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.


  1. Love this! Some of my own favourite posts are my random thoughts ones, because, they just let you let it all hang out! So glad you had a lovely Mother's Day. I love the block heel on those shoes - a block heel I can handle. And a gift to oneself is a fine thing, I think.

    As for the fancy cars, I am with you. I now read almost nothing in the blog-sphere that is related to conspicuous consumption. This is not me being judgemental; it is more me realizing I have nothing to offer to that dialogue! I hope you have the best week!

    1. Thank you xo

      They are actually very practical shoes and I can see wearing them with little linen shifts and shirt dresses and all sorts of things. The block heel makes a huge difference.

      It's freeing to just write rather than stay on one topic. That's the beautiful thing about blogging I guess.

  2. Love, love, love the picture of your friend...captured the joy perfectly. Happy belated Mother's Day.

    1. Thank you. I like that photo a lot too! xo

  3. Love this post. Mother's Day: so complicated for so many and I was really thinking about that yesterday. Mine was full but I have friends who were having their first Mother's Day as single mothers, really tough. It might be worse than the dreaded "Family Day"!
    Serena should definitely date a Lord. Those shoes are super-glam and a great present but I agree the kids did better with the chalk drawing and magnolia. Also the soap they know you well! xox

    1. Thank you. You are sweet.

      I think that nothing is worse than Family Day but that first solo Mother's Day runs close behind. I hope your friends find that it gets easier each year.

      Serena would suit nobility. If there were still a French throne, that would be the obvious fit but an English Lord might do in a pinch.

      I love that the kids and I are getting to know each other as people rather than just in our respective parent and child roles. Such a treat.

  4. That Mother's Day message you posted was wonderful! I think your friend gave good advice as there are many of us who will like hearing how you navigate the challenges ahead and will be pulling for you. That Mother's Day spread your daughter whipped up was no dog's breakfast (no offense Serena!).
    Great outfit and your rockin' the Rockstuds!

    1. Thank you, GSL

      Alice Anderson is a gem. I wish that poets were elevated to the status of athletes: she'd be LeBron James.

      Loving the rock studs. I've been lusting after a pair for a while now and I'm glad I finally gave in.

  5. I love this post! I also love the pure joy on your face in the picture with your friend.
    And those a Rock Studs looking like something even a woman with destroyed feet could wear. I'll be on the hunt for that style. Enjoy your week.

    1. Thank you. Mel is a sweetheart: we laugh a lot. I shy away from painful shoes now so I do think these are a good find. xo

  6. So many funny things here: loved the quip about the cover of the cookery book, adore the shoes but it's that dress that makes them - outfit of my dreams, Smythe jackets - can't get any better, I dated two Lords - these days you would never know, they all wear their titles lightly now, that breakfast is about what I eat in a single day! And almost last but not least, how lovely to be a mum and have someone love you so.

    The business stuff went over my head but you knew that.

    1. I don't think anything goes over your head, dearest Tabs.

      The Two Lords sounds like an excellent idea for a BBC drama. I usually only eat yogurt for breakfast so I was stuffed. I do like a Smythe jacket for its waist-creating powers. Genius, that.

  7. Wonderful post, Jen. How great to have the laughter and lunch with a close girlfriend. The gifts from the children are the best and I think I'm more and more wanting Serena's fantasy life. You are too kind describing that lot as complicated.

    If I could whistle you would have heard me when you wore the rockstuds. They set off your legs very, very nicely.

    1. Serena has lived quite the life, palling around with Martha Stewart's and Patty Hearst's dogs and flying around the world. Now that she's stuck in suburbia, she gets her shot of glamour through Tatler magazine, episodes of Nashville, and her vivid imagination. She is currently being courted by the charming Portuguese Water Dog next door, which has put a spring in her step. We have much in common!

  8. A lovely cornucopia of very real vignettes. Time with the kids and the friend. Those rockstuds are whit weouw (whistle) fabulous, good on you! And blogging 101, does it say to only do one subject ? Uh oh! I didn't read the memo as usual. I like posts with loads of different goodness in them

    1. You are lovely. I too whistle at my shoes when they are in my closet. Cornucopia sounds much nicer than dog's breakfast: I will have to reframe my thinking xo

  9. Actually the men in my life say just do one subject, but the women like the mixes... they are better multi taskers?

  10. Fabulous new kicks Jen!! The giver has such great taste ;). I enjoyed reading about the forms and changes in leadership from the conference you attended. It reminds me how much life has changed, in just the last 10 years, with the emergence of social media. It sounds like your Mother's Day was perfect. Love those chalk drawings. Happy weekend!!
    xx, Heather

  11. I loved reading about your day! I don't know what looks better, the breakfast, or the rock studs! Alice stopped with the creative breakfasts on trays years ago, and I actually miss those burned toast days! Happy belated Mothers Day Jen!


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