few weeks ago I was asked to be part of Downtown Business Commission’s “Big Day Downtown – Try Something New!” Thirty bloggers… a hundred bucks each… and a chance to do something you’ve never done before in Downtown Halifax!

Sounds easy right?  Well… except for the “Try Something New” part!

I’ve lived in Halifax since I was ten years old and through the years, have “seen and done” just about everything there is to see and do! I’m more than happy to do a few of them over… but the point of this game was to “Try Something New!” On top of that, I’ve been single for a couple of years now and my New Year’s Resolution of “putting myself out there” and “not turning down any invitations” has brought me to just about every bar and restaurant in our beautiful city… quite possibly turning me into a “bar star!” I admit, there are a few restaurants on my “have to eat there soon” list and I’m quite sure I’ll write about them when I do, but with a hundred bucks burning a hole in my empty pockets and one helluva month that’s left me with the feeling that I need a bit of “retail therapy”… I picked up the phone and invited the woman, who brought me to Halifax thirty three years ago, on a fabulous adventure… Mother and Daughter style!

I’m a big Twitter user and one of my favourite folks to follow is @UncommonHfx. They tweet daily on the delicious muffins that just came out of the oven as well as sandwiches and soups they’ve prepared for lunch that day. They’re always keeping me up-to-date on local issues, informing me about activities around the city and are ambassadors for the  “I Love Local HFX” movement… a group of independent businesses committed to making Halifax an exciting and vibrant place to shop, eat and live.  Plus… they tweeted this year that a deer jumped through their window and the tweets that followed were hilariously entertaining… followed up by further tweets to help raise money for the “buck gone awry.” They’re neat folk… follow them and you’ll see why I’m impressed!

The Uncommon Group is made up of Uncommon Grounds, Uncommon Kids, Sugah, Carbonstock and Rum Runners. I’d been to their toy store many times to purchase “Ugly Dolls” and Schleich horses, had their fabulous paddled ice cream while walking along the waterfront, enjoyed their delicious Rum Cake while laughing at their hilarious t-shirts and visited their coffee house on South Park… but until yesterday I’d not been to their coffee shop on Barrington Street or checked out Carbonstock… and much like their other stores, I was not disappointed!

I love fun gadgets and interesting pieces in a home’s decor and at Carbonstock, Mom and I browsed shelves of fanciful items. My reactions ranged from “that paper light is just so interesting” to “holy crap that’s a ‘Psycho’ shower curtain!”  The store was bright and cheery with lots of space to display a great many fun and entertaining items.  My purchase… a wonderful slat from an old oak wine barrel that holds five tea lights and now fits perfectly on my kitchen table… bringing much enjoyment. Chances are I’ll be back to visit Carbonstock again… soon… many times. To be totally honest, I can’t believe it took me so long to visit in the first place!

With purchases made, Mom and I headed into Uncommon Grounds to enjoy a fabulous cup of tea and even better… sweets!  We chit chatted in the pleasant and urban environment as one person after the next entered the shop and was warmly greeted… the staff often knowing their choice of beverage and commenting to one gentlemen how they’d “saved him his date square!”  I immediately wanted to be a “regular” and have them say something to me like… “Are you interested in a  chocolate hazelnut square with your cup of tea this mornin’ Queen? By the way I read your post last night and you’re one funny chick! Did you mention you were single ’cause there’s this guy who comes in here who’s insanely handsome and would be just perfect for you!”… or something like that.  This isn’t your regular coffee shop… folks know each other here and I want to be a part of it!

Suffice it to say… it was a great start to the day which also had a middle… and a fabulous end.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow but in the meantime… get out there and have some fun, don’t turn down any invitations and try something new!  There’s a whole wonderful world out there to discover right in our own backyard… front yard… front water… waterfront… whatever!  You know what I mean.