Saturday, 10 December 2016

Hope in Hot Rollers

OK, so I don't know if it's anxiety or age, but I feel like I have about 4 hairs left on my head. Since my hair is also bleached to within an inch of its life, I have to be careful what products I use. I've been using the unshampoos or cleaning conditioners since forever, but I miss that squeaky clean feeling on my scalp and the volume.

A lot of mid-life bloggers I read seem to swear by Kérastase so I decided to try out one of their holiday gift sets.

This stuff is not cheap so I wanted to choose carefully. I filled out their little hair survey and they told me I needed their Chronologiste line to turn back time, just like in the film, About Time.

So far, I'm loving it. Silky, good volume and it feels clean. I've missed lather! I'll let you know how it goes after a month...

I'm also going back to hot rollers since LoL's Sophie swears by them and her hair is perfection. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, when the world had an anemic flat ironed look, I had hair like Texas thanks to hot rollers. I need to get that look back.

When it comes to your locks, are you fighting the good fight? What works for you?

Friday, 9 December 2016

Ladies of London, my relatives, and The Seventh Eye Circles of Hell

OK, so Ladies of London has been excellent. Although I love Sophie Stanbury - because hair - the Viscountess Hinchingbrooke is my spirit animal. Julie Montagu is a ballsy midwestern yoga-gal who now has an English title and runs the Mapperton estate. I very much identify with her trying to break into a fairly closed community. It's tough out there! 

I loved her battle over mugs and tea towels with Lesley, the Mrs. Danvers in the green sweatshirt who works at the gift shop at Mapperton. Lesley sat there sporting Active Bitch Face, telling Julie she is not fond of the colour green while wearing the very same shade. Her face reminded me of when I showed up an an event with the Mr. before we'd even started to date. I was greeted by a wall of angry women. One -- let's call her Too Tight Leather Jacket - made such a face that I asked the Mr. what was up. I was also shoved at the bar. At the time it was upsetting. That and similar antics spun me into quite a tailspin for a while. Now, it makes me laugh. They really ought to bring the Real Housewives franchise here. I'm not sure Too Tight Leather Jacket is as telegenic as they tend to seek out, but she's itching for a fight and would make for good TV.  Rather than letting it get me down, I've decided to do what writers do best and turn it into material. I can probably dine out on stories of my early years in Stepford for the rest of my life.

In spite of me thinking of this place as Stepford -- which it totally is (you've got to come on the school run with me some time and watch the yummies in the sea of Range Rovers) -- I've met a lot of excellent people here. Really excellent. The walking ladies, the yoga girls, the gals in the kiss and ride line: all splendid people. And you really cannot go by appearances. Some of the most down to earth people are leggy, super model types in massive homes. Whereas the earthy woman in the mom jeans is mean as hell. You really have to get to know people, which luckily I have. Going forward, I am focusing on the good eggs I've met. I'll attempt to leave the drama on Bravo where it belongs!

Between Stephen Andrew Jones's posts of late and Plum Johnson's They Left Us Everything, I've been thinking a lot about family. My mother was the surprise post-war baby and her sisters were much older so I no longer have living biological aunts on that side of the family. It's too bad as both Nonie and Joan were formidable. Joan was the type of woman who could get up before work and sew herself a new suit to wear that day. She was one moment a model, another a hockey wife, and yet another a pioneering manager at BC Tel. She had a blind dog named Buddy who would climb trees. She was one of a kind. I visited her and my uncle in Arizona shortly before she died. I'm so glad I made that trip. If you have extra money, spend it on people.

My aunt Nonie was a ray of sunshine and the aunt to whom I was closest growing up. I spent hours with her looking for shoes (I got my shoe thing from her) and reading magazines (again, an inheritance.) She loved her mink coat that smelled faintly of perfume and cigarette smoke (Diptyque needs to make a candle that smells like that!) She had a tough life. She lost her husband and daughter to an environmental cancer caused by uranium mining. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis, which shortened her life. And yet, she was one of the most positive people I know. Apparently, she was quick-tempered like me when she was younger so her example offers me hope. I should mellow into something quite fine.

My aunts inherited their Steel Magnolia personalities from my Swedish maternal grandmother. The other day, my mother and I were in Saks and saw the new Stella McCartney platform brogues. There is no way that my grandmother - who is quite the active spirit if the Medium I saw is to be believed - was not involved with these shoes. In life, she had one leg that was significantly shorter than the other and wore a built up shoe. She always favoured a similar black brogue to the one by Stella. Her hands were all over this shoe design. Well played, Nana T, well played.

She made the Cle de Peau concealer purchase that much more fun. On that front, I'll let you know if the $90 concealer (!) works on my Seventh Eye Circles of Hell. For that price, it had better make me look like Amanda Seyfried.

I hope you are thinking fondly of your relatives this season and, if not, are cultivating wonderful replacements in the form of friends.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Maritime Bolthole

So, pretty exciting times at Casa RJL.

First, the ladies in my walking group threw me a little shower. These women do not do things by half and I really hope none of them remarry because I will not be able to fête them like this in return.

It was really quite something with tomato & red pepper soup, goat cheese salad, and Delia Smith's Chicken with Mushroom, Bacon and Marsala sauce. There was bubbly and cupcakes and Poire William and champagne chocolates for dessert. Heaven. It was nice respite in a ridiculously busy day with a management dinner. school semi-formal, badminton tournament and swimming badge exam all at the same time. Thankfully my parents moved to Stepford and my mom helped do some driving while I ran back and forth.

Also, we bought our maritime bolthole! The Mr. and I were out east for a look-see in October and saw a very sweet place just outside Lunenburg, on the sea. It's a working fishing hamlet with a lot of artist-types in residence and we can walk or bike to a very sweet general store and buy tiny organic pies. I cannot tell you how important this is: I'm obsessed with tiny organic pies. We can sea kayak, which I've comes to really enjoy. I find it very restful.

The Mr. is positioning it as my Something Blue for the wedding. I think that's just swell.

From the deck, you have a ringside seat on the ocean. I find the sea incredibly calming: the salt air, the sound of waves, the expansive views. I've struggled with anxiety my entire life and at the ripe old age of 44 have decided that that's just he way I am and, for once, I need to adjust my life to deal with it. I need a place to sit and write and read and listen to the water and the birds. When the Mr. and I combined two houses into one, we had some funds left over and this seemed like a great investment in our future. Whether it's a great financial investment remains to be seen. We are realistic on the growth prospects of recreational properties, given that the boomers are downsizing and millennials don't seem to care about ownership. Plus, Nova Scotia's South Shore is still recovering from the 2008 housing crash since so many Americans own property on the coast. Still, people are starting to buy up places once again and the point where we are seems to be booming, with new neighbours building their very own lighthouse. 

The thing we liked the best about the Lunenburg area are the people. Everyone we've met so far has been very friendly and relaxed. From our lovely real estate agent, to the water guy we've had extensive dealings with (ask me about wells!), to our lawyer, everyone on this deal has been great. Did I mention that Lunenburg has three bricks and mortar bookstores and a local theatre and about 12,000 restaurants? I love it. I'm also a history nut and love that there are places from the late 1600s. We know of a few Toronto types who've made a permanent move out east and who have never looked back. This is not our situation. We are remaining in Stepford while the children finish school, but in the interim, it will be nice to have another spiritual home.

I hope you are having some moments of respite and joy in this very busy season. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

Well, we did it. We put up the Christmas tree this weekend and it is still standing. Bravo! Brava!

We hung the stockings - all 9 of them! I think our fireplace makes up look like The Duggars. Some are for pets, but still!

We had a nice weekend. On Friday, I picked up my wedding dress at Pearl Bridal House in Port Credit. I love Port Credit. I could live there. (Notice a theme?) The dress still fits, which is always excellent. Usually my daughter plays bridesmaid but she had badminton practice so instead I enlisted my son. The boutique manager has an in-depth knowledge of Pokemon cards so he was kept amused.

This weekend, the Mr. and I met with the caterer so this wedding thing is starting to seem quite real. We are not having a traditional wedding but instead a party with food, champagne, and dancing. I'm now starting to look forward to it. Before, we were simply too busy to really think about it.

On Sunday, I re-read the excellent They Left Us Everything, by Plum Johnson. We'll be discussing it at the 1010 Park Place book club on Tuesday and the author will be participating. If you are in the sandwich generation and are helping aging parents, or are simply interested in an exploration of family, memory and legacy, it will really speak to you. If you are looking for a great read during a mid-life change such as divorce, death, or other loss, Oprah's Little Guide to Starting Over is also terrific.

I had a chance to do some holiday shopping in Oakville with the lovely DaniBP. We popped into Lilly Pulitzer and Soap & Water and had a civilized lunch. I bought Watts & Co tapers at Soap & Water, which are burned in all the best houses of worship. Fancy!

It was an excellent day. My favourite part of blogging has always been getting to know some truly lovely people in real life.

The rest of the week is quite filled with lunches and coffee dates and tournaments and recitals. It's that time of year: busy but festive. Hope you are having a lovely December too.