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

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

Viva Vintage Vegas!

Viva Vintage Vegas!

On our agenda today is a Viva Vintage Vegas tour. We’ll shop, get a makeover, eat then visit an outdoor museum for old neon signs.

The “old” downtown area is in the process of a fabulous transformation. The Art District or 18b, because it encompasses 18 blocks, is a very cool and hip place with art galleries, vintage shops and funky restaurants. It’s way more authentic than than the strip and if you visit you may run into some real live Las Vegas locals! Don’t worry, they won’t bite, they are super nice people.

First things first, let’s shop! All the shops below are found on Main Street. (If you don’t get the opportunity to visit Vegas, then please venture out to your local vintage and antique shops! Also, I always check out how shop owners show off their stuff. It can inspire you to consider different color pallets.)

Patina

Patina offers vintage furniture, home decor and a huge collection of unique vintage clothing.

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I was served by Katie, who is one of the owners of Patina. She explained that the boutique started off more focused on vintage furniture, but the clothing section has taken on a life of its own; with regulars coming to Vegas expressly to shop in her store.

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She and her partner hand pick each item, they were getting ready to head out on a buying spree in a few weeks. How fun would that be?

 

Their vintage clothing is mostly from the 60’s, lets just say the colors were so vibrant I didn’t need to use a filter. I bought three things.

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They also have beautiful glassware, vintage luggage,  furniture and much more, check them out!

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I tried to convince myself that I had room for this hot pink chair in my bedroom, but I don’t…booo! I love how they are showing pink with yellow accents, it’s not a combo that I would have thought that I would like. It’s brave, beautiful and inspiring.

Antique Alley Market

I love this store!! It’s huge so it’s almost impossible to see everything and they seem to have everything.

I must admit that I past by it several times without going in, because the facade doesn’t have a lot of flash. But I’m happy I finally did because it’s got some great stuff and prices are reasonable.

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I collect vintage Murano glass candy dishes, ok I only have 4, so it’s not a huge collection, lol. It reminds me of my grandmother. She had this beautiful big green dish on her coffee table that we used to spin around, we were kind of bratty. I don’t think we ever broke it, which is a miracle. I have no idea where it went, but I would love to find it.

I have a pink dish from my mother’s cousin, I found another in the same color, so had to have it. And now I think I am starting a pink collection, but the other colors are all so pretty…sorry, all this talk about vintage candy dishes may not be as interesting to others as it is to me, lol.

Ok, just take a look at this picture of my budding collection and I will stop talking about candy dishes, lol.

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Ok, I so I lied, but look how pretty they are. My new one is the one on the left…ok done, moving on.

Vintage Vegas

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Main Street is littered with cool funky places. Vintage Vegas is a smaller boutique, but jam packed full of cool stuff. The signage: Dead People’s Junk ans Cool Crap, caught my eye; I had to go in!

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I love these vintage Pyrex bowls!! My bff and I, back in Canada, are always on the lookout for vintage Pyrex. Yup, we’re nerds, but stylish ones!!

Retro Vegas

When I moved to Vegas this was the first vintage shop I visited, the pink caught my attention, naturally. They have beautifully painted flamingos on the side of their building  perfect for photos!

They have tones of modern mid-century furniture, which is my all time favorite; along with stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I am really starting to feel the 70’s vibe these days too.

The price point here is a bit more expensive, but they have high quality pieces.

I love this kitchen vignette! And look, they are pairing pink and yellow. Mmm, could this be a new trend? This is giving me some cool ideas.

And as I am writing, I just noticed that my pink candy dishes have yellow in the center! I guess I am already on trend.

Atomic Lounge

After you’ve shopped stop in at Atomic Lounge for a retro makeover. I went for the Va Va Voom hair and makeup  package; they also have a package where they pick you up in a pink Cadillac, it doesn’t get more fab than that!

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This was so fun! It would be the perfect activity for a girls trip. They do lots of weddings as well.

This was a lot of makeup!! Definitely meant for nighttime. I have to admit I felt like my grandmother with my hair in pin curls, but it all came together. This look called for a lot of hairspray!! I am not a big hair product person so it felt really funny and stiff. She told me to leave it for an hour and then I could brush it out for a softer look. It looked more modern with just a hint of retro vibe once I brushed it out.

My stylist was awesome! Ask for Becki. The lounge decor was funky and cool, just like you’d expect it to be.  And look, more yellow! I love these chairs.

 

Let’s Eat!

There are a bunch of cool hip restaurants nearby and this is where you will meet actual Las Vegas locals. These restaurants are also a lot less expensive than on the strip.

I recommend trying Carson Kitchen, it has super interesting small plates that you can share.  It’s urban neighborhood dining at it’s finest.

The Boneyard Museum

After dinner when the sun goes down, head to the Boneyard Neon Museum. It’s the perfect way to send your Viva Vintage Vegas Day!

Tours are $50, $35 for locals. You have to buy your tickets ahead of time, I have been on the day tour, but need to go on the night tour when the signs are on.

This isn’t your ordinary boring museum, first of all it’s outside and second of all, it’s full of neon. The museum is saving and honoring Vegas history for generations to come.

You will have lots and lots of picture opportunities, selfies are welcomed!

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Photo from Boneyard Neon Museum

Bonus Feature!

Since you sat through my candy dish fetish, I will let you know that The Arts District also has the most Instagramable graffiti walls in Vegas!

The streets between Main and Commerce have cool alleys. The best one is on the corner of W 50-70 Imperial Ave and Imperial Ave. Do be careful and travel in packs, don’t go down dark alleys; you will run into some colorful characters if you venture too far. You can also rent bikes and cycle around.

Just a few of the murals you will see. Try to venture off the strip next time you are in town and check out the Art District. Be nice! And have fun!

Muah!

Liette

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I do!

I do!

5 Steps to planning the perfect wedding.

So technically, I didn’t, I don’t…I mean I haven’t ever said I do; but what’s that expression? Those who can’t do teach?

Here’s why I am qualified to give wedding planning advice:

I’ve been a real live party/events planner for the past 15 years; and a wedding is basically a big event.

Before that, I was a hotel convention sales manager and dealt with many brides; but the job that most qualifies me to give wedding advice was my four year stint as a banquet waitress, while in University.

I seriously must have I worked hundreds and hundreds of weddings! And if I hear the song, “I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, one more time, I am going to lose my freaking mind!…oh and I was a bridesmaid twice; both friends are no longer married, but I hardly think I can be blamed for that?? (and they did result is some pretty amazing children!)

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Photo by CJ Hovey

Here are my top 5 expert tips

What’s your vibe?

You need to decide what vibe you’re going for? Here’s a hint, if your DJ plays, “ I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, you have failed in creating a cool vibe, lol.

But seriously, before you start planning you need to do a bit of soul searching on what you and your mate want your wedding to be?

You’ll be surprised by how many decisions you’ll need to make and you’ll be shocked at how quickly things can snowball out of control, so you need a plan.

In order to help you figure out what’s your vibe, you need to decide what kind of bride you want to be? Are you a Princess Bride, a Hippie Bride, a Shy Bride or a Party Bride? Ok, I just made those up, but they are brilliant!

The Princess Bride wants to be…well a princess, obviously. She wants a full ballgown with 8 to 10 bridesmaids. If you want a Princess wedding, then don’t look at beachfront locations.  Ballgowns and beach balls don’t mix.

Now if you’re a Hippie Bride a beach wedding with a flowy dress and flip flops are a perfect fit!

The photos below are of a Princess Bride in all her glory! The horse drawn carriage, the adorable flower girl and the castle.

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Photos taken by me in Jackson Square in New Orleans.

 

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Photo by me! Taken in New Orleans.

The bride in the picture above is definitely a Party Bride. The most important thing to a her is to have fun. Her dress is fun, her shoes are fun; she’s literally dancing in the streets.

One of my cousins is a Shy Bride, she knows her vibe and is owning it. She doesn’t want to be on display or be gawked at, which is the princess bride’s dream.

Knowing this she has planned a super small fall wedding in a rustic cabin. No head table and no fussiness, oh and she is bringing her dog and I am pretty sure she and her dog will have a matching dresses, lol.

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Elsa ready for her walk down the aisle!

Adding your own quirkiness to your big day is endearing. The trick is to know your vibe and keep it consistent.

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Photography by Daniel St-Louis, in Moncton.

I absolutely love this picture above of my friend Stacey on her wedding day getting her glam on. I love it because, this is Stacey’s vibe. She’s always calm cool and collected. There’s no need for a big entourage and no drama. FYI, she is still happily married; I wasn’t a bridesmaid.

Show me the money honey!

Weddings are expensive!! So before you start making plans and spending money, you need a plan. You need to list out what’s important to you and what’s not.

Here’s an idea, right off the bat. What if you could take an extra few thousand dollars from your wedding and spend it on your engagement ring?  Since it’s something that you will wear everyday and have forever; as opposed to something that will be over in a day?? Just a thought.

Now if you’re a Princess Bride, there is nothing I can say to you that will sway you away from all the bells and whistles; and if  that’s what you want, then go for it!

For those who are more budget conscious, you need to list out your priorities. If I was planning my own wedding, I would spend money on my dress and the photographer. I would skimp on other things in order to stay within my budget.

There are things that I would skip altogether, like wedding favors and the grooms cake; and here’s why. Now, full disclosure, when I throw parties, I always have a party favor, but, and this is a big but, I host small gathering so I buy nice favors. If yo can’t afford a nice favor, maybe just skip it? Also a lot of wedding parties make their own favors, which is very sweet, but depending on what it is, you may want to focus your energy on other things?

While working as a banquet waitress, I will tell you that more than 50% of your party favors end up being left behind and thrown out; same thing with the grooms cake?

Let’s just say that a grooms cake is out of fashion anyway and move on. If you have your heart set on having a wedding favor, go with a bottles of wine or home made jams or something like that. I am going to be harsh here, but the only people who want something with your face or your initials on it is your mother and your crazy aunt Carol.

You may also want to revisit your wedding cake. I would get an amazing looking cake, but it would be a small cake for you to cut in the photos and take home with you. If you are doing a full meal, your guests are going to be too full for cake by the time it’s served.

Or do cupcakes or donuts, something a bit different that people will remember. If you do want to serve cake, get a big slab and have the venue serve your guests.

Fun fact; did you know that some wedding cakes are fake?? Those big fancy cakes that you see couples cutting, some are just one layer of real cake and the others are foam covered with icing. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a fake cake?

Another great way to save money is to select an amazing looking venue so that you don’t have to spend lots of money on decorations. And here’s a question to ask yourself when deciding if you should spend the money or skip it? Will your aunt Carol remember it in a year?

If budget wasn’t a concern you could have huge overflowing flowery centerpieces on each table a la Kardashian. But just modest flowers on every table in a large wedding is going to cost you thousands of dollars without making a huge impact. Now let’s ask the question; will aunt Carol be able to remember what type of flowers were at her table in a year? The answer is no! So why not boost up and spend a bit more money on your bouquet and skip the table flowers? Candles are less expensive and create a cozy mood.

It’s also worth exploring a different kind of wedding. A former coworker of mine has opened an amazingly brilliant business. They do pop up weddings, elopements and engagements and they are spectacular!! You need to check out their website: https://www.thehytch.com/  and follow them on Facebook, (The Hytch) and Insta, (thehytch).

The locations are breathtaking, the pictures are soooooo pretty! They currently offer pop up weddings, renewals and engagements in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Denver.

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The beautiful Yeliz Berg from The Hytch. Photo by @journeeclarkphot

Be prepared to be blown away by crazy beautiful wedding photos, all provided by The Hytch. These are real couples and real weddings. I feel like I need to add that because they are so Instagrammable, they look staged.

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photo by @imashleymarie
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photo by @imashleighmarie
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Photo by @theboundys

 

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Photo by @sirberry

I am going to show the picture above to my cousin Brigitte, she is going to love this idea.

This is definitely the kind of wedding I would want. I would want a winter wedding…maybe I should book it for 2020? Yeah, that should give me enough time to find the perfect man right??!!

I think it’s possible to have an amazing chic wedding on a limited budget, you made need to think outside of the box? And maybe as you get older your priorities change? But a small intimate wedding seems like are a better choice then spending a down payment on a house on a wedding; but that’s just me, you do you!

Know your limitations

Do you get stressed out hosting a dinner party for 8? If so, you might not have what it takes to execute the perfect wedding by yourself? And that’s ok; know your strengths and be real about your limitations.

Get a wedding planner or recruit your friends and family. If you are asking friends and family members to help you, give them specific tasks and don’t overload one person, spread it out! If you aren’t paying them, you need to be nice and thankful!!

You can also lean on your venue manager to help with centerpieces and a few other tasks…within reason.

One thing you should never do is be setting up your own reception in your wedding dress! If you can’t get in your venue the day before, delegate, delegate, delegate! I have seen brides blowing up balloons for an arch while all made up and in their dresses. Don’t do it!!!

Show Up!

By show up, I mean, be present. It’s a big day with lots going on. You will be running on excitement, nerves and adrenaline. You have been working on this day for months and have spent a lot of money; you need to make a conscious effort to stop and enjoy your day.

You also need to eat and stay hydrated, plan ahead and have healthy snacks, or chocolate…either or, on hand when getting ready.

And when at the reception, pace yourself with the champagne, a puky bride is never cute!!

Let It Go!

So it’s your big day and you are present; now let it go!

I have witnessed so many bridezillas, in the early nineties, before that was a thing, we just called them crazy brides.

Here is the best advice that anyone will ever give you on your wedding day; let things go!! I have witnessed so many crazy brides sabotage their own wedding receptions, it was hard to pick just one crazy bride story.

But here’s a good one; this one bride poked her head into the ballroom before we opened the doors to see how the room looked. It looked beautiful, btw, but she proceeded to freak out because the salmon colored napkins, looked more peach than salmon. Freaked out may be an understatement, because she had a full blown, stage 5 meltdown over salmon napkins, minutes before her guests arrived. May I add that the lights were dimmed and candles lit, the napkins were perfectly salmony.

To make my point, I googled the color salmon and the color peach, can you tell which is which??? No, no you can’t, because there isn’t a difference. Lol

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Needless to say, she never really recovered and looked pissy all night. I have seen so many brides look absolutely miserable during their wedding receptions; don’t be that bride!

The only way to enjoy yourself the day of your wedding is to roll with the punches and go with whatever happens. If anything goes wrong on the day of, and something will, let it go! First of all, chances are you will be the only one who notices that something is off; so don’t point it out or make a big deal, just let it go!

I have one great example of a bride who rolled with it. The MC was speaking and said that he had a game that would determine who wore the pants in the family. He explained that the bride had to hug each male at the reception and the groom each female and that whoever did so and got back to their seat first would be the one who wore the pants in the marriage.

The groom looked horrified and after an awkward moment of silence, you could tell this was not planned; the bride stood up, hiked up her dress and stared running to the first table to start the hug fest. The groom quickly followed and the crowd went wild!

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At the time I posted this my mom was out playing cards so I couldn’t ask her the name of the photographer, lol.

I love, love, love this picture of my parents. Tell me they are not adorable!! My dad looks like a movie star. There is something really glamorous about old wedding pictures. Their 53rd wedding anniversary was this past May.

At the end of the day, your wedding is one day in hopefully many, many days together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding that you lose perspective and focus more on the wedding than the marriage…said the single girl. But think about it, you know I am right.

I am pretty sure I will be a fun bride…just saying, lol.

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Showing off my something blue, a vintage dinner ring that was my moms. Apparently dinner rings were a thing in the seventies.

My dad recently passed away, a few weeks before his death, one of my cousins asked him for relationship advice. He told her to be herself and that she needs to find someone who makes her happy, if he doesn’t make you happy, don’t marry him. Treat him like you would want to be treated and you will be ok, because you are a good person. It seemed like simple advice, but if you stop and think about it, it really is that simple!

I hope you enjoyed this post even if you aren’t planning a wedding at this very moment or are already married. If you are happily married and want to share your words of wisdom, please do!!

And if you are happily divorced, you probably have words of wisdom too! Sharing is caring, lol.

muah!!

Liette

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Downtown Vegas, I had to stop and snap a quick pic.

Hot Air Balloon Tips

Hot Air Balloon Tips

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If you wonder why some of you see my feature picture twice,  I post it twice so that those who subscribe and read from their emails can see it too. 

In this post I will share a few tips on how to prepare for your first hot air balloon ride. I consider myself an expert now that I have been up in one exactly one time! Lol

Ok so I am not an expert, but I can share a few tips, here we go!

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We were driven to the desert where we watched the balloons being set up and filled with air, they were way bigger than I thought they would be.
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This photo was taken by my friend Sean Miller, he brought his big camera, I just use my iPhone.
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Photo by Sean Miller.

Hot Air Balloon Fashion

The perfect way to ruin your ballooning experience is to show up dresses improperly. Chances are you’ll have to be onsite before dawn; make certain you’re warm enough to get you through till sunrise. We had a few in our group who were cold and cranky before we even got off the ground. I was happy we didn’t end up in their balloon.

The trick is to dress in layers, I had a t-shirt, my trusty black turtle neck and a light fleece like zip jacket. I threw a pair of light gloves in my cross body purse before leaving the house and I actually wore them before lift off. It gets cold in the desert before sunrise.

You also need sneakers; sandals and flip flops are a no, no. And make sure you are wearing socks. When you are in the air, your bottom half can get cold, while your top half gets hot; the big burners that heat the balloon air give off a lot of heat.

You also have to climb into the balloon basket, like literally climb, straddle the side and get yourself inside, so make sure your pants will accommodate this movement. I wore jeans with stretch.

If you have long hair tie it up or wear a hat, you don’t want your hair getting caught up in the burners.

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What Should You Bring With You?

The views are absolutely spectacular, so make certain your phone is charged, you’ll want to take a lot of pics. My friend brought his camera and small case; I had a cross body purse that I use when I travel. There isn’t much room in the balloon basket so just bring a small bag.

The air is cool the higher you go, so I packed tissues and my sunglasses in my bag. They provided us with a bottle of water.

Safety First

You will have to sign a waiver, we had to sign two. The captain will go over the safety rules and will make you practice a rough landing position, aka a crash landing. I obviously knew there isn’t landing gear on these things, but I never really put much thought into how they landed. They can hit pretty hard, bounce and drag before they come to a full stop…oh and the basket can tip over…with you in it.

We had a smooth landing, but I was ready! My knees were slightly bent and I was facing in the direction that the captain had instructed us to face. I took these rules very seriously; I may or may not have “bossed” other passengers to turn around and face the other way??? I can’t really recall for sure in all the excitement, but that could have happened?? Lol

What I found a bit surprising is that the balloon basket is sub divided into sections. So there isn’t a lot of room to move around. This is so you don’t bounce around in the event of a rough landing.

I am not really scared of heights, but I am scared of falling to my death. The basket sides are high, I am 5’7, the side of the basket was mid boob height on me, lol. This made me feel secure; you aren’t dangling over the edge, you are pretty contained.

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You can see the basket dividers in this pic. There is another divider between me and the lady beside me. You can fit 2 people per section.

Enjoy the Ride!

It was such a cool feeling to float, we reached a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. It was very peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend a balloon ride to anyone visiting, who is feeling adventurous; and to locals who want to see Vegas from above. It was $140, tax included, so not crazy expensive.

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This pic was taken by moi, not too shabby!

The colorful balloons against the blue sky were so pretty it almost looked fake.

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Vegas Hot Air, Sin City Balloon Rides, is the company we went with; they had three balloons in the air that morning. There were a few other balloons from different companies in the air when we ventured out. They look deceivingly small in the air.

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We flew over this balloon, the view and colors were awesome!

We got a great view of the strip in the distance, but the view of the mountains that surround Vegas was spectacular. I am fairly certain most tourist that stay on the strip aren’t even aware that Las Vegas is in a valley. You don’t see the mountains when on the strip.

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Photo by Sean Miller

What Goes Up, Must Come Down.

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I think we were in the air for over an hour ish? Time flew bye, pun intended.

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It’s a balloon tradition to have champagne after each ride. Captain Mike was awesome, all the staff were friendly and made it fun. Side note, captain Mike had the nicest teeth, lol. I felt, I needed to add that completely irrelevant detail… you are welcome!! 😜

I highly recommend Vegas Hot Air Sin City Balloon Rides, tell them Liette sent you. They will have absolutely no idea who the heck I am, lol.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any ballooning questions!

Muah!

Liette

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Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

(for my subscribers, if you are reading from your email, click on the title, it will make everything look fancier).

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Lots of cities have Chinatown’s; New York, San Diego, Vancouver are just a few that come to mind, but did you know that Las Vegas has it’s very own Chinatown? Neither did I until I moved here. It’s just two miles from the strip, along Spring Mountain Road.

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in the past few years is painfully aware that it has become a very expensive city; especially if you are staying and eating on the strip. I encourage you to take a super short Uber ride over to Chinatown. It’s by far the best bang for your buck! And what a yummy bang it is, lol.

Dim Sum

I am not a Dim Sum expert by any means…like really not. I am just a French Canadian girl trying new things and sharing my experiences. So let’s get started; and by started, I mean let’s eat!

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The first advice I was given about Dim Sum, was not to fill up on rice or noodles; so what were the first two items we got? Yup, rice and noodles, lol. The second advice was don’t order coffee, because they serve tea. So what was the second thing we did? You guessed it, my friend ordered coffee; we were off to a great start!

Dim Sum is traditionally served for breakfast, but in the US and Canada, it’s more of a brunch thing.

If you have never been to a Dim Sum, here’s how it works; they roll out carts of food and you select which small plates you want, no menus needed. It’s perfect for sharing, so bring a few friends.

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The carts come out in random order and they keep coming, so take your time. You can let a cart go, it will come back; I promise!

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Chinatown has an abundance of restaurants; we went to Honk Kong Garden, there are two of them, this one serves Dim Sum, see above.

There are so many hidden gems in Chinatown, we have visited a few so far. We used Yelp for a bit of guidance; all have been fantastic and cheap!!!

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The top left dish was shrimp and top right was pork, sorry I didn’t get the official names, the carts were just coming at me so fast I couldn’t keep up, lol.

We ate a lot!! You will leave full, but please save some room for desert.

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Hong Kong Garden is my friend, Michael’s fav restaurant, even though you can eat desert first, he advised against it. So I did wait to eat one of these custard filled rolls until after I was done dim suming (yes, I know it’s not a real word); and omg, it was so good! It was still warm, crusty sugar on top and a gooey custard in the center.

So here is my hard hitting question for you; how adventurous are you? Would you have tried the chicken feet? I passed, but I did try a few new things and like them.

Chinese New Year is quickly approaching, it’s Feb 5th; so Happy Year! This year is year of the Pig, in case you were wondering…you’re welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Muah!

Liette

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