Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars: In Summary

When I interned at Entertainment Tonight in Hollywood, California, I got the chance to see dozens of Oscars up close and personal. I never actually touched any of the hard little golden men, but I got closer than I ever imagined I would.

Being on the Paramount lot was a dream turned into reality for me, a young girl fascinated with the news and entertainment world. Fresh out of university, I went to Los Angeles and lived in a hostel with my friend until I chose to leave early to accept a job offer back home. I repeat: I stayed. In. A. Hostel. Shudder.

The Academy Awards have always been a special night, despite the fact that since becoming a mom I've only seen like, half the nominated films for Best Picture, year after year. Still. I wouldn't miss The Oscars for anything. Except maybe a trip to Paris.

Miraculously, I put my children to bed at 8 p.m. so I was able to watch funny man Billy Crystal host the Oscars for ninth time. I'm so glad he was back, because James Franco and Anne Hathaway last year were... let's just say... a weird combination with zero chemistry.

I'm still trying to figure out what the biggest story of the night was: Billy Crystal and his Botox? Or the fact that Christopher Walken and Billy Crystal are, in fact, twins separated at birth? Jennifer Lopez and her accidental nipple? Or Sandra Bullock wearing a dress that was too horrible to even define? There were some laughs, but overall, it wasn't the most exciting Oscars ever.

Here's what I thought about the 84th Annual Academy Awards: Who looked hot, who did not, and everything in between.

Best Dressed, from the waist up: Michelle Williams, in a coral Louis Vuitton dress.


It's all a big DO for the most part, but those ruffles do nothing for her. Or that dress.

Stunning in white: Rooney Mara, aka The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, in Givenchy. (Also, she's my biggest crush right now.)



Most likely to be mistaken for a Greek Goddess: Gwyneth Paltrow, also gorgeous in white.



Scariest arms: Angelina Jolie. Enough said.



Weirdest pose: Again, Angelina. Please see Jennifer Aniston for tips on wearing a black dress with a sexy thigh slit.

Most in need of a hair-cut: Brad Pitt.



Most in need of a woman shorter than himself: George Clooney.


Tighest ponytail or is it Botox: Sandra Bullock



Best in Gucci:
Cameron Diaz



Overall best dressed and most beautiful: Natalie Portman



Confident lady in red: Emma Stone



Best beard: Sacha Baron Cohen



Lovely in lilac: Penelope Cruz



Flawless funny lady: Tina Fey



Most unoriginal: Jennifer Lopez.



Couldn't take my eyes off of: Ellie Kemper



Actors I've met who were in attendance at the Academy Awards: Pharrell and Mario.





Best dressed Greek (after Tina Fey): Maria Menounos



Honourable mention, just because he's an awesome Greek: Zach Galifianakis

Best hair and shoes: Miss Piggy



Miss Piggy is wearing a dress by Zac Posen and shoes by Christian Louboutin. I'm totally jealous!

As for the actual winners, well, out of the nine films nominated for Best Picture, I have only seen two: The Help and Moneyball. The person I wanted to win the most was Rooney Mara for her amazing role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but the always incredible Meryl Streep took home her third (really, only third?) Oscar for Best Actress, and well, Meryl is in a league of her own. She is glamorous, beautiful, classy, and talented, beyond beyond.

Best Actor went to Jean Dujardin, and The Artist won Best Picture. Guess I'll be seeing that in theatres soon!

Who did you think deserved to take home an Oscar last night?
Did you agree with the winners?
Who did you think was Best Dressed?
What was your favourite movie this year?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On being a scary mommy

A few years ago, I took my children to Washington, D.C (crazily, without my husband) to visit family and to show my boys where I worked when I interned at CBS TV. Not that they had much interest in the building itself, but Wisconsin Avenue will always hold a special place in my heart. Travelling solo with my boys was an awesome accomplishment, and the vacation was memorable, despite the fact that I was a nervous wreck flying alone with two children.

On the agenda? Meet Jill, one of my favourite bloggers. Through emails we tried to plan the perfect night out - drinks? Dinner? Both? Of course, with five children between us, that wasn't going to happen. We settled on meeting at the Barnes and Nobles in Bethesda. I recognised Jill's famous curls as I crossed the street with my boys in their Maclaren double stroller, and her adorable youngest son and my boys quickly hit it off.


They started playing in the waterfall outside, while Jill and I sat on the bench and caught up like old friends. We took our party of kids indoors where they continued to play, and we continued to talk, until a temper tantrum (my kid? hers?) stopped our conversation a couple of hours later. We hugged good-bye,and I made plans to go to BlogHer 2010 in New York City. Meeting a blogger in real life wasn't that scary, after all!


Jill has always been one of my favourite bloggers, because her posts are honest, relatable, and hilarious. YES! I want to scream in agreement, when I read what she writes about raising children. It's comforting knowing I'm not the only one who thinks a swear word uttered here or there is no big f*cking deal, and I'm in full agreement when she says "It's the dirty little secret of new motherhood that nobody tells you: Newborns are a breeze. Just wait until you have a three-year-old and you'll kill for those early days." So very true. But don't tell anyone who doesn't have kids yet, okay?

Jill and I hung out at BlogHer in NYC and and we spent more time together last year at BlogHer in San Diego, too. That's when I found out she was going to be a published author. I am pretty sure all of San Diego heard my SQUEE when I heard the news that she was approached to write her book about motherhood. Who better to write a book like this, I thought, than the Scary Mommy herself?







Two days ago, I tore into the envelope that contained Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and IrreverentLook At Motherhood—The Good, The Bad, and The Scary.

I brought the book with me to my son's swimming lessons, and started reading the Acknowledgements first. I saw my name listed among other bloggers I adore, and I got a little teary.

For two years now, the parenting book I've been trying to write has stayed approximately three chapters long. I am nothing if not a procrastinator. An excellent one, at that.

Jill has turned her words into a book, and accomplished one heck of a goal. Her book is for all moms, written from a mother, the true expert on parenthood. Every chapter is easy to relate to. And comforting. I'm buying a few copies for my best friends, those who are currently pregnant, and those who are already moms. It's well worth the read, and I couldn't put it down.

Motherhood is not all sunshine and roses. Motherhood is full of cloudy skies and muddy days, too. Being a mom is scary. And I'm so glad I have a book to keep near me when I need a good laugh, or when I need to be reminded that we're all in the same club. It'll also serve as a good reminder that dreams do come true.

I'm happily giving away a copy of this book, too, to one of my fabulous readers. Just leave me a comment below telling me what makes you a scary mommy! I'll pick a winner randomly on February 29th. Contest open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

Good Luck!


Oh, and I am also giving away the awesome LG Optimus LTE smartphone, too! Enter here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happenings

Life is busy. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. Being a mom is a constant job, and having a full-time job on top of everything else? Might as well throw the word balance out the window. But, busy is good, for the most part, despite the lack of sleep and constantly being on the go. I do wish life came with a pause button, though. These moments with my boys are precious, all of them. And time passes too quickly, it's almost scary.

The days I can drop the boys off at school and pick them up are extra moments with them that I'm grateful for. Conversations in the car, extra hugs on the playground, and big smiles when they see me at the end of their day make my heart skip a beat. I wish my schedule would allow me to do drop-off and pick-up everyday. It's something I'm working on.

Blogging has slowed down a bit for me, because I can't turn the computer on when I'm home and my children are awake. If there are distractions, I might miss things like: "Mommy, I don't want to go to university or get married because I want to stay with you forever!" from my little four year old. Yes, he and his brother melt my heart on a daily basis.



I love blogging because I'm able to share stories here with my readers about the joys and struggles about motherhood. I also love the people I've met through blogging, and the opportunities I have been given.

This past long weekend, I hung out with some of my favourite online friends, people who inspire me, and people I admire for the work they do and the words they write. I attended a reception hosted by Kathy Buckworth with my mom along with other Ottawa bloggers to meet David Chilton - The Wealthy Barber. He was amazing to meet in person, and to hear him speak was incredible. I have actually been reading his book, and reading a book on being financially responsible is not like me at all. He makes it fun, though. Did I mention David is a stand-up comedian? He was hilarious, and I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time. Note to self: Stalk David until he agrees to meet with me for an interview!

Some of my favourite Canadian bloggers with Yummy Mummy Club were in town this past weekend, too, celebrating Winterlude. I attended as many (indoor) events as I could, and I got to hug Erica, Ali, Connie, Sharon and Kat again.







Conversations and laughs with these fabulous ladies are always so nice, but never long enough. Hanging out with bloggers I adore always makes me smile.

Monday was a holiday, and I spent it with my boys and hosted a really fun family event at Old Navy. Hosting an event in a store that I love shopping in? Totally my thing. I had a blast, the music was awesome, and the kids didn't want to leave.



Normally my kids are the ones screaming when they come into contact with a shopping mall, but this was the exception. There was a cookie and juice bar, and a table full of fun crafts. I loved hosting Old Navy's Funnovation Imaginarium, and can't wait for the next opportunity.





Yes, life is busy, but life is full, and I'm okay with that. Busy is hard, but busy is good. Even if I haven't figured out how to do it all, and likely never will, I'm taking things at my own pace. And enjoying the experiences I have been blessed to have. If I could get a few more hours of a sleep a night, though? That would be awesome. Any tips on how to manage that?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How I Wear My Jeans


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They're your go-to pair of pants. The ones you wear to a party, for a night out on the town, and when you're at the park with your children. You had a favourite pair in high school, and you remember wearing them with safety pins. You wore them high-waisted when you were young and didn't know any better, and those pictures now make you cringe-laugh. You wore them super-low when you were a teenager and in your early twenties, and those pictures now make you miss the days when your abs were so perfectly flat that you could get away with wearing them like that.

They're part of the perfect outfit for date night, paired with a sexy top and heels, and you wear them to work with a blazer. You have more than one pair; in fact, you have too many pairs to admit, but they're an investment, and besides, once you find your perfect pair, it only makes sense to buy as many as you can in your size.



Jeans. They're always the most important part of my go-to outfit. The perfect pair of jeans are essential in everyone's wardrobe, I think. Like comfort food, jeans can make you feel good, but better than comfort food, the perfect pair of jeans can make you feel incredibly sexy. And although they can sometimes be pricey, they're always calorie-free.

Although I'm a fashion lover, I am a jeans-and-t-shirt type of girl. I basically live in jeans. I'd be lost without my beloved jeans, because they're the staple in my wardrobe, for so many different events and occassions. Just the idea of my closet with no jeans makes me want to weep. As far as fashion goes, you can style them in so many different ways. I think that's half the fun of putting them on - deciding on what top, accessories, and shoes to wear with them. The perfect pair of jeans can also make you feel confident. And when you feel good and look great, your happiness will shine through, and a happy attitude like that is always contagious.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family Day: You're invited!

It seems like February is the busiest month of the year. Maybe because it's a short month, or maybe because keeping busy when it's so cold helps us forget how bad the weather is outside. I have Post-It notes everywhere to remind me of all things I will likely forget if I don't have constant reminders to look at. I'm happy it's a busy month, because it means we are one step closer to summer. (Call me optimistic if you will...)

I've been busy playing catch-up at home and at work, and staying on top of all the school and after school activities with my boys while trying to maintain a somewhat active social life. Also, can we talk about how hard it is to get six year old boys to focus on homework? It's not an easy task, let me tell you. I'm breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to be, here or on my Yummy Mummy Club shopping blog, but I hope to fall into a more regular routine again once all this craziness calms down.

One of the things (and there are many things) I love most about blogging and being actively involved in social media is being asked to speak at and host events.

I was recently one of the featured speakers at the Mama Musings: Blog Edition event put on by Mom Cafe Ottawa, and it was a great honour to be speaking alongside the senior editor of The Ottawa Citizen.

In December, I was fortunate to host a really fun event in Toronto at the Pantages Hotel for the new ShopWise app by Yellow Pages.


On Family Day, February 20th, I'm going to be hosting the most fun family event ever taking place in the city: Old Navy's Funnovation Imaginarium at Old Navy in Rideau Centre.

Hosting an event with Old Navy? Somebody pinch me, please!

Here's what we have planned:

From 1 to 4 p.m., Old Navy is turning into the Funnovation Imaginarium, a place devoted to the imagination where the whole family can have fun together.

There will be tons of activities for the kids to enjoy, like a Funky Floor, where they'll be able to strut their stuff on the Crazy Catwalk, and they'll also be able to invent new machines, creatures, and fashion accessories in the Funnovation Lab.

There's also a Kooky Cookie and Juice Bar. Because hello... snack time is VERY important!

So while your children are busy having fun, you can have a sneak peek at Old Navy's new collection, and get a head start on your spring shopping! Oh, and there are swag bags and awesome discounts for you too. What's not to love about an event that is made for the entire family to enjoy?

Total bonus? You'll see some familiar faces there, including members of the Yummy Mummy Club! And you'll be toasty warm indoors, too! See you there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Voice

I don't remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I do remember where I was: in the grocery store with my mom, in the mall next to the dance studio where I spent my entire childhood and teenage years dancing in.

It was a memorable day for me because I had just purchased the new Whitney Houston cassette tape. (Yes, tape. God, I'm old.) I listened to that tape over and over and over again. For our generation, kids of 80's and 90's, she was the voice.

Whitney's music was a big part of the soundtrack of my life. I have many memories that are attached to a Whitney Houston song. Like my grade eight graduation, for example, where my entire graduating class sang One Moment In Time to a gym full of parents and siblings. That event still remains one of the most embarrassing moment of my life, probably because I was wearing a black dress with green satin sleeves so puffy it would put Alexis Carrington Colby's dresses to shame.

Whitney was a superstar, a diva, a pop-star sensation. Whitney, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany were always on musical rotation when I was young, before I discovered New Kids On The Block and a world of music other than pop. My life was about cassette tapes, mis-matched earrings, blue eye shadow and shimmer lip gloss. Yes, I danced in my room, hair brush as a microphone, to How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me? a million times. Volume turned up full blast, of course.

Whitney Houston was simply gorgeous. She was a true star. Stunning. Incredibly talented. Increbibly troubled. And like other great stars before her, her light went out far too soon. I get emotional over the death of anyone, famous or not, who passes away before they should. But it's personal with celebrities, isn't it? Especially with the ones who were such an important part of our lives, of our past. I think the first celebrity death that really shook me was the death of River Phoenix. I loved him, and to hear he had died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 was shocking and scary. And it was, temporarily at least, a reminder to everyone that drugs were evil.

With the recent passing of Whitney Houston, I feel like I lost a piece of the puzzle that makes up my childhood. She was most definitely one of the great voices of our time, a singer who still gives me chills every time I hear I Will Always Love You. Man, that song. How many of us have cried to that song? Just, chills.

If I had a scrapbook of famous people I love gone too soon, her picture would probably be on one of the first pages.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Adventures from Florida

Whenever I go on vacation with my family, something crazy always happens. Whether it's locking my six month old baby in the hotel room by accident, or being stuck in a Cuban resort during a hurricane, we bring home many memories. Souvenirs, if you will. The craziness usually starts in the airport before we even board the plane, and the adventures continue from that point on.



My family and I spent a week near Miami, at the Westin Resort and Spa, where we go every year. The kids love it, and I do, too. The pools are beautiful, the location is perfect (10 minutes from Aventura Mall, 10 minutes to Bal Harbour Shops, and nooo I don't base my vacations on shopping destinations... um... not completely, anyway!) and we're right on the beach.



I choose Florida as our winter getaway destination every year because being the worrier that I am, I like knowing that if we had a medical emergency, we'd have excellent health care, like we do in Canada. I never thought we'd have to see a doctor on vacation, but like I said, adventures are part of the package when we go away!

Little D woke up with a terrible cough our second night in Florida. It sounded like whooping cough, or croup, and he was crying in pain. We called down to see if there was a doctor nearby, and the hotel sent up EMT. Thankfully, I had time to put on a bra and fix my hair before all the men came into the room. We didn't go anywhere with the ambulance, because it was 4 a.m. and D's oxygen levels were good. He went back to bed, and the next day, rather then going to the hospital to spend hours waiting to be seen, we called a doctor to come to us, in the hotel room. A brand-new experience, and one that was very, very, very expensive. Did I mention expensive? Thank GOD for health insurance. D got a shot of antibiotics, and after a lot of tears, he was good to go. We picked up his prescription, and he spent the rest of the day outside, swimming, smiling, and happy as can be.



Of course, none of this was easy on me, especially seeing my baby in pain, but my little boy is a trooper, and he handled everything so well.

The rest of the week was fun, like vacations should be. We swam all day, collected sea shells and had lots of ice cream. We fell asleep with the balcony door open listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. It was pretty heavenly.





Holidays with children are never easy, though. They're fun and worthwhile but like all aspects of parenthood, completely exhausting. Now that I'm back, I need a vacation to recover from my vacation, if you know what I mean. So does my mom! My boys are six and four, and happily entertain themselves in the pool, playing together. But all the drinks I consume are done in under five minutes, because I'm always needed to break up a fight, to take one of the boys to the bathroom, or to just play, which I'm not complaining about. The quality time I spend with my boys is the best part about going away. Being able to give them all my attention is what makes my vacation so wonderful, even if I hardly have time to sit down.



However, gone are the days when I would spend hours shopping in Nordstrom with my mom and sister, or spend time people-watching in Bal Harbour after dinner. Gone are the days where I would spend hours on the beach tanning, flipping over every half hour to make sure my tan was even and perfect. I'm glad I'm saving my skin now, but the shopping thing? Not awesome. I chased my boys around Saks, with little D running in one direction, and big C laughing as he was being chased around. I managed to buy a few items from Nordstrom in the quickest shopping trip of my life, so I was happy.

My favourite part of family vacations is bringing home a suitcase full of memories. It's the little things I noticed on this trip that melted me, like seeing my boys holding hands throughout the day, or hearing their giggles during the pool games they invented. I loved the stories we shared, the fun car rides we had, and almost getting lost in what I'm sure was a very bad neighbourhood. We ate at our favourite restaurants, made sand castles, and relaxed.



My boys bonded even more with their cousins, and they loved having other little people around to help take care of. Four kids together on the beach? Nothing but fun chaos!



I loved seeing big C swimming like a pro in the pool, giving his little brother the confidence he needed to take off his floaties. By the third day, little D was swimming under water in the deep end, no floaties in sight. Children always grow on vacation, in more ways than one. My boys always seem older to me when we get home, as if their vacation made them wiser, somehow.



We had a cabana one day, a luxury I could most certainly get used to. When the boys got tired of swimming, they'd go in the cabana, eat a snack, drink some water, watch TV, and play on their ipads and ipods. Happy children? Happy mom!



Sadly, all vacations end. And although we were excited to be coming back home, my boys made me promise that next year, we'd stay away for at least two weeks or "one hundred days." I wish, boys... I wish! Coming back to freezing temperatures and no palm trees is actually quite depressing.



Now that February is here, I know spring is not too far away. I'm not putting our summer clothes away, in the hopes that we'll get to wear them sooner rather than later. I am so ready for flip flops season, you know?

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