CONFESSION: Not #collegeadmissionsscandal but I was prepared to make a ‘generous donation’ for preschool

15th March 2019

Let’s talk about this week’s hot and controversial topic #collegeadmissionscandal.

It’s wrong. Period. And it’s not just something the ‘rich and elite’ would do but the middle class is just as guilty. I am just as guilty (sorta). Not to the extremes of photoshopping my son into Little League Soccer or paying off admissions counsellors (he’s five)…

But several years ago, I jokingly told my husband to get the cheque book out and be prepared to slip a ‘donation’ alongside the preschool application to ‘move CJ to the front of the line’… I was half laughing but bang on serious because I didn’t know what else to do.

Elite mentality? No. Desperate mom? Yes.

In Toronto, child care options for ages 1-3 are scarce. So scarce, that as more young families are choosing to raise their kids downtown, the waitlist could be up to 2+ years for reputable daycares and private schools!

It’s so bad that for new parents living in The 6ix, we can only partially blame sleepless nights on a crying baby. I swear the other contributor is due to this BROKEN SYSTEM where there is a high premium and long wait for EVERYTHING that involves children.

So while I didn’t end up having to make that donation — plus it did occur to me that a morally ethical school wouldn’t accept it anyway haha. I ended up applying for 3 schools and landed a spot for my top pick at a wonderful Montessori School by being over-prepared and organized… basically waddling in at 8 months pregnant to meet with the Owner/Director and dropping a $5,000 tuition deposit to secure CJ his spot for TWO YEARS LATER! I won the golden ticket.


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Shifting Gears in 2019

8th February 2019

I made some bold and heart palpitating changes in 2018. Traveling for most of the year and worldschooling CJ then making a giant move from Toronto to the SF Bay Area.

As Facebook Memories pop up and as I flip through my phone photos, I can’t help but feel accomplished and marvel at the big adventures (and risks) our little family took!

So how on earth am I going to top that?!?!

I’ve been asking myself this as I start a new chapter. Things were certainly not stale in my life but the one thing that did need shaking up was my career. Adfluent, our ad agency had been running auto-pilot, the demands of moving, traveling and motherhood had pushed it to the back seat. And part of me no longer had the motivation to move it to the forefront again.

After a few months of introspection and snooping around an incredible Female Founders Facebook community to see what other boss ladies were doing, I decided to stick with marketing. I mean when I get fired up talking about paid search and retargeting, ya know that is where my passion lies. Plus I’m pretty darn great at it haha.

But the new spin is that after marketing other people’s products and services for the past decade and half, it’s really time to have a product of my OWN to market. The ultimate goal is creating and making it myself, but I’m not at that stage yet so for now, I’ve curated it from overseas.

More about the actual product later but I’m staring an e-commerce business and I’m pretty darn excited about it! The niche I decided to focus on is mental health and wellness. A nod to my psychology degree and because I genuinely believe our world needs extra love these days.


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Tea Time At Crown & Crumpet SF

9th January 2019

It’s ‘winter’ in the Bay Area and that means lots more rain and fog. But a cup of steaming tea + warm scones and a good gab fest with the girls can definitely brighten up the day!

Crown & Crumpet is located in a modern building wedged between authentic shops and salons in Japantown. From the glass exterior, it doesn’t much resemble an English Tea Stop but inside, florals and whimsical decorations adorn white walls and pastel pink bench seating.

Afternoon Tea is reasonably priced at $32 per person. You get a large pot of loose leaf tea, two freshly made little sandwiches, two warm savouries, one scone and crumpet with clotted cream, house-made lemon curd and jam, and five bite-sized sweets.


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Happy Holidays!

20th December 2018

Why does family photos always have to involve begging, bribing, yelling and a broken candy cane?!

Here’s Xmas 2018. From ours to yours… happy holidays everyone! 💕🎄🎅🦌⛄

#MomTruth: When It’s Way Too Quiet

2nd November 2018

Kids Drawing

Every mom knows quiet typically = mayhem.

So when I didn’t hear a peep from CJ this morning, I wondered if he decided to use strawberry jam as finger paint or if he managed to get his little hands on a UPS box full of foam peanuts again…

This was last year when I left for 2 mins to go to the bathroom!

Mom truth

But instead he handed me this cute drawing taped with treats from his precious Halloween stash. ‘This is you mommy and this is me.’ Instead of a heart attack, my heart melted. 💙🍬

I’ll love to hear what kind of shenanigans happens in your home when it’s just wayyyy too quiet?!

 

The Best Halloween Costume Shops In Toronto

1st October 2018

Halloween Costumes

Malabar – go early to avoid lineups! This place is the grand daddy one stop shop for all your favourite costumes and accessories in downtown TO. They have very knowledgeable staff and carry an extensive array of pre-packaged costumes, rentals, professional makeup, wigs, hats, masks and everything else your little devil’s heart desires.

Spirit Halloween – city slicker ghosts and goblins can now conveniently shop at this popup on Queen Street West. Costumes for the whole family, props and decorations can all be found here. (Get 20% off any item here.)

Creepers – located in Oakville, they call themselves Canada’s creepiest and sexiest Halloween superstore and rightfully so because they’ve got everything! The staff even dress up as their favourite characters. Their “Pop Culture” section is pretty cool with costumes from Harley Quinn, The Walking Dead, Transformers and popular video game heroes.

Halloween Costume Shop

Exile Vintage  – remember Mr. Dressup’s trunk? Well this place in Kensington Market reminds me of it. There are racks and racks of second-hand clothing and vintage pieces that make excellent costumes if you’ve got the creativity.

 

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Back To School Traditions

16th August 2018

Back To School

CJ started Montessori School in Toronto when he was two. Then at four, he joined Life Project Education for a few weeks while we were digital nomading in Costa Rica. Next month he’ll be entering pre-kindergarten at his new school in the SF Bay Area.

This kid sure gets around! And I was right there with him at every first drop-off… with a big encouraging smile all the while holding back tears behind my extra large sunglasses.

We mark the end of summer (gosh is it really, already?!) with a trip to the CNE, filling our bellies with cinnamon dusted Tiny Tom donuts. Then it’s all about the photos on the first day. Bribing CJ with swedish berries for a snapshot by his locker. At the end of the school year, we ask his teachers to write messages in a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go”… which we plan to give him on his graduation.

Back to school sign

Here are a few other fun ideas to kick off your new school year…

Get a large t-shirt made with “class of _____”. How cute would it be to take a photo each year and watch them grow into their grad shirt. (It’s going to be #classof2032 for us!!)

If you have little ones, tame their jitters (and your anxiety) by reading The Kissing Hand or The Invisible String together.

Make a schuletüte – a great arts and crafts project! Based on a German tradition, it’s basically a school surprise ‘cone’ that parents fill up with supplies and treats. Check out Pinterest for inspo.

 

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Let’s Not Make It A Political Or Geographic Thing, It’s A People Thing!

23rd July 2018

Flowers Basil

I had planned on staying glued to the news and mourn silently from abroad because my home town of Toronto is Trending on social media for another tragic shooting. One too many all in a few weeks. I’m SAD, SAD, SAD and now angry because my Twitter feed has been peppered that somehow the Danforth Shooting was America’s fault (guns coming across the border)!!

Why do I care because everyone is blaming America for its poor leadership so what’s one more eye poke?

I CARE because my husband and I chose to move our son to the United States last month despite how ‘discriminating, violent and horrible’ a county it is. (Thank you friendly Canadians for pointing that out.)

HOWEVER….

Yesterday, a woman who lives across the street decided to come over just to say hello. This is our first meeting. She wore a red 45 #maga hat. She came back a few hours later with flowers, basils and strawberries, all grown from her garden and a cookie for my son.

In our King West condo, we’ve been in an elevator with neighbours riding up/down 30 floors, listening to Trump bashing and boycotting the US. Not a nod of a greeting, no acknowledgement that there is a little human being making a silly monster face at you (too busy on Instagram and tripped over our stroller).

Sure this is a small gesture but what experience do you think my son is going to remember having lived in both countries? When we teach him acts of kindness, who’s a better example?

I love you Toronto but you are so full of hate now and I’m heartbroken.

I’m just saying… friends, please don’t make it a political thing. Or a geographic thing. I keep reading how people are ‘shocked that it happened in such a family oriented community’. That’s just naive. Because at the end, it’s really a people thing. <– This goes for guns too.

Banning weapons works in functional societies. And it clearly appears that ours is broken. So let’s address the bigger issues of mental health and a burnt out over medicated population (especially in large dense cities like Toronto). Lock up anything that is destructive but if there is a will, there is a way.

And really why do you want to see a whole country fail because of one election? Because that also means you want to see my family fail since we now live here and my husband’s business is 90% American.

So as I’m typing this in my cozy home in California, my son is at summer camp and I’m not even sure where hubs is but I hope they (and your family) are safe. Such incidents like this remind us that no one and no place is invincible. Canada AND United States. Let’s work on being kind to each other.

End rant.

 

Summer Beauty Favourites

11th July 2018

Summer Beauty

When it comes to beauty in the summer, less is definitely more. I like to keep my routine quick and simple. Here are my favourite products to help you get through the sun and heat…

Argan Brightening Facial Scrub

Acure Organics is one of my favourite beauty brands. For the past five years, I’ve been using their facial wash, toner and this fabulous scrub (twice a week) to get a deep cleansing experience like I would at a fancy spa. The scrub has just the right amount of grainy texture so you can feel it working on your face but it’s still gentle enough that sensitive skin doesn’t feel tight or dried out. ($15)

Burt’s Bee Facial Towelettes

I always have these wet towelettes stashed in my purse so I could remove makeup and excess oil lickety split. The Peach and Willow Bark version exfoliates (bonus!) and smells absolutely delicious. They comes in a pack of 30 and are a beauty must-have at home and on the go. ($10)

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

I love the Lavanila product line because they use natural ingredients and are bursting with beautiful scents like vanilla, lemon, coconut and grapefruit. This deodorant contains no aluminum, paraben or propylene glycol and doesn’t leave yellow pit marks on your white shirts. The only downside is it doesn’t stop sweat completely so if you are really active, you will need to reapply the deodorant to ensure maximum odour protection. ($17) Also comes in a travel size. ($11)

 

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Hey Moms, Don’t Be A Susan!

7th July 2018

Mom truth

Parents, please read this article This Is Why Social Media Makes Modern Parenting Hard… and don’t be a Susan! She’s a unicorn anyway.

Susan is that woman, that mom. We all know a Susan. She’s an over-achiever, but makes it all look effortless. She only needs three hours of sleep a night. She doesn’t just have a crafting table, she has an entire crafting wing in her house!

Susan has a cookie cutter for every occasion, including Arbor Day and Flag Day. She never misses a volunteer opportunity. She has a freezer full of homemade casseroles and a refrigerator full of pre-prepped nutritional and delicious meals (toddler and adult versions of course).

Susan’s children are never bored. They are always engaged in developmentally appropriate sensory play, thoughtfully running their little hands through moon sand or rainbow oats or feel frames. They don’t watch TV.

Once upon a time, I really tried to be a Susan. I was a high achiever ‘super mom’ for probably a year and half and took mega pride in juggling my career as a marketing exec, blogger, teacher and new mama who shopped all organic and strived for that polished playful Instagram feed.

Well not always… see that photo above? It was taken after I left for two minutes to go pee. That is after holding it in for the last hour to feed, dress and wipe his boo boo’s. Only to come back to every toy taken out including an opened Canada Post parcel. The little monster was supposed to be sick that day and stayed home from school. The struggle is real!

So now I’m just CJ’s mom who goes to bed — yes sometimes at 9pm! with stickers in my dry-shampooed hair, promising myself that I’ll try harder tomorrow. So mamas, even if you are not a Susan, you are still doing great!

Share your Susan moments in the comments section below and follow my less than perfect #momlife on Instagram!