White Chalk????

Its the end of August and its mayhem.

The last week of my life has been a little hectic, to the say the least.  In addition to a busy time in the office its also back to school prep time.  Which means its also appointment booking time.  And its massive acquisition time.  We’re also about to fly across the country for 10 days for a cottage stay AND a family wedding (read: packing for 4 people for a trans-continental trip with the two main activities on the exact opposite end of the wardrobe spectrum).  Add to that my entrepreneurial husband’s move into a new office space and the fact that the floors in our 18 month year old house are about to be replaced.  ALL OF THEM.  Yeah, so if I told you that I enjoy a large-ish glass of wine after work today I am sure you wouldn’t judge.  Right?

To say I could snap at any moment would be an understatement.  Am I holding it together ok?  The answer is a resounding “for now”.  My biggest worry is the proverbial straw that will break this Mother’s back.  At the moment, the straw just might be white chalk.  What now?  Yep, you heard me right – WHITE CHALK.

vectorstock_5577506

WTF.  White Chalk.  The bain of existence!

Shorty #2 is kicking off her preschool career this September and as part of her care package to contribute to the classroom (in addition to a pack of pencil crayons, some glue and an earthquake kit) the school has requested a box of plain white chalk.  Seems easy enough right?  Well, I’ve been to 3 stores already and NO WHITE CHALK.  Multi-coloured chalk a plenty – but no white chalk to be found.

Keep in mind that I have a full time job, 2 kids and a husband and have been running around the city for the past week dealing with all the shit on my plate and getting myself into 3 separate stores, all of which do indeed carry chalk but none of it white is just the sort of thing that could push me over the edge.  Like really?  What would happen if I drop the Shorty off for her 3 week gradual entry program (oh, THAT my friends is a whole other blog post) with a pack of multi-coloured chalk.  Would the teachers forgive and forget?  Or would I be forever branded as a problem parent.  Imagine, the scenario.  The one teacher says to the other “We’re missing one field trip payment.  Who could it be that hasn’t submitted?”  And she replies “I know.  Its that Mom who brought the multicoloured chalk.  Can’t follow instructions.”

These are the things running through my head when I wake at 4am. White chalk where are you????

D-BAD: Grocery Store People

D-BAD aka DON’T BE A DOUCHE.  Each week I get to call out someone/ someplace or something for being a total DOUCHEBAG.  Its when I get to vent and take out my frustration on whatever makes me nuts each week, are you in?  Feel free to share your D-BAD’S anytime!

Dear Grocery Store People:

This is all pretty simple.  Every week we get together, always at your place.  I bring piles of cash that I give to you in exchange for a lot of stuff.  I ask for very little in return except for just a couple very small obvious things…

1. Please don’t sell me food that is rotten.  Sure, it could be like a party game – did I get the lucky box of strawberries that’s all moldy in the centre?  I mean sometimes this happens and you don’t even know.  But when you have to forensically inspect every lick of produce before its in the cart, we kind of have a problem.

2. Hand sanitizer.  Please put it EVERYWHERE.   At the very least keep it around the raw meat – but everywhere would be preferred.  I mean, there is nothing more repulsive than picking up a pack of chicken dripping with bloody chicken juice.  I know I’m a germaphobe – but I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this.

That’s it.  That’s all I ask.  So listen Grocery Store People.  Get your shit together and DON’T BE A DOUCHE.

Love,

The R&R Mom

D-BAD: Noisy Cell Talking Lady

D-BAD aka DON’T BE A DOUCHE.  Each week I get to call out someone/ someplace or something for being a total DOUCHEBAG.  Its when I get to vent and take out my frustration on whatever makes me nuts each week, are you in?  Feel free to share your D-BAD’S anytime!

vectorstock_158548

Dear Noisy Cell Talking Lady:

Just when I thought my week might be lacking in D-BAD inspiration, I ran into you in the store today.  The conversation you were having on your cellphone appeared to be riveting.  Not that I was eavesdropping, we merely entered the shoe department to your verbal assault.  I’m sure whoever you were talking about would love to know your thoughts and opinions on their new relationship and be thrilled that you let me, my 7 year old and half the store know that they “hadn’t had sex yet.”  Awesome.  I was actually dying to know… and so was my 7 year old frankly.

It was great to bump into you a second time in the lingerie department while I was searching the discount bin for bargain dainties.   I was riveted to hear your thoughts on the state of yet another poor couple’s relationship as you bellowed across the racks “Why don’t they get a divorce? I mean, gaaawd, why doesn’t he just break it off?”  Because my dear heart, whether he does or does not initiate a divorce with someone is one thousand percent (and that’s not even real math) none of your business or mine or (again) my 7 year old’s or for that matter the old lady shopping for a girdle.  None of us want to know.  But we didn’t have the choice.  You didn’t even give us a choice.

I’m all for talking on the phone while shopping.  Its a lonely business and a ripe opportunity for multi-tasking.  But please, for the love of all things good and holy, don’t be a douche and shut the f%$k up.  Especially if that’s when you feel the need to play the role of Relationship Judgy Judgerson.  The rest of us are not living some Real Housewives of Somewhere life and simply don’t want to know!

Love,

The R&R Mom

 

Head of Purchasing

The back part of my brain is responsible for the grocery list, the front part is for composing witty correspondence and the top part is for remembering where I left my phone.

The back part of my brain is responsible for the food inventory and grocery list, the front part is for composing witty correspondence and the top part is for remembering where I left my phone.

Yep, that’s me.  Chief in charge of acquisitions.  Its almost a full time job.  Seriously, this chore in my daily life takes almost as much brain power as my real job.  Keeping a ready inventory of all the dry goods, perishables, produce, socks and undies in this household is a never ending task.  The question “what’s for dinner” is followed by a beep beep boop and the whirring sounds of my brain as I open the file “what’s in the fridge” followed quickly by “what’s in the freezer”.  Once inventory is complete we can assess what sort of a meal we can put together without a trip to the grocery store.  Boxed mac & cheese with a side of steamed zucchini followed by a stale crackers and peanut butter.  Excellent – I’ll be back in 30 minutes.

Its ensuring enough food in the house to get all 4 of us through at least the next 24-48 hours.  Plenty of healthy and organic options too if you don’t mind.  Oh and have I told you yet – remember how last week I LOVED orange juice?  How orange juice was my jam?  How I was plowing through a liter of orange juice like it was crack and you couldn’t keep enough of it in the house to try and sate my UNDYING THIRST FOR ORANGE JUICE?  Yeah, well now I think its gross.

I mean, really.  How are we supposed to keep up with all the whimsy and ever changing appetites?

Groceries are a neverending task.  You see, you can’t just go to one store, stock up and be set for the next 7 days.  Oh no.  The super massive supermarket that should clearly be a one-stop shop, well it doesn’t carry the brand of gluten free crackers we like.  Or diapers, yeah they have them, but they are precisely $2.00 a pack MORE EXPENSIVE than the other stores.  But the one-stop super massive supermarket offers roughly 80% of what we need – until, you know, they completely run out of ketchup or some other vitally crucial pantry item we cannot live with out.  Not to mention that their produce is complete shit anyways.  So we spend an hour there getting the aforementioned 80% of stock.  Then off to the good produce place, which offers everything that is green that we could ever need.  But then, CRAP!  I forgot to buy cream cheese (which in our house is akin only to LIFEBLOOD) so over to the neighborhood grocery store where I remember we’re down to our last 1/2 cup of rice so I better get some of that too and oh look, canned soup is on sale.  Awesome done.  What?  Dental floss?  Are you f$%king kidding me?  We’re out of dental floss.  Off to the drugstore.  Wait, toothpaste.  Better get some now while I’m here.  And laundry detergent, that was getting low too.  The thing is that two days later, we’ll need hamburger buns and asparagus so I know I’ll be making the rounds again in just a matter of hours.

But its not just the groceries and consumables that fall under my portfolio of purchasing responsibilities.  Its things like undies.  Kids BLAZE through these things.  Not only do they grow out of them at a record pace “Mom, these gaunch are too tight!”  But they tend to disappear (Remember that accident in the restaurant?  We sacrificed two pairs of Minnie Mouse panties to the poop gods that night).  All of a sudden, Shorty #2’s down to two pairs.  And then, #1 seems to have shot up 3 inches overnight and all her pants are floods and every skirt is DefCon Kardashian levels of short.  Back to the aforementioned super massive supermarket that also remarkably sells clothes to stock up.

This is a constant battle of the inevitable in a family striving to consume less and be more environmentally conscious.  Yeah, we’re doing a shitty job.  But what do we do?  Maybe I should just buy more coffee – that would curb appetites and stunt their growth.

 

 

Ode to a Boot

Roses are red

My boots are black

I love my Fryes

More than my flats

images

I was messing around online and stumbled across this post on Vogue.com and it made me think about just how much I love my Frye Harness motorcycle boots.  I picked them up 9 years ago in the heat of August at a Nordstrom annual summer sale.  They are a little battered and beaten but still comfortable as hell.  The scuffs and scrapes only add character to these beauties.  They look great with jeans, with a little dress, anything goes.  Really, what’s not to love…

…Except that they are heavy as hell.  I wore them when I was pregnant and nearly went into labor.  I remember stopping in the mall and sitting on a bench with contractions.  I went home, took the boots off and laid down and the contractions went away – so you can be a slave to fashion even in your third trimester.

The truth is that Frye makes great boots.  They are solid and they hold up well to the shit-kicking I put them through including several rainy Pacific Northwest winters.  They are not cheap, but when you factor in how many seasons you can pull out of them, the amortized rate makes them a bargain.

In addition to the Harness, that I love so much – Frye make other super cute styles.  I have a pair of the Melissa Button riding boots that I bought almost 5 years ago.  I still wear them every fall/ winter.  They never go out of style.  Unlike the Harness, I have had to have them re-soled, but that was worth every penny as they are still in great shape.  The more you wear a pair of Fryes, the more comfortable they get.  The more beat up they are, the cooler they look.

Trust me – they’re worth the money.  And they didn’t pay me a dime (or a boot) to say so!

Road Wardrobe

Overpacking... again.

Overpacking… again.

I spend a lot of time on the road.  Airplanes, hotels.  I am admittedly an overpacker but I am also a pro at laundering clothes in hotel sinks.  Clothes on the road can be tough – how to look presentable and be comfortable is always the challenge.  I thought I might share some of my favorite tips on what to pack.

Disclaimer:  all of these items I either bought myself or covet.  No one has paid me to tell you that I like/ love them.

1. JEANS – In my opinion, THE best jeans for traveling are AG‘s Jegging.  They are real jeans with a button and a fly and pockets that work (read: they have structure) but they are SUPER stretchy and feel like pj’s when you’re wearing them.  I have 3 pairs and always travel with at least 2 of them.  On long trips, these are the only clothing items I send to the hotel laundry.  I’m not the kind of girl that will wear yoga pants in public, so these are a great alternative on the long haul (and even short haul) flights.

2. BLAZER – I love a good blazer and have a few that travel with me a lot.  They give you a polished look and with a pair of jeans offer an ideal blend of casual chic.  On a recent trip to London, I picked up a little black blazer with a faux leather collar at Zara.  (why are Zara’s in Europe SO much better than here in North America?)  This jacket has literally traveled around the world with me.  I’ve definitely recouped the £100 odd it cost me and I love it!  I am also a mega fan of the super luxe Smythe jackets (as you’ve heard me lust for these before).  The cut and fit mixed with some incredibly fun fabrics makes Smythe a great investment and a unique wardrobe piece.  PS – Buy Canadian.

3. SCARVES – LOVE a good scarf.  Have a pile of them and always travel with at least 2 or 3.  They give some variation on outfits, cover up spilled soup and keep you warm on the plane.

4. SWEATER – I have a black v-neck cashmere sweater that I love to travel in.  Its cozy and comfortable and usually looks pretty good.  I picked it up at a very exclusive boutique called Costco.  Seriously.  I am also partial to a good, drapey cardigan because why wouldn’t I be.

5. BOOTIES – Ankle boots are good for the road.  They pack small (hello Frye Motorcycle Boots, I’m looking at you and your 5lbs per boot), go with everything and can roll in warm or cold climates.  Mine are from Steve Madden, relatively cheap and cheerful and get the job done.  The ones I really would love are these from Rag & Bone.

6. SNEAKERS – Of course you need sneakers.  Non-white, super-comfy.  Preferably they are stylish enough for the tooling around, but sensible enough for the gym.  Or they’re Converse Chuck Taylors because they are just freaking awesome.

7. BLACK DRESS – Every girl on the road needs a great black dress.  Mine is called Black Magic.  You may recall my love letter to this favorite and perennial wardrobe item.  A great black dress can work for dinner out or as a pool cover-up.  Just make sure its in an easy to travel fabric.

8. BLACK ANYTHING – Working in the entertainment business, black is standard issue.  When following an artist on the red carpet or standing in the wings on stage, black is a must.  My job is to blend into the background and black does the trick.  PLUS, it goes with everything (except maybe brown) and it doesn’t show the dirt.  Black is ALWAYS the new black.

9. TOTE BAG – When on airplanes a lot, you need a big purse.  The Longchamp Shopper is a perfect example of the ideal travel bag that holds everything – iPad, ziploc, spare t-shirt and a laptop.  Plus it folds up small, so you can pack it away if you don’t need it.

And here’s what not to bring on the road:

1. ANYTHING THAT WRINKLES – as if you’ll have time to iron with 18 hr days.

2. EXPENSIVE SUITCASE – go mid-range on the suitcase.  Spend enough that it won’t fall apart on the first use but not so much that the nicks and dents will make you cry.

3. HATS – because, why would you unless you’re Johnny Depp.

So there you have it.  Another bossy R&R Mom post, telling you what to do.

 

 

 

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.

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.

I Shop, Therefore I Am…

What can I say.  I love to shop.  Always have, probably always will.

It’s definitely genetic.  I started at a young age, following my Mom and Aunties around discount stores and outlet malls on illicit cross-border shopping trips.  Buying up hordes of clothes at rock bottom prices, then carrying all the bags into the Denny’s bathroom on the I-75 to try and wear EVERYTHING back across the border in an effort to avoid duty charges.  I have this clear memory – I was about 12.  My mom wearing some Wham! knock-off sweatshirt that I bought, my aunt layered in 4 brand new leotards for her aerobics classes and me in a skirt with a pair of pants rolled up underneath.  Scuffing the brand new shoes all the way to the car, the old ones long discarded in the Denny’s bathroom trash. The real moment of terror was when my sister noticed the pants rolling down under my skirt.

Shorty #1 in NYC with her Grandma - note the bags piled on the back of the stroller!

Shorty #1 in NYC with her Grandma – note the bags piled on the back of the stroller!

We loved new clothes and nothing was stopping us from getting them.  (Sh&# – I hope there’s a statue of limitations on smuggling seconds, overruns and deeply discounted clothes).

My smuggling days are long past now.  I always declare what I buy.  But I still LOVE to shop.  When I’m on the road, shopping is my favourite way to see a new city.  I hate sitting around a hotel room, so if I have a window of time to head to the shops, I take it.

I don’t have a particular fetish per se.  It isn’t just shoes I lust after.  It’s everything… with one tiny condition.  It has to be on sale.  Yes, my training as a professional shopper was ingrained with “you must get a deal”.  So now, I may fall in love with the beautiful pair of Frye boots in the window, but if they are full price I have to walk away OR find them on sale some way, some how.  Which has lead me to… the internet.  I never dreamt that online shopping could be so fruitful.

Yes, I am now on the mailing list for many online shops.  My gmail inbox fills every morning with notices of discounts, special offers and warehouse sales.  I lovingly sift through them looking for my favourite brands for me and the girls.  Hoping to see those Frye boots discounted even just a little.  Its so fun – the shopping is coming to me.  I can shop from the comfort of my bed, coffee in hand.  When the UPS man delivers that beautiful parcel, I can try the clothes on in the privacy of my own home (and lighting!).  I don’t need to worry about wearing my fancy underwear in case the sales lady walks in the fitting room – I’m in my own bedroom for pete’s sake.  Every now and again it doesn’t work and I have to ship the items back.  But for now, I’m kind of into you online shopping.

PS – in case you’re wondering and because they are AWESOME.  My favourite online shop is http://www.eluxe.ca