Freelancing 101: No Plan? No Problem (Yet)

by Nadine on June 2, 2016

“Getting older has given me more comfort in not knowing the answers. I throw up my hands more often now; I shake my head in wonder at how inscrutable life is. I have finally figured out that “Figure it out” is not a great slogan. My new slogan is “Who knows?”— which leads quite easily to “Who cares? But isn’t it something?” The God of the Old Testament says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” i.e., “Put a sock in it—you are in charge of very little. You could help the dogs at mealtime, as they have no opposable thumbs. But you’re going to have to trust me with the big things.”

- Anne Lamott

I don’t have a plan.

On the up side: God isn’t laughing at me.*

On the down side: I’m feeling a little…lost.

It’s June. Last June, I started “maternity leave,” a self-imposed break from writing during which I received almost-zero dollars.

I kept one writing client and managed to — sometimes tearfully — churn out two articles a week. Would I recommend working in the first month after giving birth? In the eloquent words of Bobby Brown, “Hell to the no!” But we made it work. And eventually I started to really value my weekly grownup time at a nearby coffee shop. But still. Brand-new mamas, just say no to drugs work. (Say yes to whatever drugs your midwife/doctor allows.)

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. The pros of freelancing far outweigh any cons, even the con of no job security or cash flow when a babe shows up.

I assumed I’d be back writing for another client after a few months. A few months passed, and I revised that to mean “in a few more months.” And then…it became June again. And I still don’t have a plan.

I have a baby who is still breastfeeding. Who is showing signs of separation anxiety. Who doesn’t have a bedroom door. (More on that later.)

I have no nanny or day care lined up.
Our apartment is tiny.
I am tired.
Caffeine (and life) is getting expensive.

On days like today, my mind is swimming. There are things I want to do. Things I probably should do. Things I don’t want to do but don’t know how to avoid doing.

Anyone wanna pay me to just be me?…asks everyone everwhere. I know, I know.

I’m typing this in a coffee shop. Today I’m here to simply brainstorm. To dream a little. But not to figure it out.**

I’m giving myself permission to fly blind a little this year. But not to stay in one place.

Forward motion. That is the only plan.



*I don’t actually think God laughs at our plans. But he might shake his head a little at how small our dreams are, or at how determined we are to “go alone,” as if we’ll get more life points for attempting the hard stuff without our euchre partner him.

**Lamott, at a recent UofT lecture — Thanks for the invite, Beth! — dismissed this notion of “figuring it out,” but also emphasized the importance of putting things on the calendar. Doing something > thinking about doing something.

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This was Ursula’s first-ever mystery novel board book!

Let me tell you, it’s VERY refreshing to delve into a story with a plot. There’s only so much “Apple,” “Moo,” “Boom, boom, boom, Mr. Brown makes thunder” a person can take.

Lady Tasha is horrible at keeping track of her precious jewels. Horrible. They’re lying around everywhere.

At least she looks good while she searches for her most precious one.*

Get the look:

1. J.O.A. Pleated Dress

2. Isabel Marant Étoile Relly embroidered cotton dress

3. Sportmax Silk Crepe Dress

I hope Kate Middleton reads this book to her kids. While wearing Alexander McQueen.

*Spoiler alert: It’s in the teapot. Because that makes sense.

P.S. Here’s how to dress like Madeline and the mom from Love You Forever.


A Lovely Dress For Cinderelly!

by Nadine on May 29, 2016

Remember this Zac Posen dress?

I found its prequel:

Dolce and Gabbana Fall 2016 RTW

Eight-year-old me is very pleased with the direction high fashion is currently taking.


Mommy Brain: Condiments Vs. Child Care

by Nadine on May 29, 2016

Onesie by TheOystersPearl

After spending most of yesterday in the sun, I woke up this morning with a throbbing headache and no desire to do anything.

I was lounging on the couch in my pjs, drinking reheated day-old coffee, when I asked my husband a very important question:

ME: How do the Kardashians have the time and energy to spend, like, 5 hours a day on their hair and makeup?

MATTHEW (according to me): Mayonnaise.


MATTHEW (for real): Nannies.

ME: I thought you said mayonnaise.


ME: I wish their secret was mayonnaise. I could do mayonnaise.

I eventually managed to shower and put on mascara. Tylenol fixed the headache. And I survived the day without a nanny OR mayonnaise.* Take that, Kardashians.**

*I ate mayo yesterday. And I’ll eat mayo tomorrow. It’s my favourite food group.

**I didn’t, however, contour my face — although apparently nontouring is the new thing? I’m so behind — or blow-dry my hair. So maybe the Kardashians and their nannies still win.


Dolls Don’t Feel Pain

by Nadine on May 25, 2016

Ever trip over your kid’s doll and panic that you just tripped over the cat and then remember that you’ve never owned a cat?

Um, me neither.

In related news, Ursula stayed up until 11:30 last night. And cried for an hour at bedtime tonight. ‘Cause sleep is for babies.


[Eerily accurate illustration by Gemma Correll]


Video Did Not Kill the Radio Star

by Nadine on May 25, 2016

Have you seen this video yet?

So. Much. Love.

I would wean for that dress. (Breastfeeding mamas, you know what I’m talking about.)

Bonus: It comes with a detachable bow!

I have a dream. That dream is to be invited to a formal affair where I can don a floor-length floral dress. Fancy friends, you have the power to make that dream come true. Anyone wanna host a ball? And lend me some Dolce & Gabbana money?

Also, Adele’s album cover = eyeliner goals.

Fancy-friends-who-are-planning-a-ball, if you have eyeliner tips, please share.

Coldplay’s new video is also awesome. Even though it fails to excite, fashion-wise.


Picture Book Fashion: Madeline

by Nadine on May 16, 2016

Because Vogue is for people with too much time on their hands.

Feeling inspired by Madeline? Get the look at Madewell, Modcloth and J.Crew.

Although I’d like to think she’s wearing Valentino. (Can a French girl rock an Italian designer? Je pense que oui!)

P.S. Here’s how to dress like the mom in Love You Forever. #NightgownGoals


The BSC Forever

by Nadine on May 11, 2016

I might need this tee.*

P.S. I used to hide candy behind books on my bookshelf. Because of Claudia.

*Made in Toronto!

UPDATE: shirt acquired.


Highs and Lows

by Nadine on May 7, 2016

This week’s low: Being locked out of the house — without a phone or a computer. 

I was almost home from the dentist on Wednesday — looking forward to an empty house, since Matthew and Ursula were downtown running some errands — when I realized that I didn’t have a house key. And my phone had 2% battery life.

I didn’t know when my family would be home. I couldn’t work on the articles due that afternoon.


This week’s high: Being locked out of the house — without a phone or a computer. 

I bought a cheap notebook at a nearby convenience store, bought a coffee — eventually: two — and a cookie at my favourite haunt, quickly texted Matthew to swing by the coffee shop on his way home since my phone was thisclose to dying, and brainstormed on paper until he and Sully came to my rescue.

Unplugging for two hours was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes your low can turn into your high.


[Photo: hand-painted travel journal by SecretSicily]


A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

by Nadine on May 5, 2016

On the morning of the MET Gala, I told Matthew that I hoped someone would interpret the night’s theme — Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology — to mean Lily’s epic flower girl dress.

(Remember when Modern Family was the funniest show ever? I miss 2009.)

My wish came true.

Shoutout to the original glow gal: Cinderella.


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