Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - The Year That Was

I would be lying if I said that 2014 wasn't a huge year for me. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that this year held more opportunities and realizations of dreams than any year previous- even dreams I dared not say aloud to anyone.

In no particular order, here's what 2014 held for me:

I wrote a nationally-printed (newspaper) column (and then left!!!).
This actually began in 2013, but continued into 2014. It was the encouragement from a dear friend (who is a bonified, amazing, envy-worthy journalist) at the end of 2012 that led me to submit a piece of writing to a national newspaper. It was printed. And that was really the beginning of my journey toward becoming what I would consider a "writer",  as I accepted the amazing opportunity to test out my writing skills as a columnist, which eventually led to a paid, weekly column.  But by April 2014 I realized that writing a weekly column, especially one that included opinion, may not be exactly what I wanted to tie myself down to at this point in my writing career. The column was such an amazing opportunity and it was extremely hard to muster up the courage to leave, but I think we all have a voice inside that tells us when we are done and, as scary as it is to listen to that voice, it is important that we do. For me, at least, it was the catalyst to a million new opportunities that I never dreamed of!

I was in a national commercial!
I saw a casting notice on my Facebook and, on a whim, I clicked on it (sorry to the person in my timeline that had liked it because they wanted to audition!). I had some beautiful head shots done and thought, what the heck, I'll just submit. And then I forgot about it. Until I got an email indicating that I had been chosen for an audition. This is where my husband stepped in because if it wasn't for his unbelievably awesome encouragement, I never would have gone to that first audition. I thought I was being silly for even trying. The night of my audition I received a call back. And again, my awesomely encouraging hubby made me promise I would go. And the night after the call back, I found out I was "on hold" for the commercial. The next day I received word that I did indeed make the cut and was going to be in the commercial. I don't know if I will ever forget that feeling.
We shot the commercial and print ad over one VERY LONG but exhilarating day and the commercial was seen nationally during October and November, 2014. I don't know if I will have the opportunity to ever act (or audition, even- I find getting national auditions to be the hardest part, as this was my FIRST national audition!) in something like that again but it truly was a dream come true!

I became a talk show host!
I still have trouble typing this because it seems as if I am typing out a dream or resolution and not my reality. The week I was set to shoot my commercial, I was also given the opportunity to audition for a daily, live talk show as the host. To be fair, I had recent experience on my side- I had shot commercials and been a regular guest on news programs- but I had never been "the host". And, once again, it was my husband that encouraged me to make the audition happen because it was a crazy busy week for me and I wasn't sure how I could make time for the audition. But I did. And I got it. I GOT IT. My family was in the car and I was locking our front door, when the call came to let me know I was chosen to host the show. And I cried. And then I fretted about what to do because, in reality, going back to work outside of our home would result in a huge family shift. But in the end, I took it. And I  couldn't be more happy that I did. My new job has opened me up to a world that makes me feel (professionally) happy, fulfilled and excited every single day. I am more grateful than you could imagine for this opportunity and, although it is only a maternity leave contract (meaning 2015 may spell the end of my time at Daytime Durham,) the lessons I have learned about television, hosting and myself will be lifetime ones.

I realized how important my family was.
Truth? I was so sick of being at home. I needed more and I was taking my boredom out on my family.  At the perfect time (God always does that, doesn't He?), all those opportunities I listed above came my way- just when I thought I was going to crack- and my family fully supported me. They barely even blinked when I was making all these crazy life choices, they just supported. My husband could have balked because taking a television job meant a significant increase in work on the home front for him- but he didn't. My kids could have cried that mommy wasn't going to be around as much- but they didn't (in fact, they have been so freaking awesome). My mom and mom-in-law could have left me floundering- instead they stepped up and babysat or just helped out every time I asked. It was amazing to see aunts and uncles and siblings simply support when I needed it the most. It made all the transitions so worth it.

I got a mantra. And I love it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On-Air Makeup Routine

Live television is like nothing I have ever experienced. The hustle to get an hour long lifestyle show on air, day after day, is an exhilarating ride that leaves you high for hours after a show is done. 
But, as much as I love live television, it also means there is no opportunity to go back and make changes...especially to the way you LOOK during the show.

It has taken a few months but I have managed to come up with an on-air makeup routine that is flattering, relatively easy, and looks good each and every time that camera goes on! Considering the lack of good "how to do tv makeup" information that I have found on the internet, I thought I'd share my routine with you!

Here's the finished product:

And here's how I do it! (all products listed in the exact order I put them on!)

✏️MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NC15)
✏️MAC Studio Finish concealer (NC15)
✏️Veil illuminating complexion fix
✏️️Maybelline Master Bronze (Weekend Bronze) *I use this all over my face AND as my blush when combined with my contour colour*

✏️Hard Candy Glow All The Way
✏️️MAC Taupe powder blush

✏️BellaPierre shadow (Champagne & Pure)
✏️Maybelline Master Precise liquid eyeliner
✏️Brows: Coquette eyeshadow (MAC)
✏️Lashes: Extended Play Gigablack Lash (MAC)

✏️Rimmel The Redder The Better

And just in case you want to see some more of the everyday television face in action:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Putting Up The Christmas Tree

This past weekend was filled with magical Christmas events for my kids.

First, we bundled up and sat curb side to watch our local Santa Claus parade.

Then we had a special visit to Santa's secret cabin in the forest at Knox Farms.

When we arrived at Santa's hidden abode, Mrs. Claus and Santa welcomed us in, calling the children by name, and spending about 5 individual minutes with each child, talking about what a good boy they had been and what they might want from Santa.

My boys were in absolute awe as Santa and Mrs. Claus correctly named each item that was on their Christmas wish list and reminded them to be sweet to each other (I believe Mrs. Claus asked them to give lots of hugs and to not fight...). After their special one-on-one time, they were treated to hot chocolate and cookies care of two elves, and then we took a walk down Santa's secret path back to our waiting horse-drawn sleigh for a ride back to our cars.  It was such a special afternoon- one that I'm sure will help keep our babies believing in the man in the red suit for years to come!

Finally, we spent Sunday putting up our Christmas tree.

Our youngest is now 3 years old and he was thrilled to finally help out with all the ornaments, lights and crystal icicles. Check out the process:

And we were all pretty pleased with our finished product!  

A great way to cap off a festive, holiday filled weekend:)

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm not your friend

Yesterday afternoon I told my eldest son (Z) I wasn't his friend.

He was mad (he is a redhead after all, so being angry isn't a new thing around here). He had been playing lego with his younger brother, but his brother wasn't "doing it right" and now Z wanted me to step in and build some type of ship from Star Wars.

But guess what? I didn't want to. And so I didn't.

I told him no.

He grumbled and complained and kicked up a fuss.

I told him no again.

He whined and cried and destroyed his already built lego creation.

I told him no a third time. I reminded him that I had already spent a good chunk of the day focused on them. I had taken them to swimming lessons (that I paid for), spent an hour in the freezing cold at the park while they played, pushed them both on swings, rode bikes and scooters, chalked on the driveway, fed them at least 8,000 meals (ok, that's an exaggeration, more like 1,500 meals and snacks because, BOYS), and helped them both make masks so they could look like Batman. I was tired, and I still had dinner to make, work of my own to do, a sick cat to attend to and a floor to sweep.

It wasn't that I needed time "alone", I just needed time to hear my own thoughts, get dinner on the table and breathe. Also, I don't like playing lego.

But my explanation of why I couldn't build some Star Wars ship thingy didn't fly with Z. And he threw an even bigger, redheaded tantrum. He said I was "THE WORST MOM EVER" and that I was "SO MEAN TO HIM ALWAYS". He crossed his arms and kicked his feet and railed against a mom who would dare to not drop it all to build him a lego ship.

So I looked at him and told him "I'm not your friend". Because I'm not.

I'm his mother. I love him more than anything and would do anything to help him, but building Star Wars ship thingys actually isn't something I am obligated or desire to do.

Because keeping my kids "entertained" is not my job as a parent.

But that is where I have previously failed as a mom.

I used to equate my kid's happiness with a lack of boredom. It didn't matter if I had dishes, dinner, or work- if either boy needed me to play, I was there. I created games, I looked up Star Wars thingys on Google so I could build them, I played so many rounds of Jenga you wouldn't even believe! And then I would stay up until midnight getting all the stuff done in my house or work life that I had ignored because I had a bored(ish) kid.

It wasn't until this year that I realized how wrong I was.

Listen, it's not that playing with your kids or helping them out is wrong- it isn' fact it's an awesome thing do to. But what I had been teaching my boys by constantly dropping EVERYTHING to be their "playmate" is that they are not responsible for their own entertainment (or "happiness") and that their mom is their friend. And both of those lessons are not ones I wish to teach my sons.

I am not my kids friend. I am their parent. I am here to love the heck out of them and care for their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. I am here to listen to their joy and pain. I am here to comfort, scold, direct and encourage. I am here to love them unconditionally but reprimand (yes, even yell) when they are wrong. I am here to teach them and facilitate experiences that will help them grow into productive adults.

But I am not their friend.

I am their parent.

And what a disservice I have been doing by allowing them to think otherwise. What a disservice to them, as future adults, to think of the person in authority as a buddy and someone who bends to their whims and desires with the snap of a finger.

And so I have began to remind them- often in the middle of a tantrum, but then more calmly after the dust has settled- that I am not their friend. I am not responsible for neither their play time nor their creativity. I am not the root cause of their boredom and I am not responsible for their constant entertainment.

In the end, Z built his own version of a Star Wars ship thingy (I did look it up on my phone so he could try to replicate it, for what it's worth). My younger built a tower of blocks. Z eventually ambled over and said I wasn't THE WORST mom on earth (gee thanks), and I got dinner on the table.

It wasn't exactly a monumental moment in our house, or even a lightbulb moment for me, but rather a  (noisy, full of yelling and whining) reminder that being a parent is hard. But being a parent that falls into the "friend" category and caters to your child's every fancy is even harder.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Amazon Family

I love books. My kids love books (PHEW! I think every parent breathes a sigh of relief when their kids actually ask for books!).

And as much as I wish I could visit bookstores and libraries on a regular basis, our lives are already so busy that browsing the shelves for a new read (or for anything really) has often fallen to the wayside in favour of the convenience of browsing online.

And that's why I love Amazon. 

I'm sure you're familiar with the services that Amazon offers - books, DVDs, CDs - but they have recently launched a new platform that I am so excited to share with you! has launched Amazon Family. Amazon Family members will receive 20% off diaper subscriptions and Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items with Amazon Prime. The membership program also provides new and expecting families with promotions and discounts, available exclusively for Amazon Family members. After a 30 day free trial, Amazon Family members will continue to enjoy those benefits as part of a Prime membership for the annual fee of CAD $79.   

Let's face it- parenting is so awesome but it isn't cheap! Amazon Family was created to offer families amazing price-points on all those essentials your family needs (I'm thinking diapers, toys, strollers, and more!) and even better they offer awesome advantages, including
  • 20% off diapers with a Subscribe & Save subscription.
  • Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items with Amazon Prime, including strollers, high chairs, car seats and more.
  • Access to Amazon Family exclusive discounts and offers on key necessities, including items for the nursery, toys, newborn accessories, children’s books and more. 

Best? When you buy it, it's delivered to your door! The convenience, the prices, the one-stop-shop-from-home-in-your-pjs, all make it totally worth it!

And for me? Well, I opted to use my subscription to load up my emerging reader with books he could succeed in reading and my wee book lover with his favourite books (FRRRROOOOOOGGGGYYYYYYY!). I can safely say that the price points for all items were spot on (and I'm not just talking books!) and having my purchases dropped off at my door really made my life that much easier.

Make sure you visit Amazon Family today and compare their products and prices with the stores you're currently shopping at. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised:)