Day Tripping in NB – Cornhill Nursery

Day Tripping in NB – Cornhill Nursery

This summer we are going to be jumping in our car and day tripping around the province. Today’s Day Trip is Cornhill Nursery, in Cornhill, NB; it’s located 40 min outside of Moncton near Havelock.

It’s the perfect weekend drive if you like seeing lush rolling green hills, expansive corn fields and sprawling dairy farms? If you’re into those sorts of beautiful, freaky green landscapes, then this is the perfect day tripping excursion for you!

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I had never been here before, I saw my friend Chantille post a few pics from her recent visit and it looked really cool. Today, I didn’t have much going on so I decided take a drive and check it out and I am happy I did. Also, I think the fact that I didn’t know much about this place made it seem more exotic, lol.

My nephew made a comment that the grounds of the nursery looked like the movie Narnia; I half expected some sort of magical fairy to fly past us. It felt like we were in a children’s fairy-tail storybook. I kept looking over my shoulder for some sort of wicked witch to jump out and offer me an apple or something? lol

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They have overgrown leafy arches that lead you from the parking lot to the nursery grounds. We could smell something delicious as soon as we got out of our car.

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It was an outdoor wood fire pizza oven; like of course it was? Having an outdoor pizza oven in the middle of a fairy forest is totally what you’d expect right? Lol

Since we were hungry, we’re pretty much always hungry, we decided to give their pizza a try.

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We were seated under this green canopy, see above; here’s our view from our picnic table, below.

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Each table had large stone vases with the sweetest smelling roses in them and the staff were super friendly and attentive.

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Here’s a close up of the rock vases.

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The pizza was delicious!! Even their water jugs were beautiful. It’s not fancy, they bring out your pizza in a white pizza box, which is perfect if you want to take your leftovers home.

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Even our picnic table neighbor was adorbs and very well mannered.

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There is also an indoor cafe, but if the weather is nice, eat outside. They sell those stone vases in the cafe, they are beautiful! A bit pricey, but certainly one of a kind and made right here in the Maritimes.

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It’s a full nursery, with beautiful plants and trees.

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Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? It was the strangest funky evergreen I’ve ever seen, maybe this place is magical after all?? There was a storm rolling in as we were leaving that just added to the other worldly feel of this place. The gray skies seemed to make everything look even greener, all of these pics were taken with my iPhone.

Even though the Atlantic provinces are open to each other, (for my none Canadian readers, Canadian travel within the country has been limited in order to get a grip on the spread of Covid, the four Atlantic Canadian provinces are now open to each other, because we are awesome: we listened to directions.) there are so many gems right here in New Brunswick that we need to explore and visit!

This day trip was spontaneous and awesome! Where should we go next and who wants to come with us?

muah!

Liette

Thanks for reading!!

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There is also a bunch of grape vines next door.

The Inspiring Story of the Birdhouse Lady

The Inspiring Story of the Birdhouse Lady

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Last weekend I was driving down Mountain Rd in Moncton, minding my own business, when something caught my eye; I saw the most colourful and unique birdhouses strewn across a parking lot.

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After picking up my friend Mary Helen, we went back to the parking lot to meet the birdhouse lady.

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Two funny things; the first is that the birdhouse lady’s name is Blanche, which in French means white; her birdhouses are pretty much every colour but white (except for her Acadian houses). The second thing is that I had just shared a blog post about colourful Maritime houses and then, bam! More colourful houses!

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Mary Helen made the observation that they looked like houses from Whoville in the Grinch.

 

I posted a few pics on Facebook and got inundated with questions of where people could buy them. Someone introduced me to her daughter who shared where her mom would be this weekend.

Weather permitting, on Saturdays Blanche is usually in Moncton on Mountain Rd, across the street from Rosario’s Restaurant. And on Sundays in Shediac, on the corner of Main St and Pointe du chêne Rd, in the parking lot across the Irving.

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Blanche is a true folk artist with a warm and welcoming personality who creates beautifully colourful houses; they just making you smile when you see them. I went back to see her this morning to buy a few houses for one of my cousin’s and had the opportunity to chat with her for a bit.

Blanche was kind enough to share a bit of her background with me. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring; at 13 she found herself homeless and sleeping in a car. She experienced many traumatic events and hardships in her young life. Unable to read or write she turned to carpentry and has been working in construction all of her life.

First of all; how bad ass is it to be a woman who makes her living in construction? It’s super bad ass!! Lol. She shared that she is able to do pretty much everything except for brick layering. She owns a small house in Moncton and updated her plumbing on her own; once done she had a licensed plumber come check her work. He confirmed everything was up to code and done perfectly. She said that she made him turn the water back on and there were no leaks!

She started making and painting these little houses and sells them on weekends. After knowing more about Blanche, I believe that the reason that so many people are drawn to her houses is because it’s a reflection of her spirit and joie de vivre. It may sound corny, but I believe that when something is created with love people are unconsciously drawn to them.

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Dawn also drawn to these colourful houses!!

To contact Blanche you can leave her a message on Facebook (Blanche Young) and I encourage you to post pictures of your birdhouses once you get them home and tag her. Her daughter helps her with her Facebook page and will be posting updates on where she will be selling her works of art.

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Thank you for reading! Like Blanche’s Facebook page: Blanche Young. Let’s support our local artists and let’s be thankful for all the bad ass woman out there, they are an example for us all!

muah!

Liette

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At Home With…Gilles and Kenda; not together, in their separate respective kitchens.

At Home With…Gilles and Kenda; kitchens made for entertaining.

Here in Atlantic Canada we’re kind of famous for our kitchen parties, so for this post, I am calling in the big guns. We will be taking a quick peek into two kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.

At Home With Gilles

My friend Gilles loves entertaining, and I hate to give him too many compliments, but he’s really good at it. (Oh for my American English friends, Gilles is pronounced more like Jill)

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First of all, he has one of the biggest island’s that I’ve ever seen; he loves cooking for his friends and family and, ugh, he’s a good cook too.

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His living, dining and kitchen area are one completely open space; all three areas are shades of brown and cream, which helps to create a seamless flow.
I’ve been over several times where he’s behind the counter cooking, usually lobster, while his guests are seated at the island watching the show; and by watching the show, I mean drinking.

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At the end of his huge island is his huge dining table, which was custom made by L’artisan Christophe from Tracadie, NB and it’s gorgeous!

The photo below is the view from his front door; let’s focus on the lighting over the island. It’s important that the lighting fixtures over your island be in proportion to the size of your island. Since Gilles has an over sized island, his lighting fixtures needed to be large and impactful without looking too heavy or bulky.

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These fixtures are perfection! First of all, they look like some sort of fishing net, which is perfect for a guy “du nord”. They are very large, but they don’t block the view; they’re basically see through, which works!

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He also has a big pantry, which I wasn’t allowed to photograph; it’s big enough to hid his blender and other small appliances that can clutter your counter top. When your kitchen is visible as soon as you walk through your front door, it helps to have a place to store all your messy stuff.

I pulled the yellow bowls out of his pantry because they matched the lemons. I think it adds a really nice small pop of color. I am going to recommend he get a bright yellow pot with a big green plant for his counter top.

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The glass of wine wasn’t part of my vignette, but I let him keep it in the shot, since it is his house and all, lol.

I asked Gilles what his favorite part of his house is; he said that nothing beats cooking on a Sunday afternoon with his TV muted on the golf channel while his music blares in the background. I’m assuming there maybe a big glass of red wine on the counter in this scenario too??

This is his view while standing behind his island; perfect for golf viewing.

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At Home With Kenda

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Kenda and I have been friends since we were babies; she was at my first birthday and my second…and my 50th. I was with her when she first visited her current lakeside condo; it was all kinds of shades of dusty rose. The kitchen and living room were separated by a wall with a cut out window, which I assumed was used to pass things from the kitchen to the dining area? It was very 70’s.

The first thing she did was to knock down that wall, which created one big open living space. The next thing she did was to paint over the rose walls…oh and the carpet and light fixtures were also dusty rose; let’s just say that the transformation was very dramatic.

Her open space is perfect for entertaining; one of the things that she does that I think is really clever is that she can extend the size of her island if needed.

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Above is her kitchen, her island is perfectly portioned for the size of her space. But when she has people over, she has the option of doubling the size of her island by moving her dining table.

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I don’t care how nice your living room is, during a party your guests will end up gathering around your kitchen island before the end of the night. When entertaining don’t be afraid to move things around and put things away in order to give you more room to parrrtay! Figure out how things are going to flow in order to avoid traffic jam areas. 
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Even with the length of her island doubled, she still has ample space to move around; and this temporary reconfig gives her the ability to have a sit down meal for 10 to 12 people. Or she can use this layout to display food and to set up her bar so that things flow properly. In my last post, I mentioned that my friend Guylaine was a fanatic on proper lighting; I am an expert on having things laid out in a way that creates the right flow.

I am not going to lie, I am a bit envious of Kenda’s space; it’s not a huge space, but the layout was so well thought out that it’s the perfect place to gather for a proper Maritime Kitchen Party.

Thank you for reading, I can’t wait for us to be able to gather with friends and family again. If there is one positive thing that comes out of this whole pandemic, it’s that I think we have come to appreciate how much we love and need each other.

Follow me on Facebook and Insta at: Oui-Liette for additional photos and videos and if you missed my last two posts peeking into peoples homes, here are the links:

https://oui-liette.org/2020/05/16/at-home-with-guylaine-and-claudia-the-bathroom-reno-edition/ and https://oui-liette.org/2020/05/12/at-home-with-nancy-take-a-peek-inside-her-150-year-old-country-house/

stay safe, muah!!

Liette

Behind the scenes

If you’re new to my blogs, I sometimes post some behind the scenes extras or fun facts. Here are two fun extras!

Kenda at my first birthday party.

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And again at my 4th. I think we were the same height in 1974?? Even though she’s a few months older; I am now a full head taller. 😁

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Corona Hair PSA

Corona Hair PSA – Public Service Announcement

Warning – for those of you who don’t think that we should be focusing and/or worrying about our hair during these crazy times, stop reading now!! Seriously, go away!!!! The rest of us know the power of a good hair day!! And the psychological impact of a bad hair situation on our self esteem.

Corona Hair

Yesterday should have been my regular scheduled hair appointment. I get my roots done every 4 weeks because my hair grows crazy fast and I hate having roots.
But Instead of freaking out, I’m going to wait this out and plan my big hair return strategy! OK, full disclosure, I did get bored a few weeks ago and put a temporary pink color in my hair. It turned out to be less temporary than expected, but it’s fine, I am fine; no one got hurt.

FYI pink hair looks good for exactly one day, the day you do it; it’s downhill after your first wash until it completely fades; but it’s fine, lol.

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Don’t do it!

I know that some of you are planning to take matters into your own hands; my first reaction is don’t do it!!!

My reasoning is that we are already mentally and emotionally fragile; and I know that you’re  thinking that doing your own hair will make you feel better; and it may? But it could just as easily go horribly wrong; it’s really a crap shoot.

I know that some of you aren’t going to listen to my sage advice, so I reached out to two of my fav professionals; my current hairstylist Tiffany and my former Las Vegas stylist, Colleen… you’re freaking welcome btw!

Color It?

Tiffany is pleading that you not attempt to color your own hair! Box dyes can be very messy and if you don’t get the color you were looking for it’s going to end up costing you more money to get it fixed, than had you just waited. “Everyone is in the same boat, we all have roots! Wait it out.”

If you absolutely can’t wait, Colleen, recommends that you reach out to your stylist and ask for his/her opinion on what you should use and how to use it? Some may even mix it for you? They may also be able to talk you off the ledge and convince you to wait?

Now if you’re thinking of doing your own highlights, don’t!! Colleen is one of the best stylists in Las Vegas and she says she wouldn’t even attempt to do her own foils at home.
That’s coming from a trained professional and not just me; and let me remind you that you are not a trained professional!!
Highlights use bleach and it can go real bad, real fast! It can fry your hair and make it brittle and break off. It can also turn copper orange or green; both of which won’t be cute on you!

To trim or not to trim?

Tiffany warns against major trimming unless you want to look like Joe Exotic from Tiger King. Lol

I am actually pretty good at trimming my own bangs, the trick is not to cut straight across. I would save any major style changes for your stylist!

The new you!

Here’s my plan; I am giving my hair a break and using this opportunity to grow out my bangs. Which we all know is a pain! I’m giving it such a break that washing it seems like a huge task these days; but apparently it’s good for your scalp to wash your hair less often, so going with that.

I’ve already picked out my new future hairstyle. I think this summer, or whenever we can get back to our new normal, will be a great time to make a big symbolic hair change; and I think you should consider it too. It will give you something to look forward to and it will be a super big pick me up at the end of all of this. The before and after pics should be pretty dramatic.

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So this is the style I am going to get; it’s basically just blonder and shorter; and I’ve had this style before, bottom right pic is me with this exact same do.

Tough love visualization

Close your eyes; it’s June something or other and we’re free to roam!! You’ve decided to put your favorite jeans on. They are a little tight, ok that’s being kind, they are really tight! But you’re owning your muffin top! Mostly because all your yoga pants have holes and stains on them; that was a lot of usage and stress on such thin spandex fabric! You’re doing your best to rock your copper highlights with green undertones; and in hindsight, your kitchen scissors probably weren’t sharp enough to properly trim your own bangs?

I am sorry that I had to take you there, but that is basically your future, lol. But seriously, be careful and repeat after me; “I did not go to hairdresser school!! I am not a qualified professional stylist!”

Thank you for reading this tongue and cheek post. But really don’t do your own hair!!

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

I got my roots done the day before they closed all the salons, so my hair is actually still looking pretty cute. I felt this post needed someone who was already struggling with theirs, so I recruited a famous hair model, who may or may not be one of my dozens of first cousins?? She’s hilarious and a great sport; she did give me permission to use her photo.

She has also decided to wait out the pandemic and not attempt to do her own hair, but unlike me, she has more than 4 weeks of roots; which means she isn’t as good of a pandemic planner as I am. And here’s the proof! Lol, her hair is always, always perfectly coiffed so this is my one and only time to have nicer hair; and I am sure she will get back at me for this side by side comparison, love you B!! ❤️❤️

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The look on my face is; she is going to get me for this pic!! lol. Our family are the greatest teasers! We love each other and we laugh a lot!

My blog is pretty much keeping me sane these days; I need to have things to do, so thank you so much for reading and sharing!!

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Coronavirus – Is it OK to not be OK?

Coronavirus – Is it ok to not be ok?

I consider myself to be a pragmatic optimist; I try to see the positive in every situation, but I am also able to adjust to pretty much any situation once I’ve had a moment to digest and recalibrate.

But this isolation situation is kicking my ass!! Have you ever realized how fortunate you are and then felt a bit of guilt for throwing yourself a pity party? That’s normally where my mind goes when I start thinking, poor me. I realize that a lot of other people have harder struggles than I do; so I tell myself to buckle up buttercup. In the past this way of thinking has served me well. It’s made me power on, and I have full intentions of powering on this time too, because I know that this too shall pass.

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But is it ok to not be ok for a moment? This week I’ll find out if I get laid off or not? Last week three of my friends and 3 of my family members lost their jobs. It looks like I will celebrate my 50th birthday alone, by myself in my apartment…in Moncton; not in Palm Springs with my friends as planned!!! The one year anniversary of my dad’s passing is creeping up on me stirring up crazy flashbacks. And I feel that things are just going to get crazier before they get better; that’s a tough thing to process for an optimist. So I think I am going to need a freaking moment!!!

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I was chatting with a friend on the phone today  and at one point in the conversation I asked her if she was having an anxiety attack? She was; we talked about nothing and anything until it subsided a bit. She suggested that I write a post about feeling anxious, worried and depressed.  

My posts usually have a funny or optimistic vibe; but I think there maybe some comfort in hearing that others are also struggling? So I am diving in here; this whole thing is just plain and simply fucked up! The world has come to a complete stop! And I’m sorry, but at this very moment, I am having a hard time finding the bright side or an immediate silver lining!

Ouff! There, I said it! It’s out there and to be honest, it feels good to blurt that out and release it. And for your mental health, I think that you should give yourself permission to lose it as well; but then, please find it again.

Maybe we should schedule our losing it outbursts so we don’t all lose it at the same time? Yes, that’s a good idea; we’ll need to take turns losing our shit. Let’s try to be extra kind to ourselves in these next few months; yes, I said months.

As a rule I try, and think I do a pretty good job, to not compare myself to others; but lately, with all this free time spent on social media, I’ve caught myself being a bit envious and I think others may be as well??

So if you’re not preparing gourmet meals for yourself/mate/family every night; it’s ok. If you aren’t creating daily super adorable Tik Tok videos with your children; it’s ok! If you want to punch your significant other in the throat because you can hear them chewing or breathing; it’s ok! If you live alone and have been wearing the same yoga pants for over a week; it’s ok!! It’s all ok!!

Anything that is helping you survive in isolation, that doesn’t hurt anyone else, is ok!! Ok?

That being said, if your not ok moments lasts for more than a moment; please call your folks, FaceTime your friends or set up a patio or driveway date with someone you love. And if that doesn’t help, please call your doctor and have a chat with them. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel like you’re going to be ok.

I was on the phone with my mom today; she must have sensed that I was having an off day because she told me that I need a project. She said that I don’t do well when I have nothing to look forward to. And of course she is right! She’s always right. So in order for me to be ok, I am going to need a fun project. So watchez-vous! My creative juices will be flowing, which can get scary?? Lol. Try to find something that you can do for yourself to help you be ok.

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To recap; it’s ok to not be ok for a moment. It’s ok to lose your shit, but then, please find said shit and keep on keeping on. No one’s life is perfect so avoid comparing yourself to others. Use any and all tools that are currently helping you survive. Find something to do that is going to help make you feel ok; and finally if you’re not ok moment is lasting more than a moment, please reach out for help.

Stay safe and let me know how you’re doing.

muah!

Liette

PS – looks like we all have extra time on our hands, sign up to receive my posts sent to you via email. They’re super amusing!! 🤣

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Physical Distancing While Socially Connecting

Physically Distancing While Socially Connecting.

5 ideas to help us feel good while we do good.

My previous post; 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid While Socially Distancing, was a funny attempt to lighten the mood a bit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the heaviness of our current situation; this post isn’t as funny, but I think it will help make us feel good.

Pink door

Let’s get started! Here are my 5 ideas that will help us feel good while we do  good!!

Feed a Friend

And by friend I mean a support worker!! This is my second week of working from home; and like so many of you, I’ve been working in my pajamas and eating chocolate chip cookies for lunch.
To be honest, I’ve struggled a bit being isolated, but do you know who is struggling more? All the healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, flight attendants, pilots, ticket agents, airport security people, cleaners, corner store and gas station people, 911 operators, police, ambulance employees and so many more!!!
They are working extra long hours so that our society doesn’t completely fall apart.

Those of us who are stuck home seem to be cooking up a storm in order to stay busy; why don’t “we” make a bit extra and drop off some food to someone we know who is working their butts off for the rest of us?

Is your cousin a nurse or a Cosco cashier? Call them up and tell them that you are dropping off a lasagna or homemade soup on their front step, so that they can relax with a home cooked meal after their shift.

On Sunday, my mom and I made a bunch of pâtée chinois; which in English translates to Chinese paste??? It’s meat and potatoes, so not sure what funky French person came up with that name? Lol, it’s Sheppard’s Pie; sorry I digress.

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Single servings of Sheppard’s Pie. My mom put cheese on hers, I went without.

We made a bunch and dropped some off to my brother and his wife. He works in a manufacturing plant, they make air exchangers for hospitals and big buildings. My sister in-law works for an airline; she’s been working crazy hours helping Canadians get back home; knowing that she’s getting laid off soon. 😕

They were so happy to get our goodies; we also gave a few to my mom’s senior neighbors who are scared to leave their apartments.

It warms my heart that others are « feeding a friend » too. My bff’s family own and work at Gustos, an amazing restaurant here in Moncton. Sadly they have had to close until this craziness passes (but will be opening for limited hours daily for Skip the Dishes orders soon). They happen to make the world’s best cheesecake! What did they do with all the cheesecakes they had left after closing??

I’ll tell you what they did; they, as a family, cut up mounts of cheesecake pieces and packed them up and delivered them to hospital workers!!

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Team Judson/Malenfant, my bff with her teenagers doing good for others!

Random acts of kindness

This is probably the easiest to do, be open to being kind and helping others when the opportunities present itself. I dropped off magazines that I was done with and left them in front of my neighbors door with a note the other day; she was thrilled. My across the hall neighbor, who is in his seventies, was outside the other day cleaning off all the cars in our parking lot after a dusting of snow. Canadian Blood Services is in need of blood, book an appointment and save a life.

Is your neighbor or family member one of those still working? Offer to walk their dog? Offer to pick up groceries for them. It doesn’t have to be super complicated.

Be thankful

This one is similar to being kind, but a little different; be thankful and say thank you. I was at the grocery store the other day and I thanked the cashier for showing up for her shift. She was a bit caught off guard and smiled and thanked me for thanking her; man I love Canada! She said that she stays 2 hours after her shift everyday to help sanitize the store as they are short staffed.

I have an office job, I sit at a desk, when not travelling, if my boss told me after my 8 hours that I needed to stay an extra 2 hours to help clean the office, I don’t think I would be very happy? But she has been doing it for over a week! So thank him or her!!

When you go to your corner store, thank the clerk, the grocery store staff, the pharmacy staff…If you are somewhere getting necessities and you see someone who is working,  thank them.

Let’s all just be thankful that when push comes to shove; and when some of us are called to take one for the team, that they do so without hesitation. They show up! So thank them!

Phone a friend

Everyone is saying that we need to be Social Distancing; I heard someone online mention that this is not what we need. We need to be physically distancing from each other, but we need to find a way to socially come together so that we are not alone. I thought that was a great point.

Check in on your friends, family and coworkers. Use technology to stay connected; I have a zoom video date with 3 of my bffs later tonight. And one of my friends in Las Vegas has set up a social mixer video call for this weekend.

I have been FaceTiming with friends all week and my boss has asked that our conference calls be video calls. I can’t imagine being home alone for weeks at a time without seeing the smiling faces of loved ones.

And if you are having a really bad hair day, then skip the video chats and talk on the telephone, old school.

Be kind to yourself

My first week inside I started feeling bad because I wasn’t motivated to work out in my living room or run up and down my stairs. I was comparing myself to all those people who are posting their workouts online. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that people are doing all of that. But I was feeling bad about myself because I had zero motivation to join in. And do you know what? That is ok; we all deal with stress and anxiety differently and we need to give ourselves permission to deal with things in our own way.

Want to have cookies for lunch, go for it! Don’t feel like getting dressed on a random Wednesday? That’s fine!! Do you and do what you need to do to comfort yourself and make yourself feel safe and whole.

I do think we need to be on the lookout for signs of depression in ourselves and our loved ones. But needing to retreat for a moment to re-calibrate ourselves is fine.

For the record, today is a random Wednesday and I am dressed and I just got back from an one hour long walk in the woods! Oh wait, it’s only Tuesday…or is it Thursday?? Oh shit I don’t know what day it is?? But I have real pants on! lol

My last helpful, be kind to yourself, hint is to turn off the news for a bit! At this point, I think we are all aware of the gravity of the situation, but hearing it over and over and over again isn’t helpful; for my mental sanity anyway.

I’ve been seeking out funny and ridiculously silly videos to balance things out a bit.

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Ok the hat, the hair and the face are all the same shade…not good! lol

If you have any other suggestions on how we can do good, please share!!

And if you haven’t read my 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing, here is the link; it was super amusing, lol.

https://oui-liette.org/2020/03/22/5-bad-ideas-to-avoid-during-social-distancing/

Thank you for reading, sign up to receive my blogs via email if you haven’t subscribed yet; seriously, you’ve got lots of time on your hands!! Lol

muah! stay safe and sane!

Liette

 

The Coronavirus; is this how we die? No! Wash your damn hands!

The Coronavirus; is this how we die? No! Wash your damn hands!

Full disclosure, I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional, but I am very well read and informed. I also travel (on planes) for work a lot; and have lots of friends who also travel for work, so I do feel that I have some valuable precautions to share.

First of all, let’s put things into perspective; statistically speaking if you live in North America you’re more likely to die from a shark attack or a snake bite than you are from the Coronavirus. That being said, it’s freaking scary to hear how fast it’s spreading every time you turn on your computer or the television.

There have been 80,026 ish cases reported in China so far, which sounds like a lot, but to put things in perspective, again; the population of China is estimated at over 1.428 Billion!!

And if you want something to be afraid of; here are some stats that should scare the shit out of you! The US CDC estimates that influenza, which is the flu that goes around every year, has affected (made sick) 9 million to 45 million people since 2010! Of those 140,000 to 810,000 needed to be hospitalized and between 12,000 to 61,000 have died… from the regular flu!

Can you imagine what life would be like if CNN started keeping count of everyone who was hospitalized and died from the flu? People would never leave their homes.

So let’s all calm the F down a little, because here’s the thing; the Coronavirus numbers are just going to keep increasing as more people are tested. So let’s chill out a bit and see what we can do to protect ourselves from the actual flu and not just the Coronavirus.

Wash your damn hands!

It maybe a bit frustrating to be told that over and over again; but even with all of our advances in science, the best way to prevent ourselves from getting the flu is still to wash our hands.

Here’s a shocker; most of us aren’t washing our hands properly. That’s right, most of us need a reminder on how to properly wash our hands! A squirt of soap and a few seconds under the tap isn’t going to cut it anymore.

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You should be lathering up for at least 20 seconds! And get a cloth ready so that when done, you don’t have to touch the dirty faucet with your clean hands.

DON’T use bathroom air dryers!!!

If you only retain one thing from this post, please let it be this point! I speak from experience on this one; I got the nastiest flu a few years ago while traveling and I am convinced I got it from bathroom air dryers.

Think about it for a minute; the air dryer pulls air from the bathroom and heats it up, then spits it out onto your freshly cleaned hands! This may give you nightmares; but do you know what floats around in the air in bathrooms? Fecal particles and other funky bacteria are floating around in there! And the heat from the dryers just makes all those things grow faster.

Some air dryers now have HEPA filters that will cut down some, but not all, of the funky stuff growing in the dryers. But how do you know if the mall’s air dryer has a HEPA filter? You don’t! So wash your hands and get the hell out of that bathroom, with your hands dripping wet, as quickly as possible, lol.

I’ve starting hoarding napkins in my purse; if I encounter a bathroom with air dryers only, I am all set! I’ve also started carrying a packet of disinfectant wet towelettes with me; which leads us to our next tip.

Disinfectant Stuff

I have never been paranoid about germs and I still don’t think we should be overly obsessed; but I do think we need to create new habits for our new reality. One of my new habits is that I carry a plastic baggie in my purse that contains wet wipes and a small bottle of hand gel sanitizer. Make sure that the ones that you buy contain 60% alcohol. You should probably also throw in a small tube of hand lotion; all that washing and sanitizing is going to dry out your hands.

As mentioned above, I keep a small stash of napkins in my purse as well; perfect for drying my hands or if I need to touch something that looks gross, lol.

When Flying

A few weeks ago I shared a post on how to not get sick while flying; here is the link if you want to read: https://oui-liette.org/2020/01/27/how-to-not-get-sick-on-a-germ-infested-airplane/

Part of my new flying habit is that before getting settled in my seat, I wipe down every possible surface around me; window, tray table, arm rests, head rests… with an extra large Lysol pack that I have in my travel bag; on my last flight, I shared with my seat neighbor, he was very thankful.

I also have a baggie in my purse with latex gloves; yes, my purse is filled with various baggies, lol. I try really hard to avoid having to use the washrooms on board, but if I do need to go, I am ready! I put on a pair of latex gloves; I leave the bathroom without washing my hands; I remove my gloves and put them in a separate baggie and then wipe my hands with my towelettes. Latex gloves would also be a great option for really scuzzy bathrooms, not just airplanes bathrooms.

Do you need a mask?

Authorities are telling us no; and that we should stop buying them so that they are available for medical workers. Most of the masks that you see people wearing don’t actually block the virus out anyway; only the N95 masks will actually help prevent you from getting sick.

I have an N95 mask, my local pharmacy had a bunch on display the other day so I grabbed one. I will keep it in my travel bag in case of an emergency. What will constitute an emergency? Maybe someone sitting next to me who is clearly sick?

Other precautions

  • Don’t touch your face; this one is a tough one for me. I am forever touching my face, but am trying to be more mindful.
  • Stop shaking hands; chances are the person you are shaking hands with doesn’t really want to shake your hand either?
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow, a tissue; just cover your mouth with anything, but your hands. Then just to be safe, sanitize your hands after anyway.
  • If you do get a cold or are not feeling well, stay home!
  • In addition to creating a plastic baggie of disinfectant stash for your purse or travel bag; it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a mini survival kit for your home.
    • If something happened that you would need to stay in your home for a week or two; what would you need?
    • This is something you should have for natural emergencies and disasters; not just for this darn virus. Being prepared is never a bad idea!

I hope this post helped put a few things into perspective and has helped to calm your fear, just a bit?

Thanks for reading; feel free to share! And please, wash your damn hands!!! No seriously, go wash your hands…now!! And when was the last time you disinfected your phone or keyboard??

Muah!

Liette

 

The Other Vegas – My love letter to this great city!

The Other Vegas – My love lettre to this great city.

It’s already been two months now since my big move from Las Vegas back to Canada; and although I am happy to be back home, the past three and a half years there were a great adventure!

A common reaction when people find out that you live or lived in Las Vegas is always; oh I could never live there. Or, it’s fun for 3 days, but I couldn’t handle living there.

Yes it’s a party city if you’re visiting and staying on the strip; but for those who live there it’s a normal town with lovely people…ok, sort of normal.

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In this post, I would like to give you an insight of what it’s like to live there and what makes Las Vegas so special; aside from the casinos, amazing entertainment and world class restaurants. But before we get started, let me just say one thing; I didn’t leave because I didn’t like living in Las Vegas. My master plan was always to stay 3 to 5 years. I came for an adventure and to further my career; done and done!!! I am very much a Canadian and a Maritimer down to my soul, so there was never any question in my mind that I would stay in the US permanently.

Where will you live?

Ok, let’s move on! When you decide to move here all the locals want to know if you will be living in Henderson or Summerline? It’s very serious business; each side tries to convince you to move to their area.

Driving from one area to the other is maybe 25 to 35 minutes? Which doesn’t seem very far right? But the weird truth is that once you move to one area, you rarely venture to the other side; and when you do, it’s a big deal, lol.

Las Vegas is the most convenient city ever! It doesn’t matter what area you move to, everything you need can be found within a 5 mile radius; everything!!! Your hairdresser, doctors, grocery store, pharmacy….most everything you need is literally a 3 min drive; so there is no need to leave your hood.

Full disclosure, once I settled in and had a friend from Moncton moving to Las Vegas; I too became one of those people who tries to convince new people to move to their area. I believe my exact words to my friend Sean were; “you can move to Summerline if you want, but I won’t go visit you; you’ll have to come to me in Henderson!”

Get back to nature!

When you think of Vegas, I bet that enjoying nature isn’t the first thing that comes to mind? But there are amazing, like freakishly amazing, things to see and do there. Most people that visit and stay on the strip don’t even notice that Las Vegas is in a valley; it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides, which means that there are lots and lots of hiking trails!

The hills are not exactly alive with the sound of music, but they are beautifully colorful! There’s plenty of reds, whites and sometimes pinks and purpleS. Red Rock is a 20 minutes ish drive from the strip; it has amazing trails for hiking and rock climbing.

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But my personal favorite spot to bring friends when visiting was The Valley of Fire; which is approximately 50 minutes from the strip. It really feels like you’re on another planet. There is a zen vibe that you will feel as soon as you arrive. You can even see petroglyphs; how many of you have seen petroglyphs??

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Henderson, where I chose to live because it’s way cooler than Summerline, 🤣😆, is 20 to 25 minutes from the Arizona boarder. My friend and I discovered some amazing and really challenging trails on the Arizona side of the boarder.

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Our first hike was to Liberty Bell, truth be told, we got lost on that first hike so it took us a bit longer than planned. It’s amazing to walk up and down, and up and down the trails to eventually happen upon this enormous rock formation!

The main trail eventually splits into two; one leads to the Libert Bell and the other leads you to the hot springs. Again as you walk these trails, you feel like you’re on another planet; especially if you’re from the east coast where everything is green.

Water fun!

I am from Atlantic Canada, my house was a 15 minute drive from the beach. When I moved to the desert I never imagined that I would be buying my very first kayak there…in the desert.

Like most of my activities, I discovered Willow Beach via Pinterest; I would search fun things to do in and around Las Vegas and go do them.

Willow Beach is less than an hour’s drive from Henderson; and like The Liberty Bell, its on the Arizona side and it’s the most amazing place that I’ve ever experienced.

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Full disclosure the water is cold, that being said, it’s never stopped me from jumping in! It’s in a valley surrounded by mountains; so while kayaking we’ve seen grazing mountain goats and bald eagles flying overhead. The water is so crystal clear that you can see fish swimming under your kayak; pretty big fish.

There’s an area called Emerald Cove where the water is the prettiest color of green. There are a few areas that you can beach your kayak and enjoy a picnic and swim.

I bought a kayak, but you can also rent them; it’s actually easier to rent them. You can also rent pontoon boats, which I haven’t done yet, but it’s on my list.

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No kayak? No problem! In July and August, it’s actually too hot for a lot of physical activities. But if you leave early in the morning before it gets too hot, you can float.

In honor of my Canadian heritage; I bought an inflatable beaver instead of a unicorn or swan. If I am being honest, the main reason I got it was to be able to say that my beaver and I went to the lake, when asked what I did on the weekend. Come on, that’s pretty funny!!

Anything is possible in Vegas!

A few years ago, I made a bucket list; one of the items on my list was to ride a camel. Since Las Vegas is in the desert, I figured there should be a place nearby where you could ride camels? And I was right!! An hour and twenty minutes from the strip is a place called Camel Safari.

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I brought my nephew with me and we had so much fun! I had heard that camels can be assholes, so I was a tiny bit apprehensive; but the camels at Camel Safari were very well behaved. Now I am not a camel expert, but I think that they were so chill because they are happy and well taken care of; they have lots of room to roam with their camel friends when not on safari.

Funny story, some of my coworkers, who have lived in Vegas for a long time, would see my Facebook posts and ask me on Monday morning; where the hell were you this weekend? Lol, I did a lot more activities in my first year there than most locals have done ever.

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Another activity on my bucket list was to go up in a hot air balloon, and guess what? You can do that there too! Please note that they don’t go up during the heat or the summer because of the crazy winds; Las Vegas is freakishly windy…who knew??

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I was a bit nervous that this would be scary, but the feeling of floating was very peaceful and the views were spectacular!

Don’t bet against Las Vegas!

I feel that Las Vegas is like your friend who has super high self esteem and thinks that he/she can do anything; so they basically figure out a way to do everything!

Outdoor skating in the desert sounds ridiculous right? Well never bet against Las Vegas, because they will figure it out.

My friend Lynn asked me if I knew how to skate one cool day in November? Hello! I am Canadian, of course I know how to skate. We ended up skating on the roof top of the Cosmopolitan Hotel overlooking the strip.

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And Vegas doesn’t do anything half assed, the skating rink included fire pits for roasting marshmallows and for making s’mores; chocolate martinis, mini grilled cheese sandwiches with hot tomato soup and snow!! It was pretty magical!

Turns out there are outdoor winter wonderland villages throughout the city that pop up in November and stay open until January.

People laughed when Vegas announced that they would be getting their own NHL hockey team; yeah, they didn’t laugh for long!

I attended the second home game and it was wild! I’ve seen NHL games in Montreal, Boston and Florida; I also spent most of my childhood in rinks, so not to brag, but I know hockey. Believe me when I say that there is nothing like seeing a game in Las Vegas!!!

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Can the opening “show” be a bit tacky? Yes, but it needs to be, it’s Las Vegas Baby! Each game is a party! As mentioned above; I attended the second home game against Detroit and I would say that 65% of the fans were Red Wings.

People come to Vegas to see their team play against the Knights; they actually plan their trip around the hockey schedule; and just a warning that every game ends up being pretty much sold out, so plan accordingly.

As that first season progressed, more and more of the locals began showing up in their Knights jerseys, myself included. But it’s still very normal to see a lot of visitor team jerseys in the stands; and what I love is that there are no crazy cat calls or rude behavior between fans. If you don’t know what I am talking about, try wearing a Habs Jersey to a Bruins game! Let me know how that works out for you, lol.

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That first season the Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. I had to remind some of my friends that expansion teams don’t make it to the finals their first season…like ever! It’s like Vegas didn’t know that it was hard? Lol.

It was an amazing thing to see and experience everyone embrace the Good Ol’ Hockey Game…in the desert.

Hockey’s not the only winter game in town; do you ski?? Guess what? There is a ski hill 50 minutes from the strip. You can ski Mount Charleston in the morning and sit by the pool in the afternoon…ok the only ones sitting by the pool in the « winter » are Canadians.


You name it, you can do it!

Can you partake in a fancy high tea in Las Vegas? Yup! How about some dim sum in Chinatown? Not a problem!

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I seriously don’t think there is one thing that I’ve googled that hasn’t been doable in Las Vegas. It’s like each activity you search, Las Vegas says; yes, challenge accepted!!

The very best part!!

The absolute best thing about Las Vegas, by far, are the people who call it home.

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I’ve never experienced a community so inclusive and inviting. Maybe it’s because the majority of residents aren’t from here? So they know what it feels like to move here and get settled? Or maybe it’s because a vast majority of locals work in the hospitality industry? Whatever the reason is, they are as friendly as the people back home!

I knew a handful of people there when I moved, but not that many; two of my now closest Vegas friends worked at the same company as me, but I didn’t know them prior to moving there.
Lynn W invited me out for dinner my first week there and flat out told me that we were going to be friends; turns out she was right!
I met Shondra during a dinner with a bunch of service technicians; she also pretty much decided we would be friends forever; and I am blessed that she did!
My friend Staci and her husband, Aaron, took care of me as soon as I landed. They helped me get my huge king size bed home and quickly became my family away from home.
I had one close friend there when I moved; Claudia and I had been work partners for over 10 years prior to my big move. Who knew our bond could get even stronger? We got promoted together, visited NY and Paris together and celebrated our birthdays together.
And then there is Travis, Lynn D and Barney who I love and miss already!

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Thank you Las Vegas for welcoming a Maritime girl from the other side of the continent and making her feel right at home in the desert!!

And for those who visit and wonder who would want to live there? Awesome, fabulous people live there; that’s who! ❤️

muah!!!

Liette

 

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.

 

Taking It Off Finale – Month 6

Taking It Off Finale – Month 6

Week 26

Here we are, the first week of 2020. And I DID IT!!! I hit my goal of 30 + a few extra pounds the first week of December!! I averaged 1.8 pound per week. My first few weeks were all over the place. I would gain 2 pounds one week and then lose 4 the next week, but eventually it evened out.

What’s my secret? Wait for it; I ate less!! You’re welcome!! Who knew?? I am going to reveal this new secret in a book and make millions of dollars.

My big ah, ha moment was that losing weight is one big mind game. You can tell yourself that you want to lose weight, but until your mind is 100% in the game, I don’t think you can be successful?

It also takes awhile for your mind to let you see that you’re changing. The first time I was like; holy shit, you’re doing it! Was when I saw this picture below that my friend took of me on one of our outings. I usually avoid full body shots, because they have made me feel fat and bad about myself. This was the third week of October, I was down 24 ish pounds at the time. And obviously my body was changing, but my mind hadn’t caught up yet until I saw this pic.

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By mid November I was down almost 30 pounds and ready for my inspiration outfit. To recap, I wanted to wear a sequin skirt and top that had been hanging in my closet for three years.

Well it turns out the skirt ended up being too big for me!!! So I never got to wear it, but I am fine with that!

Here I was feeling my best self the night of the Mariah Carey Christmas concert. Ok, I may also have been feeling a few lemon drop martinis?

Since your mind can play games with you, I think taking pictures are a great way to gauge how you’re doing, because the camera doesn’t lie, but filters do! But that’s cheating.

It can be hard to stay motivated, especially when your mind is feeding you negative messages, you need to find ways to shut that shit down. Remember when I was having a bad week and went to the grocery store and walked around holding a ten pound bag of potatoes? That may have sounded silly, but it helped re-set my mind.

I was feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere, that it was taking too long; I wasn’t seeing results, I was feeling discouraged because I was only down ten pounds. Physically walking around holding ten pounds of potatoes showed me how heavy that is and how much I had accomplished.

The point here is that I had to find concrete visible or tactile ways to prove to myself that I was succeeding, because there were times that my mind was trying to sabotage me. Why? Maybe because change is harder than the status quo??

I did base myself on Weight Watchers knowing it wasn’t a diet, these were new habits that I needed to adopt for life.

I had to create new habits and train my mind to think differently. I started questioning myself and still do every day; I ask myself why I am eating? Am I hungry? Or am I bored or upset?

And the questions don’t stop there, when I am eating I take breaks and ask myself if I am still hungry? I’ve found that 1/3 of my meal is enough. So I pack it up and eat some of it or all of it later.

I also realized that I need something sweet everyday. In the past I would have denied myself and then lost it and pigged out. On Weight Watchers as long as you allow points for your treats you can eat whatever you want, in moderation of course.

So if I want a cookie, I get a cookie! But again I talk to myself. I don’t eat the whole thing, well sometimes I do, but most times I figure out that  half or a few bites are enough to satisfy me. I have shared my tricks with a few people who have said that they could never just eat half a cookie. Yes you can!! I don’t give the rest away, I earned that damn cookie, it’s mine! I save it for later. So instead of having two, or three cookies at 6 points each I have one, but I make it last.

That’s been my approach, but everyone needs to find their own tricks.

Personally, I believe that for me to succeed I need to be mindful of why I’m eating, what I’m eating and how much I’m eating.

I’ve proven to myself that I am a great loser, but I have yet to prove that I’m a great maintainer. If I was, it would be one and done, but sadly it doesn’t work that way. I am sure everyone reading this has also proven that they can lose, the losing part is easier than the keeping it off part.

I also don’t think we’re always realistic when we set out to lose weight. We imagine or fantasize about how life will be different or better if we’re 30 pounds lighter. First of all, you’re the same person, there is just a little less of you. Losing weight won’t make you more confident or happier. Can it help you feel better? Yes, but you’re the same person with the same issues you had before.

So you need to figure your shit out. If you’re an emotional eater, like me, and you do manage to lose weight, but you haven’t found other ways to deal with your emotions, you’re eventually going to gain the weight back.

That’s my thing, I was using food to cope with feelings. If I want to maintain I’ll need to check myself regularly to make certain I don’t fall back into old habits.

Losing weight is exciting. Yes it’s hard, but there is a payoff when you step on that scale every week and you’ve had a good week, you get a rush and a sense of accomplishment. You don’t have that feeling when you’re maintaining. If you stay the same, you’re relived, but if you’ve gained then you have failed.

That’s been my internal dialogue in the past, I tend to be an all or nothing type of girl and I can be hard on myself. If I’m not winning then I must be losing. I am trying to come up with a new, kinder and gentler inner dialogue. I’m currently figuring that out.

Take a look at the pics below, the one on the left was last winter and the one on the right was taken a few days ago. Side note, it’s been exactly one month since my nose surgery, I had a small cancerous thing removed off the bridge of my nose. It’s still a little red, but wow, it’s healing well! I was worried. I am no nutritionist, but I assume that healthy eating and lots of water have helped my body heal itself?

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I’m proud to report that I survived the holidays without gaining weight! And that included moving in with my mom while I waited for my furniture to arrive from the US. I did have to tell her to stop buying cheesies!!

I do want to lose a bit more weight, but 30 seemed more mentally manageable, so that was my initial goal. Be realistic and break it up if your goal number is intimidating, go for 10 at a time.

I hope this series has helped motivate you a little? Just so you know, I am a middle aged woman who has gone up and down like most of you reading. I don’t have any special weight loss talent or secret; so if I can do it you can do it too…again! Because like me, I’m sure you’ve been there, done that and have the t-shirt.

We’re all flawed and do our best to survive, so  if you aren’t ready to make big changes, that’s ok too. Start small, start drinking more water. Before you chow down on something you know probably isn’t the best choice, down a big glass of water, it will take up some of the available room in your tummy and make you feel full faster.

And finally, can we stop judging each other? You know what I am talking about; she’s too thin, she’s too fat, she thinks she’s better than everyone else…. No, she’s just doing the best she can with the challenges she’s dealing with that you know nothing about.

My goal for myself for 2020 is to use all the tools and tricks that I’ve picked up in the past 6 months to stay on track and to be kinder to myself. I will do my best, sometimes my best will be awesome and other times I’m certain that the best that I can muster will be far from perfect. I need to remind myself that that doesn’t mean that I am failing.

Bonne chance!

muah,

Liette

The incredible shrinking cheeks!

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