Host a Holiday 5 à 7 Like a Pro!!

Host a Holiday Cinq à Sept Like a Pro!! Tips from a professional events boss.

My English friends are probably asking themselves what the hell is a cinq à sept? It’s basically a cocktail party/ happy hour from 5pm to 7pm. I think it sounds fancier if you say the numbers in French, lol.

Do you get kicked out at 7? No of course not…well maybe? It all depends who’s hosting, lol.

Why should you host your own 5 à 7? Well the holidays are so busy, a Happy Hour is a great way to get people together without having to commit to a full evening. It’s also a bit more casual and the best part of hosting a 5 à 7 is that you don’t have to go out! They will come to you!!

I hosted one this week in my mother’s apartment which isn’t super big, but I like small spaces, they’re cozy.

In this post I am going to share 5 party tips that I use in my corporate events that will help you pull off a flawless 5 à 7/party…you’re welcome!!

Tip #1 Good Vibes Only

When you’re thinking of hosting an event, you need to put some thought into what vibe you want to create?

Is it a dinner party? A big blow out drinking party? Or a chill cocktail party? It’s your party so you get to decide.

Think of it this way, if you jump in your car and start driving without knowing where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

Once you decide what vibe you want to create, stay consistent and focused; having a clear vibe vision will make your planning easier.

My vibe was a casual, yet fancy happy hour! You maybe thinking, aren’t casual and fancy polar opposites? Maybe to some people? But I am complicated, lol.

I wanted people to feel relaxed and comfortable, so that is the casual part, but it’s Christmas, so it also needed to be fancy, but not fussy.

I guess that’s not the only vibe I was going for. I’ve invited 15 woman who have helped my mother and I get through this past year; 2019 has been sucky! My father got sick and passed away and these woman were there for us so I wanted to do something nice to thank them. But, my goal was for it to be a celebration and not too sad.

I did have a few tricks up my sleeve to make it fun!! See tip 5, Expect the Unexpected.

2. Zone Out

The key to entertaining is to be organized and to create defined zones, especially if you are working with a small space.

So what do I mean by creating zones? When I am planning a corporate event, we have defined areas for each activity or stage of the party. There is always a welcome/reception area when you first walk in, there are food stations, bars, a seating/social area and sometime a dance floor.

When hosting my own parties, I go through the same process. What will happen when my guests arrive? If you’re hosting a larger event and will be running around a bit, designate someone to be the greeter. This person will greet guests at the door and take their coats. BTW, it’s more than ok to give your friends and family members jobs.

Once your guests arrive what do they do next? Create a flow so they don’t have to think about it, the goal is to make the flow instinctive.

I think it’s always good to get them drinking as soon as possible, not to get them drunk, but to get them jolly and maybe just a little merry?

My mother’s kitchen is tiny, so the bar was set up in the spare bedroom, which is just off of the living room. I cleaned the top of the dresser off and voilà, it’s a bar!!

The day before or a few days before set up your bar with everything you’ll need, but the ice. Walk through it, do you have everything you will need?? The more you can do leading up to the party, the more free time you’ll have during the party to have fun wit your guests.

For larger parties, have someone be the bar tender, at least for the first round.

I like having a signature drink, the hostess or host should be responsible for what is needed for the signature drink. You don’t have to stock a full bar, but it’s nice to offer your guest at least one drink upon their arrival.

I had a Christmas themed mimosa, which was champagne and cranberry juice, but since not everyone loves champagne, referring to myself; I’ll also be serving Caesar’s, which is a super popular Canadian drink.

I won’t have any beer or wine, those with their hearts set on beer or wine can bring their own. If you’re attending a party and have very specific taste, please bring your own drinks.

So your guests have arrived and were greeted at the front door; someone took their coats and they have their first drink in hand, now what? We call this process the run of show, walk through everything from start to finish.

Next is the main part of the party so feed them and let them mix and mingle. It’s during this stage that you bring out the special touches, keep reading for examples.

After my party, I noticed that I didn’t have many pictures, because I was so busy hostessing. I was pretty bummed until my friend Nadine sent me a bunch of pictures she had taken. Even though I am a pro, I did forgot to ask someone to be the paparazzi for the evening. For our corporate events we usually hire a photographer who roams and takes pics. Thank you Nadine!

3. Bust a Move

This tip has nothing to do with dancing, but feel free to dance if you want to! Do you boo!! Lol. Bust a Move here means move furniture out or in, re-purpose the function a room to fit your party needs.

As mentioned above I moved my bar into the spare bedroom and since I love to decorate this room has it’s own vibe.

I bought a huge wreath and had my brother hang it. I added some pink balls, because I love pink and the headboard in this room is a plush hot pink velvet. I think it looks fantastic and it makes the room smell festive! Seriously, are you really surprised that this event has some pink touches?? Lol

If you’re repurposing a bedroom make sure to clear off the bedside tables and put small personal stuff away.

Since it’s winter in Canada, my guests arrived wearing coats. The old, throw the coats on the bed always works, but since my mother has a closet in her entrance, we moved all her coats and stuff out so that we can use this closet as our cost check. Why did I move what was already in there? So we didn’t have to cram coats in. I put them back after.

The point is to look at all available spaces in different ways, don’t be afraid to move stuff around. My mom has a large recliner in her living room, yup, we moved it to her bedroom because it’s just too big.

Change things up! If you’ve been in your house for years and always have every tree and snowman in the exact same place year after year. Please Bust a Move and keep it fresh!

Example, my mother always puts her Christmas tree in the alcôve of her big picture window. I took down her curtains and added green garlands around her window.

If I am being honest, she didn’t look impressed when I told her I was taking down her curtains. She said, can’t you put the garlands around the curtains?…no! I just couldn’t, lol. Once the garlands were up she loved them and it makes her living room look bigger. She had never thought of doing this, but loves it!!

4. Light It Up!

I’ve mentioned this before, but lighting can make or break your soirée. Don’t ruin your vibe by having harsh lighting, dim the lights, light your candles and tree!!!

So it turns out that my mother doesn’t have dimers on her lights, maybe Santa will get her some for Christmas? So getting the lighting just right was challenging, but we managed.

5. Expect the Unexpected

I think each party should include something special or unexpected. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. A small touch or an activity will help to help make your event memorable.

Years ago at one of my Halloween parties I had a fortune teller; ok it was one of my cousins, but she seriously has mad psychic abilities!! It was just for fun, people were lined up to sit with her.

For my Holiday 5 à 7, I had a few special things planned. When I chose the date, one of my cousins (not the psychic, another one, I have lots!), told me that Dec 12 was her birthday. So of course, we had a birthday cake for her, but that wasn’t our only extra thing.

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The whole reason for this soirée was to thank our female tribe, fyi 80% are family members; aunts, sisters and cousins…we are a force!! Lol

I wanted to send them home with a small meaningful gift that would remind them of my father. I found none tacky angel wings tree ornaments at Pier 1 Imports and they are lovely. The fact that they were 40% off when I was shopping was certainly divine intervention!!

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The only male at this party was my nephew Jack. When I told him about the gifts, he said, that’s sort of depressing! He was sort of, kind of, half right. I suspect that this would be a touching moment, but my intention was never to send people home depressed; so I came up with a brilliantly funny way to give them out.

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I bought a Santa Suit on Amazon for $30 and Jack showed up as Santa and handed them out. It was funny and entertaining.

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Our Christmas Eve dinner them this year will be Winter Wonderland, we have a different theme each year. Our after dinner game will be giant jenga! Try to add something fun or unexpected to your events.

Another easy idea is to buy a Polaroid camera and snap away during the party or create a selfie photo background with props; people will dig it, trust me.

Tip 6. Stay Cool

This is a bonus tip, do as much pre-planning as you can so that you can enjoy your guests, because in the end that’s the whole point.

Remember that nothing is perfect! Do as much pre-planning, but the day of and during let shit go!! Roll with the punches and laugh off any mishaps.

I get my love for entertaining from my mother who is the most chill hostess ever! Be mindful that if the host or hostess isn’t having fun, your guests probably aren’t either.

I hope you can incorporate one or more of my tips for your next party! Let me know which one resonates with you the most?

Go forth and entertainment!! 🎅🏻💋

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This post is dedicated to my dad and my aunt Janet, who have both just passed away. Please be kind especially during this time of year. The holidays can be a very hard time of year for a lot of us, so don’t be an asshole. It’s also ok to acknowledge that you are thinking of someone who you know is doing their best to make it through the holidays for various reasons. Pretending everything is normal or perfect can make them feel more alone; just my two cents.

muah!

Liette

 

 

Time for a quickie?

Time for a quickie?

This post is for my oui-liette subscribers, first of all THANK YOU!! I so appreciate that you took the time to sign up for my blog and that you are faithful readers.

In the next few weeks I will be sharing a post called, You’re So Vain. Which is really, I’m So Vain, but You’re sounds better, lol.

I’ve had a skin cancer scare, I am fine, but I do look like I’ve been in a bar fight; and in my fake bar fight, I won of course, lol.

So I just wanted to give you a heads up, if you are at all squeamish, you may want to skip it, as I will be sharing a few pics that show what I looked like right after my procedure. Which really isn’t that bad, but I have a friend who can’t even listen to someone talk about getting stitches or blood without almost passing out, lol. I want to be sensitive to “those” kind of people.

If I am being honest, my first instinct is to hide away and resurface when I am all healed up, but that’s not real life, blah!!! Ugh!!! Lol.

The next thing that I wanted to share is that if you read my posts directly from your emails, this is what you see:

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Which is perfectly fine, but if you click on the title of the post, it will bring you to my site, which has a few extra pics.

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You will see my header, which changes by the season and my feature image.

And finally, this week I am moving my life back to Canada! I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past three and a half years and it’s time to go back. I will be sharing more posts about my little corner of the world, which is so lovely.

My little blog started off with a bang!! I had great momentum and then my father got sick and passed away. During that time, my blog kept me sane and kept my mind busy; I was pumping out content regularly.

For the past few months I’ve been less consistent; I guess I’ve been mourning and will be for a long time to come. But! The passing of my dad has only reinforced the theme of my blog which is, life is short, live it!!

That’s how my father lived his life and that’s how he would want me to live mine. So everyday, I get my butt out of bed and tell myself, today will be a good day damn it!

Full disclosure, it doesn’t always work, but that’s ok, at least I am trying.

My last, last thing, is that I’ve been on a weight loss journey and will be posting my results in the new year. You may have noticed my cheeks getting a bit slimmer, lol?

I decided that food had been helping me cope with what was happening in my life. Like millions of people out there I was/am an emotional eater. Which was obviously what I needed to do I guess, because I survived without taking a nervous breakdown, so yay me! In June, I decided that I was ready to start using other copping mechanisms, so stay tuned for that.

There you have it, you’re all caught up on my stuff! With the holidays creeping up on us, make certain to get your butt out of bed every morning and tell yourselves that it’s going to be a good day damn it!!! 😬

Merci, talk soon, muah!

Liette

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Surviving Death

Surviving Death

One of the harshest things about death is that you are forced to go on with your life. It doesn’t seem fair that something so utterly devastating can happen and the next day you have to wake up and go on with your life.

I have lost my grandparents and an amazing aunt, so I thought I knew what it was like to lose someone I loved, but it turns out, I had no clue.

I want to apologize to all those close to me who have lost a parent, mate or a child. I am sorry I couldn’t grasp the depths of your loss and to be honest, it’s such an uncomfortable place to be that unless you are forced to be there, you gloss over it. The truth is that unless it happens to you, you have no clue what it really feels like.

Everyone’s journey is very different; it’s weird the things that you think of; I remember wondering what would be better, watching someone slowly die or getting a phone call that your loved one had been hit by a truck and was gone, just like that. I actually though about that for a long time and weighing the pros and cons of each.

I was and am still a very lucky girl, I was blessed with a father that others wished they had. He was the absolute best with a personality that was beyond charming. He had a killer smile that lit up the room. Have you ever talked to someone who made you feel like you were the only one in the room? Some people have that gift to make you feel important and special. My dad had that quality, people were just drawn to him; and I was his favorite person; of all the people, I was the one.

I am just realizing now that not everyone has someone in their life who loves them like that; who loves them unconditionally. He was my greatest cheerleader, he encouraged all my hair brained ideas and adventures. So I know how fortunate I have been and I am truly thankful. Someone told me the bigger the love the bigger the loss, I believe that to be true.

He was the most positive person and had the best outlook on everything even death. He wasn’t afraid to die, which made it easier for us to let him go. He told me he had the best life and did everything he wanted to do. He had no regrets; how many of us will be able to say that when are time comes? I aspire to live a life with no regrets, but man, I am not certain I will be able to rise to that challenge?

When someone is sick you morn them while they are still alive so that by the time they pass, you are relieved that they don’t have to suffer anymore. I remember being angry near the end; I just figured that there would be more dignity in death. You live a great honorable life and then it ends so horribly; it didn’t and still doesn’t seem fair. But it is what it is and you have to accept and keep going.

Something really strange happened right before my dad passed, while I was making funeral plans, I was able to talk to him about what he wanted and that in of itself was a gift. That’s not the strange part, the strange part is that I told my mom, that I wanted to speak at his funeral.

That’s so strange because I am a huge crier and never would have imagined that I would have the strength to do that.  Buy something came over me that made me think I could get up in front of hundreds of people and eulogize my father, like wtf?? My mom, also super supportive and positive, told me to see how I felt the morning of the funeral; she gave me permission to change my mind at any point. But I told her I had things to say. I actually felt like he was giving me strength, and I think that is exactly what happened.

I had 5 bullet points written down on an old envelope, they were 5 examples of lessons he taught me. I felt I needed to speak and I wanted to make him proud. I know he would have been proud. Fast forward 5 weeks later, I can’t picture his face without bursting into tears, that’s why this post has no pictures of his handsome face. I know he was with me that day, giving me strength.

Because I am my fathers daughter, I am able to find positive things even in the face of such great loss. I feel that even though this is the most horrible thing that will ever happen to me, it has shown me how strong I am. That if I can survive this, I can survive anything. It also puts everything into perspective, things that I used to stress about now I could care less. It’s like, is anyone going to die if this doesn’t get done this very minute? No, ok then let’s chill out and move on.

This has also reminded me that I have the most amazing extended family, we were always close but this made us much closer and way more huggier and affectionate. I love them so much and can’t imagine how we would have gotten through this year without them.

I also have great friends, it’s funny how in the daze of death you remember every face that shows up to pay their respects. I was so touched by those who took the time to come pay their respects. You expect your close friends to show up, but there were a few people that I was so surprised to see and was so touched that they took the time to visit.

And if I am being honest; I was disappointed by some who didn’t come. Here’s a tip, if for some reason or another you are unable to show up for a friend, make that call or send that text saying thinking of you, but I will be working, I am out of town or just I am not a funeral person; trust me it will be so appreciated.

Thinking there will be so many people there that no one will notice your absence is apparently not how it works. Even now, I will be  talking to my mom and she will, out of the blue say, I was surprised that so and so wasn’t there. It’s like you have some sort of weird laser focused memory of every face that you saw. And at the most random time you will realize, gee that person wasn’t there. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember who showed at the funeral parlor and church. Ok enough of that, moving on.

I feel like I am now part of some twisted club, the loss club. There is something comforting about being around others who without saying anything know exactly what you have been through.

So 5 weeks in, it all still feels like a bad dream, like he’s just gone on a trip and will be back soon. The other day I picked up the phone to call him and for a full second I forgot he was gone. I am told that is very normal by my new club members.

I wish I had some magical formula for getting through the grieving process that I could share with you, but I don’t. I wake up, put a smile on my face and go about my day, I still cry a lot, mostly at night and usually only for a minute or so; I think that’s “normal” and it relieves stress.

My way of surviving death is to live my life in a way that honors my fathers spirit and joi de vivre. I know he would want me to live my happiest, best life and I am trying really hard to do that, it’s not always easy, but it is a choice I have to make everyday.

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to my mom, Serge, Ginette and I! And if you know someone who has lost someone, check up on them every once in awhile, especially after the dust settles. And if you are part of the club, I hope you are able to find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Sadly everyone reading this will have their turn at some point.

 

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I love this pic of my dad and my nephew holding hands. I remember that day so well. Go out there and make memories with your people and take lots of pics!

muah!

Liette