A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

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

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

A Frosty Table Setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Snow Globes

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

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

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Here is how my table looked with everything put together.

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Let It Snow!

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

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

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

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I may keep these up all winter?? Lol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy New Year!!

muah!

Liette

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

 

 

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

I wanted to take a few minutes to wish you the very best Christmas! I hope you get the opportunity to chill and enjoy these next few days with your loved ones.

Oh my goodness the weeks leading up to the holidays are insane! I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves, why???

I decided that the weeks leading up to Christmas would be the perfect time to move from the US back to Canada; here I am! Eh!

Like many this time of year, I may have underestimated the time it would take or the energy needed to get everything on my list done. One casualty was my annual Christmas card.

I put a lot of thought into my Christmas Card theme each year. I try to make them as ridiculous and funny as possible. Last year’s was just so so, so I needed to nail this year’s.

I had an awesome idea, but it was a total funny fail! We did laugh our butts off trying to pull it off, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

My idea was to show that living in Las Vegas hadn’t changed me a bit. I would of course be dressed up as a show girl, but instead of feathers I would have pine branches. These costumes were my inspiration.

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The plan was to have a headpiece and tail made of greenery that looked like these lovely ladies above.

I recruited my brother and my nephew Jack to help me. My brother builds and fixes things so I thought he would be up for the task.

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Well…let’s just say that I overestimated our costume abilities. I also discovered that duct tape can’t fix everything…oh and that it can easily cut off your circulation if too tight!

Instead of looking like a NB showgirl, I looked like a green angel who got punched in the nose in a bar fight.

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Not one to give up that easily, I decided to change locations. So I gracefully climbed to the other side of the wall.

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Ok, maybe gracefully is a bit of a stretch?? Lol.

After ditching my wings, we did manage to get some cool shots. The life lesson here is to always have a plan b and to laugh your way through your fails when possible.

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I was going to get my friend to photoshop the  cut on my nose, but I decided to keep it as is, because it shows that nothing is perfect. Shit happens, life is messy, you can roll with it or hide away. I choose to roll with it, 99% of the time anyway.

Thank you again for reading! And Happy Holidays!

muah!

Liette

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Host a Holiday 5 à 7 Like a Pro!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #1 Good Vibes Only

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Zone Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Bust a Move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Light It Up!

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

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

5. Expect the Unexpected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip 6. Stay Cool

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

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

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

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

Go forth and entertainment!! 🎅🏻💋

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

muah!

Liette

 

 

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

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

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

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

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

Cocktails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For extra naughtiness, serve in a sassy mug!

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Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baking

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

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

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

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

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Merry Kissmas!

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

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

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

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

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

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Have Fun!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Qui se rassemble se ressemble!

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

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

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

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

Be a true bad ass!!

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

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

muah!!

Liette