October 31, 2014

Eight Galloween costumes (for you and your BFF)

Saying my husband is uninterested in dressing up for Halloween is an understatement. Can't get frustrated with him for it. They aren't his thing.

I love dressing up. It doesn't always turn out well, but it's fun. I would love to top my last (successful) costume, but I'll need to grab a friend to fill out the other half of my ensemble. A Galloween costume, if you will. Similar to a couple costume but for BFFs instead of romantic partners.

Tonight I'm dressing up as Lindsay-In-Sweatpants. Not original. However I have high hopes for next year. These are my ideas for Galloween 2015:

Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins (or April Ludgate)

Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz and Amy Farrah Fowler

Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson

Mindy Lahiri and Morgan Tookers

Garth and Kat

Keith and Veronica Mars

Golden Girls (any of them)

Kelly Kapowski and Jessie Spano

Any takers?

October 30, 2014

My Halloween costume ideas peaked in bible college

Finding a faux father was the biggest challenge in putting this costume together. (Turned out most guys at my school didn't want to dress up as the guy who pretend-knocked me up. Weird.) Luckily my friend Jacob said yes. He ironed the logo on that shirt and bought orange TicTacs. I couldn't have asked for a more committed costume partner. 

Lots of people asked to touch my belly, carefully crafted by carbs, lactose and a thick scarf molded under a fitted tank top. Others just went for it. 

I lingered between loving the attention and grappling with the urge to run away and hide from all the happy hands. Pregnant women aren't kidding: Baby bumps are tactile magnets. Even the fake ones. 

October 28, 2014

My first (and worst) half-marathon

My first half-marathon was a mess.

Months of diligent – albeit likely too intense – planning and scheduling, running and stretching prepared me for the weekend. They didn't, however, prep me for everything to go down the toilet.

I started to feel achy and weak after picking up my race kit. Carb-loading in a comforter cocoon, I tried to sweat out my full-blown fever. It broke. On the morning of the race, I woke up feeling off but persisted anyway.

As if that wasn't enough, I committed the unforgivable running sin: wearing something new on race day. New shorts, new (and terrible) sports bra, and sunglasses. I also hadn't figured out less truly is more when running for a couple hours straight. The few pockets I had were jammed packed with tissue, gels, iPods, earbuds, ID and an iPhone. Not a bright move when you're healthy. Even dumber when you're sick.

Big hills, hot sun, and a weary mind made running more difficult. Throwing my training plan out the window didn't help either: I started too fast, didn't pay attention to my refuelling schedule and ended up walking, nursing side stitches and swallowing my puke back down. Along with my pride.

A mixture of sadness and embarrassment washes over me when I think about that race. It also makes me giggle and thank God I ran it with Nicole – my ever-patient, ever-gracious running partner and friend. She was beyond encouraging, telling me I looked great even when I knew my face was a pallid green hue.

It was rough. I was a mess. But I finished it.

October 22, 2014

Some things make my heart hurt

Preparing for a wedding and working early hours meant I ran in the evenings. Suited up and ready to go, I swung open our front door to find a short, slightly pudgy blond boy with a white bag.
"Hi, my name is Daniel and I am eight years old. I'm a part of an after-school children's program to keep kids off the street and I was wondering if you would like to buy a box of chocolate-covered almonds or give any extra donation toward it."
This kid's eyes caught me off guard, halting my usual "No thanks." Big and blue mingled with sadness and fear. He memorized his script well. He was completely alone. No adult hiding behind the corner of our garage watching and waiting to see how he performed, much like what happened with trick or treaters asking for candy or the local peewee hockey team wanting empty bottles.

He was alone.

I ducked behind the door to run his request by my family and to scrounge up some cash. My dad pulled out a five dollar bill and when he gave it to the boy, Daniel suggested he could keep the extra two dollars as a donation. My dad laughed. He let him keep the change.

Forty minutes later I rounded the corner toward home and started walking. In the distance I saw a short, slightly pudgy blonde holding a white bag on the other side of the street. Still alone. Looking from side to side, he impressed me as slightly self-conscious and lonely in his eight-year-old skin. I listened as Daniel gave his pitch to an older gentleman.

With a heavy heart and watery eyes, I walked by. I imagine he fielded a fair amount of rejection and resistance from people uninterested in buying chocolate or supporting his after-school program. He was only eight years old, left to do this all alone.

Four years later, I hope Daniel is well. I don't know where his parents are or why he needed to be kept off the streets. Would he have been literally living on the streets? Or was he a latch-key kid needing something to do other than spending afternoons and evenings home alone until mom and/or dad showed up? I hope his after-school program was (and maybe is) helpful and valuable.

Most of all  I hope he isn't alone anymore.

October 21, 2014

Lazy/Beautiful: Dermalogica Emergency Spot Fix

Over the years I've honed a decent skin care regime: Sweating lots, sticking to a couple key potions and serums, eating my vegetables and, on occasion, going without makeup.

And – for the times when I toss those things out the window, veer slightly off track or follow every step perfectly and still see red spots – I've got this:

Dermalogica Clear Start Emergency Spot Fix: the perfect zit cream. Liquid gold, I tell you! I've never seen a pimple shrink as quickly as when I dab a little of this on it. Only a tiny smear and poof – it disappears. Or it pulls everything up to the surface all at once. Gruesome for a day, gone for tomorrow? I'll take it.

Morning or night, I put it on after washing my face and before putting on moisturizer. (This one, to be exact.) It doesn't dry out my skin and leave a crusty, flaky halo around the pimple. You know what I'm talking about? Apparently you're supposed to reapply it every six to eight hours. I've never tried that because, you know, life. There are more pressing things than crushing a zit into oblivion. I can only imagine how pimple-less my skin would be.

While it's a bit more expensive than drugstore potions, it's worth the extra couple bucks because it's fast and effective. It doesn't take much to make a big difference, which is why it'll have a special spot in my skin care arsenal as long as it continues to exist.

October 20, 2014

15 things I wish I knew when I was 18

Last weekend I wrote a letter to my little sister – part of my family-by-choice not family-by-blood – who's graduating from high school in June. The letter was given to her at a special rite-of-passage type event at her school.

As I sorted out what I wanted to write, I reflected on the past ten years. Because, yes, I'm already ten years out of high school. How did I get so old so soon?  I decided to write her a list of all the things I wished I knew at her age with the hope that it'll put her a little farther ahead of where I was back then. I'm pretty confident this is already the case. 

Here are a few things I wish I knew when I was eighteen:

October 17, 2014

Making decisions easier

While rereading Bossypants this summer, I learned a new way to make seemingly unsolvable decisions: Decide to not decide... yet.

Turns out Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels were both uncertain about her impersonating Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live – which, by now, you'll know was a huge pop culture moment in 2008. In her book, she mentions how they dealt with it:
"We decided not to decide. This is another technique I'd learned from Lorne. Sometimes if you have a difficult decision to make, just stall until the answer presents itself." 
(Bossypants, pg. 203. Emphasis mine)

I was curious if stalling makes situations more stressful. Until I tried it once. Then twice. And after a couple more times, I liked it.

Exhausting my pro/con lists often leave me feeling stuck. When I remind myself I don't have to decide yet, a solution or decision pops up quickly. Allowing my mind some space to relax, which shrinks the decision-making stress, usually gives me the answer/solution I need.

Have you ever tried this? Did you find it successful?

P.S. If you haven't already, you should read Bossypants. Heck, you should pick up a copy for yourself. Word to the wise? Don't eat or drink while reading. I learned this the hard way; I laughed so hard, I dribbled.

October 16, 2014


The Braverman clan is my favourite TV family.

You may not be bowled over immediately but, over time, you'll come to love them too. Parenthood is about family and life, navigating both as best as you can together. It's not afraid of getting heavy. (Sitting down to watch it beside a box of tissues is wise.) In six seasons, the Bravermans faced cancer, Aspergers, separation, adoption, bullying and more.

Personality clashes and conflicts are normal. Relationships are mended and repaired. It doesn't tie up problems with a tidy bow and a life lesson. Some story arcs last through multiple episodes, some over seasons. It's nuanced and refreshing. Heartwarming and heartbreaking. Genuine and subtle. Beautiful too.

As far as television dramas go, Parenthood is the best of what is (and has been) on TV, regardless of its near-criminal lack of awards and accolades. It's a show I'll keep coming back to over the years, a comfortable place to reflect and watch, laughing and crying the entire way through.

October 15, 2014

Foods I'd eat everyday if I didn't need my jeans to fit*

Butternut squash and kale curry from Vij's Railway Express at Food Cart Fest. I died.
  1. Indian food
  2. Olives: Black, never green.
  3. Banana pancakes (Whip 1 mashed banana with 2 eggs) with dark chocolate almond spread
  4. Grilled cheese sandwiches
  5. Guacamole
  6. Chocolate hazelnut tuxedo cake
  7. Pineapple
  8. Lazy peanut butter cookies (Mix 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, and an egg.)
  9. Onion rings
  10. Swiss Chalet's French fries
  11. Pavlova
  12. Cinnamon buns
How do I know I'm settling into fall quite nicely? This. This is how. When temperatures drop and clouds roll in, I hibernate. And then all I want to do is eat.

Anyone else with me?

*It's not about staying a certain size so much as avoiding buying a new pair of pants. It's a close second to swimsuit shopping for me.

October 10, 2014

Ten things I find pretty great.

  • Renting movies from iTunes (like The One I Love)
  • Relaxing in a bath full of lavender-scented epsom salts
  • Using gold pens with black ink
  • Walking in the door, after a long day of work, to freshly baked cookies
  • Connecting the dots with a coworker, realizing the overlap between people, places and blogs in our lives
  • Listening to this CD over and over again. It's my favourite right now.
  • Working from home means sweatpants, makeup-less-ness, and productivity
  • Chatting with a friend, realizing hours have passed and it only felt like minutes
  • Cleaning out a Netflix queue (and curing indecision) by watching what's first on the list and continuing down the line
  • Working toward long weekends

October 09, 2014

The One I Love

When I decided to recommend The One I Love I promised myself I'd avoid starting this post with "There's only one word to describe this film" or something else just as cliched or lame. But I'm coming up totally blank. It was crazy. Intriguing. As credits rolled, I was speechless. Well, almost.  I immediately drilled Hubs for his take on how it all played out. He shrugged.

Reading anything else about The One I Love will leave you hanging, which is appropriate. The movie itself does too. At least, I thought it did. And I, like many others before me, am only going to dive into a superficial overview of the plot: Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), a married couple on the verge of splitting up, spend a weekend away at the suggestion of their marriage therapist. Anything beyond that? You need to watch it.

I'm a big fan of Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. (Or Brendan Deslaurier and Peggy Olson, if you prefer.) If the powers-that-be in Hollywood ever read my tiny blog, more of them in more things, please. And thank you.

Watch The One I Love if you like indie movies or mulling over ambiguous endings. Big fan of neat, tidy resolutions? It may not be the one you love.

Slow clap for puns.

I rented it from iTunes because it was, sadly, absent from any local theatres. If there's one bone I have to pick with my neighbourhood, it's that great indie theatres are more than an hour's drive away. Considering it for your next movie night? Check out the trailer:

(Curious what I'm watching next? Planning on hunkering down to finally watch Obvious Child and Fed Up this weekend. After turkey, of course. Want to hear my take? Let me know by leaving a comment here or on my Facebook page.)

October 08, 2014

All of the ladies.

When I tried on my wedding dress for the first round of alterations, it was clear I wasn't ready for the big day.

Shoes were bought and brought to ensure the perfect length. Accessories were almost decided. Hair, too. But the most important part of a perfect outfit? The stuff no one sees but it sets everything up to look just right. Ladies, you get what I'm talking about, right? I hadn't done a thing.

Since "hoisting my main sails" was not work for the faint of heart or the weak of underwire, I marched into a small specialty fitting shop a couple weeks later. After many deep breaths and pep talks and chocolate bars, of course.

I wasn't completely new to this. I had a similar experience at a major department store where the "expert fitter" wound a measuring tape around my torso, pulling the tape snug around my jacket, sweatshirt, long-sleeved and tank tops. She eyeballed me a bit. Turned me around. Eyeballed me a little more. Then she announced a number and letter, her best guess.

But at this store the measuring tape I faced was a little more personal. A little too close for comfort. And, ladies, it was in European numbers.

If you've never been sized by a European system, I'll sum it up in one word: traumatic. Numbers shrink but letters soar halfway through the alphabet past double and triple iterations of the same letters, an unfamiliar pattern I never had to recite in kindergarten. It's intriguing and horrifying.

When the older lady in the speciality store delivered her final verdict, I briefly cycled through the Kubler-Ross model. My eyes bulged. My head shook. And the first comment to slip out of my mouth?

"So you mean I've received flotation device status?"

She laughed and chattered on while I blinked away visions of an 80-year-old Lindsay, hunched forward and wearing sweatpants in order to tuck it all in. My shoulders slumped. My back curved. Standing in the fitting room, I could feel my spine succumbing to its eventual fate. Really, though, I just have terrible posture. Nearly always.

Four years and many measuring tapes later, I'd like to go back to 23-year-old Lindsay, traumatized in that changing room. Standing in front of her, looking into her stunned eyes, I'd grasp her hands in mine while whispering,

"Just you freaking wait..."

Because the measuring tapes don't go away. You'll start to feel a little more used to them. Things shift and change. And you'll learn to care less about the numbers and letters and care more about embracing what you've got while you've got it. Because, honey, these things don't always stay the same.

Literally and figuratively.

October 07, 2014

Lazy/Beautiful: Sephora Instant Moisturizer

I'm all for making the most of what you've got with minimal effort.

It hasn't always been this way. Hours dwindled away as I caked on foundation, concealer and mascara in my middle and high school years.

My beauty philosophy leans heavily on the "less is more" side of the spectrum, with a hearty dose of "If the barn needs painting, paint it." Taking a less-is-more approach means preparing well: eating properly, exercising often and sleeping enough. I don't regularly wear a lot of make up but I love experimenting with products, regimes, and great life choices to create a relatively zit-free canvas.

One of my tried and true favourites is Sephora Collection's Instant Moisturizer, the only cream that keeps my dry spots hydrated and smooth without creating more pesky pimples. It quenches without creating an oil slick, absorbs without leaving that tight, stretched out feeling. My skin tone evens out. Redness minimizes. And best of all? I can use it day or night. A light layer during the day leaves my skin primed for makeup without a greasy sheen. At night, I add an extra layer around my eyes and cheeks to keep my Sahara-esque skin from drying out.

After experimenting with various oils, primers and other moisturizers all summer, I hit a rut and ran back to Sephora. Within a week, my skin returned to its still-zitty-but-less-dry state.

So, normal. It's back to normal.

October 06, 2014

Look Ma, I'm (not) an athlete

No one should ever call me a "natural athlete."

A natural book-reader or list-maker, yes. I come by those things naturally. But athletically inclined? Nope. Any progress I've made is because I'm determined, persistent, and stubborn.

Three ways to say the same thing. And I've got them all.

I find running therapeutic. A constant source of fresh goals and new challenges, running is a way for me to burn off energy and quiet my mind. A regular jaunt around the block kicks my writer's block to the curb and jumpstarts my creative juices. It preserves my sanity, along with my husband's. It improves my sleep, increases my energy, and squashes my stress. 

When running became a more consistent part of my life, I decided I needed a proper wardrobe to support my habit. Turns out, runner's sartorial choices mainly revolve around spandex and lycra. Words like compression, Dri-Fit and wicking get tossed around casually. Getting accustomed to all of them takes time. And courage.

This need for courage became evident when I bought my first compression top. I knew the benefits: It'd wick away sweat and keep me warm during cold and/or wet runs. But getting that thing over my head and around all my parts? Not fun.

There's no hiding anything while wearing compression fit clothing.

After bringing it home, I sat and stared at my new long-sleeved, black top before I bit the bullet and put it on.  Pausing in front of my floor-length mirror, I surveyed my Spandex-clad side profile. "Not bad, Lindsay... Not bad. You look like a real runner!"

My ego grew three sizes in those three seconds. I turned a couple more times, evaluating my outfit at different angles. My all-black, all-compression running ensemble was flattering. I was meant to be out there, racing around the neighbourhood streets. I looked like a runner. An athlete. A good-looking athlete! 

A few more minutes of self-flattery followed before I put on my shoes and ducked out the door. Consumed by vanity and self-admiration, I was distracted as I ran. I didn't clue in to what was going on until it was, uncomfortably, too late.

Here's the thing about compression tops: They're skintight. When your body moves, they do too. Generally upward. And when you pull them over a pair of less-fitted pants, they all stay in place. Until they start to climb.

As I ran, the fitted top continued its usual trajectory up my torso, bringing my pants up with it. And the higher they went, the more my pants gathered between my cheeks. And I refused to pick this massive wedgie because I was running down the busiest street in my then-neighbourhood. All the traffic. All of my pants, up all of my butt.

Another benefit I glean from running? Humility. It brings me back down a notch or two off my high horse. Always.

October 03, 2014

Ten things I'm grateful for

  • Two weeks ago, I listened to Martha Stewart speak. The only valuable nugget of advice I took from her carefully crafted message? Learn something new every day. And I have!
  • I found two pairs of dress pants on sale at Target. Together they cost less than the original price of one!
  • Carving our short moments of quality time with my husband. That guy's schedule and mine just haven't lined up well lately.
  • Achy legs: I went for a run after work a couple days ago and my legs are still sore.
  • Calm, a mediation app where you can choose from a variety of ambient noise. Like waves washing up onto a beach. It's perfect for mellowing out after my busiest work rushes.
  • Rainy days, cozy socks and warm cups of tea
  • New books, like The Rosie Effect and Not That Kind of Girl
  • Rereading old, lingering magazines and folding over pages with info I want to keep
  • Recycling said magazines once you're done with them, emptying out a bedside drawer to make room for more books. (And maybe more magazines)
  • Seeing my persistence pay off: My dad finally agreed to run a half-marathon with me.

Have a great weekend!

October 02, 2014

The Mindy Project

Have you watched The Mindy Project yet? (If not, what are you waiting for? Seriously?)

It's a show about Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN who's looking for love and losing herself in rom-com cliches while managing her professional life in a Manhattan medical practice full of quirky coworkers. It's sassy, subtle and super easy to binge-watch. It's one of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud!

Whenever I recommend the show, I always mention it takes a bit for the show to find its stride. Undergoing a couple of notable casting changes and shifting its focus to more of an ensemble comedy between the first and second seasons, it only gets funnier and funnier. Ike Barinholtz and Max Pally are two of my favourites. And Chris Messina. Is it super cheesy to say his tough-yet-sweet Danny Castellano is dreamy? Whatever. Don't care. He is.

If you've tried to watch it and dropped off the radar, I recommend giving it another try. You'll want to get to, at least, the middle of the second season. To the airplane scene. If you've seen it, you know why.

The first two seasons are available on Netflix Canada, and the third is airing on TV right now. 

October 01, 2014

Let's start this off with a bang

My middle school was pretty wimpy. All one hallway and six portables of it.

Its miniature gym was perfect for one court's worth of volleyball. It was also the ideal size for less-than-fit Dr. Lindsay to heave hulking teammates to safety while ducking dodgeballs.

As a way to compensate for our gym's shrimpy size, my school instated a community PE program where we spent time goofing off learning sports and stuff in local recreation centres. For a couple of weeks, we hung out at a local gymnastics studio.

The more athletically inclined kids in my class wowed the masses with flips, back handsprings and various other tricky body things. Others, like me, evoked awe by somersaulting in a straight line or shimmying ourselves off the side of the trampoline without getting our shorts – or worse, our skin – caught in one of the springs.

The gym was owned by an older couple with matching coke bottle glasses and Dorothy Hamill haircuts. Even at 14, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the "he" in that relationship, with his slightly stained white tank top straining to cover his paunchy midsection. Was he a gymnast? I couldn't tell. He fired out directions like he knew what he was talking about. Whatever the case, they knew more than I did so I listened to and obeyed everything they said.

In an effort to teach us new things, we were shuttled through various stations during our time at the gym. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't escape the handstand one.