Day Tripping in NB – Bouctouche

Day Tripping in NB – Bouctouche

Today we are tripping our way to Bouctouche, NB; a super quaint seaside village forty minutes from Moncton.

Day tripping with me are two of my fifty seven cousins, jk, there are only like fifty six of us, lol. Please meet Brigitte and Tania, both are cousins on my dad’s side. Fun fact, growing up I was called Brigitte a LOT during family gatherings. I actually still do, she and I are less than a year apart, I am guessing that’s why? To be fair there were so many of us it was hard to keep us all straight… apparently?

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Brigitte on the left and Tania on the right.

My summer goal is to tour my own province and I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been to the Irving Nature Park in Bouctouche, so today is the day. I’ve been to Bouctouche tones of times, but usually to go to the beach, they have the most amazing warm water beaches!!

So today, my cousins and I are on our way to Bouctouche to be tourists and explore a bit.

The first thing we did as soon as we arrived was eat, obviously!! There are a bunch of places to eat on Main Street. We were craving some Acadian comfort food, so we went to La Sagouine Restaurant, not to be confused with Le Pays de la Sagouine, which is kind of an Acadian theme park, without rides. Sadly it’s been closed due to Covid. If you haven’t been you need to go as soon as it re-opens, it’s an awesome way to soak in some local culture.

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Another great way to soak up some Acadian culture is to eat some authentic regional food, which is what we did. The menu above has a lot of Acadian dishes, I’ll translate for those who don’t read French: first is chicken fricot, which is a soup with a spice called summer savory, it’s used a lot in Acadian cuisine. The next item sounds really bad in English, lol, it’s grated potatoes and pork baked in the oven until the edges and top are crispy, it’s soooo good! The next item, crêpe râpée, uses the same potato mixture as the rapé; it’s basically a potato pancake. And the last item is a bar clam pie, which is also to die for!!

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My fav was the crêpe râpée!! Bottom left.

We ordered the crêpe râpée, potato pancake, their lobster roll and the seafood casserole. We made sure to save room for their homemade pies, Brigitte wanted to order her dessert first, we told her no. 😬

As you can see Acadian cuisine isn’t exactly light; we waddled to the Irving Nature Park to walk off our lunch.

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It was beautiful!! We walked for over an hour, it’s huge! There are areas with picnic tables, there’s a fountain, a play area for kids and beautiful rose gardens; there is something for everyone.

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We’ve decided that we are coming back in the fall when the leaves start changing and then back at Christmas time, they put Christmas lights in the huge trees that surround the chapel. Brigitte said that it’s absolutely magical, so we will need to come back.

After our walk we drove down the coast and saw fishing boats, oyster beds and people digging for clams, we call them piss clams, because they shoot out water when you pick them up. These are the type of clams used to make fried clams. We used to go digging clams a lot when we were kids, I haven’t been for decades; I may need to add that to my summer bucket list?

 

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Have you ever gone clam digging? It was low tide; there were lots of people digging for clams. Those black things in the background are oyster beds.

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Leaving the Nature Park, we took a left and stayed on the road that follows the water. Our plan was to stop and check out anything that looked interesting; this giant strawberry looked interesting, too bad the u-pick was closed.

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I was told to take a bite out of this strawberry, I think it looks more like I am yelling at it? Lol

Our next stop was at Wood Chuck’s Carvings and Antiques, it was certainly an interesting stop.

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They have the most awesome, random things; from old anchors, to antique glassware, vintage hats, to marbles and a giant box filled with old school metal keys.

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They also have an amazing view of Bouctouche Bay. I took pics outside while Brigitte tried on vintage hats, we each bought one; now I need to host a special event so we have a place to wear them.

One of the things that I love about living in the Maritimes is seeing fishing buoys strewn across lawns, you don’t see that living in Las Vegas! I am certain some of my desert friends have never even seen a real buoy, they are used by fisherman to mark and identify their traps. The buoys in our area are mostly for lobster traps, our lobster season starts in August.

I got Tania to run out and take a pic of these pink buoys; I’ve never seen pink ones before!!

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Then a few kilometres down the road we saw these decorative buoys, I love all the colours.

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Had it been super sunny we would have gone to the Dunes for a dip, this cloudy day was perfect for exploring and spending time together.

So that was our day tip, you really should get out there and explore your own area, I am sure there are lots of things that you’ve never gotten around to seeing yet? I am seeing lots of your pictures on social media of you visiting local sights, yay!!

Thank you for reading!!!!! Check out my Instagram and Facebook sites: Oui-Liette. I get thousands of views per blog posts, yay!! But my Instagram page needs some more followers, please?? Lol. I am revamping the look of it a bit.

muah!

Liette

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If you liked this post, you’ll probably love these ones too!

This one was so much fun, glaming: https://oui-liette.org/2020/07/05/girls-who-glamp/

This is another Day Tripping in NB post: https://oui-liette.org/2020/07/11/day-tripling-in-nb-cornhill-nursery/

 

Side Hustle – Support Your Local Hustlers

Side Hustle – Support Your Local Hustlers

I’ve been noticing that since this dumb pandemic started, there seems to be a lot of new side hustles popping up and a bigger focus on buying locally.

I was really curious about what these side hustlers were doing, why they were doing it and how they were doing, while doing it? Make sense?? Maybe? Lol. Let me introduce you to Bonnie, who makes cakes and treats, Emily who makes funky earrings, Craig who makes beautiful cheese boards and wood stuff and Monique, who will customize pretty much anything you need.

First up is Bonnie, who is Mrs Delicious!

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Liette: What made you decide to start your side business?

Bonnie: The idea to start Mrs Delicious as an online bakery definitely came from my close friends and family. They were tasting and seeing all of my creations that I was posting about on social media during the spring and they thought I should offer what I was doing to a wider audience. I guess they thought I had a bit of a gift and thought I should share it.

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L: Is this something you had been waiting to do for a while?

B: Haha! Nooooo not at all. I normally have an extremely full schedule and wouldn’t have any room for extras like this. A typical work week for me, pre-pandemic, would consist of anywhere from 50 to 60+ hours of work a week. After a week like that you don’t typically have a lot left to give. Anything I do have left is spent on friends and family. However, at this time, with events on hold, my daily life has changed drastically. I needed a creative outlet and so my friend gave me the extra push I needed, she created a logo for me and I set up a Facebook page and my husband got some stickers made up with my branding and I was off and running.

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L: So all the extra time on your hands, because of the pandemic, sparked you to try something new?

B: The pandemic was definitely the instigator for this. I have hardly baked in the past 10 years. I have been concentrating on climbing the corporate ladder and being a Mom to my kids and helping to support my Mom when she was sick. I had a full plate. During the pandemic I turned to the kitchen, it started with a birthday cake for my daughter, then one for my son, then an anniversary cake for my sister and brother in law and it just kept going. I started having a lot of fun with it and trying trickier recipes each time. I was getting so many positive comments on my photos and people started saying, you should do this and sell them. I was very unsure at first but my confidence started to build and the reviews were positive so here I am. Mrs Delicious has been accepting orders for less than a month and I have already had close to 50 orders!

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L: I love that story!! Your cakes look absolutely delicious, great name btw, I am waiting for someone’s birthday in order to order one from you. How can people see and order from you?

B: People can order through Facebook at facebook.com/mrsdeliciousdesserts

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Post and Studs

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Emily’s is an elementary school teacher, who on the side, makes beautiful earrings. She makes them because they let her be creative and they make her happy, she explains that if they make others happy, that is a major bonus! And BTW, I just got a pair and they do make me happy! Mine are hot pink, obvs; here is my chat with Emily.

Liette: What inspired you to start making earrings?

Emily: I’ve always loved creating, aka making a mess. My sister and I started making jewelry as children and it was always something that brought me happy memories. We grew up in an extremely creative household, both of our parents were being creating in some way or another. I’m very thankful to have grown up in an environment that fostered our creativity.

A few Christmases ago, I was making earrings as gifts for loved ones and everyone told me to start selling them. After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to dive in head first!

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L: Have you always wanted to have your own business?

E: Having a business was always something that appealed to my creative side, but definitely not my organizational side. It was something I was always interested in, but I am thankful that I can do it at my own pace.

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L: Your earrings are beautiful. How long does it take to make one pair?

E: From start to finish, many of the dangles take about four days to fully cure and become ready for your ears! There are quite a few steps involved and this time period can be greatly extended if I make any mistakes. I’ve definitely had to start from scratch on more than one occasion.

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L: I bet that it’s been a learning process, not just making them, but marketing yourself?

E: Because it’s my side business, I don’t have the same type of pressure to market myself as many other businesses do. Post and Stud is my creative outlet, and I treat it as such. If it all becomes too stressful, I have the ability to step back and take a break for a few days. This is a privilege I’ve needed and am extremely thankful for. For the most part, I’m able to go with the flow and create relationships with like minded people.

L: How can people see and buy your earrings?

E: They can go to my website: http://www.postandstud.com, my Instagram & Facebook account is @postandstud. My earrings are also available for sale at Sequoia, the Trinity location, The Glow, in Sussex, and Luxe Salon and Spa in Riverview.

Borden Design

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I’ve known Craig for a long time, we used to work together many moons ago. I was surprised and impressed when I saw the beautiful charcuterie boards he was posting on Facebook. I knew he was, and still is, an awesome musician, but I had no idea he had mad woodworking skills? It was nice to catch up with him; here’s a bit of our chat.

Liette: I’ve seen the videos you’ve posted online, it’s cool to see a bit of how your boards are made. What motivated you to start your side hustle?

Craig: I had been planning a little side hustle for quite some time. With the lock down and having some extra time it seemed like the perfect time to get started.

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L: Did being home during COVID push you to get started?

C: Typically my free time would be focused on making music with my band “Big Bang”, but COVID not allowing for rehearsing I had some spare time to really focus on coming up with some products I wanted to make.

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L: What is it about working with wood that you most enjoy?

C: The charcuterie boards I’ve been making came from an apple tree that was in our backyard. I love the three having a completely new life in a completely new form. The cutting boards are made from wood I get from another local business, London Lumber. It’s really like being a kid in a candy store every time I go there. In addition to wood we’ve been prepping to make some concrete products as well, they should be available in the coming months.

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Craig’s number one helper, Stephen, who just turned 7!!

L: How can people find and buy your products?

C: Currently my presence is focused on Facebook, bordendesignnb, but I ‘m on Instagram, borden_design, and Twitter, Twitter.com/borden_design, as well. Products and prices can be found on Facebook @bordendesignnb,

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Made by Monique

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Monique works in early childhood development and is super crafty and creative. She’s started a side company that focuses on custom printing; here’s our chat.

Liette: What inspired you to start your little side hustle?

Monique: I love being crafty and creating things, so after receiving my Cricut (fancy adhesive cutter and printer) as a Christmas gift, I started experimenting with it and watching YouTube videos, A LOT of videos! After trying a couple of different things, I realized I was more interested in designing shirts, onesies, hoodies, etc…

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L: Have you always wanted to have your own business? What made you say, I am going to do it?

M: I’ve always loved the idea of having my own little side business that I would fully run myself, so that would be a yes! Once I had mastered designing and applying heat transfer vinyl on a wide variety of fabrics, I decided to invest in a few other important accessories and advertise on social media.

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She also sells custom pet stuff. Here are her two fav models, Pedro and Mika. Pedro giving us his sexy look, Mike giving us full on smiles. 

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L: What’s been one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to deal with so far?

M: A challenge I’ve had to deal with would definitely be the Christmas rush! It’s generally a busy time of the year in general, but with the added to-do list of getting all the custom orders ready before Christmas, it was a little extra busy for me. Even though it was a big stressful, I am SO thankful that I received so many orders!

L: So maybe we can put it out there now, in the summer, that people should start thinking of their custom Christmas Stockings, Tree Skirts and baby onesies now? lol?

M: That would be great to get orders as early as possible!

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These are the custom printed hats that she made for me.

 

L: How can people see your work and order from you?

M: I have photos of almost all my work posted on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/customizedbymonique and also my Instagram account: customizedbymonique. For order simply send me a message via my FB page and I will get back to you!

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I am so impressed with all these side hustlers their stories are inspiring and have a few common threads. One is that they are all doing something that they love and that fulfills their creative side, that’s so important, we all need creative outlets. And they are all using social media to promote and sell their goods. I think that social media gets a bad wrap; and rightfully so at times. My advice to those finding social media toxic is to do some major cleaning up!

You’re allowed to unfollow and unfriend anyone who is causing you anxiety. Replace them with local small businesses and services. I recently started following the hashtags #moncton, #newbrunswick and a few others and I have discovered so many neat things about my region.

Social media is the most valuable tool for small/local businesses…oh and for bloggers too, lol.

Thank you for reading!! Start following these awesome side hustlers on FB and Insta!!

muah!

Liette

As a bonus adding links to my last two links, they highlight local businesses. One is a nursery and the other a glamping site…you’re welcome!!

https://oui-liette.org/2020/07/11/day-tripling-in-nb-cornhill-nursery/

https://oui-liette.org/2020/07/05/girls-who-glamp/

 

 

 

5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing

5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing

So it’s been 9 days of social distancing; here are 5 bad ideas that I am going to caution you against doing. But who are we kidding, you’re probably making your way through this list as we speak? Good luck you bad ass rebel!

Top 5 Bad Ideas

Bad Idea #1

There is something about being held up in your home that makes you want to cook; which is great right? You’ll make those homemade energy balls/bars that Buffy from the gym’s been bragging about; yes you’ve been meaning to make those for weeks, but you just didn’t have the time.
You now have all kinds of time, but who are we kidding; you aren’t going to be rolling oats and gluten free flour to make protein balls. No, you’re making a double batch of chocolate chip cookies! And some of you are eating the dough straight out of the bowl….am I right?

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I got creative and made spring time chocolate chip cookies; they are just like regular cookies, but fancier! Obviously.

Bad Idea #2

Do not Dye or cut your own hair during a global pandemic!! The urge for a makeover is just going to get stronger as the weeks go bye; you must resist!! Your brain will start messing with you; sending you false messages like; you got this!! And how hard could it be?? Repeat after me; you don’t got this and it’s really, really hard!!

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Also try to avoid dying your own hair pink on a Friday night; it’s not as cute on Saturday morning…so I’ve heard.
Hats will be our best friends in the weeks to come! I have lots, message me if you need to borrow one.
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Bad Idea #3

Cleaning and organizing is bad idea #3; now this sounds like the perfect activity while stuck home right? In theory it’s a great idea depending on your approach. Do not take everything out of your closet all at once, because half way through your spring cleaning you’re going to need a nap and when you wake up, you aren’t going to be as motivated as you were just a few hours earlier.
What will happen next can go two ways; the first will be to leave mounds of clothing on your bed and walk away. For the next three days you will move the clothes from your bed to the floor at bedtime and then from the floor back onto the bed in the morning. Or you will just take the mounds of clothes and shove them back into your closet and close the door quickly; pouff! Problem solved.

Bad Idea #4

We all know that we shouldn’t  drunk text; well the same is true with online shopping while bored. Yes, online shopping will give you an instant surge of endorphins, that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. But that buzz will quickly fade once you start doing the math.
And honestly who’s going to see those four pairs of cute new shoes..OK, six cute new pairs while you are socially distancing?

Do you know what? I am changing my mind, this may not be such a bad idea? Those 8 pairs of new shoes will bring you joy while stuck in your house for the next few weeks. Keep them and wear them with pride!! I am taking #4 off the bad list; this is an awesome idea! Do it!!

Bad Idea #5

So you maxed out your credit cards on day 6; you’ve just finished your box of wine and you’re thinking that now would be a great time to drunk texted your ex!! Just to say hi or hey, if you’re a guy. Don’t do it!! Abort!!!
Yes, there’s something about a global pandemic that makes you yearn for connection with others; and really how bad was he/she??
Repeat after me; they aren’t your friend, they broke up with you via messenger and only reach out to you when they need something from you!! Go bake a double fudge chocolate cake or go trim your bangs; you got this!! Or hey! I think you need another half dozen new pairs of shoes!! Look how empty your closet is!

Good luck on avoiding these bad ideas; a great idea is to stay in touch with friends and family. We are all going to need each other as the weeks go bye. Stay safe and try to see the funny side of things when at all possible.

muah!!! Big virtual hug to all of you!!

Liette

(sign up below to receive my post, because, who are we kidding, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!!)

Facebook @oui-liette

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Shop Local This Christmas!!

Shop Local This Christmas!

With 7 days till Christmas, most of us are still looking for one or two….or seven gifts; hey no judgment here.

Why not skip the herds of people at the mall or Cosco and take a walk downtown? It doesn’t matter where you live, each city or town has locally owned shops that would love a share of your business.

I just moved back to Moncton two weeks ago and today I had lunch on Main Street with my friend, Stacey. After lunch, I braved the cold, apparently I am a weather wimp now, lol; and browsed the little shops that line Main Street.

There was certainly a buzz of life to the downtown area. As I walked down Main Street I noticed new restaurants and cafes that hadn’t been there before. I also noticed people, lots of people!!

I could feel my cheeks getting rosy and noticed that I was signing along with the Christmas music coming from Keating’s; even without snow it was starting to feel like Christmas.

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I popped into The Home Mercantile and was greeted with warm smiles from the staff. I am not certain what I was expecting? Maybe some tacky touristy tchotchkes?? But what I found made me feel like I was home.

Yes I realize, home is in the name, so obviously that’s the point. Maybe I am being a bit mushy and sentimental being back in my hometown? But it made me proud to be in a store filled with items that highlighted New Brunswick, Moncton and Canada.

This store is sassy and funny! Which reflects the people who live here. I bought one of these candles below; in addition to smelling really good, they made me laugh! The one I bought says: Calm the Fuck Down! Seriously, how could I not buy it???

I am a sucker for stationary and loved the mix of French and English cards with local regional  humor.

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I seriously laughed out loud when I saw this very Maritime take on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls!

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I bought a NB Home T-shirt that I will wear with pride and I may need to go back to get a tuque or a baseball hat? I’m short a few stocking stuffers and these would be perfect.

As I left with my new purchases, in my material shopping bag, of course; I thought what a great shopping experience.

I hadn’t been annoyed by slow walkers at the mall. I hadn’t experiences cart rage; you know when you’re at Cosco and someone decides to park their huge cart in the middle of the aisle while they chit chat away; man I hate that! Pull over for goodness sakes!!!

I left feeling relaxed and pleased with my sassy, sentimental purchases.

Tomorrow is the last Saturday before Christmas, the malls will be crazy!!! Call your friend and have them meet you downtown. Grab a bite to eat, pick up a hot chocolate at Tim’s and brows the small boutiques in your area.

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My new t-shirt, my lipstick is extra bright to camouflage the scab on my nose, did it work?? lol, not sure? But it’s healing.

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

muah!

Liette

For more pics and quickies, follow me on Facebook @oui-Liette

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

Dear Santa, Is Naughty Really So Bad?

As children we’re taught to fear ending up on Santa’s naughty list; sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s the goal.

Why? Because Santa is watching you; so you better watch out, you better not cry and you better not pout! First of all, why is he watching me and how do I get him to stop? And secondly; I like pouting, it’s sort of my thing, lol.

This year, let’s throw caution to the wind and just say, FRIG IT!! But if we’re going to take a walk on the wild naughty side? Let’s be the best naughty version of yourselves as possible.

I’ve created this naughty bucket list as a guide…you’re welcome! Let’s see how many we can hit this holiday season.

Cocktails

You can’t really be naughty without a little booze; let’s face it, all of our best bad life choices started off with some sort of yummy cocktail!

I am certainly no bar tender, but when hosting an event I try to find one signature drink for my party.

I will be hosting a cocktail party in a few weeks and this is what I will be serving. Soooo I renamed this Mimosa to fit my theme; yup, you’re allowed to make shit up, especially if you are being naughty. I am naming this one Elfed Up, because if you drink too many, you will be very Elfed Up!! Lol

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These are super easy to make, these are a combo of cranberry juice, orange-pineapple juice and champagne, but feel free to use whatever juice you like. And as per my champagne expert friend, Lynn, it needs to be champagne! Sparkling wine, will not do!!

Fill your champagne flute half way with champagne, then fill to the rim with your juices. Add a few frozen cranberries, they look pretty and will keep your drink cold.

The next drink is my fav on a cold night. I am going to call it Haaaatt Chocolate, in honor of my friend Staci who pronounces hot, as haaaat, lol; she’s also hot stuff so it’s fitting.

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The special ingredient that makes this drink so haaaatt is Fireball Whiskey, because chocolate and cinnamon basically belong together. You can use a hot chocolate mix or a pod, then add a shot (2oz) of whiskey per glass and voilà!! Baby, it’s not so cold outside!!

Top with whipped cream or roast a few marshmallows and prepare to be merry!!

For extra naughtiness, serve in a sassy mug!

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Gifts

‘Tis the season for giving, here are some really smart ass gift ideas that Santa may not approve of?

I love this dirty laundry travel bag! Its practical, funny and cute! It’s from the same company that I bought my customized luggage tags, see last weeks post, the company is called Airportag.

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Now I usually make my own Christmas cards, but I had to share this one!! I like funny cards and this one makes me laugh!

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And since we’re talking balls, these will help you have a Blue Christmas, lol. For a fun activity, get a few friends together and hand paint some balls with naughty messages.

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I bet we all have that one naughty friend…ok we know more than one, who would love hanging this stocking by their chimney with care?

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So you get the idea, there are lots of funny options for anyone on your naughty list.

Baking

Even the naughty have to eat! My family has a cookie baking party every year. I sent this picture, see below, to my mom and told her we were making these. Did she flinch or tell me I was being inappropriate? Nope, she laughed and said ok!! (she is seriously the coolest mom ever!); and she is obviously on Santa’s naughty list.

But if Santa Penis cookies aren’t your thing, just make sure you make the most sinfully delicious decadent cookies ever!! Call over a few friends, drink till you’re a little Elfed Up and bake!!

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If you’re bored and want to chuckle, search sexy cookies on Pinterest; karma sutra cookies?? Why???

These are the aprons that we wear to make our cookies each year. Yup, we’re a family of Ho, Ho, Ho’s!! Lol

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Merry Kissmas!

On our bucket list is getting the maximum number of hugs and kisses possible! Don’t get all “me too” creepy; make certain your affections are welcomed, no one likes a perv!

Did you know that researchers have proven that hugs can help with stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and they can also diminish the risk of heart disease? Well it’s true, they help boost your oxytocin levels! Ok, I don’t actually know what oxytocins are? But you don’t need to know how it works in order to reap the hugging benefits.

And kissing  apparently boosts your “happy hormones”; and hey, I am all for happy hormones! So make sure to hug and kiss your loved ones a bit extra this season.

This pic was too cute not to share…again! My friend/coworker and I were getting head shots done and then this happened, lol.

I had one of the designers add some mistletoe to make it Christmassy. I may have plastered her office with a bunch of posters the night before I left the US to come home for Christmas a few years ago? I figured I was probably already on Santa’s naughty list for the Rudolph incident, so what the hell?? What Rudolph incident? Keep reading.

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Have Fun!!

Sometimes being naughty is way more fun than being good. Please keep in mind that there is a big different between being naughty and being mean; don’t be mean! Naughty for me is being a little mischievous and not taking yourself too seriously.

I try hard not to take myself too seriously, exhibit A: my 2017 Christmas Card when I dressed up as Rudolph; actually, I dressed up as all Santa’s reindeer.

You maybe wondering how did that get me on the naughty list? Well…Rudolph kind of got shot in the head on my card, lol.

I thought this was hilarious, there was text on the flip side that explained the image.

If you create your own Christmas cards, don’t be afraid to be silly and show some personality! Apparently my personality is a bit twisted.

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Last Christmas, I found these silly reindeer glasses, I brought them to a party and people loved them; hats and games are always fun too. This year my brother has made us a giant Jenga game for Christmas Even, I can’t wait to play. Be silly! You’ll have more fun.

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Qui se rassemble se ressemble!

During the holidays, as in life, you need a really solid co-conspirator; someone who will be up for all your crazy shenanigans, even if it gets them on the naughty list. When you find them, hold on to tight, they’re keepers!!

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family who are up for pretty much anything! Yes, some need a bit of coaxing, but once they commit, they are all in! Does everything always work out according to plan? Nope, but we always have fun!

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This is dedicated to my friend Aline in Moncton and my friend Lynn in Vegas.

I am hosting a small cocktail party in a few weeks and I have a special something planned. I will need a bit of help, so I recruited my nephew. I told him what I was planning and asked him if he was in? He said of course!! I will share the dets after the party, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. When you have a crazy idea, just go with it and see what happens.

Be a true bad ass!!

If you want to be a true bad ass this holiday season, volunteer at your local soup kitchen, pick up an extra toy when you’re doing your Christmas shopping; sign up to deliver food boxes or donate blood, hey, the blood donor clinics have free snacks!! We promise, your secret will be safe with us! We wouldn’t want to ruin your naughty reputation!

The underlying message of this post is that nothing and no one is perfect; so let it go and embrace the imperfect, half done projects and general hot mess that is life. If that gets you on anyone’s naughty list, so be it! I guess I will see you there, lol.

muah!!

Liette

Stuff Your Stockings!

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.

For a few of my closest friends I found these below, they are from a company called Airportag, http://www.airportag.com

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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.

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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!

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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!!

Staples Stuff!

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!!

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I got this guy at Crate and Barrel

Practical Stuff

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!

Gift Packs

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.

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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.

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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!!

Thank you for reading!

muah! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Liette

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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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A Dreamy Bedroom Makeover

A Dreamy Bedroom Makeover

One of my passions is decorating; if I wasn’t an events planner, I would definitely be an interior decorator!

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A few years ago I redecorated my dad’s TV room. I found an old dresser and painted it for his paperwork and stuff. I re-arranged the pictures my mom had in this room and even though it wasn’t completely my style, it was a nice room; apparently when you decorate other peoples rooms, it’s not all about you?? For instance, if it was my room, I wouldn’t have hung a large black and white picture of my brother and I circa 1987, lol.

When I moved away, my parents bought me a single bed for when I visited; so this room became a TV room/guest bedroom. That black and white picture of my bro and I hung over my single bed; I am not going to lie, it was a bit unsettling waking up to that every day.

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Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it is 100% going in the closet.

Then my dad got sick and as his illness progressed, we added more and more medical stuff to this room. Soooo…this is getting a bit dark, but please stay with me; let’s just say that by the time he passed this room didn’t feel warm and inviting.

I decided that I needed a project and staying busy and doing something that I loved would be a great distraction. I was going to convert this room into a bedroom that felt like a posh hotel room for when I visited. And if there’s something that I know a lot about, it’s the inside of hotel rooms.

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Ok so these before pictures are bad. It looks like a tornado blew through it and  to be honest that’s exactly what happened by the time everything was said and done.

The first thing I did was to move the single bed, it was in the corner next to my dad’s chair, and I had my brother mount the TV on the wall. As you can see by the mess, it was less than functional. There was no room for me to unpack when I was in town, so  I lived out of my suitcase, which, when open, took up half the room. The renovated room will have room for all my stuff!!

I needed inspiration and I found it! This is the vibe I am hoping to channel. I bet you are shocked, by this PINK headboard?? Lol, fun fact, my place in Vegas really doesn’t have any pink…well maybe a pillow or two? So this is a great place to pink it up!!

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I love this color pallet and I think that although the key focal point is a deep pink, it’s still feels very sophisticated..right?

Now let’s be mindful that I don’t live here and that this makeover was done on a budget.

To get started I went to the local Moncton fabric store and omg!! I found the absolute perfect hot pink fabric! I hired my brother and sister in law to make the headboard. As I left town, I told them to please have it done by the time I rolled back into town; yup, I am a bit bossy, it’s part of my charm.

In Vegas, I bought a white duvet cover and gray curtains and lugged them cross continent on my next trip back.

My next find was awesome! I decided that I needed a big picture, like, big, big! I have about 6’ between the dresser, mounted TV and the closet. I wanted something oversized for that spot. I thought it would take me forever to find it,  but my very next trip to Homesense I found it. I instantly knew this was it!!!

It has some pink, yellow, red, orange and green. I loovvvve it! You can’t appreciate this size in this pic, you will further down.

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My view on finding art for your space is that it takes time, travel and patience; what I mean is that you can’t go to a store and buy art for all your walls in one shot. You have to find things that speak to you. I got lucky with this piece, but I will have a few blank spots in my room until I find the right pieces for the rest of the room.

My next cool find was a light fixture, it looks like a birds nest, which is fitting since my parents live on the third floor and have a view of the tree filled courtyard. It kinda feels like they live in a three house lol.

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This was a steal of a deal at $49!! It looks even prettier at night when lit. Sometimes you need to give weird looking things a chance, lol. I am sure that some saw this in the store and though…nah! But, I knew that it would be pretty.

I bought a few small baskets and accessories, everything else was here already.

So it will be a bit of a work in progress, which is fine; again take your time to find pieces you love, don’t just rush and get stuff to fill spaces, love them! Oh and everything doesn’t need to be brand new. My dresser and side table were second hand finds.

So here is what I have so far!

This was the back of the door, which  was wastes space. My mom had her TV trays tucked behind the door; yes she still uses TV trays! Lol, she also had a folding chair and I had some of my crap.

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I decided to make this area into a makeup/hair area. My mom had the mirror in another room, I moved it; she thought I was nuts when I hung it behind the door, lol. I found a glass top console that fit perfectly and baskets for my makeup and stuff. It’s also a great place to line up my shoes. This small nook originally had no purpose, now it does.

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My dad had the TV on a stand on another little desk, I got rid of that and moved the dresser, it was originally on the opposite wall.

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We tidied up the TV cables…ok, by we, I mean, not me, lol, but I did add a few cute accessories. I love the gray basket with the white pompons, I got two at HomeSense.

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So here is my headboard; I took these pictures at night, my brother and I hung it the night before I had to leave town, so it was a bit of a rush. The color is a pinkish cranberry, I know cranberries are red, but imagine them pink and that’s the color in the natural light.

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Ok, I am adding the picture below because it shows it’s pinkishness in all its glory!!

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I had bought huge white Euro Shams for the bed, but once I got them in the room, they didn’t work, so they went back. I will shop some sales back in Vegas for the perfect shams and accent pillows; I would love to find something in a darker gray linen.

The pictures below show the size of my colorful flower picture, it’s huge! Now is the scale too big for the room? Some would say yes, but I would say, no!

It makes me happy and it’s my room…so there; rules are made to be broken or bent just a little. If you like something and it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

I need to find something for the space to the right of dresser and TV. I did see a beautiful lamp, but I hesitated and it was gone by the time I decided that it would be perfect. But I will find something fabulous, it may just take a bit of time.

I also need a bright pillow for my chair, again that will come.

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Sooooo I got to sleep in my finished Moncton bedroom for exactly one night before I had to fly out again. But I’ll be back!

So what do you think? What’s your favorite new thing??

Thanks for reading! I know my blog topics are all over the map.

Have a great week!

Muah!

Liette

 

 

 

 

 

Viva Vintage Vegas!

Viva Vintage Vegas!

On our agenda today is a Viva Vintage Vegas tour. We’ll shop, get a makeover, eat then visit an outdoor museum for old neon signs.

The “old” downtown area is in the process of a fabulous transformation. The Art District or 18b, because it encompasses 18 blocks, is a very cool and hip place with art galleries, vintage shops and funky restaurants. It’s way more authentic than than the strip and if you visit you may run into some real live Las Vegas locals! Don’t worry, they won’t bite, they are super nice people.

First things first, let’s shop! All the shops below are found on Main Street. (If you don’t get the opportunity to visit Vegas, then please venture out to your local vintage and antique shops! Also, I always check out how shop owners show off their stuff. It can inspire you to consider different color pallets.)

Patina

Patina offers vintage furniture, home decor and a huge collection of unique vintage clothing.

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I was served by Katie, who is one of the owners of Patina. She explained that the boutique started off more focused on vintage furniture, but the clothing section has taken on a life of its own; with regulars coming to Vegas expressly to shop in her store.

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She and her partner hand pick each item, they were getting ready to head out on a buying spree in a few weeks. How fun would that be?

 

Their vintage clothing is mostly from the 60’s, lets just say the colors were so vibrant I didn’t need to use a filter. I bought three things.

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They also have beautiful glassware, vintage luggage,  furniture and much more, check them out!

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I tried to convince myself that I had room for this hot pink chair in my bedroom, but I don’t…booo! I love how they are showing pink with yellow accents, it’s not a combo that I would have thought that I would like. It’s brave, beautiful and inspiring.

Antique Alley Market

I love this store!! It’s huge so it’s almost impossible to see everything and they seem to have everything.

I must admit that I past by it several times without going in, because the facade doesn’t have a lot of flash. But I’m happy I finally did because it’s got some great stuff and prices are reasonable.

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I collect vintage Murano glass candy dishes, ok I only have 4, so it’s not a huge collection, lol. It reminds me of my grandmother. She had this beautiful big green dish on her coffee table that we used to spin around, we were kind of bratty. I don’t think we ever broke it, which is a miracle. I have no idea where it went, but I would love to find it.

I have a pink dish from my mother’s cousin, I found another in the same color, so had to have it. And now I think I am starting a pink collection, but the other colors are all so pretty…sorry, all this talk about vintage candy dishes may not be as interesting to others as it is to me, lol.

Ok, just take a look at this picture of my budding collection and I will stop talking about candy dishes, lol.

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Ok, I so I lied, but look how pretty they are. My new one is the one on the left…ok done, moving on.

Vintage Vegas

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Main Street is littered with cool funky places. Vintage Vegas is a smaller boutique, but jam packed full of cool stuff. The signage: Dead People’s Junk ans Cool Crap, caught my eye; I had to go in!

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I love these vintage Pyrex bowls!! My bff and I, back in Canada, are always on the lookout for vintage Pyrex. Yup, we’re nerds, but stylish ones!!

Retro Vegas

When I moved to Vegas this was the first vintage shop I visited, the pink caught my attention, naturally. They have beautifully painted flamingos on the side of their building  perfect for photos!

They have tones of modern mid-century furniture, which is my all time favorite; along with stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I am really starting to feel the 70’s vibe these days too.

The price point here is a bit more expensive, but they have high quality pieces.

I love this kitchen vignette! And look, they are pairing pink and yellow. Mmm, could this be a new trend? This is giving me some cool ideas.

And as I am writing, I just noticed that my pink candy dishes have yellow in the center! I guess I am already on trend.

Atomic Lounge

After you’ve shopped stop in at Atomic Lounge for a retro makeover. I went for the Va Va Voom hair and makeup  package; they also have a package where they pick you up in a pink Cadillac, it doesn’t get more fab than that!

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This was so fun! It would be the perfect activity for a girls trip. They do lots of weddings as well.

This was a lot of makeup!! Definitely meant for nighttime. I have to admit I felt like my grandmother with my hair in pin curls, but it all came together. This look called for a lot of hairspray!! I am not a big hair product person so it felt really funny and stiff. She told me to leave it for an hour and then I could brush it out for a softer look. It looked more modern with just a hint of retro vibe once I brushed it out.

My stylist was awesome! Ask for Becki. The lounge decor was funky and cool, just like you’d expect it to be.  And look, more yellow! I love these chairs.

 

Let’s Eat!

There are a bunch of cool hip restaurants nearby and this is where you will meet actual Las Vegas locals. These restaurants are also a lot less expensive than on the strip.

I recommend trying Carson Kitchen, it has super interesting small plates that you can share.  It’s urban neighborhood dining at it’s finest.

The Boneyard Museum

After dinner when the sun goes down, head to the Boneyard Neon Museum. It’s the perfect way to send your Viva Vintage Vegas Day!

Tours are $50, $35 for locals. You have to buy your tickets ahead of time, I have been on the day tour, but need to go on the night tour when the signs are on.

This isn’t your ordinary boring museum, first of all it’s outside and second of all, it’s full of neon. The museum is saving and honoring Vegas history for generations to come.

You will have lots and lots of picture opportunities, selfies are welcomed!

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Photo from Boneyard Neon Museum

Bonus Feature!

Since you sat through my candy dish fetish, I will let you know that The Arts District also has the most Instagramable graffiti walls in Vegas!

The streets between Main and Commerce have cool alleys. The best one is on the corner of W 50-70 Imperial Ave and Imperial Ave. Do be careful and travel in packs, don’t go down dark alleys; you will run into some colorful characters if you venture too far. You can also rent bikes and cycle around.

Just a few of the murals you will see. Try to venture off the strip next time you are in town and check out the Art District. Be nice! And have fun!

Muah!

Liette

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New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

If asked to describe what New Orleans is like, I would describe it as an assault on your senses; it’s all too much.

It’s too much food, it’s too much music, the smells are too much, the people are too much, there is too much culture; it’s just fabulously too much!

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Be prepared to have crazy hair, it will either be too fuzzy or too flat, or a combo of both.

Here are my to 5 things to do in New Orleans that are too much!

#1 Too much history and culture!

New Orleans oozes culture; it’s impossible not to soak in the culture and history of the city. I don’t think there is any other city in the US with such a distinctive vibe and energy.

If you are a first time visitor you need to take a guided tour because there is just too much to see and do. I have done a few walking tours and a bus tour. Both types were excellent, if you do a walking tour in the summer make sure you are dressed properly and stay hydrated, because the summer heat and humidity is way too much!

There are also several night time walking tours that are fun and will be cooler and to say that the city comes alive at night is a huge understatement. I recommend you visit one of the cemeteries and the Garden District; and of course the French Quarter, which is so full of history, that you almost need a guide to fill you in on all the fabulous and tawdry history.

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This was our cemetery tour.

#2 Way too much music!

New Orleans is the birth place of jazz; if you love jazz, you have to visit!! You will want to go to French Street, but music floods pretty much all of the French Quarter, it doesn’t matter where you go.

While shopping on Royal street a few years ago, I made my way outside to find that the street had been closed and a band was playing. They played three songs, packed up and the street was open again. Spontaneous concerts seem to be the norm.

Each bar on Bourbon Street has music blairing; most have live bands, country, R&B, Cajun… there is something for everyone. The music spills out into the streets with musicians on every corner.

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A spontaneous concert on Bourbon Street.

Everytime I’ve been to Jackson Square I have heard students busking, the talent is amazing!

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Students at Jackson Square.

#3 Bourbon Street is waaaayyyy too much!

Bourbon Street is over the top too much. I have been to New Orleans 6 or 7 times now and I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Bourbon Street virgins a bunch of times. I have noticed that most react to Bourbon Street in the same way; they are flat out freaked out! Lol

And here’s why; it’s an insane place! It does assault the senses, it smells, it’s dirty and it’s home to a few ligit scary people.

People who think that Vegas is a wild place have never been to Bourbon Street. I think it puts a spell on people and makes them lose their minds…or that could also be the alcohol?? Lol, no one knows for sure?

Each person who I’ve taken there for the first time come away thinking, omg, this is too much! But then something happens, once the shock of it all fades a bit, intrigue and fascination take over. This usually takes 24 hours, then they are hooked.

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I was walking behind these ladies on Bourbon Street and just needed to snap this pic. They were on a mission.

The French Quarter is a contrast in extremes. You can dine in the most fabulous restaurant and then cross the street and walk past the most raunchy strip club.

On this past trip we left Bourbon Street at 6:30pm on a Friday night to make our way to the airport to catch our flight out; as we left, the crowds of people were already starting to file in; things were starting to get crazy…and it was 6:30!!! Lol

You need to experience this for yourself, it’s better to travel in a pack, go with the “no one left behind” rule and just be smart about things. And the number one rule, do not walk in puddles on Bourbon Street, it’s not water!!!!

#4 People watching, so much to see!

You will see and hear the most amazing things in the French Quarter; on this past trip, as I was walking down a side street when I happened upon a wedding procession. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; I was honored to be part of it in some small way. It started with a police escort, followed by the bride and groom literally dancing in the street accompanied by a band and their friends and family following behind waving handkerchiefs. It was so beautiful it looked staged! We saw two wedding processions during our walk, I think it’s a very common thing in these parts. The video and pictures below really captured the moment.

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Everyone who encountered the procession stopped, clapped and danced; there was just no way not to smile and be happy. This to me embodies the spirit of New Orleans. After all their motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler »; Let the good times roll.

 

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Another example of New Orleans contrasts is that a few blocks away from Bourbon Street and it’s hedonistic revelers is Jackson Square. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, learned that fun fact on my walking tour!! You almost expect to see a princess in a horse drawn carriage to pull up at any moment.

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This is Cathédrale Saint-Louis, apparently Walt Disney was a huge fan of New Orleans and could be seen in and around Jackson Square sketching and soaking in the sites and sounds; he was also very inspired by the jazz music that floods the streets.

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As I was coming out of one of the little boutiques that surround Jackson Square, I saw another wedding party making their way to the front of the Cathédral; I decided to follow them…ok so I may have some stalker tendencies? Lol, I am attracted to pretty dresses, what can I say??

Voilà! A horse drawn carriage and a princess…ok, it was a bride, but she was obviously fulfilling her princess dream.

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The bride was ok, but this little flower girl was adorable!! The dress, the flower crown, the hair…the dress.

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#5 Too many unique boutiques and shops!

Even though Bourbon Street feels very frantic, the surrounding cobblestone streets remind you that you are in the South where there doesn’t seem to be a big rush. You need to embrace this laid back vibe when boutique hopping.

There are so many little shops; I even love the real trashy touristy shops that seem to all sell the same things. But there are also unique shops where you will be able to find treasures to take home.

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Bourbon and Canal Street are lined with shops selling beads, masks and feather boas. I love the colors.

I love, love, love roaming around going from shop to shop. I always discover new places. On this trip we stopped in a shop that looked like just another mask shop until we went inside. It’s called Masquerade and is located on St-Anne Street. All the masks are hand made out of leather, they are mini works of art. I am kicking myself for not buying one for next Halloween. I hate having reverse buyers remorse, when you regret not buying something.

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We found one shop that looked like several others that sell spices and rubs, but it turns out they also give Cajun and Creole cooking classes, how fun would that be?? I am adding this on my to do list for my next trip.

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New Orleans School of Cooking, definitely going to try a class!!

There are voodoo shops, we found a super cute milliner shop (hat maker) on Royal Street; I found a funky lamp shop and lots of antique places. One place that I would recommend going to is the Local Artist Co-op, it’s located on Dutch Alley. It’s behind Cafe du Monde, which is the super popular places for beignets.

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I always buy something here and love supporting local artists.

And if you want a few touristy things go to the French Market, you can hit Cafe du Monde, the Local Artist Co-op, then just keep walking and you will hit the French Market.

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Ok, I may have taken too many pics of cute shops? I couldn’t help it!

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Modern Mid-Century lamp shop on Royal Street.
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Who doesn’t need candy and crazy scary animal masks?? Decater Street has lots of funky shops.

Here are my finds for this trip; a Kelly green leather clutch, it comes with a wrist strap and body strap, in case you are wondering lol. A small framed hand painted skull from the Local Artist Co-op. I buy a lot of art when I travel, they don’t need to be big or expensive. I love having reminders of my trips in my house. And I couldn’t resist a feather mask, pink of course!

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I came, I shopped, I ate, I left! I left really, really full! lol

Too much amazing food!!

My most favorite thing to do in the South, not just in New Orleans, is eat! They have the best food on earth!! There is just too much good stuff to add to this post, I will dedicate a full post to all the yummy things to eat!

Bonus Thing To Do!

Because a visit to New Orleans means that you will be walking for hours, I always stop for a quick and cheap massage. There are a few places almost on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street, you will see an Asian man sitting outside trying to entice customers to come inside.

We made our way inside for a 30 minute foot massage, then we let ourselves get talked into a 30 minute neck massage, prices are great and it feels soooo good!

Here’s a funny story, as soon as we sat down for our massages, we could hear a ruckus outside. It just got louder and louder until it turned into a full on fight. The top picture is Staci and I nervously discussing how super relaxing it was to have a fight during our massage. The funny part is that the little man on his bench outside didn’t even flinch. It eventually quieted down, so we did get to relax and enjoy. New Orleans is full of surprises, you really never know what you are going to see or hear.

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bottom left is me relaxing after the street fight outside was over.

I hope this post has given you the urge to visit this beautiful city; there is just too much not to love!!

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Les bons temps ont roulé, so now it’s time to go.

I already can’t wait to go back!!! Stay tuned for all the yummy food we ate in New Orleans ans Mississippi! That will be coming up in the next few weeks. Next Sunday I will share my day in a maple syrup sugar shack! I should be down from my sugar high by then? lol

Muah!

Liette