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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Tulsa, the center of the universe?

Tulsa, the center of the universe?

I’ve been in Tulsa Oklahoma for the week; I figured Las Vegas in July wasn’t hot enough, I should come to Oklahoma, lol.

 

Tulsa OK

Just kidding, I am here for work; when you travel for work a lot, it’s easy to get get a bit jaded. I really try to take advantage of the opportunities given to me and I try to find something fun to do or see in each city I get to visit.

One of my coworkers mentioned that Tulsa was the center of the universe!! So how could I come to Tulsa and not make the effort to find the center of the universe landmark?? Seriously, it would be pretty dumb not to, right? BTW, I was with a few locals today and none of them had been, are they being dumb?? Frankly, yes, lol.

Now before I get comments about how the universe is infinite and how do they know that Tulsa is the center of it? Shhh!! Let’s just have a bit of fun and check it out.

It was a little hard to find; I would have thought that the center of the universe would merit some signage or a plaque? But there was nothing, just a brick circle in between West Archer St and North Boston Ave.

When we found it, we briefly thought we had been had; was this it?!

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The location was a bit anticlimactic; but the freaky thing is not what it looks like, but what happens when you are there.

This spot is the site of an acoustic anomaly; what does that mean? It means that if you stand in the middle your voice sounds amplified to you, but muted to those standing outside the circle. And I swear to god, it true, it worked!! We took turns in the center and it was pretty freaky.

This odd sound abnormally has been studied with no clear consensus of what or how it works.

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We stood in the middle and took videos to see if we could capture this freaky effect; above is my friend trying it out. In my video below, my voice does sound amplified.

 

Ok maybe you had to be there?? But it was freaky; we had a few laughs trying to figure out what the trick was, but we weren’t able to solve the mystery. And I am glad we didn’t, half the fun not knowing what the secret is?

Right beside this freak of nature is another Tulsa landmark, the Artificial Cloud, so look up.

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Ok, I may have been a little too excited by this excursion? But man, we were inside all day and will be for the next few days; it was great to get some fresh air…ok it was more hot and  humid than fresh! 😎

If anyone has anything else that we should see while here, please let me know. I am hoping to find some more free time to roam!

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muah!

Liette

Hotel Safely

Hotel Safely – Better Paranoid than Dead!

Tips to keep you safe!

I have probably slept in more hotel rooms in the past 6 months than the average person will stay in the next 6 years, ouff it’s been a lot! I am writing this post from one now; fun fact, I can’t wait to be back in my own bed in Vegas!

I am lucky that I get to stay in nice hotels in “safe” areas. But I do watch a lot of Dateline so I am naturally always on high alert when on the road, especially when I am traveling solo. My main goal in life is to not end up on an episode of Dateline; I am weird, I am aware.

On this trip I was shocked when I was told that the hotel I am currently in, which is a really nice hotel, had a horrible incident a few weeks ago. The hotel is attached to a mall and a pharmacy. Long story short, a woman was robbed and beaten to a pulp in the elevator leading to the pharmacy!! I have used that elevator on previous trips! It really isn’t a shady area. I guess it serves as a reminder that shady people can be in none shady areas.

Here are my personal safety tips that I am more than happy to share with you!!

Hotel door check 

Where you aware that people walk the halls in hotels checking doors to see if they can find one that isn’t complete shut? This has been a huge issue recently in Las Vegas.

Have you been in a newer hotel and noticed that the doors slam shut by themselves? If your door isn’t completely shut it will open if someone simply pushes on it. Some older hotels may not have this feature?

When leaving or entering my hotel room, I close the door shut myself and  then pull on the handle to make sure it’s shut. Your door needs to click so it can’t be pushed open.

Not to freak you out, but this is a thing. People have been robbed while in their rooms; while they slept! Being in your room is apparently not a deterrent, that was the shocking part to me; and in one instance, here in Vegas, a couple was robbed then killed. If it’s happened here, it can happen anywhere!

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If you see someone who seems to be loitering in the halls, call the front desk!!

Peep holes

Ok, this one may boarder on paranoia? But I am standing by it!!

I am fully aware that peep holes theoretically help keep you safe, because they let you see who is at the door without opening it. But I have always been a bit weary of them. I’ve always wondered if people would be able to peep in? Then I heard the story of a woman sports caster who was filmed while she was in her hotel room, minding her own damn business! Her peep hole was tampered with.

Now will your peep hole be tampered with? Probably not, but do I feel safer with a post it note over mine? Hell yes!

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I travel with a few office supplies in my laptop case; one day I put a post it note over my peep hole and it stuck….get it? Lol, so now that’s what I do, it makes me feel better; so crazy or not, I do it.

This picture below is my worst nightmare, hence my post it notes obsession.

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Door stop

This is my new fav safety feature. Have you ever checked into your room and notice that you’re in an adjoining room? It’s super creepy and it makes me feel unsafe that the only thing between me and a potential psycho killer is one door lock; they don’t even come with a door chain.

I have always thought that the chain and metal thingy on the inside of your hotel door would keep the bad guys out. But after doing a bit of research I have discovered that if someone really wants to get in, it’s not that difficult; these won’t keep them out.

But there is something that will help reinforce your door, all your doors, not just hotel doors. What is this magical high tech safety tool? It’s a cheap rubber door stop!! I just bought four for $9. I am adding 2 to my suitcase for when I travel and spoiler alert, I will be giving these to all my travel friends this Christmas as stocking stuffers.

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Is this overkill for US and Canadian travel? Maybe, but remember, better paranoid than dead!

Valuables in your room

The previous three tips were to keep people out of your hotel room, but what about the people who are able to get in your room?

In all of my travels, I have only had one incident where something was “removed” from my room by the hotel staff. I accidentally left lose cash in my jeans pocket and just like that, pouff, $80 was gone.

We know not to leave money or jewelry laying around, but you may be leaving something more valuable in your room unattended? What’s more valuable or just as valuable as cash? Your medication!

One of my friends recently shared that she ran out of her medication way before the end of the month. She suspects that the cleaning staff may have taken some of her medication while she was traveling? If you think about it, it’s super easy to do; who among us keeps a daily count of the number of pills left in their bottle? It would be so easy to take some, but not all, without being missed right away.

Do not disturb

I am not very worried about hotel staff being in my room, I like having my bed made for me! I do make sure anything valuable is in my purse and not left in my room.

But I do have coworkers that I travel with who, once checked in, put the do not disturb sign on their door knob and turn on the TV when they leave their rooms. Some will keep the do not disturb sign out for their entire stay. They just don’t want strangers in their room alone with their belongings and that is a perfectly valid feeling; so remember that is an option for you on your next hotel stay.

You can even call housekeeping and let them know that you won’t require your room cleaned during your stay. If you run out of clean towels, they can deliver to your room while you are there; please tip if you ask anyone to bring anything to your room, it’s only fair.

Valet park

I am a big valet park fan, is it because I am a bit of a diva? Partly, but the main reason is that I refuse to park and walk alone in a parking lot or garage in a strange city.

And if a hotel doesn’t have valet park, don’t be shy to ask hotel security to walk you to and from your car. This winter I was in Moncton, at downtown hotel, that didn’t have valet parking. Their main lot is well lit and close to the main hotel door, but their overflow parking is a building away; it was dark and shady. I actually drove back to the front desk, from the overflow lot, and asked if someone could walk out to meet me; they were more than happy to oblige. Please know that this is an option, hotels want you to have a great experience on their property, they will assist if asked.

When I was younger and a bit more timid, I would put myself in situations that didn’t always feel safe, but with age comes a “fuck that shit” attitude!! If it feels iffy, don’t do it!

Be friendly

My final hint is to befriend the hotel staff. I make friends with the concierge, in addition to getting great recommendations on where to eat and where to go, they can also keep tabs on you. They are usually stationed by the front entrance of the hotel, say hi to them as you come and go and remember their name.

On my last trip to New Orleans we made friends with our concierge, every evening he knew where we were planning on going.

I also always ask the front desk staff if it’s safe to walk around the hotel at night? A few times, they have flat out told me that it wasn’t safe. I once asked for directions to an outlet mall via the train; the front desk staff told me in no uncertain terms, that I was not to take the train alone! If someone tells you that, listen, they know their city better than you do.

If you are afraid or nervous about anything, talk to the front desk staff; learn their names, tell them, hey I am alone, can you have someone walk me to my car? Tell them where you are going and when you expect to be back. A side effect of being friendly is they will remember you on your next visit and may even upgrade you! Friendliness is always in fashion.  If finally again, you see something that makes you feel uneasy, tell someone, because it’s better to be paranoid than dead!

Those are my safety tips, do you have any to share that I haven’t listed?

Travel safe!

muah!

Liette

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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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I do!

I do!

5 Steps to planning the perfect wedding.

So technically, I didn’t, I don’t…I mean I haven’t ever said I do; but what’s that expression? Those who can’t do teach?

Here’s why I am qualified to give wedding planning advice:

I’ve been a real live party/events planner for the past 15 years; and a wedding is basically a big event.

Before that, I was a hotel convention sales manager and dealt with many brides; but the job that most qualifies me to give wedding advice was my four year stint as a banquet waitress, while in University.

I seriously must have I worked hundreds and hundreds of weddings! And if I hear the song, “I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, one more time, I am going to lose my freaking mind!…oh and I was a bridesmaid twice; both friends are no longer married, but I hardly think I can be blamed for that?? (and they did result is some pretty amazing children!)

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Photo by CJ Hovey

Here are my top 5 expert tips

What’s your vibe?

You need to decide what vibe you’re going for? Here’s a hint, if your DJ plays, “ I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, you have failed in creating a cool vibe, lol.

But seriously, before you start planning you need to do a bit of soul searching on what you and your mate want your wedding to be?

You’ll be surprised by how many decisions you’ll need to make and you’ll be shocked at how quickly things can snowball out of control, so you need a plan.

In order to help you figure out what’s your vibe, you need to decide what kind of bride you want to be? Are you a Princess Bride, a Hippie Bride, a Shy Bride or a Party Bride? Ok, I just made those up, but they are brilliant!

The Princess Bride wants to be…well a princess, obviously. She wants a full ballgown with 8 to 10 bridesmaids. If you want a Princess wedding, then don’t look at beachfront locations.  Ballgowns and beach balls don’t mix.

Now if you’re a Hippie Bride a beach wedding with a flowy dress and flip flops are a perfect fit!

The photos below are of a Princess Bride in all her glory! The horse drawn carriage, the adorable flower girl and the castle.

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Photos taken by me in Jackson Square in New Orleans.

 

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Photo by me! Taken in New Orleans.

The bride in the picture above is definitely a Party Bride. The most important thing to a her is to have fun. Her dress is fun, her shoes are fun; she’s literally dancing in the streets.

One of my cousins is a Shy Bride, she knows her vibe and is owning it. She doesn’t want to be on display or be gawked at, which is the princess bride’s dream.

Knowing this she has planned a super small fall wedding in a rustic cabin. No head table and no fussiness, oh and she is bringing her dog and I am pretty sure she and her dog will have a matching dresses, lol.

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Elsa ready for her walk down the aisle!

Adding your own quirkiness to your big day is endearing. The trick is to know your vibe and keep it consistent.

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Photography by Daniel St-Louis, in Moncton.

I absolutely love this picture above of my friend Stacey on her wedding day getting her glam on. I love it because, this is Stacey’s vibe. She’s always calm cool and collected. There’s no need for a big entourage and no drama. FYI, she is still happily married; I wasn’t a bridesmaid.

Show me the money honey!

Weddings are expensive!! So before you start making plans and spending money, you need a plan. You need to list out what’s important to you and what’s not.

Here’s an idea, right off the bat. What if you could take an extra few thousand dollars from your wedding and spend it on your engagement ring?  Since it’s something that you will wear everyday and have forever; as opposed to something that will be over in a day?? Just a thought.

Now if you’re a Princess Bride, there is nothing I can say to you that will sway you away from all the bells and whistles; and if  that’s what you want, then go for it!

For those who are more budget conscious, you need to list out your priorities. If I was planning my own wedding, I would spend money on my dress and the photographer. I would skimp on other things in order to stay within my budget.

There are things that I would skip altogether, like wedding favors and the grooms cake; and here’s why. Now, full disclosure, when I throw parties, I always have a party favor, but, and this is a big but, I host small gathering so I buy nice favors. If yo can’t afford a nice favor, maybe just skip it? Also a lot of wedding parties make their own favors, which is very sweet, but depending on what it is, you may want to focus your energy on other things?

While working as a banquet waitress, I will tell you that more than 50% of your party favors end up being left behind and thrown out; same thing with the grooms cake?

Let’s just say that a grooms cake is out of fashion anyway and move on. If you have your heart set on having a wedding favor, go with a bottles of wine or home made jams or something like that. I am going to be harsh here, but the only people who want something with your face or your initials on it is your mother and your crazy aunt Carol.

You may also want to revisit your wedding cake. I would get an amazing looking cake, but it would be a small cake for you to cut in the photos and take home with you. If you are doing a full meal, your guests are going to be too full for cake by the time it’s served.

Or do cupcakes or donuts, something a bit different that people will remember. If you do want to serve cake, get a big slab and have the venue serve your guests.

Fun fact; did you know that some wedding cakes are fake?? Those big fancy cakes that you see couples cutting, some are just one layer of real cake and the others are foam covered with icing. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a fake cake?

Another great way to save money is to select an amazing looking venue so that you don’t have to spend lots of money on decorations. And here’s a question to ask yourself when deciding if you should spend the money or skip it? Will your aunt Carol remember it in a year?

If budget wasn’t a concern you could have huge overflowing flowery centerpieces on each table a la Kardashian. But just modest flowers on every table in a large wedding is going to cost you thousands of dollars without making a huge impact. Now let’s ask the question; will aunt Carol be able to remember what type of flowers were at her table in a year? The answer is no! So why not boost up and spend a bit more money on your bouquet and skip the table flowers? Candles are less expensive and create a cozy mood.

It’s also worth exploring a different kind of wedding. A former coworker of mine has opened an amazingly brilliant business. They do pop up weddings, elopements and engagements and they are spectacular!! You need to check out their website: https://www.thehytch.com/  and follow them on Facebook, (The Hytch) and Insta, (thehytch).

The locations are breathtaking, the pictures are soooooo pretty! They currently offer pop up weddings, renewals and engagements in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Denver.

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The beautiful Yeliz Berg from The Hytch. Photo by @journeeclarkphot

Be prepared to be blown away by crazy beautiful wedding photos, all provided by The Hytch. These are real couples and real weddings. I feel like I need to add that because they are so Instagrammable, they look staged.

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photo by @imashleymarie
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photo by @imashleighmarie
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Photo by @theboundys

 

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Photo by @sirberry

I am going to show the picture above to my cousin Brigitte, she is going to love this idea.

This is definitely the kind of wedding I would want. I would want a winter wedding…maybe I should book it for 2020? Yeah, that should give me enough time to find the perfect man right??!!

I think it’s possible to have an amazing chic wedding on a limited budget, you made need to think outside of the box? And maybe as you get older your priorities change? But a small intimate wedding seems like are a better choice then spending a down payment on a house on a wedding; but that’s just me, you do you!

Know your limitations

Do you get stressed out hosting a dinner party for 8? If so, you might not have what it takes to execute the perfect wedding by yourself? And that’s ok; know your strengths and be real about your limitations.

Get a wedding planner or recruit your friends and family. If you are asking friends and family members to help you, give them specific tasks and don’t overload one person, spread it out! If you aren’t paying them, you need to be nice and thankful!!

You can also lean on your venue manager to help with centerpieces and a few other tasks…within reason.

One thing you should never do is be setting up your own reception in your wedding dress! If you can’t get in your venue the day before, delegate, delegate, delegate! I have seen brides blowing up balloons for an arch while all made up and in their dresses. Don’t do it!!!

Show Up!

By show up, I mean, be present. It’s a big day with lots going on. You will be running on excitement, nerves and adrenaline. You have been working on this day for months and have spent a lot of money; you need to make a conscious effort to stop and enjoy your day.

You also need to eat and stay hydrated, plan ahead and have healthy snacks, or chocolate…either or, on hand when getting ready.

And when at the reception, pace yourself with the champagne, a puky bride is never cute!!

Let It Go!

So it’s your big day and you are present; now let it go!

I have witnessed so many bridezillas, in the early nineties, before that was a thing, we just called them crazy brides.

Here is the best advice that anyone will ever give you on your wedding day; let things go!! I have witnessed so many crazy brides sabotage their own wedding receptions, it was hard to pick just one crazy bride story.

But here’s a good one; this one bride poked her head into the ballroom before we opened the doors to see how the room looked. It looked beautiful, btw, but she proceeded to freak out because the salmon colored napkins, looked more peach than salmon. Freaked out may be an understatement, because she had a full blown, stage 5 meltdown over salmon napkins, minutes before her guests arrived. May I add that the lights were dimmed and candles lit, the napkins were perfectly salmony.

To make my point, I googled the color salmon and the color peach, can you tell which is which??? No, no you can’t, because there isn’t a difference. Lol

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Needless to say, she never really recovered and looked pissy all night. I have seen so many brides look absolutely miserable during their wedding receptions; don’t be that bride!

The only way to enjoy yourself the day of your wedding is to roll with the punches and go with whatever happens. If anything goes wrong on the day of, and something will, let it go! First of all, chances are you will be the only one who notices that something is off; so don’t point it out or make a big deal, just let it go!

I have one great example of a bride who rolled with it. The MC was speaking and said that he had a game that would determine who wore the pants in the family. He explained that the bride had to hug each male at the reception and the groom each female and that whoever did so and got back to their seat first would be the one who wore the pants in the marriage.

The groom looked horrified and after an awkward moment of silence, you could tell this was not planned; the bride stood up, hiked up her dress and stared running to the first table to start the hug fest. The groom quickly followed and the crowd went wild!

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At the time I posted this my mom was out playing cards so I couldn’t ask her the name of the photographer, lol.

I love, love, love this picture of my parents. Tell me they are not adorable!! My dad looks like a movie star. There is something really glamorous about old wedding pictures. Their 53rd wedding anniversary was this past May.

At the end of the day, your wedding is one day in hopefully many, many days together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding that you lose perspective and focus more on the wedding than the marriage…said the single girl. But think about it, you know I am right.

I am pretty sure I will be a fun bride…just saying, lol.

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Showing off my something blue, a vintage dinner ring that was my moms. Apparently dinner rings were a thing in the seventies.

My dad recently passed away, a few weeks before his death, one of my cousins asked him for relationship advice. He told her to be herself and that she needs to find someone who makes her happy, if he doesn’t make you happy, don’t marry him. Treat him like you would want to be treated and you will be ok, because you are a good person. It seemed like simple advice, but if you stop and think about it, it really is that simple!

I hope you enjoyed this post even if you aren’t planning a wedding at this very moment or are already married. If you are happily married and want to share your words of wisdom, please do!!

And if you are happily divorced, you probably have words of wisdom too! Sharing is caring, lol.

muah!!

Liette

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Downtown Vegas, I had to stop and snap a quick pic.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

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

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

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

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See, I am not making this shit up!

History Alert

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

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

The Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tasty Tequilas!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Decor

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

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

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The table setting is from Fashionable Hostess.

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

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This centerpiece is from Wedding Chicks, sooo pretty.

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

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

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

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

muah! Adios!

Liette

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

 

 

Taste of the South

Taste of the South

One of my favorite things to do when I am in the south is eat! The food is so amazing, that you almost need a plan or a checklist, lol. Here are a few southern staples that you need to try; and a few helpful hints to help you find the best places to eat.

Crawfish

We we’re lucky enough to be in Mississippi during crawfish season, which is in the spring. Although I have been traveling to Biloxi for many years, I had never tried crawfish…till now!

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How pretty are these little suckers??!!

First of all, let me say that they look exactly like tiny lobsters…exactly! They kind of have a bit of a lobstery ish taste too.

There is a trick to eating them that I picked up right away; my land locked friend from Arizona, wasn’t such a quick learner, Staci, I am talking to you!

You twist the tail from the body and you pinch and suck the tail in your mouth. The local guys we were with sucked on the heads too, but I kept my focus on the tails…mmm ok, that may have taken an unintentional inappropriate turn, but let’s stay focused here, lol.

They are cooked in spices with potatoes and corn. These weren’t too spicy, I thought they had a bit of a kick to them, but keep in mind that I am Acadian, so the spiciest spice growing up was pepper, lol. The Cajuns didn’t get their love of spices from their Northern cousins.

Bread Pudding

We finished off our crawfish lunch with some bread pudding. To be honest I’ve never been interested in bread pudding, because it doesn’t contain chocolate, lol, but the locals we were with insisted we have some. And I have to report that it was one the most delicious things I have ever tasted! And it turns out, as per my mom, that bread pudding is an Acadian thing, so that may be something the Cajuns brought with them when they migrated south?

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It was served warm with ooey gooey sugar, yum!

Helful Tip

One of my best travel trips for finding great places to eat is to ask the locals. On this trip our service techs invited us to lunch, as we walked out, the receptionist whispered, it’s a dive, but they have good food. I love dives, so off we went! And now I can check off crawfish and bread pudding off my list.

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This place wasn’t fancy, but it was full, which is always a great sign. I can say it’s my favorite crawfish place!!! (and my first and only, lol)

BBQ

No one does BBQ like the south, obvs. We’ve been going to this next place for years. It’s called The Shed and it is literally a series of sheds.

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Staci and our local host Kevin.

This is another, not fancy place; but it has become one of our favorite places to go.

If you ever find yourself in the south, ask a local where their favorite bbq place is, they will most likely tell you they make the best and they are probably not lying, but they will point you in the right direction. Southerners are a lot like Maritimers, they are super friendly and hospitable.

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This trip I had the ribs, make sure you pick their potato salad as one of your sides.
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You eat at picnic tables. The Shed is off the highway, not sure if it’s in Biloxi or Gulfport, google it if in this next of the woods.
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They sell BBQ sauce and marinades, they have smokers outside where they smoke their meats.

Grits

In New Orleans we asked the concierge at our hotel for “a good” breakfast place; he said, I know a good place, but it isn’t fancy. It sounded like we were in for another dive. Another helpful travel tip, is be best buddies with your hotel’s concierge and don’t forget to give him a tip!! No one likes a cheapskates lol.

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This place was called Hobnobbers; you have to walk through a grungy bar to get to it. The only people there when we arrived were, a lady of the evening and what looked like her John, see the man above and the lady in white fishnets, you can see her legs.

As soon as we sat down, the place quickly filled up. Staci ordered some grits, so we could check them off our list. I have tasted them before and I am not a super fan. They look like mashed potatoes, these were served with butter. If you haven’t tried them, you need to because it’s such a southern staple. Side note, our breakfast was really good and cheap!

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Crab, Shrimp and Oysters

Another way that the Canadian Maritimers  are similar to the Southerners is their love and abundance of fresh seafood!

On this trip, we literally had crab cakes every night. We were on the hunt for the best ones, it seemed like a fun and tasty challenge!

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Ah…so many crab cakes, so little time. You can even have crab cakes, topped with crab! You can actually get anything topped with crab; if given the option, go for it!! Most are served with a remoulade sauce, which is mayonnaise based.

The French Quarter has so many amazing restaurants, I always try to go to Bourbon House on Bourbon St when I am in New Orleans. Get the crab cakes! Lol  and save room for desert; get the pecan chocolate crunch, it’s to die for!

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There is always something going on, this time it was an impromptu concert.

One of the fun things about the French Quarter is happening upon amazing restaurants. Before we left New Orleans we realized we hadn’t had any oysters yet; we looked up and saw the sign for Royal House Oyster Bar; it seemed like destiny, lol, so we went in.

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Another cool thing about restaurants in New Orleans is that they can look small from the street, but then open up to a large outdoor courtyard. This places looked ordinary, until we were seated on the second level.

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Our table overlooked Royal St, even though you are close to Bourbon St, the vibe here was super chill and quaint. We even saw another wedding procession, which is a parade, while we were there; there is always something interesting to see!

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I don’t love raw oysters, but I do love charbroiled oysters! These were amazing!! Garlic, butter, breadcrumbs and a bit of cheese, what’s not to love? Even if you don’t think you like oysters, you need to try these. Most restaurants serve them, try them!!

Beignets

Beignets are basically donut dough drenched with icing sugar and they are sinfully delish!!! Note to self, don’t wear black, you will get icing sugar all over yourself.

The most famous place to eat beignets in New Orleans is Cafe du Monde. You order then try to find a table; actually, you wait in line, then order and then try to find a table.

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We didn’t get any on this trip because the lines were insane; we walked by a few times and each time the line was longer than the previous. Although Cafe du Monde makes amazing beignets, I know that they are not the only beignets in town; on my next visit, I am going to find a new spot and give them a try.

If you have the patience, or if you are up early, go to Cafe Du Monde, they will melt in your mouth. I will let you know if I discover a place just as good, with less people.

I don’t know about you, but this post has made me hungry!! Lol. I should probably have mentioned a bit of history, in case you aren’t aware. Cajuns that our found in Louisiana and Mississippi originate from Acadians from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada.

I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading all the way to the end! My next post maybe about bunnies?? Stay tuned!

Muah!

Liette