That Time I Fell in Love (with Annapolis Royal)

I’m so lucky to have friends who live in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. I love going to visit them and getting to explore the area. If you haven’t been, it’s GORGEOUS.



This visit allowed for a Saturday trip to Annapolis Royal to check out their bustling farmer’s market and take in a few other local sites.

Maybe it’s because it was a sunny, bright day. Maybe it’s because of the happy faces that filled the downtown. Or, maybe it’s because of the beautiful ocean views. I just have to say, that town is BEYOND charming.


On a stroll down George street, we encountered a friendly tour guide who welcomed visitors in for a free tour of Sinclair Inn Museum, one of the oldest wooden structures in Canada.


I’m a sucker for local history and I get especially weak in the knees for historic interiors. I’m particularly fond of tin ceilings. They’re always so intricate and interesting. Way better than the stucco in the house I grew up with.

Tin Ceilings


Annapolis Royal has a lovely short waterfront trail that features a few beautiful exhibits of public art.


“Maudified” House! As an homage to Maud Lewis. How great is that?

When we needed to cool off from the heat, a stop at Sissiboo Coffee Roasters was just the ticket. I swapped my normal order of iced coffee for a cold Italian soda made with fresh lemon and local strawberry syrup. SO delicious.  (Also, the decor was a dream…and, you guessed it, TIN CEILING!)


Possibly the most interesting new information I came away from the trip with, was a lesson about Rose Fortune. She is an important figure in Canadian history amongst Black Nova Scotians and women! She was a business owner and something of a first female police officer in Canada. Very cool.


What local travelling are you doing this summer?


An “Ethical” Product Review: Part 2, the Keurig 2.0 and Van Houtte K Cups

Influenster provided a Keurig and Van Houtte Specialty coffee for review. So, here we go!

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the Influenster Network, how I was selected, and my plan to review the Keurig & Van Houtte coffee Vox Box as transparently as possible. If you read Part 1, you’ll know that I’m calling this series “An ‘Ethical’ Product Review” because of my efforts to balance my intention to be an honest blogger, my environmental priorities, and my desire to include product reviews as part of my blog and social media content.

Here in Part 2, I’ll provide my objective product reviews. In Part 3, I’ll toss in some of my green-living perspectives and discuss ideas for aligning a non-eco-conscious product with my own environmental lifestyle commitments.

What I Love

  • Hot water at the touch of a button
  • It looks sleek and fits well on my counter
  • Easy breezy hot beverage makin’
  • Minimal clean up
  • No/Less coffee waste (no risk of making too large of a serving)

keurig1What I Like

  • The potential for a reusable filter option to save on K-cup waste
  • Minimal usage of water for clean up
  • The coffee pods for the Van Houtte coffee were decent. That is, the pods themselves, without the accompanying flavour packets
  • I guess it’s fun to have a “cappuccino” at home…

What I Dislike

  • It doesn’t fully replace my 12 cup brewer
  • My small kitchen doesn’t *need* another appliance on the counter top
  • Cleaning and breaking down the disposable K-cups for compost/recycling was annoying (but important)
  • The faux foam generated with the cappuccino flavour packet…it was…unnatural in appearance and flavour

What I Hate

  • That K-cups are destroying the environment
  • No, really. They’re terrible
  • The Vanilla Latte flavour Van Houtte coffee did not taste like vanilla, a latte, or even real coffee. The overwhelming sweetness was, in a word, cloying.

keurig2Ultimate Verdict

In all honesty, my plan was to review the Keurig and then pass it on to someone in need of a coffee maker (and my Dad eagerly volunteered). I have to admit though, once I started using the reusable filter, I was less appalled with myself. I would also like to mention that I purchased the reusable filter at a store that exclusively sells coffee pods. While in there I wanted to grab the employees by their shoulders and give them a shake for actively contributing to our disposable society. Although I suppose that I can’t be too judgmental if I’m going to be complicit in the pod coffee culture. I’m still torn, it seems.

In the meantime, I won’t be purchasing any disposable pods for the Keurig and I’ll likely stick to my standard coffee choices (locally roasted, organic, fair trade) to, at least slightly, assuage my lingering guilt. At the same time, I’ll be enjoying the convenience of the Keurig, and appreciating it’s redeeming quality of a more efficient extraction process and slightly better water conservation than a conventional brewer.

Stay tuned for Part 3, in which I provide some lower-impact uses for the Keurig and ways to compost and recycle its components.


A Quick Tip for Going Green

As you already know, I’m a big fan of coffee. Since it’s something I consume to excess, I do try to be aware of limiting my impact by buying locally roasted, organic, and fair trade beans. My other secret green coffee weapon is, very simply, to employ a reusable filter.

I use a gold filter that was a hand-me-down from my parents (lowering my impact even more!), but if you’re in the market for one, they cost around $15. If you’re worried about time, I would estimate that dumping my grounds in the compost and giving the filter a quick rinse takes pretty close to the same amount of time it would to compost a disposable and then pull a new one from the box.

Looking for another opinion? I found this relevant, albeit somewhat dated, conversation on Apartment Therapy.

Give it some thought over your next cup.


saturday morning dream team