So Many Pins, So Little Time….

by Nadine on January 18, 2016

My most-saved/liked pin is a photo of a pair of pants that I do not own.

I guess I’m not the only one excited for the return of the wide-legged trouser?

Katharine Hepburn for life.*

*When it comes to Hepburns, my husband prefers I look to Audrey over Katharine for style inspiration. But I refuse to play favourites.

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The 2016 Red Carpet: Characters Edition

by Nadine on January 8, 2016

I have not been to the movies in approximately 42 years 7 months. I have not read a fashion magazine in almost as long. Usually, I’m on top of award season, both critically and sartorially. This year, I got nada.

I hear Spotlight is the movie to beat.

And Cate Blanchett is going to be nominated. Which means FASHION.

Have you ever tried to binge-view photos from fashion week(s)? It’s overwhelming. I tried. But instead of making dress predictions — my favourite thing ever — I ended up only seeing modern takes on fictional characters. (Folks, exhaustion is a brain-screwer.)

So while I have no idea what Cate and friends will be wearing on the red carpet this year, I do have an idea what Anne Shirley would be wearing if she were invited to the Oscars.

Anne Shirley in Alexander McQueen or Temperley London

Alice in Reem Acra

Elizabeth Bennet in Elie Saab

Annie Hall in Temperley London

Holly Golightly in Christian Siriano

Carpet in Valentino

Bowtie pasta — You know, from that movie with all the pasta? — in Christian Siriano

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16 Things in 2016

by Nadine on January 7, 2016

HOW MANY THINGS?!

Long-time readers will know that every year I give myself a list of challenges/goals. Last year, it was “15 things in 2015.” I did…a few of them. Apparently brewing, birthing and raising a baby takes ALL THE TIME AND ENERGY.

It’s exhausting.

And the best.

I like to-do lists. Ursula does not yet appreciate them. Calendars aren’t her thing either. And routines? Fuhgettaboutit.

But that’s okay. Productivity is so 2014.

I’m learning to manage my expectations for my day — meaning: “lower them” — and look for moments of joy instead.

I’m learning to slow down my brain, not just my schedule.

I’m learning to be present.

I found encouragement in this article about new mamas getting “nothing done”:

There is no greater task than the nothing you did yesterday, the nothing you are doing today, and the nothing you will do tomorrow.

Today I showered, drank coffee, washed avocado off the floor, went for a walk and played peekaboo. Success.

Yes, I have goals for the new year, both personal and professional. And I’ll share some of them here. But they’re soft goals, made malleable by a 6-month-old girl who likes to rub squishy handfuls of cucumber in her hair.

She’ll only be this little once. I don’t want to wish that away.

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Murray Christmas!

by Nadine on November 24, 2015

One of the weird things about having a kid is that everyone tries to figure out who she looks like.

A FEW PEOPLE: She looks just like her mommy.

MOST PEOPLE: She looks just like her daddy.

CAREFUL PEOPLE: She looks like both of you.

ME: She looks like Steve Zissou.

Her new hat is the best ever.

P.S. Netflix watchers, A Very Murray Christmas is coming soon! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. 

P.P.S. The awesome hat was made by my super-talented and lovely cousin Margaret Murray. (Thanks!) So it really is a Murray Christmas!

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Identity Crisis?

by Nadine on November 1, 2015

[Print by Sebastian Millon]

On Friday morning, while I was putting Ursula down for a nap, I missed a call.

There was an automated voice message from Purolator: my package was available for pickup at their warehouse location, affectionately known by everyone as “The World’s Most Inconvenient Spot To Pick Up Anything. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.”

(Case in point: It takes less time to drive to Orangeville than it does to take transit to their warehouse.)

I was unimpressed. Here’s why:

  1. Either Matthew or I had been home during business hours for the entire week prior. And no one once tried to deliver a package.
  2. No one even left a “we missed you” note.
  3. It seemed that they didn’t bother to try to deliver my package AT ALL.
  4. I was under the impression that online shopping — I had ordered a shirt from a small American company — was supposed to make my life easier, not headachier.

Because transit would end up taking over two hours (round trip), Matthew offered to drive me. We bundled up Ursula and drove to the other end of the city. Rush hour starts before 3 on a Friday. It was brutal.

When I got to Purolator, the woman at the front desk seemed confused by the reference number left on my voicemail. Fortunately, my phone number was on file.

After waiting for approximately forever five very long minutes, she presented me with a package. She looked confused.

“Only one of your names is right.”

Sure enough, the package was to an Elizabeth — my middle name — who has a very different last name and address than me. But she has my phone number. Or at least she did at one point more than 10 years ago and hasn’t bothered to change it with certain clients/customers/companies/friends/family members/mail-senders.

We headed back home, empty-handed, an hour gone from our day.

And I’m still waiting on my package.

Moral of the story: If you change your number, make sure EVERYONE knows it. Or a stranger could end up trying to pick up your mail.

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Netflix for New Parents

by Nadine on October 6, 2015

This spring, we cancelled cable and got Netflix. (Had we known the Jays would make the playoffs, we would have kept cable a tad longer. Sigh.)

Some recent recommendations:

The Up Series

(Includes the following docs: Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up and 56 Up.)

This documentary series checks in with the same group of Brits every seven years, from the age of 7 to the age of 56 — so far. (Think Boyhood, but non-fiction.) It’s a fascinating look at childhood — specifically exploring different socio-economic backgrounds and their subsequent expectations and trajectories — with its premise based on this quote attributed to Francis Xavier: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.”

Watch them all in a row and you’ll literally see 14 kids grow up before your eyes.

(Yes, you will have favourites. And, yes, you will be scared for some of them. And, yes, you’ll want to punch a couple of them, too.)

Are you the adult you thought you’d be when you were a kid?

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

I don’t want to spoil this doc for you, but it packs a POWERFUL punch. There’s a Canadian angle to the story, too.

Essentially, the doc begins as a tribute. A man was murdered by an ex-girlfriend. He left behind a baby boy, Zachary. His best friend decided to create a film that would honour his memory.

That’s all I’m going to say. Other than don’t watch it alone. Especially if you’re hormonal.

The Drop Box

What a beautiful film. As the end credits rolled, I was struck by how insignificant I suddenly felt. What do I do in my daily life that requires an iota of real sacrifice? Am I motivated by love at all costs? This doc made me want to be a better person. Not many movies do that.

The Delivery Man

Yes, I’m watching Call the Midwife — like everyone else. But this British sitcom about a male midwife also deserves some Netflix love. Both Matthew and I enjoyed it immensely — and ploughed through all six episodes in an afternoon. Do it.

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A Good Day

by Nadine on October 5, 2015

The past week had been a rough one. Ursula went from sleeping through the night to not sleeping. At all. Bedtime became an hours-long screaming match, with only short bursts of shallow sleep in between. In her three months on the planet, these nights were the worst she/we had lived through yet.

Hello, sleep regression?

And while many encouraging parents say that if you survive the first three months, you’re golden, I was far MORE tired at the three-month mark than at any point before it.

Naps became mythical experiences experts claim happen to babies, but were no longer applicable to our child. One afternoon, I rocked her for an hour just to get her to sleep for 20 minutes.

Nighttime, however, was the worst.

I exhausted my entire lullaby repertoire. I sang every church hymn, Disney ballad, pop hit, country tune and TV theme song I could think of.

Matthew put her in the stroller and rolled her up and down the hall.

We rocked and bounced and jiggled her.

She just screamed at us. Or worse, stared us down.

One night I could barely nurse her as my arms were shaking with sleep-deprived weakness. I had to wake Matthew to rock her back to sleep. I just couldn’t do it.

Then today happened.

She woke up babbling to herself — and continued to do so for an hour, letting me sleep in.

She charmed everyone at our Mommy Connections class, making eyes at the other babies and then falling asleep in the wrap during our salsa dancing lesson.

She slept through most of my coffee date with the other moms after class. One mom commented that my baby “is so chill.” When Ursula woke up, she just smiled at me, as if knowing she had a reputation to uphold in public.

When we got home, Ursula played quietly on her mat while I had lunch with Matthew. Then she dozed off in my arms. She slept for more than two hours in her crib.

(At one point, all three of us were napping. Family bliss.)

She was content in her stroller while Matthew got his skates sharpened. She started to yawn at the coffee shop we visited afterward, but didn’t make a fuss.

And after we changed her and I fed her, I put her in the crib with her pacifier and Sophie and just walked away. And she put herself to sleep. No crying. No fussing. Just a few minutes of babbling and reaching for the extra sleep sack draped over the crib. (Never leave loose fabrics in/on the crib. I broke an important how-to-have-a-baby rule.)

I realize today may have been a cruel trick our daughter played on us. She might wake up hollering in a few minutes or decide to poop all over her crib in the middle of the night. Tomorrow might be a nap-less, tear-filled day for the both of us.

But today was a good day. And I want to remember it.

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New Mama Essentials

by Nadine on September 30, 2015

There are a lot of lists online about what a new mom needs and doesn’t need in the first few weeks postpartum. I read most of them. And found many of them helpful, whether or not I took the writer’s advice or not.

Here’s my version.

(I’ll have a “New Baby Essentials” list up soon. This one’s just for the mamas.)

Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray

Awkward name aside, this magical little bottle helps a new mom pee/sit/live without crying. (Bonus: It can spray upside down!) I would pay all the money for it.

AB Tank and Wrap

This tank-and-wrap system, paired with a gentle exercise routine, is designed to prevent and treat diastasis recti (ab separation). Honestly, I felt a little self-conscious/vain wrapping my belly — aren’t post-baby bodies, in all of their hollow squishiness, to be celebrated? — especially since I squeezed into my skinny jeans again sooner than anticipated.

I should probably write something about post-baby bodies soon…but I’m not sure what to add to all the noise. Basically, tell a new mom she looks amazing. ‘Cause she does. (A HUMAN CAME OUT OF HER.)

Anywho, the nursing tanks provided some modesty in the early days of breastfeeding AND worked like Spanx when I started wearing real pants again. The wrap helped my core feel supported. And, yes, I’m back at my pre-baby weight. Probably a combination of genetics, belly wrapping, seemingly endless breastfeeding, and God trying to trick me into having another one. See: Trick Baby.

Underpads

These disposable blue pads, usually used for incontinence, were a midwife recommendation. I sat on one in the car after my water broke. I slept on one the first night for fear of bleeding all over the sheets. I still change Ursula on one. (I assume they’ll be great come potty-training time, too.)

Maternity Pads

Not glamorous, but essential in the first few days. (Toronto mamas-to-be, you can find both these and the underpass at Starkman’s on Bathurst.)

Epsom Salts

New mamas, take baths! Nothing sped up my healing faster than hot baths with epsom salts. Bonus: a 15-minute bath is priceless “me” time. Take (at least) one daily if you can.

Sleep Bras

Even if you’re not usually a sleep-with-a-bra-on lady — who is?! — you will become one once baby shows up. (I wear these during the day, too. Comfort is king.)

Honourable mention: Medela Nursing Pads. One morning you will wake up with leaky boobs. And you will understand why these are on the list.

Well.ca

Online shopping. Do it. You can have pads, Tylenol, mascara, whatever you need, delivered right to your door. (Free shipping!)

Not Essential But Wonderful

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue

That new mama glow? I give this magical product — sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation in one! — all the credit.

Essie Nail Polishes

I really missed my ankles — and being able to actually reach them — during pregnancy. Painting my toenails again after she was born felt like a luxury.

(I’m a sucker for Essie polishes. Mostly because of the packaging.)

Mama Bear Necklace

I bought this for myself in the weeks leading up to Ursula’s due date. Ursula means “little female bear,” so I just couldn’t help myself.

Somewhat related, this cracked me up yesterday:

 

Moms out there, what were your postpartum essentials?

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Smells Like Teen Spirit Homemade Deodorant

by Nadine on September 18, 2015

I vividly remember begging my mom to let me wear deodorant. Specifically Teen Spirit. She was supervising our lunch hour at school. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. And all the cool kids were doing it.

When she eventually caved, I was hooked — and I’ve worn deodorant every single day since.

(Somewhat related: I’ve washed my face twice a day since I was 11. Every. Single. Day. This habit does not break for camping, mono or childbirth. Clearly I don’t have commitment issues.)

Anywho.

When Matthew and I were beginning to talk more seriously about starting our family — a weird phrase considering getting married is a pretty great “start” if you ask me — I did some quick research regarding the foods and products I should and shouldn’t be consuming/using when pregnant.

And while I was pretty laid-back when it came to adopting any real pregnancy rules — other than a few obvious ones: no whisky, no cocaine, no cat litter — I did return an unopened bottle of moisturizer that contained retinoids.

And I started thinking about my armpits. And parabens. And synthetic fragrances.

So when I was assigned a “DIY deodorant” article last spring, the timing couldn’t have been better. Most surprising was that I actually used the homemade variety. All of it.

I’m now on my third batch.

Sure, it takes a little getting used to smearing cream under your arms, but change is good, right?

(And, yes, dear skeptics, it works.)

I use ThankYourBody.com’s recipe for Homemade Deodorant for Sensitive Skin. (I add lavender and tea tree oils.)

You’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder — or arrowroot flour, it’s the same thing
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

Find the super-simple directions here. (Seriously. It’s S.I.M.P.L.E. I made this while a baby rolled around on the floor — yep, she’s rolling! — for about five minutes.)

Do you make your own deodorant? How does your recipe differ from mine?

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Aww, (Spiced) Nuts!

by Nadine on August 31, 2015

I’ve had a few many requests for this recipe, so I thought I’d post it here and then send friends the link — like a nerd — whenever asked.

Warning: Once you start snacking on these, you can’t stop. And then your pants will start to feel tight. And you’ll blame your dryer, as you should. (Yes, nuts are healthy. But ALL THE NUTS are not. Sigh. Portion control sucks.)

Shout out to Martha Stewart, without whom this version would not be possible. (Just don’t follow her recipe exactly if you like mine. Hers are impossibly spicy.)

If you don’t have allspice — I didn’t the first few times I made these — make this easy substitute: equal parts cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg.

Aww, (Spiced) Nuts!
Print
Author: Martha Stewart, modified by me
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • just under 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 4 cups nuts: an even mix of roasted unsalted cashews, raw pecans, walnuts and almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Add all remaining ingredients (except nuts) and whisk into egg white.
  3. Stir in nuts until well coated. Spread nut mixture in single layer on (engrossed) baking sheet.
  4. Bake nuts for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven. Stir and separate nuts.
  6. Reduce oven to 250 degrees.
  7. Return nuts to oven, bake about 10 minutes more.
  8. Remove from oven. Stir and separate nuts again.
  9. Place baking sheet on wire rack to cool. They will harden as they cool.
  10. Break apart any nut clusters and store in airtight container. Or just eat them all. Whatever.

 

*Michelle Tanner forever.

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