Stuff Your Stockings!

Stuff Your Stockings! Great stocking stuffer ideas from Santa’s helper.

Growing up, one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning was diving into my stocking to see what Santa had left me. About ten years ago “Santa” asked if she…I mean he, still needed to fill my stocking? Duh! YES!!

The truth is you’re never too old for gifts in your stocking; and it turns out, that I enjoy buying stocking stuffers almost as much as I like getting them…almost.

So here are my top 5 stocking stuffing ideas for this Christmas.

Tag Your Bags!

I travel a lot for work, as do many of my friends. The other day I was waiting patiently…ok maybe not so patiently, for my hot pink Samsonite bag at the baggage carousel. I finally spotted it coming down towards me. I got into my best baggage pick up stance, just as another woman darted in front of me and grabbed it!  Turns out we had the exact same pink bag. This is exactly why I don’t have a generic black suitcase, but apparently I now need to add something unique to my hot pink bag so it stands out…more.

This was the inspiration for my first stocking stuffer idea, customized luggage tags.

I got these on Amazon, they are called: My Personal Memories and were $14.99 each.

 

I bought some for my staff, of course I had to get one for myself too! They come in a variety of colors. I got black, but now wishing I had gotten one of the bright colorful ones.

I went a bit rogue on customizing my tags. I did the first letter of the last names, as shown in the example, but then I wrote out the first name.

For a few of my closest friends I found these below, they are from a company called Airportag, http://www.airportag.com

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They are called Face Luggage Tags and were a bit more at $19.90. I think these are sooo cute.  I’m so tempted to show you all of the ones I ordered, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, as a few of my friends are loyal blog readers; those who aren’t loyal readers aren’t getting anything for Christmas!! Kidding, sort of. So, sadly, I can only show you the one above, it’s my friends dog.

What’s nice about these is that you have the option of printing the names and address on the back side.

You can’t stuff a stocking without a stocking!

Ok, maybe I should have starting my post with this one? If your loved ones don’t have cool stockings with their names on them, well, not to be judgy, but I am secretly judging you, and so is Santa!! Lol

But seriously, I noticed one year that my stocking was getting raggedy, the red fur was shedding all over the place, so I upgraded. My cousin, Nicole, and I now have matching stockings that we stuff for each other.

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If you live in the Moncton area, check out: Made By Monique, on Facebook. She can create matching, monogrammed stockings for everyone on your list. Just hurry, Christmas is fast approaching!

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So a fancy, smancy new stocking can be part of your stocking stuffing gift; just don’t forget to stuff it. Do not give anyone an empty stocking!!

Staples Stuff!

My secret stocking stuffer location is Staples, yes the office supply store. When I am having a hard time thinking of what to get someone, I go to Staples and it never disappoints!

If you want to change the life of your Millennial or Gen Xer, get them a super long phone charging cord, like 10’ long. It will seriously improve their quality of life, lol.

Think about it, you’re laying in bed, watching something on YouTube or browsing on your phone and it’s charging at the same time! And you don’t have to be at the edge of your bed, because your cord is too short. You can be in the middle!!

Here are a few cord options, I would go for the pink one, obvs. These are 6’, but I highly recommend the 10 footers. They also have phone pad chargers and a bunch of other cool stuff that you need, but never think to buy for yourself. I think you will find tones of stocking stuffers for everyone on your list at Staples.

Make Christmas Memories!

This is a great ideas for everyone, but especially for men for their partner, mother or sister…

Start a new tradition of buying a new tree ornament every year and put it in their stocking. It’s thoughtful and sentimental. I try to find a funky Santa or snowman every year. This year I bought three of these jolly guys, one for me and two for gifts. If you find something you like, buy more than one. Omg he is so cute!!

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I got this guy at Crate and Barrel

Practical Stuff

My stocking stuffing strategy is to have one or two, substantial gifts, don’t fill it up with cheap crap! So one or two nice things and then, go ahead and load it up with cheap crap! Lol

If you’re giving socks and underwear, wrap it and sock it!! Socks in a sock, why not?

If you have a university student home for the holidays, get toothpaste, Mr. Noodle, deodorant…the key is to wrap each item.

For ladies…or men, pick up a few silicone gel eye patches, bath bombs and wrap em up!

Gift Packs

All my stuffing ideas are items that I would like to receive myself; this last idea, I love giving and receiving!

If you want to test the waters with your subject before buying ask them one question; do you shop at Sephora? If the answer is yes, you are cruising down easy street!

During the holidays they offer a variety of gift packs; this one below is a Lashstach. It’s a package of a bunch of different brand together, these are a bunch of different mascaras. Sometimes they are a little smaller than regular size, but bigger than sample size.

Why is this so cool?? Because you get to try a bunch of different brands to see which you like best. Usually when you run out of mascara or other, you don’t want to gamble on another brand, just in case it’s not as good as your current fav. This gift pack let’s you try them all.

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Here is another great one! This brand sells lipsticks, they go on very glossy so don’t worry if you aren’t sure if these shades will be flattering. They are glossy with a hint of color, so will be flattering on everyone. Again, it’s a great way to try a bunch of different shades.

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A few years ago I gifted my bff with a black liquid liner gift set and she loved it!!! This year I bought a Benefits gift set for a coworker, we do a gift exchange; it includes a bronzer, a full size mascara and an eyebrow shadow.

If you are unsure find a sales person and tell them the coloring of the person you are buying for; fair, blonde hair, blue eyes, or olive skin with brown hair and brown eyes.

I hope one of these ideas will be helpful to you! My two key take aways are: make sure you have at least one nice gift, the others can be useful fillers. And two, wrap everything that goes in the stocking, half the fun is unwrapping and it will make the morning gifting last longer.

My next Christmas post will focus on Santa’s naughty list! Hey, sometimes being naughty is just way more fun!!

Thank you for reading!

muah! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Liette

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Airport Shopping Tips

Airport Shopping Tips

One of my many talents is shopping, lol. I can seriously shop anywhere; it’s hereditary, I come from a long line of great shoppers!

I’ve never admitted this publicly before, but I love airport shopping. And not the cute designer boutiques, no, I like the touristy shops. Hudson News and similar stores are my jam!

Is my love for tacky touristy shops due to the fact that I spend far too much time in airports? Perhaps? But I’ve found some seriously cool things over the years.

Las Vegas, Terminal 3’s Hudson News rocks!! Where else can you find Elton John’s new book, alien t-shirts that are so tacky they’re actually cool; super cute keychains, vinyl records, yes you heard me, records! Gummy bears, funky artsy greeting cards, water for your flight and a cheese & crackers??? Where??? Nowhere!

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Some may be thinking, who needs a glow in the dark Area 51 alien t-shirt? It’s silly and frivolous; yup, that’s true? But I am going to buy it for my 17 year old nephew on my return trip. I’ll add it to a new pair of jeans and new Converse sneakers and bam!! I can cross him off my Christmas list!! Nerdy, quirky t-shirts are in at the moment, BTW.

You see, I think my airport shopping is really a great demonstration of my ability to multi-task and it also shows off my awesome time management skills!

The average person sees something interesting and thinks, oh cute, and walks away. But an expert shopper thinks, oh that would be a cool stocking stuffer or that would be perfect for so and so’s birthday…. in 11 months.

Now do I usually end up buying myself one of everything that I buy for others? Like last Easter when I bought my mother and cousin the softest pajamas ever made? Well yes, I do, but in my defense, I think it would have been unfair for them to have cute new matching PJs and for me to be forced to wear older, none matching, ones.

What I love about buying fun, odd things, throughout the year is that my Christmas shopping gets done early and the cost is spread out over several months. So far, I’ve avoided being that person; you know that person who ends up racking their brain trying to think of what to buy everyone on their list.

If you’re thinking of adopting my airport/touristy shopping gift strategy, here’s some advice on how to avoid a big rookie mistake. In your excitement, you will be tempted to hand out gifts to loved ones upon your arrival back home. But resist and put them away, save them for Christmas!

Think about it, what if a few weeks before Christmas, you take inventory of what you have hidden away and you realize that all your kids stocking stuffers are bought. Hmm, my love for airport shopping might not seem so silly then??

My great find today were super hero keychains. Are they silly? Yes, but they are fun, unique and are actually great quality; don’t buy anything that looks cheap or flimsy.

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I bought them for a few of my girlfriends. Any girl who grew up watching Linda Carter wanted to be Wonder Women (Linda Carter played Wonder Woman on TV in the 70’s and she was fabulous!!). I’ll add them to their Christmas gifts. (Update, on my way back home, my carry on was searched and the Calgary security lady freaked out when she saw these! She wanted to know where I got them, I think she wanted me to give her one.)

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I picked this moon night light up in the San Francisco airport; I think it’s super pretty! I had a two hour layover there on my way back from this last trip, just enough time to explore the shops!

Here are a few Airport Shopping Tips…from a professional.

– as mentioned above, don’t buy anything that looks cheaply made. And skip the snow globes and magnets, unless you know someone who collects them.

– airport shops have great greeting cards and honestly, when in your busy life do you have time to pleasantly browse through greeting cards? It’s amazing how easy it is to find that perfect one when you aren’t pressed for time. Like when you’re at the card store rushing through the racks for a nice engagement card, because you’re already 30 min late for the party. I buy in bulk, I think of who’s birthday coming up.

– look for items that have that “strange” factor; either it’s a strange item, in general, or it’s strange that, said item, is being sold in an airport, next to the chips. Lol, Maybe unique would be a better word? Life can be hard and at times depressing; if you find something that no one actually needs, but is fun and makes you smile, buy it!

– don’t limit yourself to airport gift shops, check out hotel and casino gift shops too, you will find the most uniquely quirky items. I was recently on a road trip and we stopped at the biggest touristy shop I’ve ever seen. It was on an Indian reservation and they had everything! My friends and I browsed around, they didn’t buy anything, but I bought the oddest thing ever. It’s a large bullet casing that’s been turned into a bottle opener. It was $6 and no tax (reservations don’t charge tax). My brother will think it’s cool! It’s a perfect stocking stuffer. This is also the sort of quirky gift that makes an awesome and memorable host or hostess gift. Buy a six pack of beer or anything that requires a bottle opener, add the bullet bottle opener and I guarantee that your host will be super excited he invited you to his party!!!

– don’t forget about your sports fan! Airports have so many team branded items to choose from; socks, hats and underwear are perfect stocking stuffers!

– To Duty Free or not Duty Free? Sooo, I have to say that besides booze, I haven’t seen any great deals at duty free. Yes, you’re saving on the tax, but items are usually at full price. I am not a fan.

Thanks for reading!! My next posts will be all about that holidays!!! Then in January, I will be sharing the results of my weight loss challenge. I started the last week in June, my goal was to lose 30 pounds by Christmas! I am soooo close to my goal and it’s only first week of November!!

muah!!

Liette

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Haunted Garden Dinner Party – Update

 

Haunted Garden Dinner Party – Update

I wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween! And to share a few pics from my dinner party.

I challenged my friends to create a headpiece fit for a Haunted Garden Party and they did not disappoint!!

I love that my friends are so creative!! As mentioned in my previous post, I had a few backups for those who just didn’t have time to create something, because in the end, the most important thing was to spend time together.

We had a private room in a local restaurant for 20 of our Garden Goddesses!

I used some silk flowers, that my mom wanted to throw away, as place cards. I wrote each person’s name in the flower. We had a large group, so I wanted to seat people in groups for maximum party fun!! Lol

I also added a few bugs, birds, leaves and candles on the table to create my simple, yet cool Garden Party vibe.

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In my previous post, I mentioned that I worked on my pink feather headpiece in Vegas, but then I almost switched it up the night before. My second idea was to be a Queen Bee, so a Bee with a crown.

I wasn’t feeling my flamingo vibe until I added my pink wig, which I had brought for a friend to wear, but she changed her mind about wearing it the night before.

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This was my look leaving for the restaurant, which confirms my belief that I should have pink hair!! Lol. I added all my feather accessories onsite.

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Miss Dawn, who never disappoints, didn’t disappoint!! She was also the first to arrive, which was awesome, because we got to catch up a bit before the others arrived. Love, loved! Her flowers and butterflies headpiece!!

In addition to being super cool, kind and talented, my friends are also beautiful, strong and accomplished ladies!! #girlpower

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I loved seeing everyone’s creation; and then she arrived!! She is Jacqueline and she created a beautiful art piece, that made her look like a regal Garden Flower Fairy Queen! Needless to say she won the trophy for best dressed.

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I sat next to her during dinner and she did invade my personal space a few times, but I would expect nothing less of a Garden Flower Fairy Queen!!

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Ok, I may have convinced her to let me try it on at one point in the evening, lol.

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I am currently “holding” it for her till our next garden party. She asked me if I could use it for something. I am soooo going to do some cool photo shoot with it at some point.

It was such a nice evening!! We had time to mingle before dinner and my seating arrangement was perfect!!

We have plans to repeat this event next year. I will have to think of a new theme, obviously, lol. And we may add friends of friends, the more positive female energy, the better!!

These two ladies with me in the collage below, are two of my closest friends, these pics make me laugh. The red head was fall, which is fitting as she fell on her way to the party. The tall blonde is my amazon sister! We can be a funny looking trio!!

In the redheads defense, Stacey and I were both wearing heels and she was in flats; yes she can walk for miles in platform shoes, but falls wearing sneakers!! Lol

Our dinner was on Sunday night, from 6 to 8:30, 9ish; and since it was in a restaurant, there was no cleaning or cooking involved. It was a truly lovely evening! Our friend Margot from Halifax, made a special appearance, it was so nice to see her and to spend some quality time with everyone.

My whole blog philosophy is to just do things with friends and loved ones, this evening proves that it doesn’t have to be a lot of work for the hostess. I think we sometimes get caught up in the notion that we have to do it all and that everything needs to be perfect, I am hear to say that it does not!!

Thank you for reading! You don’t have to wait for next Halloween to have an evening out with your tribe! Just do it!!

Thank you for reading!!

muah!!!!

Liette

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My mom asked me, “well what are you?” I told her I wasn’t a thing, I was a vibe. I was channeling a vintage Las Vegas Showgirl dressed as a flamingo…nailed it!!! Lol

Haunted Garden Dinner Party

Haunted Garden Dinner Party

 

It’s not exactly a secret that I love Halloween, I also love entertaining and spending time with my friends. I used to host a big Halloween Party every year, but for the last few years I’ve hosted smaller dinner parties.

Last year I hosted a Haunted Dinner Party in my best friends backyard. I bought cheap black rabbit masks for my bunny friends; we hung out, ate cake and laughed our bunny tails off!

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This year I am hosting a Haunted Garden Party! Full disclosure, it won’t take place in a garden. New Brunswick in late October isn’t exactly garden party weather, but that’s my theme and I am sticking with it!!

The idea for this years party was inspired from a few of my past costumes. My friends will be asked to create a nature inspired headpiece. I know I am weird, but this is what happens when I get bored. I like being creative; a trip to Michaels can be dangerous for me.

 

For this years fête, I created a Facebook Event, I like that I can share pictures and we can chat as a group on there.

Not wanting to compete with Halloween parties the weekend before Halloween, I decided that our soirée will take place on a Sunday evening. And who are we kidding, we’ll be done and back home before midnight…ok, probably by 10!! Lol

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I sent a few guideline to help my friends get their ideas flowing. It’s funny, I know my friends well enough to know who is going to go all out and who is going to struggle.

A lot of people get stressed out trying to come up with costume ideas, blah!!!! You know your friends, if they aren’t Halloween people, then buy a bunch of masks or matching wigs and have them dress up onsite.

I’ve already told one of my friends, who will remain nameless, that I will have something for her; she just needs to show up. The point of any party is to have fun and spend quality time together and not to be stressed.

I’ll also bring a few bunny masks from last year for anyone who needs last minute help.

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This is what I posted on our private party page.

My original Haunted Garden Party costume idea was a dark, moody, crow inspired vibe, but turns out one of my friends had a similar idea.

After a little bit of Pinteresting for inspiration, I have a new direction!

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I will now be a funky Vegas showgirl flamingo!!  Which I think will be way cooler than my original crow vibe…and it’s pink, so there’s that.

Some of you maybe thinking what the hell does a flamingo have to do with a garden party? Well, in my imaginary garden, there are lots of flamingos! My sympathies if you don’t have any flamingos in your imaginary garden, lol.

It doesn’t have to be a real thing, I want people to use their imagination. It’s just supposed to be fun!!

 

For my headpiece, I hot glue gunned pink feathers on a headband; I think it’s going to look pretty cool!!

I was supposed to be packing for a 10 day work trip, but instead I was playing with makeup tonight and testing things out.

My eye makeup was cool, but then I added a pair of pink feather eyelashes, and they pretty much hide my eyeshadow; they were also super uncomfortable. They aren’t going to make the final cut. I may end up with a dark black smokey eye?? I mean it is Halloween, I need to look a bit scarier or at least bitchier! We’ll see, lol.

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I just discovered a new app called Momento, hence the giff. It’s free, you just need to make certain to take your pics are taken in Live mode.

This is my table setting inspiration, I am thinking white or black pumpkins with maybe some creepy crawling bugs or snakes? It’s a haunted garden party after all.

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I am going to share a super helpful hint from a professional events expert with you, so listen up! Lighting can make or break your event!! Nothing ruins a party vibe like bad lighting.

Add candles and/or fairy lights and turn off any harsh or bright lighting. This is especially important for Halloween parties.

I also believe that, you don’t have to spend the day in the kitchen to be a great hostess. A great hostess or host, is relaxed and present. We are ordering in for our event, so easy, peasy.

I hope this post inspires you to invite some of your favorite people over; make memories, be silly and have fun!!! Halloween gives you the perfect excuse to break out of your normal routine. Some of us don’t need an excuse to be weird, lol, but whatever.

Enjoy Halloween!!! I will post some pics from our party shortly!!

Boo! Muah!

Liette

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This pic is definitely more Vegas Showgirl than flamingo, I’ll need to work it out.

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Hello October! Fun and Frightful Bucket List.

Hello October! Fun and Frightful Bucket List.

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I love October!!! I will be spending most of it in the desert and even though you can’t really tell it’s fall here, I will be doing fun fall things. I will be in Eastern Canada the last week of October; I hope that I can catch the tail end of the fall foliage.

The goal of this post is to coax you into getting out there to do a few fun fall things with your loved ones. Please just do it while you can; make silly memories, you’ll never regret the time you spend with friends and family.

Not to put a damper on things, but it’s been 4 months since my dad passed and I get great comfort remembering all the things that we did together. I like to think that I have inherited his zest for life! I share a few family Halloween stories at the end of this post.

I am challenging all of you to do a version of each of these October activities!! There are only 3 things on this list so completely doable!

Pumpkins!

This one is super easy, get your pumpkin grove on!! That’s a thing right?? No? Well it should be. Lol

– Pick a Pumpkin

If you don’t have access to a pumpkin patch, then pick one up at the grocery store, there’s no excuse, they are literally everywhere. And not to put any pressure on you, but I found a pumpkin patch in the middle of the desert, so don’t be lame, lol.

So I have a confession to make…actually, I have two confessions; the first is that this was my first pumpkin picking experience. I’ve been apple picking, but never pumpkin picking, it was so fun and pretty. My second confession is that I got a bit ahead of my list and picked my pumpkins the last weekend of September. But crossing off my October list…check!!

– Carve Your Pumpkin

For all you busy parents out there, this is one activity that your children will remember from their childhood, so make a night or afternoon out of it. Growing up, my dad was the pumpkin carver; and apparently, my mom just took pictures of us while we carved, lol. Note to the moms, get in at least one of the pictures.

Pumpkin carving isn’t just for kids; my family and I started a new tradition a few years ago, we have a pumpkin carving night. When done we vote on who has the best one. Everyone gets really into it, we get pretty competitive.

We have our date picked out for this years Great Pumpkin Carve Off, ok, that’s not what we call it…yet!! My brother is hosting this year and he is the one to beat, so I need to take him down! Wish me luck.

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One of out past Great Pumpkin Carve Offs! This is my brother, he carved his pumpkin to look like a VW Van…really??? Mine was a cat with uneven eyes, lol.

 

Haunted, Frightful Fun!

I am going to give you a few options for this one, so again no excuse! Google haunted things to do in your area or scary things to do; even if you live in a smaller community, something will pop up.

It’s so easy to get stuck in your routine and not explore what’s happening in your community, pretend you are a tourist and look things up.

For those in the Moncton area, I googled for you, here’s what came up…you’re welcome!

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I am certain there are haunted corn mazes all over the US and Canada. This is a great activity for smaller kids, make sure to check the scardy cat level; traumatizing your kids isn’t exactly the kind of memories I was talking about.

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For older brats…I mean teenagers, a haunted house tour is super fun. The Keillor House Museum in Dorchester, NB is ligit crazy scary!

It’s located down the road from an old castle looking maximum security prison. On a scary cat scale, it starts off at a 9.9 level. This is also one of their major fund raising activities, so scaring the shit out of yourself and your kids will be for a great cause.

I volunteered to help decorate a few years ago and I am pretty sure I captured a ghost in one of my pictures. See my pic below, that’s totally a ghost or something right? Look in the middle left of the pic. There’s a white blur, see it? Do you think it’s a ghost?? Let me know, I think it’s something.

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Most cities also have haunted walking tours. Grab a pumpkin spice latte and soak in a bit of creepy history. Or…pick up a hot chocolate and add a shot of fireball, the chocolate and cinnamon is a yummy combo.

Those are three things to do in and around Moncton; I am sure there are more.

There are lots of options in Las Vegas! I have tickets for Scare Vegas this week, see below, I am liking the third activity, selfies and cocktails, I am in!!

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Last year, I visited the Zac Bagan’s Haunted Museum, he’s on Discovery Channel’s Ghost Adventure, it was eerie. I would give it 4 scardy cats; it’s more creepy than screaming scary.

I considered this Blackout At The Asylum this year, for all of three seconds, lol. It’s a real old mental asylum! Ya…no! I will stick with the Wicked Selfies and cocktails, lol.

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From big to small cities, you can find something frightful to do!

Ghoulish Friends Gathering

October is the perfect time to have fun with your Freaky Friends!

If you’re looking for a shortcut and want to “kill two birds with one stone”, you could invite your friends over to watch a scary movie with you; you really shouldn’t be watching a scary movie alone anyway. A scary movie gathering will cross off the Ghoulish Friends Gathering and the Haunted, Frightful Fun off your list; check and check!!

I love Halloween parties, if you are invited to one, you should go! While in Moncton, the week before Halloween, I am going to host a Haunted Garden Dinner Party. Last year, I hosted a Wickedly Haunted Dinner Party. Dinner parties are less work than a full on party and smaller gatherings allow me to catch up with my fellow witches. Please note that any dinner party held in October automatically becomes a haunted dinner party; I am fairly certain it’s a rule.

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Here are a few of my friends who love Halloween and dressing up as much as I do!

See that wasn’t too bad right? Feel free to share your October activity plans and seriously, do you think that’s a ghost or spirit in my Keillor House pic???

I am going to share a few Halloween family stories before I sign off, just because. My father’s side of the family are real tricksters; they are game for anything, I aspire to keep this tradition alive.

My grandmother was a fan of dressing up for Halloween, she was an amazing seamstress. One year, she and one of her sisters dressed up and entered their village parade and won best costume! First of all, yay, Nanny!! Apparently no one recognized them and even though people tried to guess who they were, they never revealed their identities; they went home, took off their costumes and never let on it was them. I should add that at the time she was a mother of 9 and a grandmother of a few.

In my second story, I am probably 8ish, I just finished trick or treating and was answering the door and handing out candy. The doorbell rings so I go down to answer. There are two small teenagers at the door, their faces are covered, so I can’t see if they are boys or girls. I give them candy and instead of taking the candy and leaving, they just stand there, staring at me. Before I go any further, this story  takes place around 1978, keep in mind that the ’70’s were a different time, apparently freaking out young children was still socially acceptable.

So they stand there for a very awkward period of time, so much so that I yell out DAD!! He peeks down and starts to laugh, he knew immediately who the two teenagers were. It was my my grandmother and one of my aunts! So I grew up seeing that you are never too old to have fun.

My last story is from last Halloween. I was home for a visit because my dad wasn’t well. But that day was a good day so I asked him if he wanted to dress up and go visit his sisters to try and trick them, he laughed and said, let’s do it! My mother though we were crazy, she’s not like us, lol. I had bought these big black crow heads, just because I thought they were funny.

We pull up to one of my aunts house. My father wanted me to park down the street, but I knew it would be too much for him if I made him walk too far. We quietly got out of the car and put our crows heads on. As we walk to the house, we were laughing thinking that we were so clever, that she was never going to know who we are. Man were we wrong; she saw us get out of the car and put our heads on. She was laughing before we even got to her door.

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Seriously, how fabulous are these crow heads?? The beaks opened when you opened your mouth. This was a really good day!!❤️

The reason for sharing these stories is that, in my opinion, the sillier or dumber the activity, the better the memories are. Life is short, you are never too old or too important to put a big black furry crow head on and go trick or treating!

Thanks for reading!

muah!

Liette

Dear America – a letter from your friend, Canada.

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Dear America,

I moved here in August of 2016; three months before your last election. Since then I have held back from sharing my personal political opinions; primarily because I feel that, as a guest in your country, it’s not my place and frankly, it would be rude.

I’m now preparing to leave the US to go back to Canada, but before I go, I wanted to share a few of my observations; as a friend.

Because, who are we kidding, Canada is your best friend; we know you better than any of your other friends. We’re your closest neighbor; we grow up watching your TV and listening to your music. We know you to be proud, passionate and at times a bit rowdy and rambunctious and we love you for it.

Although we know everything about you, we know that you know much less about us; and that’s ok, because we know that deep down you love us too! The truth is that when push comes to shove, we have always stood together! I would challenge anyone to find two countries who are closer friends and allies.

For the past three years, I have lived here among you; I’ve had a front row seat to all the changes that you’ve been going through. And I have to say that, as your friend, I am very worried for you.

I have friends who are Democrats and friends who are Republicans and guess what? Contrary to popular belief, you’re not that different! You love your families and want to provide for them. You aren’t looking for hand outs; you want to work hard and be paid fairly. You want to know that if your son, daughter, wife or husband gets sick, that they will get the best care possible; and while caring for them, you don’t want to have to worry about being ruined financially.

You love your country and your flag. You’re all thankful to those who serve and put their lives on the line to fight for your freedom. They don’t fight for the freedom of Republicans or the freedom of Democrats; they fight for you, they fight for America.

The core values of the majority of Americans are the same! And Contrary to what some would like you to believe, you are all Americans; no one group is more American than the other.

There are people in your country who want to make you believe that you are all so very different. They want you to believe that some of you are better than others. I think you need to take a step back and ask yourselves why? What’s in it for them?

How can that be good for you, America? Who is going to benefit from a fractured and fighting country? As an observer, I am perplexed and can’t see how this infighting is going to lead to anything positive.

I also want to talk about race for a moment, because it’s one of the ways that some people are trying to divide and break you. As a legal alien, yes, that is my official status, I think I have a unique perspective.

I am a white, middle-ish aged blonde Canadian with no recognizable accent. To those who are trying to divide you, I look and sound like the perfect American.

I was recently in a long line at the DMV and a few of us started chatting, A white, older man, asked the couple in front of me, who were of Latin decent, where they were from? They said California, to which he replied a bit surprised “Oh”. The white man wasn’t being rude, he was friendly and making conversation. But he didn’t ask me where I was from.

It made me wonder how many times they, or anyone with brown skin or a different accent, are asked that question? Would it get annoying or frustrating to feel that you have to justify or prove that you belong?

On the surface “where are you from” is not offensive; it’s a harmless question, but in my three years in Las Vegas, I’ve never felt like I needed to explain or justify who I am or why I am here.

I feel that I am automatically considered more American than a lot of real Americans. Is that a form of white privilege? Maybe in its most simplistic form? I get the benefit of the doubt automatically.

As human beings, our life experiences form and shape our views. I think some white people take offense to the notion of white privilege, because they feel that nothing has been handed to them; that they too struggle and that being a white American doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve had it easy. This is 100% true, you can be white and struggle.

We should sympathize with those of us who have been less fortunate and who have had less opportunities because of a number of different factors, black or white. But I suspect that those of color are faced with an additional set of challenges right out of the gate. Challenges that, those of us who are white, can’t fully comprehend because it’s not part of our life experiences.

As a white Canadian, I have discovered that I don’t have the same “cultural baggage” as some white Americans. This difference is apparent when the topics of Black Lives matter and the NFL players taking a knee are brought up. There seems to be an inner resentment of black Americans who take a stand; who peacefully protest, that killing their sons and fathers, whose only crimes are being black or brown in the wrong place at the wrong time, is unacceptable.

Some really nice white people, seem to go on immediate defense mode when these topics come up; and in my outsider, I don’t have a horse in this race, point of view, it’s very confusing to me.

Let’s be real, it doesn’t matter what color you are, if your son went to the store and got shot for no reason, you would be angry and want justice. So why aren’t all American mothers and fathers heartbroken regardless of the color or race of the child?

I recently asked a friend what it was about Black Lives Matter that was so upsetting? The response I got was that blue lives matter too. I agreed with them; I 100% believe that blue lives matter too. I admire people whose career choice puts them in harms way on a daily basis to protect others.

Have you ever wondered why someone becomes a police officer? I can guarantee you that it’s not the promise of fame and fortune! They sign up because they want to make the world a better place.

That being said, Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that Blue Lives don’t. Are there bad police officers out there? Yes, every profession has some people who do a horrible job. I know a few people who are in my field who are absolutely horrible at their jobs. But how much harm can a bad marketer do in the grand scheme of things?

My point is that we can and should be as outraged at the injustice of an innocent person being harmed because of the color of their skin, as we are when an officer is harmed because he showed up for work to help keep us safe. Both scenarios are unacceptable and we should be outraged. This shouldn’t be what divides you, in both scenarios, these are Americans.

The current woes of American are in no way the fault of white Americans; no more than they are the fault of brown Americans. But you need to know, that some people are trying to exploit your fears and insecurities in order to divide you. And it breaks my heart, friend, that it seems to be working.

We know you to have the biggest heart, but I fear that all the noise being bombarded upon you on a daily basis is making you hardened.

America, my dear friend, you are the most powerful country in the world; a true super power who’s slowing losing their super powers to those who are looking to divide and conquer you. Did you ever think that you could be conquered?

Your American values are being threatened, not by some far away foe, but from within. Like that scary movie where the threatening phone calls are coming from inside the house.

As your friend we need to give you a bit of tough love and let you know that you’re currently in a bad relationship. You’re losing yourself and what makes you truly great!

We need you to snap out of it; Canada needs you, the world needs you to be the strong, honorable, spirited, just and rowdy America that you have always been.

As your best friend there’s one thing about you that we know for sure; it’s that one should never assume that you are down for the final count. When times get tough, the tough get going. Well times are getting tough. It’s time to band together and show the world what we know you are made of.

Your enemies thought that crashing airplanes into buildings would break you; instead, it made you stronger!  Please don’t let bots on social media divide and break you; you got this! Your freaking America for goodness sakes.

Is it over simplifying things to think that by being nicer and more compassionate to each other is going to bridge the divide that’s been created to harm you? Perhaps? But, I’m certainly not going to be betting against the power of Americans.

We miss you, your bff,

Canada

(for those reading, if you have nothing nice to say, please don’t. If you are all about positive vibes, then please leave me your comments.)

 

 

Falling For Fall!

Falling For Fall!

Happy Fall! Yes, I know that fall doesn’t officially start until September 21ish, but hey the pumpkins have been out in the stores since August, so I feel I have shown a lot of restraint.

I loooooovvvvveee fall!! It’s what I miss the most about living in Las Vegas. I have two back to back trade shows in September and October so it’s going to be super busy, BUT!! I get to fly back to Canada for some vacation time the week before Halloween and you better believe that I am going to pack in as much fun fall stuff as possible!!!

I love making bucket lists, some may think they are silly? Here’s why I make them and why I encourage you to as well. We are all so busy, I feel that if we don’t consciously make plans, the days, weeks and months can zoom bye in the blink of an eye, and bam!! It’s Christmas and you’ve missed fall altogether!

So here’s my fall bucket list! (FYI I am saving my Halloween activities for my Halloween list that I’ll post Oct 1ish. Hey, I wasn’t kidding about loving lists!!)

1. Fall foliage and fresh air!

Since moving to the desert, I’ve discovered that some of my friends, here on the West Coast, have never experienced a full on autumn fall foliage fest. Yes the leaves on the trees here do change colors, and while three trees with yellowish leaves are cute,  that’s not really fall.

You need to experience a full on fall, in all its glory, at least once in your lifetime! The most vivid colors are in the North East of the US and the South East of Canada; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have the prettiest views, but I could be a little bias? lol

I encourage all my West Coast friends to add this to their bucket lists and to all my East Coast friends; get out there and enjoy!!! Go for a drive, go for a walk, take pictures and smell the fresh air! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you do know what happens after fall right??

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The pictures above are all from the Moncton area, seriously guys, how freaking amazing are these color??!! It’s simply spectacular!!

2. Sunflower Selfie!

Local farmers don’t exactly have it easy these days; a new way to supplement their incomes is by creating corn mazes, u-pick pumpkin patches, apple picking and sunflower festivals; and do you know what? I am all for it!

Look up what’s happening in your area and then get out there and enjoy! My Facebook feed has been full of the most beautiful sunflower selfies this past week.

The Green Pig Country Market in Salisbury, NB is having a sunflower festival and I am so bummed that I am missing it. FYI, in October, they have a huge corn maze and a zombie paint ball shooting tractor ride. I will be in that area at that time, so I’ll be there!

Please get out there and support your local farmers it’s a win, win!

I am going to do my best to find a field of sunflowers in Nevada, wish me luck!

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Soooo it turns out sunflowers don’t grow in the desert…booo!! Since I am not one to give up that easily, I made my own sunflower fun!  It’s amazing what you can do with a hot glue gun.

You maybe wondering if I looked like a nut driving around Las Vegas looking like a sunflower? Maybe? But here’s the thing that I love most about living in Las Vegas; no one cared, everything and anything goes here. It’s pretty wild! It’s probably the perfect place for me and my weirdness?

Funny story, I asked my mom a month or so ago if she thought I was weird? She said of course you are, but that’s why people like you!! Good to know, lol. 🌻🌻

3. Apple of my eye!

Apple picking has always been one of my fall traditions. As soon as the apples are ready for picking, usually mid to late September, my Facebook news feed will be flooded with pictures of my Canadians in apple orchards. Not only is it a great way to get some fresh air, it also offers lots of Instagramable moments.

And what do you do with all those apples? Make a yummy apple crisp or apple pie! Picture it, it’s getting chilly outside, which of course makes you want to nest and bake. Can you smell the apple crisp coming out of the oven? Mmmm, add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream; oh wow, I am getting hungry! lol. Add that to your fall bucket list please…you’re welcome.

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4. Fall fashion.

There is something about fall that makes me want to shop; you do that too, right? Once the air starts to get cooler; it’s time to pull out your sweaters, blazers and boots. In the fall I like to take inventory of what I have in my closet and what I need to replace.

My fashion strategy is to pay more for key pieces that will last me for a few seasons. I mix those pieces in with less expensive items that are a bit more trendy.

This is the year that I need a new pair of boots, fancy boots, not winter boots. I bought a pair of high heeled black leather boots in Chicago; I am going to say 6 or 7 years ago? At the time, I felt that they were too expensive, but I loved them and I knew that would never go out of style. I got them re-heeled and shined up a few years ago, which extended their life.  They ended up being a great investment, I certainly got my money’s worth. But, sadly their time has come and I that makes me super sad; first world problems I know, so no need to point that out, lol.

My new boots are 1970’s inspired black suede. I sent my mom a picture. I remember she had a similar pair when I was young; hers were a deep dark red, they were beautiful. I am digging that 70’s vibe. My friend just got a pair of cool bell bottom jeans, oh, I am getting a bit off track…sorry.

I also “needed” a new black purse…ok, maybe need is pushing it? My new fav purse site is: Wanderers Travel Co. I got a tan/caramel purse a few months ago that I absolutly love, but it’s not black, hence the “need” for a new black purse.

I have always, always been a fan of a leopard print, so I am super happy to see all the leopard prints out this fall; not that it ever goes out of style, but this fall it’s bigger than ever. My boots and a new purse were a little pricier, but my skirt was a steal of a deal. I got it at GAP,  it was 40% off, yay me!

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I am loving my new fall fashion items! I will pair my skirt with a nice black turtleneck instead of a white t-shirt as shown above. My wardrobe inventory uncovered 10 black turtleneck sweaters!! Sadly, I am not even kidding. I think I have a bit of a black turtleneck addiction. I can’t even rule out buying a new one this fall/winter, it’s a definite possibility, lol.

Oh and not that anyone asked, but here is my older, new purse from that same site. I think it’s just going to look better as it ages and gets a little banged up.

Thanks for reading! I am not really sure what happened? This post started with leaves, sunflowers and apples and finished with shopping. It’s pretty obvious that I just let my posts go where they want to go; I don’t always have full control, lol. I may have gotten too excited and a bit off track? Shit happens, lol.

I would like to give a shout out and thank you to my fall photographer, Barney! He also shot my spring pics; I guess that makes him the official oui-liette photographer? I’am not sure if he is fully aware yet? I will let him know after he takes my winter pics, lol.

Fun side note, we shot the sunflower pics in August on a cool 107 degree evening. My skin looks all fresh and dewy, ya, that’s sweat! Lol

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Please get out there and make memories with your friends and families!!

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muah!

Liette

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