Tips & Tricks for Packing Light!

Tips & Tricks for Packing Light

Is it possible to pack for ten days with just a carry on suitcase? Yes! Do I do it often? No! Lol, but I can, I just chose not to most of the time.

flying main
Proof that I practice all my tips included in this post. Me in Paris, getting ready to go out; dressed in black! 

I recently went to Paris with one carry on; here’s how and what I packed.

858c6d36-5ab3-4801-93a0-2bb4bbee7969
Love my new suitcase! My friend Claudia and I got matching ones…just because. 
9b578a23-7aa3-417a-89b4-8898b2f685a4
Claudia proving that we did carry on. The guy behind her looks super impressed. Chivalry may be dead?? Please note that Claudia follows the same packing rules, she’s wearing her black turtleneck.  Keep reading, it will all make sense ish. lol

The key to having a chic wardrobe is to stick with one main color; my uniform is black, but my frequent flyer and anti-bag checker friend Cindy, prefers navy to black. Do you boo!

The trick is that everything needs to go with everything; when traveling light you need to be focused and plan things out.

My number one item of clothing that I couldn’t live or travel without is a black turtleneck, not in summer, obviously.

aa6e1a09-017d-4b9c-a752-0b249f034aaf

I bought this black turtleneck in Toronto in August. #1. I wore it in Moncton, Canada, in November. #2. Paris in October, #3. Christmas Eve, again in Canada; I wore with faux leather leggings and boots, in case you were wondering; and finally #4. January in Las Vegas, yes it does get cool enough.

My point here is that I have been wearing it for months and I don’t think anyone has really noticed how often I have been repeating it…I guess until now, lol. I paid close to $200, which seemed pricey at the time, but some things are worth paying more for. Go for quality over quantity.

What’s in my suitcase

  • 1 black turtleneck
  • 2 pairs of black jeans, 1 pair of blue jeans, 1 pair of black faux leather leggings and one black pair of yoga pants. If sharing a room, it’s good to lounge in your yoga pants.
59cf9f04-a603-4dbb-9730-1376ea753753
Blazer, 3 pairs of jeans and 1 pair of faux leather leggings.
  • 2 black t-shirts, 1 black and white blouse.
  • 1 black blazer, I worn mine to dinner, it made me feel dressed up and polished.
  • 1 large scarf, mine is leopard. 1 hat and 1 pair of sunglasses, don’t forget your sunglasses!
  • I do all black underwear, my rule is if I am gone 7 days, I pack 9 pairs of panties. 1 black bra, 1 one piece bodysuit, 2 black tank tops and black socks.
  • 1 travel tote bag for the plane, in my previous post, I shared my tips on what to carry in your tote bag, if you haven’t read that post, go read it now…we will wait for you to finish.
  • I travel with a black leather cross body, it’s a men’s Coach bag, I love it!! A cross body bag is a must for travel; make sure it crosses in front of you when in pickpocket areas. I also pack a second smaller leather cross body; I use it for nights out when I just need my wallet and lipstick. I pack makeup in it in my carry on so it is serving a purpose and not just taking up space.
7496940e-d27b-45d5-bdc1-b59ea38c4492
Invest in good leather bags and they will last for years!! 
7b283c6a-f0a1-4103-ad59-42ecc33badda
All my bags, for the plane, I put my bigger purse inside the tote bag. 
  • 1 black light weight puffy jacket, depending on where I am going. I didn’t pack for Paris, but did for Canada. The beauty of this jacket is that it balls up into a small pouch that can be used as a travel pillow. The scarf goes in my red tote bag and can be used as a blanket on the plane; planes get cold!!
9c170e2d-4297-4bcd-a897-ccf576a5bdad
Scarf, hat, jacket…check!
  • Black leather ankle booties, black sneakers, mine are Nike and I brought a pair of black knee high suede boots that took up a lot of space; did I need them? No, did I only wear them once? Yes.

Pack it up!

d15b11e8-4fea-48a7-bf8c-7d6524b41fd1

I rolled up my blue jeans, black jeans, leather leggings and yoga pants. Rolling your stuff does save on space. I do a combo roll and fold; I folded one of my black t-shirts and my blouse. My go to travel outfit lately is a pair of black jeans, black t-shirt and my turtleneck. I always layer up! I also like wearing my Nike sneakers, just in case I need to run to make my connection.

dfe98040-5275-4f93-893a-d390336bd9d0
My toiletries bag looks huge, it’s really not. 

In the picture above, I added my freezer Ziploc with my underwear and socks; and my bag with my toiletries, no liquids!!! Keep your baggie of creams and liquids in your tote bag. You don’t want to have to open your suitcase while going through security, that would be a rookie mistake!! Lol

d5e4cde7-4082-4844-af86-a58ad02c2a3b

I folded my blazer on top and locked and loaded everything in…ok I clicked them in, locked and loaded sounded cooler, lol.

a05bb7d2-2a78-46c7-aeb6-6973ba417aba

I have my booties and knee high boots in the other side. I stuffed my hair straightener and other stuff in the boots. Side note, if traveling internationally, make sure you have the proper outlet converter.

My suitcase expands, but make sure you can fit everything in it without expanding, so that if you buy things on your trip…ok, when you buy things, you have some room to…well to expand lol.

f74bb6b1-739e-41df-9cdb-5d75d3b3fe8d

The picture above is what I carry in my tote, again, for more details check out my Flying High post.

In addition to what is pictured above, when I am flying with a carry on suitcase, I add more stuff in my tote bag.

In the bottom of the tote is my jacket, yup it fits!! I also add my larger leather cross body purse. I zip my passport and my iPad in my purse, so this purse in a bag serves as extra compartments. And the very last thing I add is my small baggie with my creams and liquids so that I can take it out quickly when going through security. Please don’t be that person who acts all stunned when it’s your turn to put your stuff in the binds in security….PLEASE!!!

You need to focus or others will hate you!! Joking, a little; put your suitcase on the belt, put your tote bag in a bin, take your liquids baggie out of the tote, lay it beside the tote and take your iPad or computer out too. Take your shoes off and move along!

320719E3-B7B5-4E6E-9543-E69623607D76.jpeg
Everything has it’s own place and there is nothing rolling around. This tote is great, there is still lots of room for more stuff!  Once through security, I always buy a big bottle of water and shove it in. 

511CE729-062E-41B4-BDF2-FABBAD834D33.jpegYes, I realize my tote bag is almost as big as my suitcase, but you are allowed two bags. The suitcase goes in the overhead compartment and the tote bag with everything you will need during your flight goes under the seat in front of you. It all works!!!

Do you have any packing tips? If so, please share!

Thank you for reading, like and share if you are feeling generous.

Bon voyage!

Muah!

Liette

A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme.

A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme!!

74AC62BB-B4C8-4389-A892-AF0CDC50921B

This year I decided that it would be fun if our Christmas Eve Dinner had a theme; and since plaid seems to be the latest new hip trend, why not make it a plaid theme? If you are Canadian, it’s been hip forever, lol; plaid and Christmas are a natural fit so I thought it would be easy to pull off.

I did find that finding the perfect plaid item to wear was, well hard to find, lol. What I envisioned wearing wasn’t available at the local mall and I waited too long to order something online. But I am no quitter! Plus all but my guests are pumped and on board; so full steam ahead with my Mad for Plaid theme!

What to wear?

8C24127E-645B-48B7-AF66-8B31F5C6D746
This was my initial vision…yeah, I didn’t find anything this chic!! 😳

Can you have a plaid theme dinner without asking your guest to dress up? Probably, will it be as fun? No! No, it won’t. (teasing, feel free to skip to my pictures of plaid dinner table ideas if you don’t want to deal with my plaid shenanigans)

My Christmas Eve guests have been asked to wear some sort of plaid. I left it open to interpretation; I am looking forward to seeing everyone plaided up! (yes I know plaided isn’t a real word, but it should be!).

I finally found something I like, it’s a beautiful red and black plaid shawl that I will for sure wear again; it’s basically a huge blanket. My mom has a funky pair of red plaid pants that I am sort of lusting after. She’s the most stylish woman I know! My dad will wear a red and black buffalo  pattern shirt so he and I will match.

 

AE574E04-4F3A-4BE7-8AE2-03DFD82E3710
This would have also worked; there is nothing more Canadian than plaid and jean on jean, right?!

4bfb0857-b602-4136-a9e2-72c7b8971502

Decor

When it comes to decor, concentrate on your dinner table. I always make that my focal point. I think most people associate plaid with rustic and homey comfort; I personally think of a tall rugged Canadian lumberjack named Alex or Jean-Guy…..lol, ok moving on; the point I was trying to make before I got distracted by visions of lumberjacks dancing in my head is that it’s so easy to pull off a plaid themed dinner table. All you need is a plaid tablecloth or piece of fabric, mason jars, pine cones and a pop of something green and red.

71824BBD-0D7A-402A-AF28-D6849CB87C14
This was not a staged photo. This is a real live Canadian male wearing plaid, holding an axe, while standing in the snow, lol. Is he an actual lumberjack? Sure, why not? (No he isn’t).

Last year I filled mason jars with cranberries and floating candles. Some green branches, fairy lights and red balls. So easy, yet so pretty!!

84E1BB06-9B8C-4DCF-889A-A1F7286F0385
We picked the pine cones ourselves; combined with the greenery my table smelled like Christmas!!
EF414865-FF91-490C-8518-0CF90BD69B3A
I added a few shiny red balls.
3F03EFB8-5B79-49BA-9B91-EF6E90B24175
A few mason jars with cranberries and floating candles, instant cool mood lighting.
72229020-B1AE-4A3F-B5BA-B235B0087CAB
This is my pallet for this year’s tables, i will add some greenery, floating candles and some mini lights. I think it’s going to look soooo pretty!

This year I will have gray and black table clothes with red napkins. I will repeat the other same items from last year; hey, if it isn’t broken, no need to fix it!

a63950ca-247e-4615-9c7d-0cb59536adbd

Pro Planner Tip

Here is a super helpful tip for any and all parties, big or small; the key to creating a cool vibe for your guests is lighting! So please dim the damn lights!!!

Light some candles or load up on fairy lights, nothing ruins the mood like bright overhead lights…you’re welcome!!

165963BA-EE54-44D4-9A12-0CDD6D5F9982
This is my cozy plaid wrap. Apparently this red and black pattern is called Buffalo… who knew? Photo creds to my nephew Jack!!

I wanted to post this before Christmas in case someone is looking for ideas on how to dress up their dinner table. I will share pictures of my Christmas Eve Dinner on my Facebook page, oui-liette.

Enjoy these last few days before the big day. I know they can be stressful; it may seem that everything I do has to be perfect. That’s actually not the case. I pre plan as much as I can and then the day of any of my personal parties or huge corporate events, I am pretty chill and roll with the punches. Don’t let the idea of perfection ruin the moment. Life is messy not perfect! Lol, enjoyez-vous!

de6b3b3f-c380-4af3-ace9-0a1a8633bcd6
Merry Christmas!

Muah!!!

Liette

 

Pumpkin Fall Family Fun

Pumpkin Fall Family Fun

Pumpkin Carving

Here is a fun family tradition that my family started a few years ago that I would like to share with all of you. It’s basically a family pumpkin carving party, but let me share how it started.

When my parents sold their house, my mom decided that their apartment was too small to host Thanksgiving; and that it was time for me to take over our family feast.

Our first Thanksgiving at my place was fine, but I discovered that it was a lot of work!!! Some families sit around the dinner table and talk for hours about world events, their feelings and that sort of crap. Well that’s not my family! Lol.

My dad was done eating and was asking what was for desert before I even sat down. I cooked all day and we were done and in a turkey coma within 20 minutes. They came, they ate and they left!!!

Being a professional party/events planner, I did a bit of soul searching to figure out how I could improve our family time. I came up with a brilliant idea! I realized that my family seem to bond more when we are doing an activity; instead of just sitting around the dinner table.

The following Thanksgiving, I had a plan! After dinner, there would be an obligatory pumpkin carving contest. No one gets a pass; everyone has to carve a damn pumpkin!!

Let me share with my American friends that Canadian Thanksgiving is on the same day as your Columbus Day. So it’s always in October, before Halloween.

I cooked the turkey, my mom, brother and sister in law brought sides. We sat down and were done eating within 20 minutes…again!!

After we cleared the table and cleaned up, we prepared for our pumpkin carving throw down. What I wasn’t expecting was how into it everyone would be!! It was so fun; we actually sat around talked and laughed for hours!

Meow
Even the cat had fun, this is his happy face!

Over the years we have invited cousins and other family members to join us after their respective turkey dinners. The first year we posted our finished pumpkins on Facebook and asked our friends to vote for which one they liked best. I noticed a week later that friends were posting their pumpkins and asking friends to vote for their best pumpkin. How fun!!

Family Pumpkin Carving
My whole family really gets into it. My brother now brings his own carving tools.

Other years we vote internally, the rule is you can’t vote for yourself. Who knew pumpkin carving could be so competitive? And who knew my brother was such a great carver? He has only lost one year; he did a VW van pumpkin and people didn’t get it, lol.

VW Pumpkin
The infamous VW pumpkin that ruined my brother’s perfect winning record.
Family
We sometimes get VIP guests, like my Christopher. The more the merrier!

I am challenging all of you to have your own pumpkin carving night with your kids, your parents or your friends! Do it!! And try posting on social media and asking your friends to vote; you will be surprised by how much participation you get. I am also available to judge, I am pretty sure I would be an awesome judge. Just tag me on Facebook!

 

Elvis Pumpkin
We aren’t very good,, but we have lots of fun family time together. This is a great idea even if you don’t like your family, everyone is too busy to fight…just saying.

Make memories!! That is what my blog is about!!! I missed our pumpkin carving last year, but I will be in Canada this year and it’s on!! My brother is going down!!!!!

Kiss Pumpkins
We line them up, post on Facebook and let the voting begin.
Witchy Pumpkin
My bro, the carving champ…I even tried cheating one year, he’s hard to beat!

Hit the like button below if you are a cool person 🙂

Boo!

Liette

 

 

Canadian AF

Reflections from a Canadian Living in the US

Canadian AF

A strange thing happened to me when I moved to the US; I have never felt more Canadian. Having traveled throughout the United States for the past 15 years, I didn’t think moving to the U.S. would be all that different; and in many ways it wasn’t, but there are a few key things that make Canadians…well Canadian. Here are just a few.

But first, I want to kick off by saying that this is, in no way, an anti-American post. You don’t have to put something down in order to lift something else up. And that may be the most Canadian thing in this post?

After much reflection, here are my four categories that, I believe, all Canadians have in common and make us Canadian AF.

Sorry, but we really are that polite!

It’s a stereotype that all Canadians are polite; I am sure there are a few Canadian assholes out there roaming around, but most of us are uber polite. And yes, we do say sorry a lot…sorry about that.

If we bump into someone, we say sorry, but if someone bumps into us we still say sorry. It’s just automatic, we really can’t help it, it’s in our DNA. I once tried to stop saying sorry so much, to be a bit more “hard core” or “cool”; just something I thought I would try on for size. But it didn’t work, it kept slipping out…sorry!

Why do we do this? Here is my theory; if we are in the wrong, we say sorry because it’s the right thing to do. Now when someone bumps into us, we still say sorry; are we really sorry? No, we aren’t, but by saying sorry first it gives the other person the opportunity to say sorry back. It gives them the opportunity to redeem themselves as a decent human being, lol. Saying sorry is Canadian AF.

IMG_1184
Nothing more Canadian than a large double, double!

The Good Ol’ Hockey Game!

It’s true Canadians are crazy for hockey, it unifies and defines us. How much as it creeped into our national identity? Well I suspect that at this very moment every Canadian reading this, now has Stompin’ Tom Connors Hockey Song in their head…you’re welcome!

Stomping Tom is a great example of a true Canadian Icon; did he have movie star looks? Nope! Did he rule the pop charts? No, not even close. He was a scrawny cowboy born in Saint John New Brunswick and raised in Skinner Pond P.E.I, who sang songs about Canada in a nasally voice. Songs like Sudbury Saturday Night and Bud the Spud, trust me, teen girls didn’t have posters of Tom hung up on their bedroom walls.

But his song about our national sport is played in rinks across Canada. You are Canadian AF if you can’t help but sing the chorus when it comes on: “Oh! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name. And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hoceky game.”

When we hear that song we know what night it is? Americans have Friday Night Lights. Canadians prefer Saturday nights, why? Because it’s Hockey Night in Canada! That’s why!

IMG_1209
My dad’s team playing in Holland in the 70′, that’s him on the right. 🙂

It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are from; millions of us share the same childhood memory of getting dressed in our skidoo suits, putting our skates on and going outside to play. There was always that one dad who would flood his backyard and make a skating rink for the neighborhood kids. I was lucky enough to have “that dad”.

ACA0E7B9-4E18-4130-B112-3037BBA9B252
We start em young in Canada.

We played for the cup every day; we pretended we were Gretzky, Lemieux or Maurice the Rocket Richard. We would stay outside till our toes and cheeks were numb or till we got hurt, whichever came first.

Proud of the Maple Leaf

IMG_1216
My friend Robin and I being Canadian AF in Europe.

Canadians are a bit more reserved when it comes to showing our nationalism. Unlike the U.S., we are a bit more chill and reserved. Maybe that’s why we love hockey so much? It gives us the opportunity to wave our flags without feeling like we are showing off.

Our pride comes out in funny and unique ways. When with Americans, we often feel the need to point out fellow Canadians.  Example: A Shawn Medes song comes on the radio:” hey he’s Canadian”. A rerun of Star Trek comes on: “did you now William Shatner is from Canada?” We see a picture of Michael J. Fox: “he’s Canadian too, did you know that?” Howey Mandel, Pamela Anderson, Alex Trebek, Lorne Michael, Canadian, Canadian, Canadian, Canadian!

Feeling the need to point out each and every Canadian that we see or hear while with non-Canadians is Canadian AF.

95ABF153-8B71-4505-8477-F50859457FFF
If you have ever graffitied a snow bank, you are Canadian AF!

Although we aren’t known as an “army nation”, we are very proud of those who have served. Canadians, although very polite, are scrappy as hell! We have served alongside the U.S. in every major war since World War I, except for the War on Iraq.

We have a reputation around the world as Peace Keepers, of that we are very proud.

93DF9111-474E-4028-A9D4-F67D805D849E
If you have ever skated on the Rideau Canal on a -37 degree day, you are Canadian AF!

Not to brag, because that can be seen as un-Canadian, but I think we have more heart than anyone else out there. Yup, I said it!

When the Tragically Hip announced their farewell tour and the CBC aired their final concert, the whole country watched…I am serious, the whole country watched. And those who were away, watched online. And when Gord passed away, the entire nation mourned. That makes me very proud to be Canadian!

The Great White North

No we don’t live in igloos, no we don’t have polar bears in our backyards; we have moose and deer…geeze!  And yes we do have summers here too.

We get a bit defensive when we are asked those questions. But truth be told, winter is a big part of being Canadian. It’s the one thing that we all have in common; it gets cold and it snows.

D3C279C2-34AF-47AE-AF2F-FDE50E7F3BC1
If this looks like a normal Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday, you are Canadian AF!

I believe that Canadians talk about the weather more than anyone else in the world. We do so, so much, that it has turned into a greeting. Instead of saying hello, we will say: “nice day eh?” or “some cold out there eh?” And yes we do really say “eh”, but Americans say “huh”…a lot!

I read somewhere that the highest rated Canadian channel on television is the weather channel. It’s because we have weather, lots and lots of weather. I now live in the desert and I must say, I miss real weather, lol. Full disclosure, I don’t miss it in February when I am in flip flops! lol

Baby it's cold outside
If you have ever left the house dressed like this, you are Canadian AF!

If you think 0 degrees Celsius in February is a warm day; you are Canadian AF!

If as a child, you fought with your mom, because she made you wear your Halloween costume under your skidoo suit; you are Canadian AF!

If you have sworn at a plow driver at some point in your life; you are Canadian AF!

IMG_1214
If you have ever rung in the New Year at a skating party, you are Canadian AF!

If you are from Saskatoon, Yarmouth, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Rivière-du-loup or any other Canadian AF city and have secretly made fun of Toronto for over reacting after a snow fall; then you are Canadian AF!

And finally, if you have ever heard of Saskatoon, Yarmouth, Red Deer, Fort McMurray or Rivière-du-loup; you are definitely Canadian AF. 🙂

Thanks again for reading all the way to the end! To my Canadian AF country men and woman and to my American friends. Let’s not forget or let anyone try to convince us that we aren’t friends and partners!!

IMG_1191
Canadians and Americans different, but the same in many ways.

Please feel free to share this post with your friends, that would be mighty Canadian of you, lol. Like and comment below; what is your most Canadian AF thing?

Muah!!! Eh!

Liette

(I am also on Instagram and Facebook: oui-liette)

Maritime AF!

People often talk about the Canadian provinces as the “have” and the “have not’s”. The Maritimes; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island are often classified in the “have not” column.

We have long been the butt of a lot of Canadian jokes; and that is fine,  with the exception of Newfies (people from Newfoundland), we are the funniest and nicest people in Canada. We can take the jokes because we know who we are and we know how lucky we are to call ourselves Maritimers.

What makes us Maritime AF and right awesome? Here is a short list!

 

Maritime AF

Oh Canada! It all started here boy!

We are the birth place of Canada in more ways than one. The first Europeans to settle in the Americas did so in the Maritimes; first came the French and then the English (First Nations were already here).

Then on July 1, 1867 the Canadian Colonies united to become a Dominion; Canada was born. And where was the Confederation signed?? In Toronto? Ottawa? Nope, in the Maritimes; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to be precise. Mmm I think that makes us Canadian leaders!

We know how to winter! (sorry for posting winter pics in the summer, I know it’s a no-no)

You know you are Maritime AF if you have survived a real Maritime winter. First of all let’s get one thing clear, anything under 30 cm (1 foot) of snow is considered a light dusting in these parts. And we don’t call the army to help dig us out when we get hit with a little snow, sorry Toronto, you’re never ever going to live that one down.

No, when we get hit with a NorEaster, we put our very best skidoo pants on and we dig ourselves out! (for my US friends: Skidoo is a snowmobile brand, it doesn’t matter what brand of snowmobile you have, we call it a skidoo. It is also used to describe things; skiddo pants are snow pants. And it can also be used as a verb, example: skidooing, meaning going for a ride on your snowmobile.)

Have you ever had to shovel the snow off your roof? If so, you are Maritime AF! Then after you are done with your roof, Maritimers help their neighbors; and yes we know our neighbors. Why are we so friendly? Because the next time it snows and we can’t open our screen door because the snow is too high and it opens outward; we know that they’ll come shovel us out. You don’t survive in these parts alone; are communities are strong.

Canadian Winter
A light dusting of snow in Moncton, N.B.

Have you skied, snowsheoed, gone slidding, skidooed & skated all in the same week? If so, you Maritime AF.

Winters here are long; too long to sit in the house and wait for spring, because sometimes spring doesn’t come, it goes right from winter to summer, lol. Maritimers make the best of winter!

Winter Fun
Maritimers, not afraid of a little snow or cold!

Have you ever used snow to cool your adult beverages? If so you are Maritime AF!

Wine Not
No ice? No problem here!

Have you ever been in the forest and said to yourself either out loud or in your head, “I live in a freaking winter wonderland?” If so, you are Maritime AF!

Let It Snow
There is nothing better than going for a walk after a heavy snowfall when the temperature is hovering on or around 0 degrees Celsius.That’s  just hot enough to unzip your jacket and take off your toque; it’s magical.

Have you ever spray painted a snow bank? Yup Maritime AF!

Oh Canada
My coworker Paul Dupuis and I painted a big maple leaf on the snowbank during the Vancouver Olympics to support Team Canada. Crosby, a true Maritimer, scored the winning goal…coincidence? Nope, Maritime AF! lol

The Best Summers Ever!

Just when you can’t take one more minute of winter, summer shows up! She is fickle, so we don’t take her for granted. As soon as she warms up, we are out in our shorts and flip flops.

We also tend to call a lot of things “she”; like summer, weather in general, boats, cars and a multitude of other  things.

Have you ever heard someone say: “How’s she making her?” When said correctly, it sounds like: hoows shemakinger, it means how is your day going?  Also very popular and Maritime AF is: “How’s she going?”, meaning how are you? And for a few extra points you can throw in a “boy” at the end: “How’s she making her boy?”, How’s She going boy?” The boy translates to friend and it sounds more like booy.

The Maritimes are so beautiful in the summer that it makes the 3 months of winter worth it…ok 4 months…fine 6; it makes the 6 months of winter worth it!

Canadian Beach Day
Just a regular Maritime beach day in May.

 

Beach Bunny
Catching a few rays on a sunny beach day in June! See, we are funny!!
Parlee Beach
Summer! Which usually falls on the last week of July and first week of August. The best two weeks of the year!! Lol

We have salt water in our blood; when the sun is shining we flock to the ocean.

If you have gone swimming in the ocean on the May two/four weekend, you are Maritime AF!

Only in the Maritimes!

If you are in the Maritimes and say you are going on the island, you don’t have to specify what island you are talking about, “the island” is P.E.I. Anyone who has to ask what island you are referring to are obviously “from away”; which is how we describe people who are not from here. Used in a sentence: Where is he from? Meh, from away.

Confederation Bridge
The Confederation Bridge or the Fixed Link connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. It spans 13km/8miles. It is def Maritime AF!

If this patched and re-patched road looks perfectly normal to you, you are Maritime AF.

On the road again
If you don’t like the weather here, wait 15 minutes and it will change. The continuous frost and thaw does this to our roads. This road was most likely paved a year ago, lol.

Do you eat your lobster cold? If so, you are Maritime AF. Warm lobster is for sissies, a.k.a. anyone from Ontario.

Lobster
Helpful lobster hint, if you buy cooked lobster and it isn’t on it’s back, you are buying it from amateurs. Keeping them on their backs keeps the juice from leaking out. You don’t want a dry lobster.

Have you ever had Roast Chicken Chips? No? Then you are definitely not Maritime AF. Another clear sign that you are not from the Maritimes, is that you have never heard of #stormchips. That is when they call for a big snowstorm and you go to the store to stock up on chips, it’s a thing, google it.

Speaking of weather, if you haven’t heard from Cindy Day, you aren’t Maritime AF! Who is Cindy? She was CTV’s meteorologist for over a decade. We liked to blame her when she got the weather wrong. Someone needed to be held accountable..right?

We also use the word “right”, right a lot, lol. Example: It was raining right hard last night. It can also be used at the end of a sentence to replace “eh”.

Chips
They are calling for a big storm, you have enough storm chips right?

Kitchen Party

And finally the very best part of the Maritimes are Maritimers! Whether it’s an Acadian tintramar for le 15 aout,  or an Irish or Scottish Ceilidh with Gaelic music;  where you can get your jig on (jig means dancing or get your grove on). You haven’t lived until you have been to a Maritime Kitchen Party, they are by far the most Maritime AF thing on this list!

Acadians
photo credit to grob1993 from Instagram

I hope you enjoyed this post, if not, you are certainly not Maritime AF!! And we probably can’t be friends lol.

I want to hear what you think makes us Maritime AF, there are too many for me to list alone! Leave a comment below.

Feel free to click on like, it’s below my last pic, you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram: oui-liette

And finally, sharing this post with your friends will give you instant Maritime AF street cred…just saying.

Muah!

Liette

Lighthouse Selfie
Thanks to Kadopromo for my fancy hats! Need corporate branded swag? Check them out at: http://www.kadopromo.net

 

Day Tripping in Toronto

Back in Canada for work, I found myself with a few hours of free time to explore the city; what to do, what to do? To say that this city has an infinite list of things to do is a huge understatement!

My favorite thing to do in a big city, any city really, is to walk the streets, people watch and to get the feel of the unique vibe of the city.

IMG_9597
Hello Toronto!

We walked our way to Graffiti Alley, which is in a really neat part of town. It is in the Fashion District and runs south of Queen Street West from Spadina Ave to Portland Ave.

IMG_9614
Graffiti Alley is a true alley, there was a large truck backing up when where there, it’s beautiful and real. You can just imagine how it got started, mural after mural until it turned into this amazing space.
IMG_9601
The colors are so vibrant! There is approx 1 km of art.

Never heard of it? If you are Canadian, I bet you have seen it without knowing what it was. It’s the alley that Rick Mercer, a fellow Maritimer, walked through during his awesome rants on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

IMG_9611

IMG_9606
My beautiful cousin Nicole, who lives in Toronto (Oakville), was our tour guide. Yes she is my first cousin…really, she is super petite with an Italian or Spanish look, while I have more of a blonde viking vibe, but we are a family!

I discovered Graffiti Alley a few years ago, if you read my very first blog post on the hard hitting subject: How to Take the Perfect Selfie, you will have seen this pic, taken there.

IMG_7520
This pic taken a few Novembers ago.  On a much cooler day.

You often see photo shoots being shot when touring the alleys, which I love to witness.

selfie
Feeling a bit faint here, oufff hot and humid. I seriously thought I was going to pass out! My face looks a bit funny here…funny looking, not funny ha! ha!

If you find yourself with free time in this beautiful city, I urge you to get out and explore!!

IMG_9600
I see you there CN Tower!
IMG_9624
There she is, I’ve decided, the CN Tower is a she! Toronto also has a working trolley system. No texting and walking here! Watch where you are going!!

We have had two awesome meals here, here are my recommendations:

Si Lom Thai Bistro – 534 Church St

IMG_9586
Best Pad Thai ever!! Prices were super reasonable.

My second recommendation Is Donatello: 37 Elm Street

IMG_9638
Another gem, freshly made pasta, was soooo good!
IMG_9636
The restaurant is huge, with a rooftop terrace, they have a small eating space right on the side walk; which is where Mary and I decided to eat.  It is surrounded by flowers. It was so quaint!

 

Tomorrow I am off to my hometown of Moncton, N.B. I have already put my parents on notice that I will be expecting lobster rolls for lunch. They are more than happy to comply. But tonight, I am eating smarties in bed; resting up for some vacation adventures.

Thanks for reading, more pictures on Insta & Facebook: oui-liette, check me out! And click like below if you liked. If you didn’t like this post, sorry, but you just read all the way to the end, so it couldn’t have been that bad, lol.

Feel free to share your fav thing to do in this Mega City! I will be back here in two weeks, would love some recommendations.

Muah!

Liette

 

 

 

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.

Giong Viral Photographer, Blogger
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!!

Going Viral Balloons
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