Victoria Day Frivolities

I love all things Victoria: the city, the magazine, the Beckham, and the Queen.

The Queen always has the most marvellous birthday. Most Ontarians seem to happily head for the cottage, but after 20 years of the up north thing I love not cottaging (behave, you ribald Brits...)  Instead, I did a number of fun things this week including a little road trip...

Love a little denim dress for travel. And my Longchamps travel bag...

Lovely tasting board at Taps, Niagara Falls

I've not been to Niagara Falls in a dog's age.


It's quite pretty, particularly in May when it's off season. The weather cooperated and it was warm and sunny for our little getaway.

I felt very lucky:

I was sans kids this weekend and so Sunday I went to the local Chanel counter to get some new makeup:

I picked up the Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation in Beige Rose. What a lovely makeup. So light and matte. Perfect for summer. I also picked up some powder and a lip pencil and a Mademoiselle lippy. How could I not have had this colour in my collection? So pretty!

I needed to take my hair a couple of shades darker and did so sitting beside a professional dominatrix. In Oakville! Will wonders never cease? The lowlights made the old colour brighter, which I liked.

We popped by a friend's pool opening party.

Love that the GLK has a built-in Pimm's Holder (fear not, it's sealed!)

I decided to try planting a vegetable garden for the first time ever. Why has no one ever told me what a fantastic workout gardening is? My legs feel like I did an 8-hour Barre class!

We had some friends who were at the party where we first met over for a drink and some nibbles.

First mover advantage gets you Black Forest Bakery macarons and the fancy cheese plate.

I watched a little Mystic Pizza.

And had a little brunch at the Dundas Street Grille with a pal.

I tried the fedora look for an Oakville meets Coachella vibe. Oakchella?

Hope you had a happy Vicky Day or are preparing for a lovely Memorial Day or Bank Holiday.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

OK, so this is going to be a bit of a wacky space for a while. Recently, a friend of mine told me that I just need to write who I am. It made me think of this quote:

/via Facebook/

It supported what y'all have been so kindly saying. So I guess I am going to do that even though it might seem like a dog's breakfast of topics and flies in the face of Blogging 101. Fret not, though, there will still be glama shoes per below.

Friday, I was at Leadercast, a wonderful leadership simulcast seminar that has me fired up about my work life again. After everything that has happened over the past few years, I've been finding it hard to get my head back into the business world. It just seems so irrelevant. In light of everything happening on this planet, I couldn't give a toss about shareholder value. The old investment banker in me no longer exists. But Leadercast focused on Beyond You leadership. The speakers were varied -- Desmond Tutu, Laura Schroff, Malcolm Gladwell, Dr Henry Cloud, Andy Stanley, Laura Bush... -- and they all reinforced the theme that the old way of making decisions focused solely on profit is not working anymore. It's far better to grow legacy companies that will make a difference over the long term. One of my favourite speakers was Simon Sinek, who wrote Start With Why. He defines leadership as "the daily practice of putting others before ourselves." Wouldn't that be great if that were true? I have the opportunity to dig into some research on how people lead that is making me feel passionate about working in a way I have not in a while. Plus, I got to gussy up and wear my Smythe jacket out. And you know how much I enjoy that kind of thing.

I loved speaker Laura Schroff who wrote The Invisible Thread. In her book, she talks about how her act of buying lunch for an 11 year-old boy begging for money on the streets of New York 25 years ago changed both their lives. As we headed into Canadian Mother's Day, a day filled with bittersweetness for so many people, I thought it was a beautiful tale of how biology does not impede our ability to be mothered or to mother others. I've always thought the traditional definition of mothering was incredible narrow.

I've started cooking again. I'm loving the JJ Virgin cookbook. I'll be honest and admit that I only buy cookbooks featuring people I'd like to resemble.

I have no idea who she is or what she stands for, but look at her arms! I made the grilled flank steak, which is a cut I've never prepared before. It was tender thanks to all the great marinade. I've never tried cooking with coconut aminos before. It makes things tasty and not as salty as, say, soy sauce.


I had a very good weekend. As a single parent, I've shied away from having the kids in competitive team sports as the training schedules involve a lot of weekend coordination. I hated the thought of running the kids all over town, but this weekend it all worked out and the kids are happy to be part of teams that will potentially give them some nice relationships through high school. It was a proud mama moment. After the practice sessions, I met my beautiful friend Melinda for lunch with the kids and we had a good old catch up over measuring cups full of pop.

My daughter is becoming quote the photog.

Sunday was Mother's Day. For many, it's a day fraught with peril so I felt very lucky to be celebrating with my mom and my kids. The wonderfully talented Alice Anderson put this gorgeously inclusive  tribute on Facebook:

Here's to all the mothers as their lovely younger selves, peering out from all the photos posted. Here's to the frail mother smiling with the church corsage pinned to her collar. Here's to all the children lost, and mothers lost, and the place in our heart that never stops singing their names. Here's to the women longing to be mothers who ache this day. Here's to people hurting, heart-smarting like a slap because they can't dredge up one happy memory of their mother. Here's to the lucky ones, with the best mothers in the whole wide world. Here's to all the mess, and complications, and hurt feelings. Here's to the wild laughter, the midnight tears, the long talks, the unsaid understanding. Here's to the new moms for whom today is the first mother's day, filled with quiet elation. Here's to the picnic dinners, the breakfasts in bed, the long-distant phone calls, the silent prayers, the cards in the mail, the scribbled pictures, the pots of grocery azaleas, the wonky poem, the beaded purse, the heart shaped pendent necklace. Here's to the women who have neither mother nor child, who nurture others every day. Here's to the all the single mamas, going it alone. Here's to all the mothers - brave enough to live day after complicated day with a lovely little broken piece of their heart beating in the narrow chest of their child: sacred, silly, filled with joy, no guarantees, light-filled, so sweet, dangerous and dazzling

Love her.

My daughter made breakfast for me and tidied the kitchen. I'm a lucky gal.

I was well-spoiled at brunch with my parents and kids at The Oakville Club.

The children bought me french milled soap and some french-themed tissues and other goodies. It was very sweet.

I may or may not have gifted myself a pair of summer shoes.

 For me?

Well, this looks promising…

You shouldn't have! 

On the other hand...

Gorgeous Rockstuds, but not as lovely as the chalk drawing tribute or the handpicked magnolia flower. Those kids were hard-battled-for in the medical trenches and I will never forget to be grateful.

Serena took time off from thinking about her mum, Cashmere, and her award-winning offspring to read the latest issue of Tatler.

You know, I'd like to date a Lord, I think.

We biked downtown to the charming Main Street.

And my son gawked at all of the fancy cars.

I explained to the kids that while the Ferrari is nice, the kind of people who drive Ferraris are often -- hmm, how do I say this nicely -- complicated. Caveat Emptor, as they say.

I hope you had a blessed weekend. I'm going to watch the box set of Nashville work so that I can take off a couple of days for a wee, small getaway without any guilt.

Take care, lovelies.

Rayna James and Crying on the inside

Last week was a busy one. There were some decisions to make around the current book:

This weekend, we had a little jaunt into the city. I got to put on my suburban-hipster-hits-Big-Smoke outfit of motocross pants, ladies-who-lunch jacket, tissue t, and ancient, street-worn patent Louboutins.

Channeling my inner Julie Gayet 

We saw The Other Woman at the local multiplex. I know the critics have trashed it but I loved it. I totally identified with Leslie Mann's deposed Stepford Wife character but wish I were more like Cameron Diaz's straight-talking lawyer: "Cry on the inside, like a winner," she tells Mann's increasingly unhinged character.

I have a real respect for women who know who they are and stand up for themselves: Kelly Cutrone and Nashville's Rayna James come to mind.

Speaking of girl crushes, I also have crazy respect for writer Justine Musk. Her latest piece, how not to care so much what other people think, is amazing. If you are working on your courage muscles, it's a fantastic read.

Enjoy the sun and the tulips.

And remember to stop and smell the magnolias.

Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...