How do you measure success?  Is success attainable?  Once you’ve obtained success – is that it or are we constantly moving those goal posts?  Its a tough concept and is so often perceived as the root to happiness.  At one point are we content with what we have achieved?

I feel like my life has always been in pursuit of more.  Bigger, better… more.  I can’t say its a bad thing.  I could rest on my laurels at any point and say “there I’ve done it” – nabbed that client, achieved that promotion, started a family etc.  But I can’t – I am always striving for more.  Whether that’s a good thing is tough to say.  Am I putting too much pressure on myself to achieve?  Am I creating stress in my life in not settling for what I have already?  Sure, I guess that’s always the case.

Now get ready – are you sitting down?  Here’s where I get all existential on your poor ass.  I think this is the meaning of life.  Simply put – experience.  Learning more, striving for more, feeling more.  Its all a spiritual education and experience is the teacher.

When I think about life this way, I feel more open to whatever is thrown my way.  Good or bad – this is just further education.  Take from it what you can – learn from mistakes, learn from triumphs.  It certainly makes things easier to handle when taking this view.

And achieving SUCCESS is simply striving to learn more.  Happiness is enjoying the process.

PS – this one is for you Maman!

The Hairy Eyeball


The hairy eyeball.  Its happened to all of us.  That moment when you catch someone staring at you – the up and down.   My Mom calls it “unzipping”.  My reaction is to always go negative – they must think my outfit is stupid, they notice the chipped nail polish, the zit on my chin, the peanut butter finger prints around my knees, the bad hair day.  Or worse, the way I’m handling my kids, the food in my grocery cart, the difficult business call I am taking on my cell.  I always go negative and assume the worst.

The truth is however, if its me doing the staring its generally positive – a cute haircut, nice outfit or impressive feat of juggling that has caught my attention.  I notice myself doing the staring and feel remorse.  Its at those moments I wish it was socially acceptable to yell at strangers:

“Hey – I love your hair!  Who cuts it for you?  Did you need a flat iron to get that look?”

“OMG those shoes are fantastic.  They look amazing with those pants.  I wish I could pull that off.  Good for you.”

“You are amazing.  You’re carrying your toddler on your shoulders, juggling bags and groceries and are heading home to start cooking dinner.  You are my hero and you deserve a medal!”

I fantasize sometimes when driving the car or pushing the shopping cart that I can hurl these compliments on the unsuspecting women passing by.  Social conventions prevent me from doing so, but next time you see me staring you can be assured that I think you’re awesome!


Fine dining with Shorty #2

Fine dining with Shorty #2

Who knew a meal could be such a pain in the ass!  Seriously.  Every day around 1pm as I sit down to lunch I realize I haven’t done a damn thing about dinner.  Next follows the mad panic to figure it out.  The daily hunting and gathering is a constant irritation which provides nothing but stress… oh yeah and in the end sustenance.

We roll in the door sometime between 5:45 and 6 – the kids are starved, we’re pooped and bedtime is just around the corner.  The first order of business is pulling together some sort of quasi-healthy, hopefully palatable meal that will please 2 kids and 2 adults.  And to think we can face this incredible challenge not once a week – but 5 nights in a row.  Awesome!

I know what you’re thinking – make a plan, cook ahead, yada yada yada.  Tried it all – the simple fact of the matter is that no matter how organized we can be on this front, I’m still the person who hits the supermarket during the after work commute hoping to find something for dinner!  Don’t even get me started on groceries – that my friends is a whole other blog!

We have successfully followed a cook ahead plan – a freezer full of curries and soups has been a blessing – but man, I’m BORED of chicken soup.  The nightly meal plan (Mon – Chicken, Tues – Pasta etc) never works.  Who wants to live life so rigidly?  Not to mention the long term planning that needs to go into those menus.

So here we are again, 1pm and I’m texting J – “what do you feel like for supper?” and the response follows one of 3 routes.

1. “I have no idea.  Whatever you want is fine.”  Which translates to: “I have no idea so you think of something.”

2. “Let’s have soup.” Which translates to a pantry lucky dip.

3. “Take out?”  Which translates to “Take out.”

We’re lucky, we live in a great foodie city and can order cheap, fantastic and bonus – healthy food on the way home.  We eat sushi like its McDonald’s in this town.  However, we can’t do this every night.  So begins the conversation – pasta?  No.  Chicken?  No.  Delicious braised lamb with couscous and white bean ragout?  Are you kidding me?  I wish.

This doesn’t even factor in the curve ball of Shorty #1.  A great eater initially, #1 has grown pickier in her old age.  She loves a finely grilled hot dog or a delicate macaroni with cheese.  Occasionally she enjoys a beautiful cheese pizza.  She goes absolutely crazy when anything comes served in a sauce (save for her beloved pasta of course).  We are trying to re-broaden her culinary horizons, but so far this continues to be an uphill battle.

Shorty #2 is far less… discerning.  She will venture into the more exotic territories of the spice route with curries and other savoury dishes.  But she too has her moods and sometimes only scrambled eggs and bapbap (aka ketchup) will do.

So how do we plan a meal for 4 that will appeal to all?  That is sauce, gluten and dairy free.  That tastes amazing to everyone and won’t contribute to our culinary ennui.  Beats me – but whoever figures this out should win the Nobel Prize!

Come on Vogue…

The Cannes Red Carpet - that's my back.

The Cannes Red Carpet – that’s my back.

I’m really lucky.  In my line of work I get to attend some great events.  Fancy do’s with beautiful people and spare no expense excess.  It can be a lot of fun – but I always face the same problem (get ready – this is one of those problems that falls in the “My diamond shoes are too tight” category).  I never know what to wear.

The Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.  The black-tie Kennedy Centre Honors.  Fancy cocktail party outside the Louvre in Paris.  Really, what do I care.  The paparazzi aren’t photographing me.  But nevertheless, I’m a woman and I care about fashion and how I look.  So how on earth do I handle caviar styles with a mac and cheese budget?   All these events are populated by well-heeled attendees who are particularly well-heeled in their Christian Laboutins and couture.  I on the other hand will be wearing something from the Spring 2000 line of The Gap (Black Magic strikes again?) and accessories courtesy of Joe Fresh.

For the record, I always buy my accessories at the local Superstore with the Joe Fresh capsule shop.  Here’s how it goes:

“I love that necklace.”

“Oh this old thing.  I picked it up while buying avocados and diapers.”

Classy, right?  Super fancy.  But its actually ok.  I would love a beautiful couture dress, don’t get me wrong.  But the reality is, I don’t live in the champagne and caviar world.  I just visit it occasionally.

However, on my last business trip to Paris I was given a treat – a beautiful dress from Lanvin.  I couldn’t believe the generosity and was truly touched by the gesture.  This dress is a beaut!  A pretty colour with the perfect drape.  Perhaps I could get used to a little high fashion in my wardrobe after all.

A selfie of the new dress...

A selfie of the new dress…

A little something from Lanvin

A little something from Lanvin


I’ve Got a Crush on You

I have a crush.  I admit it.  A complete and total, school-girl like infatuation.  I can’t stop thinking about it, I can’t stop dreaming about it, I can’t stop lusting…

I am in love with a jacket.

Not just ANY jacket.  A blazer to be precise.  A Smythe blazer.  Its SO bad ass!  Its black and cut in all the right places.  The peaked collar gives a little polish while the cut-outs and padded shoulders give it just the right amount of edge.

Either of these Smythe beauties will do fine.

Either of these Smythe beauties will do fine.

I want it… and I can’t have it.

I’m cheap.  I like a sale (remember Black Magic Woman?).  The Smythes are beautiful but ringing in around $600, I just can’t do it.  Childcare bills, swimming lessons, summer camp are all taking precedence over me being united with the object of my obsession.

I love you, you beautiful work of tailoring.  Maybe someday we will be together.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Check out that poker face.

Check out that poker face.

My 6 year old (aka Shorty #1) has always been brutally honest.  The art of lying has (thankfully) been completely lost on her.  She recently learned that perhaps bending the truth was the ideal way to get out of a sticky situation – but she has a terrible poker face and I can always tell:

Me: “Did you hit your sister?”

Shorty #1: “No”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Shorty #1: “Umm, no.”

Me: “Do you want to change your answer?”

Shorty #1: “She was bugging me!!!”

I know I should be happy about Shorty’s honesty.  Hopefully she’ll remain a terrible liar into her teens.  That’ll make my life MUCH easier.  The only trouble is that right now, she doesn’t just speak the truth – the kid is BRUTALLY HONEST.

For instance, last night I was bustling around with the usual evening pre-bedtime rituals – kitchen tidying, kid bathing, teeth brushing, vitamin dosing, toilet paper roll changing, blind closing – you know typical mom duties.  All the while counting down the tasks til I could get into my own pj’s and crawl between the sheets.  Shorty stops me and says “Mom, you know you look really old.”

WHAT?  Are you freaking kidding me with that?  I LOOK OLD?

And it doesn’t stop there.  This is the same kid who comes in for a hug and stops, squeezing my belly saying “Mom.  Your belly is sooooo squishy!!”


So, swallowing my pride I take Shorty #1’s honesty and smile, moving on to the next topic of conversation.  I can’t argue with the truth – let’s just hope it lasts.

The Urban Farmer

Maybe Shorty #1 will have a green thumb?

Maybe Shorty #1 will have a green thumb?

I think I may have a black thumb.  I can’t seem to grow anything… except weeds and zucchini.

When we moved into our house 5 summers ago we inherited a backyard full of beautiful things.  The previous owner was definitely a green thumb and she knew her shit.  Me, on the other hand – 5 years later -and I’m staring down the barrel of Alice in Freaking Wonderland.  Its overgrown and full yet patchy and prickly at the same time.  I realize I need to do some thinning but much like my eyebrows I have a tendency to overdo it.  Good news is that the eyebrows grow back quicker than the laurel hedge (oops).

I thought it would be great to grow things we could eat.  So I spent a Saturday ripping out an entire section of the garden that was currently occupied by a nest of tiger lilies and irises.  I didn’t realize that these were years of intertwined bulbs I was messing with so it took a loooooong time.  I brought in some fresh top soil and set out to plant the garden… from seed.

Yeah.  Those suckers are SMALL.  Really small and you’re supposed to space them apart – far apart.  Well, it didn’t work out as planned I may have overseeded (yes, this led to clusters of mutant mini carrots all growing into one another – lovely).  I lovingly tended the little veggie patch – but as is wont to happen here in the Pacific Northwest we experienced a very extended Spring followed by June gloom and the seeds took ages to sprout.  Finally, July came around and brought some sunshine and warm temperatures to our little yard and the veggie patch jumped to life.

I was buoyed!  Excited about the prospect of cooking up our carrots and green beans, roasting the zucchini and building a cucumber salad.  July marched on and the garden slowly followed behind.

In August the only crop we could actually make into a meal were the zucchinis.  By now I had abandoned the shriveled cucumber plants, bid farewell to the scrawny green beans and well ran like hell from the creepy mutant carrots.  But the zucchinis were there and they were flourishing – yay!  Until…

…the aphids arrived.  I was trying to keep our little backyard oasis organic, so I asked Google what to do.  Ladybugs!  Of course, the ladybugs will eat the aphids.  Off to the organic garden shop to pick up ladybugs.  250 of the little dolls.  I brought them home for what I like to call The Great Ladybug Emancipation.

The next morning I went to check the garden – the aphids were gone… and so were the ladybugs.  Every last one.

That’s when the zucchini developed mold and I hung up my garden gloves for the season.  This year I really gave up.  I’ve just planted a patch of impatiens.  Word has it that they could careless about the sun, so lets see what happens.  I did add a small zucchini patch only because I’m a glutton for punishment.

I guess I’ll never be an urban farmer…