Merry Christmas!

by Nadine on December 25, 2016

When we were engaged, Matthew gave me a painting of a yeti on a sled for Christmas.

Six years later, he animated that painting.

Happy Holidays from Bellzon 2016 from Bellzon on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas, friends. See you in 2017.


When the weather outside is frightful, be thankful for your Internet connection.

[Source: Architectural Digest]

Things I read this week:

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Donald Glover, Issa Rae and Damien Chazelle in One Epic Conversation. I want to work with these people. (The Hollywood Reporter)

How Women Modernized The Disney Princess. There aren’t a lot of women in animation. They’re important. (Buzzfeed)

Here’s the Most Effective Way to Say No to Things You Don’t Want to Do. It all comes down to “don’t” vs. “can’t.” (NY Mag)

A Holiday Tea Party Filled with Festive Touches. This party is literally calling my name. See above photo. (Architectural Digest)

Also at Architectural Digest: Your Guide to All the 2017 Colors of the Year. I’m digging Greenery and Shadow. You?

White House Eggnog. I want to drink this. But I have a toddler. My wake-up call is 5:30. And this beverage appears to be about 50 PERCENT ALCOHOL. Party on, Obamas. (America’s Table)


Every mama I know is sick or tired or (most likely) both. ‘Tis the season?

[Print: Marc Johns]

Some internet reads for when you’re too congested to sleep during naptime:

Think You Have a Lot Going on? Take a Look at Leonardo da Vinci’s To-Do List. You win, Leo. (Town & Country)

Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self. “So think of self-control as a kind of temporal selflessness. It’s Present You taking a hit to help out Future You.” (The Atlantic)

The Wharton School. Just a little decorating advice from 1897.  Spoiler: Edith Wharton does not approve of wallpaper. (Lapham’s Quarterly)

Murder She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher Is the Hero We Need Right Now. When DON’T we need Jessica Fletcher?! (LA Weekly)

Why Cookbook Clubs Should Be the New Way We Entertain. This is a book club I could get behind. (Serious Eats)


What Child Is This: The Great Donkeys/Ass Swap

by Nadine on December 5, 2016

[Christmas collage: EskimoShan's etsy shop]

This is my first (and probably last?) Christmas rant. Because I’m a huge fan of the season and have little to complain about — with the exception that it always creeps up on me and my apartment is still half-decorated with Ursula’s first-birthday stuff. Her birthday was in June.

I digress.

Yesterday afternoon, our little family of three attended our church’s annual Christmas carol service. It was lovely. And even though I spent most of it making sure my kid didn’t get tripped on — she decided to lie down on the floor behind unsuspecting strangers — I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

And then they sang the wrong version of What Child Is This?

Not “alternate.” “Wrong.”

Traditionally, the second verse of the song goes like this:

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

We sang an “updated” verse:

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkeys are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Four reasons why churches need to get their heads out of their donkeys and just sing the original line:

1. Plural vs. singular.

“Ox” and “ass” are singular nouns. So “donkeys” just added more animals to the song. (If you’re going to assume that “ox and ass” is actually a plural phrase, it’s got to be “oxen and donkeys” or “ox and donkey.”)

2. Syllables.

“Donkeys” screws up the rhythm of the line. While you’re taking creative liberties, why not just go with “mule”? Sheesh.

3. The writer.

Once upon a time, an editor added really crappy things to an article I wrote. It was bad. I yelled at her over the phone. I got serious complaints about the article because of her changes. (The Florida Department of Citrus was ticked off. Don’t ask.) In conclusion, don’t mess with the writer’s words if you can’t make ‘em better.

Let’s give William Chatterton Dix a little respect.

4. It’s Christmas! Let the kids have their fun.

When else do you get to say “ass” at church and get away with it? I have very fond memories of giggling my way through this song. Don’t take that away from the next generation.

Rant over.

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My favourite. I read Little Women at a really young age. I was very proud of myself. But…I didn’t realize I had read an abridged version! I’ve now read the whole thing. Still wonderful. But longer.

I didn’t do a lot of reading this week. In fact, I didn’t do much of anything this week.

Here’s the gross reality of child-rearing: kids get sick. A lot. But when a grownup catches a kid’s cold, it’s way worse than the originating one. Ursula got over her cold in a day. I’m on day four of sinus pain. (Sleep deprivation doesn’t speed up recovery, either. And toddlers don’t sleep in. Or, in Ursula’s case, necessarily even sleep through the night. COFFEE. KLEENEX. COFFEE. KLEENEX. COFFEE.)

This week’s (short) roundup.

Patton Oswalt’s Year of Magical Parenting. I dare you not to cry. (GQ)

What the Oldest People in the World Eat (and Drink) Every Day. My takeaway: drink wine, eat bacon, wear heels. (bon appétit)

This week marked Louisa May Alcott’s 184th birthday. (Um, she’s not alive. If she was, the above food article would be all about her.) In honour of the occasion: 10 Things You May Not Know About ‘Little Women.’ (Mental Floss)

Related: Why Little Women Is Still the Best Christmas Movie. The 1994 version is one of my favourite films of all time. For about 4,089 reasons. (Vogue)


Who wouldn’t want to party with these two?

The Gilmore Girls revival will be available on Netflix tomorrow.

To prepare, Matthew and I watched the entire series this summer.

And then we tried to line up at Luke’s Diner. But Lorelai would never stand in line for hours just for a cup of coffee, so neither did we. We found coffee (and donuts) elsewhere.

In an alternate universe, I would host an epic GG party — Am I the only one unimpressed that Christopher calls Georgia, his daughter, GG? Can you get a more obvious nod to the show’s title? — in four stages, in honour of the four new episodes.

In this universe, however, I am going to put on pjs and watch quietly, praying that the child in the next room doesn’t decide to join me. And it will probably take me four nights. Because exhaustion.

Back to the alternate universe.

Nadine’s Ultimate Gilmore Girls Party

Part One: Luke’s

(Poster: WindowShopGal)

Playlist: A whole lotta “la-las,” courtesy of Sam Phillips. And anytime anyone arrives, Carole King’s “Where You Lead I Will Follow” must play. (The version she rerecorded with her daughter. Obviously.)

This keychain will be hanging inside the door.

There will be coffee. Black. Strong. No fancy espresso drinks. Just drip coffee. Ideally, I’ll have built mug cubbies for the occasion. Like this:

(Photo: Design Sponge)

Cell phones will be turned off. (Download this sign for free.) Pancakes, donuts and burgers will be served. No one will actually finish their plate because no one does on the show and I don’t want to mess with the Gilmore tradition of dining and dashing. So moments after food is served, we’ll all abandon our plates and watch the first episode.

Part Two: Friday Night Dinner — Cocktail Hour

I would use this party as an excuse to get a bar cart. In this fantasy world, my toddler would have no interest in touching anything on it. 

Drinks, anyone?

Gin martinis or white wine for the Lorelais in attendance — unless someone wants to do tequila shots and ruin a wedding.

Single-malt scotches for the Richards.

The super-sweet “Rory” cocktail for the Rorys — or club soda. She WAS underage for most of the show.

And some kind of generic beer — labelled “nitwit juice” — for the Lukes who probably don’t drink fancy drinks.

(The Emilys in the group can order whatever they want, and then fire whoever serves them.)

Part Three: Friday Night Dinner — Main and Dessert

At this point — we’re halfway through the series and probably hungry — everyone should sit around a large table and make awkward small talk with each other, not sharing their true feelings about what they’ve watched so far. (In honour of the pilot, there should be lamb. And potatoes — maybe a little under-salted. Or just channel the original Lorelai and bring your own rabbit.)

We’ll move back to the living room for after-dinner drinks, more coffee, and sweet treats from Switzerland: marzipan. Everyone will make faces and compare marzipan to Velveeta and plutonium — and then give theirs to me. Because on this one issue, I do not agree with the younger Gilmores. Marzipan for life, yo.

Part Four: Night In With the Gilmore Girls

We’re in the home strech. Time for takeout! (And maybe for pyjamas.)

Check out this feast on the coffee table:

Chinese food (served in “Al’s Pancake World” boxes). Pizza. Pop-Tarts. Mallomars. Ice-cream floats (served in cups labelled “Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe”). And all the candy.

(If anyone knows a dog named Paul Anka, he’s welcome to swing by at this point.)

We’ll cuddle on the couch as we watch the final — probably for all of time — episode. We’ll wait for those four final words. And cry.

Bonus: Breakfast

Assuming we’ve crammed all four parties into one night, it’s now morning. And we haven’t forgotten Sookie. Nor have we forgotten her basket of muffin tops.

(And, like, Sookie, I’ll wait until you’ve tried them — in apple cinnamon walnut, lemon poppyseed, apple spice, and double chocolate chip flavours — before asking you to babysit my kid. For an entire weekend. Too much?)

And because wasting food is uncool, we’ll also eat muffin-bottom pie.

And drink more coffee.

And process what we just saw by talking a mile a minute, peppering our observations with charming witticisms and random pop-culture references.

And when the coffee’s gone, the party’s over.



17 Months!

by Nadine on November 24, 2016

Reading in the hamper.

Life with a 17-month-old is fun.

It’s messy.

It’s a special kind of exhausting.

It’s waking up at 4:00 a.m. to the cries of “Mommy” followed by “elbow” because she learned a new word.

It’s waiting for more teeth to (finally) show up. And doling out the Motrin in the meantime.

It’s singing “Skinnamarink” over and over to a child sitting on the potty. (Fun fact: While the song is mostly associated with Sharon, Lois and Bram, it actually originated on Broadway in 1910.)

It’s stirring oatmeal with a kid on your hip because she wants to see the “bubbles.”

It’s simultaneously praising and scolding your child for twisting the lid off the baking powder container — and scrubbing the floor with it.

It’s finding one shoe in her room and the other in your closet.

It’s asking for help with the laundry then watching your kid pretend to take a nap in the pile of dirty clothes.

It’s catching your falling child after she spins herself in circles until she’s dizzy. And then she does it again. And again.

It’s clinking your coffee cup against her sippy cup throughout the entire meal. Because sometimes she won’t drink without “cheers.”

It’s taking her to the library and then trying to convince her that novels are above her reading level.

It’s stopping six times on a 15-minute walk to put her mittens back on.

It’s using hand-washing as an incentive. Because hand soap is fun.

It’s saying “baa-baa” instead of “sheep.” Because your brain is mush.

It’s wondering where she found the Cheerio she’s chewing on.

It’s discovering you’ve been putting your kid in shoes two sizes too small.

It’s scrambling eggs. All the eggs.

It’s pretending that three different kinds of crackers make a balanced snack.

It’s getting tackled by a hug from behind when you’re cleaning up those cracker crumbs.

It’s having no escape. She can open the bathroom door.

It’s forgetting when you last cleaned the bathroom.

It’s losing your phone, only to find it “disabled” on a shelf in another room.

It’s finding a sippy cup on your bedside table. You did not put it there.

It’s tossing a beach ball at your kid’s face just for a laugh.

It’s teaching your kid to sweep, then watching in horror as she eats crumbs out of the dust pan.

It’s tiptoeing around the house during naptime, hoping she’ll stay asleep longer than yesterday.

It’s planning your (limited) social life around a sleep schedule.

It’s singing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” in public.

It’s chasing your runaway kid at the market.

It’s sharing your only cookie.

It’s trying to keep your kid awake in the stroller so she’ll sleep at home.

It’s counting on a nap that doesn’t happen.

It’s forgetting the last time you slept through the night. (It was probably in 2014.)

It’s giving her all the stickers.

It’s watching her tear up her art project because she wants the stickers back.

It’s getting kissed by a little face covered in yogurt. Because you just can’t say no.

It’s a little gross.

But it’s mostly wonderful.

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Well. This week happened.

(I tried to write a sentence here, but it turned into a meandering rant about hate and love and fear and ‘What-the-heck, America?’ My heart hurts.)

Two highlights:

1. We took Ursula to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and she got to meet real live baa-baas and moos!

2. We watched The Crown on Netflix. And drank all the Lagavulin.

You gotta make the best of it, right?

Here’s some fun Crown-related reading:

Inside Netflix’s $130 million “The Crown,” the most expensive TV series ever. (The Daily Beast)

Fug the Show: The Crown recaps. These are full of fascinating tidbits and links. And are hilarious. Here’s episode one. And two. (Go Fug Yourself)

Surgeons replace actors in The Crown’s King George VI operation scene. No wonder this show was expensive! (AOL)

How to visit the stunning film locations from Netflix’s The Crown. (Visit Britain)

Other stuff on the Internet:

Hermès’s First Female Perfumer Talks About Breaking Into the Male-Dominated Fragrance World. (NY Mag)

‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer. (New York Times)

The White Shirt: An Obsessive, Comprehensive Guide. (Wall Street Journal)

It’s Okay to Never Wash Your Coffee Cup. You can stop feeling guilty now. (NY Mag)



Words, words, words. (Name that Shakespearean play.)

What Beyoncé taught me. Dance lessons for writers. (The Guardian)

Adele, Queen of Hearts. I want to be her best friend. (Vanity Fair)

Michelle Obama’s Most Memorable Gowns. I’m going to miss her. (Go Fug Yourself)

A Lesson in Royal Etiquette: 7 Things to Know Before You Meet the Queen. She needs presents! (Vogue)

Um, also at Vogue: A Trip to Canada’s Prairies—Vaguely Exotic, Totally Obscure, and an Absolute Must-Visit Destination.

Want to Work in 18 Miles of Books? First, the Quiz. (NY Times)

Are We Sure It’s Good? A Close Reading of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’. I should probably rewatch it. (The Ringer)

25th anniversary of Jessie Spano’s infamous caffeine pill meltdown on ‘Saved by the Bell’. I’m so excited! I’m so scared! (NY Daily News)


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The Ladybug

by Nadine on October 30, 2016

Four things:

1. Our sartorially opinionated child very much approves of her Halloween costume.

2. She probably thinks it’s a real outfit. For wearing whenever. Which is fine by me.

3. Actually, I wish I could get away with wearing a glorified pillow in public.

4. She is holding the remote for a DVD player we no longer own. She thinks it’s her cell phone. Which is also fine by me.