Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Reflections - Part 2

This being "Part 2" of my reflection on the past year, obviously there was a "Part 1" which you can read here.

So, let's continue shall we?

Another goal I set for myself was to find full-time employment by year's end. Considering I started my search in the summer and then got really serious about it as soon as September hit, I thought this would be a no-brainer.


While in the past, seeking for and securing new jobs has been pretty easy for me, I figured I would apply to some jobs, get a few interviews and an offer or two would follow.

Needless to say, this did not happen this time around.

With the less than glowing economic landscape, finding a decent job today is a lot harder than...well...pie.

It is more complicated...kind of like...well...pi.

Yeah...more like this.

I got a few bites (not of pie), a few "you are over-qualified"s, a few "impressive, but not quite what we are looking for"s and even an interview for a really lucrative position that went really well but alas, went to the person I was competing with.

Probably some young guy with no kids.
Just a guess.

I was getting really, really, really frustrated!

I couldn't seem to buy a vowel, much less and interview!

Hello? Employers?
Where are ya?!??

But long story not as long as it could be...I secured a job offer which I accepted on Christmas Eve!

How is THAT for cutting it close to my goal date?


I am not going to get into what the job is all about in this post...but I will say that it is totally different than what I thought I would end up with and not related to what I have done in the past.

It is considerably more junior a position than what I have been doing for the past 15 years and the pay is almost exactly half of what I was making at my last full-time job a couple of years ago.

But another thing I have discovered upon my reflection of the past year is that sometimes you need to take the road less travelled.

Sometimes good things come in small or oddly shaped packages.

Sometimes if something inside of you is telling you to try something new, maybe...just should listen.

And so I did.

And I am.

I am at a certain point in my life when my priorities are different than they were even a few, short years ago.  I have three little boys - including a toddler - and an active family schedule.

Money and job titles and fancy business trips and evening work events may be more my thing in years to come...but at the moment, I need a certain balance between work and home.

I want to do both well.

Not perfect...but good enough.

If I am too entrenched in either home or work and not enough in the other, than I might as well cut myself in half because being pulled too hard in two different directions hurts.

It hurts really bad.

And so...I'm trying something new for a new year.

Let's see how it goes!



Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Reflections - Part 1

Well, it's that time of year again peeps!

Another calendar year is coming to a close and a natural reaction to that is to reflect.

'Deep Thoughts' with...a polar bear.

So reflect I shall!

2012 has been a pretty crazy year.

On the outside looking in, it may seem as though my year has been fairly non-productive...and on a bad day, I would agree with that.

But when I really take a step back, I know that all things that happen in life are steps forward...even if they seem or feel ass-backwards...or steps taken on a hamster wheel. Not going anywhere...not doing much of anything.

I spent all of 2012 at home...tending to my three boys...spending countless hours at hockey rinks, helping with homework, changing diapers, singing along to The Wiggles and not doing nearly enough for me.

I. Am. So. Sick. Of. The. Frickin. Wiggles.

One thing I have discovered upon this particular reflection is that this HAS to stop.

I turned the big 4-0 this year and I was all high and mighty about reinventing myself.

And since my birthday in mid-September, my high and mightiness quite swiftly became more low and mousiness.

Why are things not moving along like I thought they would?!!?

What exactly does that mean?

Well...I am still trying to figure that out. But I am getting somewhere.

I knew I wanted to get back into the full-time work force outside of the home. Freelance writing and blogging has been a wonderful experience that I plan to continue...but being at home more often than not is just not good for me and my particular personality.

So I got started on my plan...but my plan has been taking me much longer than expected and is still a work in progress.

One thing I did is I committed to starting my little guy Drew (who turned 2 in October) in Montessori school.

My Drew-Boo

No, we could - and still can't - afford it...but it became very clear that my sanity is more valuable than money...and luckily, certain loved ones agreed with me. With blessings from family (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!), we were able to start him in September when my older sons started back at school.

I am VERY pleased with the results of this change thus far.

While drop-off in the morning is still a little rough, Drew is learning a lot, being socialized with other kids of many ages and after the 5 minutes of drop-off crying stops, he is really enjoying it.

So...goal #1 accomplished!

To be continued...



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25 Random Facts About Me

Perhaps you think you know me if you are a regular reader of this blog.

But of course, no one knows everything about me. I don't even know everything about me!

So, I thought I would compile a list of little tidbits that you may not know.

Here goes!

1. I am arachnophobic. In fact, any creepy crawly makes my heart race fast. I hate 'em!

I get chills just looking at this photo!

2. I don't pay nearly enough attention to politics. I feel guilty about this.

3. Mold scares me. If there is something going bad in my fridge I will just throw the whole thing out, including the Tupperware.

4. I love Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Way. Too. Much.

Kawartha is my favourite brand.

5. Asparagus is my favourite veggie, even though it makes my pee smell.

6. I think my feet are pretty ugly. My big toes are round. I would show you a photo but I don't want to scare you.

7. I can't refer to my three sons as "my boys" without smiling.

My boys. :)

8. I have only had a wax - my eyebrows - once. This year. I am happy to report I am not a very hairy person.

Me, showing off my newly waxed brows.
I actually had them dyed darker too.
I won't dye them again. Too dark.

9. Until very recently, I thought Downton Abbey was called Downtown Abbey.

Hey...I thought they lived downtown. Sue me!

10. I think anything savoury is only improved by the addition of cheese.

11. I don't like shopping.

12. I have never been to Europe.

The green part is Europe.
This much I know.
And now you do too.
You're welcome.

13. I hate reading instructions. Just tell me how to make it or how to do it or how to play it. Please and thank you!

14. If I could have any job, I would be an actor.

15. I love hearing about misinterpreted song lyrics. I think my favourite one thus far is courtesy of my husband's best friend who used to think the song "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was called "Boner of a Lonely Horse".

16. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is my favourite piece of literature. 

Haven't read it yet? Well what are you waiting for?

17. I used to play the recorder, the piano, the cello and the flute.

18. I used to sing in a concert choir and a chamber choir and I sang tenor. I have a low singing voice. I love to sing. I am not a great singer, but I'm OK. 

19. I flip my pillow many times over the course of the night. I like it to feel cool.

20. I rather enjoy Def Leppard. I am a closet fan. Or I was...until now.

Cheese rock at it's best!

21. I like to write "random acts of poetry". You give me a topic or a word or a phrase and I will write a poem on the spot. Try me!

22. I am very Internet and social media-savvy, but I am very technically challenged.

23. My first "real" job after University was as a Property/Casualty (Home/Auto), insurance Underwriter. It really was not for me.

24. I hate the song "Achy Breaky Heart". My maiden name is Breakey. I played softball for my company team way back when and my "baseball name" - printed on my jersey -  was "Achy".

Oh help.

25. Another nickname of mine is "Lars". But more people call me "Julian's / Noah's / Drew's Mom".

There is lots more. Maybe I will do another list another time. 

But there you have it!



Friday, December 21, 2012

WellX Article #31: On My Stuffed Peppers!

Good day readers!

As per usual, I will begin by pointing you in the direction of my first thirty articles published by WellX here.

Yesterday, my 31st article was published. It is all about comfort food this time of year...and this recipe will be sure to impress!

You can make it your own - as I did - and make it even more comforting - depending on your personal taste.

Enjoy with your family!

I am so happy to continue to work with WellnessX and share my thoughts with you and wellness professionals around the world.

Here's the link!


Thanks as always to Brad and Mel and everyone at WellnessX for continuing to share my work and for their on-going support and great work with the wellness community!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TreSkinRX Canada - An Update on my Skin!

A while back, I was lucky enough to be asked to be a "model" for a wonderful, natural skincare line called TreSkinRX Canada. I wrote about it worked for me and my very, sensitive skin here.

I have continued to use their products and since turning the big 4-0, I am more concerned about skincare than ever. Not only do I sometimes have the skin of a teenager...but I have the skin of someone who is (ahhhhhhh!) middle-aged.

It is confusing to try and figure out what will work for a face that is both prone to break-outs and dry-outs! How does one know how to keep acne at bay and not turn your skin in to a dry, flaky mess?

TreSkinRX Canada to the rescue!

I have been using both their "Clear Skin" program products and their "Normal Skin" program products - along with their wonderful hydrating mask for almost a year now. I switch depending on how my face is doing.

It's doing pretty well at the moment!

After having a baby just over two years ago, my hormones were a bit crazy and so was my face. This is very normal, but I felt like I was too old to be experiencing break-outs still!

Other variables such as diet, certain medications, stress-levels and weather conditions also were contributing to my issues.

So anyhoo...I was asked to be a part of this company's holiday campaign. Here are a few pics!

For more information on TreSkinRX Canada's skincare line, please visit their Facebook page here.

You can also visit their corporate website here but I strongly recommend you visit my friend Mel Jouzy's site here.

TreSkinRX Canada Launch Manager - and my friend - Mel Jouzy

Also, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to send an e-mail to

Happy holidays to all of you...and your skin!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

What if Money Didn't Matter?

"It's so important to consider this question: What do I desire?"
 - Alan Watts

What would you like to do if money were no object?

How would you really enjoy spending your life?

We all ask ourselves these questions...but what do we do with the answers?

Here on the bloggy-blog, I occasionally share short videos that I have come across that have given me pause.

Videos that make me think.

Videos that make me stop and ask myself questions.

Videos that make me laugh.

Videos that bring me to tears.

This is a very short, inspirational clip narrated by Alan Watts. Per the note on YouTube, it is unknown who created it.

Alan Watts

I urge you to take a few moments to reflect...and then share with people you think it may benefit.

It seems geared towards younger folks - those who are questioning what their career paths should be - but it is never too late to make changes.


And is the first day of the rest of your life.

So live it!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Real Women

"The tomato hides its griefs. Internal damage is hard to spot."
- Julia Child

When I think of women and their obsession with perfection, I can't help but think of the movie The Stepford Wives. "Ideal, "perfect", robot "women" at the beck and call of their men.

The robots: The Stepford Wives.

But is that what men really want?

I venture a guess.


And those that do? Well...good luck to them!

There are only so many Victoria's Secret model-Martha Stewart-porn star-Nobel Peace Prize winner-all-rolled-into-one women out there.

And I rather enjoy these men can stuff it and I'll eat mine with someone else.

In her book Moving On, Sarah Ban Breathnach poignantly says that "(t)he neurosis of perfectionism is feminine self-loathing disguised as self-improvement. It's an insidious, invisible addiction the's difficult to recognize because perfection is culturally sanctioned and socially approved."

She goes on to say that "(d)omestic goddesses are bad for your health, especially women care-aholics who perpetually tend to everything and everybody but themselves."

"Perfection. It's a good thing."
Shaddup Martha!

And Sarah strikes a chord in she often does! 

I wrote on the topic of perfectionism in my post Pobody's Nerfect.

Society and the media it has built has indeed made perfection something to strive for. Or is the the other way around? 

Perhaps it is the media that has largely shaped society's obsession with being perfect.

Lose weight! Get better skin! Wrinkle be gone! Boobs should be bigger! Your personal style sucks!

I know it has not done me any favours. 

And yet I admit, I continue to graze glossy magazines and take in countless images of impossibly spotless, styled homes, wonderful wives/mothers and photo-shopped, size 0, beautiful women. 


Most think the before is nicer than what they have.
So where does that leave us?

The "before" looks beautiful.
The "after" looks plastic...fake.
Perhaps that's because it is!

Which one best represents you most of the time?
I'm more like the second pic. Except she is skinnier and her hair is not pulled back in a ponytail.

God forbid we have any body fat...especially when we are contorted into strange, sexy body positions wearing stilettos!

Why, oh why do we do this to ourselves sista-girlfriends? is pretty hard to escape.

Media is everywhere and everywhere is media in this day and age. Unless we all decide to become Amish and make do without any form of communication with the "real" world, then we are gonna see it. 

I has been around a long time.

Yup. It started way back when.

Which begs the question: What IS "real" anyway?

Well...we can all start answering that question by looking in the mirror. A mirror with no smoke. And looking without our anti-rose-coloured glasses on.

WE are what real is.

Even the Dove gals look a hell of a lot "better" than  most real women!
Never mind the VS models!

Now I am not saying that striving for mediocrity is what we should be doing. We all need to stretch ourselves, have goals and not get stuck in that "I don't give a shit" mentality that only renders our lives stagnant. 

But we need to be realistic. REAListic!

I recently discussed how images in the media can have a detrimental effect on young women in my post Celebrity Gossip Girls

Now I don't have any daughters myself...but I think it is also important to communicate with our sons about what they are taking in via media images and messages. 

...and my boys love I am convinced they will eat quiche!
But...yes. I digress.

We can - and SHOULD - chase our dreams...but if our dreams are based on the unrealistic images that we are bombarded with a million times every day than honey...that is gonna involve a lot of tread milling. And I mean that both literally and figuratively. 

Reach for your dreams. As long as they are within the realm of REAL possibility.

Sure - we can garner a great deal of INSPIRATION from these images. I know I do. I even shared an example of how I do this here

But the buck stops at - and with - how you internalize things. 

Just like I don't believe The Bible can be taken literally, neither can anything else we see or hear. It is always someone else's interpretation and seen through someone else's eyes and someone else's ears.

Someone else's reality. Or perhaps someone else's IDEAL reality. 

So let's give ourselves a break.


Like Julia Child said about tomatoes, what appears perfect is not really so.

Looks great!
But who knows what lies within.

Perfection is simply a term.

And a myth.

That person staring back at you above the (cluttered and not as shiny as you wish) bathroom vanity?

That's real. 

The real me with a smile.
i do have changes I want to make in my life, but I know  (intellectually, at least!) that I am great just the way I am!

So smile at her.

I guarantee....REALLY!...that she will smile back.

And I offer some of mine to always!