Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beach-y Waves Tutorial

OK, so it's not Friday.. but every day should be beautiful!

I've been growing my hair out for quite some time and it's FINALLY past that super-annoying, in-between stage of being mid-length and long. A few months ago, I stopped cutting my layers and bangs so that my hair is now, according to several of my colleagues and pals, the quintessential summer hair. It's also glaringly blonde.

In spite of having a boatload of blonde highlights put in my hair, my hair has stayed pretty soft and healthy. My not-so-secret weapon for maintaining healthy hair: coconut oil and a shampooing schedule.

Yes, you read that correctly. Shampooing schedule. But that's a post for another day.

When I had "day three" hair on Monday, I needed to do something about it. So I did this:

After getting a ton of compliments on it, I was feeling pretty pleased with my dirty, beach-y hair. So I'm sharing the how-to with you all, my lovely peeps!

You need slept-on hair (second day is best - natural grit is best) with a little bit of texture, a trusty hairspray like L'Oreal Elnett, a comb, a flat iron or hair dryer, and about five minutes.

I like this method because you can modify it for great volume or more wave depending on your mood! Share your photos with me on my Facebook Page!


And be sleepy.


1. Start with tangle-free hair. This is usually the most time-consuming thing for me, personally. Once your hair is brushed through, it's time to separate it.


 You can see here that my hair has some natural wave. I washed it before bed and blow-dried on medium heat about 3/4 of the way to dry. There's no product in there! (Don't mind the leftover mascara under my eyes!)


Depending on the length, thickness and desired curl you're looking for, you may want to make more or fewer twists. I usually separate my hair into 4 or 6 pieces and twist away from my face.

Today, I made 4 twists - two on each side. I left my hair totally dry, and twisted the hair for the full length semi tightly. Secure with an elastic while you're doing the other side.

Yay, mornings!

 Once your hair is twisted, you have two choices: Blast it with the hair dryer on high heat, or run your flat iron down the length of the twist a few times. Sometimes, I dampen my hair a bit and use the hair dryer. Do this with EVERY TWIST.

The beautiful buns
Roll your twists together while the hair is still warm into two-four buns and secure with an elastic. Let cool - this is SO important.

 If you don't let your hair cool before unraveling the twists, you've totally shot yourself in the foot. Heat-styling works because your hair is more pliable when subject to the high temperatures. By allowing your hair to cool completely, you set your style whether it be straight or curly. You can also blast with cool air from your hair dryer, but I like waiting it out a few minutes!

It really is GOLDEN.
Remove elastic and spray twists with hairspray, then go about your routine and let the twists undo themselves - or, if you're in a hurry, flip your head upside down and shake it out.

I like Elnett because it brushes out, giving you fantastic hold with a natural look. The smell reminds me of my Nanny's hairspray - it doesn't have a fruity or sweet smell like some of the trendy new sprays - but I love it all the same. Go easy on it though - you want natural looking waves and great volume, not spikes.

Today, I wanted my hair to be just a *little* less curly, so I didn't twist tightly and only ran the flat iron down twice per twist.

The end result - beachy!

If you want to skip the heat altogether and start with waves post-shower, simply work some texturizing cream (I love Bumble & Bumble (un)dressing creme) through towel-dried hair and let air dry about half way. Separate hair into desired number of sections and twist. Let your hair continue to dry.

Easy peasy!

--- Necklace, Le Chateau
--- Blouse, Old Navy

Friday, 26 July 2013

Lippier than Usual - Clinique Chubby Stick Review

First of all, I want to high-five Clinique for putting "chubby" and "beauty" in the same sentence. Thanks for that. 


It's Friday (yay!) and it's also the day Red comes home after 26 days of being all heroic and sexy in his military uniform (double yay!). I've pretty much been planning my outfit for when I go to pick him up all week, right down to the nail polish on my toes, which brought me to a critical crossroads: lip colour. 
The Chubby stick.

Being all make-up obsessed and vain - and because I'm beginning to bore of light pink or nude lips all the time - I decided that this week would be lipstick shopping week. I also had to wait 40 minutes at the pharmacy which just so happens to have a cosmetics boutique and I was tired and it was so pretty that I kind of couldn't help myself. And that, my friends, is how I came to be the proud owner of my secondClinique Chubby Stick  Intense moisturizing lip colour balm

Even it's name is lippy (and you may find you need to stop for a break part way through!).

I've been using my original Clinique chubby stick in curviest caramel for about six months, and it's barely even worn down. It's a great nude because it's not too nude, and it's dark enough that I can wear it when I'm tanned while being light enough to wear it in all my pasty glory. I chose the shade because I like to wear lipstick daily, and I went with the Chubby Stick because it moisturizes the hell out of your lips and it's also massive. It's practically impossible for me to lose it (though I may have forgotten where I put it a few times).

My new Chubby Stick caught my eye the exact friggin' second I glanced at the Clinique wall, after staring at other brands such as Smashbox and Benefit (my faves! ye gods!) for about 15 minutes. My first thought? It's a punchy colour - bright pink, almost raspberry but a little bit watermelon-y. I wasn't surprised to see that it was called plushest punch and I decided it was love at first sight. So, I carried it around for another 10 or 15 minutes before sauntering over to the counter with another product I don't need and joyfully used my Shoppers Optimum points to cover the full cost of it all! Yay, free stuff!!!!
My two fave lip products - look how big the chubby stick is!

I've been rocking the fun, gorgeous colour all week and I love it as much as I loved my previous Chubby Stick. I even wore it leaving the hospital yesterday - colour that bright makes anyone look more alive! The colour is not too opaque, but opaque enough that it gives the look of rich colour, and its shine factor is fantastic - I hate glosses. One of my biggest woes (as if it could really be a woe...) is that lipstick always dries out my lips, but since Clinique's Chubby Stick is loaded with mango and shea butters, it hydrates my lips while giving them a pop of colour. Who doesn't love that?

While the price tag might make you cringe a little ($19 a pop), keep in mind that it's a lot of colour. My last one is still going strong, after six months of almost everyday use. Plus, it's scent-free and allergy tested. 

I'm not a regular Clinique shopper, but my new love for the Chubby Sticks may sway me otherwise...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Thumbs Up for Thursdays (July 25)

Today was a long day.

Like, a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong day. In fact, I've only slept about 4 hours since  I got up for work at 5 am on Wednesday morning. Why? you ask? Well, being the medical anomaly that I am, I landed myself in the hospital just before midnight and stayed in the ER until after 8 am.

In spite of feeling awful, I decided to recap all of the things that deserve a thumbs up again this week. Being cranky certainly won't make me feel any better, so I figure it's high time I break out the positivity again.

So, without further ado, here are the things that deserve a Thumbs-Up this week!

1. I finally got the mailbox at my apartment fixed! As lovely as it is to pretend that I don't have bills, the reality is that I do and now that I can actually physically hold them, I feel a lot better about paying them. Extra bonus: I had a credit balance on one of them! Woohoo!

2. I had the opportunity to paint my nails in peace and quiet this week. Any Mom will tell you how hard it is to do that with a kid around. My kidcation hasn't been the glamorous, R&R adventure I was anticipating but I can totally get behind pretty nails!

3. I got a free lipstick at Sephora (as part of a reward for being a loyal customer). I was also the second customer in Atlantic Canada to receive the VIB Rouge status with Sephora. It's both exciting and embarrassing. Don't ask how much I spent to get to that in the last year.

4. Even though I spent more than eight hours in pain, sitting under a thin blanket in the emergency room, the ER staff deserve a real thumbs-up for how hard working they were. Plus, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to go and spend eight hours in the Emergency Department of the hospital and receive treatment - even if I unfortunately left with more questions than answers and a head full of worry.

5. OK, I know this hasn't happened yet BUT... RED COMES HOME TOMORROW! And if that's not reason to celebrate, nothing is!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


If you've ever been a Mom, you've experienced that incomprehensible combination of joy and absolute terror as the fact that someone is now completely dependent on you sinks in. There's really no greater honour than becoming a parent - whether through birth or adoption. It's a wonderful journey filled with love, bumps in the road and lessons to be learned. 

I was disgusted last night to stumble across tweets, blog posts and articles pointing out things like Kate Middleton's figure post baby (heaven forbid she have a bump LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER HAVING A BABY), and attacks on the new family for not securing the baby into the car seat properly.

Really, you guys? You other moms knew how to do everything perfectly? You all left the hospital with flat stomachs, looking better than the Duchess? Gimmeabreak. But this isn't about Kate Middleton. It's about a world-wide community of mothers who fail eachother and themselves. It makes me sad that as a community of moms we're not being that: a community. We're leaving one another to drown, throwing eachother to the wolves.

Where's the support, gals? I'd wager there's not a single mama reading this post right now who hasn't been made to feel inadequate as a parent at one time or another. And if you haven't, maybe it's a sign that you are the problem

I'd like to meet the mother who, on her first try, managed to do everything perfect 24 hours after giving birth. And then, after shaking her hand, I'd like to punch her in the throat and call her a liar. Because nobody is perfect. Nobody.

I've been called a bad mom, and I've called myself a bad mom. I'm not. I'm normal. I make mistakes, lose my temper, forget my manners and let F have popsicles for breakfast sometimes. SUE ME. When he was a few months old, I turned my back for a split-second and he fell off the bed. I felt terrible, but guess what? It never happened again. I learned that lesson.

And do you know what? I've done it. I've judged another Mom, as she lost her temper with her kid in the grocery store aisle. When I was pregnant, I swore I'd never do some of the things I saw other parents do. I did. We all did. But after being on the receiving end of it, I'm a little more forgiving and a lot more understanding. 

I understand that all the seasoned parents of the world feel that the Duke and Duchess could stand to learn a thing or two from their awesomeness, but how about getting down off your high horse and trying this whacky new concept: just be happy for them.

I could write about Mom-on-Mom shaming until I'm blue in the face, but I'll leave you with this:

Don't judge that mom. You have no idea what's going on in her day. Instead of judging her for looking tired and thrown together and maybe completely out of her mind a little bit stressed, congratulate her on her beautiful kid(s). Tell her how cute they are. Point out how well mannered or smart and articulate they are. She's doing her best, just as you are. We all have things to learn, mistakes we need to make and obstacles to face. It's a hell of a lot easier when we have a community of supportive people behind us. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Spitting Images

"He looks just like his father," the man said, smiling at F.

I guess it's a part of our vanity as parents that we long to hear how much our child looks like us, and depending on who you ask, F either looks just like me or just like the sperm donor (which, for the record, is what I choose to call my ex since he doesn't deserve the D or the F word, unless the  D word is douchebag or deadbeat and the F word we're talking about is fucktard - but I digress). I always flutter a bit of pride and happiness when I hear how much he looks like me - lucky kid, right? - but for once I didn't feel a pang of anger when this strange, kind man exclaimed how much F looks like his Dad.

Because this man thought Red was F's Dad. I don't think you could have smacked the smile off of Red's face.

It's funny how people see similarities in the appearances of others. I'm told all the time how much I look like the Carmichaels, and my brother is "the spitting image of his grandfather, Allister" but the truth is that I'm no more related to the Royal Baby than I am to the Carmichaels or the MacInnis clan. Which brings me to thinking, how lucky would the Royal Baby be to look like me? I'm kidding, you guys.

Kind of.

But, I can see how people would say I look like my Mom (the Petersons), or my Carmichael cousins and I can even see how one might liken my brother's thin frame and small face to my late-Papa. I can also see how it might lie in our mannerisms, the way we laugh, the way I tell stories the exact same way every other MacInnis does... with a lot of wind and hopefully a beer or two.

I spent a lot of time believing that family meant something very different than what it does - a surprising thing, given my own family. I believed firmly that F needed his biological dad. Maybe because I didn't have mine. Maybe not. What I've learned is that family is what you make of it. Pets become your children and friends become your sisters and brothers. You love people, and that is what family is.


I am kid-free for two weeks.

There is a bittersweetness about my apartment without F. On the one hand, it is so nice to come home and turn on a grown-up movie and lay on the couch filling out job applications and writing in peace and quiet. I'm tired. In the morning, there is just me. At bedtime, there is just me. It's so easy. There are no toys to pick up, no crumbs scattered across the floor, and I haven't tripped over a rogue shoe yet. But, in the silence and cleanliness of my apartment there is such an absence that it feels unnatural. It's a flashback to when F and I were apart over the winter.

Last night, I left work tired. I'd had a monumental wake up, and I was looking forward to getting home and making a light dinner. Maybe a cup of tea. I sat in my car and turned on the radio. I turned onto the street, and made my way for about 3 minutes before it dawned on me.

I was on my way to F's daycare.

I did a U-turn on the quiet, residential street and pulled over. I could blame it on tiredness, or I can blame it on the way the sun was hitting my eyes but they filled with tears. I miss him... and that's a blessing. I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to miss him. I'm lucky to have parents who are so happy to hang out with their grandchild that they've given me two weeks to be a "free" agent.

And as much as I miss him, I know I'm going to enjoy a quiet week.

Unless of course the cat wakes me up at 5:05 am with a monumental crash again. #notokay

Monday, 22 July 2013

I Blog at OMC!

It hasn't been a year since I first sat before my keyboard and let it all out

It's been quite a journey. I've found myself - but more than that, I've created a new me. It's been a reinvention. I'm a better person. I'm happier. Stronger. More, well, me.

I had a shocking revelation a couple of months ago when I realized that I've never felt more at home in my own skin. If you've ever felt like you didn't belong in your own body, you know as well as I that it's a terrible feeling. Writing used to be something I sometimes did. Now it's who I am. The past 10 months have been a pursuit of passion, a search for happiness and I wouldn't change a minute of it.

I'm excited to share my newest adventure with you as I've just logged into my new blog position with Ottawa Mommy Club

You'll soon be able to follow my blog at OMC (I haven't posted anything just yet), and you can expect 2-6 posts a month on everything from recipes to reviews, tips on writing, a couple of work outs and a pile of momisms. 

Stay tuned for a link to my new blog, Li'l Ms. Write! 

A Classic Monday

The sound of a glass shattering is a highly-effective alarm. 

If you don't believe me, I'll lend you my devilish playful kitten for a night and you can perch a glass of water on your nightstand. Just be aware that you might not be able to set your wake-up for a specific time, but I am considering recording the sound and selling it on iTunes. THAT is how I'll make my millions.

The last 24 hours were pretty typical of the end of weekend/beginning of work week turnaround. As I was preparing to go to bed, I felt the telltale tingle of a cold sore brewing on my lip and rushed to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription to nip it in the bud. It meant sitting in their waiting room for 40 minutes. Then I laid in bed, contemplating my exciting news (an update is coming, I promise) and worrying about not falling asleep, and being tired this morning.

For the record, I am fucking exhausted this morning. 

So far, my two week kidcation is not off to a good start, but I'm optimistic that it can only go up from here. 

If not, I might just stay in bed for the next two weeks.

But, right now, it remains to be a classic I don't want to wake-up kind of Monday, and in spite of my best efforts, two coffee and a fantastic breakfast, I'm still struggling with a major case of the dreaded Mondays.
How I feel, and kind of look. Our glasses match.

Friday, 19 July 2013

First Giveaway

Since starting my Facebook page two weeks ago, I've racked up 100 likes!

To celebrate this feat, I'm holding the first of what I hope to be many giveaways. To get in on the action, be sure to check out my Facebook Page and hit the Like button!

This first giveaway will be a pair of handmade earrings, with the photo to follow as soon as I get home to choose a pair! Thanks to all who've supported me on my journey! See you soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be Envious: OPI Nail Envy Review

Hello, my name is Ashley and I am addicted to nail polish.

Yes, it's a thing. I can't pinpoint when my addiction to having colourful nails first began, probably when I was in my first year of university. Today, my nail polish collection is actually pretty impressive. I have a shoe box filled - actually, it's overflowing - with a variety of colours, as well as a handful (read: 5-10) thrown into the bedside table in my room. There are times when walking from bed to the bathroom to get a nail polish colour is too much work.

My pretty nails obsession has taken a real toll on the state of my natural nails. Last summer, I went on a "UV Gel Nail" bender, having three sets put on over the course of 4 months. My nails grow so fast, they were grown out to the point that they didn't look good by the third week. When there wasn't French tips on, I got Shellac manicures. The end result: thin, peel-y nails that wouldn't grow.

After a few months of keeping them super short and brightly coloured, they began to slowly come back to life. There's probably only been about 8 weeks since this time last year that my nails have not been covered in one form of pretty or another. In January I bought the OPI Gelshine Kit (a review on this is coming!), but in June I made the fatal mistake to have another set of UV gels on. Then, after peeling those suckers off and damaging my nails, I decided to put a professional Shellac mani on my digits. My nails are once again thin, peel-y and breaking when I breathe on them. Not cute, you guys.

So, after hearing rave reviews on the product, I caved and bought myself a bottle of Nail Envy by OPI. I got it on sale at Chatters Hair Salon in Bayers Lake, Halifax - in a package with an OPI quick-drying top coat. I've been using Nail Envy for about a month, and I LOVE IT. I followed the instructions to a T the first couple of times I used it. Now I follow my own set, either using it alone (it stays nice and shiny, like a top coat) or as a base coat for colour.

First, let me just say this stuff dries crazy fast. Your first hand is dry by the time that you finish painting your second hand, which is especially handy if you're doing a second coat or covering it with a coloured polish. Ain't nobody got time for slow-drying polishes, you guys. NOBODY.

Second, you can see a difference in the state of your nails almost immediately. They're less bendy, and you can see their strength as they get a nice curve to them instead of the flatness you see in a thin nail. 

Finally, as already mentioned, I love that Nail Envy keeps a shiny finish without putting a top coat on. It's great for a week or two of natural nails, and if you're diligent about using Nail Envy you will see a monumental difference within a week or two, depending on the state of your nails.

I haven't experienced a change in the speed of nail growth, but that's a good thing for me. My nails grow stupidly fast, but they are chipping and peeling significantly less. Since I put my hands through absolute Hell from day-to-day (cleaning, typing, baths, washing dishes), I can honestly say that this nail fortifier is the one you want if you're hard on your nails.

How to Use Nail Envy:

File nails to desired shape, buffing to remove any ridges. Wash hands and dry thoroughly. Apply two coats of Nail Envy to clean, dry nails. 

Every other day, apply a single coat of Nail Envy to nails for a week. At the end of the week, remove all lacquer and start the process over. 

If you'd prefer to use Nail Envy as a base coat, apply one coat before painting on your desired polish.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Thumbs Up for Thursdays (July 18)

In an effort to be just a leeeeetle more appreciative and positive, I've decided to pay more attention to the great things in my life each week and let the not-so-great things roll off my back.

It's no secret that everyone loves a Friday, leaving Thursday to be little more than the day that stands between us and the beginning of our weekend. Thursday is often the busiest day in my week, as it's my day to try to wrap up loose ends at work, laundry day and if I'm heading home to visit my folks, it's also the day I do my packing and clean the apartment from floor to ceiling. Yikes. As I'm sweating profusely and cursing the dog's fur all over my floor, it's much too easy to let the stress of my busy life get to me. 

But, nobody wins that way. It doesn't make my day any better, and it sure as Hell doesn't get the floors cleaned so pumping out a little positivity is especially important. No one likes a Debbie Downer!

So, without further ado, here are the things that deserve a Thumbs-Up this week!

1.  Red, F and I had a great, super low-key weekend. OK, so technically this was partially last week, but we really did have a great time. I feel especially blessed to welcome Red into our little family, and to have him in my life as a friend and partner. 

2.   Accident-free days with F! Potty-training is a big adjustment, on top of adjusting to his daycare and moving to live with me in Halifax. We like to celebrate the little things at my house, and any day where F doesn't miss a trip to the potty is a special day in my eyes. Congratulations F, and a super-big thanks to Red for all his work in making F feel comfortable with the potty. 
This, you guys, is home. Breton Cove, represent!

3.    A fun surprise! On Tuesday, while casually scrolling Twitter I caught glimpse of a tweet from Lost Cod Clothing (follow them @LostCod) featuring this image. As I would quickly learn, the Cabot Trail Ranch belonged to my great uncle. I hauled ass (in my fabulous heels, no less) from Sackville to Lower Water St. where I nabbed a pile of merch with featuring the sign. Surprise gift for my cousin Merrill! Toot toot!

4.    THIS. Free clothes guys, free clothes. In addition to snazzy new clothes (courtesy of an awesome colleague), I scored great deals on new glasses. As a bespectacled babe, and a fashion-obsessed kind of gal, I'm more than a little excited. 

Another week of summer is *almost* behind me, which is pretty hard to believe. Tomorrow night, I'll be heading to Breton Cove to see my folks and hopefully log some time on the beach! 

Don't forget to tune-in tomorrow for another Beautiful Friday, and make sure you like my Facebook Page.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Whirlwind Wednesday

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind adventure. We got a kitty, and gave up our beloved Beagle, Daisy. My eyes are swollen from crying, while I chuckle at the expression on Duncan (our new kitten) as he watches me type away at my keyboard.

The decision to re-home Daisy was heavy-laden with pros, cons, facts and raw emotions. I've had my floppy-eared baby since she was 6-weeks-old. Daisy was, and is, a great dog. Had I known then what I know now, however, Daisy would never have been a part of my life. I didn't know this apartment was in my future. I had no idea that Red, or public relations or any of what has happened was in the cards for me. It's been a journey filled with surprises, heartache and joy, but tonight was especially heart-wrenching.

The idea of re-homing my girl came way back in October, when I knew I was coming back to school. The question of where I would live with a dog in the city was blaring at me. It meant living in a more expensive apartment, further from town, but I love my place. It was worth the price. Without those big eyes and floppy ears, I'm not sure I could have survived November-January here. Things got easier when Red came into my life, but being away from F was hard. Too hard.

The only thing harder was making it work here, alone, with F and Daisy.

I hit my breaking point when, on one of our walks, F got his sweaty hand free from my own, equally sweaty hand and bolted away from me - towards traffic. Panicking, I dropped Daisy's leash to chase him. Unsurprisingly, she chased me.

We got lucky. The car saw F get away. It stopped. I grabbed him, furious and terrified and relieved all at once. I picked up Daisy's leash. I went home, sick to my stomach with worry. I couldn't do it any more. What if it happened again? What if the car didn't see him? What if I didn't catch him on time? What if. What if. What if.

With a heavy heart, I let Daisy go to a lovely family of four who live in a beautiful area outside of the city. She'll live out her days with two young boys, a stay-at-home Mom and all the love in the world. She'll be loved and well-cared for and that's all I could ever hope for her, for someone to love her as much as we do.

It was knowing that Daisy would need to find a new home, it was knowing that it was going to take a toll on us, it was knowing that I'd need a furry friend to snuggle with from time to time that Duncan became a part of our life. I've always had a cat. Cats are independent. They can live happily in an apartment, inside and safe from the noise and bustle. They can climb on your lap when you need a friend, or curl up on the chair across from you when you need your space.

F's tears have been dried in the fur of our little friend, too. Nothing will replace our Daisy,  but Duncan will be our furever friend to help us heal after saying goodbye to our favourite, floppy-eared gal.

My Secret to Thin

Today at work, a colleague asked me what my secret to staying thin was.

Well, here it comes:


It's called hard work and eating well, and it's been around for centuries. That, and I'm naturally petite. But mostly, it's hard work. It's spending a little more at the grocery store because I buy fresh vegetables and fruit. It's dragging my tired ass outside in 30 degree heat to walk/jog with F and the dog. It's squats and lunges and push ups and tricep dips on the counter and moving as much as I can every day. 

I sit in an office from 7:30 am until 4:30 pm almost every day, sometimes later. I don't have a gym membership. I have two sets of free weights, 5lb and 8lb, a 46-pound-toddler, and a yoga mat. I have stairs in my building, two feet and a set of lungs to breathe in some air. It's all you really need. 

That, and a little motivation.

I'd love to have more time in my day to devote to spending an hour in the gym. I'd love to have the money to shell out on a gym membership. I wish I owned a bike. But right now I don't, so I do my best to make it all work.

I'm not a personal trainer or a nutritionist. I'm hardly an expert on health and wellness, but I know my body. I know my limits. That's where it all begins. Know your body. Know your limits. Know what works for you and what doesn't, where you're beginning and where you want to go.

In the meantime, want to burn a few extra calories this Wednesday?

Park further from the mall/store/office and walk. Don't drive a car? Get off the bus a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Tired of sitting in the office? Get up and walk around. Take 100 steps every couple of hours. Do a set of push ups on the corner of your desk, followed by a few tricep dips. Do it every couple of hours. It adds up.

Squeeze in a few sun salutations today, or better yet - make a 10-minute yoga practice your new wake up. You won't find a better alarm than a work out. You can thank me when you realize it only took one cup of coffee to get you going after that.

These are easy ways to incorporate a little movement into your day-to-day life, without cutting out a chunk of time that could otherwise be spent, you know, living. 

More important than anything else, love your body. Own it. We're all shaped differently, just like we all look different and like different things. We're not all supposed to be the same height, weight, shape.  Take care of yourself. Treat your body with respect, feed yourself good food and don't forget to give yourself a break now and then.

Monday, 15 July 2013

A Case of the Mondays

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that Monday isn't my favourite day of the week.

Who likes the end of the weekend right? How can anyone be excited for another week in the office, especially with temperatures expected to reach 30*C? Hellooooo, that's beach weather and this beach bum hates missing out on all the fun in the sun. But, they're unavoidable. I come face to face with Monday morning every week, so today (after sleeping in a half hour), I decided to make the most of it.

Instead of dreading my day, I realized it's a blank slate. This whole week is really a blank slate. I can either enjoy it, or not. It's a simple concept, but it's not an easy thing to do.

I easily get caught up in all the things that make Mondays suck.

Red left yesterday.

I have five 10-hour days ahead of me.

I'm tired.

The list goes on, and on, and on...

Never underestimate the power of a Google search to make you smile.

But, I have five days of work ahead of me. I can get a lot done this week. I can make a difference - no matter how small - at each of my jobs.

I woke up today in a big, comfortable bed inside a big, comfortable apartment. More importantly, I woke up today. Healthy. Alive.

I have another week of breakfast at the dining room table with F, in our PJ's. It's also another week of our drive to and from day care, looking for big trucks, "ambliances", and city street sweepers. Another week of reading books before bed.

It's going to be a hot, sunshine-y week and I'll be in an air-conditioned office during the brunt of the heat, and out walking with F and the dog when the sun is setting. Beautiful.

They may be small blessings, but they are blessings nonetheless.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


Pro tip: Never wash a disposable diaper or pull-up.


Bless Red's heart, he often does the laundry for all of us and this weekend is no exception. Since he just got back from another week at training camp, he had a bag-full and though I had done a mid-week load, I had a handful of F's things and a few of my own to throw in the load also. Like the awesome guy he is, Red made the trek downstairs and through the hall to the laundry room in the basement and threw the clothes that I'd given him into the laundry basket.

It wasn't until he came back from switching everything from washer to dryer that I realized what a dumbass I am.

"Do you think there was something in F's pockets?" he asked me, holding out his hand full of white weirdness. "There's this weird gel stuff all over our clothes."

DING. I knew. I knew right away. IDIOT.

I googled what to do while Red went to clean out the wash. Not knowing what the culprit was, he threw the entire wash load into the dryer - hidden diaper and all. Down the stairs I ran to stop the dryer and remove the diaper which, might I add, took forever to find.

We shook out the clothes, took out GOBS of goo, and wiped down both the washer and the dryer. Might I add that we have a shared laundry room? Efffffffffffffff.

Just in case you ever have a slip of the mind and forget to make sure that there's no pull-ups or diapers hidden amongst the clothes, here are a few tips for dealing with the disaster.

1. Use swear words. Seriously. The same way muttering a profanity helps reduce the amount of pain you feel when you stub your toe (I'm not kidding. Read about it here and swear away), it also helps you curb stress and generally makes you feel better. So, drop an F-bomb or thirty and get your rear in gear. You've got work to do, sister.

2. Shake it off. You may choose to have a dance party to further reduce stress. Do it up, just make sure you grab some of those gel pellet-covered clothes and shake the bejeezus out of them. Shake, shake, shake. Shake out the frustration of your own stupidity! You go girl! The more you get off the clothes, the happier you'll be. Sweep that shit up and discard it all. Marvel at how one little pull-up/disposable diaper can hold so much hateful gel-pellet goo.

3. The dryer is your friend. My Google-search told me to throw my clothes in the dryer and let it work its magic. Apparently the gel just dries up and falls off. Don't be surprised if you require a good lint brush after the clothes come out though. The good news: Your clothes are not ruined.

4. Clean out your washing machine. The washing machines in our laundry room are front loading, so it was easier on the back than reaching over but harder to actually clean because it was stuck all over. Use your hands to scoop as much out as possible, then an old cloth to get the remnants. Wipe down well to remove all trace of the gel pellets.

5. Caffeinate. It's necessary. Just accept it.

Hopefully you'll catch the goo/gel-pellets before throwing it in the dryer. I had to wash the dryer out too. Sigh.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Pain is Beauty: Tria Beauty Review

Pain is beauty, right?

I've always been a believer in the "no pain, no gain" attitude, so I don't hesitate to push myself when I'm running to go just a little faster or a little further, and I'm not afraid to spend some time in front of the mirror torturing myself plucking my eyebrows from time to time. I wear high heels that occasionally result in blistered feet, soak my nails in acetone that eats away at my cuticles when my gel nail polish needs a change, and I've been known to wiggle into movement-restricting Spanx for the sake of a smoother silhouette.

I'm not alone.

I've spent stupid amounts of money on makeup and hair products, body lotions and everything in between. But I'm lazy. I like to sleep in a few extra minutes, so I forsake my perfect hair or nice eye makeup pretty regularly. Sometimes, even on a hot day, I'll wear long dresses to avoid shaving my legs.

I'm not a particularly tall person, but I've got long legs and shaving them can be time consuming so I decided to wax them. That was a bust - spreading hot wax across my hairy legs and then tearing it off was messy and hurt more than I seem to recall labour and childbirth, so I gave that up. Did I mention that there was a lot of hair still hanging around? Then I contemplated a No-No, but the idea of burning my hair off didn't sound very pleasant at all.

So I bought an at-home laser remover by Tria Beauty.

Let me say, the results are fantastic. But holy-effing-Christmas-trees-and-honey it hurts.

It too is a bit time consuming, and I've realized that I made a fatal (not actually) mistake in my using it in the spring/summer. I'm a little too tanned to continue. I also need to cut out a section of time every two weeks to use it, and no way do I have time for that nonsense during the summer! There's sun to soak up and BBQ's to attend, so I've packed it away for a couple of months... knowingly sacrificing all the progress I've made.

If you're thinking about using the Tria, I strongly recommend it. An Advil or two about 30 minutes before your treatment helps with the pain, and the results truly are fantastic. The price tag is worth it too, and the newer models treat a larger area with each time. I'll definitely resume my treatments in the Fall when I have a bit more time.

What's the craziest beauty product you've ever tried? What about a favourite? I'd love to know!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Pizza Delivery

Dear pizza delivery guy who rang my doorbell at 9:55pm on a Wednesday,

Firstly, I hope you liked my blue snowflake underwear. I was so disoriented by my wake-up that I couldn't even find clothes. For the record, I thought it was the middle of the night and that there was some kind of emergency. Everyone knows you don't need pants in an emergency (or something like that).

Second, thank-you for ringing not once, not twice but four times while I ran around trying to find pants and waking my three-year-old. Usually when people don't answer right away, it's for a reason. It took me two hours to get him settled down.
Lastly, when you arrive at my door saying "Pizza Delivery" and I tell you have the wrong door, don't look at me like I'm an idiot and ask me if I'm sure

I am not wearing pants and I couldn't find my glasses in the sleep-fogged confusion between my bed and my door. I have bed head and my mascara that I should have washed off an hour ago is smeared across my face. I'm squinting to see you. There is also a pantless toddler in a yellow shirt asking if there's a fire. Do we look like we ordered pizza? No. 

Also, don't ask me if I know who ordered pizza. There are 40 units in this building. Tell your order-person to figure their shit out. 


An over-tired, cranky Mommy with under-eye circles and a surplus of coffee.

PS I hope you found that apartment and got a tip before the pizza got cold. Asshat.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Partners (In Crime?)


I kind of hate them. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. They seem so packed, and yet sometimes they just don't carry the merit which the person holding said title deserves. I had this realization when, mid-conversation, I struggled to decide how to describe Red. Using his name wouldn't mean anything to the stranger with whom I was speaking. Boyfriend sounded too... um... juvenile. Husband he's not - I have one of those. They're overrated and I'm trying to get rid of him the way one might try to get rid of a Planter's wart.

In a split second decision, I went all willy-nilly and threw "partner" into the mix and felt immediately pretentious and douchebag-y because it just sounded off.

And yet, it's kind of the only way I can describe him in one word. We might be here all day if I get into the way I really might describe him, and I don't want him to stumble upon this post and get all puffed up. I like to keep him on his toes.

Saturday, 6 July 2013



That's how old I was when I first discovered stretch marks all over my inner thighs. Angry-looking and purple, I didn't know what they were. I hated them. For years, I refused to wear shorts. Even in the heat of summer, I wore jeans or Capri pants. By the time I was a pre-teen, stretch marks covered my thighs and the first few faint ones made their appearances on my butt and hips.

As I got older, though, they faded and around the time I hit junior high they were less-visible. I let myself wear shorts again. Dresses. Skirts. Bathing suits. For about eight months of the year, you can barely spot them - even if I am bare-legged - because they fade into the pale milkiness of my skin. During the summer, they stand out silvery against my tanned skin but it doesn't bother me any more.

When the first stretch marks from pregnancy appeared on my stomach and sides, I collapsed into tears. I was only two weeks away from my due date. From the bottom of my bellybutton to the top of a pair of bikini-cut underpants, my tummy is soft, a little stretchy, and painted with a few dozen stretch marks. I hated them for a while too, but they don't bother me either.

I wouldn't have F without them.

Sure, I'd love to have been one of the women who gets off easy and doesn't get a single stretch mark throughout her pregnancy - or, if you're my cousin, through multiple pregnancies - but I wasn't. For the first year after F was born, I donned a one-piece bathing suit. But now I wear bikinis.

Today, at the beach, one of the few mums who spoke with me exclaimed that she'd never wear a bikini or show her "mummy tummy" in public the way I do. She said she was too self-conscious. In her retro-inspired one-piece, this girl could have been on the front of a magazine. But, with a sarong around her waist to cover her "dimply thighs" (her words, not mine), she barely had the confidence to take off the layers she'd previously worn.

I busted my ass off (literally) to lose weight and get in shape. My stomach may never be tight and firm like it used to be, but I'm strong and I'm healthy and I've got something better than six-pack abs to show for it.