Best Birthday Ever? Could Social Distancing Actually Bring Us Closer Together?

Best Birthday Ever?

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Could this social distancing actually bring us closer together? This post will include a few ideas on how to celebrate with friends and family during these crazy times; but more than that, I think it demonstrates how we are changing the way we interact with each other and our rediscovery of the importance of being kind to each other and to ourselves.

I’m not going to lie, the prospect of spending my 50th birthday by myself in my apartment, by myself, seemed a bit dismal and depressing. But what I hadn’t considered is how creative and thoughtful my friends and family would be. Could all this extra time apart help bring us closer?

The pace of our daily lives has slowed to a, sometimes painful, crawl; our routines and our interactions with each other have been completely flipped upside down. One of the side effects is that we are having to connect with each other in different ways; maybe even better ways?

Here are some great ideas if any of your people have birthdays or celebrations during this social distancing time. But you really don’t have to wait for a special occasion to make someone feel special and loved…just saying.

Card Campaign

The week before my birthday I started getting birthday cards in the mail, a lot of cards! I had forgotten how nice it is to open your mailbox and see brightly colored  envelopes; some even took the time to make me a card, seriously, how freaking thoughtful is that?

The keyword here is thoughtful; I feel like we are all being more mindful of the effects that our small gestures of kindness are having on others.
The thought of my friends taking the time and effort to go out of their homes to buy me  a birthday card; or getting their glue sticks out to make me a card; or digging through their storage to find a Halloween Card in order to customize it for me, because they know that I love Halloween, tugs at my heartstrings and has made me feel so special.

This card campaign as also helped to spread out this warm and fuzzy feeling; they are still coming in. I think we should bring snail mail back!! Are you thinking about someone? Instead of shooting them a quick text, send them a note or card.

Parking Lot Parade Party

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The morning of my birthday, I was puttering around my apartment, thankfully I was dressed with my lipstick on, ready to take on the day when I heard some honking coming from outside my window; when I looked out I saw 15ish cars with hot pink balloons parading down my street. 

I was so touched, and yes, I cried, just a little. The theme of this post is love; my friends and family took the time to do something nice for someone else; I was so fortunate to be the recipient of all of their love.  Had I had a party, my friends would have showed up to help me celebrate; but the thought that they coordinated meeting in a parking lot close to my place; where they decorated their cars with pink balloons and signs was extra special. As they made their way to my place, cars they passed pulled over and let them pass. This was so much more memorable than any regular party; the only shitty part is that I couldn’t hug anyone. Lots of hugs for everyone when this is over!

Feeling la Love!

When challenged with strict social restrictions, we are having to find new ways to stay connected and to show our love for one another.

I was invited to a super cozy lunch for two in a friend’s garage that included a 12 foot long table, perfect for social distancing. We sat there without any distractions, no checking our phones, we didn’t have anywhere else to be. We ate leftovers, laughed and listened to Van Morrison.

If you are feeling disconnected, put your best face covering on and go sit in your friends driveway! Thinking of someone? Send them a card or drop off a plate of cookies; simple, inexpensive acts of kindness are appreciated more than ever.

A few friends and I have started weekly zoom calls, my friend Kenda made the observation that she couldn’t remember the last time we were all in town at the same time and able to celebrate a birthday all together. Four out of the six of us travel for work and planning events has always been a scheduling nightmare.

I am noticing that we all seem more present when we spend time together now, even if just via video. Josette mentioned that when things get back to “normal” she is going to try to let go of a lot of the things that stressed her out and all the things she thought she “needed” to do. Our lives are much simpler now and it’s kind of nice?

We then decided that we should all make side ponytails as an homage to our 80’s roots; speaking of roots, some of us are starting to sport some pretty gray roots!! lol

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Feeling the love at a distance with Dawn! ❤️

Thank you for reading! In these crazy times be generous with your kindness and attention; if you love someone, tell them! If you see that someone is struggling a bit, reach out and be kind; it doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.

And finally if you have any extra love to share, subscribe to my blog below, just scroll down a bit. Or you can follow me on Facebook or Insta at oui-liette

Stay safe and be kind!

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

For any new readers, behind he scenes are just extra fun facts and bonus pics.

I brought up the banners and balloons from my birthday parade and set them up in my dining room, see the pic below. Notice the frames picture on the right; that’s my cousin Brigitte. She added her picture in with the group gift that she and my two other cousins gave me. She also edited their birthday messages in the group card. Her behavior perfectly demonstrates our families sense of humor; and explains a bit of my unique weirdness. ❤️

I am blessed to come from a family and friends who love to laugh and have fun!

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I didn’t have a big 50th birthday party planned, I know it’s shocking! But I did have a girls trip to Palms Spring planned for the weekend after my birthday. I had planned a theme for our après party, party; the theme was/will be: Let them eat cake!! One may think that a Marie Antoinette theme would be difficult to pull off? One would be wrong, lol

This tulle skirt and rock n roll t-shirt was/will be my party outfit. I was feeling a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to wear it anytime soon; so I decided to put it on and wear it around my apartment last week; it made me feel fancy and festive, so here it is, someone needs to see it!

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My awesome photographer Jack!

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I also wanted to share this painting that my sister in-law made for me; I absolutely love it! The picture doesn’t do the colors justice.

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Had anyone told me six months ago, or even two months ago, that I’d be super excited to get face masks as gifts for my 50th birthday, I wouldn’t have believed them. This jazzy one was hand made by my cousin Nicole, it’s reversible and freakishly comfortable.

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Corona Hair PSA

Corona Hair PSA – Public Service Announcement

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

Corona Hair

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

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

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Don’t do it!

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

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

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

Color It?

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

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

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

To trim or not to trim?

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

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

The new you!

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

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

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

Tough love visualization

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

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

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

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

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

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

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The look on my face is; she is going to get me for this pic!! lol. Our family are the greatest teasers! We love each other and we laugh a lot!

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

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Coronavirus – Is it OK to not be OK?

Coronavirus – Is it ok to not be ok?

I consider myself to be a pragmatic optimist; I try to see the positive in every situation, but I am also able to adjust to pretty much any situation once I’ve had a moment to digest and recalibrate.

But this isolation situation is kicking my ass!! Have you ever realized how fortunate you are and then felt a bit of guilt for throwing yourself a pity party? That’s normally where my mind goes when I start thinking, poor me. I realize that a lot of other people have harder struggles than I do; so I tell myself to buckle up buttercup. In the past this way of thinking has served me well. It’s made me power on, and I have full intentions of powering on this time too, because I know that this too shall pass.

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But is it ok to not be ok for a moment? This week I’ll find out if I get laid off or not? Last week three of my friends and 3 of my family members lost their jobs. It looks like I will celebrate my 50th birthday alone, by myself in my apartment…in Moncton; not in Palm Springs with my friends as planned!!! The one year anniversary of my dad’s passing is creeping up on me stirring up crazy flashbacks. And I feel that things are just going to get crazier before they get better; that’s a tough thing to process for an optimist. So I think I am going to need a freaking moment!!!

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I was chatting with a friend on the phone today  and at one point in the conversation I asked her if she was having an anxiety attack? She was; we talked about nothing and anything until it subsided a bit. She suggested that I write a post about feeling anxious, worried and depressed.  

My posts usually have a funny or optimistic vibe; but I think there maybe some comfort in hearing that others are also struggling? So I am diving in here; this whole thing is just plain and simply fucked up! The world has come to a complete stop! And I’m sorry, but at this very moment, I am having a hard time finding the bright side or an immediate silver lining!

Ouff! There, I said it! It’s out there and to be honest, it feels good to blurt that out and release it. And for your mental health, I think that you should give yourself permission to lose it as well; but then, please find it again.

Maybe we should schedule our losing it outbursts so we don’t all lose it at the same time? Yes, that’s a good idea; we’ll need to take turns losing our shit. Let’s try to be extra kind to ourselves in these next few months; yes, I said months.

As a rule I try, and think I do a pretty good job, to not compare myself to others; but lately, with all this free time spent on social media, I’ve caught myself being a bit envious and I think others may be as well??

So if you’re not preparing gourmet meals for yourself/mate/family every night; it’s ok. If you aren’t creating daily super adorable Tik Tok videos with your children; it’s ok! If you want to punch your significant other in the throat because you can hear them chewing or breathing; it’s ok! If you live alone and have been wearing the same yoga pants for over a week; it’s ok!! It’s all ok!!

Anything that is helping you survive in isolation, that doesn’t hurt anyone else, is ok!! Ok?

That being said, if your not ok moments lasts for more than a moment; please call your folks, FaceTime your friends or set up a patio or driveway date with someone you love. And if that doesn’t help, please call your doctor and have a chat with them. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel like you’re going to be ok.

I was on the phone with my mom today; she must have sensed that I was having an off day because she told me that I need a project. She said that I don’t do well when I have nothing to look forward to. And of course she is right! She’s always right. So in order for me to be ok, I am going to need a fun project. So watchez-vous! My creative juices will be flowing, which can get scary?? Lol. Try to find something that you can do for yourself to help you be ok.

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To recap; it’s ok to not be ok for a moment. It’s ok to lose your shit, but then, please find said shit and keep on keeping on. No one’s life is perfect so avoid comparing yourself to others. Use any and all tools that are currently helping you survive. Find something to do that is going to help make you feel ok; and finally if you’re not ok moment is lasting more than a moment, please reach out for help.

Stay safe and let me know how you’re doing.

muah!

Liette

PS – looks like we all have extra time on our hands, sign up to receive my posts sent to you via email. They’re super amusing!! 🤣

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Physical Distancing While Socially Connecting

Physically Distancing While Socially Connecting.

5 ideas to help us feel good while we do good.

My previous post; 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid While Socially Distancing, was a funny attempt to lighten the mood a bit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the heaviness of our current situation; this post isn’t as funny, but I think it will help make us feel good.

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Let’s get started! Here are my 5 ideas that will help us feel good while we do  good!!

Feed a Friend

And by friend I mean a support worker!! This is my second week of working from home; and like so many of you, I’ve been working in my pajamas and eating chocolate chip cookies for lunch.
To be honest, I’ve struggled a bit being isolated, but do you know who is struggling more? All the healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, flight attendants, pilots, ticket agents, airport security people, cleaners, corner store and gas station people, 911 operators, police, ambulance employees and so many more!!!
They are working extra long hours so that our society doesn’t completely fall apart.

Those of us who are stuck home seem to be cooking up a storm in order to stay busy; why don’t “we” make a bit extra and drop off some food to someone we know who is working their butts off for the rest of us?

Is your cousin a nurse or a Cosco cashier? Call them up and tell them that you are dropping off a lasagna or homemade soup on their front step, so that they can relax with a home cooked meal after their shift.

On Sunday, my mom and I made a bunch of pâtée chinois; which in English translates to Chinese paste??? It’s meat and potatoes, so not sure what funky French person came up with that name? Lol, it’s Sheppard’s Pie; sorry I digress.

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Single servings of Sheppard’s Pie. My mom put cheese on hers, I went without.

We made a bunch and dropped some off to my brother and his wife. He works in a manufacturing plant, they make air exchangers for hospitals and big buildings. My sister in-law works for an airline; she’s been working crazy hours helping Canadians get back home; knowing that she’s getting laid off soon. 😕

They were so happy to get our goodies; we also gave a few to my mom’s senior neighbors who are scared to leave their apartments.

It warms my heart that others are « feeding a friend » too. My bff’s family own and work at Gustos, an amazing restaurant here in Moncton. Sadly they have had to close until this craziness passes (but will be opening for limited hours daily for Skip the Dishes orders soon). They happen to make the world’s best cheesecake! What did they do with all the cheesecakes they had left after closing??

I’ll tell you what they did; they, as a family, cut up mounts of cheesecake pieces and packed them up and delivered them to hospital workers!!

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Team Judson/Malenfant, my bff with her teenagers doing good for others!

Random acts of kindness

This is probably the easiest to do, be open to being kind and helping others when the opportunities present itself. I dropped off magazines that I was done with and left them in front of my neighbors door with a note the other day; she was thrilled. My across the hall neighbor, who is in his seventies, was outside the other day cleaning off all the cars in our parking lot after a dusting of snow. Canadian Blood Services is in need of blood, book an appointment and save a life.

Is your neighbor or family member one of those still working? Offer to walk their dog? Offer to pick up groceries for them. It doesn’t have to be super complicated.

Be thankful

This one is similar to being kind, but a little different; be thankful and say thank you. I was at the grocery store the other day and I thanked the cashier for showing up for her shift. She was a bit caught off guard and smiled and thanked me for thanking her; man I love Canada! She said that she stays 2 hours after her shift everyday to help sanitize the store as they are short staffed.

I have an office job, I sit at a desk, when not travelling, if my boss told me after my 8 hours that I needed to stay an extra 2 hours to help clean the office, I don’t think I would be very happy? But she has been doing it for over a week! So thank him or her!!

When you go to your corner store, thank the clerk, the grocery store staff, the pharmacy staff…If you are somewhere getting necessities and you see someone who is working,  thank them.

Let’s all just be thankful that when push comes to shove; and when some of us are called to take one for the team, that they do so without hesitation. They show up! So thank them!

Phone a friend

Everyone is saying that we need to be Social Distancing; I heard someone online mention that this is not what we need. We need to be physically distancing from each other, but we need to find a way to socially come together so that we are not alone. I thought that was a great point.

Check in on your friends, family and coworkers. Use technology to stay connected; I have a zoom video date with 3 of my bffs later tonight. And one of my friends in Las Vegas has set up a social mixer video call for this weekend.

I have been FaceTiming with friends all week and my boss has asked that our conference calls be video calls. I can’t imagine being home alone for weeks at a time without seeing the smiling faces of loved ones.

And if you are having a really bad hair day, then skip the video chats and talk on the telephone, old school.

Be kind to yourself

My first week inside I started feeling bad because I wasn’t motivated to work out in my living room or run up and down my stairs. I was comparing myself to all those people who are posting their workouts online. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that people are doing all of that. But I was feeling bad about myself because I had zero motivation to join in. And do you know what? That is ok; we all deal with stress and anxiety differently and we need to give ourselves permission to deal with things in our own way.

Want to have cookies for lunch, go for it! Don’t feel like getting dressed on a random Wednesday? That’s fine!! Do you and do what you need to do to comfort yourself and make yourself feel safe and whole.

I do think we need to be on the lookout for signs of depression in ourselves and our loved ones. But needing to retreat for a moment to re-calibrate ourselves is fine.

For the record, today is a random Wednesday and I am dressed and I just got back from an one hour long walk in the woods! Oh wait, it’s only Tuesday…or is it Thursday?? Oh shit I don’t know what day it is?? But I have real pants on! lol

My last helpful, be kind to yourself, hint is to turn off the news for a bit! At this point, I think we are all aware of the gravity of the situation, but hearing it over and over and over again isn’t helpful; for my mental sanity anyway.

I’ve been seeking out funny and ridiculously silly videos to balance things out a bit.

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Ok the hat, the hair and the face are all the same shade…not good! lol

If you have any other suggestions on how we can do good, please share!!

And if you haven’t read my 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing, here is the link; it was super amusing, lol.

https://oui-liette.org/2020/03/22/5-bad-ideas-to-avoid-during-social-distancing/

Thank you for reading, sign up to receive my blogs via email if you haven’t subscribed yet; seriously, you’ve got lots of time on your hands!! Lol

muah! stay safe and sane!

Liette

 

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

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