Thursday, May 19, 2016

Because I'm 42...

Because I'm 42, when I read this article yesterday titled 13 F*cks You Stop Giving When You're a Grown Woman it really resonated with me. Especially numbers 1 and 8. We spend our 20's figuring out who we are and trying to fit in and caring a LOT about what other people think. In our 30's we care a little less, but we're still likely trying to keep up with the Jones's and navigating this ocean of life, figuring out what's important.  But in our 40's, we just don't give a F*ck about a lot of things anymore. And this is a good thing.  A VERY good thing.  {Pardon my language, mom, mother-in-law, and anyone else who might be offended!}

Because I'm 42, I belong to this really cool Facebook group for women of a certain age where we can talk about and share anything and everything - as long as it's not about mommy or kid stuff. It's empowering and uplifting and sometimes just what you need to know you're not the only one going through [insert weird body thing or emotional thing or life thing here].

Because I'm 42 I feel great about where I am in my "career" - that I work part time, from home, during school hours and when it works for ME. Not when it works for a huge corporation. I'm thankful every day for the opportunities that have been given to me by some amazing friends and colleagues.

Because I'm 42, I dyed my hair pink. Yes, you read that right. I've wanted to try it for a while and now that {see all points above}, I went for it. When I recently told a sister of mine (who shall not be named... although I only have one - hahaha) that I was considering this, her response was, "You're 42, you're too old to do that". Pshaw, Bea!, I say (she'll get that reference for sure). Au contraire! Because I'm 42, NOW IS THE TIME to live on the edge, to try new things, to GO FOR IT!  So I did, and I love it!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Maple Lodge Farms puts Families First!

As a busy mom, I'm always looking for healthy and quick protein options for my family and myself. I try to stay away from processed foods, but I'm no SuperMom and sometimes convenience trumps all. Wraps, sandwiches on croissants and "kebabs" with deli meat and cheese are staples in my son's lunch box.  I've always been leery of "lunch meats" (just ask my poor Mom... I don't know how she packed my lunch all those years...) so when Maple Lodge Farms invited Oliver and I to their Family First Creations event in Toronto to try the new Naturally from the Farm deli slices, we were on board right away! 

Maple Lodge Farms was started by the May family in what is now Brampton, Ontario way back in the 1830's. The company is family owned and operated and they really seem to value family and putting families first. This is apparent in their ads as well as from what I've learned about their business culture after spending time with some of the employees at the event. They sure knew how to make my family feel welcome, that's for sure! 

Speaking of the event, we had a great time! Families were invited to a friendly competition to see who could build the most creative, yet tasty, sandwich using the new Naturally from the Farm deli slices. Hosted by Erica Ehm of the Yummy Mummy Club, there was a definite spark of healthy competition in the air once we were given the go-ahead. 

The ever fabulous, Erica Ehm
I passed the reigns over to Oliver and let him decide what would go into our creation. He carefully built his sandwich and being the day before Mother's Day, gave it the name, "The Mother's Day Special". Made with me in mind, it included Gummi Bears, pickles, olives, one ketchup chip, hot peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, oven roasted chicken slices and some blue food colouring for good measure.  I'm a lucky lady... ;).   The new Naturally from the Farm products that we used are different than typical deli meats in that they have all natural ingredients (i.e., nothing I can't pronounce), are gluten free (big win for me!), and are 100% chicken breast.  

We plated our sandwich and submitted it for judging. Oliver wanted to be sure we could bring it home, though, so that I could eat it on Mother's Day. Again... lucky me... ;)

While he worked away, I sampled the deli slices that we had to choose from - Oven Roasted Chicken, as mentioned above, Jalapeno and Black Garlic and Peppercorn. I liked them all but I think the Jalapeno is my favourite. It's not super hot but it has a nice kick and flavour to it.  I have since been using them in my daily lunch salads and they are a nice protein addition! My only recommendation is to make thinner slices. They are quite thick and the texture is a bit off. The tastes is right on, though! 

We didn't win the competition, but we sure did have a good time. With kid- and adult-sized aprons, chicken hats, the company mascot hanging out, a BBQ for everyone after and a goodie bag to take home, it was a great way to spend a Saturday. 

Mmm...Mother's Day breakfast! And YES, I ate it :)

Full disclosure: I was compensated to attend this event, however, opinions are my own. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi

When Simon and Schuster Canada asked if I’d like to read and review an advance copy of Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. When they mentioned that it was about a girl growing up in the 80’s, I was interested right away and I knew I’d like this book. (I just dated myself a little there, didn’t I?). 

Here’s the description from the Publisher:

A bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s. 

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young girl, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence. 

A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety evocatively portrays the life of a young Korean Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family. 

Joon-Ho’s perspective on who she wanted to be and how she wanted to be regarded was not something I had ever considered before. She wants so desperately to be thought of as Canadian and “normal” but struggles with her Korean traditions and family expectations. It was difficult enough as a “regular Canadian" teenager trying to navigate life and figure out who I was, but adding this extra layer of inner conflict was very eye-opening to me. So many times in my adult life I have considered what other friends may have been going through when we were teens (family struggles, divorce, ethnic differences), but I was oblivious to it all. This story really shed some light on this topic. 

I also was drawn to all the 80’s references in the book - Cyndi Lauper, Tiger Beat magazine, the fashion - it was so nostalgic and I loved it. I was brought back to those days when I thought life was so complicated and my biggest dilemma was how much hairspray would hold my bangs up for the entire day…. 

Although I did find it to be a fast read, the subject matter is not light in any way. Family conflict, teen mental health issues, forbidden romance and sudden death are all party of the story line and are addressed with honesty and frankness.  

Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety would be enjoyed by anyone that enjoys Young Adult (YA) or general fiction novels, and especially by those who grew up in the 80’s like I did.