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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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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5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing

5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing

So it’s been 9 days of social distancing; here are 5 bad ideas that I am going to caution you against doing. But who are we kidding, you’re probably making your way through this list as we speak? Good luck you bad ass rebel!

Top 5 Bad Ideas

Bad Idea #1

There is something about being held up in your home that makes you want to cook; which is great right? You’ll make those homemade energy balls/bars that Buffy from the gym’s been bragging about; yes you’ve been meaning to make those for weeks, but you just didn’t have the time.
You now have all kinds of time, but who are we kidding; you aren’t going to be rolling oats and gluten free flour to make protein balls. No, you’re making a double batch of chocolate chip cookies! And some of you are eating the dough straight out of the bowl….am I right?

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I got creative and made spring time chocolate chip cookies; they are just like regular cookies, but fancier! Obviously.

Bad Idea #2

Do not Dye or cut your own hair during a global pandemic!! The urge for a makeover is just going to get stronger as the weeks go bye; you must resist!! Your brain will start messing with you; sending you false messages like; you got this!! And how hard could it be?? Repeat after me; you don’t got this and it’s really, really hard!!

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Also try to avoid dying your own hair pink on a Friday night; it’s not as cute on Saturday morning…so I’ve heard.
Hats will be our best friends in the weeks to come! I have lots, message me if you need to borrow one.
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Bad Idea #3

Cleaning and organizing is bad idea #3; now this sounds like the perfect activity while stuck home right? In theory it’s a great idea depending on your approach. Do not take everything out of your closet all at once, because half way through your spring cleaning you’re going to need a nap and when you wake up, you aren’t going to be as motivated as you were just a few hours earlier.
What will happen next can go two ways; the first will be to leave mounds of clothing on your bed and walk away. For the next three days you will move the clothes from your bed to the floor at bedtime and then from the floor back onto the bed in the morning. Or you will just take the mounds of clothes and shove them back into your closet and close the door quickly; pouff! Problem solved.

Bad Idea #4

We all know that we shouldn’t  drunk text; well the same is true with online shopping while bored. Yes, online shopping will give you an instant surge of endorphins, that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. But that buzz will quickly fade once you start doing the math.
And honestly who’s going to see those four pairs of cute new shoes..OK, six cute new pairs while you are socially distancing?

Do you know what? I am changing my mind, this may not be such a bad idea? Those 8 pairs of new shoes will bring you joy while stuck in your house for the next few weeks. Keep them and wear them with pride!! I am taking #4 off the bad list; this is an awesome idea! Do it!!

Bad Idea #5

So you maxed out your credit cards on day 6; you’ve just finished your box of wine and you’re thinking that now would be a great time to drunk texted your ex!! Just to say hi or hey, if you’re a guy. Don’t do it!! Abort!!!
Yes, there’s something about a global pandemic that makes you yearn for connection with others; and really how bad was he/she??
Repeat after me; they aren’t your friend, they broke up with you via messenger and only reach out to you when they need something from you!! Go bake a double fudge chocolate cake or go trim your bangs; you got this!! Or hey! I think you need another half dozen new pairs of shoes!! Look how empty your closet is!

Good luck on avoiding these bad ideas; a great idea is to stay in touch with friends and family. We are all going to need each other as the weeks go bye. Stay safe and try to see the funny side of things when at all possible.

muah!!! Big virtual hug to all of you!!

Liette

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How to not be “that guy” when flying!

How to not be “that guy” while flying and in airports.

In addition to being a frequent flyer; I also have lots of friends who are constantly flying all over the place. Let us guide you so that you’re not “that guy” in the airport or on the airplane; you know, “that guy”, who is so annoying, everyone secretly wishes he/she would trip and fall on his over sized carry on bag.
(Please note that my use of “that guy” is a unisex).

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photo by me!! Cool eh! I love taking pics of fluffy clouds.

Don’t be “that guy” tip #1

Don’t be “that guy” who’s absolutely clueless while going through security and slows everything down. You know “that guy” who’s not paying attention; who doesn’t take off his/her shoes or belt until they are told to, even though they see everyone in front of them doing so.
Or “that guy“ who needs 5 binds and has his stuff all over the place. Hey!! “That guy”!! Pay attention, listen and keep your security game tight!!!

Don’t be “that guy” tip #2

Don’t be “that guy” who decides that he/she is  going to stand on the airport conveyor walking belt instead of walking; and not only are they just standing there, but they stand in the middle so that no one can pass them.
Listen “that guy”; you may not be in a hurry or have an almost impossible connection to make; good for you!! But others do and we need to truck it, so move!!!

For those who need a little rest, just stand to the right side and people will pass you without secretly wanting to hit you upside the head…thank you!

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Don’t be “that guy” tip #3

Don’t be that guy who tries to guilt trip other passengers into switching seats in order to sit next to their lover.
Here’s the rule, you may ask someone to switch seats for an equal seat; but don’t try to give me an aisle seat if I am sitting in a window seat. And don’t even think about asking to switch an aisle or window for a middle seat. And be nice when asking; your bad planning isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to fix!
That being said; don’t be that “other guy” who isn’t accommodating to parents with small children or elderly people.

Don’t be “that guy” tip #4

This next one is  controversial; but I am going for it! Just because your seat can recline doesn’t mean you should recline it. We all know that the airlines are cramming in as many seats as possible; our personal space on flights are getting ridiculously tiny. Don’t be an ass and recline your seat in the lap of the person behind you.
This has recently happened to me and I was “that other guy” who kept shoving her water bottle in the seat pocket in front of her; in turn poking “that guy” in the spin….not sorry!!!

The only acceptable exception is I’d you’re flying at night.

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My seat mate had to have one leg in my space and one leg in the aisle because “this guy” needed to recline!!!🤬

Don’t be “that guy” tip #5

This next one applies to a bunch of people, so calling them “those guys”. Don’t be “those guys” who when they start the boarding process by zones rush to line up right away; when it’s not their turn.
If you’re in zone 5 and they are boarding zone 1 and 2, don’t line up!! It’s not your turn!! This happens all the time; the other day my zone was called and I am standing behind people only to realize that the line wasn’t moving forward, because their zones hadn’t been called yet; yet there they were all lined up, blocking the way for others, like me, from getting through. Pleas stop being “those guys”!!

Don’t be “that guy” tip #6

Don’t be “that guy” who seems surprised when their over sized bag doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment. We know that you know it’s was never going to fit; so drop the act. And it doesn’t matter how many times you push and shove it, it’s not going to fit so give up already; you’re holding up the line! Suffer through the next few hours with that huge bag in the small space allotted for your feet. I hope you used the next few hours to contemplate the consequences of your life decisions, lol.

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I don’t like carrying on my bag, but I can when I need to. Paris for 9 days with one little white bag!!

Don’t be “that guy” tip #7

Don’t be “that guy” who’s rude to the flight attendants; this is never acceptable!! They can’t control the weather, they aren’t to blame for mechanical issues or any other delays. They show up to work their shifts and have to deal with a lot of cranky and smelly, yes smelly, flyers.
Their main job isn’t to get you coffee it’s to keep you safe; so pay attention, make eye contact and hey; why don’t you smile at them and greet them with a hello and leave them with a goodbye or a thank you?

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Photo from a friend of mine who’s an actual flight attendant; be nice!

I could go on and was planning on sharing 10 tips, but I am going to pause here so we can reflect and practice the 7; don’t be “that guy” tips above. Plus I am getting myself worked up, so I need to take a break!! Lol. But this is not the end; there will be a part two!!
And if you’re thinking; man Liette’s a cranky traveler! I am not…most of the time. Traveling for work and traveling when on vacation are two very different things. Business travelers tend to be more focused and in a hurry to get home after a week away.

Thank you so much for reading. I am getting lots of new readers; thanks to those who share my posts via Facebook! And if you haven’t yet subscribed to receive my blog, please do below!

I am just a girl who is sharing her thoughts in, hopefully, an entertaining way. And by girl, I mean, middle aged woman; and by middle aged, I mean, I am middle aged if I plan on living to be 100!! Pfff…it could happen, lol

thank you, merci!!!

muah!
Liette

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Photo by @radiantphotography

Don’t be “that guy” bonus tip!

Please if you aren’t feeling well, don’t fly!! Trust me, you don’t want to be “that guy” sneezing or coughing on a plane these days!!

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This guy coughed from Boston to Toronto on my flight a few days ago. Let’s just say he got death stares from most of the passengers aboard. 

 

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.

wash your hands

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

 

How to not get sick on a germ infested airplane.

 

How to not get sick on a germ infested airplane.

I just flew back from Vancouver on Friday and I’m packing for a trip to London on Wednesday.

As I was walking through the Vancouver airport, I couldn’t help but think and worry about the coronavirus that seems to be spreading; especially since Vancouver has so many Chinese and Canadians flying in between both countries.

I’m always worried about getting the flu while traveling, and realistically, the flu will affect more flyers than the coronavirus will; but it still seems a bit scary.

My mom, who never really worries about me traveling; told me yesterday that I should get a mask to wear on the plane. And then this morning, my friend Shary posted a video on how to protect yourself while flying.

So I am sharing a few tips from that video and a few others that I regularly practice.

Pre-flight

– Vitamine Boost: I load up on vitamines leading up to any important trip. Traveling is exhausting and you’re more likely to get sick if you’re run down and tired; so I try to be proactive.

– Hydrate: I try to drink as much water as possible, not just when flying; I do feel it just helps your overall health. If you aren’t a regular heavy water drinker; I suggest you try to drink a more leading up to your flight.

In- Flight Tips

Tip # 1 – Disinfect! Disinfect! Disinfect!!

I’ve always known that the inside of an airplane is basically a giant petri dish. I used to try not to dwell on it, but I’ve just added disinfectant wipes to my travel bag. Moving forward, before sitting my butt down in my seat, I’ll be wiping down all surfaces; from my seat and headrest to my seatbelt buckle and window.

Tip # 2 – Rubber Glove It!

I think there is a fine line between being careful and being paranoid. I can’t see myself wearing gloves the whole flight, but I am packing a few pairs of latex gloves that I’ll put on if I need to go to the restroom. I suggest wearing them if you need to go and then pop them in a plastic baggy; the same one that you will put your used wipes in after your wipe down.

I try my best to avoid having to go to the rest room on flights. I load up on water the day before my flight, but I don’t drink a lot on the actual flight.

Tip # 3 – Drinks? No thank you!

This is going to be a hard one for some of you, but I suggest not drinking anything from the stewardess or steward in flight. For sure say no to the water they serve, it’s from a huge tank. Guess who else, besides me, don’t drink that water? Most flight crews!! They bring their own bottled water.

I  also suggest that you say no to anything served in one is those plastic cups. The air on planes is recycled, so don’t put your mouth on anything that is out in the open or that others are touching.

Ask for the can of pop and bring your own straw if you must? I bring my own water bottle that I sip during the flight.

Tip #4 – Have mask, will travel.

There were lots of travelers in Vancouver wearing masks in the airport and a few on my flight. I’ve never worn one before, but I just added a few to my travel bag. Coronavirus or not, there is nothing worse than boarding a long flight and hearing that one passenger cough that horrible cough, you know that super gross wet cough.

I think if you’re the one coughing, you should be the one wearing the mask; I wish the airline would hand them out to anyone who looks sick, mmmm what a great idea!

I will be putting a mask on if I get stuck sitting near anyone who looks or sounds sick; better safe than sorry.

Tip #5 – DO NOT USE RESTROOMS AIR DRYERS!!!

This tip is not just when you travel or fly, this needs to be a new lifestyle rule! And here’s why; a few years ago I was visiting casinos with my coworker, I’ll call her Mary, because that’s her name, lol. Anyway Mary and I were on the road in Vancouver actually, going from casino to casino, drinking lots of water and coffee along the way.

I’m pretty sure we visited a dozen casino restrooms (bathrooms for my US readers) that week and each one had those had air dryers.

The night before we left YVR, Mary said her throat was starting to tickle; and by the next morning she was full on sick with a fever.

We were on different flights; I kept checking in on her to see how she was doing. I felt so bad for her, traveling when you feel like shit is the worst!

I felt fine until that evening when I got home. Like Mary, my throat started to tickle and by the time I was ready for bed, I had a high fever.

Long story short, we were both sick with some funky antibiotic resistant strain of, I am not sure what? We both had several trips to the clinic and both of us needed several different types of meds before we got better.

I’ve never been that sick in my life; and in case you’re  wondering, yes I do get my flu shot every year.

While I was bed bound, I saw this report on how restroom air dryers are the perfect distributors for bacterias and germs. I will spare you the gory details, but I am convinced that’s how Mary and I got sick. And I’ve not use one of those air dryers since and I never ever willI again! I suggest you do the same.

Wish me luck on my next trip, I am going to do my best to stay healthy! Fly safe to all the snowbirds getting ready to head south.

It’s also a great to update your suitcase emergency stash every once in awhile. I’ve just bought new supplies for mine.

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Since I travel a lot, I have things that I don’t unpack. In addition to my emergency pack, I also have a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a razor and a lint brush that stay in my suitcase. It makes packing a lot quicker!

Oh and I have some cool, super cute, oui-liette travel stuff coming up shortly!!

Thanks for reading, be well!! Like, share or leave a comment!

muah!

Liette

Facebook: @oui-liette

 

 

 

 

You’re so vain!

You’re so vain! Actually, I am so vain!

(Hey if you’re super squeamish, skip this post; I’ll be sharing some pictures of stitches and stuff.)

I am aware that the word vain has a negative connotation; it means into yourself, self absorbed…self this and self that, just plain selfish!

I would say that I can be vain, in the sense that I care about my appearance, but I don’t think I am selfish? I post a lot of pictures of myself on social media and in my blogs. I am certain some would call that vain? But to be honest I don’t really care. I try not to judge others and anyone who feels the need to judge me can suck it!! So there! Lol, ouff I am feeling feisty!!

Recently my vanity led me to make an appointment to see a dermatologist for the first time. I had this little, super little, skin colored thing on the bridge of my nose that I wanted removed. I’m certain no one else noticed it, but I knew it was there and I wanted it gone!

Well it turns out that that little thing was cancerous! Did my vanity save my life? Well that maybe a bit dramatic? But did it save my nose? Maybe??

You can see it in this pic.

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I had been meaning to make an appointment for the past year to get checked, but I just kept forgetting about it. Then before I moved back to Canada from Las Vegas I finally made an appointment.

I called on a Thursday and had an appointment the following Friday! My fellow Canadians will be able to relate to my shock and excitement of getting in to see a dermatologist that quickly.

After a full body exam the doctor removed a few things; 5 things to be exact. And by removed, I mean he used what looked like a razor blade to cut them off. He froze the spots so it didn’t hurt.

I went home with my new wounds. They were annoying, but not painful. I would need to return in a few weeks for a follow up and  to get the results of my biopsies; they have to test anything that they cut off your body apparently.

By the following day the cut on my nose was red, but was starting to scab over. I felt a little self conscious, but I went about my normal daily routine.

Within a week I was all healed up and on the go; the following week I was back at the clinic  for my results.

The doctor told me that he had good news and not so good news, mmmm, this didn’t sound promising. Turns out 4 of my samples were fine, but one came back cancerous. This isn’t what I was expecting on this sunny Friday afternoon.

The next thing I knew, the doctor and I were looking at a picture of the different skin layers and he was explaining what the next step would include. To be honest, I could hear him talking, but I only have a vague recollection of what he said.

I do remember asking him if it was pre-cancerous? I must not have heard him correctly the first time? Turns out I had and it was not pre.

I left the clinic and called a friend who asked me a bunch of questions that I couldn’t answer. I remembered him saying it was the kind that moved very slowly  and that they would take skin off my nose, test it onsite and if they got it all, they would stitch me up. But if there were still cancerous cells, they would dig deeper.

I also remembered him saying that I would have stitches for a week to 10 days. The following day I called back and asked for the name of whatever it was that I had so I could google it.

It was nasal cell carcinoma, which is super common for caucasiens. I was happy that my caucasien ass and nose were getting ready to move from the desert back to the Arctic where I/they belonged. Yes, I’m fully aware that people in Canada get skin cancer, but at that moment, I felt like this place was inhospitable to my pasty white Canadian skin!!

The day of my procedure my friend Staci game with me for moral support, thank you Staci!!!

I waited maybe 15 min before my turn. I was on a table and the doctor was freezing my nose.  I thought it would be similar to going to the dentist, they prick you with a few needles and you wait for it to kick in? Nope, it wasn’t like that; whatever he used froze me instantly. It was so fast that it took me a minute to figure out that he had already started doing his thing and then it was over. I swear it took less than 3 min from start to finish.

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Oh I forgot something, when I arrived and was sitting there waiting for my turn, I noticed that everyone who walked out had huge bandages. I worried thinking, man why does everyone look like they’ve had large chunks of their faces chopped off?

I quickly found out why; once done phase one they sent you back to the waiting area while they tested your, well your flesh I guess, lol. If all was clear you would then go back in to get stitched up.

Within 20 min, I was back on the table getting stitched up. I was all clear! Yay!

Since everything had gone so fast and well, I imagined that I would have a small clean cut. He kept telling me everything looked good and it would heal well.

At one point I asked him how many stitches he was giving me, because it was taking a long time. He said there were a few underneath that would dissolve on their own and some on top that would need to be removed…ok..

I was relieved when he said he was finished and his assistant would clean me up and put a smaller bandage. As she was prepping, I snapped a quick selfie and OMG!!

It looked like I’d been hit between the eyes with a hockey stick. Ugh this had just taken a shitty turn, my poor nose!

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I sent this pic to my mom and she said I looked sad and a little high. I think a little high would have helped!! She then said you look like a hockey player…see, told you!!!

They sent me home with a small bandage that would come off the next day. As my face started to thaw and throb, I thought this would be a great time to start my very own pity party for one.

Yes, I realize that I am fortunate that it was caught early and that I will heal and hopefully not have a huge scar. And yes I realize that others have much worse life threatening health issues and I’m being a whiny baby, bla, bla, bla!! But at that moment I just wanted to be pitiful! I am vain, remember that part from the beginning of my story?

I eventually fell asleep and woke up to find my bandage hanging off the side of my nose. I must say that I did wake up with a better attitude. I decided that instead of hiding myself away, I would go out there and own this big gash on my nose. And by go out there, I meant that I would be working from home for the next three days until I’d be forced into the public to fly back to Canada, lol.

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Trying to be positive, I  focused on how well the rest of my skin looked, sans makeup.

I mustered up the energy to put on some lip gloss before heading out to the grocery store. My next stop was to the pharmacy so that the pharmacist could look at me and tell me it looked the way it was supposed to look. That night I went out to eat with one of my friends; ok I did pick a restaurant that I knew wouldn’t be busy, but I was still out.

Here is some advice for anyone dealing with face stitches; stay away from large magnifying mirrors the day after your procedure? Trust me you don’t need to see all of that magnified!! It’s not good for your spirit, sadly, I only realized this after it was too late.

Before I continue to whine, can we take a quick  look at the two pics below?

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The photo on the right is Sunday night and the one on the left is Tuesday afternoon. Please feel free to stop reading at any point if you think I am making a big deal out of nothing. Side note, it must be nice to be perfect without a tinge of vanity, good for you!! Lol, sorry, moving on.

Recovery Day 2

I was expecting my movers first thing that morning, so I brushed my teeth, washed my wound and put my baseball cap on because my hair was dirty. I realize that my vanity seems to be wayning, because I couldn’t care less what the hell I look like. I dig through my purse to find my lipgloss and then think, fu&$ it!!

The movers start boxing up and loading all my shoes on the truck, including the sneakers that I had set aside to wear for the next two days.  I suddenly have two options, pink fuzzy slippers or winter boots; fuzzy slippers it is!

As I am walking through Whole Foods in my slippers looking like I’ve been beat up, I feel that I’ve hit an all time  personal low; and I don’t even care. I fear that I’m one step away from Walmart in my pajamas? Slippers in Whole Foods is certainly the gateway to Walmart in pajamas??

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At least my nose has stopped bleeding and leaking gross stuff. I see people that I know and they tell me it’s not as bad as they thought it would be; they are obviously big fat liars!! My pity party had been replaced by annoyance and anger.

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I am getting my hair done tomorrow, clean hair should help camouflage what looks like a bloody caterpillar on my face.

Recovery Day 3

I woke up this morning to an extra special treat, my eyes are starting to bruise, yay me!!

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Trying real hard to stay positive the only thing I can come up with is that the yellow ish coloring does make my blue eyes pop; so there’s that. I did make an effort and put on a bit of eyeliner and gloss. I am on my way to get my hair done.

My hairdresser always makes me feel awesome! I needed this little pick me up. Hey never underestimate the power of a fresh color and blow out!

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My wound is very red today, I am hoping that’s a good sign?? It’s my last day in Las Vegas, I fly out in the morning.

Recovery Day 4

No hiding today I will be flying all day. Before leaving for the airport I consider extra red lipstick, but that may just draw more attention?

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I ham it up a bit afted being dropped off at the airport. I almost forgot what I looked like, until I see the picture, but it’s fine. Canada here I come! Side note for all the men out there, if a woman says fine, it’s sooooo not fine.

Recovery Day 5

Someone asked me if I got a nose job? I tell them that I’m pretty sure that when you get a nose job they don’t cut the top of your nose! Some people are dumb!! The angry stage has apparently arrived.

Recovery Day 6 & 7

Blah! Over it!!

Recovery Day 8

Recovery Day 9

The doctor originally told me the stitches would need to stay on for 7 to 10 days, it’s 9 days, they need to come off!!

I feel like the stitches are pulling my skin. I can’t wash my face or put face cream on without that pulling feeling. It’s becoming really uncomfortable.

I have a cocktail party tonight and things planned for the weekend. If these stitches don’t come off I may hurt someone…I am not kidding, things could get ugly.

I was able to get in to see my doctor who tells me I need an appointment to get into the clinic at the hospital where they take out stitches. I’m on the verge of crying when she says, let me call and see if they can take you?

She comes back and says, go now!!! She said tomorrow they have 165 appointments; it’s almost 2pm and it closes at 3, so off I go!!

Thank you Sherrie at Clinic C and nurse Heather who took my stitches out!! They took me right away; I was in and out within 15 min.

I instantly feel better!!

Recovery Day 10

Everything seems to be flattening out, still red, but getting better. Because everything was swollen, my skin seems to be peeling a bit.

Recovery Day 11

I’m finally feeling like people aren’t just staring at my nose; and I’m thankful that I seem to be healing well. I figure that in another week I’ll be pretty well all healed up!

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The drama seems to be over! Again, I am aware that in the grand scheme of things, this was a very minor health scare. And I am super fortunate that it was taken care of early and quickly.

During a pep talk from one of my friends, which I appreciated her effort. I felt the need to reminded her that whenever she has a pimple on her face it ruins her day and sometimes her week. So maybe I’m not the only one who is vain? I think we all are? Maybe vain isn’t the right word? Maybe it’s proud?

Whatever it is, I think it’s human nature to want to look your best and that even if you think you’re a relatively confident person, you aren’t immune to bouts of self doubt.

I hope that this post motivates you to make an appointment for your yearly check up! Especially if it’s been a few years! My little spot could have been a lot worse had I put off getting it checked. Who knows what my nose would have looked like had I waited a few years??

Thanks for reading!!

muah!

Liette (your sassy, vain and at times drama queen blogger!)

 

 

 

 

Hotel Safely

Hotel Safely – Better Paranoid than Dead!

Tips to keep you safe!

I have probably slept in more hotel rooms in the past 6 months than the average person will stay in the next 6 years, ouff it’s been a lot! I am writing this post from one now; fun fact, I can’t wait to be back in my own bed in Vegas!

I am lucky that I get to stay in nice hotels in “safe” areas. But I do watch a lot of Dateline so I am naturally always on high alert when on the road, especially when I am traveling solo. My main goal in life is to not end up on an episode of Dateline; I am weird, I am aware.

On this trip I was shocked when I was told that the hotel I am currently in, which is a really nice hotel, had a horrible incident a few weeks ago. The hotel is attached to a mall and a pharmacy. Long story short, a woman was robbed and beaten to a pulp in the elevator leading to the pharmacy!! I have used that elevator on previous trips! It really isn’t a shady area. I guess it serves as a reminder that shady people can be in none shady areas.

Here are my personal safety tips that I am more than happy to share with you!!

Hotel door check 

Where you aware that people walk the halls in hotels checking doors to see if they can find one that isn’t complete shut? This has been a huge issue recently in Las Vegas.

Have you been in a newer hotel and noticed that the doors slam shut by themselves? If your door isn’t completely shut it will open if someone simply pushes on it. Some older hotels may not have this feature?

When leaving or entering my hotel room, I close the door shut myself and  then pull on the handle to make sure it’s shut. Your door needs to click so it can’t be pushed open.

Not to freak you out, but this is a thing. People have been robbed while in their rooms; while they slept! Being in your room is apparently not a deterrent, that was the shocking part to me; and in one instance, here in Vegas, a couple was robbed then killed. If it’s happened here, it can happen anywhere!

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If you see someone who seems to be loitering in the halls, call the front desk!!

Peep holes

Ok, this one may boarder on paranoia? But I am standing by it!!

I am fully aware that peep holes theoretically help keep you safe, because they let you see who is at the door without opening it. But I have always been a bit weary of them. I’ve always wondered if people would be able to peep in? Then I heard the story of a woman sports caster who was filmed while she was in her hotel room, minding her own damn business! Her peep hole was tampered with.

Now will your peep hole be tampered with? Probably not, but do I feel safer with a post it note over mine? Hell yes!

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I travel with a few office supplies in my laptop case; one day I put a post it note over my peep hole and it stuck….get it? Lol, so now that’s what I do, it makes me feel better; so crazy or not, I do it.

This picture below is my worst nightmare, hence my post it notes obsession.

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Door stop

This is my new fav safety feature. Have you ever checked into your room and notice that you’re in an adjoining room? It’s super creepy and it makes me feel unsafe that the only thing between me and a potential psycho killer is one door lock; they don’t even come with a door chain.

I have always thought that the chain and metal thingy on the inside of your hotel door would keep the bad guys out. But after doing a bit of research I have discovered that if someone really wants to get in, it’s not that difficult; these won’t keep them out.

But there is something that will help reinforce your door, all your doors, not just hotel doors. What is this magical high tech safety tool? It’s a cheap rubber door stop!! I just bought four for $9. I am adding 2 to my suitcase for when I travel and spoiler alert, I will be giving these to all my travel friends this Christmas as stocking stuffers.

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Is this overkill for US and Canadian travel? Maybe, but remember, better paranoid than dead!

Valuables in your room

The previous three tips were to keep people out of your hotel room, but what about the people who are able to get in your room?

In all of my travels, I have only had one incident where something was “removed” from my room by the hotel staff. I accidentally left lose cash in my jeans pocket and just like that, pouff, $80 was gone.

We know not to leave money or jewelry laying around, but you may be leaving something more valuable in your room unattended? What’s more valuable or just as valuable as cash? Your medication!

One of my friends recently shared that she ran out of her medication way before the end of the month. She suspects that the cleaning staff may have taken some of her medication while she was traveling? If you think about it, it’s super easy to do; who among us keeps a daily count of the number of pills left in their bottle? It would be so easy to take some, but not all, without being missed right away.

Do not disturb

I am not very worried about hotel staff being in my room, I like having my bed made for me! I do make sure anything valuable is in my purse and not left in my room.

But I do have coworkers that I travel with who, once checked in, put the do not disturb sign on their door knob and turn on the TV when they leave their rooms. Some will keep the do not disturb sign out for their entire stay. They just don’t want strangers in their room alone with their belongings and that is a perfectly valid feeling; so remember that is an option for you on your next hotel stay.

You can even call housekeeping and let them know that you won’t require your room cleaned during your stay. If you run out of clean towels, they can deliver to your room while you are there; please tip if you ask anyone to bring anything to your room, it’s only fair.

Valet park

I am a big valet park fan, is it because I am a bit of a diva? Partly, but the main reason is that I refuse to park and walk alone in a parking lot or garage in a strange city.

And if a hotel doesn’t have valet park, don’t be shy to ask hotel security to walk you to and from your car. This winter I was in Moncton, at downtown hotel, that didn’t have valet parking. Their main lot is well lit and close to the main hotel door, but their overflow parking is a building away; it was dark and shady. I actually drove back to the front desk, from the overflow lot, and asked if someone could walk out to meet me; they were more than happy to oblige. Please know that this is an option, hotels want you to have a great experience on their property, they will assist if asked.

When I was younger and a bit more timid, I would put myself in situations that didn’t always feel safe, but with age comes a “fuck that shit” attitude!! If it feels iffy, don’t do it!

Be friendly

My final hint is to befriend the hotel staff. I make friends with the concierge, in addition to getting great recommendations on where to eat and where to go, they can also keep tabs on you. They are usually stationed by the front entrance of the hotel, say hi to them as you come and go and remember their name.

On my last trip to New Orleans we made friends with our concierge, every evening he knew where we were planning on going.

I also always ask the front desk staff if it’s safe to walk around the hotel at night? A few times, they have flat out told me that it wasn’t safe. I once asked for directions to an outlet mall via the train; the front desk staff told me in no uncertain terms, that I was not to take the train alone! If someone tells you that, listen, they know their city better than you do.

If you are afraid or nervous about anything, talk to the front desk staff; learn their names, tell them, hey I am alone, can you have someone walk me to my car? Tell them where you are going and when you expect to be back. A side effect of being friendly is they will remember you on your next visit and may even upgrade you! Friendliness is always in fashion.  If finally again, you see something that makes you feel uneasy, tell someone, because it’s better to be paranoid than dead!

Those are my safety tips, do you have any to share that I haven’t listed?

Travel safe!

muah!

Liette

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