This is the first in a series of posts that I hope to do more of, the goal is to highlight locally owned businesses. If you don’t live in my area, you may as well keep reading since you’ve already started, lol.
This week I have a challenge for you. The challenge is for you to find a restaurant, in your area, that is now offering weekly grocery boxes and buy one!
What I love the most about this idea is that we can directly and immediately help support our local restaurants, who are working their butts off to keep the lights on in these crazy times.
The other thing I love about this idea is that, I don’t know about you, but I am getting pretty sick of my own cooking! I am running out of ideas on what to cook, I am always using the same spices so after awhile everything starts to taste the same. Getting a grocery box forces you to think outside the box; sorry, I couldn’t resist, lol.
I am going to make it really easy for my fellow Monctonians by suggesting that you give Gusto Fresh Market Boxes a try. From Judson’s, to Boomerang’s to City Grill to Gusto’s, Brett Judson has been in business on Westmorland Street in downtown Moncton for decades!!! And he and his team have always supported our community. Side Note – In March when the lock down first started, he donated hundred and hundreds of pieces of cheesecakes to both regional hospitals for their frontline workers.
During the initial shutdown, in the spring, Gusto started offering curbside pick up in order to compensate for the loss of income caused by the in-dining restrictions; all restaurants have had to reduce the number of tables in order to follow the social distancing rules. This has been a huge hardship on all restaurants and bars.
The idea of offering Grocery or Market Boxes is trending in most cities; it’s a way for restaurants to make up for some of the business that they are losing on a daily basis because they can no longer fill their restaurants with patrons.
Gusto’s Fresh Market Boxes are an amazing value! They are different from week to week, this week’s box contents are listed below. (for the week of Nov 30 to Dec 4). Anyone who knows Brett knows that you never leave his home or his restaurant hungry, the same can be said for Gusto’s boxes. They are jam packed with high quality products and meats!
I’ve already ordered my box for this Saturday, none of these items are on my regular boring rotation, I am excited to pick it up! This would also make a perfect holiday gift or if you someone in your family or a close friend lost their job due to Covid buy them a box!!
Last week, I got the opportunity to help the Gusto team prepare the boxes. I was the top labeler and I think it’s safe to say that I nailed it!! Ok, full disclosure, their Fresh Market goods are in bags and not boxes, but bags are better for the environment, says me. Plus Fresh Market Bags, doesn’t sound as snazzy.
How can you order?
You can place your order directly on their website: http://www.gustoitaliangrill.ca Orders must be received by 5pm on Thursdays, box pick ups are Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. Just pull into the Gusto parking lot, Guylaine and staff will be there ready to assist you. Pop your trunk and they will place your items in your car for you.
Thank you for reading, I will finish with a mini rant, similar to my mini rant in my previous post. Please be mindful that our local restaurants, bars and businesses have always been the first ones we, the community, turns to for team sponsorships, school fundraisers… and they have always been supportive; they now need our help, so it’s our turn to give back and wow what a big sacrifice for us, to eat amazingly good food, seriously poor us!!
If you are fortunate enough to not have had your job or paycheck impacted by Covid, it’s your duty to support others in our community who haven’t been as lucky. Most places have daily specials in order to help drive business, so check out their social media sites. And the fresh market and grocery boxes that local restaurants are selling are a great value, as they are able to offer products at a lower cost than in the grocery stores, so keep that in mind. You are saving money while helping your community.
Thank you so much, let’s take one for the team and eat out more!! And here’s an idea that my friend Stacey’s family are doing, they order out every Friday night, each week they take turns deciding what restaurant to order from. What a great opportunity to try new places and eating as a family is a gift in itself. OH, one last thing, when you do pick up takeout or eat in, tip your wait staff double what you normally would…I think that’s all for now?
I think it’s safe to say that we are spending more time in our homes than we would have thought humanly possible a mere year ago; making this the year to deck the shit out of our halls and to start said decking as early as possible!!!
We have also never needed holiday cheer, like we need it this year. I hope that this post inspires you to do some major hall decking and guess what? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make your home feel freaking festive.
Every Christmas I have a different theme, but I don’t go out and buy all new stuff, I craft it up. Last year my theme was A Winter Wonderland.
I had just moved back from Las Vegas to Moncton, but all my belongings, including my Christmas decorations would only be arriving in January. So my friend, Alie, and I sat in my new empty apartment and cut over a hundred paper snowflakes. See the link for last years post at the end of this post; my snowflake chandelier was absolutely beautiful!! Oh and if you are wondering why I bothered decorating an empty apartment, I was hosting our family Christmas Eve Dinner. I rented a huge table and chairs from Bob Lee, here in Moncton; it was my first party in my new place and it was fabulous! lol
My theme this year is a Holly Jolly Christmas!!
This tree below was my colour inspiration, lime green and pink. I bought this three years ago and this is the first year that I get to put it up.
I bought it on sale at Pier 1 in Las Vegas after Christmas, it was 75% off the sale price; now did I need a lime green tree??? Well of course I did!! Lol. Fun fact, I thought the lights on it were pink, but turns out they are red when lit. Do I think that they would be way prettier if they were pink? Yes, but I am just going to roll with it… ok I did try painting one light pink, but it still looked red, boo! So now I am rolling with it.
My special project focal point this year is my TV/fireplace area. My TV is too small, it’s crooked and not perfectly centered, so hey, why not draw more attention to it?? Lol
I drafted two of my cousins to help cut some paper holly leaves with me, by drafted, I mean, I invited them over for dinner and didn’t feed them until I had enough leaves, lol. Then I partnered with another cousin, Katelyn, for the finishing touches.
Katelyn made me some super special pink pompom berries. She makes the coolest stuff, check her out on Instagram at: the_pom_co, she also made me a few colourful, funky trees, they are available for sale on her site.
These are her trees, they are a perfect addition with my mini snow-people collection.
My living and dinning area are one open space so I have hits of green and pink all over the place, to help the flow.
I have two big, real wreaths that smell amazing. My ceilings are crazy high so it was a challenge to make the space feel full and lush and Christmas should always feel full and lush. My tree looked so tiny when I set it up, I had to use my round coffee table as a tree stand. It looked so small and sad sitting on the floor, it needed a bit of a boost.
I added some Holly details to my dining area. My table expands, I suspect I will pump it up a few notches for our Christmas Eve dinner; you can follow me on Instagram for my Christmas Eve set up, it will probably be a bit over the top since I am working from home and we are on semi lockdown. I will have lots of extra time on my hands…and my glue gun is fully loaded.
I love this white cabinet, I just added a bit of greenery to my mirror and some pink balls. I bought the cabinet in Vegas and spruced it up, here is the transformation. It was very banged up, so I decided to paint it.
For Christmas Eve, if we are allowed to gather, I plan on doing these for each place setting, cute right!
My yearly themes aren’t very costly, last year it was just white paper snowflakes, this year, I picked up a bunch of green construction paper from the dollar store and a few wreaths from my local florist. The pink balls in my wreaths I already had.
Thanks for reading, I think it’s natural to sometimes wonder, what am I doing with my life, in general, and is anyone reading my blog ramblings?? Every time those thoughts run through my head, I will have someone reach out to me randomly and tell me they are using one of my ideas or that they read all my posts. I got a video from one of my readers on Friday that her and her family were making their own snowflake chandelier, it made my weekend! Her husband was ironing the snowflakes that she and her kids, her young adult kids, were cutting, while Christmas music played in the background…it was cute!!!
Since we are all spending more time at home and running out of things to do with our families, buy some craft paper and go crazy!!
Thank you again for reading! I am working on a new blog website that will be easier to navigate, I’ve outgrown this one, so stay tuned!
And finally, be extra kind to each other and throw in a random compliment out there, it’s free. If you think of it, say it out loud. I am going to try to be more mindful of that too.
If you liked this post, here is my easy Mad for Plan Christmas and re-posting my Winter Wonderland Christmas again.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, I can’t help but wonder how different this season will be from last year, or the year before, or the year before that? Will we find comfort in cozy clothing and joy in fuzzy slippers? Will our gift giving be more practical and homey? Will there be any big Christmas parties or just small intimate gatherings? How has this past year changed us and how will we celebrate the holidays?
The other day I wore one of my pre-Covid go to outfits and felt like I was highly overdressed; I was wearing, jeans, a blazer and suede boots, so not exactly super fancy. Which made me realize how much our habits have changed in just a few months, a few loooonnnngg ass months!!
Working from home in yoga pants and, if we’re being honest, pajama bottoms, has become the norm, at least a few days a week. Where am I going with this and how does this have anything to do with the upcoming holiday season??
Patience!! I am getting to my point, lol. My point is that I think the trend this season will be comfort over everything else. Can you imagine a scenario that would make you want try to get into any item of clothing that requires squeezing into any form of tight shape wear and uncomfortably high heel shoes? I think those days are gone, maybe forever??
Host a different kind of party
I am embracing this trend by hosting a fake pajama party! Which is a party where you wear your pajamas, but no one sleeps over, lol. No need for sparkly tops or cute dresses, it’s all about comfort…oh and joy.
Here’s why this is a fabulous idea, aside from getting to spend time with my friends, we were wearing pajamas!! Drawstring waistbands, stretchy fabric and slippers, it was so stress free and comfortable.
Great gift ideas!
Here’s a gift idea that I mention every year, buy all your friends/fam the same thing, like our comfy pajama bottoms from the Super Store, omg they are so soft. Keep things simple and double or triple up on the same item.
Last year I gifted a few friends with slippers, they loved them and it was super easy for me. Again, the holidays are stressful, simplify your life by choosing one signature gift!! Try it, you can thank me later.
Time for play!
Another big trend are old school board games. It’s funny how we are so attached to our devices and technology and then, Bam! A global pandemic comes along and all of a sudden we’re playing old school board games and puzzles.
In 2019 had you told me that I would be asking to swap puzzles with others via social media, I would have thought you were insane. And yes that happened, thanks to Debbie and her mom for sharing their puzzles with my mom and aunt.
One more awesome party idea
In lieu of a big Christmas party why not host a small games night? Turns out, unplugging and spending time with friends and family is good for your soul. Here’s why I think this is a great idea for kids, seniors and everyone in between. I started noticing that having to scale back from regular social activities was starting to take a toll on my mother, who loves playing games. So we’ve started a monthly game night.
Here’s how ours works, the first Monday of every month my brother, my fake son, who is my cousin’s son, and I go to my moms for dinner; we do the cooking and play a game. Their spouses are more than welcome to join, but the three of us need to attend. I told them that they are going to need a note from their doctor in order to miss without repercussions, yes, I run a tight ship!!
Our first game night we played scrabble and had such a fun evening. My mom was thrilled to spend time with Serge and Christopher; I am well aware that I am not her favorite, but it’s fine, I am fine…it’s all fine, lol. And I probably should clarify, so they don’t get mad at me, they do visit her, but they aren’t great at small talk so playing a game helps all of us spend quality time together. Side note, Christopher won our first game night…ok he beat the crap out of us, it wasn’t even close.
Please steal this idea and all need to be mindful that all these changes we are going through are perhaps a bit extra hard on our seniors and kids. Add in the holiday season and, ouff, it’s a lot. Comfort & Joy Gift Guide Highlight
Cozy matching pajamas, like the ones shown above
Slippers, the freaking fuzzier the better
Shop Local, not going to lie, I am really into alpaca wool these days, like these super comfy hats below. I also bought mittens that I can’t wait to wear and other stuff that I can’t mention because I’m gifting them.
Board Games – there are so many new games to chose from, but go retro. If you have kids, I think it’s super fun to share games you grew up playing, with them. Board games also make great hostess gifts and less calories than a bottle of wine, lol.
Practical Gift – now I am usually not a big fan of practical Christmas gifts, but this isn’t exactly a normal year. And since we are all spending so much time at home, a kitchen gift is perfectly acceptable this year, but I reserve the right to change my view on this for next year, lol.
But, and this is an important but, if you are going to do a practical gift you need to put some thought into it and make it extra.
I would love to get fancy mixer like this one, but add a cake mix and nice fancy bowls or measuring cups in order to make it extra.
I think that the perfect, home run, practical gift needs to be something you wouldn’t buy yourself or even think to buy yourself. And since we seem to be cooking and baking more these days, try getting something that you and your mate or your fam can use together.
I love this pasta maker idea, add all the ingredients you’ll need and wrap them up. Have them open the flour first; I am sure they will be thinking WTF is going on here, lol.
This year more than any previous holidays, it’s going to be important to share experiences with our loved ones. And sadly some of us won’t be able to physically be with all of our loved ones, so why not plan a virtual cooking date where you are all making the same thing at the same time?
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the most important thing we can give each other is our time and attention. And guess what? That’s free!!
Thank you for reading, I hope this has given you a few ideas that you can incorporate into this holiday season, be kind and stay safe!
If you want a bit more Christmas content, here’s a silly one from last year. A bit of context, I had just moved back to Canada from Las Vegas and my nose was still healing from a little skin cancer scare. Enjoy!
I’ve been noticing that since this dumb pandemic started, there seems to be a lot of new side hustles popping up and a bigger focus on buying locally.
I was really curious about what these side hustlers were doing, why they were doing it and how they were doing, while doing it? Make sense?? Maybe? Lol. Let me introduce you to Bonnie, who makes cakes and treats, Emily who makes funky earrings, Craig who makes beautiful cheese boards and wood stuff and Monique, who will customize pretty much anything you need.
First up is Bonnie, who is Mrs Delicious!
Liette: What made you decide to start your side business?
Bonnie: The idea to start Mrs Delicious as an online bakery definitely came from my close friends and family. They were tasting and seeing all of my creations that I was posting about on social media during the spring and they thought I should offer what I was doing to a wider audience. I guess they thought I had a bit of a gift and thought I should share it.
L: Is this something you had been waiting to do for a while?
B: Haha! Nooooo not at all. I normally have an extremely full schedule and wouldn’t have any room for extras like this. A typical work week for me, pre-pandemic, would consist of anywhere from 50 to 60+ hours of work a week. After a week like that you don’t typically have a lot left to give. Anything I do have left is spent on friends and family. However, at this time, with events on hold, my daily life has changed drastically. I needed a creative outlet and so my friend gave me the extra push I needed, she created a logo for me and I set up a Facebook page and my husband got some stickers made up with my branding and I was off and running.
L: So all the extra time on your hands, because of the pandemic, sparked you to try something new?
B: The pandemic was definitely the instigator for this. I have hardly baked in the past 10 years. I have been concentrating on climbing the corporate ladder and being a Mom to my kids and helping to support my Mom when she was sick. I had a full plate. During the pandemic I turned to the kitchen, it started with a birthday cake for my daughter, then one for my son, then an anniversary cake for my sister and brother in law and it just kept going. I started having a lot of fun with it and trying trickier recipes each time. I was getting so many positive comments on my photos and people started saying, you should do this and sell them. I was very unsure at first but my confidence started to build and the reviews were positive so here I am. Mrs Delicious has been accepting orders for less than a month and I have already had close to 50 orders!
L: I love that story!! Your cakes look absolutely delicious, great name btw, I am waiting for someone’s birthday in order to order one from you. How can people see and order from you?
B:People can order through Facebook at facebook.com/mrsdeliciousdesserts
Post and Studs
Emily’s is an elementary school teacher, who on the side, makes beautiful earrings. She makes them because they let her be creative and they make her happy, she explains that if they make others happy, that is a major bonus! And BTW, I just got a pair and they do make me happy! Mine are hot pink, obvs; here is my chat with Emily.
Liette: What inspired you to start making earrings?
Emily: I’ve always loved creating, aka making a mess. My sister and I started making jewelry as children and it was always something that brought me happy memories. We grew up in an extremely creative household, both of our parents were being creating in some way or another. I’m very thankful to have grown up in an environment that fostered our creativity.
A few Christmases ago, I was making earrings as gifts for loved ones and everyone told me to start selling them. After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to dive in head first!
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business?
E: Having a business was always something that appealed to my creative side, but definitely not my organizational side. It was something I was always interested in, but I am thankful that I can do it at my own pace.
L: Your earrings are beautiful. How long does it take to make one pair?
E: From start to finish, many of the dangles take about four days to fully cure and become ready for your ears! There are quite a few steps involved and this time period can be greatly extended if I make any mistakes. I’ve definitely had to start from scratch on more than one occasion.
L: I bet that it’s been a learning process, not just making them, but marketing yourself?
E: Because it’s my side business, I don’t have the same type of pressure to market myself as many other businesses do. Post and Stud is my creative outlet, and I treat it as such. If it all becomes too stressful, I have the ability to step back and take a break for a few days. This is a privilege I’ve needed and am extremely thankful for. For the most part, I’m able to go with the flow and create relationships with like minded people.
L: How can people see and buy your earrings?
E: They can go to my website: http://www.postandstud.com, my Instagram & Facebook account is @postandstud. My earrings are also available for sale at Sequoia, the Trinity location, The Glow, in Sussex, and Luxe Salon and Spa in Riverview.
I’ve known Craig for a long time, we used to work together many moons ago. I was surprised and impressed when I saw the beautiful charcuterie boards he was posting on Facebook. I knew he was, and still is, an awesome musician, but I had no idea he had mad woodworking skills? It was nice to catch up with him; here’s a bit of our chat.
Liette: I’ve seen the videos you’ve posted online, it’s cool to see a bit of how your boards are made. What motivated you to start your side hustle?
Craig: I had been planning a little side hustle for quite some time. With the lock down and having some extra time it seemed like the perfect time to get started.
L: Did being home during COVID push you to get started?
C: Typically my free time would be focused on making music with my band “Big Bang”, but COVID not allowing for rehearsing I had some spare time to really focus on coming up with some products I wanted to make.
L: What is it about working with wood that you most enjoy?
C: The charcuterie boards I’ve been making came from an apple tree that was in our backyard. I love the three having a completely new life in a completely new form. The cutting boards are made from wood I get from another local business, London Lumber. It’s really like being a kid in a candy store every time I go there. In addition to wood we’ve been prepping to make some concrete products as well, they should be available in the coming months.
L: How can people find and buy your products?
C: Currently my presence is focused on Facebook, bordendesignnb, but I ‘m on Instagram, borden_design, and Twitter, Twitter.com/borden_design, as well. Products and prices can be found on Facebook @bordendesignnb,
Made by Monique
Monique works in early childhood development and is super crafty and creative. She’s started a side company that focuses on custom printing; here’s our chat.
Liette: What inspired you to start your little side hustle?
Monique: I love being crafty and creating things, so after receiving my Cricut (fancy adhesive cutter and printer) as a Christmas gift, I started experimenting with it and watching YouTube videos, A LOT of videos! After trying a couple of different things, I realized I was more interested in designing shirts, onesies, hoodies, etc…
L: Have you always wanted to have your own business? What made you say, I am going to do it?
M: I’ve always loved the idea of having my own little side business that I would fully run myself, so that would be a yes! Once I had mastered designing and applying heat transfer vinyl on a wide variety of fabrics, I decided to invest in a few other important accessories and advertise on social media.
L: What’s been one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to deal with so far?
M: A challenge I’ve had to deal with would definitely be the Christmas rush! It’s generally a busy time of the year in general, but with the added to-do list of getting all the custom orders ready before Christmas, it was a little extra busy for me. Even though it was a big stressful, I am SO thankful that I received so many orders!
L: So maybe we can put it out there now, in the summer, that people should start thinking of their custom Christmas Stockings, Tree Skirts and baby onesies now? lol?
M: That would be great to get orders as early as possible!
L: How can people see your work and order from you?
M: I have photos of almost all my work posted on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/customizedbymonique and also my Instagram account: customizedbymonique. For order simply send me a message via my FB page and I will get back to you!
I am so impressed with all these side hustlers their stories are inspiring and have a few common threads. One is that they are all doing something that they love and that fulfills their creative side, that’s so important, we all need creative outlets. And they are all using social media to promote and sell their goods. I think that social media gets a bad wrap; and rightfully so at times. My advice to those finding social media toxic is to do some major cleaning up!
You’re allowed to unfollow and unfriend anyone who is causing you anxiety. Replace them with local small businesses and services. I recently started following the hashtags #moncton, #newbrunswick and a few others and I have discovered so many neat things about my region.
Social media is the most valuable tool for small/local businesses…oh and for bloggers too, lol.
Thank you for reading!! Start following these awesome side hustlers on FB and Insta!!
As a bonus adding links to my last two links, they highlight local businesses. One is a nursery and the other a glamping site…you’re welcome!!
If you live in Canada, you know how precious and short our summers can be. Before you know it the leaves will be changing and fall will be upon us. In order to make the most out of summer, let’s make a list of all the summer things we want to do and then let’s get out there and do them!
Here’s my list, let me know what’s on yours.
1. Camping or Glamping
So camping hasn’t historically been my thing, but I just went on my first glamping trip and I loved it! There is some sort of camping for everyone, some like roughing it, some meh…not so much, lol. Whatever your preference, get out there and do it!! Even better, do it locally so that you can help support your respective communities that have been hit hard by the shut downs. Also all the cool places that are usually booked a year in advance may now have some openings, as less people are able to travel?
2. Beaching or Laking (yes, I make up words, deal with it).
I’ve discovered that my soul needs to be immersed in large bodies of water; it’s my happy place. True story, when I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be a mermaid.
I’ve been to the beach several times and I hope to be many more before the summer is over. I’ve expanded my horizons a bit lately and have been to a river and a lake.
We are so fortunate to live so close to amazing beaches, rivers and lakes, yet some don’t make time to enjoy them. Get out there! Live a little.
Here is my recommendation, I am going to call a friend and make a date to do it too, since weekends can be so busy, let’s make a date to meet a friend for lunch in a local park. You bring the sandwiches and have your friend bring the dessert or drinks, so it’s easier. It’s a great way to catch up, reconnect and get some fresh air. It’s also a great stress reliever and break in during a busy week.
Another option is lunch at a Food Truck, this can technically count as a picnic! And it’s supporting a local business.
4. Drive in
Drive ins are just plain fun and they’re the perfect way to socially distance. We have two drive ins in my area, one of them have been showing retro scary movies on Thursday nights. My friend Dawn and I are scary movie friends, we both like watching them, usually through our fingers that our covering our eyes, lol. We have just made plans to go this week, the are showing the original Amityville Horror movie…yikes! I’ll post some pics on my oui-liette Facebook page of our movie night.
5. Day Tripping
For this goal, get in your car and drive. Drive to the city or town closest to where you live, go for lunch, walk around, browse local shops and markets; take pictures and just explore.
The four Atlantic provinces have just opened up to each other, which is perfect for day tripping. I have a few day trips planned for the next few weekends, I love road trips! Go out there and make some family memories.
6. Farmers Marketing (the act of visiting a farmer’s market)
This one is so important; I feel like our collective goal should be to visit farmers markets at least a few times a month. This could be a traditional farmers market with a bunch of local vendors or go to the an actual real farm!
We just spent the weekend in Waterborough, NB and shopped at a local strawberry farm market, I got the yummiest jams. I’ve also recently been to The Green Pig and bought a bunch of fresh stuff there.
Go to local u-picks, buy direct from farms! I am already planning my apple picking trip to Verger Belliveau Orchards… ok my mini shop local rant is over, moving on.
7. I Scream for Ice Cream!
This is an easy summer goal that doesn’t have to be super complicated or cost a lot of money. I’ve been doing maybe a bit too much screaming for ice cream lately?
On the next hot day, find an ice cream partner and go to your neighborhood pop up ice cream hut. You may as well splurge for an extra scoop. Or go buy a tub of locally made ice cream and make a fancy Sunday at home; either option will be good enough to check this one off your list.
There is a theme to all my bucket list goals, it’s to slow down and take some time to relax and spend time with your loved ones or just alone time. This is a perfect excuse to do that.
Put your phone down, but keep it close tough, because you’re going to want to take a pic of your bonfire, obviously, lol. Take time to sit and look at your roaring fire, sing some cheesy campfire songs and roast some marshmallows!
Before you bonfire, make sure that your area is green enough to safely do so. We’ve been under a strict fire band for most of the summer, but we just had some rain, so we able to fire it up!!
9. BBQ but make it fancy!
This one is super easy, so I am adding a level of difficulty to it; make your next BBQ a bit fancy by dressing up your table.
Here’s an easy and inexpensive idea, use fruits and greenery as a centerpiece. I am going to try this at my next BBQ. I’ll post my photos on my oui-liette Facebook page, like my page for updates.
Another easy way to fancy it up is to add a big bouquet of wildflowers to your patio table, send me your pics!!
10. Be a tourist in your hometown
I try to be a tourist in my own region at least once a summer. I try to visit all the touristy places that people come here from away to see, but locals rarely go.
It’s fun to explore your local region and pretend that you’re a tourist, you can even buy a tacky t-shirt, live a little!!
I recently climbed up the giant lobster in Shediac, NB. I hadn’t done that in probably 20 years or more, it made me laugh, which is the whole point. What giant thing is your town or area know for? Whatever it is, go take a touristy pic in front of it; I dare you!
Thanks for reading! I am currently working on revamping my Instagram page, go check it out! And I’ll add additional pics on my Oui-Liette Facebook page once I check off more items off this list; so go like my page and gram page if you haven’t already!!
Thank you! Muah!
If you want to read more, here is a link of a funny one; Funny Things A Maritimer Misses When They Leave, I wrote this one when I was living in Las Vegas.
Soooo my deck is done. My original design plan was to do something monochromatic with whites and off whites. Well that lasted for 1.0 seconds; I got distracted and yadda, yadda, yadda, it looks like Malibu Barbie’s deck.
Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before.
Was I going for A Malibu Barbie look? No, but is that a bad thing? Meh, not really? My first curveball was that my big wicker chair with a big cream cushion from Waifare was backlogged until the end of August, so canceled my order; and really where was I going to store that during the 10 months of winter? Kidding, the 9 months of winter.
Then I saw this pink chair from Terra Verde and it blew my whole shabby chic plan to shit! Lol. It’s made of plastic, by a company called Twist from Quebec, and it very much looks like a Barbie chair; it’s fairly comfy. The faux grass helps complete my Barbie look.
This love seat reminded me of retro Palms Springs, I got it at Homesense. I found two 80’s style outdoor cushions that go with my, none neutral, pink and blue colours. They fall through the openings in the back of both the love seat and the pink chair; but hey, they match!
I bought two big blue planters at Walmart and I’ve been told to add miracle grow when I water them, so that they will eventually overflow my pots; they’ve already grown a lot since getting them. After I blew my white and off white colour scheme, I decided to go with the blue, green and pink colours of my planters. I’m making it work.
I also have my pretty birdhouses, that are locally made here in Moncton, on display and I love my pink and lime green flower pots that I got in Sackville at Blooms.
I also bought a lavender tree, just because, and it smells soooo good! It’s to the right of my loveseat below.
One of the perks of being downtown is that there are no bugs!! And there’s always a really nice breeze up here on the third floor; it’s really cozy at night.
How do you like my balls? They’re metal and have a Moroccan vibe. I’ve used them outside and inside, they are really unique and pretty lit; I’ve already been asked where I got them? They are from Home Depot.
I keep moving my white and pink chairs back and forth, but I think this is the best spots for each?
Even without Miracle Grow, my planters are thriving! I need to share one last pic, just to show off a bit; I’m also pretty proud that I haven’t killed them. Looking forward to have the lime green plant drape over the edge of the pot. And today the big top plant sprouted a yellow flower, which is not part of my colour scheme! lol, I’ve had this kind of plant before and never had them flower.
Thank you for reading! I post extra pics on my Facebook page so go like it if you haven’t already; oui-liette. Also, fun fact, my deck gets the sun in the afternoon and evening, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over our little city and the lighting is perfect for selfies!!!
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.
After picking up my friend Mary Helen, we went back to the parking lot to meet the birdhouse lady.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
At Home With Stacey And Liette (me); Fancy Pantries.
This is the last post of my, At Home With, series for a bit. They’ve gotten a lot of readers so I will do more; maybe we can peek into people’s homes at Christmas time??
For our finale, let’s peek into some fancy pantries. First up is my friend Stacey’s pantry; she and I love to do fancy things together, it usually involves shopping, but today we’ll be touring our pantries.
Stacey and her family have a gorgeous home, but her pantry is a real hidden gem. If you’re in her kitchen and the doors are closed you would never suspect that there’s an amazing pantry there.
Beautiful kitchen right? Wait for it.
Voilà!! Oh and this is Finn, he’s the sweetest dog ever; I’m pretty sure his dog treats are in the pantry, so he’s on guard duty.
Her walk in pantry has floor to ceiling storage, the layout was very well thought out.
Stacey and I agree that one of the best parts of having a big pantry is that you can hide your small appliances in them.
In addition to all the regular pantry stuff, Stacey keeps her pottery mugs that she has collected from her travels, they are just above her fancy coffee machine. She has pottery from the Maritime all the way to Iceland, from her most recent trip. When traveling, why buy tacky touristy stuff, when you can support local artists? That was rhetorical, there is no reason not to, lol.
Her pantry is filled with beautiful wooden bowls, family pieces and pottery, each item has a story; I absolutely love that about her home.
And during the peak of the pandemic lock down, she joked that the most valuable thing in her pantry was her husband’s jar of yeast.
At Home With Liette
Stacey’s home is on the outskirts of town, it overlooks the city. My home is downtown in the heart of the city; OK it’s a small city, but still, I’m in the heart of it!
I am not going to lie that my pantry is what sealed the deal for my new place. The owner kept telling me it’s perfect for entertaining….I finally had to speak up and let him know who he was dealing with; events and party planner extraordinaire! Sooo he didn’t seem impressed, but I am sure he was blown away on the inside, he was just playing it cool, lol.
Apparently the “new thing” in pantries are sinks; it’s called a wet pantry, who knew? It maybe the most practical thing ever?
So this is my pantry/laundry room/craft closet. What I love most about having a pantry with a sink and a door is that when entertaining, you can store all the messy stuff in there and bring it out when needed. It’s also great to have a place for my toaster and other stuff, so it’s not cluttering my kitchen counter space.
The right side of the pantry is my laundry area; and all the way from Las Vegas is Lucille the cow; she helps me with my laundry. She’s great at folding, but horrible at putting clothes away.
I have so much storage in here that some of my kitchen cupboards are empty. The cabinet to the left of my toaster oven is where I keep all my craft and party stuff…and my skates.
Someone asked me what I kept in the orange boxes above my spice jars and where I got them? They are the boxes that my Nova Scotia Crystal glasses came in; they were too pretty and sturdy to throw away. I keep can goods and food stuff in them. Most of my glass jars are from IKEA.
Can you tell I bought myself a label maker?? To say that I went label crazy when I first got it would be a gross understatement. When I moved I assumed that my pantry would turn into a catch all, but it stays really neat. That saying; a place for everything and everything in its place, rings true.
Thank you for reading, if you missed any of my other; At Home With…, scroll down to read them.
Coming up – I am working on a few fun projects; more decorating, some day trips and believe it or not, I am working on some content for fall. I’m taking advantage of this time off; and if I was working I would be planning all my fall shows, so it seems normal for me to work that far ahead, lol.
Thank you Stacey and Finn for letting us peek into your pantry.
Leave a comment or follow me on Facebook or Insta: Oui-Liette
At Home With Guylaine in Moncton and Claudia in Las Vegas; the bathroom reno edition.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy checking out other people’s homes; not to be nosy, but to see how they have everything setup and to see what their personal style is. I find it inspiring to see beautiful and interesting spaces.
It’s funny that I am grouping my friends Guylaine and Claudia together, they have never met, but they are very similar in a lot of way; they both have impeccable style and classic taste in decor and best friends, lol.
At Home With Guylaine
Guylaine and I have been friends since we were 14; she’s a mother of three, helps run her family’s restaurant and is an interior decorator. She recently redid her on suite bathroom, in her classic ranch style home, on a budget.
Both Guylaine and Claudia are experts at finding great deals. Just because you’re working on a budget, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style; it just means that you need to be more creative and resourceful.
Guylaine’s bathroom vanity was a standard builders cabinet, which was fine; she had been wanting to update it for years and finally got around to it.
She found this vintage record player at a secondhand store; you know the huge cabinet kind that your grandparents used to have? She removed the top and replaced it with a piece of quartz; and voilà! A beautiful, one of a kind, vanity. This modern mid-century piece fits in perfectly with her decor vibe that she has throughout her home.
The record player cost her $50 and was in great shape, she polished it up with cream varnish and it was good to go. She had the front part, in between the two speakers, cut and hinged, so she does have some storage. The quartz and faucet cost $1,200; for a grand total of $1,250, which is a steal of a deal for a bathroom vanity with faucet.
Saving money on the cabinet allowed her to splurge on the quartz; when working with a budget, you need to prioritize where to spend and where you can save. And most importantly you have to be on the hunt for great pieces and have imagination to see their full potential.
She update the faucet to match the gold on her shower doors; a complete shower redo wasn’t in her budget, in order to update it, she replaced the 80’s style sliding doors with the frosted stripes for clear class doors.
The painting above her toilet is a Guylaine original; she took all of the leftover cans of paint she had laying around from other projects and created this abstract landscape; it was one of her Covid projects.
She kept the same large mirror, but changed the light fixture. She’s an expert at lighting, her advice is that every light in your home should have a dimmer; EVERY one!!! When I’m entertaining she’s in charge of lighting and creating a super cozy mood.
She replaced the old flooring with extra large tiles; her one regret is that she didn’t have in-floor heating installed while the floor was ripped up.
Her old bathroom layout included a large closet, she did something that sounds crazy; she reduced the size of her closet in order to gain a bit more space in her bathroom. She has a super big walk in cedar closet in her basement, so she could spare the space by streamlining her bedroom closet.
This freed up space for this cabinet that she found at Homesense; Homesense is the Canadian equivalent to Homegoods in the US. This cabinet and her old school record player originally didn’t have any legs, she added legs to both to give them more of that mid century look. This is a good trick to steal…you’re welcome!
She painted this wall a light shade of blush/beige ish and is planning on adding a chalk paint stencil pattern to it; I’ll post pictures of this finished wall on my Oui-Liette Facebook page when done.
I don’t have written permission to show you the inside of this cabinet, but I’m sharing it anyway! She said it was too messy, but this is life, and life is messy.
Look how much extra storage this cabinet provides. Mixing old pieces with new will make your space look more natural and evolved than going out and buying everything at the same place; I am not a big fan of things being too matchy, matchy.
While we’re on the topic of cabinets, I wanted to show you this cabinet that she has in her bedroom. It’s a great antique find that she cleaned up and had a piece of marble cut and placed on top. Tile and counter top places sell small remnant pieces, you can get them for cheap ish and have them cut to size. It’s a great way to elevate any piece.
At a home with Claudia
Claudia and I have been friends and work partners for almost 15 years now; we share a love for travel and spas! Claudia is a mother of two and an expert in her field of marketing.
She recently did a major renovation to her main floor bathroom, the before and after pics are very impressive.
A great way to save a bit of money is to do as much of the work on your own. Claudia’s hunky husband, Paul, helped out with a lot of the manual labor for both her main floor and kids bathrooms. Turns out he’s great at breaking things!
She chose shades of grays and white for this bathroom, which remind me a lot of a spa, coincidence? I think not.
The tile trend in the last few years has been white subway tiles, but both Claudia and Guylaine opted for much larger tiles, which I think is great for smaller spaces.
She decided to tile three walls and the floor in gray slate, except for a section in the shower, which is a darker gray. She also upgraded her shower head to a rainfall head.
Side note – tiles are a lot less expensive in the US; I know some of my Canadians are probably wondering how the heck she was able to tile three full walls and the floor! Lol. Tile deals are available in Canada, you just need to be on the look out for sales and remnants.
Claudia’s big splurge was building this custom shower; it was absolutely worth it!
In order to make the bathroom appear larger, she added a glass wall in the shower and opted for a compact sink and hung it off the floor; floating the vanity makes the room look bigger and it also allows for a basket underneath for extra storage.
Both Guylaine and Claudia have a teenagers at home; let’s take a peek into their kid bathrooms.
Guylaine’s second full bath, is long and skinny. She jazzed it up with a bold colored accent wall; don’t underestimate the power of paint.
She replaced the flooring with these wood plank ceramic tiles, they look like real wood.
This long wall needed some big art, which can be expensive; she photographed her three children and zoomed in on their eyes; from left to right, meet William, Madeleine and Emma.
I love this idea, it shows that you can create something really original, personal and cool without breaking the bank.
Claudia’s kids bathroom was completed on a tight budget, but you’d never guess by looking at it.
The vanity for this bathroom and her main bathroom are both from Ikea and were very affordable.
The wall behind the vanity looks like wallpaper in the photo, but it’s actually tile. The tile was gifted to her from her good friend who had leftover sheets after her own home project.
I love Claudia’s attention to detail, like the cut out nook in the wall that she painted black, see above. This extra storage space means that she has less things cluttering on the counter top.
I also love these his and her hooks, they’re super cute and keep her kids from fighting over towels.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this quick bathroom peek? And thanks to Claudia and Guylaine, who love decorating, but don’t love getting photographed. What I find cool is that both of their photos were taken by their daughters.
Also if you are in the Moncton area and want to hire Guylaine, she will be launching her new site shortly, in the meantime, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, not to brag, but she did the Gusto decor and is uber talented…full disclosure, she is my bff, but she really does have great taste and vision.
My next “At Home With” will focus on kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.
I’ll be sharing a video of my own bathroom on my Oui-Liette Facebook page tomorrow; it has two super cool features that I love, like my Facebook page for updates and bonus pictures.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!
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!! ❤️❤️
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!!