Advice for Women · Art of LIving · Christmas · Christmas Gift Ideas · Christmas Gift Ideas for Her · Christmas Letters · Christmas Lists · Christmas Marketing · Christmas Toronto · Christmas Toronto Things to Do · Creative Life · Fearless Living · Girl Stuff · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Christmas · Meaning of Life · Mindful Living · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living · women · Women's Issues · Working Women

Christmas Survival Guide for the Lost Woman: Delegate

opinions

My friends have let me down. I’ve let them down too.

At some point women give up their own selves for the selfless, and mostly unrecognized emotional work of maintaining a home (creating the atmosphere, remembering birthdays, preparing for holidays, and bearing the greater responsibility of relationship nurturing).

Don’t be her. Don’t be the woman we all become at one point or another; a frumpy feeling, sad, uninspired woman who feels like the dishrag that society treats her like.

This Christmas I’m challenging you to connect with your pals, and I’m also challenging myself. In order to make more time for me, and to enjoy the preparations for the holidays, I’ve come up with a few strategies.

 

  1. The word of the year this Christmas is; Delegate.

Make lists….and then give them away. I mean, you single-handedly make the magic happen, at least save some time not shopping and not running errands.

shopping list

 

2) Clear out the clutter.

No, not stuff, people. If you need the whole house so you can spread out the holiday decor,  but your lovey insists on being sprawled on the couch watching the boob tube and basically being useless, ask them to leave. Unless they’re helping, they’re hindering. Vamoos!

joy

 

3) Bake ahead, and if you don’t like baking, don’t.

This year I’m googling ‘christmas cookies that freeze well’, and I’m going to use it. I’m also stocking the freezer with some frozen cheater meals so that I can enjoy my time off throughout the holidays, without cringing when I’m asked, “Have you thought about dinner”. Also, it’s so I don’t tell them that prison dinner might be worth it since I wouldn’t have to cook or do the damn dishes. My eggnot loaf is currently cooling on the counter so it can be frozen.

eggnog loaf

 

4) Be the one who puts a stop to gift exchanges. Other than a few things under the tree on Christmas morning that my loved ones need, will have sentimental value, or are a true ‘Santa’ surprise gift, gift giving falls a long-distance second to just spending time together.

get together

 

5) Make some gal-destinations a priority. Whether it’s a spa date for candy-cane mani’s, or a local church craft sale…make an excuse to get out, wander through all of the delights of the season, and make it a date with someone you’ve been meaning to get together with but haven’t.

one of a kind

 

 

Whatever you do this Christmas season,  make sure you make time to slow down and take in some of what brings you joy.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Advice for Women · Christmas · Christmas Letters · Christmas Lists · Christmas Marketing · Parenting · Professional Women · Single Dads · Single Parenting · Single-Mothers · Singles · Uncategorized · women · Women's Issues · Women's Rights

Santa & The Single Mom: Christmas Stress

unclelewis

Last night, while making a right hand turn at a busy intersection (during rush hour no less), I was so anxious having a little cry and panicking about paying the bills that I drove into a snow bank, went into auto-pilot and put the car in neutral, and then stepped on the gas (while still in neutral), and basically scared myself back to sanity. I did not shit my pants and I consider that a victory.

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.

Any single parent knows how difficult it is to keep the ship afloat at home.  You finally get a little savings packed away, and voila, an emergency and then POOF, it’s gone. It feels like a really blue collar Harry Potter life without the magic of cool creatures.

No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on…

I love Christmas, and I love celebrating it. The reality is a single parent home is a vortex of anxiety and stress during the holidays. The best you can do is try to breathe deeply, and most importantly, remember that you always get through it. Always.

Now, getting through it this year has been a bit easier as we’ve had some exciting and positive distraction in our home thanks to my fabulously awesome kiddo.  I’ve also had a lot of practice throughout the years, so keeping that in mind helps to relax me a bit. If you have little ones at home, trust me; it gets easier. Not that the pressure eases, no, it actually gets worse. You become more graceful about it as the years pass if you try.

…and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

The truth is I get through the holidays with a few vices. Tipples in my morning coffee when I don’t have to go to work or be out on the roads. Knowing I can play my ukulele for distraction despite how badly I suck at it. Baking, stitching, and staying under my cozy blankets on my days off for as long as possible to meditate by counting my blessings. Oh, a fabulous drug plan, and a  good therapist go a long, long, way to always having a ho-ho-hold the stress holiday.

Mostly though, it’s counting my blessings and appreciating all of the fabulously weird, wonderful and kind people that I am proud to call friends.

And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

Christmas · Christmas Gift Ideas · Christmas Gift Ideas for Her · Christmas Letters · Christmas Lists · Christmas Marketing · Christmas Toronto · Christmas Toronto Things to Do · Current Events · Gift Ideas · Gift Ideas for Children · Gifting · Guy Stuff · Holidays · One of A Kind Show · Uncategorized · women · Women's Issues

Best of One of A Kind Show Toronto 2016

There’s something magical about beautiful pieces of practical every-day clothing and necessities.  At this stage of life, I am packing up and moving on, and I have decided not to move anything that is not useful and beautiful.

Hence my journey to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. My gal-pal and I had a hoot trying on hats, and egging one another on to treat ourselves. I managed to pick up most of the remaining Christmas gifts on my list, and felt like a million bucks when I left.

If you’re looking for something fun and a few little unique treats, give it a whirl. Here are a few of my personal favourites…

Hats

Oh boy, did we ever shop for hats. Wildhagen’s booth caught my eye ( a name close to my heart). I buckled and bought a piece of art to wear on my head…and I love it! My teenage son loves it, and buying it made me feel the tiniest bit guilty for possessing something so delightful!

This is the hat that came in as runner up, and I have decided that a quick jaunt to Queen Street will one day make it mine…perhaps in winter white.

wildhagenhat

 

Arts/Crafts

Admittedly I love to drink my tea from pottery mugs. Junichi Tanaka’s ceramics stole my heart. Each piece beautifully and thoughtfully made, with a craftsman who cares about the purpose of his vessels. Mr. Tanaka offered us water to pour from his exquisitely made tea-pots to ensure a drip-free pour.  I managed to bring home a small bowl with an iridescent rust, pewter and purple/red sheen and a small serving plate that spoke to me.

tanaka

 

JEWELLERY

Shelly Purdy Sutdio’s Canadian Sunset Ring stole my heart.  Reminiscent of our precious summer days in the north, the ring symbolizes everything I’ve known to be summer holidays. The bottom row of diamonds symbolizes the lake, and the centre diamond the setting sun, and who could possibly mistake the Group-of-Sevenesque pine?

corona_sunset_mld_and_seasons_by_shelly_grande

 

Handbags

And last but not least, who can really resist a practical handbag? After gathering Christmas gifts, I have left this one on my list of must haves. The perfect messenger bag awaits from Nautilos. Available in so many more delightful colours than basic black (although the black is lovely). Hot Pink was the hands-down favourite, followed by the yellow, and turquoise.

handbag

.

 

Advice for Women · Art of LIving · Christmas · Christmas Gift Ideas · Christmas Letters · Christmas Lists · Creative Life · Fearless Living · Friendship · Friendships · Girl Stuff · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Christmas · Meaning of Life · Mindful Living · Professional Women · Relationship Advice · Relationships · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · Sprititual Living · Student Life · The Art of Living · Toronto Life · Uncategorized · Whole Living · women · Women's Issues · Working Women

November 30th – Time to Commit to Christmas Carousing

women-coffeeThere’s nothing I admire more than a woman who doesn’t whine.

Perhaps a well matched wine to a hearty meal or a really comfy pair of walking shoes, but strong women always have a special place in my heart.

Whenever I get discouraged, down on myself, or frustrated, I think about how few women I know have overcome the adversity I’ve faced and kept it all together.

And then I automatically think of my mumster. The woman who took me under her wing when I was a rowdy thirty-something year old.  In my adult life, I never had a mum.  It kinda felt weird taking on a new one seeing as I was an adult already. But it was a good weird. It took me a while to understand that depth of kindness, even though I knew what it meant to be a mother.

Last night I came home from a weekend away, working on a relationship that only middle-age could inspire. Mumster had been here overseeing the household and my giant kiddo. The first thing that I noticed when I walked through the door was that the house was clean. Clean! My kiddo was still alive, and the kitties were happy. Prior to going away I had been working long hours, staying in the city, and trying to make everyone else happy. Mumster to the rescue.

Come to think of of it, it has been mumster to the rescue in a lot of cases; old broken down cars, old broken down hearts, and old broken down patterns of coping.

As busy as life gets, I think of her every day, I just don’t take the time I should to let her know. So, at Christmas time, I look forward to our visit, our time together, and giving her a thoughtful gift just for her.

I also like to take time to see the other fabulous women in my life; my bestie the Lovely Mrs. L, my crazy aunties, Cindy, Darleen, Virginia, Carrie, Karen….the list is long and beautiful, and yes, Carlo and Colin, rest assured, you are both considered one of the girls. You too Dennis.

Even though cynics criticize Christmas revelers as hypocrites for getting together only in December, I have to make a statement on the other side of the line. I really don’t care what the excuse is, I’m grateful for it and I will use it to connect with the people I love for as long as I’m able. Amen and hallelujah to that darlings, now pass the nogger and throw on your santa suit ’cause mamma loves to celebrate!

 

 

 

Christmas · Christmas Marketing · Economics · Economy · Life · Living · Mens' Issues · Mindful · Mindful Living · Social Commentary · Society · Uncategorized · Words of Wisdom

Christmas Shopping & The Meaning of Life

christmas shoppingThis one goes out to the Costco employees at the Laird Road location in Mississauga.

Thank you for reminding me to be kind and friendly this holiday season.

Your rude behavior and obvious annoyance at being bothered by your customers has made me rethink how I show up in the world every day.

In other words, you’re a shining example of how I don’t want to be.

The art of living truly is about mastering how you show up in the world wherever that place may be; home, work, school, or even Costco.

Trust me darlings, I too would rather be at home relaxing with a cocktail than being locked in a metal, windowless box spending my hard earned money with a bunch of people who feel the same way.

Before you ask, yes, I have worked retail, and yes, I know how annoying people can be.

Also, in case you thought I was independently wealthy, I have to work  as hard as you do for my money.  By the way, newsflash, I can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars, somewhere else for the very same products. If dealing with customers is such a pain in the ass, try dealing with no customers and no job.

Your brand of misery is the reason why people are giving up their materialistic Christmases of gluttony and trading them in for the simple joy of spending time together.

Spending time and energy buying stuff from people who are rude really doesn’t scream Merry, or Joy, or Peace on Earth.

The more I interact with you, the more I resent spending an hour finding a parking spot, being jostled like cattle through your aisles, and then ending the long-journey-of-consumer-monotony with a cashier who doesn’t know how to engage in a polite greeting, look me in the eye, and throws my conveniently-mega-packaged purchases into my cart like they’re trash.

Wishing that you and yours find the joy of the season where you least expect to find it; your own, every-day life.

 

 

 

Andshelaughs · Christmas · Comedy · Creative Writing · Creativity · Entertaining · Faith · Girl Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Inspiration · Lean In · Life · Living · Meaning of Life

The Amazing ‘C’ at Christmas

IMG_3684The Amazing C Strikes again.

She is that wacky, wonderful, outrageous friend that every woman needs in her life.

Why? Because she reminds me of what it’s like to be carefree and young again. She reminds me that my troubles are not as insurmountable as they seem. She reminds me that I’m not only a mother, or a friend, but I’m someone fun and worthwhile.

We had a bit of a snow storm a few days ago, and I had one errand I absolutely had to run. Before I left, I checked the mail, and there was a parcel slip. I had a package waiting.

While my car chugged through the snow still piled on the roadways, I cursed myself for forgetting this errand yesterday, but looked forward to getting home and opening my annual Christmas gift from the ‘Amazing C’.

The Amazing C is  a full-fledged couponer. She has a stockpile and posts her grocery items on Facebook with a, “Guess how much I spent”?  She always amazes me. I on the other hand have a schedule that barely allows enough time to get a load of laundry out of the washer and hang it up before I leave the house.

So, as I sat, hair wet from the snow that fell while I was shoveling the step and a pathway to our little patio, I opened up the purple and gold sparkly wrapped parcel.

Inside, she provided everything  a girl would need for a sexy night in; soap, toothpaste, matching pink and blue toothbrushes, a razor for him, yummy smelling lotion, hair stuff, a flask for my hooch (love that Amazing C!), a scented candle, condoms, laundry soap for the sheets the next day and some herbal tea. I’m assuming the batteries and chocolate were just in case the ‘romance’ turned flat.

Thank you for believing I still have what it takes to bring’em in Amazing C. This holiday I dedicate my sleazy nights to you! I shall toast you whilst naked between the sheets after each conquest…or I will curse you for the extra pounds that come with the chocolate as I sit home in my flannel watching Renee Zellweger flicks.

2014 was not a year we did much to celebrate our friendship. She was busy with her kiddos and a pregnancy. I was busy with my kiddo and career and this writing gig.  Our phone calls more often than not were under the 30 second mark, and ended with a hurried, “Gotta go. Love you!”

Thank you Amazing C for thinking of me this year, and posting your Christmas package. You made me smile and laugh, and that’s not been easy this week.

Wishing everyone a friend as wacky and wonderful this holiday season as the Amazing C!

 

Andshelaughs · Christmas · Creative Writing · Creativity · Economics · Entertaining · Entertainment · Food · Girl Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Inspiration · Lean In · Life · Living · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Motivation · Opinion · Perspective · Philosophy · Relationships · Sexuality · Singles · Travel · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Working Women · Writing

A Box of Chocolates for Christmas

chocolatsOne of my gal-pals told me that whenever someone gifted her a box of chocolates she felt insulted. Insulted that the gift-giver gave her a generic gift.

Hmm? I could see her point, but I also had my own feeling about the matter as well – surprise, surprise.

When was the last time you bought yourself a box of chocolates? Not a chocolate bar, or a chocolate snack of some sort, or a decadent dessert while you were out for a girls’ lunch. Just a box of chocolates?

I’m known as  being an ‘-aholic’ of all sorts; chocoholic, manoholic, wine0holic, you get the picture.  But despite loving chocolate, I can’t remember the last time I went out and bought myself a really nice box of chocolates.

I’ve discovered that as we get older, the things we really need are generally not things, or, if they are things, they are necessities or large-ticket items that we have to choose for ourselves.

This does not apply to romantic gift giving either. This must be pointed out for the man-dumb among us. In this case gents, send jewelry and plan and evening of very hot romance which ends naked under the glowing lights of the Christmas tree. Oh, also, because the Andshelaughs ladies are real, please  have breakfast planned.

So, if someone give you a box of chocolates this Christmas, don’t be a raging twatcycle. Remember that they didn’t have to give you damn thing, but they made the effort to give you a special treat, and really, what more could we ask for?