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 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
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!
After posting my Bouctouche edition of Day Tripping in NB, my friend Lisa, who now lives in Montreal, told me about a lavender farm in Bouctouche that I needed to visit.
It just so happens that the following day I had a beach day planned at the Dunes in Bouctouche with my friend Alie. I asked her if we could make a stop before heading to the beach and she was onboard.
She had never heard of Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm and she’s originally from Bouctouche, so we looked them up and we were off!
As we approached the parking area, we could see rows and rows of beautiful purple lavender fields. As we got out of the car, I could feel myself getting more and more excited; if you don’t feel happy walking in fields of lavender, there is something seriously wrong with you..like seriously, you need to get that checked, lol.
These fields are an Instagramers dream and we did see a few photo shoots while we were there; the owners, Carly and her husband Paul, welcome anyone who want to visit and walk their fields, sniff their lavender and take a few pics.
I asked Carly what inspired her and her husband to start a lavender farm here in Bouctouche of all places? Carly has a British accent so it was very apparent that she isn’t from the region, she’s from Whales, but Paul is from the region.
They met 26 years ago when they were both working on a cruise ship, Carly still works on ships as a Cruise Director. She explained that they had all of this land and decided to plant an acre of lavender and see how it would grow? Well it grew so they planted another acre and then another; they now have 4 acres in total; and having traveled the world they wanted to bring a bit of the French countryside to New Brunswick.
They are in the process of restoring their barn, it’s already beautiful, I can’t wait to see it when it’s fully completed. They’ve already booked two weddings!!
Look at all of this natural wood!! It’s so impressive when you walk in and look up.
They also have a shop in the barn where you can buy their lavender products. I bought their facial scrub and body lotion and I need to go back for some lavender oil.
I also bought a bunch of fresh lavender and should have bought more, it’s the prettiest darkest shade of purple that I’ve ever seen, it’s my new fav colour.
Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm is the first agrotourism lavender farm in the province; Carly explained that because of our winter’s their fields will never be perfect or look exactly like the ones in Europe, but being able to visit a lavender farm, then cross the street to a beautiful beach, Les Dunes, followed by a fresh lobster roll, at Pirate des mers, on your way home seems pretty close to perfect to me!
I asked Carly about their future plans for their lavender farm, their venue lends itself perfectly to weddings and events, so they will be hosting more events in the future, as the word gets out. Their lavender product lines will grow, as will the size of their fields, but her ultimate goal is for people to come visit the farm and to just breathe, she wants us to relax and to “take a breathe”.
I love that sentiment and you really feel that vibe when you’re on the farm. Some will never get the opportunity to walk the lavender fields in the countryside of France or England, but you can walk the lavender fields of Bouctouche!! Ok technically they are in Saint Edouard, but tomato, tomato…did you just read that with two different pronunciations?? Ah!! Of course you did! Lol
Thank you so much for reading!! I am going to share a few more amazingly pretty pics and here is a link for my two last Day Tripping in NB posts. And finally, I have a cool give away coming up so go like my Instagram page: oui-liette for details on how to enter to win my Sassy Summer Basket!! Launching my contest this Friday.
I’ve been noticing that since this dumb pandemic started, there seems to be a lot of new side hustles popping up and a bigger focus on buying locally.
I was really curious about what these side hustlers were doing, why they were doing it and how they were doing, while doing it? Make sense?? Maybe? Lol. Let me introduce you to Bonnie, who makes cakes and treats, Emily who makes funky earrings, Craig who makes beautiful cheese boards and wood stuff and Monique, who will customize pretty much anything you need.
First up is Bonnie, who is Mrs Delicious!
Liette: What made you decide to start your side business?
Bonnie: The idea to start Mrs Delicious as an online bakery definitely came from my close friends and family. They were tasting and seeing all of my creations that I was posting about on social media during the spring and they thought I should offer what I was doing to a wider audience. I guess they thought I had a bit of a gift and thought I should share it.
L: Is this something you had been waiting to do for a while?
B: Haha! Nooooo not at all. I normally have an extremely full schedule and wouldn’t have any room for extras like this. A typical work week for me, pre-pandemic, would consist of anywhere from 50 to 60+ hours of work a week. After a week like that you don’t typically have a lot left to give. Anything I do have left is spent on friends and family. However, at this time, with events on hold, my daily life has changed drastically. I needed a creative outlet and so my friend gave me the extra push I needed, she created a logo for me and I set up a Facebook page and my husband got some stickers made up with my branding and I was off and running.
L: So all the extra time on your hands, because of the pandemic, sparked you to try something new?
B: The pandemic was definitely the instigator for this. I have hardly baked in the past 10 years. I have been concentrating on climbing the corporate ladder and being a Mom to my kids and helping to support my Mom when she was sick. I had a full plate. During the pandemic I turned to the kitchen, it started with a birthday cake for my daughter, then one for my son, then an anniversary cake for my sister and brother in law and it just kept going. I started having a lot of fun with it and trying trickier recipes each time. I was getting so many positive comments on my photos and people started saying, you should do this and sell them. I was very unsure at first but my confidence started to build and the reviews were positive so here I am. Mrs Delicious has been accepting orders for less than a month and I have already had close to 50 orders!
L: I love that story!! Your cakes look absolutely delicious, great name btw, I am waiting for someone’s birthday in order to order one from you. How can people see and order from you?
B:People can order through Facebook at facebook.com/mrsdeliciousdesserts
Post and Studs
Emily’s is an elementary school teacher, who on the side, makes beautiful earrings. She makes them because they let her be creative and they make her happy, she explains that if they make others happy, that is a major bonus! And BTW, I just got a pair and they do make me happy! Mine are hot pink, obvs; here is my chat with Emily.
Liette: What inspired you to start making earrings?
Emily: I’ve always loved creating, aka making a mess. My sister and I started making jewelry as children and it was always something that brought me happy memories. We grew up in an extremely creative household, both of our parents were being creating in some way or another. I’m very thankful to have grown up in an environment that fostered our creativity.
A few Christmases ago, I was making earrings as gifts for loved ones and everyone told me to start selling them. After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to dive in head first!
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business?
E: Having a business was always something that appealed to my creative side, but definitely not my organizational side. It was something I was always interested in, but I am thankful that I can do it at my own pace.
L: Your earrings are beautiful. How long does it take to make one pair?
E: From start to finish, many of the dangles take about four days to fully cure and become ready for your ears! There are quite a few steps involved and this time period can be greatly extended if I make any mistakes. I’ve definitely had to start from scratch on more than one occasion.
L: I bet that it’s been a learning process, not just making them, but marketing yourself?
E: Because it’s my side business, I don’t have the same type of pressure to market myself as many other businesses do. Post and Stud is my creative outlet, and I treat it as such. If it all becomes too stressful, I have the ability to step back and take a break for a few days. This is a privilege I’ve needed and am extremely thankful for. For the most part, I’m able to go with the flow and create relationships with like minded people.
L: How can people see and buy your earrings?
E: They can go to my website: http://www.postandstud.com, my Instagram & Facebook account is @postandstud. My earrings are also available for sale at Sequoia, the Trinity location, The Glow, in Sussex, and Luxe Salon and Spa in Riverview.
I’ve known Craig for a long time, we used to work together many moons ago. I was surprised and impressed when I saw the beautiful charcuterie boards he was posting on Facebook. I knew he was, and still is, an awesome musician, but I had no idea he had mad woodworking skills? It was nice to catch up with him; here’s a bit of our chat.
Liette: I’ve seen the videos you’ve posted online, it’s cool to see a bit of how your boards are made. What motivated you to start your side hustle?
Craig: I had been planning a little side hustle for quite some time. With the lock down and having some extra time it seemed like the perfect time to get started.
L: Did being home during COVID push you to get started?
C: Typically my free time would be focused on making music with my band “Big Bang”, but COVID not allowing for rehearsing I had some spare time to really focus on coming up with some products I wanted to make.
L: What is it about working with wood that you most enjoy?
C: The charcuterie boards I’ve been making came from an apple tree that was in our backyard. I love the three having a completely new life in a completely new form. The cutting boards are made from wood I get from another local business, London Lumber. It’s really like being a kid in a candy store every time I go there. In addition to wood we’ve been prepping to make some concrete products as well, they should be available in the coming months.
L: How can people find and buy your products?
C: Currently my presence is focused on Facebook, bordendesignnb, but I ‘m on Instagram, borden_design, and Twitter, Twitter.com/borden_design, as well. Products and prices can be found on Facebook @bordendesignnb,
Made by Monique
Monique works in early childhood development and is super crafty and creative. She’s started a side company that focuses on custom printing; here’s our chat.
Liette: What inspired you to start your little side hustle?
Monique: I love being crafty and creating things, so after receiving my Cricut (fancy adhesive cutter and printer) as a Christmas gift, I started experimenting with it and watching YouTube videos, A LOT of videos! After trying a couple of different things, I realized I was more interested in designing shirts, onesies, hoodies, etc…
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business? What made you say, I am going to do it?
M: I’ve always loved the idea of having my own little side business that I would fully run myself, so that would be a yes! Once I had mastered designing and applying heat transfer vinyl on a wide variety of fabrics, I decided to invest in a few other important accessories and advertise on social media.
L: What’s been one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to deal with so far?
M: A challenge I’ve had to deal with would definitely be the Christmas rush! It’s generally a busy time of the year in general, but with the added to-do list of getting all the custom orders ready before Christmas, it was a little extra busy for me. Even though it was a big stressful, I am SO thankful that I received so many orders!
L: So maybe we can put it out there now, in the summer, that people should start thinking of their custom Christmas Stockings, Tree Skirts and baby onesies now? lol?
M: That would be great to get orders as early as possible!
L: How can people see your work and order from you?
M: I have photos of almost all my work posted on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/customizedbymonique and also my Instagram account: customizedbymonique. For order simply send me a message via my FB page and I will get back to you!
I am so impressed with all these side hustlers their stories are inspiring and have a few common threads. One is that they are all doing something that they love and that fulfills their creative side, that’s so important, we all need creative outlets. And they are all using social media to promote and sell their goods. I think that social media gets a bad wrap; and rightfully so at times. My advice to those finding social media toxic is to do some major cleaning up!
You’re allowed to unfollow and unfriend anyone who is causing you anxiety. Replace them with local small businesses and services. I recently started following the hashtags #moncton, #newbrunswick and a few others and I have discovered so many neat things about my region.
Social media is the most valuable tool for small/local businesses…oh and for bloggers too, lol.
Thank you for reading!! Start following these awesome side hustlers on FB and Insta!!
As a bonus adding links to my last two links, they highlight local businesses. One is a nursery and the other a glamping site…you’re welcome!!
Last weekend I was driving down Mountain Rd in Moncton, minding my own business, when something caught my eye; I saw the most colourful and unique birdhouses strewn across a parking lot.
After picking up my friend Mary Helen, we went back to the parking lot to meet the birdhouse lady.
Two funny things; the first is that the birdhouse lady’s name is Blanche, which in French means white; her birdhouses are pretty much every colour but white (except for her Acadian houses). The second thing is that I had just shared a blog post about colourful Maritime houses and then, bam! More colourful houses!
I posted a few pics on Facebook and got inundated with questions of where people could buy them. Someone introduced me to her daughter who shared where her mom would be this weekend.
Weather permitting, on Saturdays Blanche is usually in Moncton on Mountain Rd, across the street from Rosario’s Restaurant. And on Sundays in Shediac, on the corner of Main St and Pointe du chêne Rd, in the parking lot across the Irving.
Blanche is a true folk artist with a warm and welcoming personality who creates beautifully colourful houses; they just making you smile when you see them. I went back to see her this morning to buy a few houses for one of my cousin’s and had the opportunity to chat with her for a bit.
Blanche was kind enough to share a bit of her background with me. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring; at 13 she found herself homeless and sleeping in a car. She experienced many traumatic events and hardships in her young life. Unable to read or write she turned to carpentry and has been working in construction all of her life.
First of all; how bad ass is it to be a woman who makes her living in construction? It’s super bad ass!! Lol. She shared that she is able to do pretty much everything except for brick layering. She owns a small house in Moncton and updated her plumbing on her own; once done she had a licensed plumber come check her work. He confirmed everything was up to code and done perfectly. She said that she made him turn the water back on and there were no leaks!
She started making and painting these little houses and sells them on weekends. After knowing more about Blanche, I believe that the reason that so many people are drawn to her houses is because it’s a reflection of her spirit and joie de vivre. It may sound corny, but I believe that when something is created with love people are unconsciously drawn to them.
To contact Blanche you can leave her a message on Facebook (Blanche Young) and I encourage you to post pictures of your birdhouses once you get them home and tag her. Her daughter helps her with her Facebook page and will be posting updates on where she will be selling her works of art.
Thank you for reading! Like Blanche’s Facebook page: Blanche Young. Let’s support our local artists and let’s be thankful for all the bad ass woman out there, they are an example for us all!
At Home With Guylaine in Moncton and Claudia in Las Vegas; the bathroom reno edition.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy checking out other people’s homes; not to be nosy, but to see how they have everything setup and to see what their personal style is. I find it inspiring to see beautiful and interesting spaces.
It’s funny that I am grouping my friends Guylaine and Claudia together, they have never met, but they are very similar in a lot of way; they both have impeccable style and classic taste in decor and best friends, lol.
At Home With Guylaine
Guylaine and I have been friends since we were 14; she’s a mother of three, helps run her family’s restaurant and is an interior decorator. She recently redid her on suite bathroom, in her classic ranch style home, on a budget.
Both Guylaine and Claudia are experts at finding great deals. Just because you’re working on a budget, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style; it just means that you need to be more creative and resourceful.
Guylaine’s bathroom vanity was a standard builders cabinet, which was fine; she had been wanting to update it for years and finally got around to it.
She found this vintage record player at a secondhand store; you know the huge cabinet kind that your grandparents used to have? She removed the top and replaced it with a piece of quartz; and voilà! A beautiful, one of a kind, vanity. This modern mid-century piece fits in perfectly with her decor vibe that she has throughout her home.
The record player cost her $50 and was in great shape, she polished it up with cream varnish and it was good to go. She had the front part, in between the two speakers, cut and hinged, so she does have some storage. The quartz and faucet cost $1,200; for a grand total of $1,250, which is a steal of a deal for a bathroom vanity with faucet.
Saving money on the cabinet allowed her to splurge on the quartz; when working with a budget, you need to prioritize where to spend and where you can save. And most importantly you have to be on the hunt for great pieces and have imagination to see their full potential.
She update the faucet to match the gold on her shower doors; a complete shower redo wasn’t in her budget, in order to update it, she replaced the 80’s style sliding doors with the frosted stripes for clear class doors.
The painting above her toilet is a Guylaine original; she took all of the leftover cans of paint she had laying around from other projects and created this abstract landscape; it was one of her Covid projects.
She kept the same large mirror, but changed the light fixture. She’s an expert at lighting, her advice is that every light in your home should have a dimmer; EVERY one!!! When I’m entertaining she’s in charge of lighting and creating a super cozy mood.
She replaced the old flooring with extra large tiles; her one regret is that she didn’t have in-floor heating installed while the floor was ripped up.
Her old bathroom layout included a large closet, she did something that sounds crazy; she reduced the size of her closet in order to gain a bit more space in her bathroom. She has a super big walk in cedar closet in her basement, so she could spare the space by streamlining her bedroom closet.
This freed up space for this cabinet that she found at Homesense; Homesense is the Canadian equivalent to Homegoods in the US. This cabinet and her old school record player originally didn’t have any legs, she added legs to both to give them more of that mid century look. This is a good trick to steal…you’re welcome!
She painted this wall a light shade of blush/beige ish and is planning on adding a chalk paint stencil pattern to it; I’ll post pictures of this finished wall on my Oui-Liette Facebook page when done.
I don’t have written permission to show you the inside of this cabinet, but I’m sharing it anyway! She said it was too messy, but this is life, and life is messy.
Look how much extra storage this cabinet provides. Mixing old pieces with new will make your space look more natural and evolved than going out and buying everything at the same place; I am not a big fan of things being too matchy, matchy.
While we’re on the topic of cabinets, I wanted to show you this cabinet that she has in her bedroom. It’s a great antique find that she cleaned up and had a piece of marble cut and placed on top. Tile and counter top places sell small remnant pieces, you can get them for cheap ish and have them cut to size. It’s a great way to elevate any piece.
At a home with Claudia
Claudia and I have been friends and work partners for almost 15 years now; we share a love for travel and spas! Claudia is a mother of two and an expert in her field of marketing.
She recently did a major renovation to her main floor bathroom, the before and after pics are very impressive.
A great way to save a bit of money is to do as much of the work on your own. Claudia’s hunky husband, Paul, helped out with a lot of the manual labor for both her main floor and kids bathrooms. Turns out he’s great at breaking things!
She chose shades of grays and white for this bathroom, which remind me a lot of a spa, coincidence? I think not.
The tile trend in the last few years has been white subway tiles, but both Claudia and Guylaine opted for much larger tiles, which I think is great for smaller spaces.
She decided to tile three walls and the floor in gray slate, except for a section in the shower, which is a darker gray. She also upgraded her shower head to a rainfall head.
Side note – tiles are a lot less expensive in the US; I know some of my Canadians are probably wondering how the heck she was able to tile three full walls and the floor! Lol. Tile deals are available in Canada, you just need to be on the look out for sales and remnants.
Claudia’s big splurge was building this custom shower; it was absolutely worth it!
In order to make the bathroom appear larger, she added a glass wall in the shower and opted for a compact sink and hung it off the floor; floating the vanity makes the room look bigger and it also allows for a basket underneath for extra storage.
Both Guylaine and Claudia have a teenagers at home; let’s take a peek into their kid bathrooms.
Guylaine’s second full bath, is long and skinny. She jazzed it up with a bold colored accent wall; don’t underestimate the power of paint.
She replaced the flooring with these wood plank ceramic tiles, they look like real wood.
This long wall needed some big art, which can be expensive; she photographed her three children and zoomed in on their eyes; from left to right, meet William, Madeleine and Emma.
I love this idea, it shows that you can create something really original, personal and cool without breaking the bank.
Claudia’s kids bathroom was completed on a tight budget, but you’d never guess by looking at it.
The vanity for this bathroom and her main bathroom are both from Ikea and were very affordable.
The wall behind the vanity looks like wallpaper in the photo, but it’s actually tile. The tile was gifted to her from her good friend who had leftover sheets after her own home project.
I love Claudia’s attention to detail, like the cut out nook in the wall that she painted black, see above. This extra storage space means that she has less things cluttering on the counter top.
I also love these his and her hooks, they’re super cute and keep her kids from fighting over towels.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this quick bathroom peek? And thanks to Claudia and Guylaine, who love decorating, but don’t love getting photographed. What I find cool is that both of their photos were taken by their daughters.
Also if you are in the Moncton area and want to hire Guylaine, she will be launching her new site shortly, in the meantime, you can email her at: email@example.com, not to brag, but she did the Gusto decor and is uber talented…full disclosure, she is my bff, but she really does have great taste and vision.
My next “At Home With” will focus on kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.
I’ll be sharing a video of my own bathroom on my Oui-Liette Facebook page tomorrow; it has two super cool features that I love, like my Facebook page for updates and bonus pictures.
Could this social distancing actually bring us closer together? This post will include a few ideas on how to celebrate with friends and family during these crazy times; but more than that, I think it demonstrates how we are changing the way we interact with each other and our rediscovery of the importance of being kind to each other and to ourselves.
I’m not going to lie, the prospect of spending my 50th birthday by myself in my apartment, by myself, seemed a bit dismal and depressing. But what I hadn’t considered is how creative and thoughtful my friends and family would be. Could all this extra time apart help bring us closer?
The pace of our daily lives has slowed to a, sometimes painful, crawl; our routines and our interactions with each other have been completely flipped upside down. One of the side effects is that we are having to connect with each other in different ways; maybe even better ways?
Here are some great ideas if any of your people have birthdays or celebrations during this social distancing time. But you really don’t have to wait for a special occasion to make someone feel special and loved…just saying.
The week before my birthday I started getting birthday cards in the mail, a lot of cards! I had forgotten how nice it is to open your mailbox and see brightly colored envelopes; some even took the time to make me a card, seriously, how freaking thoughtful is that?
The keyword here is thoughtful; I feel like we are all being more mindful of the effects that our small gestures of kindness are having on others.
The thought of my friends taking the time and effort to go out of their homes to buy me a birthday card; or getting their glue sticks out to make me a card; or digging through their storage to find a Halloween Card in order to customize it for me, because they know that I love Halloween, tugs at my heartstrings and has made me feel so special.
This card campaign as also helped to spread out this warm and fuzzy feeling; they are still coming in. I think we should bring snail mail back!! Are you thinking about someone? Instead of shooting them a quick text, send them a note or card.
Parking Lot Parade Party
The morning of my birthday, I was puttering around my apartment, thankfully I was dressed with my lipstick on, ready to take on the day when I heard some honking coming from outside my window; when I looked out I saw 15ish cars with hot pink balloons parading down my street.
I was so touched, and yes, I cried, just a little. The theme of this post is love; my friends and family took the time to do something nice for someone else; I was so fortunate to be the recipient of all of their love. Had I had a party, my friends would have showed up to help me celebrate; but the thought that they coordinated meeting in a parking lot close to my place; where they decorated their cars with pink balloons and signs was extra special. As they made their way to my place, cars they passed pulled over and let them pass. This was so much more memorable than any regular party; the only shitty part is that I couldn’t hug anyone. Lots of hugs for everyone when this is over!
Feeling la Love!
When challenged with strict social restrictions, we are having to find new ways to stay connected and to show our love for one another.
I was invited to a super cozy lunch for two in a friend’s garage that included a 12 foot long table, perfect for social distancing. We sat there without any distractions, no checking our phones, we didn’t have anywhere else to be. We ate leftovers, laughed and listened to Van Morrison.
If you are feeling disconnected, put your best face covering on and go sit in your friends driveway! Thinking of someone? Send them a card or drop off a plate of cookies; simple, inexpensive acts of kindness are appreciated more than ever.
A few friends and I have started weekly zoom calls, my friend Kenda made the observation that she couldn’t remember the last time we were all in town at the same time and able to celebrate a birthday all together. Four out of the six of us travel for work and planning events has always been a scheduling nightmare.
I am noticing that we all seem more present when we spend time together now, even if just via video. Josette mentioned that when things get back to “normal” she is going to try to let go of a lot of the things that stressed her out and all the things she thought she “needed” to do. Our lives are much simpler now and it’s kind of nice?
We then decided that we should all make side ponytails as an homage to our 80’s roots; speaking of roots, some of us are starting to sport some pretty gray roots!! lol
Thank you for reading! In these crazy times be generous with your kindness and attention; if you love someone, tell them! If you see that someone is struggling a bit, reach out and be kind; it doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.
And finally if you have any extra love to share, subscribe to my blog below, just scroll down a bit. Or you can follow me on Facebook or Insta at oui-liette
Stay safe and be kind!
Behind the scenes
For any new readers, behind he scenes are just extra fun facts and bonus pics.
I brought up the banners and balloons from my birthday parade and set them up in my dining room, see the pic below. Notice the frames picture on the right; that’s my cousin Brigitte. She added her picture in with the group gift that she and my two other cousins gave me. She also edited their birthday messages in the group card. Her behavior perfectly demonstrates our families sense of humor; and explains a bit of my unique weirdness. ❤️
I am blessed to come from a family and friends who love to laugh and have fun!
I didn’t have a big 50th birthday party planned, I know it’s shocking! But I did have a girls trip to Palms Spring planned for the weekend after my birthday. I had planned a theme for our après party, party; the theme was/will be: Let them eat cake!! One may think that a Marie Antoinette theme would be difficult to pull off? One would be wrong, lol
This tulle skirt and rock n roll t-shirt was/will be my party outfit. I was feeling a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to wear it anytime soon; so I decided to put it on and wear it around my apartment last week; it made me feel fancy and festive, so here it is, someone needs to see it!
My awesome photographer Jack!
I also wanted to share this painting that my sister in-law made for me; I absolutely love it! The picture doesn’t do the colors justice.
Had anyone told me six months ago, or even two months ago, that I’d be super excited to get face masks as gifts for my 50th birthday, I wouldn’t have believed them. This jazzy one was hand made by my cousin Nicole, it’s reversible and freakishly comfortable.
I am so happy to share with you my new cute and sassy canvas travel/makeup bags! The idea came to me on my last trip to London in February. I had 5 plastic baggies and 3 super small makeup bags in my larger travel purse; I like to keep everything contained so nothing is rolling around at the bottom of my bag.
After some searching, I’ve found the perfect size! I have a big purse, so I have one in my everyday purse; and I have two in my travel bag for when I am on the road. One has some makeup items and the other has my ear buds, tissue packet, hand wipes, band-aids, Tylenol and Advil, mints…
I have four different designs that are available in black or white.
I am selling them for $13 each, and for now, they are only available in Canada; once we are back to normal ish, they will also be available in the US. I know that $12.99 looks better, but rounding it up, because we all know that’s bullshit! lol
You can place your order via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me via Facebook or Instagram at oui-liette.
Which one is your fav??
I kind of like this one!
Feel free to share this post, it is my bday tomorrow, so like, it’s the least you can do! lol, kidding!! ish!
This past week was my first full week off work. I’ll be off until June 1; and I have to admit that I’m already bored to death!!!! I know some people are thriving in this social distancing/staying home shit, but I am not one of those people, lol.
But, this Saturday morning, I woke up with purpose!!! I was inspired by a few of my friends; Gilles, Kenda, Richard and my sister in-law April, who have been dropping off special meals for me this week. I was thinking it was just because they like me; but it may actually be pity food, because I live alone??
In the spirit of giving back and paying it forward, I’ve decided to make up special Easter baskets and drop them off on the doorsteps of a few of my friends and family. Partly because it’s a super thoughtful thing to do and partly because it will give me something to do; but mostly the thoughtful part. And sorry, but I have a massive family so I couldn’t hop over and leave a basket for everyone.
My baskets are pretty special; instead of having chocolate eggs and bunnies in them. I’ve added something much more valuable; toilet paper!! And not the cheap kind, I splurged on the three ply!
So this Easter morning, I hopped across town delivering my Easter toilet paper baskets… you’re welcome friends and family!!
To make them even more special I hot glue gunned a chick to each basket and added a cheery Easter card, that’s actually a sticker; so my loved ones can stick me on their fridges and have my smiling face staring back at them forever!!! It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
I love this little thing, it’s called a Sproket and it’s a Bluetooth printer. It prints business card size stickers off your cell phone!
Happy Easter to all of you; I know it’s a really weird time and we are missing being with our friends and families, but hey, you can still drop off chocolates, toilet paper or ham!
Please stay safe and be kind to each other! We will get through this!!
Behind the scenes
OK full disclosure, I wanted my Hoppy Easter cards to look like this one below, but I censored myself; what with it being the resurrection of Jesus and all. I decided to curtail my sassyness just this once.
Also I may have dropped off baskets to my mom and brother and then asked for the baskets back? But they got to keep the toilet paper. I just needed the baskets for others; it’s called recycling.