Thursday, September 30, 2010

Laundry, Laundry Everywhere

Laundry is, unfortunately, inevitable.

... But let me share with you a little trick that I have discovered. 

Most of the time, especially amongst mothers, their is constant chatter about the never-ending cycle of laundry that is done on a daily basis. I used to fall into this category.  Stressed and depleted by never feeling finished and ALWAYS having more to do.  Well, let me tell you that I have now designated a specific laundry day (Wednesday) in which I do laundry. I would be lying if I told you that I completed all of our laundry in one day, but I do try and get in done in two.  By designating a specific jour du week for the cleansing of our clothes, I create a start and finish, thus completing my task, achieving my goal and getting a break. 

The only rule is that during laundry day, once all of the dirty clothes from around the house have been corralled and the mother load of laundry has been brought to the washing machine, that's it!  New dirty clothes will climb into everyone's dirty hampers at all times of the day, but don't you dare collect it! Those new articles missed the train and can be looked after next week!  
Seems pretty simple, but it really works for me and does take the annoying "never done" part out of laundry
Not sure if I'm the only person who does this ... maybe I'm the last person to figure it out?!  Anyhoo, thought I would share as I find it a lot easier than tackling laundry any and every day.


Taking A Break From Laundry

P.S. I recently switched my laundry day from Friday to Wednesday, this way I'm not doing laundry all weekend long!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Notes on Socks

No seriously, where do all of the socks go?  I mean there are only so many places they can go between the washing machine, the basket and wherever I decide to fold ... so why is it so hard to keep the majority of pairs together.
Singles party
And why, why, why do "they" put multiple colour combos in kids' sock packs? Why not just make them all the same colour combo and that way if one goes missing, you still have lots of other options for pairs. I'm just saying.

It wasn't until I was on a girls' weekend a few years ago that I realized I was in a bit of a sock rut. One of my friends made a comment on the socks I was wearing, asking if they were man socks (her tone included a bit of sarcasm and fashion disgust). I was mortified at the sock judging that was happening at the expense of my feet!  I had never really thought about the lack of feminine detail to my socks. I had my work socks (black or nude thin stockings or trouser-style) and then my boring weekend socks.
Since then, I have expanded my sock repertoire and treated myself to a few more "girly" socks - you know, lighter weight, cute patterns, more flattering - and I must say, it's kind of nice to peak in my sock drawer and have a bunch of colourful, friendly faces waiting for me in the morning (sure beats over sized, heavy, neutral-toned Costco specials from Christmases gone by).
Girly socks to the rescue!
Not quite as warm as the ol' faithfuls, but way more fun!
Hey, when you're a stay-at-home Mom and your daily work ensemble consists of jeans and a t-shirt, it's kind of fun to put on a pair of funky socks ... even if me and my hardwood floors are the only ones who will get to appreciate them. And one more plus, if socks make you happy, they're a hell of a lot cheaper than Manolo Blahniks :)



P.S. Another sock drawer staple for the holiday season - fishnet knee highs. A little zing to go with the plain black pant!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Errrr ... I wish I was a Web Designer

My apologies if my blog's appearance shifts daily during the next couple of weeks. I am trying to tweak the look and feel and am experimenting with my blog design. I have found a few amazing people that offer a design service for a reasonable fee, but unfortunately are all swamped or not available all together.

Thus, I am trying to do it myself, which could be VERY interesting.

If anyone knows of any blog designers that are available and can create within six to eight weeks, please let me know.

Until then, here's hoping I can figure this out.


The BEST tv show in a very, very long time

I am re posting this as it was one of my first posts and not many people got to read it. Apologies to the two people that have :)

I heard about Friday Night Lights a couple of years ago and didn't think much about it.  It wasn't until one night my husband and I were debating what to watch that I suggested Friday Night Lights ... no expectations, no idea what it was about ... told him we'd watch just one and if we didn't like it, we'd be done.

#33 Tim Riggins
WELL! Oh my goodness. The BEST show.  ALL the characters and actors are phenomenal, the relationships are real and relatable and the stories are soooo good. It's not over the top, unrealistic or filled with gratuitous sex and too many fake boobs ... although there are some very beautiful characters on both the female and male side, so it makes for good husband/wife viewing. My husband loved it too. We were addicted, watching two, three episodes a night, finishing off four seasons in a few weeks :) (this took dedication as at that time, we had an 11-month old who was not yet sleeping through the night!).
The show has just finished filming its 5th and final season which airs, sometime in the next six months I think.

Do yourself a favour ... watch it!  All I have to say is Tim Riggins #33 (played by Canadian Taylor Kitsch)! Flashbacks to forbidden high school crushes ... ahhhhhh.


#33 fan

P.S. Let me also say that my husband and I are not big television watchers so if we were glued to it and loved it, that says something.

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Search of An Age-Appropriate Training Bra

Every woman has to do it at some point - shop for bras.

I just have a hunch that this task comes easy for some and brutally hard for others. It's usually brutally hard for me.

Us women, we're a broad spectrum of bust varieties.  I am on one side of this spectrum - a nice solid 'A' cup that doesn't need much support, just a little coverage and has a challenge filling out this, the smallest cup size there is.  I have a sister and close friends that occupy the other end of the spectrum - they have larger ladies upfront and they want lots of lift, comfort in the straps and please, something half decent looking.

I went bra shopping this weekend, thankfully sans children. I was able to stand in the change room (I hate change room lighting!) for a good hour contemplating between the 34A and the 36A - is it too tight? Does it gape too much when I lean forward and sort of hunch my shoulders (you know because one does that so much)?

When I bra shop, I always have a feeling the back strap is too tight. Then I second guess myself wondering if it feels tight because it is actually too tight or is it because I am concentrating on it so much and am noticing it.  Drive myself crazy!

So what did I go with - two 36As .... and spent all day Monday wearing them with the tags on ... and now I'm returning them tomorrow ... errrrrr. I guess I'll just have to go to Wal-Mart and get more of the Sweet Nothins brand. Don't laugh. Yes Wal-mart, No, not my favorite place either, but if they fit, they fit! I came across this brand when I was post-pregnancy, inflated in size and needed new bras but did not want to invest any money in my false sense of bustyness.

I'm sure some of you are thinking, this girl needs help. Get her to a professional bra fitter or specialty store. Been there, done that. Have a real problem spending close to $100 on a bra that is basically a 34A triangle, training bra.

And one other question, and this may make some of you cringe, especially the ones without kids ... am I the only person who actually machine washes and dries my bras and underwear?



Friday, September 24, 2010

Oops ... Did I Just Steal That?

Shopping for anything is crazy with kids, especially at the mall. It is the ultimate multi-tasking experience.  There is the primary goal - get what you came for, and then a whole bunch of other things going on - trying to keep the kids entertained, dishing out snacks, wiping noses, searching for tasks older kids can help with, maintaining visual at all times and trying to make decisions on what you came for.

Sometimes, even though we have the best intentions of getting in, purchasing and getting out as quickly as possible, something delays us.  This is when it all breaks down as the kids start to get creative on how they will entertain themselves - "helping" to pick out clothes, practicing throwing skills with their snack, doing the limbo and getting out of their strollers, hiding behind clothing carousels, running away from you in the ultimate game of catch or ... the ever-feared tantrum.

My eldest son likes to help by picking items out and putting them in the bottom of the stroller.  Our double stroller has a huge storage basket that forms a dark abyss below the stroller. Anything that gets put in their, can get lost for weeks.

The other day we went shopping and I did pretty well getting in and out BUT as I was packing both kids into the car and then folding down the stroller before heaving it in my trunk, that's when I noticed it ... a navy T-shirt that I did not purchase or even look at for that matter.

AHHHHHH! I just stole a shirt.

My eldest son must have been shopping for me again and decided we must have this shirt.  I'm wondering why the security alarms at the store did not pick this up?

Now, just to clarify, I do plan on returning the shirt, but at the point of discovery I was already out in the parking lot, fully packed up and their was no way I was going back in the mall.

And, just to come completely clean, it has happened to me one other time when I magically found two black linen place mats in the abyss ... my son had much better taste that day ;)

Take care and be sure to check those stroller baskets!


Innocent Shoplifter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cozy, Feel Good Clothes

Do you ever have those days when you wake up (usually to a darkened morning and rain) and you just want to crawl into your sweatpants and comfy clothes. Luckily, as a stay-at-home Mom, I can do this if I feel like it.

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings. Usually I reach for a super cozy sweatsuit but this morning was extra special - I reached for my "heart" sweatshirt.

Now before your jaw gapes open and you start judging, hear me out ... this sweatshirt was my Mom's and she passed away seven and a half years ago. I specifically remember her wearing it in the 80s when I was growing up and we lived alone together - special times and wonderful memories.  For some reason, she held onto it (I guess it was one of her favorite rainy day shirts too) and I just couldn't part with it either. It resurfaced recently and I love throwing it on - instant all-day hug.

This shirt is definitely eye-catching, that is for sure ... and not the least bit flattering, but here's hoping you don't become so focused in your fashion aspirations that you overlook the necessity of a cozy, sentimental shirt like this.  And no, the InStyle book I referenced earlier this week, would definitely not approve.



P.S. Would love to see some of your rainy day go-to outfits - send me a pic!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Handwritten Note

There's something about the handwritten note ... both the act of writing one and the wonderful experience of receiving it. 

In this age of technology, letter writing is almost like a lost art. Don't get me wrong email is great - efficient, cheap and fast ...  but there's still something special about peeping in the mailbox and finding a card (not a bill) with your name scrawled across it.

For as long as I can remember, I have written letters - to my Dad who lived away from me, to my family and friends when I was away from them, to all of my relatives (and I have a lot) after Christmas thanking them for all of the wonderful gifts, and now that life takes us in many different directions, to my friends on their birthdays and other occasions.

It definitely helps (but is not necessary) when you have some really fun stationary lying around or a favorite pen - the ones that just seem to make your handwriting look more fancy.  But the most important part of the handwritten note is that you get to write to a friend you miss, a loved one that lives far away, or the best, a grandparent, to let them know you are thinking about them.

This past Christmas, my mother-in-law bought me personalized stationary and it is beautiful (HUGE M-I-L BONUS POINTS!). She got me personalized sheets with matching personalized envelopes and a package of family cards (see below for graphic). 
Personalized Sheet,

Family Card,

The best is they come in these fancy boxes all wrapped in tissue paper (heavenly!), you feel so special when you're opening them ... each and every time. It evolves from a chore into an experience. 

Whether we like it or not, Christmas is around the corner, and these are extremely thoughtful gifts - maybe for all of your mother-in-laws! Or if you happen to have a soft spot for the handwritten note, as do I, perhaps add these delightful morsels onto your own "pretty please" lists.

Happy writing!


P.S. For any Torontonians reading, William Ashley's on Bloor Street has an entire stationary section and that is where my gifts were from.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What the heck do you do with a liquor decanter?

Unless you are Victor Newman and live on a soap opera, what the heck do you do with a liquor decanter?

My husband and I have have some rum, vodka, a nice scotch and a few other types of alcohol lying around, but other than that it's not like we have this massively stocked liquor cabinet, nor do we pour all of our booze into decanters to breathe.

We received a couple of liquor decanters as wedding gifts and also have a few others that were given to us by a family member. Don't get me wrong they are beautiful, but they do no one any good shut away in a cuboard or china cabinet. So what do you do with them?

Voila ... My husband and I came up with the idea to put candy and snacks in them - smarties, jujubes, wine gums and pistachios. It is a lot of fun, especially during the holidays when company is visiting. If you have a bar top area you can just leave them out ... the bright colours are a casual and fun contrast to the formal crystal AND they are beautiful pieces to show off.

I also remember reading somewhere that they can be used for putting bubble bath or bath beads in to bring some sophistication and elegance into the bathroom. Unfortunately, I don't have a bathtub in my master bathroom and I don't think my one and three-year-olds are quite ready for "sophistication" in their bathroom. We will have to wait on that one.

So, if you have a few decanters lying around, just an idea on how to use them if they're shut in a cupboard somewhere.



P.S. I will warn you though, I tend to eat a lot more jujubes when they're out and about. I eat jujubes like Victor Newman drinks ... whatever it is he drinks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Educated Style

I am relatively new to blogging and the blogosphere.  During my time here, I have very quickly discovered there are a whole lot of fashion lovin' ladies out there. Blogs devoted to showcasing daily outfits (I commend you, most of my outfits are definitely not world wide web worthy!) and those dedicated to women enthralled with specific stores (J.Crew and Anthropologie seem to be the favs and I'm with you!). 

Which brings me to a certain book I bought a few years back which I think is worth a peruse by any and all females. The Book is titled, "InStyle Secrets of Style:  The complete guide to dressing your best every day" and is by the editors of In Style magazine.
Secrets of Style: InStyle's Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day

A quote from the book's first page has stayed with me since I read it:

"Fashion, by its very definition, is constantly changing.  Style, however, is something else altogether, a distinctive way you speak, act or dress ... to be in style is to express yourself, to live with imagination, ease and confidence."

I found the book to be amazing and a classic staple you can keep on your bookshelf forever, referring back to for helpful hints and ideas whenever you need to. It goes into great depth and explanation about different shapes, fabrics, cuts, styles and what is best suited for various body types. The book includes chapters on everything from Basics and Classics to Sunglasses and Swimsuits. There are explanations on appropriate dress for various occasions, the difference between day and evening dressing and even how to care for various items and fabrics. It doesn't show you how to dress like the runway, which is why I love it. It provides you with the basic elements and rules of fashion and style which then allow you to apply how you wish.

Definitely a great girlfriend-to-girlfriend present, Christmas request or look through during your next visit to Chapters or Barnes & Noble.  Especially for all you stay-at-home moms who may need a bit of inspiration for your daily ensembles.

Hope you enjoy!


Pear Shape & Proud

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Search Of A Decent Deodorant: Mission Accomplished

Maybe I'm the only one out there, but I've always struggled with finding a deodorant that I like ... for various reasons - fragrance, ability to do its job, the whole aluminum issue, white streaks, and the list goes on.

I will admit that for a few years I went organic in the deodorant department and did find a product by Jason, fragrance: Tea Tree and it was pretty good. (It is important to note though that I wasn't really working out on a regular basis at the time so it wasn't put to any extreme tests). AND it did not hold up very well during hot days, long days or nervous, "have to make a presentation today" days.

Throughout the years, I have had my challenges and disasters with the so-called "invisible", "streak-free" anti-perspirants. Bull Sh%#! is all I have to say. They ALWAYS seem to leave a mark and those wind up gel ones - how gross does that feel when it goes on?

And don't get me started with the fragrances ... I mean "spring mist"? "fresh breeze"? Apparently the Quality Assurance branch of those companies haven't stepped outside of the building to smell what these natural elements actually smell like, cause it ain't like that!  And talk about strong.

Fear not, there is a happy ending here.

I have found an amazing anti-perspirant by Nivea. I never even knew Nivea did deodorant. Anyways, I got the roll-on, pure invisible, unscented and love it. It is truly clear and does not leave marks and it seems to work very well (it is important to note, however, that I am still not working out on a regular basis!... but I am carrying around a 22 lb toddler and chasing after a three-year-old so it is being tested some way or another).

I'm sure you can pick it up anywhere that carries Nivea ... I got mine at Shopper's Drug Mart for you Canucks reading.

So if you're like me and anti-perspirant challenged, the next time you find yourself scraping your underarm with the plastic deodorant container, trying to get that last little bit out, Nivea's new line is worth giving a shot.


Clear & Unscented

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Little White Plate

When hosting a party, it's the little things that count and go a long way - fresh cut flowers, candles, special "welcome" drinks, coordinated linens, and of course, the Little White Plate.

As women, we are always told that it is essential to have a Little Black Dress stowed away in our closets that is perfect for just about any occasion. It looks great, but more importantly, with a few touches here and there, it shows off the person wearing it (not the other way around).

 I have discovered it is much the same with the Little White Plate.  Over the past few years my husband and I have started collecting various plain, white serving dishes and plates.  I'm usually more of a colour kind of gal and pick things that make me feel happy, but for serving, I have learned, the Little White Plate shows off the food and looks the best.

Plates that are coloured or patterned, may be beautiful, but people tend to stare at the plate itself, rather than admiring all of your hard work and effort that went into the food. They can also make a serving area look a little hodge podgy.

Crate & Barrel's Square White Plate

I encourage you to invest in some Little White Plates and serving dishes - so easy to coordinate with, available at every price point and will end up looking very stylish ... plus this way you can have a crazy tablecloth or other accessories and you don't have to worry about matching!

Happy White Plating!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Coat That Got Away .... errr

Last Friday, I took five minutes for myself during a marathon episode of running errands. These five minutes took me to Winners (for you Americans out there, Winners is like T.J. Maxx).

I have been wanting to get a new winter coat - a sort of everyday one with a bit of style that I could wear casual or slightly dressy. Nothing too out there, as I have mentioned before my style is simple. Then, I saw it, a nice little black DKNY number for $109.99 CAD. DKNY calls her "Julianne".

DKNY Julianne Single Breasted A-line Coat
DKNY's Julianne coat (image from

I liked the coat because of some of the details - the empire waist, the slight tulip/pleated bottom (good for my hips), the hood and the three buttons on the pleat at the back (not seen in photo). Of course I didn't buy it and decided to think about it - mistake! 

I finally convinced myself on Sunday to run back and buy it, only to discover that it was gone! Now for those of you who are not familiar with Winners, yes it is a chain, but every store has different inventory and every department is a bit of a free for all, so the idea of actually trying to find a store that has this coat still available is, well, IMPOSSIBLE!

I have found it online, but ordering from the U.S. is a pain because of all of the extra duty and taxes we get charged, and I'm not planning a trip across the border for a couple of months so that doesn't work either. Not to mention, everywhere I have found it online, it is at least $40 more.

Sighhhhhhh ...

Oh well ... I guess this love affair was not meant to be.



P.S. Ever notice that your fondness for an article of clothing greatly increases, just by the mere fact that you can't have it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Essential Chocolate Cake (allergy-sensitive and delicious!)

It's always daunting to try out a new recipe while entertaining, especially if you've never entertained these people before and you're making a first impression.

I tried this chocolate cake this past weekend for my son's birthday and it was delicious. Very moist and a definite go-to if you are hosting anyone with an egg and nut allergy (as I was). Allergies are prevalent these days but if you're not used to cooking with the limitations in mind, it can be very challenging and you never know how the recipes will turn out. I can assure you, the recipe links below are delicious and approved by the egg/nut-allergic family I was cooking for.

Chocolate Cake (Egg, Nut and Butter-free)

Butter Icing (Egg and Nut-free)

Good ones to add to the recipe folder, compliments of Canadian Living.

Until next time,


Monday, September 13, 2010

Caked Out

So, my husband and I (and the kids) survived the past two weeks of birthdays. My sons’ birthdays are one week apart, this year celebrating their first and third birthdays with separate parties. Our one-year-old had a family celebration, complete with a time capsule (in lieu of gifts) that guests were encouraged to contribute to that he will open on his 16th birthday in 2025. Our three-year-old had a kid party (this past Saturday) with seven kids and eight adults (us and three sets of parents).

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was one of the busiest, craziest two hours of my life. We all had fun - painted our own t-shirts, did a scavenger hunt, had mini burgers, ate cake and tore up the basement for a little bit. Luckily the weather cooperated and 90 per cent of the party was outside. Where do they get their energy? Non-stop for 120 minutes. Post party, I had a three hour nap - total conk out.

In a previous post, I mentioned my love for making my sons' birthday cakes and my three-year-old's request for a soccer cake with gummi bears ?!?  I have included a picture so you can see how it turned out

Post-party hindsight:

• 1.5 hours would have been plenty, two hours is pushing it as this is when the meltdowns begin
• Watch out for allergies. We had a nut and egg allergy but luckily knew ahead of time - ask!
• For a young age like three, make sure parents come as the extra hands on deck (and ability to discipline
   their own kids if need be) are very helpful
• Outside if possible
• Brown paper on the table with crayons, buys you a few extra minutes of table time
• If you have a younger child, try to put them down for a nap right before party so you have more time to
  host and they can still enjoy the latter part when they wake up (cake!)
• Think about having an afternoon party -more time to get everything ready. We did 10:30 a.m. start time and it was tight. We were ready, but just!
• And last but not least ... Starbucks (or at least ours) makes these great coffee to-go packages for parties, complete with milk, sugar, cups and stir sticks - just do it!

Now all I need to do is find out a way to work off all this cake. It's so hard to say no when the leftovers are just staring at you every time you open the fridge.

Talk soon,

On a Sugar Low

P.S. Does it count as eating a piece of cake if I actually ate the equivalent of TWO! pieces of cake, but did so only through casual fork bites off the main cake and did not use a plate? Errrrr .... I think I know the answer.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear fashion experts: I need your help and advice

I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. And when I say that I don't mean that I am a grub ... I mean, yes, some days for sure, but I like simple, effortless fashion. I'm not a bling kind of girl and am not one for multiple accessories or looks that, although they may be in style, look like they took a lot of work to put together. For me, the style is in the small things - a detail here or there, a gorgeous but minimal coat, funky bracelets, awesome shoes or an amazing belt.

Ah, the belt...

I feel quite comfortable with most accessories and my ability to assess whether they match, look good or gel with my outfit, but the belt eludes me. I mean, I can throw on a worn in, brown leather number with a pair of boyfriend jeans no problem but it's all the other types of belts that I'm in the dark about - the skinny belt, the thick belt worn around the waist, the belt thrown over a baggy and long shirt over leggings, etc.
Apologies for the quality ... in a rush this a.m.

I do have some nice pieces in my belt collection ... I think ... but am confused by how exactly to use them. I am famous for trying to put belts with various outfits, asking my husband for his opinion (always an "I'd take the belt off ..." response) and then running out the door sans belt and even more stumped.

I'm asking all you fashion experts out there for some solid, go-to, belt advice or guidelines on how to pair belts and outfits so they don't look too try hard. Or perhaps the five must-haves of a belt collection.  Remember, not keen on the bling and simple, effortless look is preferred.


Confused, any way you cinch it

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I love taking them, and more importantly, I love it when both of my children take them at the same time.

Ahhhhhhhh. The stillness and quiet in the house is wonderful.

You always hear people say, "nap when your kids nap so you can have a rest," but even when I'm exhausted I hesitate to do this because although your body gets a rest, mentally it's like you never even stopped. You don't get time to do anything for you and then you wake up to crying or screaming (FYI - not that enjoyable of a way to wake up for those who have never experienced it). So much for gradually waking up and drifting in and out of consciousness like the good ol' days ... nope, you wake to "Moooooooom!" or "Wahhhhhhhhhh!" and must begin fully functioning and accelerate from 0-100 mph in 30 seconds or less. I have woken up from naps so out of it that there is a good ten second time period where I have absolutely no idea what is going on or where I am.

A few of my friends that do not have children have asked me whether I was a "napper" pre-kids, concerned that they won't be able to nap to catch up on sleep when they do have kids ... and yes, I was a napper pre-kids. I assure you, the severity of lack of sleep that exists at times will make a napper out of anybody - not to worry. I was also a "must get 8 hours of sleep" person pre-kids and that's not working out so much these days ... but I'm fine.

So whether you're enjoying a nap yourself today - either by sleeping or relishing in the quiet - or have to settle for no nap and a warm, cozy cup of tea or coffee will suffice... enjoy an "Ahhhhhhh" moment.

Nap lover

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Do: Make a List ... of lists I need to make ... of things I need to do

I am a chronic list maker. I never realized how bad it was until recently. Being at home, I've noticed it more as it is quite obvious when multiple lists stare at me from multiple locations around the house and I still do not feel organized.

When I was working full time (and without kids) I was still a list maker, but the addiction and the quantity of them was easily disguised as "being organized".  Having a to do list within a solitary notebook on my desk at work was efficient, necessary and helped keep me focused.

Since being at home and being a Mom though, lists have become less about staying focused and more about desperately hoping that by scribbling notes down on the back of an envelope or scrap piece of paper lying on the kitchen counter, that perhaps, I won't totally lose my mind and may just manage to remember a thought before it flies out of my brain to be lost .... possibly forever.

A few weeks ago, I took a good look at my "organizational tools" - lap top, Outlook, iPhone, hard copy calendar, daytimer, multiple notebooks and random scrap lists - wow! when I write it out like that it seems a tad bit obvious that perhaps I was overlapping my efforts and being a bit (or A LOT!) redundant. I am proud to say that I have scrapped the hard copy calendar, daytimer and all of the 1/2 used notebooks and replaced it with one ... that's right ONE! .... nice new notebook that will be for all of my notes, lists, planning, etc. This way I know that everything will be contained within my computer, phone (which is synced to my computer) or my notebook ... much better. I'm feeling less stressed and more organized already :)



P.S. I will secretly admit that in this modern age of texting, facebooking, blogging and everything electronic, I am still a sucker for hard copy lists and calendars. Nothing beats a paper calendar for reviewing upcoming weekends and events with hubby.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scary to ... Pretty darn good in 5 minutes

I think we all can admit that we have, at one time or another, stumbled upon the show "What Not To Wear" and watched an episode or 50. There's something about watching a makeover that is addictive - that curiosity of wondering how good you could look if someone taught you exactly how to do makeup for you or, more importantly, what kind of retail therapy you could accomplish with $2K in NYC!

Anyways, I'm not sure how I came across the book, but Carmindy (the makeup artist on What Not To Wear) has a book "the 5 Minute Face - The Quick & Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman".  Last year, right before Christmas when family members were grilling me for ideas, I through this book out to someone and (score!) received it as a present. Honestly, love it! I read the entire thing - very easy and simple read. Made a list of some key makeup pieces I was missing and tried it out.  I was really impressed with the outcome - me!

I'm not a huge makeup person but this book is great because it shows you how to achieve a really simple, clean, natural looking face (without a lot of heavy makeup) in 5 minutes or less. It also explains (and shows you) how to step it up a notch for a more sassy/evening occasion. Perfect for busy women who are not interested in spending (or do not have) an hour to get ready in the a.m., but still really want to look great and put on some makeup.

Don't get me wrong, I do not put makeup on every morning, but now I have the tools to do so if I desire.

Have fun!


Made up ... sometimes

P.S. Where has tinted moisturizer been all my life?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not Martha Approved ... but delicious nonetheless

Cakes - Some people love to make them, some people only buy them, while others just enjoy eating them.  I do all three.

Eldest's 1st Bday cupcakes
However, for my boys' birthdays, I really enjoy making them their cakes.  For my eldest's first, I made cupcakes and (attempted) to decorate them all like different animals.  For his 2nd big day, I did a bumble bee cake and sadly forgot to take a picture.  And this year for #3 and my youngest's #1, I did a train cake and am attempting another cake that will be a soccer field with gummi bear players (don't ask! that was the specific request, inspired by this gummi bear song and his apparent new interest in soccer). 

Youngest's 1st Bday Train Cake
As you can see, the result is pretty basic, nothing perfect or even remotely resembling a Martha Stewart creation ... but delicious, and more importantly ... made with love.  If you are game to try out a cake, but don't have all the fancy piping gadgets or funky cake pans (I couldn't be bothered to buy all the "stuff"), just google the type of cake you want to make (i.e. "train cake") and then click on "images" at the top left hand portion of your screen when the results pop up. This will show you many visual inspirations for your masterpiece and give you other homemade ideas.  Happy creating!

Signing off,

Not Martha

P.S. Answers to previous construction vehicle post are: top left - Front end loader, top right - grader, bottom right - bulldozer and bottom left - excavator.

Construction Vehicle 101

I must admit that up until recently, when walking with my son, I would identify virtually all construction vehicles as "tractors" or if I wanted to get really specific, "bulldozers".

That is until approximately six months ago, he hit his "construction phase". Instantly he was into everything construction.  It's funny because within a week of taking out a few kids' construction books from the library, I now know more than I ever have, about construction vehicles and sites. I can identify back hoes, excavators, front end loaders, earth movers, graders, rollers, bull dozers, cranes, fork lifts and of course the basic dump truck. Who said you can't learn anything while reading kids' books!  thanks to a couple of basic coloured board books, I can now walk past the many construction sites in our neighbourhood and correctly identify most moving vehicles. A "tractor" - how basic!
See how good you are ... name the vehicles below? Answers in next post.


Hard Hat Hilda

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shoe Hell

Recently, I returned from a date night with my husband with really sore feet!  You know the ones ... "man, these shoes look nice, but holy s$&t, they hurt my feet" sore feet.

I was all excited to go out on the town with my hubby as he had planned it and I was meeting him at work.  I had a new dress I had bought, threw on some make up and then had to decide what shoes to wear ... It is really frustrating when you are debating between three pairs of shoes, and each of them have a major personality flaw that involves different aches and pains inflicted on yoru tootsies.

The candidates were as follows:
Pair #1 - ivory peep toes - comfortable at first but sqeeze and cut into feet once swollen;
Pair #2 - brown ankle strap heels - love!, look great on, but honestly, I think they are atleast a size too small because they are not enjoyable to wear from the moment I put them on my feet; and last but not least,
Pair #3 - black ankle strap lower heels - comfier, but don't quite match the outfit

So what did I choose? Not the comfortable ones of course ... I brought both #1 and #2 (sorry the picture is not in order). I wore #2's into hubby's office and after walking ten steps in the parking garage once we arrived at our destination, limped back to the car to get #1s and grinned and bared it. Luckily it was a sit down date :)

Maybe after being at home for three years and wearing mostly slippers, I have become a shoe wimp?  Anyone know of any comfortable, somewhat funky dress shoes that offer a healthy alternative to shoe hell?

I do have high heels that are comfortable but they aren't the ones I reach to when I want to look goooood. All my goooood shoes hurt. Am I alone?

All of these celebs are always wearing ridiculous 6' -heeled shoes ...are shoes more comfy as the price goes up or ... perhaps they have man servants and slippers waiting for them in the wings?

Signing off,

Blistered & Limping

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Toilet Training & Smartie Addictions

Okay so my “one week shy of being a 3 yr old” son is toilet trained … I think.

It has been three days of “dry” underwear with a diaper at nap time and bed time. No accidents (but taking to bathroom to “try” every 40 mins or so).

Toilet training is something that we have attempted many times – stickers, charts, yelps of praise, new toilet seats,etc. etc. etc. I will secretly admit that when (by total fluke) my husband and I got our son to do a #2 on the toilet while on vacation when he was only 11.5 months, I thought this was going to be a snap. “Bahaw!”, I thought,to all those people who say boys are usually 3 yrs old when they finally get it! “I’ll show you”, i gloated inside, not my son!

YEAH RIGHT!!!! Here we are, 2 years later .

What finally worked? Him being fully ready I guess and … the secret weapon …Smarties … one for a successful pee, two for a numero dos and three smarties for a joint effort. Now we have to deal with a nasty smartie addiction … and his aim

Signing off,

Toilet Trainer

"Guaranteed to enhance bust by 2 sizes"

This was the caption underneath a full page bra ad I read recenlty … ?!?!?

Am I the only woman out there that is not interested in bulking up my bust by TWO sizes? Throughout the next couple of weeks I will be giving up my inflated ‘B’ cup and returning (post pregnancy and nursing) to my humble ‘A’ cup … and for the most part, I’m fine with that and wear it proudly. Sure I don’t mind pushing the ladies up from time to time, but TWO WHOLE SIZES? Come on!. An ‘A’ cupper is about the only person that could go up two sizes and still look reasonable as a “c” cup. The other 90 per cent of the population that is not an A cup, would be talking about “enhancing” up to a d, e or f cup? That’s absurd … unless of course you were advertising to the Pamela Anderson-type exclusively, but no, this ad was in our regular ol’ local Thursday paper with all of the other flyers.

Signing off,

A cupper

Little Black Dress meets ... a pile of soiled laundry

Let me first say that this has been a long time in the making, but nonetheless, here we are.

Welcome to Cashmere & Carrotsticks (C&C), where Little Black Dress meets a pile of soiled laundry. So happy you could join me.

What I hope to achieve with C&C is a blog with topics that women juggling multiple roles and identities can relate to. Right now in my life, I often feel conflicted and torn between two roles – woman and stay-at-home Mom. Some of you may question why a stay-at-home mom and woman are two different roles … what I mean to explain is the conflict between feeling “womanly” and being the practical, dressed in grubs, showered some days, errand doer – Mom. So this blog will have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde personality – some days posting topics and thoughts on girly, “womanly” stuff and other days, posts on the nit and grit of life at home. We will see how it evolves. Here goes …

(p.s. I am still learning about all things “blog” so cut me some slack if the first few posts and weeks are a bit rough around the edges or lacking all the fancy widgets and links. I wanted to get some posts up and will be updating the site as I go.)
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