Monday, April 30, 2012

Read The Label, Lick The Spoon

I'm sure if I told you to jump off a bridge because it was fun, you'd think twice about doing it, right? I mean, I'm sure you'd look over the bridge, to make you'd be landing in some deep ocean water, hopefully free of sharks, rather than into oncoming traffic on a busy highway. And even then, you'd probably still question me.

As a mom, I'm always trying to make the right decision for my children. I'm a pretty laid-back mom, and despite the fact that I worry non-stop and am constantly on my toes waiting for a disaster to strike, I'm relaxed about the snacks my boys eat, as long as I know they're generally eating well-balanced meals. And they are. I am lucky to have family look after my boys when I'm at work, and since we're Greek, it's almost a given they'll be eating extremely healthy every day. We basically follow the Mediterrenean diet, which is full of food that is good for you. The snack of choice for my boys? Greek salad.

Of course, my boys like to indulge from time to time, and there is no food that is not allowed in my house. They have chocolate, in small amounts, when the cravings hit. And Nutella, of course. I mean, how could they NOT love Nutella? You get what I'm saying, right? It's damn good! And psst... it's not all that bad for you. I'd rather my children have a Nutella and banana sandwich instead of frozen chicken nuggets!

The makers of Nutella recently settled two class-action lawsuits which were filed by consumers who said they were deceived by the brand's advertising. The settlement? $3 million dollars.


I don't understand how the company was successfully sued, when all the nutritional information is right on the jar, listed for everyone to see. Did the people who sued Nutella not read the Nutrition Facts before feeding it to their children? Also, what chocolate fairy unicorn island do these people live on, where they thought that a chocolate spread was totally HEALTHY, anyway, despite what the ads said? Sugar is the first listed ingredient. Which is why my children don't eat Nutella every day. I believe in being accountable, and from the commercials I've seen, I don't see where they were wrong.

This ad for Nutella, in my opinion, is not misleading.

I also don't get people who sue McDonald's because, ohmyGod they gained weight and how is that possible, just because they were eating seven Big Mac combos a day? I mean, the nerve, McDonald's, the nerve!

Personally, I think Nutella on two slices of 12 grain bread with some fruit and a glass of skin milk is not a bad breakfast, no worse than some cereals out there. Better than no breakfast, at all. Nutella is not always in my house, but when I do buy a jar, my children are happy, and so am I. We eat it occasionally. Of course, right now, all I'm craving is a crepe with nutella and strawberries and ice cream.

I've bought hair products that claim they'll make my hair more shiny and strong, and hair products that claim they'll totally get rid of the frizz. Time and time again, I have been disappointed in the results, because often, my hair doesn't look like it did in the commercial. Despite this, I don't sue or blame anyone, or get angry. I might switch brands, but that's as far as I'll go.

I buy orange juice after seeing ads on TV that claim the juice will taste as good as sticking a straw in an orange, and sometimes, that's not true. I don't sue. Or get mad.

I have used Bio Oil to get rid of a couple of minor scars, but hmm, they're still there. I did not get mad or sue because of this, either.

I could give dozens of other examples about how ads can be misleading, but long story short, I love Nutella.

Advertising wasn't my major in university, but I did take a few courses. I'm not completley clueless when I see ads, and while I expect honesty in what companies and brands are selling to me, I know I should do my own research before deciding on what products to consume. I always knew I'd never look like Cindy Crawford drinking a Diet Pepsi, but it's still my drink of choice.

Oh, and Red Bull never gave me wings, either. That's why I'm not actually going to jump off that bridge, after all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Love

There are many things in life that annoy me. I mean, like really annoy me.

Of course, those are the things I blog about when I want to complain. I have a lot in common with George Carlin, you know. Top of that list? Having major psychotic f*cking hatreds towards things, not just minor pet peeves. People who can't drive? People who are mean?  People who don't understand elevator etiquette? People who can't operate a revolving door? People who are ignorant? People who do gross and obnoxious things in their office when other people are around? People who don't read? People who don't know what's going on beyond their own backyard? Yeah, combine that with a bad day (i.e. waking up late, a rainy day, a bad hair day, zero job security, a fight with my spouse, an ill child, five pound weight gain, nothing to wear, depression) and well, my pet peeves can take a turn for the worse.

There is always something awful on the news that can make me seriously depressed, and there is always something to think about to turn my sunshine day into a gloomy one. It isn't hard to think about a sad story, or to worry about something to the point that it affects your day. What is hard, though, is looking past the gloom and doom and just being happy in the present. Even though there are a lot of things I don't like, there are a lot of things that make me happy.

And there are a lot of things I love.

I love fresh picked flowers given to me by my four year old, just because.
I love eating movie theatre popcorn in my family room, watching trashy television shows.
I love watching old favourite movies, like Heathers.
I love Christian Slater and Winona Ryder.
I love thinking about high school and knowing if I could go back today, I wouldn't change a single thing.
I love watching my six year old play with his friends and seeing what a big boy he's become.
I love listening to my four year old play the drums.
I love hearing the few words my children still mispronounce, like me-magine for imagine, and ba-lack for black. I'll never correct them.
I love watching my boys in their swimming lessons.
I love to death this commercial that makes me cry every time I watch it.
I love the Olympics, and not just because the Greeks invented them.
I love soccer, and people with passions.
I love how great a father my husband is to our children.
I love my family, and our dysfunctionalness that makes us so awesome.
I love shopping, and I love ModCloth like crazy. I had to blog about it, and my online shopping addiction, even.
I love summer, and dresses, and flip flops, and tanned skin, and coconut smell.
I love chocoate chip ice cream.
I love planning vacations, and going on vacation.
I love swimming in the ocean.
I love sleeping with the balcony doors open, listening to the waves.
I love my awesome friends.
I love reading a good book and knowing when it's finished, another one is waiting for me to start.
I love Gale. (Why, Katniss, why?)
I love the many incredible people I've met because of blogging.
I love funny peoople who make me laugh.
I love 80's movies.
I love many, many movies, actually.
I love music to my core.

I love a lot of things, too many to list here, but you get the idea. "When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel... so bad."

What do you love?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Changes

Change. It's the one thing that is always certain, and it's the one thing I hate the most. That, and waiting. I have no patience, you see. I'm constantly begging my boys to HURRY UP, and well... they never listen.

I don't like change, especially when I don't want it, and especially when I'm not ready for it. I like when things go according to plan. My plan. However, as we all know, change happens, and we have to deal. Roll with it. Accept it. Move on. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, right?

The end of high school was brutal for me. Depressing. Of course, summer was a blast, and high school was a distant memory once university began. Once university was over? Brutal. Depressing. And then, well, you move on, you adapt, and the memories (amazing, foggy, hilarious, wonderful) replace the sadness. And on and on it goes...  each milestone my children reached was met with applause and tears from me. Change... not my favourite thing.

Sometimes change can take you by surprise, too. My secure job in the government is not so secure anymore, due to the budget cuts everyone is now dealing with. If you thought federal government employees were safe for life? Yeah... not so much anymore. What does this mean for me? I have to re-apply for my job along with a couple of other colleagues, (super fun times) and one of us will be laid off. In the very official meeting when we were given this scary news, we were told that one of us could volunteer to be the one to be laid off.

Of course at that point all I wanted to do was stand up and yell: "I VOLUNTEER FOR TRIBUTE!" but sadly, I'm too conservative in the workplace for those types of shenanigans. I did, however, say: "Let me play the lottery at lunchtime, and if I win millions, I'll get back to you."

If I'm laid off, (chances are very high this will happen) I'll have months to find another job, so I'm optimistic, and hopeful. I believe change can be a good thing, when it comes to work. It can be a great thing, actually. There will always be another opportunity. Yes, there is more stress in my life (to say the least) because of this situation, but perhaps... it's a blessing in disguise?

Meantime, in two weeks I'll be putting on my best heels for one of my best friend's weddings, and in three weeks, I'll be boarding a plane to Miami for Mom 2.0. I'm so pumped to be attending this conference, and to see so many amazing women and friends. And yes, I'm still dealing with mommy guilt, and I'm likely going to miss the party at the Versace mansion because three entire nights away from my boys is really hard on me. I know my boys will be fine, it's me I'm worried about. I know when they're older three nights will be easier to deal with, but right now? I'm not so sure. Maybe if I didn't work full-time leaving would be easier, because then I could say I deserved a break.

In other news, big C and little D are doing great, and growing right before my eyes. I am on a mission to find that pause button, yo! They're constantly asking me questions I don't have the answers to, and when they're not, they're making me laugh, as they always do.


Life is busy, with, well, everything... house stuff, school stuff, after-school stuff, family stuff, friends stuff, life stuff, hosting jewelry parties, (and stocking up on summer accessories!) celebrating Greek Easter, blogging about the Michael Kors event, and hosting giveaways on my shopping blog.


I've got no complaints, despite the fact that I sleep five hours a night. Busy is good. I'd still like to find a few more hours in the day to get it all done, and to find that balance I keep trying to find, and to finally get caught up with all my favourite blogs I just haven't had the time to read lately. I miss you! And you. And you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bully



Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.

As a mom, I worry a lot about my children. It seems the worrying doesn't go away, ever. I remember when I was a new mom I thought sleepness nights and constant diaper changes were going to be the hardest part of motherhood. As my children grow, I realize that each stage brings new challenges.

My oldest son is in grade one, and he loves school. He has great friends, wonderful teachers, and happily looks forward to school every day. I literally have to drag him home after school, after he's played with friends on the school yard for almost an hour every day. It is wonderful to see his innocence and happiness, and I hope it will always be this good for him, and for my youngest son. I'm sure they'll have rough patches like all children do throughout their childhood and teenage years, but I pray that they never experience being bullied.

When I was in middle school, I was bullied. I was beat up pretty bad, and thrown up against a locker. When I finally made it home, I burst into tears as soon as I saw my mom. The next day, we were in the principal's office along with a police officer and the person who had attacked me. Looking back, I appreciate that the situation was taken seriously, and I am thankful my parents were there for me to make sure something like that never happened again. As a mom, I cannot imagine something like that happening to either one of my children.

Today, the bullying situation has escalated and millions of kids are bullied every day. The results are often devastating. I am hoping things change, quickly. We need to help teach our children that it's never okay to be mean to another child. On any level. And if our children are bullied, we need to be there for them. And we need to be loud.


I recently watched the trailer for the new movie Bully, and it brought me to tears. Knowing there are kids who take their lives because they've been that badly hurt by someone bullying them makes me livid, and every time I hear of a child suffering because they're being treated badly, it makes me want to scream.

Bully follows five kids over the course of a school year, and shows some very tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who have lost children to suicide, and another mother waiting to find out the fate of her 14 year old daughter who is jailed after bringing a gun on a school bus. Throughout the film you'll also see how children behave in the classroom, in the cafeteria, and on the school bus. It's a hard film to watch, but it's worth watching.

 Here is the official trailer:



Bully is now in select theatres. I'll be watching. And I can only hope this film sheds even more light on this major issue.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Catching Up

Jumping back into blogging can sometimes be as hard as trying to find the perfect time to jump into a game of double dutch. I haven't blogged in a while, and I miss it. I miss reading blogs, and I miss writing. You guys, I need more time. Perhaps less time on Twitter would help, but only a little bit. I need like, 24 hours more a day to get it all done. Balance? I don't have it. So here it is. A random post, because there is so much to say.

My boys were sick, and as soon as they were on the mend, I got sick. I had a high fever that lasted one week. I visited my doctor, slept all day, had blood work and an ECG done, was seen in the ER, and broke out in a huge rash. Boy, that was fun. And then? I got an eye infection that resulted in me rushing to the Eye Institute for an emergency appointment. Of course, being sick meant I couldn't go to work, so when I was well enough to return to my job, I had a lot of catching up to do. Which means I had even less time to do the things I love, like blogging. And of course, on top of working full-time and playing catch up with everything, I had a million things to do around the house, and most important of all, spending a lot of quality time with my boys. I don't get computer time when my children are awake, because as a mom two active boys, it's impossible to even go to the bathroom alone. But, the good news? I'm not sick anymore, except for a lingering cough that will likely go away in early 2013.

Things have been busy, with school, activities, homework, parties, swimming lessons and did I mention homework? I also attended an afternoon tea at the home of the US Ambassaror with our Prime Minister's wife with my mom and sister for a special Red Cross event, and then I went to Toronto for the weekend for a best friend's bachelorette party.

A weekend getaway in an amazing city, in a fabulous hotel, with my best friends since childhood? Just what the doctor ordered! I was still sick, but couldn't give up the chance to celebrate with my closest friends. The Marriott Bloor Yorkville welcomed me back (remember they treated me to two fabulous nights for my birthday weekend last year?) and they took amazing care of my friends and I. The location, the service, and the rooms were perfection, and it's my favourite hotel to stay at when I'm in Toronto. Our weekend away could not have been more fun or memorable. I didn't even have time to shop and I'm totally okay with that.

Let's shift gears and talk about The Hunger Games, shall we?  I read the books in three days, which is less time than it took me to read the Twilight series, but only by like, a day. And I saw the movie. And you guys? I loved it. SO MUCH. I'm totally going to be Katniss for Halloween. (How awesome was Jennifer Lawrence?) I didn't want the movie to end, and I can't believe I have to wait to see the next two movies. Grumble. It was so well done, and I think everyone was so well cast. The movie was almost exactly as I had pictured the books in my head. I have something else to say. A confession, if you will...

I'm Team Gale. I know. I'm sorry. I really tried to love Peeta, but even before I saw who was playing Gale and even before I saw the movie, I thought he was the one for Katniss. I don't want to give too much away here, because I know at least one person reading this who hasn't read all the books yet, but let's just say... Gale. Gale all the way. Peeta is too... I don't know. Lacking something. But Gale? He was always there for Katniss, when he could be. I totally think he loves her more. Totally. He's not lacking the something that Peeta is.

You know what I'm not lacking, though? I'm not lacking mommy guilt.

In one month, I'm going to be in Key Biscayne, Miami, for the  Mom 2.0 conference. And I'm thrilled to announce that Volkswagen, IKEA, Tommee Tippee and Kelloggs are my sponsors for this conference! I have so much more to say about these fabulous companies, but that'll come in a few upcoming posts. Mom 2.0 has fabulous speakers lined up, and amazing sessions, and I'm very excited to be attending. The cherry on top? A party at the Versace mansion in South Beach wraps up the conference on Saturday night. But. That would mean I'd have to be away from my children for THREE nights. And I missed them way too much when I was in San Diego for three nights during BlogHer last year. I know I'll miss them more than they'll miss me and I know I'll regret not going to a party in THE Versace mansion, but... mommy guilt. Every year when I'm in Miami, I take pictures outside the Versace mansion, and now I have a chance to walk through the front doors. What's a girl to do? Why can't I have a money tree in my backyard so I can fly my entire family down to Florida with me so I don't have to miss them? Sigh.

What would you do?

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