Oui! I can be your personal shopper for hire!

Oui! I can be your personal shopper for hire!

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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: liette@oui-liette.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; liette@oui-liette.org

muah!

Liette

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Host a Holiday 5 à 7 Like a Pro!!

Host a Holiday Cinq à Sept Like a Pro!! Tips from a professional events boss.

My English friends are probably asking themselves what the hell is a cinq à sept? It’s basically a cocktail party/ happy hour from 5pm to 7pm. I think it sounds fancier if you say the numbers in French, lol.

Do you get kicked out at 7? No of course not…well maybe? It all depends who’s hosting, lol.

Why should you host your own 5 à 7? Well the holidays are so busy, a Happy Hour is a great way to get people together without having to commit to a full evening. It’s also a bit more casual and the best part of hosting a 5 à 7 is that you don’t have to go out! They will come to you!!

I hosted one this week in my mother’s apartment which isn’t super big, but I like small spaces, they’re cozy.

In this post I am going to share 5 party tips that I use in my corporate events that will help you pull off a flawless 5 à 7/party…you’re welcome!!

Tip #1 Good Vibes Only

When you’re thinking of hosting an event, you need to put some thought into what vibe you want to create?

Is it a dinner party? A big blow out drinking party? Or a chill cocktail party? It’s your party so you get to decide.

Think of it this way, if you jump in your car and start driving without knowing where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

Once you decide what vibe you want to create, stay consistent and focused; having a clear vibe vision will make your planning easier.

My vibe was a casual, yet fancy happy hour! You maybe thinking, aren’t casual and fancy polar opposites? Maybe to some people? But I am complicated, lol.

I wanted people to feel relaxed and comfortable, so that is the casual part, but it’s Christmas, so it also needed to be fancy, but not fussy.

I guess that’s not the only vibe I was going for. I’ve invited 15 woman who have helped my mother and I get through this past year; 2019 has been sucky! My father got sick and passed away and these woman were there for us so I wanted to do something nice to thank them. But, my goal was for it to be a celebration and not too sad.

I did have a few tricks up my sleeve to make it fun!! See tip 5, Expect the Unexpected.

2. Zone Out

The key to entertaining is to be organized and to create defined zones, especially if you are working with a small space.

So what do I mean by creating zones? When I am planning a corporate event, we have defined areas for each activity or stage of the party. There is always a welcome/reception area when you first walk in, there are food stations, bars, a seating/social area and sometime a dance floor.

When hosting my own parties, I go through the same process. What will happen when my guests arrive? If you’re hosting a larger event and will be running around a bit, designate someone to be the greeter. This person will greet guests at the door and take their coats. BTW, it’s more than ok to give your friends and family members jobs.

Once your guests arrive what do they do next? Create a flow so they don’t have to think about it, the goal is to make the flow instinctive.

I think it’s always good to get them drinking as soon as possible, not to get them drunk, but to get them jolly and maybe just a little merry?

My mother’s kitchen is tiny, so the bar was set up in the spare bedroom, which is just off of the living room. I cleaned the top of the dresser off and voilà, it’s a bar!!

The day before or a few days before set up your bar with everything you’ll need, but the ice. Walk through it, do you have everything you will need?? The more you can do leading up to the party, the more free time you’ll have during the party to have fun wit your guests.

For larger parties, have someone be the bar tender, at least for the first round.

I like having a signature drink, the hostess or host should be responsible for what is needed for the signature drink. You don’t have to stock a full bar, but it’s nice to offer your guest at least one drink upon their arrival.

I had a Christmas themed mimosa, which was champagne and cranberry juice, but since not everyone loves champagne, referring to myself; I’ll also be serving Caesar’s, which is a super popular Canadian drink.

I won’t have any beer or wine, those with their hearts set on beer or wine can bring their own. If you’re attending a party and have very specific taste, please bring your own drinks.

So your guests have arrived and were greeted at the front door; someone took their coats and they have their first drink in hand, now what? We call this process the run of show, walk through everything from start to finish.

Next is the main part of the party so feed them and let them mix and mingle. It’s during this stage that you bring out the special touches, keep reading for examples.

After my party, I noticed that I didn’t have many pictures, because I was so busy hostessing. I was pretty bummed until my friend Nadine sent me a bunch of pictures she had taken. Even though I am a pro, I did forgot to ask someone to be the paparazzi for the evening. For our corporate events we usually hire a photographer who roams and takes pics. Thank you Nadine!

3. Bust a Move

This tip has nothing to do with dancing, but feel free to dance if you want to! Do you boo!! Lol. Bust a Move here means move furniture out or in, re-purpose the function a room to fit your party needs.

As mentioned above I moved my bar into the spare bedroom and since I love to decorate this room has it’s own vibe.

I bought a huge wreath and had my brother hang it. I added some pink balls, because I love pink and the headboard in this room is a plush hot pink velvet. I think it looks fantastic and it makes the room smell festive! Seriously, are you really surprised that this event has some pink touches?? Lol

If you’re repurposing a bedroom make sure to clear off the bedside tables and put small personal stuff away.

Since it’s winter in Canada, my guests arrived wearing coats. The old, throw the coats on the bed always works, but since my mother has a closet in her entrance, we moved all her coats and stuff out so that we can use this closet as our cost check. Why did I move what was already in there? So we didn’t have to cram coats in. I put them back after.

The point is to look at all available spaces in different ways, don’t be afraid to move stuff around. My mom has a large recliner in her living room, yup, we moved it to her bedroom because it’s just too big.

Change things up! If you’ve been in your house for years and always have every tree and snowman in the exact same place year after year. Please Bust a Move and keep it fresh!

Example, my mother always puts her Christmas tree in the alcôve of her big picture window. I took down her curtains and added green garlands around her window.

If I am being honest, she didn’t look impressed when I told her I was taking down her curtains. She said, can’t you put the garlands around the curtains?…no! I just couldn’t, lol. Once the garlands were up she loved them and it makes her living room look bigger. She had never thought of doing this, but loves it!!

4. Light It Up!

I’ve mentioned this before, but lighting can make or break your soirée. Don’t ruin your vibe by having harsh lighting, dim the lights, light your candles and tree!!!

So it turns out that my mother doesn’t have dimers on her lights, maybe Santa will get her some for Christmas? So getting the lighting just right was challenging, but we managed.

5. Expect the Unexpected

I think each party should include something special or unexpected. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. A small touch or an activity will help to help make your event memorable.

Years ago at one of my Halloween parties I had a fortune teller; ok it was one of my cousins, but she seriously has mad psychic abilities!! It was just for fun, people were lined up to sit with her.

For my Holiday 5 à 7, I had a few special things planned. When I chose the date, one of my cousins (not the psychic, another one, I have lots!), told me that Dec 12 was her birthday. So of course, we had a birthday cake for her, but that wasn’t our only extra thing.

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The whole reason for this soirée was to thank our female tribe, fyi 80% are family members; aunts, sisters and cousins…we are a force!! Lol

I wanted to send them home with a small meaningful gift that would remind them of my father. I found none tacky angel wings tree ornaments at Pier 1 Imports and they are lovely. The fact that they were 40% off when I was shopping was certainly divine intervention!!

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The only male at this party was my nephew Jack. When I told him about the gifts, he said, that’s sort of depressing! He was sort of, kind of, half right. I suspect that this would be a touching moment, but my intention was never to send people home depressed; so I came up with a brilliantly funny way to give them out.

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I bought a Santa Suit on Amazon for $30 and Jack showed up as Santa and handed them out. It was funny and entertaining.

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Our Christmas Eve dinner them this year will be Winter Wonderland, we have a different theme each year. Our after dinner game will be giant jenga! Try to add something fun or unexpected to your events.

Another easy idea is to buy a Polaroid camera and snap away during the party or create a selfie photo background with props; people will dig it, trust me.

Tip 6. Stay Cool

This is a bonus tip, do as much pre-planning as you can so that you can enjoy your guests, because in the end that’s the whole point.

Remember that nothing is perfect! Do as much pre-planning, but the day of and during let shit go!! Roll with the punches and laugh off any mishaps.

I get my love for entertaining from my mother who is the most chill hostess ever! Be mindful that if the host or hostess isn’t having fun, your guests probably aren’t either.

I hope you can incorporate one or more of my tips for your next party! Let me know which one resonates with you the most?

Go forth and entertainment!! 🎅🏻💋

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This post is dedicated to my dad and my aunt Janet, who have both just passed away. Please be kind especially during this time of year. The holidays can be a very hard time of year for a lot of us, so don’t be an asshole. It’s also ok to acknowledge that you are thinking of someone who you know is doing their best to make it through the holidays for various reasons. Pretending everything is normal or perfect can make them feel more alone; just my two cents.

muah!

Liette

 

 

Airport Shopping Tips

Airport Shopping Tips

One of my many talents is shopping, lol. I can seriously shop anywhere; it’s hereditary, I come from a long line of great shoppers!

I’ve never admitted this publicly before, but I love airport shopping. And not the cute designer boutiques, no, I like the touristy shops. Hudson News and similar stores are my jam!

Is my love for tacky touristy shops due to the fact that I spend far too much time in airports? Perhaps? But I’ve found some seriously cool things over the years.

Las Vegas, Terminal 3’s Hudson News rocks!! Where else can you find Elton John’s new book, alien t-shirts that are so tacky they’re actually cool; super cute keychains, vinyl records, yes you heard me, records! Gummy bears, funky artsy greeting cards, water for your flight and a cheese & crackers??? Where??? Nowhere!

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Some may be thinking, who needs a glow in the dark Area 51 alien t-shirt? It’s silly and frivolous; yup, that’s true? But I am going to buy it for my 17 year old nephew on my return trip. I’ll add it to a new pair of jeans and new Converse sneakers and bam!! I can cross him off my Christmas list!! Nerdy, quirky t-shirts are in at the moment, BTW.

You see, I think my airport shopping is really a great demonstration of my ability to multi-task and it also shows off my awesome time management skills!

The average person sees something interesting and thinks, oh cute, and walks away. But an expert shopper thinks, oh that would be a cool stocking stuffer or that would be perfect for so and so’s birthday…. in 11 months.

Now do I usually end up buying myself one of everything that I buy for others? Like last Easter when I bought my mother and cousin the softest pajamas ever made? Well yes, I do, but in my defense, I think it would have been unfair for them to have cute new matching PJs and for me to be forced to wear older, none matching, ones.

What I love about buying fun, odd things, throughout the year is that my Christmas shopping gets done early and the cost is spread out over several months. So far, I’ve avoided being that person; you know that person who ends up racking their brain trying to think of what to buy everyone on their list.

If you’re thinking of adopting my airport/touristy shopping gift strategy, here’s some advice on how to avoid a big rookie mistake. In your excitement, you will be tempted to hand out gifts to loved ones upon your arrival back home. But resist and put them away, save them for Christmas!

Think about it, what if a few weeks before Christmas, you take inventory of what you have hidden away and you realize that all your kids stocking stuffers are bought. Hmm, my love for airport shopping might not seem so silly then??

My great find today were super hero keychains. Are they silly? Yes, but they are fun, unique and are actually great quality; don’t buy anything that looks cheap or flimsy.

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I bought them for a few of my girlfriends. Any girl who grew up watching Linda Carter wanted to be Wonder Women (Linda Carter played Wonder Woman on TV in the 70’s and she was fabulous!!). I’ll add them to their Christmas gifts. (Update, on my way back home, my carry on was searched and the Calgary security lady freaked out when she saw these! She wanted to know where I got them, I think she wanted me to give her one.)

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I picked this moon night light up in the San Francisco airport; I think it’s super pretty! I had a two hour layover there on my way back from this last trip, just enough time to explore the shops!

Here are a few Airport Shopping Tips…from a professional.

– as mentioned above, don’t buy anything that looks cheaply made. And skip the snow globes and magnets, unless you know someone who collects them.

– airport shops have great greeting cards and honestly, when in your busy life do you have time to pleasantly browse through greeting cards? It’s amazing how easy it is to find that perfect one when you aren’t pressed for time. Like when you’re at the card store rushing through the racks for a nice engagement card, because you’re already 30 min late for the party. I buy in bulk, I think of who’s birthday coming up.

– look for items that have that “strange” factor; either it’s a strange item, in general, or it’s strange that, said item, is being sold in an airport, next to the chips. Lol, Maybe unique would be a better word? Life can be hard and at times depressing; if you find something that no one actually needs, but is fun and makes you smile, buy it!

– don’t limit yourself to airport gift shops, check out hotel and casino gift shops too, you will find the most uniquely quirky items. I was recently on a road trip and we stopped at the biggest touristy shop I’ve ever seen. It was on an Indian reservation and they had everything! My friends and I browsed around, they didn’t buy anything, but I bought the oddest thing ever. It’s a large bullet casing that’s been turned into a bottle opener. It was $6 and no tax (reservations don’t charge tax). My brother will think it’s cool! It’s a perfect stocking stuffer. This is also the sort of quirky gift that makes an awesome and memorable host or hostess gift. Buy a six pack of beer or anything that requires a bottle opener, add the bullet bottle opener and I guarantee that your host will be super excited he invited you to his party!!!

– don’t forget about your sports fan! Airports have so many team branded items to choose from; socks, hats and underwear are perfect stocking stuffers!

– To Duty Free or not Duty Free? Sooo, I have to say that besides booze, I haven’t seen any great deals at duty free. Yes, you’re saving on the tax, but items are usually at full price. I am not a fan.

Thanks for reading!! My next posts will be all about that holidays!!! Then in January, I will be sharing the results of my weight loss challenge. I started the last week in June, my goal was to lose 30 pounds by Christmas! I am soooo close to my goal and it’s only first week of November!!

muah!!

Liette

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Christmas & Hostess Gift Ideas from a Pro!

Christmas & Hostess Gift Ideas from a Pro!

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

Christmas Gift Ideas

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

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If you want to take this to the next level. Add cookies or cheese to these 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!!

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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.”

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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.

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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.

4. Napkins

Super duper easy!!!

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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!!!

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Hostess gifts don’t need to be expensive. These tacky napkins were under $5. They are fun and FYI a little touch of tacky is perfectly acceptable.

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!!!

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Full disclosure, I was going to use these as stocking stuffers, but apparently, I am keeping them, lol. I bought both at Super Store.

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!

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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.

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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.

3. Booze

Yes repeating this idea in my gift section! But taking it up a notch!!

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To take this idea to the next level, let’s follow the same gift basket idea from above and pair it with something else.

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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???

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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!!

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This pic is proof that bangs really aren’t a life choice I should ever make again. 🙂

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!

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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!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Ho, ho, go!!

Liette