I was looking for a side hustle that I could tie into my blog and that would highlight my natural talent; but first I needed to figure out what my natural talent was?
After a bit of soul searching I found it; it’s shopping!! One of my friends once said; “chu une femme à cadeaux”; which translates to; I am a woman who loves gifts. I too love gifts; getting and giving.
I’ve discovered over the years that a lot of people dread the act of gift buying, because they feel pressure to find that “perfect” gift; and it ruins the whole gifting experience for them. That’s so sad.
Well I am here to help…you’re welcome! Here’s how it works; you email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me who the lucky lady or man is that will be getting a gift. I’ll send you a very none scientific quiz to fill out; don’t worry it’s short, funny and easy. It will give me an insight into who I am buying for, so that we can get them a thoughtful and personal gift. I can also make it the prettiest looking package ever!!
The more lead time the better. The more time will allow me to find the best deals and bang for your bucks.
I’ll be shopping locally, globally and online!
I am officially open for business! The next big event coming our way will be Mother’s Day; I’ll have a few pre-set gift ideas as starting points.
In addition to individual gifts, I can also help with party favors; parties are sort of my jam.
Thanks for reading!! Email me for any shopping questions; email@example.com
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!!
If you haven’t noticed yet I’m kind of into the color pink at the moment; it’s my second fav color, after black. If you think Christmas needs to be all about green and red, think again. Here are a few ways to go rogue and introduce another color to the holidays. I chose pink, but you can chose any color you like!!
You can go all the way or just some of the way, lol. Christmas trees are now available in lots of different colors. Here’s a small pink tree; I would put it in my bedroom…just because.
If an all pink three is a bit too much pinkyness; you could just do pink balls or a pink ribbon to your traditional green tree.
The tree above isn’t my tree…yet! But it will be, maybe next year? I am going to load up on pink balls after Christmas when everything is on sale.
I also love this wreath, again super simple; really love, love, love the pink and green!
BTW, Gifts Galore on Main St in Moncton, is the best pink store in town…ok, it may be the only pink store? Either way, you should check them out.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture in front of Gift Galore’s pink door!!
Wrap It Up…in Pink!
I always try to pick a color or theme for my gift wrapping. Last year, everything had cute moose on them. This year I am using a touch of pink.
Pink can be cheesy, which isn’t necessarily bad, lol; but I think it can also be sophisticated. Here is my attempt at a bit of sophistication, lol.
For my wrapping paper, I went with brown craft paper from the Dollar Store. Instead of a store bought bows, I added some green Holley leaves and pink sparkly berries. I think these look cuter in person than in the pic.
I am also using hot pink tissue paper in my gift boxes and bags.
This is my way of keeping things fresh. I tend to change my Christmas color pallet every few years; but I always find a special place for my sentimental family favorites. Thanks for reading!! I hope your getting to enjoy the hustle and bustle of this time of year!!
I would like to know if you are you more of a Christmas traditionalist or do you like none-traditional colors?
Pink not your thing? What are your Christmas colors??
Muah! Merry Christmas!!! And Happy Holidays to all!
Here are a few helpful hints that may take a bit of stress out of your Christmas shopping.
I believe everyone is born with a talent or super power. Some are great singers, others are great at math; I am a shopping super hero!! This super power has been passed down from my mom; and I am willing to share some of my secrets with you in this post…you’re welcome! Lol
Hostess Gifts (all under $20)
Some may think that host/hostess gifts are old fashioned, but I think that you should never, ever show up to a party without a gift, like ever!!!
The easy go to hostess gift is a bottle of wine; which is perfectly acceptable. But here are a few other ideas.
1. Festive Serving Trays
This is my personal go to hostess gift. You can get pretty serving dishes anywhere; Target, Homesense, Walmart, Super Store….. litteraly everywhere. And this is an item that your host or hostess can re-use at their next party and for holidays to come.
Super hero hint: Buy in bulk, if you wait until the day of the party to pick up your hostess gift, you will feel stressed. Example: if you like the idea of these serving trays, buy 5. They won’t go bad, lol. And while you’re at it, buy 5 gift bags at the same time. That way, the night of your party, you can grab and go!!
2. Booze! (Not wine)
These ideas are great host & hostess gifts; and you will get extra points for originality!!
How freaking cute are these!!! If you know your host or hostess like beer, this gift will be a hit! This is also a great example of how packaging can elevate your gift.
Now I don’t have kids, but this could be an acceptable craft for them right??? “Tommy and Sally, come help mommy make reindeer for uncle Bill’s ugly sweater party.”
This coke and mix idea is brilliant! I promise if you show up to a party with this gift you will get invited again and again!!
Now if you live in the US, this gift idea is a bit more affordable; it’s a bit pricier in Canada because of the higher cost of alcohol. Fun fact, in Canada, we call these little bottles mickey’s.
Also the value of the gift should be guided by the type of party you are attending. If your hosts are cooking you a 7 course meal, spring for a pricier gift.
3. Christmas Ornament
This is a super easy idea, again when shopping don’t just buy one; use my superhero hint and buy 4 or 5 and have that be your go to hostess gift for the season. No one will judge you for giving the same gift at multiple parties; no one will even know.
Go for a theme, I love me a theme!! These above are nautical, but you could buy a bunch of snow people or Santa’s. Get a few and get nice bags and tissue paper and bam!! All your parties are covered.
What I love about this idea is that, you are adding a little piece of you to their future Christmases. Each time they decorate their three, they will think of you!! Unless they don’t really like you, lol. If that is the case, it will just be a cute snow person (trying really hard to be gender neutral…but it’s hard!! Lol)
Super hero hint: After Christmas, buy a bunch of ornaments on sale for next year. Just don’t forget where you put them, speaking from experience.
Super duper easy!!!
These can be paper or fabric, they can be Christmas themed or for every day use; it’s all good!
If going for fabric, I would stay with a neutral pallet. If going for a paper cocktail napkin, go for fun!!!
5. I was going to give you 5 hostess gifts ideas, but the 4 above are such kick ass gift ideas, that you are only getting 4, lol.
Christmas Gift Ideas
A lot of people stress over buying the perfect gift. This takes all the fun out of giving; so let’s give ourselves a freaking break here.
Super hero hint: This idea will change your life forever; you can buy multiple people the same gift!! As long as it is nice, who cares?? This year I bought the same gift for all of my friends and family. I ordered in bulk, I will customize each slightly, but everyone is getting the same damn thing, done..fini! I wish I could share what my gift is, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I will share in my post Christmas post.
1. Hats or gloves
Now you may think how boring! But hear me out; let’s say, you have to buy for 5 of your girlfriends, your sister in-law, brother and coworker. And your daughter wants something for her 3 bffs from school. That is a lot of running around; my solution, get everyone a hat!! Buy a few different styles, but everyone gets hats!!!
There are so many cute hats out there. Now if you’re thinking, my brother won’t be excited to get a hat…well isn’t your brother a super Bruin’s fan? Then get him a Montreal Canadian hat, just for kicks!! Ok, fine, get him a Bruins hat. He will love it. (for non hockey fans, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians are mortal enemies).
Super hero hint: now I would color coordinate them; maybe a pink theme? My gift bags would match my theme of course..duh! But that’s just me, I am a bit of a freak.
2. Party Pack
You may be thinking, what’s a party pack? Let me show you!
A party pack is a group of things that can be used to entertain. Above, I have a color coordinated serving tray, side plates and napkins. The plates and serving trays were on display together. I found gold and silver napkins a few aisles down. One stop and done!
During my university years, my mother gave my cousin and I a spaghetti themed gift. It included a big pot to boil the spaghetti in, four big bowls and a pack of spaghetti noodles. It was so well thought of yet so simple and original. We got a lot of use out of them!
The idea here is to group a few things together; it’s like making your own gift basket.
2. Super Fan Pack
Do you have a super sports fan on your list? Why not get them a few items from their fav team? You can get them online, so you won’t even need to set foot in a mall if you don’t want too.
What spots fan wouldn’t enjoy a jersey or a hat? Oh, look more hats!! Wrap em up and stick a team Christmas tree ornament on the top of your package instead of a bow. I thought this Vegas Knight getting stuck in the chimney was cute.
A sports hat would also make a great stocking stuffer, FYI.
Yes repeating this idea in my gift section! But taking it up a notch!!
To take this idea to the next level, let’s follow the same gift basket idea from above and pair it with something else.
See what I did here? I added four nice glasses and an ice cube mold. I have the round glob ice molds and I love them. For Halloween, I bought these sculls, they are super cute, but a bit harder to get out of the silicon molds.
4. Monogrammed Anything
I love getting monogrammed things so I am assuming others will as well. With all the online shopping available, getting items monogrammed has never been easier. My Christmas gifts that I bought for friends and fam this year, may be monogrammed???
If you have a traveler on your list, a monogrammed passport holder and luggage tag are great ideas. You could also use my hint to buy multiple people the same gift from above. Get all the friends on your list monogrammed luggage tags; it really is that easy!! A few clicks on your computer and done!!
Bathrobes are another great monogrammed idea. I did these a few years ago. You could also pair them with slippers and a sleeping masks.
Super hero hint: There is nothing wrong with buying a gift to you from you! I do it all the time, lol. I deserve it and you do too!
Here is an example of monogrammed sleeping masks. You could add these to the robes or even to the the passport holder and luggage tag!
Or these would also be a great bulk gift. Order one for multiple people on your list; add some bath salts and voila! You have a mini at home spa/relaxation themed gift.
5. Sticking with only 4 gift ideas here as well, because you should have enough ideas by now. If not, you are hopeless and may need to stick with a gift card? Lol.
Oh wait, I do have one more idea for your wife, mother, husband… Go with the monogrammed bathrobe and put a spa gift card in the pocket!! Ok, now I am done!
Santa’s helper is beat and needs a nap!! Lol. Thank you for reading and for those who share, like and comment; I will make certain that you end up on Santa’s nice list!!!