This is the first in a series of posts that I hope to do more of, the goal is to highlight locally owned businesses. If you don’t live in my area, you may as well keep reading since you’ve already started, lol.
This week I have a challenge for you. The challenge is for you to find a restaurant, in your area, that is now offering weekly grocery boxes and buy one!
What I love the most about this idea is that we can directly and immediately help support our local restaurants, who are working their butts off to keep the lights on in these crazy times.
The other thing I love about this idea is that, I don’t know about you, but I am getting pretty sick of my own cooking! I am running out of ideas on what to cook, I am always using the same spices so after awhile everything starts to taste the same. Getting a grocery box forces you to think outside the box; sorry, I couldn’t resist, lol.
I am going to make it really easy for my fellow Monctonians by suggesting that you give Gusto Fresh Market Boxes a try. From Judson’s, to Boomerang’s to City Grill to Gusto’s, Brett Judson has been in business on Westmorland Street in downtown Moncton for decades!!! And he and his team have always supported our community. Side Note – In March when the lock down first started, he donated hundred and hundreds of pieces of cheesecakes to both regional hospitals for their frontline workers.
During the initial shutdown, in the spring, Gusto started offering curbside pick up in order to compensate for the loss of income caused by the in-dining restrictions; all restaurants have had to reduce the number of tables in order to follow the social distancing rules. This has been a huge hardship on all restaurants and bars.
The idea of offering Grocery or Market Boxes is trending in most cities; it’s a way for restaurants to make up for some of the business that they are losing on a daily basis because they can no longer fill their restaurants with patrons.
Gusto’s Fresh Market Boxes are an amazing value! They are different from week to week, this week’s box contents are listed below. (for the week of Nov 30 to Dec 4). Anyone who knows Brett knows that you never leave his home or his restaurant hungry, the same can be said for Gusto’s boxes. They are jam packed with high quality products and meats!
I’ve already ordered my box for this Saturday, none of these items are on my regular boring rotation, I am excited to pick it up! This would also make a perfect holiday gift or if you someone in your family or a close friend lost their job due to Covid buy them a box!!
Last week, I got the opportunity to help the Gusto team prepare the boxes. I was the top labeler and I think it’s safe to say that I nailed it!! Ok, full disclosure, their Fresh Market goods are in bags and not boxes, but bags are better for the environment, says me. Plus Fresh Market Bags, doesn’t sound as snazzy.
How can you order?
You can place your order directly on their website: http://www.gustoitaliangrill.ca or by phone, 506.204.7177. Orders must be received by 5pm on Thursdays, box pick ups are Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. Just pull into the Gusto parking lot, Guylaine and staff will be there ready to assist you. Pop your trunk and they will place your items in your car for you.
Thank you for reading, I will finish with a mini rant, similar to my mini rant in my previous post. Please be mindful that our local restaurants, bars and businesses have always been the first ones we, the community, turns to for team sponsorships, school fundraisers… and they have always been supportive; they now need our help, so it’s our turn to give back and wow what a big sacrifice for us, to eat amazingly good food, seriously poor us!!
If you are fortunate enough to not have had your job or paycheck impacted by Covid, it’s your duty to support others in our community who haven’t been as lucky. Most places have daily specials in order to help drive business, so check out their social media sites. And the fresh market and grocery boxes that local restaurants are selling are a great value, as they are able to offer products at a lower cost than in the grocery stores, so keep that in mind. You are saving money while helping your community.
Thank you so much, let’s take one for the team and eat out more!! And here’s an idea that my friend Stacey’s family are doing, they order out every Friday night, each week they take turns deciding what restaurant to order from. What a great opportunity to try new places and eating as a family is a gift in itself. OH, one last thing, when you do pick up takeout or eat in, tip your wait staff double what you normally would…I think that’s all for now?
These are a few of my favorite things, the Christmas, buy local, edition.
So it may not exactly feel like the most wonderful time of the year, but at this point, does anything feel the way it’s supposed to feel? So let’s get past that and make this, 2020 holiday season, wonderful in its own, unique, messed up way.
My 2020 favorite holiday things list is very diverse, it’s got gift ideas, but it also includes a few things that have helped lift my spirits; I hope you find one or two things that will help bring you a bit of joy? I’m focusing on supporting local businesses, you can do the same, regardless of where your local is. Oh and they are in random order. I was going to do my 5 favorite things, but I ended up with 7, so two bonus ones, since it’s Christmas, why the hell not?
#1 Have a sweet day!
When I need a little pick me up this time of year, I head to Tony’s for their hot chocolate! It’s my favorite Moncton hot chocolate; it’s thick and creamy and topped with a mini gingerbread person, doing my best to be non-binary.
It’s perfect to kick off a busy Christmas shopping day or decorating day, I highly recommend! Feel free to recommend any hot chocolate places that you think can out do Tony’s, just going to warn you, it’s a tall cup to fill, lol, good luck!!
#2 Alpaca Wool Stuff
I wasn’t really aware of the difference between sheep wool and alpaca wool until, my cousins and I visited Janet and her adorable alpacas at Petitmore Alpacas. And now I am a bit obsessed with warm and cozy alpaca wool stuff!
Check out Janet’s stuff on her Petitmore Alpacas new and improved website, or even better take a drive to her newly designed shop in Harcourt. Call ahead and follow the Covid rules, obvs. I have three of her tuques and mittens and I may ask Santa for a pair of socks?
So what makes alpaca wool better than sheep’s wool? It’s something about the fibers being hallow… and I am not really sure why that’s important, but it is, lol, you may want to Google it? I do know that it’s warmer, stays dryer and is softer.
What I love, love, love is that you can see where your hat or other comes from, we literally met and fed the alpacas on her farm and are wearing hats made from their wool that were knitted by Janet. It’s a bit sad that we have become so removed from the things we buy, and by we, I mean me. Not judging the rest of you, I am trying to be a better consumer.
This is my newest alpaca purchase, I got this blanket in St Andrews at Mermaids Tail boutique and it’s sooooo soft and warm! This would make a really, really nice Christmas gift…just saying.
If you can’t make it to Saint Andrews, call Kim, from Mermaids Tail, she can help you shop and ship to you, it’s just like ordering something from Amazon, except you are supporting a local business, which should make you feel even better about your purchase!
#3 Watch or listen to something Christmassy.
My new fav Christmas special is the The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show. Kacey Musgraves is a cool country singer, but not mainstream pop cool, more like alternative retro cool. During the initial Covid lockdown, after I had finished watching everything on Netflix and was working my way through Amazon Prime Video, I happened upon her Christmas special and it’s so awesome!!! It was June, but it was still awesome, lol. I just watched it again and it’s still awesome.
I am adding it to my yearly Christmas movie/show list, it’s right up there with The Holiday and Love Actually.
Her special has a 70’s retro vibe, she almost looks like Cher in a few of the performances. She’s an amazing singer, she has lots of talented guests. Dan Levy, from Schitt’s Creek, is one of her guests, he plays a sassy elf…oh and I love her outfits and set design. Watch it, it will for sure help you get into the Christmas mood.
#4 Give the gift of self care
Who knew that just staying home would be so stressful? Not having our normal routine and waiting for the daily news briefs to see if our status is changing (in NB we have colours, green to red, we are currently back in the orange zone, booo!) is making a lot of us anxious and it’s making some of us cranky, not naming names.
Self care is more important than ever, so my #4 fav thing is treating yourself or someone you love to a spa treatment.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been to most of the spas in my region; I love NAKAI on Mountain Rd and the Usva Spa Nordik on Magnetic Hill is fab! But the one I am calling out as one of my current favs is Namaste Spa in downtown Moncton, they have an Indian Head massage that will make you feel like all warm and mushy when done. Like super mushy, get up slowly or you may fall over.
A friend asked me if it hurt, she had a scalp massage somewhere else and felt like they were pulling her hair. The answer is a big fat NO! It felt amazing.
Your hair gets coated in warm oil so you will look like a grease ball when you leave, so you may want to bring a hat with you? And, I would suggest booking late day or early evening so you can leave the oil in for a bit. I tied my hair up and didn’t wash it till the next day and it felt like silk.
I recommend taking a look at all the treatments available at your favorite place and try something new; switch it up!! And just book it, we always seem to have great intentions, but it’s my experience that if you don’t just do it, you won’t do it at all. Also, if you get any spa gift cards for Christmas, book your treatment as soon as they re-open, make a date, put it in your calendar and go!! None of this having gift cards in your drawer for years bullshit. If someone gave it to you, then you probably look stressed and they want you to chill the f out!! lol, they would never tell this to your face, but I am…you’re welcome! Side note, if anyone asks if I am stressed and would benefit from a spa treatment, tell them hell yes!! lol
#5 Winging It
I am currently going through a wing phase and I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried every wing place in town, so I am not going to pretend to be a wing expert, but I do know that the Igloo, on Elmwood Dr, has super delicious wings. My fav are their honey garlic, you can get the sauce on the side, but I recommend getting the sauce on the wings. If you’re afraid that the sauce will make them mushy, it doesn’t, they’re still crunchy.
Their official wing night is on Wednesdays, but every night can and should be wing night in my mind.
The Igloo will always have a special place in my heart, it was my dads fav place, he knew and teased all the wait staff, they loved him and he loved them. They are just plain good people and they, and all restaurants and pubs, need our support now more than ever! So eat in or take out.
Also, one mini rant that I will be repeating in my next post. Guess who supports local sports teams and local raffles and auctions for Billy and Mary’s school trip or whatever it is? Small, locally owned businesses like pubs and restaurants!!!! The community is always hitting them up for this or that and they have always been super supportive, they now need us to support them, so check them out on social media, share their specials and tag them when you eat there or take out.
#6 Shop Small
By Shop Small, I mean shop local markets and shops. They really do have the coolest stuff. My favs are those that help support and promote Canadian companies.
I follow The Green Pig on Instagram and they do a great job of posting cool new items. They posted this candle, it’s perfect for gift giving. I bought one as a gift…and one for me, lol. This also proves that social media can help sell your products, it’s an invaluable tool for small businesses.
Other great shops here in Moncton are the Painted Pineapple, Gifts Galore, during the holidays Gifts Galore usually have warm cider for their shoppers. My Home Mercantile and Starving Artist Cafe are also on my regular rotation; side note, I have bought more than one thing from My Home Mercantile after seeing it on their Instagram.
Make a Saturday of it and visit all the cute gift shops in your town. It will for sure get you in a happy festive mood. Oh and if you are boutique/shop hopping in downtown Moncton, stop in at BHome, they have awesome original art and some really cool, unique stuff too, they do all my framing.
These are trying times, I know, I personally love shopping in person and discovering new cool finds, but if you don’t feel safe venturing out, follow local places on social media, order online or order and pick it up.
#7 Cozy Right Picasse Sweatshirts
My lucky number 7 fav things are Chiac and sassy apparel from Dowd Street Studio. I first discovered this company on Instagram, one of my friends in Montreal, Lisa G, posted a few shirts and being from Moncton, home of chiac (a mix of French & English), I knew I needed one.
My Dowd Street collection now includes a t-shirt and two sweatshirts; the sweatshirts are my fav, they feel like they’ve been washed a bunch of times, you know that super soft feeling, that’s how they feel! I also love supporting local woman in business, Dowd Street is one such business. I also love how Moncton women love supporting other women; c’est right cool! 😉
Those are just a few of my favorite things, I think that I am going to start sharing cool items that I am digging on a monthly basis on my FB and Insta pages, so follow me if you are interested in seeing what I am into, @ oui-liette
So go pick up creamy hot chocolate at Tony’s and drink while you shop at My Home Mercantile, BHome and other local shops. Stop in at the Igloo for lunch or take out for supper. Curl up on your couch in your soft Dowd Street sweatshirt, draped in your alpaca blanket from The Mermaids Tale while you watch Kasey Musgrave’s Christmas Special.
Thank you for reading!! Go out there and support local businesses and don’t be a shitty person.
If you liked this one, you may also like this post from last year, it asks the very important question: is naughty so bad?? It’s very deep! lol
I think it’s safe to say that we are spending more time in our homes than we would have thought humanly possible a mere year ago; making this the year to deck the shit out of our halls and to start said decking as early as possible!!!
We have also never needed holiday cheer, like we need it this year. I hope that this post inspires you to do some major hall decking and guess what? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make your home feel freaking festive.
Every Christmas I have a different theme, but I don’t go out and buy all new stuff, I craft it up. Last year my theme was A Winter Wonderland.
I had just moved back from Las Vegas to Moncton, but all my belongings, including my Christmas decorations would only be arriving in January. So my friend, Alie, and I sat in my new empty apartment and cut over a hundred paper snowflakes. See the link for last years post at the end of this post; my snowflake chandelier was absolutely beautiful!! Oh and if you are wondering why I bothered decorating an empty apartment, I was hosting our family Christmas Eve Dinner. I rented a huge table and chairs from Bob Lee, here in Moncton; it was my first party in my new place and it was fabulous! lol
My theme this year is a Holly Jolly Christmas!!
This tree below was my colour inspiration, lime green and pink. I bought this three years ago and this is the first year that I get to put it up.
I bought it on sale at Pier 1 in Las Vegas after Christmas, it was 75% off the sale price; now did I need a lime green tree??? Well of course I did!! Lol. Fun fact, I thought the lights on it were pink, but turns out they are red when lit. Do I think that they would be way prettier if they were pink? Yes, but I am just going to roll with it… ok I did try painting one light pink, but it still looked red, boo! So now I am rolling with it.
My special project focal point this year is my TV/fireplace area. My TV is too small, it’s crooked and not perfectly centered, so hey, why not draw more attention to it?? Lol
I drafted two of my cousins to help cut some paper holly leaves with me, by drafted, I mean, I invited them over for dinner and didn’t feed them until I had enough leaves, lol. Then I partnered with another cousin, Katelyn, for the finishing touches.
Katelyn made me some super special pink pompom berries. She makes the coolest stuff, check her out on Instagram at: the_pom_co, she also made me a few colourful, funky trees, they are available for sale on her site.
These are her trees, they are a perfect addition with my mini snow-people collection.
My living and dinning area are one open space so I have hits of green and pink all over the place, to help the flow.
I have two big, real wreaths that smell amazing. My ceilings are crazy high so it was a challenge to make the space feel full and lush and Christmas should always feel full and lush. My tree looked so tiny when I set it up, I had to use my round coffee table as a tree stand. It looked so small and sad sitting on the floor, it needed a bit of a boost.
I added some Holly details to my dining area. My table expands, I suspect I will pump it up a few notches for our Christmas Eve dinner; you can follow me on Instagram for my Christmas Eve set up, it will probably be a bit over the top since I am working from home and we are on semi lockdown. I will have lots of extra time on my hands…and my glue gun is fully loaded.
I love this white cabinet, I just added a bit of greenery to my mirror and some pink balls. I bought the cabinet in Vegas and spruced it up, here is the transformation. It was very banged up, so I decided to paint it.
For Christmas Eve, if we are allowed to gather, I plan on doing these for each place setting, cute right!
My yearly themes aren’t very costly, last year it was just white paper snowflakes, this year, I picked up a bunch of green construction paper from the dollar store and a few wreaths from my local florist. The pink balls in my wreaths I already had.
Thanks for reading, I think it’s natural to sometimes wonder, what am I doing with my life, in general, and is anyone reading my blog ramblings?? Every time those thoughts run through my head, I will have someone reach out to me randomly and tell me they are using one of my ideas or that they read all my posts. I got a video from one of my readers on Friday that her and her family were making their own snowflake chandelier, it made my weekend! Her husband was ironing the snowflakes that she and her kids, her young adult kids, were cutting, while Christmas music played in the background…it was cute!!!
Since we are all spending more time at home and running out of things to do with our families, buy some craft paper and go crazy!!
Thank you again for reading! I am working on a new blog website that will be easier to navigate, I’ve outgrown this one, so stay tuned!
And finally, be extra kind to each other and throw in a random compliment out there, it’s free. If you think of it, say it out loud. I am going to try to be more mindful of that too.
If you liked this post, here is my easy Mad for Plan Christmas and re-posting my Winter Wonderland Christmas again.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, I can’t help but wonder how different this season will be from last year, or the year before, or the year before that? Will we find comfort in cozy clothing and joy in fuzzy slippers? Will our gift giving be more practical and homey? Will there be any big Christmas parties or just small intimate gatherings? How has this past year changed us and how will we celebrate the holidays?
The other day I wore one of my pre-Covid go to outfits and felt like I was highly overdressed; I was wearing, jeans, a blazer and suede boots, so not exactly super fancy. Which made me realize how much our habits have changed in just a few months, a few loooonnnngg ass months!!
Working from home in yoga pants and, if we’re being honest, pajama bottoms, has become the norm, at least a few days a week. Where am I going with this and how does this have anything to do with the upcoming holiday season??
Patience!! I am getting to my point, lol. My point is that I think the trend this season will be comfort over everything else. Can you imagine a scenario that would make you want try to get into any item of clothing that requires squeezing into any form of tight shape wear and uncomfortably high heel shoes? I think those days are gone, maybe forever??
Host a different kind of party
I am embracing this trend by hosting a fake pajama party! Which is a party where you wear your pajamas, but no one sleeps over, lol. No need for sparkly tops or cute dresses, it’s all about comfort…oh and joy.
Here’s why this is a fabulous idea, aside from getting to spend time with my friends, we were wearing pajamas!! Drawstring waistbands, stretchy fabric and slippers, it was so stress free and comfortable.
Great gift ideas!
Here’s a gift idea that I mention every year, buy all your friends/fam the same thing, like our comfy pajama bottoms from the Super Store, omg they are so soft. Keep things simple and double or triple up on the same item.
Last year I gifted a few friends with slippers, they loved them and it was super easy for me. Again, the holidays are stressful, simplify your life by choosing one signature gift!! Try it, you can thank me later.
Time for play!
Another big trend are old school board games. It’s funny how we are so attached to our devices and technology and then, Bam! A global pandemic comes along and all of a sudden we’re playing old school board games and puzzles.
In 2019 had you told me that I would be asking to swap puzzles with others via social media, I would have thought you were insane. And yes that happened, thanks to Debbie and her mom for sharing their puzzles with my mom and aunt.
One more awesome party idea
In lieu of a big Christmas party why not host a small games night? Turns out, unplugging and spending time with friends and family is good for your soul. Here’s why I think this is a great idea for kids, seniors and everyone in between. I started noticing that having to scale back from regular social activities was starting to take a toll on my mother, who loves playing games. So we’ve started a monthly game night.
Here’s how ours works, the first Monday of every month my brother, my fake son, who is my cousin’s son, and I go to my moms for dinner; we do the cooking and play a game. Their spouses are more than welcome to join, but the three of us need to attend. I told them that they are going to need a note from their doctor in order to miss without repercussions, yes, I run a tight ship!!
Our first game night we played scrabble and had such a fun evening. My mom was thrilled to spend time with Serge and Christopher; I am well aware that I am not her favorite, but it’s fine, I am fine…it’s all fine, lol. And I probably should clarify, so they don’t get mad at me, they do visit her, but they aren’t great at small talk so playing a game helps all of us spend quality time together. Side note, Christopher won our first game night…ok he beat the crap out of us, it wasn’t even close.
Please steal this idea and all need to be mindful that all these changes we are going through are perhaps a bit extra hard on our seniors and kids. Add in the holiday season and, ouff, it’s a lot. Comfort & Joy Gift Guide Highlight
Cozy matching pajamas, like the ones shown above
Slippers, the freaking fuzzier the better
Shop Local, not going to lie, I am really into alpaca wool these days, like these super comfy hats below. I also bought mittens that I can’t wait to wear and other stuff that I can’t mention because I’m gifting them.
Board Games – there are so many new games to chose from, but go retro. If you have kids, I think it’s super fun to share games you grew up playing, with them. Board games also make great hostess gifts and less calories than a bottle of wine, lol.
Practical Gift – now I am usually not a big fan of practical Christmas gifts, but this isn’t exactly a normal year. And since we are all spending so much time at home, a kitchen gift is perfectly acceptable this year, but I reserve the right to change my view on this for next year, lol.
But, and this is an important but, if you are going to do a practical gift you need to put some thought into it and make it extra.
I would love to get fancy mixer like this one, but add a cake mix and nice fancy bowls or measuring cups in order to make it extra.
I think that the perfect, home run, practical gift needs to be something you wouldn’t buy yourself or even think to buy yourself. And since we seem to be cooking and baking more these days, try getting something that you and your mate or your fam can use together.
I love this pasta maker idea, add all the ingredients you’ll need and wrap them up. Have them open the flour first; I am sure they will be thinking WTF is going on here, lol.
This year more than any previous holidays, it’s going to be important to share experiences with our loved ones. And sadly some of us won’t be able to physically be with all of our loved ones, so why not plan a virtual cooking date where you are all making the same thing at the same time?
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the most important thing we can give each other is our time and attention. And guess what? That’s free!!
Thank you for reading, I hope this has given you a few ideas that you can incorporate into this holiday season, be kind and stay safe!
If you want a bit more Christmas content, here’s a silly one from last year. A bit of context, I had just moved back to Canada from Las Vegas and my nose was still healing from a little skin cancer scare. Enjoy!
Halloween 2020 is shaping up to be pretty “special”, first of all, it falls on a Saturday with a full fabulous moon and if that wasn’t exciting enough, the clocks fall back and we gain an extra hour, yup, it’s time to fall back! Oh and we’re also in a global pandemic and everything is basically going to shit, so there’s that.
I think it’s safe to say that there won’t be any big Halloween parties happening this year, but we can still enjoy this time of year in a stay home, smaller groups, kind of way. So let’s spread out out our celebration to the whole week leading up to Oct 31.
Here are a few fun and spooky things to do leading up to Halloween with your bffs, family, or 37 cats; hey I am not here to judge, do you boo!
One of the best ways to get into the Halloween spirit is to watch something scary. But if horror movies aren’t your thing, there are lots of other options, chose your level of scariness. Here are a few of my options.
So I watch the original Halloween movie with Jamie Lee Curtis every year and I highly recommend. It’s a true cult classic, filmed in 1978, I love the 70’s vibe, it’s very retro chic. Netflix and Thrill or Amazon Prime and…true crime? Ok, having trouble finding something that rhymes with Amazon Prime, lol. But the point is there are so many options, from family friendly cartoons, to the new season of Unsolved Mysteries, to super scary movies!! Leading up to Halloween, watch one a night, preferably right before going to bed, hey live a little, lol.
One of my new YouTube favs is called Murder, Mystery and Makeup. It’s kind of like Dateline with a makeup tutorial, lol. My friend Sarah recommended it and it’s addictive. She’s even gotten her husband into watching it with her, so don’t let the makeup part deter you. I usually watch while soaking in the tub. It’s creepy without being scary and you can pick up a few makeup tips.
We usually have a family pumpkin carving and contest after our big Canadian Thanksgiving feast; Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday of October for my American friends, so your Columbus Day. But because of Covid this year we were on semi lockdown…again, so we weren’t able to all be together, but the good news is that we are now free to mingle a bit more.
This weekend has been busy, but my nephew Jack, our cousin Nicole and I carved out some time to be a little creative; and I do mean little, we won’t be winning any pumpkin carving awards, but we did had fun. Another activity checked off our Halloween bucket list!
Apple of My Eye
Ok this is going to be my new pre-Halloween tradition, hey traditions have to start somewhere. It involves two of my fav fall things, picking apples and eating. There are lots of yummy things you can make with your apples, this year I made candy apples for the first time.
Our black poison candy apples were super yummy, but man the candy coating is hard on your teeth!! Next year, we’ll make chocolate covered apples or caramel apples. We used our elementary school skills to make them black, blue, red and yellow food colouring = black.
Local Frightful Fun
I don’t care where you live, there are fun and creepy Halloween themed things to do in your area, if you live in a smaller community, you just might need to work a little harder to find something?
We visited a corn maze, at night, a few weeks ago and it was so much fun. The photos below look a little creepy, ok they look really creepy, but it was a beautiful night. It was the day after the full moon so the sky was glowing; October this year is so special, it has two full moons.
This was at the Green Pig Country Market in Salisbury, they do lots of fun things and their market is top notch.
If you want to kick it up a notch try to find a haunted hay ride or haunted house.
Play Dress Up
I think it’s safe to say that their won’t be any big parties this year, but no need to worry, just call up your bff, make dinner, drink a bit of tequila, crank the tunes and add a bit of makeup…ok, maybe add a lot of makeup.
It’s been my experience that getting ready for a party can sometimes be more fun than the actual party. So this year we just did the getting ready part without having a party to go to. We just dropped in to see a few people, yup dresses like skeletons!! We had so much fun.
Covid has changed so much for all of us, doing « normal » things, maybe a bit challenging so let’s do our best to make things as interesting and fun as possible this last week before Halloween.
Have a safe, healthy and interesting Pre-Halloween week!
Things that, it turns out, I no longer need in 2020 and annoying or odd things that I really miss!
As I mentioned in one my previous post, 2020 will go down as the year that all our plans, some hopes and dreams, died a lonely death!! Yes, I’m feeling a bit dramatic at the moment, I’m hoping this post will help get it out of my system, wish me luck.
I noticed the other day that there are things that were part of my daily life that have now become useless and just, meh, plain pointless. And on the flip side, there are things that used to annoy me that I now really miss. Here are my lists, let me know if you have any good ones to add.
Things I apparently no longer need
#1. High Heels of any kind (if you’re a straight man reading, feel free to skip this section and go directly to #2, lol)
I just bought a new pair of bootleg/bell bottom ish jeans. They’re really long on me, which is odd, because my legs are pretty long. I’ve never had to get any of my jeans hemmed…like ever; but these are loooong. They’re obviously meant to be worn with a high heel shoe or boot. Lucky for me, I have a closet full of both. The first day I wore my sassy new jeans, it was a cool fall day, paired with a black suede bootie with a nice chunky high heel. Oh and I wore them with my new black sweater, in case you were wondering, but the sweater has nothing to do with the point I’m trying to make, so I’ll just move on… but I did want you to have an accurate overview of my whole outfit, lol. So these booties, or my go to, perfect boot of 2019, used to be super comfortable, but something’s gone really wrong. I think all this social distancing may have affected my feet, because they now hurt my feet; they even gave me a blister after wearing them for a short while. WTF??!!
The second time I wore my new jeans I paired them with an orange and nude, high heel, shoe with an ankle strap; they’re super funky! 2019 me would have worn these shoes on a trade show day, when I would have been standing in our booth for 6 to 8 hours on a cement floor with a thin layer of carpet. 2019 me, would have rocked those orange shoes and my feet would have cooperated and looked cute. But 2020 me ended up taking them off after a short trip to Sobey’s for groceries. 2020 me was seriously wondering why the hell I was wearing fancy jeans, let alone funky shoes, to do groceries? This was the moment I realized that things have changed and these changes may last forever? I feel like once you go flat you may never be able to go back??
My high heel revelation got me wondering if there are other items that used to be super important in my life, that Covid has ruined for me? Turns out, there are, like suitcases.
2019 me always had one suitcase on the go at all times and sometimes I even had two. I’ve packed for two different consecutive trips at the same time more than once. I’ve already gotten home from one trip, drop off one suitcase and left the next day for another trip with my second pre-packed suitcase.
I have two medium/large pink suitcases, one small white carry on, a bright purple carry on and a huge black suitcase that could fit a small human being in it. 2019 me always had an open suitcase on my floor, that was either getting emptied or filled up. 2020 me has zero use for any of them! They’re just lined up in my walk in closet looking sad and pitiful. One of my hot pink ones is being used to store extra toilet paper, which is so 2020. Every once in awhile I open my closet and stare at them and remember the hustle and bustle of my 2019 life.
This one I am not ready to say good bye to, but really what’s the point when wearing a mask?
I was raised by an Acadian mother who would say to me before I left the house almost daily: “ben Liette, n’oublie pas ton rouge a lèvres». Which translates to; don’t embarrass and shame the family by leaving the house without lipstick. Sooo that may not be the exact translation, but it’s def the underlying sentiment, lol. It does explain a lot about my obsession with lipstick. Covid has not changed my love of lipstick, but it has led to everyone of my new face masks being permanently stained on the inside with the prettiest shades of reds and pinks. Yes I always have freshly painted lips under my mask, which is useless, I know, but I can’t kick the habit. Is lipstick in 2020 just a waste of time?? I am starting to question the meaning of life! Too dramatic?? Too far? Ok, I can dial it back a tiny bit.
These next things used to annoy me, pre-Covid, but now I really, really miss!
Anyone who travels a lot gets to a point where they hate airports; they’re too busy and crowded with cranky people, the food sucks, the seats are uncomfortable, flights are often delayed…
You’d think that one of the perks of being grounded at home would be a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle that comes with flying and spending hours in airports? You would think, but apparently not. The other day I found myself daydreaming about being at a gate waiting for a flight. I realized that I have, or should I say had, an airport routine. And I guess I’m missing my regular routines, even the ones that I used to complaint about, like waiting at my gate to board my flight.
Turns out I liked knowing my way around all the big and smaller airports, it made me feel worldly; I had my favorite snack spots, I would browse the shops then, if time permitted, I’d go to the Maple Leaf lounge to get a few freebies, like the newest edition of House and Home mag, before making my way to my gate where I would organize what I would need on the flight in my big ass travel purse and what wasn’t needed would go in my bag that would go in the overhead compartment. I didn’t even realize that I had an airport/gate routine, but I did and I had it down to a science and now I miss it!
#2. Sampling cosmetics
So there is nothing annoying about shopping for cosmetics, I love it! But I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until I was told I couldn’t do it anymore. Sure I can still shop for stuff, but it’s not like it was before. This may sound silly, but I’ve noticed that when I was bored or feeling blue, I’d make my way to Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart and just wander the aisles testing new products. Mental health wise, I think it was a mini escape from whatever was weighing me down. I could spend 45 min to an hour trying to find the perfect shade of lipstick or the sharpest liquid eyeliner tip. But gone are the samples, no more using your inner wrist to compare different lipstick shades. It probably sounds dumb, it sounds kinda dumb to me as I write this, but not being able to play with the samples has taken all the fun out of the cosmetic counter for me and gone is my go to stress reliever and that is annoying to me!!
So unlike most of my posts, that have a positive vibe or twist to them, this one is more of a pity party and for that I apologize. But if I am feeling like this, I assume that others are feeling a bit off and annoyed too? Have you ever gotten annoyed with yourself for being annoying?? Anyone? Lol
Tomorrow is a new day, I may put my fancy jeans back on with another pair of heels and make my way to Shoppers, where I’ll try to get lost in all the pretty colours and packaging, hopefully sans new blisters!
2020, or the year that all our plans died, has been a challenge to say the least, but we’ve made it to October! With Halloween a few weeks away, I think we should plan on having a really weird Halloween, but let’s make weird work for us!
Here are a few ideas to make Halloween 2020 the best, weirdest, global pandemic Halloween ever!
If you’re a regular reader you know that I can be a bit sassy, but these ideas are legit aimed at making great Halloween memories for you and your kids…of all ages…ok there maybe a few sassy variations, so if you don’t have kids, keep reading and just add booze to every idea.
A New Way to Trick n’ Treat
Omg I love this ideas!!! Ok, let’s say that something really scary happens right before Halloween and old school, regular, trick or treating gets canceled. How can we salvage some sort of fun?
Here’s a great way to trick or treat, while socially distancing, Covid style.
How excited would your kids be if someone rang your doorbell and when they answered, there was a special treat waiting for them?
So I have a few ideas for this one. This is a great way for grandparents, aunts and uncles to surprise their little munchkins. Go to the dollar store and buy a plastic pumpkin or use some sort of small bucket. Fill it with treats, attach a helium balloon, get a white one and draw on eyes and a mouth and add a little note; then drop and go!
Another option is to make plans with the moms and dads from your hood to exchange treats with. You can get the kids involved, let them pick the treats for their friend’s buckets and then bring them along for the sneaky drop off. Coordinate times so each child is home at the time of their drop off.
Or…make them for your own kids and leave them at your own door. Ok, one last variation, drop them off to your adult friends and family too, add a few mickies and chips, whatever. I’d love to get a special treat like this myself!
Host a Spooky Night
Plan a spooky meal, invite a few friends if it’s safe to do so, if not, make it a family thing or whoever is in your bubble. Get the kids involved in the meal prep, remember your ultimate goal is to make memories.
Step 1 – make your table fancy, so it’s not just a normal dinner. Add some bats or pumpkins, use cloth napkins; let the kids drink out of fancy wine glasses, you can get them their own plastic ones from the dollar store, if you’re afraid of using your crystal, lol. Then during the meal, take turns making toasts to each other, ching, ching or cling, cling.
Step 2 – A spooky menu
Plan a spooky menu, like these mini pizzas, just make it fun, let them make their own, finally one night that they are encouraged to play with their food!
These mummies below are super fun, they just need a bit or bloody ketchup!
And if your kids are a bit older, gross them out with this creepy meatloaf. Have them help you make it, or even better have each person make their own, mini meatloaf.
Don’t forget about dessert, if they can’t go out to trick or treat, bring the treats to them; and make it fun!
Finish up your night with a spooky movie.
Play Dress Up
It’s been my experience that getting ready to go out can be more fun than actually going out. Even if things get canceled you still need to dress up!!
So why don’t you plan some sort of group or family costume? Get everyone ready then snap some family pics, let them be silly and make faces, I promise they will look back on these pictures with fond memories.
Or pack everyone in the car and go stand on the front lawn of their grandparents/family/friends and have them take a pic of your zombie crew. You get to show off your costumes and it gets the kids out of the house.
If you have teenagers, force them to participate!! Have everyone dress up in black and have a contest who can draw the coolest or strangest looking skull face. And for your family pic, if they don’t smile, you can tell yourself they were just in character.
Bark at the moon! (Ozzy Osborn reference for my bro, plus it sounds better than Howl at the moon.)
Hey! Did you know that Halloween falls on a full moon this year? Get your people outside and have them howl at the moon! No, seriously, go outside and start howling, it’s dumb, silly and I promise you’ll feel like a dork, but you’ll end up laughing and making your kids laugh. Then, when they’re older they’ll remember that Halloween when there was a full moon and their parents took them outside to howl at the moon.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you just have to roll with things and make the best of shitty situations; this is even more important if you’re a parent. It’s basically your job to make certain your kids don’t feel like they’re being cheated out of the “normal” fun things in life, like Halloween. Make abnormal fun and exciting! Good luck, be safe and stay healthy!
In this post, I’ll show you how easy it is to throw a super fly Halloween bat themed party. It will work for kids and adults; I did a fun girls cocktail night. I’ll be sharing my invitations, decor, food & drinks and then a few party pics.
I think that party invitations are really important, as they will set the tone for your night. I try to chose a quirky image or theme.
I love puns, so I try to find a theme that will accommodate my punniness. Since it’s a Halloween party, I wanted a theme that was a bit scary and what’s scarier than bats this year? Nothing!! I found these cute little guys and thought they looked like a bunch of mischievous trouble makers; which is perfect for my crew.
My party is a cocktail party and not a full on Halloween party. I didn’t ask my guests to come dressed up. Some find dressing up stressful, so be mindful of that. I asked my guests to wear all black with red lips, I wanted all of us to be cute for pics and I wanted us to match; I’m a little batty for things that match, lol.
I want to show that you don’t need to hire a party planner or decorate your whole bat cave in order to have a fabulous looking party. Yes, I am technicality a party planner, but I’m willing to share my secrets with you, so you won’t need a party planner.
For my bat party, I am going to focus my decor over my dining table and on my dinning side cabinet thingy.
I made a Bat Chandelier Mobile to hang over my dining table, it was pretty easy and cheap! Here are the steps.
Step 1 – buy embroidery rings, you’ll need at least two. I bought mine at Michael’s, they were both under $5. You’ll also need black construction paper, black string or yarn, black paint, a brush, scissors and a hot glue gun or a hole punch; depending on how you want to hang your bats? I used a hole punch.
Step 2 – paint your rings black. I used black latex paint and a sponge brush.
Step 3 – To make my bats, I used these bats below, as my template. For my mobile I used the medium and large bates; put some tunes on and cut out some bats.
Step 4 – String em up!
I hung my big ring first, I attached it to the hook of my hanging light. Then I attached the smaller ring to the larger ring and then I started adding my bats. I went from big bats to smaller bats. My larger bats were hung on the larger ring and smaller bats on the smaller ring. The number of bats will depend on how big your rings are and how full you want your mobile to be; my rule is more is more!
I hung my bat chandelier over my light fixture, but you can hang yours pretty much anywhere.
This is the white cabinet that I pimp out for parties; it sits in the center of my living area and is a great focal point. Please notice my brass giraffe, his name is Jerome, I try to dress him up for all my parties.
This area and my bat chandelier are the only two areas that I themed, but you’ll see that it’s enough. Oh and I do have one other special bat thing that is very cool, keep reading!…please and thank you.
I set up my desserts on my cabinet; create different sections so people aren’t all congested in one area. I had a bar area, my food on my dining table and my sweets here.
It looks a little simple in the pic, but with the lights down low it was really stunning. I started collecting old brass candle holders, I had 9 black candles burning and reflecting in my mirror. And I didn’t forget about Jerome! He kind of looked like a dragon with his bat wings.
I thought about doing a sit down dinner, but then decided to have a heavy appetizer cocktail party instead; do whatever you have time for, it doesn’t need to be super complicated. I also chose to host my party on a Monday night, which may seem like an odd night? But the weekends leading up to Halloween can get busy with different parties and kid activities; Monday worked for everyone and my friends have no issues with drinking on a Monday night, they are troopers!
Spooky Charcuterie Board
Themes can get cheesy, but this charcuterie board is sophisticated and… ok, well technically it is cheesy, but that’s just because it has awesome cheese on it. I think it turned out looking rich and gothic.
I got my cheeses from a local fromagerie, Les Gourmants, on Main St in Moncton, shop local!!!
I wanted my charcuterie board to have that gothic feast feel, so after placing my board and bowls, I threw cherries and grapes all over the place, so my whole table served as the board. I added a purple cabbage in the center as decor and I added some beet juice to my hummus and used a big cabbage leaf as a bowls for my hummus.
It looked really cool, we ended up having way too much food, I usually send guests home with food, so none of it goes to waste.
Mmm, not sure that name will catch on? Lol, my friends love my mother’s meat ball recipe; I need to come up with a catchier, less gross, name for them. They are pineapple meatballs and are one of my go to appetizers. You can make them ahead of time, which is great. In order to enjoy your own party, have everything done before your guests arrive.
I also made a Caprese Salad, available in small cups, and my famous clam dip.
When hosting, you don’t need to offer a full bar, but it’s nice to have one drink to offer guests as they arrive. I made a pitcher of Sangria with blackberries, cherries and grapes; it had the same gothic feel as my charcuterie board.
What’s great about this vampire sangria is that you can fill your pitcher and your guests can serve themselves. I created a bar area, which also included ice, glassware and a few assorted soft drinks.
I made blackberry skewers and froze them. They look pretty and they help keep drinks cold.
When hosting, I offer drinks as soon as they walk in, refills are serve yourself. Try to have everything your guests will need in one area, so they can serve themselves.
A few hours before my party, I soaked my berries in a 1/4 of a cup of Brandy and then just before my guests started to arrive I added my red wine to the mix. It was sooo pretty and very gothic!
A few of my bat friends enjoying my Sangria.
A little bite of sugar
This vampire has a sweet tooth, but I’m not the greatest baker, which is no problem at all, since I am really great at ordering things. And lucky for me , one of my bff’s is available for hire; she makes the best cheesecakes! She made a bloody chocolate cherry cheesecake for my party; sooo…I may have just made up that name, but it totally fits!! It was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had and I’ve had lots!
Party Fun 🦇
I thought it would be fun to have a selfie/photo backdrop; I was inspired by those angel wings that people pose in front of, like these below.
But instead of angel wings, I made bat wings!! My sister-in-law drew the first one for me on cardboard and I cut and traced the second one. Once cut, I used the same black paint that I used to paint my rings for my chandelier.
They turned out really well and they were basically free; the cardboard was from a large box that was going to be thrown out. The hardest part was keeping my brother’s cat off the cardboard; I was the cat bouncer lol.
These turned out even cooler than I had hoped. Here are a few of my favorite bad ass bat chicks.
I bought a few cute bat masks for photos too, don’t my friends look pretty!!
I hope this post inspires you to host a batty soirée or afternoon party of your own? This theme would work for teens and kids parties as well; maybe swap the red wine and brandy with grape juice? Just a thought, lol.
Thank you for reading and for all my bat fiends who share all my posts, you guys are awesome!!
Here’s another fun party idea from last Halloween.
These are weird and hard times for the tourism and service industries. It’s more important than ever to get out there and support our local businesses. Go for a drive, shop and eat at little mom and pop shops; who would have thought that eating and shopping in 2020 would be considered an act of love and support? But that is currently the case.
Here are a few activities that will be a win/win, for you and local businesses…you’re welcome!
Cool places are less peoply
Here’s what’s in it for you, besides feeling good about helping to support local businesses, our region has amazing things to do and see!! And since our region is less populated than other regions of Canada and their are no outside tourists, this is a great opportunity, and hopefully the only time, that we’ll have our beautiful region all to ourselves.
This became crystal clear to me last weekend when I visited Peggy’s Cove, just outside of Halifax. We basically had it all to ourselves. Ok, there were other people there, but there were no buses with loads of tourists; full disclosure it’s after Labor Day, so not prime time, but it was still oddly eerily void of crowds.
We got to explore the tiny village peacefully and look, no people in our shots. Hopefully this will be the last season without outside tourists, so go! This may be a once in a lifetime chance?
Ok all you instagramers out there, look at how amazing these pics are!! And while you’re out there getting the perfect shot, have lunch at the restaurant beside the lighthouse and spend some money; we had the fish n chips and they were delish!
We also visited Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, what a beautiful region!!!! Get in your car and drive!! Drive to Saint Andrews, Saint John, Moncton, the Acadian Cost, Charlottetown, Cavendish, Souris, Cape Breton, Halifax…. and if you had a European trip planned that got canceled, go to Newfoundland and pretend you’re in Ireland or Scotland, they accent will be a little different, but just go with it.
Hotels need heads in beds
The fall is typically conference season, hotels are usually fully booked with business travelers attending trade shows and meetings. Sadly corporate travel has been halted, this means that a lot of hotels are empty. The lack of business travelers means that some local hotels are offering great deals!
We stayed at a brand new hotel in Halifax, Sutton Place, and in addition to getting a great rate, we were upgraded to a room with a view. When checking in tell them where you are from and be nice and you may get upgraded?
The Sutton Place is attached to the convention center in downtown Halifax, this is the typical kind of hotel that I would book for my company during trade show season (I plan events for a large company); the rate we got was certainly not the a regular fall rate. Once life gets back to normal, the rate for this hotel in September/October will be double. So look up that fancy hotel that you’ve always wanted to try, call the front desk directly and tell that you are booking a mini staycation.
Do fun weird stuff!
Go on Pinterest and search fun things to do in your region, then do them! People always ask me how I find things to do, my big secret is I look up fun things to do, lol, it’s just that simple. Lately though, people have started to send me suggestions, which I love!
Here’s a fun thing, go visit some llamas!! This past summer I walked llamas and alpacas at Llamazing Adventures in Shediac; it was cool, but my cousins and I have made friends with Janet from Petitmore Alpacas and her gang of alpacas. Look them up on Facebook, you’ll need to make an appointment to visit. They’ll be open for a bit until the weather gets too wintery.
What we love about visiting Janet is that after we are done feeding apples to the alpacas, which is awesome, we get to shop!! She makes beautiful hats, mittens, scarves….
I bought a few things, some will be Christmas gifts! Speaking of Christmas, because of Covid a lot of Christmas markets and craft shows will be canceled. So please get out there and find then buy products from local artisans.
Want to find llamas in your area? Google, llamas in my area!! Lol
Here’s another fun thing to do, find a local potter, get a few friends together and visit their studio, I’m certain that they would love to have you visit!
Thank you for reading, take advantage of this lull in tourists to explore our bubble, book a hotel night, eat out, shop, just be a tourist in your own area; whether you’re lucky enough to be in the Atlantic bubble or not.
Growing up in the 70’s, Halloween was a pretty big deal, for one thing treats weren’t a daily thing, so filling up your plastic pumpkin with free candy was awesome!! I have so many great memories, here are a few of them, let’s see if yours are similar.
Who remembers going to Woolco or Kmart to pick out their costume? They weren’t the fancy costumes they have today, nope, they consisted of plastic one size fits all onesies and a cheap, creepy mask. My mom wouldn’t even let us wear the mask outside, because you really couldn’t see much with it on and bla, bla, bla, she didn’t want us getting hit by a car. So all you had left was that plastic onesie, which fit over your snowsuit and ended up ripping in the crotch by the end of the night. Choices were limited to a few options, their was a clown, a cat, an ugly witch and a devil…and maybe a bear or rabbit? Oh and the elastic on the mask would break before Halloween anyway, usually in a tug of war with your annoying little brother.
I am one year old in the pic above and you can see I have my lovely plastic costume over what looks to be my fuzzy pajamas. I asked my mom to explain my makeup, it looks like a pretty messed up cat. She thinks that I probably did it myself? Apparently I was very independent at a young age, shocking I know! The following Halloween, I dressed up as; surprise, surprise, a cat! My makeup is slightly better…ish.
One of the best things about Halloween night was dumping your candy on the floor as soon as you got home in order to go through your stash! I wonder if kids still do that these days? My cousin Ginette and I were pretty inseparable growing up, even our names matched. Side note, have I ever mentioned in any of my past blog posts that my mom’s name is Jeannette? Put them all together and you get Jeannette, Ginette and Liette, lol. My mom would stay home and give out candy and my dad would take us out trick or treating, he’d carry our pumpkins for us when they got too heavy, he was the best!!
Ginette’s on the left and I’m on the right for both pics, above and below. In addition to matching names, we must have had the same hairdresser; we always had matching hairdos! The one below is the classic 70’s bowl cut! Every kid had this cut, EVERY!!!! Boys and girls, it was unisex, this cut also led to me getting mistaken for a little boy many times.
The pic above is Ginette and I post trick or treating. I have no idea what we dressed up as this year? But I am thinking I may have done my own makeup again? The blue eyeshadow and crazy lipstick is very, “cheap floozy after a hard night of partying”. If my costume was a hooker, then I nailed it!!! Lol
1974 was an eventful year, my nanny made me a pink furry rabbit costume for a majorette concert and I wore it for Halloween!! Oh and I got a little brother that year too, but I am pretty sure that I was more excited for the pink rabbit costume. This may have been the beginning of my love of the colour pink? I’m digging my dad’s plaid pants, in the pic below, with his yellow hat and hockey jersey; it’s def a killer 70’s vibe!
As we got older, our trick or treating posse grew to include more cousins and neighborhood kids. My dad and Joyce, our backyard neighbor, would take all the kids on our street out trick or treating; it became their regular annual thing. It’s funny how back in the day, if one adult was willing to take their kids out, all the other parents were more than happy to pawn their trick or treating duties off.
These were pre- helicopter parent days; we traveled in large packs, high on sugar, running from house to house, racing to be the one to ring the doorbell. Yes, there was some…ok a lot of pushing and shoving and yes, someone always ended up getting hurt. You fell or got pushed, you cried and then you were back in the race. Your night would end with a runny nose, rosy cheeks and enough candy to last you a few weeks. Those are some of my best childhood memories.
I spent the last few Halloweens in Las Vegas and man those kids have it easy! Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to trick or treat without needing your winter jacket or skidoo suit? They have no idea of the struggle of Canadian children. One year, I was probably 6 or 7, I got a Barbie costume, which was a white plastic gown with the word Barbie on the chest and a mask that looked nothing like Barbie. Turns out the white plastic gown didn’t fit over my skidoo suit and it was a super cold night, so my mom made me wear it underneath!! This was such a traumatic event!! I still don’t think I’m completely over it. Thankfully, I have no pics of that Halloween.
I love seeing retro childhood pictures, they’re so cool. I’ve showed you mine, now I want to see yours! (Childhood Halloween pics, only!) Go to my Facebook page: Oui-Liette and post a retro Halloween pic from your childhood for a chance to win one of my blog sweatshirts. Each person who posts a pic on my page will be entered to win. The winner will be able to pick your shirt colour with one of the three sayings: Oui, muah! or ah phoque.
Thanks for reading! I have lots of fun content for October!! Follow me on Instagram at: Oui-Liette for additional fun photos!
Apparently I still like dressing up as a cat, thankfully my makeup skills have improved!!