At Home With…Gilles and Kenda; not together, in their separate respective kitchens.

At Home With…Gilles and Kenda; kitchens made for entertaining.

Here in Atlantic Canada we’re kind of famous for our kitchen parties, so for this post, I am calling in the big guns. We will be taking a quick peek into two kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.

At Home With Gilles

My friend Gilles loves entertaining, and I hate to give him too many compliments, but he’s really good at it. (Oh for my American English friends, Gilles is pronounced more like Jill)

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First of all, he has one of the biggest island’s that I’ve ever seen; he loves cooking for his friends and family and, ugh, he’s a good cook too.

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His living, dining and kitchen area are one completely open space; all three areas are shades of brown and cream, which helps to create a seamless flow.
I’ve been over several times where he’s behind the counter cooking, usually lobster, while his guests are seated at the island watching the show; and by watching the show, I mean drinking.

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At the end of his huge island is his huge dining table, which was custom made by L’artisan Christophe from Tracadie, NB and it’s gorgeous!

The photo below is the view from his front door; let’s focus on the lighting over the island. It’s important that the lighting fixtures over your island be in proportion to the size of your island. Since Gilles has an over sized island, his lighting fixtures needed to be large and impactful without looking too heavy or bulky.

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These fixtures are perfection! First of all, they look like some sort of fishing net, which is perfect for a guy “du nord”. They are very large, but they don’t block the view; they’re basically see through, which works!

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He also has a big pantry, which I wasn’t allowed to photograph; it’s big enough to hid his blender and other small appliances that can clutter your counter top. When your kitchen is visible as soon as you walk through your front door, it helps to have a place to store all your messy stuff.

I pulled the yellow bowls out of his pantry because they matched the lemons. I think it adds a really nice small pop of color. I am going to recommend he get a bright yellow pot with a big green plant for his counter top.

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The glass of wine wasn’t part of my vignette, but I let him keep it in the shot, since it is his house and all, lol.

I asked Gilles what his favorite part of his house is; he said that nothing beats cooking on a Sunday afternoon with his TV muted on the golf channel while his music blares in the background. I’m assuming there maybe a big glass of red wine on the counter in this scenario too??

This is his view while standing behind his island; perfect for golf viewing.

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At Home With Kenda

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Kenda and I have been friends since we were babies; she was at my first birthday and my second…and my 50th. I was with her when she first visited her current lakeside condo; it was all kinds of shades of dusty rose. The kitchen and living room were separated by a wall with a cut out window, which I assumed was used to pass things from the kitchen to the dining area? It was very 70’s.

The first thing she did was to knock down that wall, which created one big open living space. The next thing she did was to paint over the rose walls…oh and the carpet and light fixtures were also dusty rose; let’s just say that the transformation was very dramatic.

Her open space is perfect for entertaining; one of the things that she does that I think is really clever is that she can extend the size of her island if needed.

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Above is her kitchen, her island is perfectly portioned for the size of her space. But when she has people over, she has the option of doubling the size of her island by moving her dining table.

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I don’t care how nice your living room is, during a party your guests will end up gathering around your kitchen island before the end of the night. When entertaining don’t be afraid to move things around and put things away in order to give you more room to parrrtay! Figure out how things are going to flow in order to avoid traffic jam areas. 
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Even with the length of her island doubled, she still has ample space to move around; and this temporary reconfig gives her the ability to have a sit down meal for 10 to 12 people. Or she can use this layout to display food and to set up her bar so that things flow properly. In my last post, I mentioned that my friend Guylaine was a fanatic on proper lighting; I am an expert on having things laid out in a way that creates the right flow.

I am not going to lie, I am a bit envious of Kenda’s space; it’s not a huge space, but the layout was so well thought out that it’s the perfect place to gather for a proper Maritime Kitchen Party.

Thank you for reading, I can’t wait for us to be able to gather with friends and family again. If there is one positive thing that comes out of this whole pandemic, it’s that I think we have come to appreciate how much we love and need each other.

Follow me on Facebook and Insta at: Oui-Liette for additional photos and videos and if you missed my last two posts peeking into peoples homes, here are the links:

https://oui-liette.org/2020/05/16/at-home-with-guylaine-and-claudia-the-bathroom-reno-edition/ and https://oui-liette.org/2020/05/12/at-home-with-nancy-take-a-peek-inside-her-150-year-old-country-house/

stay safe, muah!!

Liette

Behind the scenes

If you’re new to my blogs, I sometimes post some behind the scenes extras or fun facts. Here are two fun extras!

Kenda at my first birthday party.

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And again at my 4th. I think we were the same height in 1974?? Even though she’s a few months older; I am now a full head taller. 😁

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A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

This Christmas Eve in honor of my big move back to The Great White North, I decided to throw a Winter Wonderland themed soirée. I’ve done a Plaid Christmas for the last two years in a row, so it was time to move on. This theme would also be perfect for New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anytime really. It’s also very inexpensive all you really need is paper and scissors.

In this post we’ll plow through helpful tips on how to turn your dining party into a freaking blizzard. ❄️

A Frosty Table Setting

I always focus most of my energy on my dining table; it would be great to have the budget to transform your whole house, but my budget is frozen this year. (Sorry, if you keep reading you’ll have to put up with my wintery puns…not sorry!!)

Before we talk about what will be on the table, let’s discuss the actual table. When I had my little house, I used to have a large sheet of plywood that I would place on my table to turn my small table for 6 into a big table for 12.

If you’re going to try this idea make sure to place something in between your table and the plywood so you don’t scratch your table top. I had a piece of carpet padding, which worked perfectly.

Also! Did you know that you can rent tables and chairs?? I will be hosting in my new fancy downtown apartment, but my furniture is still making its way here from Las Vegas.

No table? No problem! I am renting one from Clowns Around/Bob Lee Productions, they are located in Dieppe. It’s perfect, they will drop off the table, chairs and white tablecloth and pick them back up afterwards. It’s really not that expensive, you can save a few bucks if you pick it up yourself, but for an extra $35 ish, it’s easier to have them drop off and pick up.

I rented a white table clothe and silver napkins and then then layered white and silver things. In the center is the table I had a big white bowl filled with silver tree balls that I bought at the dollar store, snowballs and a set of mini lights that turned out to have a blue tint which was perfect. I scattered plastic snowflakes on the table that I also got at the dollar store.

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Snow Globes

I like having assigned seating for my dinner parties. Something fun is instead of having regular name place cards are personalized snow globes. I bought snow globes online, there is a slot to put in a picture and to add water. Your guests can take them home with them.

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Social media is a great place to download pictures of your guests if you don’t have any good ones in your phone.

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Here is how my table looked with everything put together.

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Let It Snow!

And you can’t have a Winter Wonderland theme without snow. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, you can make your own.

I invited my friend over to help me make it snow. I have no idea how many snowflakes we cut? We cranked the Christmas music and chatted away. This is a super inexpensive way to create a bit of drama.

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I tapped these on my light fixture and omg!!! It came out beautifully!! It was the focal point of the room; I named it my blizzard chandelier.

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I may keep these up all winter?? Lol

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I couldn’t host without a Christmas Tree, I bought this tall skinny one. Since I only have a couch and a chair in my living rooms, I added a bunch of white balloons to fill the space. It was another inexpensive way to add a bit of drama to my theme.

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I shot a quick video before my guests arrive, I will be trying to add more videos to my posts in 2020.

Even though I plan events for a living and I am always fairly calm, cool and collected; I had a moment a few hours before my party that I started to feel a bit frazzled. The lead up to the holidays is a lot! We tend to be overtired and can get overwhelmed.

I had to check myself and remind myself that this was meant to be fun and that my guests, in this case 9 of my family and friends, wouldn’t care if things weren’t perfect.

So an hour and a half before they arrived I took a hot bath in my super big bathtub! I love my new place and it was exactly what I needed to chill out!

If you feel yourself getting stressed instead of rushing to get everything perfect, walk away! It sounds counterproductive, but we don’t need added stress. It’s perfectly fine to have your guests help you finish off a few last minute things when they arrive.

I ended up hosting my fancy dinner party in my pink slippers and nobody judged me!!

One last party tip, find an activity or game to play after dinner, we played Jenga and it was hilariously funny!

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Happy New Year!!

muah!

Liette

For additional pictures and videos, follow me on Facebook @ oui-liette

 

 

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (originally posted May 2019)

Full disclosure and this may be shocking to some, but I am not Mexican…I know, it’s hard to believe, lol. But I have uncovered similarities between Mexican Americans and Acadians (first Canadian French settlers); both groups are all about family… big families. And we tend to travel in packs, aunts, uncles, cousins…so many cousins, lol.

I love travelling and learning about different cultures so here are a few ways that we can all celebrate our neighbors to the south.

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But before we get started can we acknowledge the fact that Mexico is part of North America? It’s a pet peeve of mine when people forget that tidbit and think it’s just Canada and the US.

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See, I am not making this shit up!

History Alert

Before we get to the food and tequila we should also do a quickie history recap. Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexico’s independence day, which is September 16. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the May 5th, 1862 battle of Puebla; where Mexico fought France and was victorious! The victory was short lived as France did occupy Mexico for a few years after that.

May 5th is still celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, but Cinco de Mayo is actually more celebrated in the US by Mexican Americans than it is in Mexico.

The Food

When I think of Mexico, I think of awesome food. Growing up in Atlantic Canada, there were no Mexican restaurants; now Moncton has one…I guess that’s progress???

The first time I had real Mexican food was in New Mexico and I loved it. The tortillas were freshly made and warm, mmmm, it was so good; it all seemed so exotic to me.

I have since been to Mexico a few times and now live in Vegas where there are Mexican restaurants pretty much everywhere.

When my work peeps and I go out for lunch, we usually alternate between Thai and Mexican. One of the places we like to go is Frijoles. My big life lesson has been that authentic Mexican places serve corn tortillas, not flour…got it and I am down with that.

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This was our Cinco de Mayo lunch; fresh fish tacos, street tacos and ceviche.

Ceviche is a seafood dish typically made with fresh raw seafood cured in citrus juices, such as limes and lemons, and spices.

I’ve had ceviche before, but I had never seen anything like what the man next to us was eating! It was a huge beer mug of ceviche. I had to ask if I could take a picture of his lunch, he seemed proud to show it off. And btw he ate the whole thing!!

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They also have juices that I had never had before, like watermelon; I mean it makes total sense, watermelon is naturally watery, I mean it has water right in the name, lol. It’s very refreshing on a hot day.

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Tasty Tequilas!

Can you have Mexican food without tequila? Probably? But will you have more fun with tequila? Yes! Tequila makes everything way more fun. Ok, more fun to a point, then tequila can get you in a bit of trouble; it’s a fine line.

One of my friends is a super tequila lover, I’ll call him Pete Post, because that’s his name, lol. I asked him if he could recommend 3 tequilas for this post; here are his recommendations.

His first suggestion is Don Julio, Resposado (rested) or Anejo (aged longer). Don Julio is a good tequila and easily found. It’s a great tequila starter.

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The next is Cabo Wabo, it’s one is his favs, it’s really smooth and reasonably priced. It was originally owned by Sammy Hagar, but has since been sold.

Cabo Wabo sounds like it would be fun to say after a few tequila shots; Cabo Wabo, Cabo Wabo…lol.

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Rounding up the top 3 is Avion. The goal of its creator was to make a tequila that his wife could drink without making that “tequila face”. I can attest that it is pretty smoooth.

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Now I am not a big tequila “connaisseur” and what I am about to suggest may be a sacrilege to die hard tequila drinkers? But I like a shot of tequila with an orange slice instead of a lime, try it!!

So how cute are these small Patron bottles below! What a great idea and guaranteed, to make your party great!

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Decor

The party planner in me can’t not share a few decorations ideas. Whether you are hosting a Cinco de Mayo party or Taco Tuesday, I love the idea and simplicity of decorating with lemons and limes. It’s easy, classy and inexpensive.

I think a Mexican theme has so many options, the colors are so vibrant, so you can go wild or a bit more restraint. You don’t need to decorate with sombreros and pinatas to pull off a Mexican theme. I think this look below gives you that Mexican vibe.

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The table setting is from Fashionable Hostess.

I am thinking of hosting a brunch soon and I am totally going to use the citrus table above as my inspiration. I also love the ideas of slicing lemons and limes and adding them in a glass vase with candles or flowers.

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This centerpiece is from Wedding Chicks, sooo pretty.

Pink, orange, green and yellow make a beautiful color pallet. Used together it may seem like it’s going to be too much, but it’s super chic and pretty!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you try one of the tequilas in this post, if you do, let me know what you think? Also, next time you have Taco Tuesday, pick up a bag of lemons and limes from Cosco and make your dining table fancy.

Life is short, so please make each day count; use your fine crystal, buy yourself fresh flowers, enjoy good, fresh food without feeling guilty! And as always, be kind to others, no one wants to hang out with an asshole.

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So this is what happens when someone gives me a dozen roses, I put them on my head, lol. Some made it into a vase.

muah! Adios!

Liette

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I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol but the bastards learned how to swim – Frida Kahlo

 

 

Hoppy Birthday!!

Hoppy Birthday! – How to throw  bunny themed party.

This post will show you how to throw a fun Bunny themed party, you’re welcome; for a young child or a late forty something grown woman…whatever.

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I understand that as we get older some may not want to make a big deal about their birthdays and some may not want a party; but I am not some people, lol.

(My last post generated a lot of new subscribers, thank you and welcome. Full disclosure, this a full on fluff piece, but it doesn’t have an underlying deeper meaning, so keep reading).

I throw parties and events for a living and for most of those events, sadly, I don’t have full and complete free reign; and it turns out that I love full and complete free reign! Lol. So when it’s my birthday I want a party and I want to plan it myself!!

I am not talking about a huge party, I prefer small intimate gatherings, but there needs to be a theme, formal invitations, some sort of decorations, a cake and swag bags for my guests to take home, like when we were kids.

Last year I had a co-party with my friend Claudia who’s birthday is the day after mine. We went to a fancy hotel’s tea room and had a tea party with tiny  yummy sandwiches and sweets with 20 of our friends. It was so much fun even though I don’t actually like tea! Lol

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For our swag bags last year, we had antique china cups filled with colorful macaroons with a thank you note. The thank you note matched the invitation, naturally.

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BTW a tea party theme is great for wedding showers  and baby showers too. Feel free to steal any of these ideas. If you want more tea party ideas, here is my tea party post. It was called Girls Gone Wild, but no girls actually went wild in the post, lol: https://oui-liette.org/2018/08/02/girls-gone-wild/

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That was last year; this year my birthday falls on Easter Sunday. I took this as a sign that it should be a bunny theme.

Full disclosure, I am a corny person; dorky puns are my jam, as you will see below.

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I usually find a cool image that speaks to me and build my theme around it. Last year I found the picture of the three ladies pouring tea with fabulous flowers in their hair.

This year I fell in love with this bunny; his face and his butt!

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My best friend, who is an amazing hostess, offered to host my birthday dinner. Not wanting to impose too much, I offered to buy my own cake. She loves baking and quickly turned my offer down. She asked if I had any requests, I told her it needed to be chocolate and have eggs or bunnies on it. And to be bratty, I sent her elaborate cake pictures leading up to the big night for “inspiration”. We have been friends for over 30 years, so she knows my bratty ways and didn’t reply to any of my texts, which made me send her more, just because I thought it was funny. I was trying to break her and make her reply with a, knock it off, but her will and resolve are strong, lol.

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She is a designer and has a beautiful home, I am very fortunate to have her as my bff!! For anyone in the Moncton area looking for a designer with impeccable taste, contact me and I will hook you up with her.

 

Her table setting is a perfect example that a little goes a long way. She had all white dinnerware with pale blue linen napkins and a white tulip centerpiece. I love her vintage water glasses, they added a bit of sparkle. And in keeping with my Easter theme, I sprinkled colorful chocolate eggs.

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Our hostess and bff Guylaine (pronounced guy as in gee…oh never mind, lol)

No birthday of mine would be complete without a headband, lol. I brought bunny ears for my party guests, why? Why not!

I celebrated my birthday last year in Las Vegas with my beautiful and amazing new friends. This year I was lucky enough to celebrate with my childhood friends in Canada.

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I feel that the red head on the right would want me to explain her wearing a hat at a party. She was having some eye issues and couldn’t wear any makeup, she thought a hat would be a good camouflage, lol. We stuck a set of big ears on her and called her Elmer Fudd, lol. She is normally the glamest one at the party.

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For dinner we had gourmet pizzas, ordered in from our fav restaurant. Ordering in is a great way to free up the hostess so she can have fun and not be stuck in the kitchen all night.

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Turns out a few drinks helps with your creativity. Stacey and I thought our mirror image pic was brilliant last night. Mmm… I still think it’s cute this morning, lol.

I am happy to report that my cake did not disappoint! It was chocolaty and delicious!! And it had mini eggs on it.

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Only 4 candles to avoid a fire hazard, lol. The cake was made from scratch with love, it was soooo good!

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I want to thank all my bunnies for helping me celebrate in style! People say, you only turn 40, 30, 50… once; we’ll guess what? You only turn, 41, 37, 49…once too! My point is every year is a milestone and for those who are freaked out by getting older, the alternative is even more freaky.

Each year we are blessed to celebrate another notch in our belts, some people don’t get the chance to grow old. We need to be mindful of that and embrace the opportunities that another year will bring.

I hope this post inspires you to celebrate your birthday and your friends. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be fun.

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I had a basket full of colorful eggs at the front door for guests as they left; full disclosure the two first bunnies to leave the party didn’t get their eggs, because I was a little too busy having fun and temporarily forget about them.

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In my eggs were two small chicks, a lip balm, who doesn’t need another lip balm and a thank  you note. I think it’s a nice small gesture, I am going to follow up with a thank you text as they chipped in to buy me a fabulous gift, which wasn’t necessary, but greatly appreciated!!

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Fun was had by all, thanks to my Crazy, Sexy, Cool Chicks!! Omg, that would be a cool theme for a party!! Maybe next year?

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I wish you all a Hoppy, corny, meaningful Easter!!

muah!

Liette

(for more pics of my adventures, check up my Instagram page: oui-liette)