Black Magic Woman

Black Magic joined me on vacation in Mexico in 2002

In 2000, I took a little trip with some girlfriends down to Seattle for a shopping weekend.    I know we had fun and that we bought a lot of clothes and drank a lot of red wine.  We might have even crashed a wedding.  What I do remember is I bought a little black dress at the Gap Outlet shop for $15.  That LBD has gone on to live a long and fruitful life in my wardrobe and I still rock that bad boy to this day.  Hell, I’ve owned this dress longer than I’ve known my husband.

That’s right – if I amortized the total purchase price over the occasions when I (or others) have worn it, I would be running about 10 cents a wear.

Made of some polyester jersey fabric, the dress looks as good today as the sunny day I bought it from the outlet mall off the I-5.  I can roll it in a ball, pack it in a suitcase, pull it out on arrival with nary a wrinkle in sight.  I’ve worn it through various weight variations including two pregnancies and have loaned it out to friends.  I wash it in the washing machine with regular detergent and hang it to dry and the thing hasn’t frayed or aged a day.  That’s why I like to call it Black Magic.

Its a v-neck, cap sleeve, mid-knee cut with the perfect drape that flatters anyone that wears it.  Sure I’ve had to pop on my beloved Spanx on occasion, but still it works.

Black Magic Cape Town

Out for dinner in Cape Town with Black Magic and Shorty #2 in 2009

I remember first wearing it with a dark denim jean jacket and a pair of cow print black and red clogs (I did tell you I bought this dress in 2000).  Lately I like to pair it with some black patten pumps and a leather jacket.  Add a great choker if the occasion is fancy or a fun long necklace if its a little more casual.  Winter or summer – you can wear this dress any time of year, just change up the accessories to match the season.

In no particular order, I have worn this dress on first dates (including my husband), weddings, my parent’s milestone surprise birthday party, to the rehearsal party for my own wedding, several black tie events, on tour as both a cocktail dress and beach cover-up, on vacations, business functions, several staff holiday parties (its like camouflage – change the accessories and no one remembers the damn thing) at least one (maybe two Juno Awards) and a Grammy Awards.

For the Grammy appearance – I was 6 months pregnant and that dress just morphed around my great big baby bump.  Its like its made of plasma or something out of Star Trek.  I’ve loaned it out to friends and it just seems to shape itself perfectly to the wearer whatever their height and size.

My friend H borrowed Black Magic this past April.

My friend H borrowed Black Magic this past April and rocked it!

I liken it to Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper – it won’t wear out.  I’m sure if The Gap knew that this dress was so incredible – they would never want to make it again.  It would negate women from ever needing to buy another LBD in their lifetime.  (OK – thats ridiculous, seeing as I personally own about 10 black dresses.  But to be fair I do work in the music business where black is standard issue and in cases when you’re behind the scenes – a necessity).

I picture some Judy Jetson type picking it up in a futuristic thrift shop in 2113 and wearing it on one of her first dates.  I hope Black Magic brings her as much luck as it has me.  I love you BLACK MAGIC.  You will outlive us all.

The Glow of Pregnancy

Me at 3 months with Shorty #1

Me at 3 months with Shorty #1

As if!  Ok, I never glowed when I was pregnant.  Unless you count the night sweats at 3am!

I was out buying a baby shower gift for a very sweet friend expecting her first and I started thinking back to those days when I was big as a house.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls more than anything and the combined 18+ months carrying them was fully worth it.  But man, I was a BAAAAD pregnant person in so many ways.  Of course, I followed all the rules – no booze, no brie cheese, no sushi (no booze!!!).  I tried to eat right, get enough rest etc etc – but I was not one of those people who glowed.  I did not blossom into motherhood, I sort of squished into it.

First things first, I spent all nine months in a near constant state of panic.  Our generation of pregnant women are able to obtain information about said pregnancy 24-7.  We find out we’re pregnant 3 days before our period is even late.  We can Google any symptom, concern, ache, itch etc and get some diagnosis.  We can crowdsource our pregnancies for pete’s sake.  “When I pee 17 times a day it smells like lemon pledge” – pop that into and you’ll get 14 different responses.

User: MommyBrain

“Oh yeah, that happened to me, but it smelled like Chlorox”

User: GreenMommy

“You can’t use Chlorox its terrible for the environment”

User: MamaPanic

“Call your Doctor immediately, thats a sign of utter and imminent disaster”

The real answer here – Googling for medical advice is a terrible idea – ESPECIALLY when you’re hormonal.

The day Shorty #1 was born, I was so relieved that I could actually SEE her.  What happened next – for the past 6 years, I wake up at 2am, sneak into her room and make sure she’s breathing.  But at least I can check, right?

I had this rose-coloured view that pregnancy would be so amazing.  I would be mother earth incarnate in cute maternity dresses wrapped around my little basket-ball belly, doing pre-natal yoga classes each day and lunching with friends in the last days before babe was born.

Yeah, no.  Not really.  So here are some of the things that weren’t exactly what I expected while expecting…

1.  Maternity Clothes – trying to look like a beautiful, pregnant Gwen Stefani without the help of full-time stylist and glam squad is impossible.  Gwen Stefani’s maternity clothes are not what’s available at the local mall.  The maternity clothes that you can find would be more akin to styles preferred by your grade six English teacher.  And WHY do all pairs of maternity jeans have to include studs and sequins?  WHY?  And don’t give me that business you can maternity COH or J Brand.  Yes, you can get those – but good luck fitting into those puppies at 6 months (ok, for me I couldn’t squeeze into them after my first trimester!)  To add insult to injury, when I hit the 9 month mark I was lucky if I could find a maternity top to cover my behemoth belly!

2. Pre-Natal Yoga – this humbled me.  After 5 minutes into my first pre-natal yoga class I rolled my eyes and thought – this is lame.  I won’t even feel this after 45 minutes.  10 minutes later I was on my back in reclined mountain, sweaty and puffing and stayed there for the rest of the class.  That was the first and LAST pre-natal yoga class for me.

3. Ignorance is Bliss – As mentioned, I lived through my pregnancies in a constant state of panic.  I am an avid worrier by nature – but this was on a whole other level.  In some ways, I wish I had never read all those creepy pregnancy books that tell you what to worry about.  My Mom had 4 kids and she barely batted an eye – and we were all fine!

4. Being Pregnant Gives People License to Boss You Around.  Seriously, the minute you start to show get ready for the onslaught of unsolicited advice from complete strangers.  This doesn’t even begin to compare however to the instructions strangers will dole out to a new Mom – but that’s another Blog.

Hang in there preggo readers.  Don’t worry if you’re not the Drew Barrymore of pregnancy.  And don’t worry if you don’t look like Gisele Bundchen at 4 weeks post partum!  Once your little bundle arrives – its all a distant memory.