Hot Air Balloon Tips

Hot Air Balloon Tips

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If you wonder why some of you see my feature picture twice,  I post it twice so that those who subscribe and read from their emails can see it too. 

In this post I will share a few tips on how to prepare for your first hot air balloon ride. I consider myself an expert now that I have been up in one exactly one time! Lol

Ok so I am not an expert, but I can share a few tips, here we go!

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We were driven to the desert where we watched the balloons being set up and filled with air, they were way bigger than I thought they would be.
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This photo was taken by my friend Sean Miller, he brought his big camera, I just use my iPhone.
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Photo by Sean Miller.

Hot Air Balloon Fashion

The perfect way to ruin your ballooning experience is to show up dresses improperly. Chances are you’ll have to be onsite before dawn; make certain you’re warm enough to get you through till sunrise. We had a few in our group who were cold and cranky before we even got off the ground. I was happy we didn’t end up in their balloon.

The trick is to dress in layers, I had a t-shirt, my trusty black turtle neck and a light fleece like zip jacket. I threw a pair of light gloves in my cross body purse before leaving the house and I actually wore them before lift off. It gets cold in the desert before sunrise.

You also need sneakers; sandals and flip flops are a no, no. And make sure you are wearing socks. When you are in the air, your bottom half can get cold, while your top half gets hot; the big burners that heat the balloon air give off a lot of heat.

You also have to climb into the balloon basket, like literally climb, straddle the side and get yourself inside, so make sure your pants will accommodate this movement. I wore jeans with stretch.

If you have long hair tie it up or wear a hat, you don’t want your hair getting caught up in the burners.

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What Should You Bring With You?

The views are absolutely spectacular, so make certain your phone is charged, you’ll want to take a lot of pics. My friend brought his camera and small case; I had a cross body purse that I use when I travel. There isn’t much room in the balloon basket so just bring a small bag.

The air is cool the higher you go, so I packed tissues and my sunglasses in my bag. They provided us with a bottle of water.

Safety First

You will have to sign a waiver, we had to sign two. The captain will go over the safety rules and will make you practice a rough landing position, aka a crash landing. I obviously knew there isn’t landing gear on these things, but I never really put much thought into how they landed. They can hit pretty hard, bounce and drag before they come to a full stop…oh and the basket can tip over…with you in it.

We had a smooth landing, but I was ready! My knees were slightly bent and I was facing in the direction that the captain had instructed us to face. I took these rules very seriously; I may or may not have “bossed” other passengers to turn around and face the other way??? I can’t really recall for sure in all the excitement, but that could have happened?? Lol

What I found a bit surprising is that the balloon basket is sub divided into sections. So there isn’t a lot of room to move around. This is so you don’t bounce around in the event of a rough landing.

I am not really scared of heights, but I am scared of falling to my death. The basket sides are high, I am 5’7, the side of the basket was mid boob height on me, lol. This made me feel secure; you aren’t dangling over the edge, you are pretty contained.

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You can see the basket dividers in this pic. There is another divider between me and the lady beside me. You can fit 2 people per section.

Enjoy the Ride!

It was such a cool feeling to float, we reached a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. It was very peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend a balloon ride to anyone visiting, who is feeling adventurous; and to locals who want to see Vegas from above. It was $140, tax included, so not crazy expensive.

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This pic was taken by moi, not too shabby!

The colorful balloons against the blue sky were so pretty it almost looked fake.

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Vegas Hot Air, Sin City Balloon Rides, is the company we went with; they had three balloons in the air that morning. There were a few other balloons from different companies in the air when we ventured out. They look deceivingly small in the air.

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We flew over this balloon, the view and colors were awesome!

We got a great view of the strip in the distance, but the view of the mountains that surround Vegas was spectacular. I am fairly certain most tourist that stay on the strip aren’t even aware that Las Vegas is in a valley. You don’t see the mountains when on the strip.

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Photo by Sean Miller

What Goes Up, Must Come Down.

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I think we were in the air for over an hour ish? Time flew bye, pun intended.

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It’s a balloon tradition to have champagne after each ride. Captain Mike was awesome, all the staff were friendly and made it fun. Side note, captain Mike had the nicest teeth, lol. I felt, I needed to add that completely irrelevant detail… you are welcome!! 😜

I highly recommend Vegas Hot Air Sin City Balloon Rides, tell them Liette sent you. They will have absolutely no idea who the heck I am, lol.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any ballooning questions!

Muah!

Liette

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Spring Fling!

Spring Fling!

Well it’s official, spring has sprung! It may or may not be springy yet, depending on where you live, Eastern Canada, I am talking to you! It’s beautiful here in Vegas; if you are wondering when the best time of year to visit Las Vegas is? It’s now!

This is a quick post to share what will be popping up in my blog this spring.

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If you are a subscriber and are reading via your email notification, click on the Spring Fling title at the top of this page. It will bring you to my site, it’s fancier!

I have three trips in the next month that I will blog about in some form or another. First up, Mississippi and Louisiana, then San Diego and back to Canada for Easter. I am most looking forward to New Orleans, it’s one of my fav cities. It will be super quick, but I will squeeze in an hour or two to explore…and eat!!

I also went on a hot air balloon ride for the first time a few days ago. Who thinks I was brave and who thinks I freaked out?? Lol. I will be posting my wild adventures in ballooning this Sunday. I have some amazing pictures to share!!

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This is my balloon getting blown up!

Two Sunday’s ago my friend and awesome photographer, Barney, and I took some artsy and very flowery spring themed photos. It was a gray cloudy day, which was perfect lighting for portrait shots!!

Fun fact, to look this rosy and natural, you have to cake on a lot of makeup. I looked like a pink tramp in person, but fresh and dewy in the photos. Also if you want your blue eyes to pop, just wear pink eyeshadow and stand in front a bright green hedge, easy peasy!

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My spring photo shoot was to update my blog header, I change it for each season. All the pics in my header are from my travels. I chose super colorful pictures for spring.

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Meet Barney, photographer extraordinar, and all round great human. Our next shoot will be in the desert with two models, myself and a friend, and two photographers with very different styles. It will be interesting to see how similar and different their photographs will be; stay tuned.

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So that’s what’s on my blog agenda for spring; I see lots of you have been vacationing on sunny beaches sipping fruity drinks, good for you!!!! It’s been a long winter, you deserve some sunshine!!

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The trees in Las Vegas are in bloom.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if there is something I should try or something you would like me to blog about!

muah!

Liette

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How to Throw a Galentine Party!

How to Throw a Galentine Party!

What is Galentine you ask? Well it’s a Valentine celebration with your gals. Yes, it’s a thing and to be honest, I am all for it! I know people love to bash Valentine’s Day, as a made up holiday, yadda, yadda, yadda; but I love Valentine’s Day because I love, love. It’s corny, it’s commercial and it has a great color palette! I ❤️ it!!

Galentine Party

Here are 6 steps to help you throw your very own Galentine soirée.

1. Theme

One of my friends just gave me a red rhinestone retro lip telephone; it’s sooo pretty! He said it reminded him of me; how sweet right?? It has inspired My Galentine Party theme; my official theme will be: Hot Lips! This would also be a fun theme for a bachelorette or a birthday party.

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2. Invitations

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I bought these cards in Paris last October, they say bizous which is French for kisses. When traveling, I love browsing stationary and card shops. I often buy cute cards and frame them as souvenirs of my trip. I didn’t know what I would use these cards for, but once I decided on my Hot Lips theme, I remembered I had them. They are perfect!

3. Decor

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A great cheap way to decorate is to blow up a bunch of balloons…a really big bunch! Helium can be expensive, these above, were blown up with a cheap hand pump. It’s a great way to reinforce your colors palette as well. Once your guests arrive, they will get kicked and thrown around.

For a Galentine party, I think  more is more; once you think you are on the brink of going over board with your decor, add a few more, lol.

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4. Snacks

As I have mentioned in previous party posts, don’t stress out over food; order in, cook or go out, it’s all good!

I am having my gals over for drinks and appetizers, then we are going out to dinner. But I couldn’t help but buy these hot lips cookies; how perfect are they??!! I got them at Tony’s here in Moncton.

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Oh and I also got these, look down, because they were soooo pretty, so we may do drinks and desert at my place?? These were also from Tony’s, I had to taste test one, to make sure they were good enough for my guests. Happy to report, they passed the test!

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If I was going to cook, a heart shaped pizza would be my choice. It looks super easy…says the girl going out to dinner, lol. If you are ordering in or taking out this Valentines, ask them to make it heart shaped. You really need to embrace the corniness of this holiday.

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We sprinkled some hearts on the table at the restaurant, and voila! Instant Galentine decor. The waitress thought it was pretty, I think she wanted to join us? You can add flowers or balloons; we kept it simple, yet festive.

5. Have Fun!

I always buy something funny or silly for my guests. I have found that props loosen people up. For Halloween, I had black bunny masks, for Christmas, I had reindeer glasses; and for my Galentine’s party, I have these cute glasses.

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I also bought lip suckers, they were funny and yummy!! They helped my friends pucker up!! Make sure to take lots of pictures!!

6. Party Favors

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No one leaves empty handed. I was surprised at how easy it was to find items that fit my theme so perfectly.

Included in my goody bags are: a hot pink lip balm, a Kiss Me heart shaped sucker and a lip smacking sucker, because one sucker wasn’t enough, lol. And a moisturizing lip mask, it’s a silicon lip shape that you put on your lips for 10 to 15 minutes, because your hot lips need to be kissable at all times!

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I hope this post inspires you to get a few of your best gals together for drinks, dinner or brunch. Life can be hard and messy, it’s so important to have a tribe of strong women surrounding you!

I wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Tell the people around you that you love them! They will be happy to hear it!

Muah!

Liette

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Going Viral, Holy Shit!

Going Viral…Holy Shit

This is a true account of what happens when you put something out there and it goes viral. No names in this post have been changed to hide any ones identities, lol, that’s how I roll!

Sunday

For my second blog post, I am torn between which story to go with? Girls Just Wanna Have Tea, a hard hitting story on how to throw a tea party; or New Brunswick, Canada, You’re Going to Hate It! A fun tongue and cheek story about my home.

Late Sunday afternoon, I decide to go with the N.B. story, I read it one last time, hoping that people will get the humor, but if they don’t, how many people will actually see it?? Probably not many. I hit send and go on with my day.

Monday

By Monday morning I have gotten a few comments, I am excited, the first few are from friends, but sprinkled in there are a few from people I don’t know. I am reaching people I don’t know, how cool is that?

During the day, I periodically check my emails, each time I have a few more views and comments. By the time I get home that evening, I am very pleased with myself. My second post is getting much more attention than my first post; where I explored the controversial topic of how to take the perfect selfie.

My post gets its first share on Facebook from Paul, a fellow Monctonian. I am so touched, that he thought my post was interesting enough to share with his friends. By the afternoon, I have a few more shares. This is turning out to be a good Monday!

After dinner, while looking at my blog analytics, I notice, if I scroll down…all the way down, I can see more numbers; how many people have visited my site and where they are from… those sorts of things. It takes me a few minutes to figure things out, but when I do, I noticed that 2,100 have viewed my post in the last 24hrs!!!

Holy Shit!! 2,100 people viewed my post!!! How awesome! I call my mom, I am so excited, I need to share. After 5 minutes of explaining what a blog is, I am still not convinced she got it, I ask her to guess how many people have viewed my post so far?

Her first guess is 100K…really?? My 2,100 views suddenly feel tiny compared to 100K. When I bark back “mom!” she just laughs. I should note that she doesn’t have a computer, she knows how to text and that’s pretty much it, so I decide to cut her a bit of slack.

By the time we hang up, I have instructed her that the next time we speak, if asked to guess my number she would pick a realistic number, pretty much any number under 100K! She asks how many I want, I tell her that hitting 3K or even 4K would be super cool.

A few hours later I pass 3K, then 4K! I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the following people: Barney, Lynn, Staci, Claudia, Aline, Kenda, Cindy and Guylaine; because for the rest of that evening, they get regular text updates on how many people have viewed me; and by regular I mean every 20 minutes…ok maybe every 15 minutes.

When I surpass 5K and am almost at 6K, the texts are all the same, brief and to the point: WTF???  I start wondering if I am reading my stats correctly? One last text to Barney, who is away with his family, sorry, Barney’s family; he confirmed the stats are correct. Barney has become my unpaid technician and blog expert.

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This is Barney! He is also an amazing photographer!

I decide to go to bed, I wondered if I could possibly hit 8K by the morning? I think that it maybe possible? But then reality sets in, nah, it will die down by the morning.

Tuesday

I wake up early Tuesday morning and the first thing I do is reach for my phone to check my stats. Over 8K views!! And lots of new comments. I make certain to reply to each one of them before I get out of bed. Most are recommendations for places I should visit or things I should try. All are polite and make me feel warm and fuzzy.

By the time I am ready to leave for work, I hit 9K views!! I am not sure why, but I instantly start to feel anxious and actually start breaking out in hives. I don’t know why? It’s such an honor to have people take the time to read something you have written. But on the other hand, 9,000 people have just read something that I have written! I think I am feeling a bit vulnerable, which is strange, since I started this blog and I posted of my own free will.

By the time I get to work, the anxiety is now mixed with excitement, after updating my coworkers with my unbelievable stats. I decide to stop looking, plus I know that the numbers will start to slow down shortly.

At lunch with my friend Staci, I pulled out my cell and see that I’ve just hit 13K!!! OMG!!

At this point, I am questioning what is going on here? Why is my little post about my little province so popular? One more text to Barney to ask: when do you know if you have gone viral? To which he replies, “Liette, you are viral!” Yikes!

Our next stop is Party City, I had joked earlier that if I reached 500 followers, I would do what celebrities do and take my photo with giant numbered balloons. It would be cheesy, dorky and awesome!! I decided that 13K is reason enough to celebrate!

I asked Staci if I should be so bold as to as to assume that I will hit 14K before the next morning? I decide to go for it, what the hell. I pay for a number one, a number four and a letter K; I’ll pick them up after work.

Going Viral Shark Week
Staci and I goofing off at Party City. Side note, Shark Week on Discovery Channel Kicks Off tonight!

Later that afternoon, my friend Michael, asks again if I have started getting any creepy emails yet? “No, just yours” I reply. He had sent me a cranky message as a joke, he says, the creeps will come, just wait. He is more of a glass half empty kind of guy, lol. All comments so far have been super supportive, nothing negative to report.

A few hours later, I get my first angry comment, instead of being upset, I think, wow! I have really made it now! It was someone who didn’t think that N.B. being bilingual is an asset, blah, blah, blah. It ended with “this F#@$ing Sucks”, not my blog post, but the fact that French people have equal rights I guess?? I have to approve all comments before they appear on my page. I considered approving knowing that the general public would come to my defense. I think about it for a moment, then decide that I want my blog to be a positive space, so not approving his rant. I am open to some controversial topics, if you want to debate which is better a sticky bun or a “pet de soeur”, bring it on!

For the rest of the afternoon the views and comments keep coming in. Bloggers are sharing and re-posting, local N.B. businesses are sharing. My friend Cindy sends me a note that her friends, who don’t know me, are sharing my post. I can’t tell if she is annoyed or happy about that? Lol, teasing, I think she is at the holy shit stage. She was the first to read my post, I sent it to her for feedback. She offered up some helpful suggestions, thank you Cindy!

By now, the anxiety is gone, I realize that this has taken on a life of its own and that I am just along for the ride.

When I leave work to pick up my balloons, I am already past 15K. What the hell am I going to do with my number 4 balloon now? I decided to skip 5 and get a number 6 balloon. I figure that by the time I get home, I will be at 16K, which I was; now I was just getting cocky.

Next is the reflective stage; what is it about this post that people connected with? I think that I have tapped into a feeling of pride? By highlighted a few things that make N.B. awesome, maybe it have reminded others how great it is? Or maybe it have given others the opportunity or the permission to boast a bit too? I think there is a feeling that N.B. is ignored by those who have never been there. We have been the drive through province, but those who have taken the time to stop, love it. Maybe instead of being Canada’s overlooked province, we are Canada’s best kept secret?

I make plans to have my picture taken with my balloons in front of the Welcome to Vegas sign the next day. Even after being here for two years, I still pinch myself and think, you live in Las Vegas! So the visual of a girl from Moncton, standing in front of the Las Vegas Sign with balloons that say 16K for a blog post about her home province, seemed like something I wanted to do! So doing it!

Going Viral Balloon Selfie
Trying to wrangle my giant gold balloons!

 Wednesday

I wake up to discover that I am at 22K views, so my 16K balloons now seemed silly, there goes $30…US!!

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I flip my 6 to make a 9 and take a picture, but I am already at 22K! #balloonfail

By the time I leave for work I am at 23K & 25K after lunch!

My friends back home are telling me that they are seeing my story all over their Facebook feeds. It feels strange that I am getting my 15 minutes of fame for a story I wrote about my home province, while I am living in Vegas.

I decide to call my dad, I am almost positive my mom hasn’t told him about my budding fame. He is a fairly popular guy in the area. He’s sort of like Madonna and Cher, he only needs one name…Tilly. I didn’t want people to tell him that they saw his daughter on the internet, without knowing what I was doing on the internet, lol. So I explain to him what a blog is and tell him how many views I have gotten, his response is “ya ok”. I hang up telling myself that I am sure he is really excited…on the inside.

By the time I go to bed, things are starting to slow down a bit. My daily total for Tuesday was 13,268K, today my daily total is only 9,645. As soon as I say it, I see how crazy of a statement it is; only 9K today, oh no, am I becoming jaded…already? This week has been crazy and it’s only Wednesday.

Thursday

My morning total is 27,899, I am confident that I will hit 28K in the next few hours. I am a starting to feel a bit detached; it’s difficult to wrap my brain around the reality of this number.

It’s hard to believe that 27,899 people have taken the time to click on my link and read all of, or part of, my little story about N.B. To be honest, I would have been thrilled with 500 views and blown away by 1000 views, the higher the numbers get, the more surreal all of this feels.

By the time I get home from work I have hit 30K! Feeling so thankful and blown away, my brain hurts!

I call my parents and speak to my dad, he is starting to take interest; he asked and I quote: “how is your thing with the people going?” I feel like I am making progress on the parent front!

Going Viral Las Vegas Selfies
Cindy and I make a quick stop at the Welcome to Vegas Sign, sans balloons, lol.

Friday

I think I am suffering from a blog hangover, lol, it’s too much!

I feel that I inadvertently accomplished something that I suspect most bloggers never get to experience. When you start a blog, you want people to like your content and you want to build your followers; I was expecting a slow build. I didn’t expect this and to be honest, I wasn’t ready for it, I was still working out the kinks for gosh sakes!

On my drive home from work, I catch myself making a mental list of all the people who have reached out and sent me a quick email or text and those who have shared my link. And for the first time this week, I get a bit of a negative vibe as I take stock of those who are close to me, who haven’t said boo. In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t such a big deal, I know that, but it does make me think, maybe a bit too much??

I check my stats one more time before bed; my daily numbers are slowing down, it has been a hell of a great ride! But this train is approaching the gate and to be honest, that is fine with me.

Saturday

 I am up early to catch a flight to Oklahoma City for my real, paying, job. Wow, what a week! I have stopped checking my stats every 20 minutes. It was fun, but a bit exhausting.

My daily total on Friday was a little over 2K, my grand total by Saturday night is 33,740. I am going to put it out there, that I will hit 35K!

If someone had told me last Sunday, when I hit send, that I would be sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City writing that I want to hit 35 THOUSAND views on my second blog post, I would have laughed my head off. But here I am!

Here is what I am going to take away from this experience. Ready or not, shit happens, you may as well enjoy the ride! That sometimes failure is easier to wrap your head around than being successful. And that one should not underestimate the power of their community, correction, my community! New Brunswick, maybe small in size and in population, it may have its economic struggles, but the people kick ass! Although I have had views from around the world, the majority are from Canada and of those, I suspect a large part of fellow New Brunswickers.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to read my posts, if you like my style and my swagger, please subscribe; if you do, you will receive an email each time I post something. Which will be once a week. I am pretty sure you won’t want to miss my next post, which will most likely be how to throw a tea party! I bet you can hardly wait, lol.

Thank you! Merci!!

Muah!

Liette