Summer in Bloom – Bucket List

Summer in Bloom! Bucket List

If you live in Canada, you know how precious and short our summers can be. Before you know it the leaves will be changing and fall will be upon us. In order to make the most out of summer, let’s make a list of all the summer things we want to do and then let’s get out there and do them!

Here’s my list, let me know what’s on yours.

1. Camping or Glamping

So camping hasn’t historically been my thing, but I just went on my first glamping trip and I loved it! There is some sort of camping for everyone, some like roughing it, some meh…not so much, lol. Whatever your preference, get out there and do it!! Even better, do it locally so that you can help support your respective communities that have been hit hard by the shut downs. Also all the cool places that are usually booked a year in advance may now have some openings, as less people are able to travel?

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2. Beaching or Laking (yes, I make up words, deal with it).

I’ve discovered that my soul needs to be immersed in large bodies of water; it’s my happy place. True story, when I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be a mermaid.

I’ve been to the beach several times and I hope to be many more before the summer is over. I’ve expanded my horizons a bit lately and have been to a river and a lake.

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We are so fortunate to live so close to amazing beaches, rivers and lakes, yet some don’t make time to enjoy them. Get out there! Live a little.

3. Picnic

Here is my recommendation, I am going to call a friend and make a date to do it too, since weekends can be so busy, let’s make a date to meet a friend for lunch in a local park. You bring the sandwiches and have your friend bring the dessert or drinks, so it’s easier. It’s a great way to catch up, reconnect and get some fresh air. It’s also a great stress reliever and break in during a busy week.

Another option is lunch at a Food Truck, this can technically count as a picnic! And it’s supporting a local business.

4. Drive in

Drive ins are just plain fun and they’re the perfect way to socially distance. We have two drive ins in my area, one of them have been showing retro scary movies on Thursday nights. My friend Dawn and I are scary movie friends, we both like watching them, usually through our fingers that our covering our eyes, lol. We have just made plans to go this week, the are showing the original Amityville Horror movie…yikes! I’ll post some pics on my oui-liette Facebook page of our movie night.

5. Day Tripping

For this goal, get in your car and drive. Drive to the city or town closest to where you live, go for lunch, walk around, browse local shops and markets; take pictures and just explore.

The four Atlantic provinces have just opened up to each other, which is perfect for day tripping. I have a few day trips planned for the next few weekends, I love road trips! Go out there and make some family memories.

6. Farmers Marketing (the act of visiting a farmer’s market)

This one is so important; I feel like our collective goal should be to visit farmers markets at least a few times a month. This could be a traditional farmers market with a bunch of local vendors or go to the an actual real farm!

We just spent the weekend in Waterborough, NB and shopped at a local strawberry farm market, I got the yummiest jams. I’ve also recently been to The Green Pig and bought a bunch of fresh stuff there.

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Go to local u-picks, buy direct from farms! I am already planning my apple picking trip to Verger Belliveau Orchards… ok my mini shop local rant is over, moving on.

7. I Scream for Ice Cream!

This is an easy summer goal that doesn’t have to be super complicated or cost a lot of money. I’ve been doing maybe a bit too much screaming for ice cream lately?

On the next hot day, find an ice cream partner and go to your neighborhood pop up ice cream hut. You may as well splurge for an extra scoop. Or go buy a tub of locally made ice cream and make a fancy Sunday at home; either option will be good enough to check this one off your list.

8. Bonfire

There is a theme to all my bucket list goals, it’s to slow down and take some time to relax and spend time with your loved ones or just alone time. This is a perfect excuse to do that.

Put your phone down, but keep it close tough, because you’re going to want to take a pic of your bonfire, obviously, lol. Take time to sit and look at your roaring fire, sing some cheesy campfire songs and roast some marshmallows!

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Before you bonfire, make sure that your area is green enough to safely do so. We’ve been under a strict fire band for most of the summer, but we just had some rain, so we able to fire it up!!

9. BBQ but make it fancy!

This one is super easy, so I am adding a level of difficulty to it; make your next BBQ a bit fancy by dressing up your table.

Here’s an easy and inexpensive idea, use fruits and greenery as a centerpiece. I am going to try this at my next BBQ. I’ll post my photos on my oui-liette Facebook page, like my page for updates.

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Another easy way to fancy it up is to add a big bouquet of wildflowers to your patio table, send me your pics!!

10. Be a tourist in your hometown

I try to be a tourist in my own region at least once a summer. I try to visit all the touristy places that people come here from away to see, but locals rarely go.

It’s fun to explore your local region and pretend that you’re a tourist, you can even buy a tacky t-shirt, live a little!!

I recently climbed up the giant lobster in Shediac, NB. I hadn’t done that in probably 20 years or more, it made me laugh, which is the whole point. What giant thing is your town or area know for? Whatever it is, go take a touristy pic in front of it; I dare you!

 

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Thanks for reading! I am currently working on revamping my Instagram page, go check it out! And I’ll add additional pics on my Oui-Liette Facebook page once I check off more items off this list; so go like my page and gram page if you haven’t already!!

Thank you! Muah!

Liette

If you want to read more, here is a link of a funny one; Funny Things A Maritimer Misses When They Leave, I wrote this one when I was living in Las Vegas.

https://oui-liette.org/2019/04/28/funny-things-a-maritimer-misses-when-they-leave/

 

Best Birthday Ever? Could Social Distancing Actually Bring Us Closer Together?

Best Birthday Ever?

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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.

Card Campaign

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

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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

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Feeling the love at a distance with Dawn! ❤️

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!

muah!

Liette

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!

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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!

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My awesome photographer Jack!

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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.

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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.

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Valentine Vibe

Valentine Vibe

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This Valentine’s I am feeling a darker, moodier vibe. It maybe because I am back in Eastern Canada where the days are shorter, darker and colder? But I love it! I love curling up on my couch watching the snow fall; that’s probably one of the only thing you can’t do in Las Vegas?

For this Valentine’s Day, my challenge and wish to all of you is to love your life! And to fall in love with yourself! Ok, that maybe easier said than done?

I am finding that the art of loving your life is to not compare yours to others. Everyone, no matter how rosy and happy they look, is struggling with something. Life is hard!! That’s a fact that we tend to forget. But nothing worth having is easy, so appreciate what you have when you have it!

One of my favorite “loving my life” tricks is to find people who make me laugh and to spend as much time with them as possible; bribery works for me, but hey, you do you, lol.
My other trick is to do ridiculously stupid and fun things; preferably with the same people who make you laugh.

As I get older, I really have zero fucks as to what others think of me or my shenanigans. If you think that wearing a crown when you visit Buckingham Palace is dumb; well that’s your prorogative, but we obviously can’t be friends, lol.

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It’s been my experience that my fondest  memories are the ones where I let lose and was a bit extra with the people I love.

I wish all of you a heartfelt, lovely, ridiculous Valentine’s Day! If it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, don’t do it…well unless it’s your job; and who are we kidding, you need to make money. Ok, new plan, is it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, come up with a new plan! Then stop doing it.

muah!!!

Liette

P.S. – some of my crazy cousins are coming over tomorrow; we’ll be decorating Valentine cupcakes, but with a twist! Check out my Facebook page: oui-liette, for pics of our cupcake night.

 

Loving London!💕

Loving London! 💕

I am kicking off February with some pics from my London trip.

This post is all about exploring a new city and loving every minute of it! And it features my favorite color, which is pink in case you were wondering, lol.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea in London is a must! We found a very pink place for our first London tea experience.

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We made reservations weeks ago at a place called  Sketch, it’s super trendy and very Instagrammable.

The Elan Cafes, there are a few different locations in London, also offer pretty places for afternoon tea.

The Sketch theme is Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette’s let them eat cake!

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It’s amazing how such tiny food can fill you up so quickly. We started with custard and caviar, then bite size sandwiches and sweets tray, then scones, they were my favorite; and finally cake!! Oh and there was tea of course.

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The Tea Room is pink, but they do have a few other rooms. You’ll need to specify if you want the pink room.

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It’s such a magical funky place and the staff were very friendly.

And just when you thought that you’d seen it all; Sketch has one last big surprise for you. Here’s a hint, make certain to take your phone with you when you visit the restrooms.

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These stairs lead to the most unique toilets I have ever seen.

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These egg shaped toilet pods are at the top of the stairs, and they are wild! You really feel like you’re in some funky fairytale storybook.

Everyone who walked in had the same reaction, “oh!”. And for the record, I wasn’t the only weirdo taking pics in the bathroom!

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After our bellies we were full of tiny finger food items, we made our way towards the Grandby Street area.

On our way, we happened upon the most fabulous store front!

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It’s called the Maddox Gallery and it’s all decked out for Valentines Day!!

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This is my favorite part of exploring a new city, finding flowery, pink, hidden gems.

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I think you love me? Yes, I do!!

Caranby Street has the coolest store fronts!! Lots of shopping and people watching.

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On our way back to the hotel we spotted this pink taxi, sadly it was taken.

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I promise that I am not making this up, but later that evening as we walked back to our hotel from dinner, we spotted these pink garbage bags. My friends thought I was strange for taking a picture of garbage, but I thought it was  the perfect end to our perfect pink day in London.

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Tomorrow evening we will be taking a haunted  walking tour. I’ll let you know if it was cool or not.

Happy February! 💕💖

muah!

Liette

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You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram: oui-liette

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I bought a few postcards on Carnaby St. I loved this young, pink, punk queen! #boss

 

 

 

Party Animals – Tips On How To Throw A Wild Party

Party Animals – Tips On How To Throw A Wild Party

2020 is a big year for my friends and I. We’re all having big birthdays, like big, big! As a result, I’ll be hosting a few fun dinner parties, with cool themes of course.

Pick a theme

I love this party animal theme, it’s perfect for a child’s party or baby shower, but I am using it for an adult party. I think the party animal adult twist is clever.

My advice to picking a theme is to find something that inspires you and theme the shit around it!!

Invitations

Your invitations will set the tone for your party, so be as creative and corny as possible.  I was so excited to find these animals, I think they’re super adorable.

If you’ve read any of my other party posts, you may have noticed that I love puns, I think they’re punny! The cornier the better as far as I am concerned. The text for my invitations are always a bit ridiculous.

One of the apps that I use for my invitations and blog posts is called Snapseed.

Front

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Back – these two are my favs!!

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Decor

These little guys were the inspiration for my party theme.

I bought a bag of plastic animals at the dollar store then painted and glued on pompoms and party hats. I’m not going to lie, I had a lot of fun crafting them.

I made them at my moms house; she brought out a TV tray for me to set up all my paints and my hot glue gun. I love that she still uses TV trays!!

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I am obsessed with these little guys, they’re so freaking cute!

I bought a plastic green platter and glued my party animals on it. I think that some of my animals were already drunk, because a few of them could barely stand up!

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I threw some confetti on the tray and voilà!! A party animal centerpiece.

I just moved into my new downtown place; my furniture from Las Vegas finally arrived and my white cabinet fits in perfectly! It’s a great place to set up a bar or a food station.

It’s also easy to decorate and theme. The green feathers are not just for the party, it’s a permanent fixture, but it does add an extra punch of color to my theme.

If you follow my oui-liette Facebook page, you may have seen the video of my crazy cousins helping me decorate. They suggested that I not center my green feathers above my cabinet, they thought that it would be more interesting hung to the side; they were right.

I bought a giant brass giraffe head to fill the blank space. I bought him before I decided on my animal theme, but he fits in perfectly! Sometimes things just all come together.

I think I need to name him, any suggestions? For the party I added a Wild One party hat on him. He may become my party mascot?

My new fav decorating things are tissue paper flowers. They are easy to make, inexpensive and great space fillers.

I added a bunch to the top of my cabinet, love them! To make them take tissue paper sheets, the bigger the sheets, the bigger the flower. Stack them, five or six high. Fold them accordion style then tie the middle. Then gently pull the sheets apart. If you didn’t make these in school, YouTube them.

Table Setting

Some party themes require elegance and restraint, this isn’t one of those. Your table needs to look like an out of control party, so more is more.

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I dug out my most colorful dinner wear; these plates have blue polka dots and the napkins are all kinds of pink.

This was my first dinner party in my new place, so out came my new crystal glasses!! They’re from Nova Scotia Crystal, the Luna pattern; they have polka dots. I ❤️ polka dots!

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Since more is more, I cut ribbon and threw them all over the place and I had some pompoms left from my crafting night, so I dumped them on the table too.

This was probably one of my easiest themes and one of the cutest. What do you think?? Yay? Or nay?

Thanks for reading!! Check out my Facebook page for more party pics and new downtown decor updates! @oui-liette

muah!!

Liette

 

 

Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

(The original idea for this post was to have a fake beef with Quebec, then the direction looked like it was moving to show my American friends one of my family traditions. I think it turned into a sneak peek into what it’s like to be part of a huge Acadian family? Like most of my posts, I just let them be what they want to be. And like all of my posts, I hope it inspires you to make an effort to do things with your family; may it be the family you’re born into or the one you create for yourself).

When I was growing up no one but Acadians knew what a poutine was. Fast forward a few decades and poutines are now a global thing, but those aren’t real poutines.

Sure french fries, gravy and cheese curds are delicious, but they aren’t what we call poutines.

I am not going to accuse Quebecers of high jacking the name poutine from the Acadians; oh wait, yes I am!! Do Acadians have a beef with Quebec for stealing our poutine name? We do!! Have we ever made a fuss over this theft?? No, no we have not! It’s just not in our nature.

Could our Acadians poutines  compete with Quebec poutines in the global market? In a word…no! Our poutines, the real poutines aren’t…how do I say this diplomatically? Let’s just say they aren’t pretty!

What is an Acadian poutine? It’s basically a slimy boiled potato ball with pork in the middle. Am I tempting you yet?

Poutine or poutine acadienne are a staple for French speaking Maritimers (from the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). Although you can now buy them throughout the year, they have traditionally been made for the Christmas holidays.

Before we dive into things, I do need to share a few key words, so my none-Acadians can follow.

râpures  – grated potatoes

poutine – a slimy grayish boiled potato ball

poutine râpé – Acadian poutine, we have had to add the Acadian part since we were ripped off by Québec, lol

râper – verb to grate potatoes

râpe – a home made machine used to grate potatoes. Pronounced rawwwp. This word has an unfortunate pronunciation in English

Épurer – verb to squeeze the water out of grated potatoes

My family has made poutines for generations, there is no recipe per say; you have to “intern” for decades before you can become the top baller. Ok top baller isn’t really a thing to anyone but me, I am hoping it catches on.

I have an un-scientific theory why Acadians originally made poutines and English speaking Maritimers didn’t. I think they just didn’t have the proper manpower needed. Historically, French Catholics had large families while English Protestants had smaller families. I suspect the real reason may have been that the Acadians were poorer and potatoes were cheap and readily available?

My theory is based on the fact that it takes a village to make a batch of poutines. I think the rule is that you need a minimum of 3 aunts, 2 uncles and a combo of 2 nieces/nephew or 2 cousins. One doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide; hey, I think I am going to make poutines today, it takes planning and a team.

In this post I am going to share with you how one Acadian family, mine, keeps the tradition alive.

Most large extended families would have had one or two râpes in the family; yes this word sounds horrible in English, so please refer to my keywords above.

So here’s how it worked in my family growing up. It gets complicated, so please try to follow.

My mother’s father was the top baller because he owned the râpe. He decided when he would make his poutines and the others would plan accordingly. The râpe, again it’s a machine that grates potatoes, would go from house to house to house.

Example: pépère DesRoches, my moms father, would make his on the 21. My mom would make hers on the 23, in the morning. As soon as she was done, she would call my fathers mother and tell her to send someone to pick up the râpe. Once they were done, they would passe it down to my dad’s sister, who would then drop it back off at our house.

I should note that not only were Acadian families large, once you married into another Acadian family the two families often merged to create a super family.

Eventually my moms sister, tante Irène, and my mom got their own râpes, which made our family super fortunate to have 3 in rotation!!

Example of the Acadian super family; my moms sister, tante Irène, who lived across the street from us, wasn’t actually related to my cousins from my dad’s side, who lived next door to us, but she was automatically called ma tante Irène by everyone, related by blood or not. Side note, Acadian families also tended to cluster together. I had 7 cousins living on my street; my brother and I made 9 of us (kids). Needless to say, no one picked on us. The older cousins would look out for the younger cousins; sure the older cousins would beat the shit out of us from time to time, but no one else was allowed to.

Getting back to poutines; you couldn’t just go to the store and buy a râpe, you had to know someone who would make one for you. It was a small motor with a circular thingy that was pierced and would spin quickly and grate the potatoes. It was usually made by someone who worked at the CNR, Canadian National Railway. Ok don’t ask why someone who worked with trains would be making these on the side; it’s too complicated for this post.

Now, let’s fast forward to the present and get to making poutines.

After my moms father passed away, my mom became the top baller. You need a top baller to test the texture and taste the potatoes. The top baller title will make sense, just keep reading.

Today we went to my uncles,  my moms brother, with our râpe in hand to help him make his poutines. Because her little brother and his wife, who are both in their sixties have not yet achieved top baller status. She was needed to oversee everything. I guess it’s a bit like the mafia, there can only be one top baller and once top baller status is achieved, he or she rules for life.

The ingredients are very simple, you need potatoes, porc and porc fat. Peeling the potatoes is a pain in the ass.  I think that 50 pounds of potatoes will make 47 ish poutines. I am not a top baller, nor do I aspire to be, so I don’t need to know the correct potato ratio.

You also have to cut the meet and fat into small cubes. So far I have avoided having to help peel and cut. When the knives come out, I volunteer to run errands, no one has caught on as of yet!!

The next step is to start passing the potatoes into the potato grating machine, la râpe. Now you maybe wondering if you could use a food processor? You can’t.

Here’s were it starts to get weird, once all the potatoes are grated, we call that la râpure. You have to go through la râpure and remove any chunks of potatoes that weren’t liquefied; does it look yummy yet??

That isn’t the weird part, the Râpure is very liquidity, we use a large measuring cup to scoop some of the râpure into fabric square and we squeeze out the liquid, that is the weird part. And it’s at this stage that the top baller comes into play. The raw squeeze potatoes are mixed in with mashed potatoes. This mixture can’t be too dry or too wet. You need to adjust how much liquid you are squeezing out. The top baller also needs to taste the mixture to make sure it’s salted enough. It looks gross, but remember these are just cooked and raw potatoes.

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This next step of making balls is where the baller and top baller names come from. I’ve been calling my aunts and mom the ballers for years, I think it’s funny.

The photo below shows my ballers, my aunt Claudine and my mother, she’s in the red apron. She let me wear my grandfathers white apron this year, which is an honor, she is so happy I am back home. She may also be grooming me to someday be the top baller, but I don’t think I can handle the pressure!

The potato mixture is flattened and the porc is added in the middle. If you put too much meat or your ball walls are too thin, they will bust once dropped into boiling water; please note, ball walls isn’t an official poutine term. Poutines are made in French or Chiac, I am doing my best to translate in English.

As a child, this is the part that you begged to get in on because it’s basically like making snowballs.

The balls are gently dropped into a pots of boiling water. The pots need a constant slow boil. The poutine balls will float to the top and then sink to the bottom of the pot as they cook.

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It takes 3 ish hours for them to cook, all the while you need to keep checking to make certain they aren’t boiling too much or too little.

And voila!! They are ready to eat!! The photos above are why our poutines will probably never go global, but trust me they are delicious!

Once my uncle and aunt’s poutines were ready to eat. That evening there were 11 of us for dinner, you don’t have to be invited, you can just show up. It’s also acceptable to show up with an empty pot, because as soon as we make them, we start giving them away. An Acadian will share their poutines freely, but they won’t share their pots, so you have to bring your own!!

As mentioned above, they look slimy, but keep in mind that they are just potatoes and porc, so not so exotic. We eat them with salt and pepper, others add brown sugar, which seems odd to me, but who am I to judge what others put on their slimy potato balls.

We made my uncles poutines on Dec 21, we made my moms poutines on Dec 23. My mother’s sister, came over to help. My brother and I now have more responsibilities since my father has passed. My mother’s brother joins in for the squeezing part.

This process will go on in several of my families homes around town. Once done and the families come together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the first thing you are asked is: combien de poutines avez-vous fait? Which means how many poutines did you make? The bigger then number the bigger the bragging rights. They will also ask if any have busted, this makes a mess in the pot and is a sign of bad ballers.

Fun fact, the pots are so big that if weather permitting, if it’s cold enough, they are usually stored outside. From the 23 to the 26, there is always a warm pot of poutines on the stove ready to eat. Anyone who enters is offered a poutine. And anyone who is leaving is asked if they want to bring some home.

And this maybe hard for some to wrap their minds around, but we eat these on Christmas morning. Even now my brother, nephew and 3 cousins show up at my moms house Christmas morning for a poutine or two!

That’s my sneak peek at our Acadian tradition of making poutines. I hope you are enlightened and if you are brave enough to want to try one, hit me up next year and I will hook you up!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you and your families a Happy New Year! May your hearts be happy and your bellies be full!

muah!

Liette

 

 

 

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

This Christmas Eve in honor of my big move back to The Great White North, I decided to throw a Winter Wonderland themed soirée. I’ve done a Plaid Christmas for the last two years in a row, so it was time to move on. This theme would also be perfect for New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anytime really. It’s also very inexpensive all you really need is paper and scissors.

In this post we’ll plow through helpful tips on how to turn your dining party into a freaking blizzard. ❄️

A Frosty Table Setting

I always focus most of my energy on my dining table; it would be great to have the budget to transform your whole house, but my budget is frozen this year. (Sorry, if you keep reading you’ll have to put up with my wintery puns…not sorry!!)

Before we talk about what will be on the table, let’s discuss the actual table. When I had my little house, I used to have a large sheet of plywood that I would place on my table to turn my small table for 6 into a big table for 12.

If you’re going to try this idea make sure to place something in between your table and the plywood so you don’t scratch your table top. I had a piece of carpet padding, which worked perfectly.

Also! Did you know that you can rent tables and chairs?? I will be hosting in my new fancy downtown apartment, but my furniture is still making its way here from Las Vegas.

No table? No problem! I am renting one from Clowns Around/Bob Lee Productions, they are located in Dieppe. It’s perfect, they will drop off the table, chairs and white tablecloth and pick them back up afterwards. It’s really not that expensive, you can save a few bucks if you pick it up yourself, but for an extra $35 ish, it’s easier to have them drop off and pick up.

I rented a white table clothe and silver napkins and then then layered white and silver things. In the center is the table I had a big white bowl filled with silver tree balls that I bought at the dollar store, snowballs and a set of mini lights that turned out to have a blue tint which was perfect. I scattered plastic snowflakes on the table that I also got at the dollar store.

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Snow Globes

I like having assigned seating for my dinner parties. Something fun is instead of having regular name place cards are personalized snow globes. I bought snow globes online, there is a slot to put in a picture and to add water. Your guests can take them home with them.

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Social media is a great place to download pictures of your guests if you don’t have any good ones in your phone.

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Here is how my table looked with everything put together.

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Let It Snow!

And you can’t have a Winter Wonderland theme without snow. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, you can make your own.

I invited my friend over to help me make it snow. I have no idea how many snowflakes we cut? We cranked the Christmas music and chatted away. This is a super inexpensive way to create a bit of drama.

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I tapped these on my light fixture and omg!!! It came out beautifully!! It was the focal point of the room; I named it my blizzard chandelier.

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I may keep these up all winter?? Lol

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I couldn’t host without a Christmas Tree, I bought this tall skinny one. Since I only have a couch and a chair in my living rooms, I added a bunch of white balloons to fill the space. It was another inexpensive way to add a bit of drama to my theme.

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I shot a quick video before my guests arrive, I will be trying to add more videos to my posts in 2020.

Even though I plan events for a living and I am always fairly calm, cool and collected; I had a moment a few hours before my party that I started to feel a bit frazzled. The lead up to the holidays is a lot! We tend to be overtired and can get overwhelmed.

I had to check myself and remind myself that this was meant to be fun and that my guests, in this case 9 of my family and friends, wouldn’t care if things weren’t perfect.

So an hour and a half before they arrived I took a hot bath in my super big bathtub! I love my new place and it was exactly what I needed to chill out!

If you feel yourself getting stressed instead of rushing to get everything perfect, walk away! It sounds counterproductive, but we don’t need added stress. It’s perfectly fine to have your guests help you finish off a few last minute things when they arrive.

I ended up hosting my fancy dinner party in my pink slippers and nobody judged me!!

One last party tip, find an activity or game to play after dinner, we played Jenga and it was hilariously funny!

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Happy New Year!!

muah!

Liette

For additional pictures and videos, follow me on Facebook @ oui-liette

 

 

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

 

 

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

As children we’re taught to fear ending up on Santa’s naughty list; sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s the goal.

Why? Because Santa is watching you; so you better watch out, you better not cry and you better not pout! First of all, why is he watching me and how do I get him to stop? And secondly; I like pouting, it’s sort of my thing, lol.

This year, let’s throw caution to the wind and just say, FRIG IT!! But if we’re going to take a walk on the wild naughty side? Let’s be the best naughty version of yourselves as possible.

I’ve created this naughty bucket list as a guide…you’re welcome! Let’s see how many we can hit this holiday season.

Cocktails

You can’t really be naughty without a little booze; let’s face it, all of our best bad life choices started off with some sort of yummy cocktail!

I am certainly no bar tender, but when hosting an event I try to find one signature drink for my party.

I will be hosting a cocktail party in a few weeks and this is what I will be serving. Soooo I renamed this Mimosa to fit my theme; yup, you’re allowed to make shit up, especially if you are being naughty. I am naming this one Elfed Up, because if you drink too many, you will be very Elfed Up!! Lol

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These are super easy to make, these are a combo of cranberry juice, orange-pineapple juice and champagne, but feel free to use whatever juice you like. And as per my champagne expert friend, Lynn, it needs to be champagne! Sparkling wine, will not do!!

Fill your champagne flute half way with champagne, then fill to the rim with your juices. Add a few frozen cranberries, they look pretty and will keep your drink cold.

The next drink is my fav on a cold night. I am going to call it Haaaatt Chocolate, in honor of my friend Staci who pronounces hot, as haaaat, lol; she’s also hot stuff so it’s fitting.

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The special ingredient that makes this drink so haaaatt is Fireball Whiskey, because chocolate and cinnamon basically belong together. You can use a hot chocolate mix or a pod, then add a shot (2oz) of whiskey per glass and voilà!! Baby, it’s not so cold outside!!

Top with whipped cream or roast a few marshmallows and prepare to be merry!!

For extra naughtiness, serve in a sassy mug!

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Gifts

‘Tis the season for giving, here are some really smart ass gift ideas that Santa may not approve of?

I love this dirty laundry travel bag! Its practical, funny and cute! It’s from the same company that I bought my customized luggage tags, see last weeks post, the company is called Airportag.

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Now I usually make my own Christmas cards, but I had to share this one!! I like funny cards and this one makes me laugh!

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And since we’re talking balls, these will help you have a Blue Christmas, lol. For a fun activity, get a few friends together and hand paint some balls with naughty messages.

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I bet we all have that one naughty friend…ok we know more than one, who would love hanging this stocking by their chimney with care?

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So you get the idea, there are lots of funny options for anyone on your naughty list.

Baking

Even the naughty have to eat! My family has a cookie baking party every year. I sent this picture, see below, to my mom and told her we were making these. Did she flinch or tell me I was being inappropriate? Nope, she laughed and said ok!! (she is seriously the coolest mom ever!); and she is obviously on Santa’s naughty list.

But if Santa Penis cookies aren’t your thing, just make sure you make the most sinfully delicious decadent cookies ever!! Call over a few friends, drink till you’re a little Elfed Up and bake!!

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If you’re bored and want to chuckle, search sexy cookies on Pinterest; karma sutra cookies?? Why???

These are the aprons that we wear to make our cookies each year. Yup, we’re a family of Ho, Ho, Ho’s!! Lol

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Merry Kissmas!

On our bucket list is getting the maximum number of hugs and kisses possible! Don’t get all “me too” creepy; make certain your affections are welcomed, no one likes a perv!

Did you know that researchers have proven that hugs can help with stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and they can also diminish the risk of heart disease? Well it’s true, they help boost your oxytocin levels! Ok, I don’t actually know what oxytocins are? But you don’t need to know how it works in order to reap the hugging benefits.

And kissing  apparently boosts your “happy hormones”; and hey, I am all for happy hormones! So make sure to hug and kiss your loved ones a bit extra this season.

This pic was too cute not to share…again! My friend/coworker and I were getting head shots done and then this happened, lol.

I had one of the designers add some mistletoe to make it Christmassy. I may have plastered her office with a bunch of posters the night before I left the US to come home for Christmas a few years ago? I figured I was probably already on Santa’s naughty list for the Rudolph incident, so what the hell?? What Rudolph incident? Keep reading.

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Have Fun!!

Sometimes being naughty is way more fun than being good. Please keep in mind that there is a big different between being naughty and being mean; don’t be mean! Naughty for me is being a little mischievous and not taking yourself too seriously.

I try hard not to take myself too seriously, exhibit A: my 2017 Christmas Card when I dressed up as Rudolph; actually, I dressed up as all Santa’s reindeer.

You maybe wondering how did that get me on the naughty list? Well…Rudolph kind of got shot in the head on my card, lol.

I thought this was hilarious, there was text on the flip side that explained the image.

If you create your own Christmas cards, don’t be afraid to be silly and show some personality! Apparently my personality is a bit twisted.

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Last Christmas, I found these silly reindeer glasses, I brought them to a party and people loved them; hats and games are always fun too. This year my brother has made us a giant Jenga game for Christmas Even, I can’t wait to play. Be silly! You’ll have more fun.

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Qui se rassemble se ressemble!

During the holidays, as in life, you need a really solid co-conspirator; someone who will be up for all your crazy shenanigans, even if it gets them on the naughty list. When you find them, hold on to tight, they’re keepers!!

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family who are up for pretty much anything! Yes, some need a bit of coaxing, but once they commit, they are all in! Does everything always work out according to plan? Nope, but we always have fun!

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This is dedicated to my friend Aline in Moncton and my friend Lynn in Vegas.

I am hosting a small cocktail party in a few weeks and I have a special something planned. I will need a bit of help, so I recruited my nephew. I told him what I was planning and asked him if he was in? He said of course!! I will share the dets after the party, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. When you have a crazy idea, just go with it and see what happens.

Be a true bad ass!!

If you want to be a true bad ass this holiday season, volunteer at your local soup kitchen, pick up an extra toy when you’re doing your Christmas shopping; sign up to deliver food boxes or donate blood, hey, the blood donor clinics have free snacks!! We promise, your secret will be safe with us! We wouldn’t want to ruin your naughty reputation!

The underlying message of this post is that nothing and no one is perfect; so let it go and embrace the imperfect, half done projects and general hot mess that is life. If that gets you on anyone’s naughty list, so be it! I guess I will see you there, lol.

muah!!

Liette

Holiday Staycation!

Holiday Staycation!!

With the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out.

You’re giving so much to others, how about you treat yourself to something fun for you?? It’s not being selfish, it’s taking care of your heart and soul so you can be there for others.

Now this idea will vary depending on where you live, but it works anywhere and everywhere! The basic idea is to escape from your daily grind for 12 to 24 hours; with all the time that you spend doing laborious tasks, you deserve some time to yourself this month.

It’s easy and doesn’t have to be too expensive.

Step 1 – Find a holiday activity and book it!

Every city, large or small have holiday things to do. Look it up and buy tickets for you and your mate, friend or mom; whoever you want to share your Staycation with, just be sure it’s someone you like, lol.

If you don’t like concerts, go see a movie or find a craft show, just make certain it’s an activity that you enjoy.

I staycationed last night in Las Vegas; and yes, this city has a lot of options, but I couldn’t help but notice all the concerts people back home in my little hometown of Moncton are posting on social media. So you don’t have to live in a big city.

Seeing Mariah Carey perform her Christmas concert has been on my  bucket list since I moved here three years ago. I missed her last year, her Christmas concerts were too close to Christmas, I was already back home for my Christmas vacation.

But not this year!! I asked two of my close friends if they were interested and they said yes!! We bought our tickets in August.

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The lady can sing!! Her show was so much fun!!

Step 2 – Get a room!

Now you maybe thinking, why would I get a room in the city that I live in? It’s a waste of money. First of all, no it isn’t a waste! It’s part of your “you need a break” staycation.

So get a room, have a romantic night with your partner or have a pajama party with your BFF.

Here’s a helpful hint, if your schedule is flexible, pick a night that the hotel isn’t busy. Sunday nights are usually the best nights to get the best rate. Also, ask if they have a locals rate? Or ask them what night in the next few nights could they offer you the best rate? Call the hotel directly and tell them you are planning a special night and that you live in the city, they will help you, I promise!

My friends and I have booked a hotel room on the strip, because if you live here going to the strip is sort of a pain in the ass. The traffic, the people, the parking, the people, the walking…

But, if you have a room on the strip, you can have a few drinks without having to drive home; instead of dreading all the crazy party people who invade the city, you become part of the party.

Step 3 – Make a night of it!

So you have your show tickets, you booked your hotel room; now get dressed up and go out to dinner. Think of it as your very own Christmas party and make it special.

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My friend Shondra never disappoints! Her silver sequins jumpsuit was on point! Woman kept walking up to her all night to rave about her jumpsuit!

For our night on the strip, we booked a fancy restaurant and got dressed up in our shiniest outfits; Shondra out shined, as she should, because she is fabulous!

If you are parents of small kids, maybe your staycation is getting a hotel room, ordering room service and watching Christmas movies in bed? Hey, do you! Whatever you need to recharge your batteries.

Step 4 – Gifts!!

This is a bonus step; ask your staycation partner or partners if they want to exchange gifts? I mean it is Christmas!!

My friends and I did a « our favorite things » gift exchange. Turns out all of our favorite things include fuzzy slippers, candles and luxurious face masks and lotions!

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What a treat to get back to our room, take our heels off and put on our new fuzzy slippers! 

As we packed up and left Caesar’s Palace this morning, Shondra mentioned that it felt like we had been there for the whole weekend; which was exactly the point. We spent a solid 12 hours away from our regular lives; we laughed and made great memories that we will treasure for years to come. Moving forward, Mariah Carey’s, All I Want For Christmas, will make me think of my awesome friends in Las Vegas.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you are planning or could use your own Holiday Staycation!

For more pictures, videos and holiday gift ideas, follow me on Instagram and Facebook at: @oui-liette

Muah!

Liette

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So full disclosure, I am not a big drinker. I only drink 4 or 5 times a year and this was one of the nights. I think I started a trend, because after my impromptu photo shoot in front of this random hotel wreath, there was a line up of people waiting for their turn, lol.