Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hidden Gems: Blackboard Poems

I am starting a fun new post series here on the blog and I'm calling it "Hidden Gems":

See, I have started to notice lots of neat but barely noticeable things around my home city and I want to share these with others so that they can enjoy them, too. It's so easy to focus on the big, popular, shiny things and celebrate those, but sometimes it is the small, unknown things that are the most interesting.

I like to seek out these "hidden gems" not only in my hometown, but also in other places I travel to. I like going to the back-alley stores and restaurants, the less-trodden (but most beautiful or well-preserved) streets and paths - the places where locals go and the things that locals love. These "hidden gems" are what make a place truly unique, and reveal the most about the character of a place also.

What can I say - I am an explorer at heart!

For my 1st "hidden gem" in Halifax, I wanted to post about a cute display that I walk by every day on my way home from work. For privacy reasons, I won't say where exactly it is, but I am sure anyone who lives around my neighbourhood or has explored the side streets there has seen it:

Excuse the crappy Blackberry photo

This blackboard is nailed to the front of this porch, and it always has some kind of poem or saying on it. The current selection is Walking the Dog's Shadow, by Deborah Brown. Apparently this is also the title of a book of poems by Brown (as you can see if you click the link above). It talks about pondering thoughts such as grief, within the metaphor of walking a dog on a leash.

Personally, I don't so much care what poem is listed on the board, just the fact that there is one there is lovely enough. It is a nice pick-me-up on the walk home - there is the anticipation of what will be written there next, and what it will make me think about for the rest of my walk. I think it's nice of the person who lives here to share such works with the people that walk by. Art is meant to be shared with whoever is open enough to take it in.

Do you know of a person, place or thing that you think is really cool but is not very well-known? Are there little pieces of paradise in your city/province or in cities that you have visited that are off-the-beaten-path, but you think everyone should know about them? Well, I want to post about them on Gathers No Moss! Email me, tweet @KimHumes or leave a comment and I'll share it in an upcoming post!

Here's to celebrating the little things! And exploring off-the-path to find them!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yelping It Up

One of the many places on the Internet that I attempt to compose my regurgitated thoughts into (semi)coherent posts is Yelp.

Have you heard of it? Of course, "yelp" is the sound a puppy makes when you step on its tail. It is not to be confused with "yep" (ok, Dave?). But Yelp is also a website - one where anyone can post reviews of pretty much any business they like so that they can either warn the masses about them, or spread the word of their awesomeness. A guy I know from University is the Community Manager here in Halifax, and I have to say he has made Yelping here so much fun by putting together some great meet-and-greet events, starting great discussions online, and coming up with fun challenges like these.

Anyway, at some point in the last 5 days or so I believe I must have fallen on my head - I say this because on Friday I signed up for the 30 Day Yelp challenge, which requires participants to write one review a day for the month of October.

I'm not sure what I was thinking either. I guess I was sucked in by the promise of a fun party at the end, and the excuse to get my butt out to some businesses I have been meaning to try but have been too lazy to get to yet.

I just hope this challenge doesn't go the way of NaBloPoMo (i.e. down the toilet). It is Day 4 though, and I am still on it!

I have written 4 reviews so far (DUH - it is October 4th):

1. Starbucks Coffee in Dartmouth Crossing - this is my favourite Starby in the city - their service is hands-down the friendliest.
2.  Mary Brown's - a "meh" fast-food fried chicken place which I only visited because they were giving away free sandwiches all day long.
3. Second Cup in the Killam Library atrium (Dalhousie University) - my office for my last job was in this building so I would go here for my morning fix every day. I have met the friendliest woman in the world, and her name is Sharon (tell her I sent you).
4. Pipa Restaurant - I visited this Portuguese/Brazilian place on my bday back in December...and got horrible food poisoning (but, believe it or not, I don't give it a horrible review!).

Who knows what tomorrow will bring! What culinary adventures I will have - good and bad.

I hope all of you out there who read my reviews (all two of you, including my mother I'm sure) realize that it's all for you - I am putting myself at risk of injury and obesity every day this month all in the name of public service. Well, that and because I love food. And writing. And writing about food. And drinks, too...

 Who am I kidding?! This is the best challenge ever!

Wanna follow along with me? Check out my page at (or click on the widget in my sidebar).