Constant Craving*

by Nadine on April 26, 2017

*Not really. I’m pretty low-maintenance on the cravings meter.


A couple weeks ago, I wanted a Dutchie. I might have used the word “need.”

Dutchies no longer exist. Not even in Timbit form.

MATTHEW: So essentially you’re craving a memory.

NADINE: Does this mean I can never be happy again?!

While unable to conjure the donut of my dreams, Matthew DID, early in my pregnancy, return home from a night out with friends with a takeout container of garlic fries. At midnight. For his nauseous wife to eat in her pyjamas. It was glorious.



Image source: Wikimedia Commons.


And Baby Makes Four!

by Nadine on April 25, 2017

Someone’s getting a sidekick!

This pregnancy has been a doozy, energy-sapping-wise. More nausea, exhaustion, and general zombie-like behaviour than the first. And, unlike the first pregnancy, this one comes with a side of energetic toddler. She has no chill — and sometimes enjoys hurling herself off a side table onto the couch.

At 18 weeks, I’m just starting to feel human again.

(Shoutout to Matthew, who’s been doing the early-morning thing with Ursula every day so I can get a little extra rest. And shoutout to Ursula, who holds me accountable to taking a daily prenatal vitamin: “Baby eat!”)

We’re excited for Ursula to have a sibling. She really likes kids, and is already kissing my belly and talking about “baby.” Only occasionally — and usually after a tantrum in public or a snotty, sleepless night — do Matthew and I look at each other and ask, “WHAT ARE WE GETTING OURSELVES INTO?!

(We’ll survive. The kids will go off to summer camp in, like, 9 years. And we will sleep again.)


It’s Saturday! The kid’s napping! Let’s read.

Life motto. (Image: Lucy Vigrass for The New York Times)

Seven Work Goals for 2017: What I Learned From In The Company Of Women. I read this book over the holidays. Full of fantastic kick-in-the-pants inspiration. (Design*Sponge)

Festive Lights Should Remain Up Throughout The Wintertime. A polite demand. (The Hairpin.)

11 Ways to Be a Better Person in 2017. (New York Times)

Related: How to dress like an adult. P.S. I HATE ironing. (New York Times)

Viola Davis’s Call To Adventure. A downside to having a toddler: being totally out of the loop, movies-wise. This is a great read, whether or not you’ve seen Fences yet. (The New Yorker)

Kate Black’s Top Canadian Ethical Fashion Brands. I am down to two threadbare pairs of jeans and zero sneakers. Shopping well is a priority this year. (INLAND)

I Surrendered My Wardrobe. I don’t have a big wardrobe. But in (re)building one post-baby, I aspire to a simple, streamlined one. (GQ)

Washington Post Express Puts Male Symbol on Women’s Inauguration March Cover. Um, ALWAYS PROOFREAD. (The Hollywood Reporter.)


Picture Book Fashion: The Cat In The Hat

by Nadine on January 5, 2017

If you’re over at our house and Ursula starts yelling “Hat! Hat!” in your direction, she probably wants you to get out the Dr. Seuss.

A perk to having kids is the frequent delightful nostalgic high you get from rereading your childhood favourites. And this page in particular always made me very happy.

I still want that dress.

Here’s how to get it, sans retro collar. (Sadly. I guess scalloped collars aren’t in right now? Time to DIY one.)

Sources: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5

Fortunately for my wallet, this one’s sold out.

Or source a vintage pattern and make the dress. Out of this, maybe? (I want to sew in 2017. More on that later.)

Who needs Vogue when you’ve got Seuss?

P.S. Here’s how to dress like the girl from We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,  Mama BearLady TashaMadeline, and the mom from Love You Forever.


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.