This post is for my oui-liette subscribers, first of all THANK YOU!! I so appreciate that you took the time to sign up for my blog and that you are faithful readers.
In the next few weeks I will be sharing a post called, You’re So Vain. Which is really, I’m So Vain, but You’re sounds better, lol.
I’ve had a skin cancer scare, I am fine, but I do look like I’ve been in a bar fight; and in my fake bar fight, I won of course, lol.
So I just wanted to give you a heads up, if you are at all squeamish, you may want to skip it, as I will be sharing a few pics that show what I looked like right after my procedure. Which really isn’t that bad, but I have a friend who can’t even listen to someone talk about getting stitches or blood without almost passing out, lol. I want to be sensitive to “those” kind of people.
If I am being honest, my first instinct is to hide away and resurface when I am all healed up, but that’s not real life, blah!!! Ugh!!! Lol.
The next thing that I wanted to share is that if you read my posts directly from your emails, this is what you see:
Which is perfectly fine, but if you click on the title of the post, it will bring you to my site, which has a few extra pics.
You will see my header, which changes by the season and my feature image.
And finally, this week I am moving my life back to Canada! I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past three and a half years and it’s time to go back. I will be sharing more posts about my little corner of the world, which is so lovely.
My little blog started off with a bang!! I had great momentum and then my father got sick and passed away. During that time, my blog kept me sane and kept my mind busy; I was pumping out content regularly.
For the past few months I’ve been less consistent; I guess I’ve been mourning and will be for a long time to come. But! The passing of my dad has only reinforced the theme of my blog which is, life is short, live it!!
That’s how my father lived his life and that’s how he would want me to live mine. So everyday, I get my butt out of bed and tell myself, today will be a good day damn it!
Full disclosure, it doesn’t always work, but that’s ok, at least I am trying.
My last, last thing, is that I’ve been on a weight loss journey and will be posting my results in the new year. You may have noticed my cheeks getting a bit slimmer, lol?
I decided that food had been helping me cope with what was happening in my life. Like millions of people out there I was/am an emotional eater. Which was obviously what I needed to do I guess, because I survived without taking a nervous breakdown, so yay me! In June, I decided that I was ready to start using other copping mechanisms, so stay tuned for that.
There you have it, you’re all caught up on my stuff! With the holidays creeping up on us, make certain to get your butt out of bed every morning and tell yourselves that it’s going to be a good day damn it!!! 😬
With the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out.
You’re giving so much to others, how about you treat yourself to something fun for you?? It’s not being selfish, it’s taking care of your heart and soul so you can be there for others.
Now this idea will vary depending on where you live, but it works anywhere and everywhere! The basic idea is to escape from your daily grind for 12 to 24 hours; with all the time that you spend doing laborious tasks, you deserve some time to yourself this month.
It’s easy and doesn’t have to be too expensive.
Step 1 – Find a holiday activity and book it!
Every city, large or small have holiday things to do. Look it up and buy tickets for you and your mate, friend or mom; whoever you want to share your Staycation with, just be sure it’s someone you like, lol.
If you don’t like concerts, go see a movie or find a craft show, just make certain it’s an activity that you enjoy.
I staycationed last night in Las Vegas; and yes, this city has a lot of options, but I couldn’t help but notice all the concerts people back home in my little hometown of Moncton are posting on social media. So you don’t have to live in a big city.
Seeing Mariah Carey perform her Christmas concert has been on my bucket list since I moved here three years ago. I missed her last year, her Christmas concerts were too close to Christmas, I was already back home for my Christmas vacation.
But not this year!! I asked two of my close friends if they were interested and they said yes!! We bought our tickets in August.
Step 2 – Get a room!
Now you maybe thinking, why would I get a room in the city that I live in? It’s a waste of money. First of all, no it isn’t a waste! It’s part of your “you need a break” staycation.
So get a room, have a romantic night with your partner or have a pajama party with your BFF.
Here’s a helpful hint, if your schedule is flexible, pick a night that the hotel isn’t busy. Sunday nights are usually the best nights to get the best rate. Also, ask if they have a locals rate? Or ask them what night in the next few nights could they offer you the best rate? Call the hotel directly and tell them you are planning a special night and that you live in the city, they will help you, I promise!
My friends and I have booked a hotel room on the strip, because if you live here going to the strip is sort of a pain in the ass. The traffic, the people, the parking, the people, the walking…
But, if you have a room on the strip, you can have a few drinks without having to drive home; instead of dreading all the crazy party people who invade the city, you become part of the party.
Step 3 – Make a night of it!
So you have your show tickets, you booked your hotel room; now get dressed up and go out to dinner. Think of it as your very own Christmas party and make it special.
For our night on the strip, we booked a fancy restaurant and got dressed up in our shiniest outfits; Shondra out shined, as she should, because she is fabulous!
If you are parents of small kids, maybe your staycation is getting a hotel room, ordering room service and watching Christmas movies in bed? Hey, do you! Whatever you need to recharge your batteries.
Step 4 – Gifts!!
This is a bonus step; ask your staycation partner or partners if they want to exchange gifts? I mean it is Christmas!!
My friends and I did a « our favorite things » gift exchange. Turns out all of our favorite things include fuzzy slippers, candles and luxurious face masks and lotions!
As we packed up and left Caesar’s Palace this morning, Shondra mentioned that it felt like we had been there for the whole weekend; which was exactly the point. We spent a solid 12 hours away from our regular lives; we laughed and made great memories that we will treasure for years to come. Moving forward, Mariah Carey’s, All I Want For Christmas, will make me think of my awesome friends in Las Vegas.
Thanks for reading, let me know if you are planning or could use your own Holiday Staycation!
For more pictures, videos and holiday gift ideas, follow me on Instagram and Facebook at: @oui-liette
Stuff Your Stockings! Great stocking stuffer ideas from Santa’s helper.
Growing up, one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning was diving into my stocking to see what Santa had left me. About ten years ago “Santa” asked if she…I mean he, still needed to fill my stocking? Duh! YES!!
The truth is you’re never too old for gifts in your stocking; and it turns out, that I enjoy buying stocking stuffers almost as much as I like getting them…almost.
So here are my top 5 stocking stuffing ideas for this Christmas.
Tag Your Bags!
I travel a lot for work, as do many of my friends. The other day I was waiting patiently…ok maybe not so patiently, for my hot pink Samsonite bag at the baggage carousel. I finally spotted it coming down towards me. I got into my best baggage pick up stance, just as another woman darted in front of me and grabbed it! Turns out we had the exact same pink bag. This is exactly why I don’t have a generic black suitcase, but apparently I now need to add something unique to my hot pink bag so it stands out…more.
This was the inspiration for my first stocking stuffer idea, customized luggage tags.
I got these on Amazon, they are called: My Personal Memories and were $14.99 each.
I bought some for my staff, of course I had to get one for myself too! They come in a variety of colors. I got black, but now wishing I had gotten one of the bright colorful ones.
I went a bit rogue on customizing my tags. I did the first letter of the last names, as shown in the example, but then I wrote out the first name.
They are called Face Luggage Tags and were a bit more at $19.90. I think these are sooo cute. I’m so tempted to show you all of the ones I ordered, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, as a few of my friends are loyal blog readers; those who aren’t loyal readers aren’t getting anything for Christmas!! Kidding, sort of. So, sadly, I can only show you the one above, it’s my friends dog.
What’s nice about these is that you have the option of printing the names and address on the back side.
You can’t stuff a stocking without a stocking!
Ok, maybe I should have starting my post with this one? If your loved ones don’t have cool stockings with their names on them, well, not to be judgy, but I am secretly judging you, and so is Santa!! Lol
But seriously, I noticed one year that my stocking was getting raggedy, the red fur was shedding all over the place, so I upgraded. My cousin, Nicole, and I now have matching stockings that we stuff for each other.
If you live in the Moncton area, check out: Made By Monique, on Facebook. She can create matching, monogrammed stockings for everyone on your list. Just hurry, Christmas is fast approaching!
So a fancy, smancy new stocking can be part of your stocking stuffing gift; just don’t forget to stuff it. Do not give anyone an empty stocking!!
My secret stocking stuffer location is Staples, yes the office supply store. When I am having a hard time thinking of what to get someone, I go to Staples and it never disappoints!
If you want to change the life of your Millennial or Gen Xer, get them a super long phone charging cord, like 10’ long. It will seriously improve their quality of life, lol.
Think about it, you’re laying in bed, watching something on YouTube or browsing on your phone and it’s charging at the same time! And you don’t have to be at the edge of your bed, because your cord is too short. You can be in the middle!!
Here are a few cord options, I would go for the pink one, obvs. These are 6’, but I highly recommend the 10 footers. They also have phone pad chargers and a bunch of other cool stuff that you need, but never think to buy for yourself. I think you will find tones of stocking stuffers for everyone on your list at Staples.
Make Christmas Memories!
This is a great ideas for everyone, but especially for men for their partner, mother or sister…
Start a new tradition of buying a new tree ornament every year and put it in their stocking. It’s thoughtful and sentimental. I try to find a funky Santa or snowman every year. This year I bought three of these jolly guys, one for me and two for gifts. If you find something you like, buy more than one. Omg he is so cute!!
My stocking stuffing strategy is to have one or two, substantial gifts, don’t fill it up with cheap crap! So one or two nice things and then, go ahead and load it up with cheap crap! Lol
If you’re giving socks and underwear, wrap it and sock it!! Socks in a sock, why not?
If you have a university student home for the holidays, get toothpaste, Mr. Noodle, deodorant…the key is to wrap each item.
For ladies…or men, pick up a few silicone gel eye patches, bath bombs and wrap em up!
All my stuffing ideas are items that I would like to receive myself; this last idea, I love giving and receiving!
If you want to test the waters with your subject before buying ask them one question; do you shop at Sephora? If the answer is yes, you are cruising down easy street!
During the holidays they offer a variety of gift packs; this one below is a Lashstach. It’s a package of a bunch of different brand together, these are a bunch of different mascaras. Sometimes they are a little smaller than regular size, but bigger than sample size.
Why is this so cool?? Because you get to try a bunch of different brands to see which you like best. Usually when you run out of mascara or other, you don’t want to gamble on another brand, just in case it’s not as good as your current fav. This gift pack let’s you try them all.
Here is another great one! This brand sells lipsticks, they go on very glossy so don’t worry if you aren’t sure if these shades will be flattering. They are glossy with a hint of color, so will be flattering on everyone. Again, it’s a great way to try a bunch of different shades.
A few years ago I gifted my bff with a black liquid liner gift set and she loved it!!! This year I bought a Benefits gift set for a coworker, we do a gift exchange; it includes a bronzer, a full size mascara and an eyebrow shadow.
If you are unsure find a sales person and tell them the coloring of the person you are buying for; fair, blonde hair, blue eyes, or olive skin with brown hair and brown eyes.
I hope one of these ideas will be helpful to you! My two key take aways are: make sure you have at least one nice gift, the others can be useful fillers. And two, wrap everything that goes in the stocking, half the fun is unwrapping and it will make the morning gifting last longer.
My next Christmas post will focus on Santa’s naughty list! Hey, sometimes being naughty is just way more fun!!
One of my many talents is shopping, lol. I can seriously shop anywhere; it’s hereditary, I come from a long line of great shoppers!
I’ve never admitted this publicly before, but I love airport shopping. And not the cute designer boutiques, no, I like the touristy shops. Hudson News and similar stores are my jam!
Is my love for tacky touristy shops due to the fact that I spend far too much time in airports? Perhaps? But I’ve found some seriously cool things over the years.
Las Vegas, Terminal 3’s Hudson News rocks!! Where else can you find Elton John’s new book, alien t-shirts that are so tacky they’re actually cool; super cute keychains, vinyl records, yes you heard me, records! Gummy bears, funky artsy greeting cards, water for your flight and a cheese & crackers??? Where??? Nowhere!
Some may be thinking, who needs a glow in the dark Area 51 alien t-shirt? It’s silly and frivolous; yup, that’s true? But I am going to buy it for my 17 year old nephew on my return trip. I’ll add it to a new pair of jeans and new Converse sneakers and bam!! I can cross him off my Christmas list!! Nerdy, quirky t-shirts are in at the moment, BTW.
You see, I think my airport shopping is really a great demonstration of my ability to multi-task and it also shows off my awesome time management skills!
The average person sees something interesting and thinks, oh cute, and walks away. But an expert shopper thinks, oh that would be a cool stocking stuffer or that would be perfect for so and so’s birthday…. in 11 months.
Now do I usually end up buying myself one of everything that I buy for others? Like last Easter when I bought my mother and cousin the softest pajamas ever made? Well yes, I do, but in my defense, I think it would have been unfair for them to have cute new matching PJs and for me to be forced to wear older, none matching, ones.
What I love about buying fun, odd things, throughout the year is that my Christmas shopping gets done early and the cost is spread out over several months. So far, I’ve avoided being that person; you know that person who ends up racking their brain trying to think of what to buy everyone on their list.
If you’re thinking of adopting my airport/touristy shopping gift strategy, here’s some advice on how to avoid a big rookie mistake. In your excitement, you will be tempted to hand out gifts to loved ones upon your arrival back home. But resist and put them away, save them for Christmas!
Think about it, what if a few weeks before Christmas, you take inventory of what you have hidden away and you realize that all your kids stocking stuffers are bought. Hmm, my love for airport shopping might not seem so silly then??
My great find today were super hero keychains. Are they silly? Yes, but they are fun, unique and are actually great quality; don’t buy anything that looks cheap or flimsy.
I bought them for a few of my girlfriends. Any girl who grew up watching Linda Carter wanted to be Wonder Women (Linda Carter played Wonder Woman on TV in the 70’s and she was fabulous!!). I’ll add them to their Christmas gifts. (Update, on my way back home, my carry on was searched and the Calgary security lady freaked out when she saw these! She wanted to know where I got them, I think she wanted me to give her one.)
I picked this moon night light up in the San Francisco airport; I think it’s super pretty! I had a two hour layover there on my way back from this last trip, just enough time to explore the shops!
Here are a few Airport Shopping Tips…from a professional.
– as mentioned above, don’t buy anything that looks cheaply made. And skip the snow globes and magnets, unless you know someone who collects them.
– airport shops have great greeting cards and honestly, when in your busy life do you have time to pleasantly browse through greeting cards? It’s amazing how easy it is to find that perfect one when you aren’t pressed for time. Like when you’re at the card store rushing through the racks for a nice engagement card, because you’re already 30 min late for the party. I buy in bulk, I think of who’s birthday coming up.
– look for items that have that “strange” factor; either it’s a strange item, in general, or it’s strange that, said item, is being sold in an airport, next to the chips. Lol, Maybe unique would be a better word? Life can be hard and at times depressing; if you find something that no one actually needs, but is fun and makes you smile, buy it!
– don’t limit yourself to airport gift shops, check out hotel and casino gift shops too, you will find the most uniquely quirky items. I was recently on a road trip and we stopped at the biggest touristy shop I’ve ever seen. It was on an Indian reservation and they had everything! My friends and I browsed around, they didn’t buy anything, but I bought the oddest thing ever. It’s a large bullet casing that’s been turned into a bottle opener. It was $6 and no tax (reservations don’t charge tax). My brother will think it’s cool! It’s a perfect stocking stuffer. This is also the sort of quirky gift that makes an awesome and memorable host or hostess gift. Buy a six pack of beer or anything that requires a bottle opener, add the bullet bottle opener and I guarantee that your host will be super excited he invited you to his party!!!
– don’t forget about your sports fan! Airports have so many team branded items to choose from; socks, hats and underwear are perfect stocking stuffers!
– To Duty Free or not Duty Free? Sooo, I have to say that besides booze, I haven’t seen any great deals at duty free. Yes, you’re saving on the tax, but items are usually at full price. I am not a fan.
Thanks for reading!! My next posts will be all about that holidays!!! Then in January, I will be sharing the results of my weight loss challenge. I started the last week in June, my goal was to lose 30 pounds by Christmas! I am soooo close to my goal and it’s only first week of November!!
It’s not exactly a secret that I love Halloween, I also love entertaining and spending time with my friends. I used to host a big Halloween Party every year, but for the last few years I’ve hosted smaller dinner parties.
Last year I hosted a Haunted Dinner Party in my best friends backyard. I bought cheap black rabbit masks for my bunny friends; we hung out, ate cake and laughed our bunny tails off!
This year I am hosting a Haunted Garden Party! Full disclosure, it won’t take place in a garden. New Brunswick in late October isn’t exactly garden party weather, but that’s my theme and I am sticking with it!!
The idea for this years party was inspired from a few of my past costumes. My friends will be asked to create a nature inspired headpiece. I know I am weird, but this is what happens when I get bored. I like being creative; a trip to Michaels can be dangerous for me.
For this years fête, I created a Facebook Event, I like that I can share pictures and we can chat as a group on there.
Not wanting to compete with Halloween parties the weekend before Halloween, I decided that our soirée will take place on a Sunday evening. And who are we kidding, we’ll be done and back home before midnight…ok, probably by 10!! Lol
I sent a few guideline to help my friends get their ideas flowing. It’s funny, I know my friends well enough to know who is going to go all out and who is going to struggle.
A lot of people get stressed out trying to come up with costume ideas, blah!!!! You know your friends, if they aren’t Halloween people, then buy a bunch of masks or matching wigs and have them dress up onsite.
I’ve already told one of my friends, who will remain nameless, that I will have something for her; she just needs to show up. The point of any party is to have fun and spend quality time together and not to be stressed.
I’ll also bring a few bunny masks from last year for anyone who needs last minute help.
My original Haunted Garden Party costume idea was a dark, moody, crow inspired vibe, but turns out one of my friends had a similar idea.
After a little bit of Pinteresting for inspiration, I have a new direction!
I will now be a funky Vegas showgirl flamingo!! Which I think will be way cooler than my original crow vibe…and it’s pink, so there’s that.
Some of you maybe thinking what the hell does a flamingo have to do with a garden party? Well, in my imaginary garden, there are lots of flamingos! My sympathies if you don’t have any flamingos in your imaginary garden, lol.
It doesn’t have to be a real thing, I want people to use their imagination. It’s just supposed to be fun!!
For my headpiece, I hot glue gunned pink feathers on a headband; I think it’s going to look pretty cool!!
I was supposed to be packing for a 10 day work trip, but instead I was playing with makeup tonight and testing things out.
My eye makeup was cool, but then I added a pair of pink feather eyelashes, and they pretty much hide my eyeshadow; they were also super uncomfortable. They aren’t going to make the final cut. I may end up with a dark black smokey eye?? I mean it is Halloween, I need to look a bit scarier or at least bitchier! We’ll see, lol.
This is my table setting inspiration, I am thinking white or black pumpkins with maybe some creepy crawling bugs or snakes? It’s a haunted garden party after all.
I am going to share a super helpful hint from a professional events expert with you, so listen up! Lighting can make or break your event!! Nothing ruins a party vibe like bad lighting.
Add candles and/or fairy lights and turn off any harsh or bright lighting. This is especially important for Halloween parties.
I also believe that, you don’t have to spend the day in the kitchen to be a great hostess. A great hostess or host, is relaxed and present. We are ordering in for our event, so easy, peasy.
I hope this post inspires you to invite some of your favorite people over; make memories, be silly and have fun!!! Halloween gives you the perfect excuse to break out of your normal routine. Some of us don’t need an excuse to be weird, lol, but whatever.
Enjoy Halloween!!! I will post some pics from our party shortly!!
I love October!!! I will be spending most of it in the desert and even though you can’t really tell it’s fall here, I will be doing fun fall things. I will be in Eastern Canada the last week of October; I hope that I can catch the tail end of the fall foliage.
The goal of this post is to coax you into getting out there to do a few fun fall things with your loved ones. Please just do it while you can; make silly memories, you’ll never regret the time you spend with friends and family.
Not to put a damper on things, but it’s been 4 months since my dad passed and I get great comfort remembering all the things that we did together. I like to think that I have inherited his zest for life! I share a few family Halloween stories at the end of this post.
I am challenging all of you to do a version of each of these October activities!! There are only 3 things on this list so completely doable!
This one is super easy, get your pumpkin grove on!! That’s a thing right?? No? Well it should be. Lol
– Pick a Pumpkin
If you don’t have access to a pumpkin patch, then pick one up at the grocery store, there’s no excuse, they are literally everywhere. And not to put any pressure on you, but I found a pumpkin patch in the middle of the desert, so don’t be lame, lol.
So I have a confession to make…actually, I have two confessions; the first is that this was my first pumpkin picking experience. I’ve been apple picking, but never pumpkin picking, it was so fun and pretty. My second confession is that I got a bit ahead of my list and picked my pumpkins the last weekend of September. But crossing off my October list…check!!
– Carve Your Pumpkin
For all you busy parents out there, this is one activity that your children will remember from their childhood, so make a night or afternoon out of it. Growing up, my dad was the pumpkin carver; and apparently, my mom just took pictures of us while we carved, lol. Note to the moms, get in at least one of the pictures.
Pumpkin carving isn’t just for kids; my family and I started a new tradition a few years ago, we have a pumpkin carving night. When done we vote on who has the best one. Everyone gets really into it, we get pretty competitive.
We have our date picked out for this years Great Pumpkin Carve Off, ok, that’s not what we call it…yet!! My brother is hosting this year and he is the one to beat, so I need to take him down! Wish me luck.
Haunted, Frightful Fun!
I am going to give you a few options for this one, so again no excuse! Google haunted things to do in your area or scary things to do; even if you live in a smaller community, something will pop up.
It’s so easy to get stuck in your routine and not explore what’s happening in your community, pretend you are a tourist and look things up.
For those in the Moncton area, I googled for you, here’s what came up…you’re welcome!
I am certain there are haunted corn mazes all over the US and Canada. This is a great activity for smaller kids, make sure to check the scardy cat level; traumatizing your kids isn’t exactly the kind of memories I was talking about.
For older brats…I mean teenagers, a haunted house tour is super fun. The Keillor House Museum in Dorchester, NB is ligit crazy scary!
It’s located down the road from an old castle looking maximum security prison. On a scary cat scale, it starts off at a 9.9 level. This is also one of their major fund raising activities, so scaring the shit out of yourself and your kids will be for a great cause.
I volunteered to help decorate a few years ago and I am pretty sure I captured a ghost in one of my pictures. See my pic below, that’s totally a ghost or something right? Look in the middle left of the pic. There’s a white blur, see it? Do you think it’s a ghost?? Let me know, I think it’s something.
Most cities also have haunted walking tours. Grab a pumpkin spice latte and soak in a bit of creepy history. Or…pick up a hot chocolate and add a shot of fireball, the chocolate and cinnamon is a yummy combo.
Those are three things to do in and around Moncton; I am sure there are more.
There are lots of options in Las Vegas! I have tickets for Scare Vegas this week, see below, I am liking the third activity, selfies and cocktails, I am in!!
Last year, I visited the Zac Bagan’s Haunted Museum, he’s on Discovery Channel’s Ghost Adventure, it was eerie. I would give it 4 scardy cats; it’s more creepy than screaming scary.
I considered this Blackout At The Asylum this year, for all of three seconds, lol. It’s a real old mental asylum! Ya…no! I will stick with the Wicked Selfies and cocktails, lol.
From big to small cities, you can find something frightful to do!
Ghoulish Friends Gathering
October is the perfect time to have fun with your Freaky Friends!
If you’re looking for a shortcut and want to “kill two birds with one stone”, you could invite your friends over to watch a scary movie with you; you really shouldn’t be watching a scary movie alone anyway. A scary movie gathering will cross off the Ghoulish Friends Gathering and the Haunted, Frightful Fun off your list; check and check!!
I love Halloween parties, if you are invited to one, you should go! While in Moncton, the week before Halloween, I am going to host a Haunted Garden Dinner Party. Last year, I hosted a Wickedly Haunted Dinner Party. Dinner parties are less work than a full on party and smaller gatherings allow me to catch up with my fellow witches. Please note that any dinner party held in October automatically becomes a haunted dinner party; I am fairly certain it’s a rule.
See that wasn’t too bad right? Feel free to share your October activity plans and seriously, do you think that’s a ghost or spirit in my Keillor House pic???
I am going to share a few Halloween family stories before I sign off, just because. My father’s side of the family are real tricksters; they are game for anything, I aspire to keep this tradition alive.
My grandmother was a fan of dressing up for Halloween, she was an amazing seamstress. One year, she and one of her sisters dressed up and entered their village parade and won best costume! First of all, yay, Nanny!! Apparently no one recognized them and even though people tried to guess who they were, they never revealed their identities; they went home, took off their costumes and never let on it was them. I should add that at the time she was a mother of 9 and a grandmother of a few.
In my second story, I am probably 8ish, I just finished trick or treating and was answering the door and handing out candy. The doorbell rings so I go down to answer. There are two small teenagers at the door, their faces are covered, so I can’t see if they are boys or girls. I give them candy and instead of taking the candy and leaving, they just stand there, staring at me. Before I go any further, this story takes place around 1978, keep in mind that the ’70’s were a different time, apparently freaking out young children was still socially acceptable.
So they stand there for a very awkward period of time, so much so that I yell out DAD!! He peeks down and starts to laugh, he knew immediately who the two teenagers were. It was my my grandmother and one of my aunts! So I grew up seeing that you are never too old to have fun.
My last story is from last Halloween. I was home for a visit because my dad wasn’t well. But that day was a good day so I asked him if he wanted to dress up and go visit his sisters to try and trick them, he laughed and said, let’s do it! My mother though we were crazy, she’s not like us, lol. I had bought these big black crow heads, just because I thought they were funny.
We pull up to one of my aunts house. My father wanted me to park down the street, but I knew it would be too much for him if I made him walk too far. We quietly got out of the car and put our crows heads on. As we walk to the house, we were laughing thinking that we were so clever, that she was never going to know who we are. Man were we wrong; she saw us get out of the car and put our heads on. She was laughing before we even got to her door.
The reason for sharing these stories is that, in my opinion, the sillier or dumber the activity, the better the memories are. Life is short, you are never too old or too important to put a big black furry crow head on and go trick or treating!
I moved here in August of 2016; three months before your last election. Since then I have held back from sharing my personal political opinions; primarily because I feel that, as a guest in your country, it’s not my place and frankly, it would be rude.
I’m now preparing to leave the US to go back to Canada, but before I go, I wanted to share a few of my observations; as a friend.
Because, who are we kidding, Canada is your best friend; we know you better than any of your other friends. We’re your closest neighbor; we grow up watching your TV and listening to your music. We know you to be proud, passionate and at times a bit rowdy and rambunctious and we love you for it.
Although we know everything about you, we know that you know much less about us; and that’s ok, because we know that deep down you love us too! The truth is that when push comes to shove, we have always stood together! I would challenge anyone to find two countries who are closer friends and allies.
For the past three years, I have lived here among you; I’ve had a front row seat to all the changes that you’ve been going through. And I have to say that, as your friend, I am very worried for you.
I have friends who are Democrats and friends who are Republicans and guess what? Contrary to popular belief, you’re not that different! You love your families and want to provide for them. You aren’t looking for hand outs; you want to work hard and be paid fairly. You want to know that if your son, daughter, wife or husband gets sick, that they will get the best care possible; and while caring for them, you don’t want to have to worry about being ruined financially.
You love your country and your flag. You’re all thankful to those who serve and put their lives on the line to fight for your freedom. They don’t fight for the freedom of Republicans or the freedom of Democrats; they fight for you, they fight for America.
The core values of the majority of Americans are the same! And Contrary to what some would like you to believe, you are all Americans; no one group is more American than the other.
There are people in your country who want to make you believe that you are all so very different. They want you to believe that some of you are better than others. I think you need to take a step back and ask yourselves why? What’s in it for them?
How can that be good for you, America? Who is going to benefit from a fractured and fighting country? As an observer, I am perplexed and can’t see how this infighting is going to lead to anything positive.
I also want to talk about race for a moment, because it’s one of the ways that some people are trying to divide and break you. As a legal alien, yes, that is my official status, I think I have a unique perspective.
I am a white, middle-ish aged blonde Canadian with no recognizable accent. To those who are trying to divide you, I look and sound like the perfect American.
I was recently in a long line at the DMV and a few of us started chatting, A white, older man, asked the couple in front of me, who were of Latin decent, where they were from? They said California, to which he replied a bit surprised “Oh”. The white man wasn’t being rude, he was friendly and making conversation. But he didn’t ask me where I was from.
It made me wonder how many times they, or anyone with brown skin or a different accent, are asked that question? Would it get annoying or frustrating to feel that you have to justify or prove that you belong?
On the surface “where are you from” is not offensive; it’s a harmless question, but in my three years in Las Vegas, I’ve never felt like I needed to explain or justify who I am or why I am here.
I feel that I am automatically considered more American than a lot of real Americans. Is that a form of white privilege? Maybe in its most simplistic form? I get the benefit of the doubt automatically.
As human beings, our life experiences form and shape our views. I think some white people take offense to the notion of white privilege, because they feel that nothing has been handed to them; that they too struggle and that being a white American doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve had it easy. This is 100% true, you can be white and struggle.
We should sympathize with those of us who have been less fortunate and who have had less opportunities because of a number of different factors, black or white. But I suspect that those of color are faced with an additional set of challenges right out of the gate. Challenges that, those of us who are white, can’t fully comprehend because it’s not part of our life experiences.
As a white Canadian, I have discovered that I don’t have the same “cultural baggage” as some white Americans. This difference is apparent when the topics of Black Lives matter and the NFL players taking a knee are brought up. There seems to be an inner resentment of black Americans who take a stand; who peacefully protest, that killing their sons and fathers, whose only crimes are being black or brown in the wrong place at the wrong time, is unacceptable.
Some really nice white people, seem to go on immediate defense mode when these topics come up; and in my outsider, I don’t have a horse in this race, point of view, it’s very confusing to me.
Let’s be real, it doesn’t matter what color you are, if your son went to the store and got shot for no reason, you would be angry and want justice. So why aren’t all American mothers and fathers heartbroken regardless of the color or race of the child?
I recently asked a friend what it was about Black Lives Matter that was so upsetting? The response I got was that blue lives matter too. I agreed with them; I 100% believe that blue lives matter too. I admire people whose career choice puts them in harms way on a daily basis to protect others.
Have you ever wondered why someone becomes a police officer? I can guarantee you that it’s not the promise of fame and fortune! They sign up because they want to make the world a better place.
That being said, Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that Blue Lives don’t. Are there bad police officers out there? Yes, every profession has some people who do a horrible job. I know a few people who are in my field who are absolutely horrible at their jobs. But how much harm can a bad marketer do in the grand scheme of things?
My point is that we can and should be as outraged at the injustice of an innocent person being harmed because of the color of their skin, as we are when an officer is harmed because he showed up for work to help keep us safe. Both scenarios are unacceptable and we should be outraged. This shouldn’t be what divides you, in both scenarios, these are Americans.
The current woes of American are in no way the fault of white Americans; no more than they are the fault of brown Americans. But you need to know, that some people are trying to exploit your fears and insecurities in order to divide you. And it breaks my heart, friend, that it seems to be working.
We know you to have the biggest heart, but I fear that all the noise being bombarded upon you on a daily basis is making you hardened.
America, my dear friend, you are the most powerful country in the world; a true super power who’s slowing losing their super powers to those who are looking to divide and conquer you. Did you ever think that you could be conquered?
Your American values are being threatened, not by some far away foe, but from within. Like that scary movie where the threatening phone calls are coming from inside the house.
As your friend we need to give you a bit of tough love and let you know that you’re currently in a bad relationship. You’re losing yourself and what makes you truly great!
We need you to snap out of it; Canada needs you, the world needs you to be the strong, honorable, spirited, just and rowdy America that you have always been.
As your best friend there’s one thing about you that we know for sure; it’s that one should never assume that you are down for the final count. When times get tough, the tough get going. Well times are getting tough. It’s time to band together and show the world what we know you are made of.
Your enemies thought that crashing airplanes into buildings would break you; instead, it made you stronger! Please don’t let bots on social media divide and break you; you got this! Your freaking America for goodness sakes.
Is it over simplifying things to think that by being nicer and more compassionate to each other is going to bridge the divide that’s been created to harm you? Perhaps? But, I’m certainly not going to be betting against the power of Americans.
We miss you, your bff,
(for those reading, if you have nothing nice to say, please don’t. If you are all about positive vibes, then please leave me your comments.)