Corona Hair PSA

Corona Hair PSA – Public Service Announcement

Warning – for those of you who don’t think that we should be focusing and/or worrying about our hair during these crazy times, stop reading now!! Seriously, go away!!!! The rest of us know the power of a good hair day!! And the psychological impact of a bad hair situation on our self esteem.

Corona Hair

Yesterday should have been my regular scheduled hair appointment. I get my roots done every 4 weeks because my hair grows crazy fast and I hate having roots.
But Instead of freaking out, I’m going to wait this out and plan my big hair return strategy! OK, full disclosure, I did get bored a few weeks ago and put a temporary pink color in my hair. It turned out to be less temporary than expected, but it’s fine, I am fine; no one got hurt.

FYI pink hair looks good for exactly one day, the day you do it; it’s downhill after your first wash until it completely fades; but it’s fine, lol.

54E10FFF-2959-4B8E-ADEC-23993638E7E4

Don’t do it!

I know that some of you are planning to take matters into your own hands; my first reaction is don’t do it!!!

My reasoning is that we are already mentally and emotionally fragile; and I know that you’re  thinking that doing your own hair will make you feel better; and it may? But it could just as easily go horribly wrong; it’s really a crap shoot.

I know that some of you aren’t going to listen to my sage advice, so I reached out to two of my fav professionals; my current hairstylist Tiffany and my former Las Vegas stylist, Colleen… you’re freaking welcome btw!

Color It?

Tiffany is pleading that you not attempt to color your own hair! Box dyes can be very messy and if you don’t get the color you were looking for it’s going to end up costing you more money to get it fixed, than had you just waited. “Everyone is in the same boat, we all have roots! Wait it out.”

If you absolutely can’t wait, Colleen, recommends that you reach out to your stylist and ask for his/her opinion on what you should use and how to use it? Some may even mix it for you? They may also be able to talk you off the ledge and convince you to wait?

Now if you’re thinking of doing your own highlights, don’t!! Colleen is one of the best stylists in Las Vegas and she says she wouldn’t even attempt to do her own foils at home.
That’s coming from a trained professional and not just me; and let me remind you that you are not a trained professional!!
Highlights use bleach and it can go real bad, real fast! It can fry your hair and make it brittle and break off. It can also turn copper orange or green; both of which won’t be cute on you!

To trim or not to trim?

Tiffany warns against major trimming unless you want to look like Joe Exotic from Tiger King. Lol

I am actually pretty good at trimming my own bangs, the trick is not to cut straight across. I would save any major style changes for your stylist!

The new you!

Here’s my plan; I am giving my hair a break and using this opportunity to grow out my bangs. Which we all know is a pain! I’m giving it such a break that washing it seems like a huge task these days; but apparently it’s good for your scalp to wash your hair less often, so going with that.

I’ve already picked out my new future hairstyle. I think this summer, or whenever we can get back to our new normal, will be a great time to make a big symbolic hair change; and I think you should consider it too. It will give you something to look forward to and it will be a super big pick me up at the end of all of this. The before and after pics should be pretty dramatic.

807DDCAF-C55B-4CFA-95DB-ABCB80856DF0

So this is the style I am going to get; it’s basically just blonder and shorter; and I’ve had this style before, bottom right pic is me with this exact same do.

Tough love visualization

Close your eyes; it’s June something or other and we’re free to roam!! You’ve decided to put your favorite jeans on. They are a little tight, ok that’s being kind, they are really tight! But you’re owning your muffin top! Mostly because all your yoga pants have holes and stains on them; that was a lot of usage and stress on such thin spandex fabric! You’re doing your best to rock your copper highlights with green undertones; and in hindsight, your kitchen scissors probably weren’t sharp enough to properly trim your own bangs?

I am sorry that I had to take you there, but that is basically your future, lol. But seriously, be careful and repeat after me; “I did not go to hairdresser school!! I am not a qualified professional stylist!”

Thank you for reading this tongue and cheek post. But really don’t do your own hair!!

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

I got my roots done the day before they closed all the salons, so my hair is actually still looking pretty cute. I felt this post needed someone who was already struggling with theirs, so I recruited a famous hair model, who may or may not be one of my dozens of first cousins?? She’s hilarious and a great sport; she did give me permission to use her photo.

She has also decided to wait out the pandemic and not attempt to do her own hair, but unlike me, she has more than 4 weeks of roots; which means she isn’t as good of a pandemic planner as I am. And here’s the proof! Lol, her hair is always, always perfectly coiffed so this is my one and only time to have nicer hair; and I am sure she will get back at me for this side by side comparison, love you B!! ❤️❤️

A9F50A87-221F-48CF-9C75-7A2EE251C79E
The look on my face is; she is going to get me for this pic!! lol. Our family are the greatest teasers! We love each other and we laugh a lot!

My blog is pretty much keeping me sane these days; I need to have things to do, so thank you so much for reading and sharing!!

0EA274C4-1AFB-4BCA-8C35-C9FA47A0D07E

 

 

 

 

 

Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

(The original idea for this post was to have a fake beef with Quebec, then the direction looked like it was moving to show my American friends one of my family traditions. I think it turned into a sneak peek into what it’s like to be part of a huge Acadian family? Like most of my posts, I just let them be what they want to be. And like all of my posts, I hope it inspires you to make an effort to do things with your family; may it be the family you’re born into or the one you create for yourself).

When I was growing up no one but Acadians knew what a poutine was. Fast forward a few decades and poutines are now a global thing, but those aren’t real poutines.

Sure french fries, gravy and cheese curds are delicious, but they aren’t what we call poutines.

I am not going to accuse Quebecers of high jacking the name poutine from the Acadians; oh wait, yes I am!! Do Acadians have a beef with Quebec for stealing our poutine name? We do!! Have we ever made a fuss over this theft?? No, no we have not! It’s just not in our nature.

Could our Acadians poutines  compete with Quebec poutines in the global market? In a word…no! Our poutines, the real poutines aren’t…how do I say this diplomatically? Let’s just say they aren’t pretty!

What is an Acadian poutine? It’s basically a slimy boiled potato ball with pork in the middle. Am I tempting you yet?

Poutine or poutine acadienne are a staple for French speaking Maritimers (from the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). Although you can now buy them throughout the year, they have traditionally been made for the Christmas holidays.

Before we dive into things, I do need to share a few key words, so my none-Acadians can follow.

râpures  – grated potatoes

poutine – a slimy grayish boiled potato ball

poutine râpé – Acadian poutine, we have had to add the Acadian part since we were ripped off by Québec, lol

râper – verb to grate potatoes

râpe – a home made machine used to grate potatoes. Pronounced rawwwp. This word has an unfortunate pronunciation in English

Épurer – verb to squeeze the water out of grated potatoes

My family has made poutines for generations, there is no recipe per say; you have to “intern” for decades before you can become the top baller. Ok top baller isn’t really a thing to anyone but me, I am hoping it catches on.

I have an un-scientific theory why Acadians originally made poutines and English speaking Maritimers didn’t. I think they just didn’t have the proper manpower needed. Historically, French Catholics had large families while English Protestants had smaller families. I suspect the real reason may have been that the Acadians were poorer and potatoes were cheap and readily available?

My theory is based on the fact that it takes a village to make a batch of poutines. I think the rule is that you need a minimum of 3 aunts, 2 uncles and a combo of 2 nieces/nephew or 2 cousins. One doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide; hey, I think I am going to make poutines today, it takes planning and a team.

In this post I am going to share with you how one Acadian family, mine, keeps the tradition alive.

Most large extended families would have had one or two râpes in the family; yes this word sounds horrible in English, so please refer to my keywords above.

So here’s how it worked in my family growing up. It gets complicated, so please try to follow.

My mother’s father was the top baller because he owned the râpe. He decided when he would make his poutines and the others would plan accordingly. The râpe, again it’s a machine that grates potatoes, would go from house to house to house.

Example: pépère DesRoches, my moms father, would make his on the 21. My mom would make hers on the 23, in the morning. As soon as she was done, she would call my fathers mother and tell her to send someone to pick up the râpe. Once they were done, they would passe it down to my dad’s sister, who would then drop it back off at our house.

I should note that not only were Acadian families large, once you married into another Acadian family the two families often merged to create a super family.

Eventually my moms sister, tante Irène, and my mom got their own râpes, which made our family super fortunate to have 3 in rotation!!

Example of the Acadian super family; my moms sister, tante Irène, who lived across the street from us, wasn’t actually related to my cousins from my dad’s side, who lived next door to us, but she was automatically called ma tante Irène by everyone, related by blood or not. Side note, Acadian families also tended to cluster together. I had 7 cousins living on my street; my brother and I made 9 of us (kids). Needless to say, no one picked on us. The older cousins would look out for the younger cousins; sure the older cousins would beat the shit out of us from time to time, but no one else was allowed to.

Getting back to poutines; you couldn’t just go to the store and buy a râpe, you had to know someone who would make one for you. It was a small motor with a circular thingy that was pierced and would spin quickly and grate the potatoes. It was usually made by someone who worked at the CNR, Canadian National Railway. Ok don’t ask why someone who worked with trains would be making these on the side; it’s too complicated for this post.

Now, let’s fast forward to the present and get to making poutines.

After my moms father passed away, my mom became the top baller. You need a top baller to test the texture and taste the potatoes. The top baller title will make sense, just keep reading.

Today we went to my uncles,  my moms brother, with our râpe in hand to help him make his poutines. Because her little brother and his wife, who are both in their sixties have not yet achieved top baller status. She was needed to oversee everything. I guess it’s a bit like the mafia, there can only be one top baller and once top baller status is achieved, he or she rules for life.

The ingredients are very simple, you need potatoes, porc and porc fat. Peeling the potatoes is a pain in the ass.  I think that 50 pounds of potatoes will make 47 ish poutines. I am not a top baller, nor do I aspire to be, so I don’t need to know the correct potato ratio.

You also have to cut the meet and fat into small cubes. So far I have avoided having to help peel and cut. When the knives come out, I volunteer to run errands, no one has caught on as of yet!!

The next step is to start passing the potatoes into the potato grating machine, la râpe. Now you maybe wondering if you could use a food processor? You can’t.

Here’s were it starts to get weird, once all the potatoes are grated, we call that la râpure. You have to go through la râpure and remove any chunks of potatoes that weren’t liquefied; does it look yummy yet??

That isn’t the weird part, the Râpure is very liquidity, we use a large measuring cup to scoop some of the râpure into fabric square and we squeeze out the liquid, that is the weird part. And it’s at this stage that the top baller comes into play. The raw squeeze potatoes are mixed in with mashed potatoes. This mixture can’t be too dry or too wet. You need to adjust how much liquid you are squeezing out. The top baller also needs to taste the mixture to make sure it’s salted enough. It looks gross, but remember these are just cooked and raw potatoes.

EC1A54CC-6AA4-4026-8726-05324C3C112A

This next step of making balls is where the baller and top baller names come from. I’ve been calling my aunts and mom the ballers for years, I think it’s funny.

The photo below shows my ballers, my aunt Claudine and my mother, she’s in the red apron. She let me wear my grandfathers white apron this year, which is an honor, she is so happy I am back home. She may also be grooming me to someday be the top baller, but I don’t think I can handle the pressure!

The potato mixture is flattened and the porc is added in the middle. If you put too much meat or your ball walls are too thin, they will bust once dropped into boiling water; please note, ball walls isn’t an official poutine term. Poutines are made in French or Chiac, I am doing my best to translate in English.

As a child, this is the part that you begged to get in on because it’s basically like making snowballs.

The balls are gently dropped into a pots of boiling water. The pots need a constant slow boil. The poutine balls will float to the top and then sink to the bottom of the pot as they cook.

6F1AF698-2F0A-4423-8CAA-0FEDAF50DEDA

It takes 3 ish hours for them to cook, all the while you need to keep checking to make certain they aren’t boiling too much or too little.

And voila!! They are ready to eat!! The photos above are why our poutines will probably never go global, but trust me they are delicious!

Once my uncle and aunt’s poutines were ready to eat. That evening there were 11 of us for dinner, you don’t have to be invited, you can just show up. It’s also acceptable to show up with an empty pot, because as soon as we make them, we start giving them away. An Acadian will share their poutines freely, but they won’t share their pots, so you have to bring your own!!

As mentioned above, they look slimy, but keep in mind that they are just potatoes and porc, so not so exotic. We eat them with salt and pepper, others add brown sugar, which seems odd to me, but who am I to judge what others put on their slimy potato balls.

We made my uncles poutines on Dec 21, we made my moms poutines on Dec 23. My mother’s sister, came over to help. My brother and I now have more responsibilities since my father has passed. My mother’s brother joins in for the squeezing part.

This process will go on in several of my families homes around town. Once done and the families come together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the first thing you are asked is: combien de poutines avez-vous fait? Which means how many poutines did you make? The bigger then number the bigger the bragging rights. They will also ask if any have busted, this makes a mess in the pot and is a sign of bad ballers.

Fun fact, the pots are so big that if weather permitting, if it’s cold enough, they are usually stored outside. From the 23 to the 26, there is always a warm pot of poutines on the stove ready to eat. Anyone who enters is offered a poutine. And anyone who is leaving is asked if they want to bring some home.

And this maybe hard for some to wrap their minds around, but we eat these on Christmas morning. Even now my brother, nephew and 3 cousins show up at my moms house Christmas morning for a poutine or two!

That’s my sneak peek at our Acadian tradition of making poutines. I hope you are enlightened and if you are brave enough to want to try one, hit me up next year and I will hook you up!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you and your families a Happy New Year! May your hearts be happy and your bellies be full!

muah!

Liette

 

 

 

Funny Things a Maritimer Misses When They Leave.

Funny things a Maritimer misses when they move away.

There are lots of things that you miss when you leave the Maritimes; most are normal things, like your friends and your favorite restaurant… But then there are weird things that you never think twice about when you live here, but as soon as you move away and come back, you feel all nostalgic about them.

(For my American friends, the Maritimes are the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, also know as the island).

Things You Miss

Here are my top 5 weird things

#1: Accents

None of us think we have an accent, but it turns out we all do! And guess what? There are lots of different accents in the Maritimes…who knew??

The first time I noticed this was when I was in Vegas watching the Golden Knights play hockey, they were robbed by the way, but that’s another story. At the end of the game, they interviewed the head coach, Gerald Gallant, who is from PEI. As soon as I heard him speak, I thought, OMG! He sounds like home!! There it was a Maritime accent and I love it!!

There are a bunch of Maritimers who work for my company who live in Reno. One of them, I’ll call him  Pete Post…ok that’s his name, lol. Anyway Pete was in Vegas on a day that I was feeling a bit homesick. I told him that I missed people who talk English with thick, or like my dad would say, tick, French accents. He then proceeded to talk to me in English, but with a variety of Acadian regional accents. He did Moncton, Shediac and Bouctouche. He had me laughing so hard I was crying. Now when I see him, I ask him to talk fake French English to me. I am pretty sure the people we work with think we are weirdos; they don’t get the joke. But whatever la, we think c’est right funny, pis ont rie. Ok that was Chiac, but you get the drift, if you are a Maritimer.

#2. Canadian Content Music

Growing up radio stations needed to play a certain percentage of Canadian Artists on the radio; not sure if they still do? This meant that even though we listened to all the popular music from the US, we also listened to Canadian  bands that my American friends have probably never heard of? Bands like Platinum Blonde, Haywire, Toronto, Headpines…

During university I worked as a banquet waitress, so I worked a lot of weddings. I swear to god that every DJ in the 90’s played the same 40 songs from the 80’s! Tom Cochran’s Life is a Highway, and similar songs, were enough to send me over the edge.

A few days ago, as I was driving and dodging potholes, I found myself signing at the top of my lungs to Patio Lanterns. Yes, Patio Lanterns, from Kim Mitchell; and if you are in my age bracket and Canadian, I know that you know it; and I know that you know every word! I never would have guessed that one of these old songs would make me crank the radio up and sing along, but there I was, patio lanterning my way down Main Street Moncton.

#3. Potholes

I think it’s safe to say that no one, I mean no one has potholes like the ones in these parts. Seriously, WTF?? Lol. Living in Vegas, where things don’t freeze and thaw, and freeze and thaw, then freeze and thaw some more has spoiled me. So I am shocked by the state of the roads when I come home for a visit.

While I don’t miss potholes, there is a weird sense of accomplishment that comes from driving to work and navigating the roads like a freaking gold metal Olympic solemn skier, that is more than a little satisfying. It’s like, damn, I am awesome! It’s 8:30am and I’ve made it to work without scraping the bottom of my car! I’ve never pulled off the 215 in Vegas on my way to work and felt like a rock star for just surviving my commute.

4A19352B-D654-4634-887A-7BCD52C83DFD

I am adding this picture, above, so my Vegas friends can see what I am talking about. This is typical and by no means, is I t the worst road. When they have a sign that says bump ahead, that’s when you worry, you brace yourself for dear life! This small section, didn’t merit a sign lol.

DA5630E6-A892-422E-9DEF-8AD3850B9DAB
Just a Canada Goose in its natural Canadian habitat!

#4. Snacks

There are lots of food that you miss when you move away from home. My number one thing I miss is lobster, fresh lobster. I usually have one waiting for me at my parents when I land. Fun Fact, Maritimers eat their lobster cold 99% of the time; my American friends are always surprised by that.

So missing yummy lobster is not weird, but missing Roasted Chicken Chips is a bit weird…right?? First of all, they aren’t that good, lol. I thought these were a Canadian thing, but in all my travels across Canada, I have never found them anywhere else but in the Maritimes; and I have looked.

The weird thing is that when I lived here, I maybe ate them once or twice a year, but now when I visit, they make me happy, lol.

Another snack that I took for granted is Cherry Blossoms! These are good, but when was the last time you bought a Cherry Blossom?? I am bringing a bunch back to Vegas with me for my friends to try. (Ok, full disclosure, I landed back in Vegas yesterday and sadly no Cherry Blossoms survived the almost 7 hour flight time…sorry. I did save the boxes though, lol).

A9FCAFC9-A39E-4000-BC7F-8226560E2AFB

#5 Cousins

The thing that I miss the most is my family, nothing abnormal there right? But on this trip home, I am realizing how much I miss and appreciate my cousins.

Now if you are of Acadian decent and in your forties or older, chances are that you have lots of cousins; I have 24 first cousins.

Growing up I couldn’t escape them, they were everywhere! I had 3 cousins living next door, 3 cousins living across the street, one cousin living in the apartment below us and my brother and I. That is 9 cousins on the same street! We all went to the same school and we all took the same bus. I always thought we were sort of like the Kennedy’s, but poorer, lol.

Cousins tease you, they boss you around, they bite, they kick you, give you black eyes and they tattletale on you; so they aren’t always your favorite people growing up. But as you mature you come to realize that apart from being pain in the ass they also looked out for you and stood up for you; they were allowed to bully you, but no one else was, lol.

Now that we are all grown, there is something comforting about having such a crazy extended family with lots of cousins. You don’t see all of them that often, but you know they are there, ready to back you up or hold you up when you need them. I love you all!!…ok most of you…jk, all!

6786986F-2747-45FF-9F12-02BCBEC3A31C
Just a few of my « cousines », Brigitte, Maneau, me, Tania & Katelyn. Growing up people mixed Brigitte and I up all the time. One of the pit falls of being one of so many, lol.

This picture above is just a few of my cousins on my dad’s side, all grown up.

F8F89565-3BA1-400C-8307-283E637776F7
We are a family! I am top row, last one on the right.

Flash back to the 70’s!! Here is the cousin crew on my dad’s side. We have 3 cousins who weren’t born yet, Julien, Katelyn and Curtis.

DCB00C2D-85E2-4950-9FFD-0CF45360441D

Here’s a more candid shot, notice my huge smile, even though I am missing teeth, lol. Also, fun fact, my mom had to put makeup on me to hide a black eye given to me by my cousin Sonya, she’s the one right behind me. It was an accident, but I am totally over it…ish, lol.

Ok, I needed to blow this one up to show my missing teeth. I have to admire the fact that teeth or no teeth, I am giving the camera my biggest smile! I am also happy that I grew into my big mouth, lol.

68FFF3CA-8913-4B73-AF73-0F602EB42718

CFD6CF1D-4BE0-4EB6-82F1-75D0324487B0
Les filles à Neri; my cousins Nicole and Genevieve.

I can’t ignore my cousins on my moms side, here are two of them. If you were an older cousin, you actually made money off the younger cousins by babysitting. My brother and I were Nicole’s cash cows for years! And I made a small fortune babysitting Genevieve and her brother during my high school years.

I hope you enjoyed this fun post. If you live away, what weird thing do you miss most?

Follow me on Insta or Facebook @ oui-liette.

Thanks for reading!! Working on a super fun project, can’t wait to share.

muah!

Liette