Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A new way to be green

We all know we're supposed to be green. But admit it, sometimes it's a pain in the butt. I mean, the blue box, the grey box, the red box, the green box, not to mention composting. I'll admit it. Sometimes, I'm not very green. I live in a condo, so we're not allowed to compost or have a green box. You can, of course, recycle bottles, cans and paper, but you have to bring it down to the basement to do so, which sometimes sucks, especially when you're all dressed up for work...

and then you get all grimy and you have to back upstairs and fix your makeup.

I know, this is a horrible reason to NOT recycle, but thankfully, a friend just tipped me on to the perfect

If they work for grime on your face, why not grime on your hands, too? So now, there's no excuse not to bring my recycling downstairs.

And then, this morning, I read this article: Please Refrain from Procreating.

It seems, according to the article, that the best way to stop the earth from dying is to cut off human life. After all, we're the ones killing the earth! This seems a bit drastic. Still, I suppose the article has a point that maybe we shouldn't each have 17 children.

I know, this may be hard to handle, if you were hoping to give birth to your own Tour de France team...

Or were looking forward to your breasts inflating to astronomical proportions, making all your friends green with envy...

But really, that's a whole different type of green. And it's not one that's going to save the world. Instead, there's a few things you can do to save yourself from 17 children ... and save the world!

They're very easy and can be accomplished in the same amount of time as it takes to read this.

First, try to avoid boys who will woo you into the bedroom by showing you what they have to offer...

You may be thinking: But what if I'm bored? What will I do?

Instead, invite your girlfriends over for a nice, safe, sex-free night of cards...

Or call up a neighbour and find out what's been going on in the neighbourhood...

Or buy a new swimsuit and go sit on a diving board... (but don't make eye contact with any boys)...

Then, take a break and think about how you could not do this for even FIVE seconds if you had a baby...

There. Have you managed to avoid having babies in the time it took to read this? Then you have done your part. At least for today. And don't worry. One baby? Fine. Three babies. It's okay. Entire synchronized swim team?...

Maybe not.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tuck Shop & Freebie Friday (combined!)

I know it's Friday and you're thinking about the weekend, but we have something very important to discuss: grey hair.

Myth: Pulling out one grey hair will result in two grey hairs growing back in the same spot.
So, I know what you're thinking: this is TOTALLY a myth. So maybe it's not totally true, but if you think you see two hairs growing back in the same place, it's not a coincidence. Here's the thing: apparently, if you try to pluck out a grey hair, chances are you're not going to actually pull it out at the root. Instead, you won't get the entire root, and instead, stress out the hair follicle, causing it to get all wiry and split into two so that when the hair pokes its ugly grey head through your scalp, it will grow in two strands.

Which would explain why in the two places that I've been plucking out greys since I was 21, there are now many, many greys. My hair USED to look like this:

Now, it looks like this:

There are just TOO many to spend my time plucking out.

The trouble is that I've been colour-free for five years now. I'm in full recovery from my addiction. I can't go back to colouring my hair. The time, the appointments, the money... I REALLY just can't go back.
Then I had an idea. What if I used John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze to cover my greys?
I asked a John Frieda expert, who claimed it just might work. I've used it in the past and loved the way it made my mousy brown hair richer in colour and texture, but I figure this time, I'm going to concentrate all the product, and my attention, on just the greys. I know it says it's supposed to enhance only your brown hair, so I'm not positive it's going to work on grey hair, but I figure it's worth a try.

It's not a hair dye, exactly, but when you put it on your hair in the shower you have to wash your hands immediately or the colour will stain your hands.

So here's the challenge. I'm going to use the Color Glaze every time I wash my hair (about 3 x a week) for a few months and see if it covers my greys.

If you're up for the challenge, too (and have brown hair since that's the colour of Hair Glaze I'm giving away) email me at chantel (at) chantelsimmons (dot) com and you could win a bottle to try for yourself!

That is, unless you are lucky enough not to have grey hair.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We're TOTALLY not going to talk about Lindsay

So Lindsay wants her privacy, because this is TOTALLY like, NOT her fault. Even though she refused the Breathalyzer test and failed the sobriety test and had coke in the car. Maybe she was going to the laundromat because she doesn't have laundry at home and she needed to wash her favourite outfit for her appearance on Jay Leno last night. And if you can't afford a washing machine in your home, then you certainly can't afford a cab or a limo to get to the laundromat, which is why she had to drive. And the sobriety? Well, she was probably just super excited about her new movie. Or, she'd just used new teeth whitening products. For the appearance. But now, because it's totally NOT her fault, she had to miss her appearance on Jay Leno last night, and Rob Schneider had to step in to play the role of LinLo instead...

While she sat in new room in a new rehab clinic (because she didn't go back to Promises in Miami). And tonight she has to miss the premiere of I Know Who Killed Me...

All because she had to drive to the laundromat. Maybe all this could've been avoided if she lived in Florida, where apparently, it's VERY hard to get a driver's license so then she would be forced to take cabs, take a limo or ride her bike. One of my favourite authors and bloggers, Meg Cabot, who lives in Florida, has been sharing some of the driver's license questions, and I have to say, WHY would you possibly need to know how far in the distance if you can't see it is required to have red flashing lights attached to your car when you're towing a heavy load? I mean, who even understands that question? And, who gets their license and then tows a heavy load in the middle of the night on a dark street unless you're an ax murderer and looking to get your license so you can transport the dead bodies from your garage to someone else's backyard pool?

Which is why, I think, it might be a good idea for Meg, and anyone looking to move to Florida and get their licence to get their licence in Ontario, instead. Because these are the types of questions on the Ministry of Transportation driver's licence test:

When may you lend your driver's licence?
a. In emergencies.
b. To a person learning to drive.
c. It is not permitted.
d. For identification purposes.

Now, it's not like LinLo needs to bum a driver's licence for ID purposes at clubs, but if she didn't GET her licence then she wouldn't be able to drive and then she'd be at the premiere tonight, perhaps, sporting this outfit from the movie:

But SERIOUSLY, who doesn't know the answer to this question? Which means, that even if LinLo had taken her test in Ontario, she would easily pass the test anyway, and then we'd be right back where we started. But we're not talking about LinLo, are we? No, we're not. We're talking about all those Floridians who don't want to tow heavy loads but really want their licenses. They should take advantage of the easy questions in Ontario.

Monday, July 23, 2007

If you can't beat 'em...

I was in a golf tournament qualifier yesterday. Basically, it's like a tournament, but you're just qualifying for the real tournament. Which means you can't talk (even when you see a raccoon or gopher that's totally stalking you) and you have to follow ALL the rules (like NOT picking up your ball when it's being a bad-ass and not going in the hole even when you're like 2 inches away from it) or skipping a hole you don't like because it's too hard.

Also, you need to have a good score. Which I did not, due to my ball TOTALLY not wanting to go in the hole when it was supposed to. Unfortunately, this really sucked because the prizes were SO good. There was a blue golf club I totally wanted...

And this visor, which went perfectly with my outfit...

And this ball retriever, which I totally didn't want, because I hate looking for my ball. If it goes in the water, that was where it was meant to go. It doesn't deserve to be retrieved.

*By the way, you're NOT supposed to use your ball retriever like this. I mean, how LAZY is this guy that he can't get out of the cart and pick up his ball? But more importantly, why is he picking up the ball? He's supposed to hit it. With a club.

ANYWAY, I did not win any of these prizes. Because I SUCKED.

I did, however, win this!

A sleeve of pink Maxfli Noodle balls. Know why? Because I had the cutest outfit.

I think we all know what the lesson of the day was: "If you can't beat 'em, just make sure your outfit is cute."

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Friday Five

1. Here's the thing about Forever 21: the average price of the items in the store may be far less than $21, but you will stand in a lineup of 21 girls for 21 minutes or forever, whichever comes first. Then, by the time you actually get into the change cubicle, you will look at the clothes in your hands in confusion because you no longer like any of them, but now feel obligated to try them on, even though they went out of style 21 minutes ago. And then go home, wondering why you just wasted an hour of your vacation doing this.

2. Today is our final Harry Potter-free day before the mayhem hits at midnight. I went for a run this morning and the camera crews were already outside the Indigo on Bay street at 7:30 am. On the Indigo.ca website, there's a banner for Harry Potter, but under it, reads "What to Read After Harry Potter". How would you like to be a rebound author? Personally, I like the Lemony Snicket books better. Still, I guess being mentioned under Harry Potter is good publicity. I certainly wouldn't complain...

3. Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama) has an Emmy nom for Outstanding Supporting Actor!

I think this is the first Emmys I'm excited for and will watch, just to see if he wins! And Season 3 Part 2 comes out on October 2. Finally. It's still forever and 21 days away, but at least there's finally a release date. When Season 4 started on Movie Network, I thought about subscribing, but since I hadn't yet seen the rest of Season 3, I didn't. Why? What was my logic in this? The upside of course is that I'll still be watching Entourage when I'm 50, at this rate. And this preview of Season 3 part 2 until October 2...


5. I'm in my first qualifier for a golf tournament this Sunday. Which means one thing: I'm in heavy outfit-planning mode today!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A bird in the hand...

I'm on vacation from work this week, and plan to spend the week writing, but there have some distractions.

First, I came home last night to find feathers* on the carpet.

At first, I thought a bird caught Mr. Baz on the patio and dragged him into the bedroom, where he planned to devour him. Because it's not like Mr. Baz could really catch a bird without front claws, and drag the bird into the bedroom, could he?

But Mr. Baz was sitting proudly by the feathers. Which could only mean one thing: he had either devoured the bird, or the bird was somewhere in the house.

Typically when Mr. Baz used to catch birds (when he still had front claws), he would place the bird head in his bowl after he finished eating the rest of the bird for dinner. Or lunch, or an afternoon snack, depending on when he caught the bird.

I checked his bowl, but it was empty. And there were no bones or blood anywhere, which meant the bird was somewhere in the house.

The Hubs and I searched everywhere using our favourite matching pig flashlights...

...which we got as a parting gift at a friend's wedding recently, but we couldn't find the bird anywhere. Instead, Mr. Baz thought that the flashing pig eyes were a game and tried to play with us.

Finally, we gave up and decided that the bird must've escaped and gotten back outside, despite the fact that the patio door was only open six inches - just enough for Mr. Baz to fit his belly through it. I mean, I had to believe that otherwise how was I ever going to get to sleep knowing there was a potentially dead, or crazy-mad featherless bird in the house?

Then, this morning, I got home to find that Mr. Baz had barfed all over the floor. Part of me hopes that it wasn't the bird that made him sick, since the bird could've been chock-full of disease. But secretly, the other part of me hopes it was the bird, just so that I don't find a rotting bird carcass in a pair of shoes next week.

Now, Mr. Baz is sleeping under the bed. Recovering. I hope. Not playing with the dead bird.

*Note: the feathers weren't actually pink. I didn't take a picture of the actual feathers, because that's just gross.

Friday, July 13, 2007

50 Books I've Read More Than Once & Freebie Friday ... combined!

This autumn, Douglas Coupland will have an exhibit at Simon Fraser University called Fifty Books I've Read More Than Once.

Some of the books in his exhibit are:

Age of Extremes
Karen Ann
Giant Molecules

Hmm...I have not read any of these books once, nevermind twice, though I'm wondering if my high school Intro to Canadian History book counts? I definitely read that textbook more than once. Still, this exhibit inspired me to create my own list of books I've read more than once. But once I started I realized that if I love an author, I read all the books by that author more than once, such as Stuart McLean, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, the Nancy Drew Mysteries... and then I started to wonder, do each of the books in the Nancy Drew Mystery series really count as separate books?

I'm not sure. Anyway, instead of listing each of my favourite Nancy Drew books, I've created my 10 top list of Books by 10 Different Authors that I have Read More than Once. Here goes:

1. Lord of the Flies
2. Bridget Jones's Diary
3. Catcher in the Rye
4. Good Grief
5. Eat Cake
6. The Bell Jar
7. Frankenstein
8. Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret.
9. Stories from the Vinyl Cafe
10. Booky.

Now, because it's Freebie Friday, if you send me your list of favourite books you've read more than once, I'll post the lists, then send you a Stuck in Downward Dog bookmark, which has a handy list-making feature on the back of it, so you can make a list of the books you want to read twice, then use the actual bookmark to mark your favourite passage in your favourite book. Because sometimes, you don't want to read an entire book over again, but just your single favourite passage. Over and over. Again and again. Sort of like this Brenda/Dylan/Kelly scene from 90210. Because if we were naming TV episodes we've watched more than 10 times, this would make the list.

Can you ever watch this scene too many times?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Tuck Shop

If you have freckles (as I do), you know that there's not a lot you can do to prevent the freckle outbreak, especially if you're having a super hot, amazingly sunny summer. Most dermatologists will tell you that freckles are awful, hideous forms of sun damage, and while I realize that yes, they may be a form of sun damage but there's a difference between say, Naomi Watts getting one new freckle and Lindsay Lohan getting one new one.

See the difference?*

Really, if you're a freckly person, you're going to get 17 new freckles every time you go outside without SPF. Of course, you know as well as I do, that you're NOT SUPPOSED to go outside without SPF. Ever. Even for five seconds to see if it's warm out. Or to water the flowers. Or pick up the newspaper off the front porch. Especially if you don't want the dreaded freckle mustache, which if you haven't experienced, trust me, you don't want to. Because unlike a manly mustache, you cannot just shave off the freckle mustache. You must wait months for it to go away.

But what happens if you want to go for an early morning run, walk or bike ride and sweating, when mixed with sunscreen, makes you break out? Is it better to have zits or 17 new freckles?

Neither. All you need is a touch of Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion SPF 15.

I've been using Olay products since I was 12, and even though I've tried (especially in the last 10 years) multitudes of other moisturizers, I always revert to Olay in the summer whenever I'm outside without makeup. Here's why: It's super lightweight, so it moisturizes without clogging your pores AND prevents the freckle tan. The best part is that with Olay, once you identify what your main concern is (blemishes, wrinkles, sensitivity), you can choose an Olay line of products that will address your needs and give you SPF protection, too.

And if you're thinking: "Yes, but can Olay really prevent wrinkles because I really want to only use creams at all times of the day that stop my wrinkles from emerging and Olay is just a drugstore brand that doesn't cost very much so how can it work? Wouldn't a high-end boutique brand that comes in a fancy glass container with a little spoon and costs 3x as much be better?"

You decide.

*PS: You'll notice I had to post a picture of LinLo from her Parent Trap days, since nowadays she actually doesn't seem to have any freckles from the neck up, likely due to multiple peel, laser and microdermabrasion sessions.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Freebie Friday!

I have a friend who's a contest addict. She's in even in a club for contestors. It's called the T.O. Wanna Winners. The thing is, it's not a contest support club, like Contestors Anonymous, because none of these contesters actually want to stop contesting. Just the opposite. They meet and swap tips on new contests, new websites that list contests, and compare notes on what contests and prizes they've won since the last meeting. And they all win. A lot. Some members win up to 10 different prizes every month. Know why? Because the reality is, that if you actually dedicate a substantial amount of time to entering contests, you will actually, eventually, win. The key is to be strategic.

Here are a few contesting tips:

1. Go local. Enter contests open only to your town, province or grocery store.
2. Read what the contest is for. Do you really want to drive to another city to pick up fishing lures?
3. Enter online. You'll save time and stamps.

And now...because there's no sense talking about contests if you're not going to get to enter one, I'm kicking off a new segment on Getting Unstuck called Freebie Friday. Each Friday (or as often as I have something free to give away), I'll be holding a contest or sending you links to other contests that have cool things (IMO) to win!

This Friday, the theme is WIN A COPY OF STUCK IN DOWNWARD DOG! Hmm, how surprising...

There are three ways you can win:

1. LouLou magazine is giving away 100 copies of Stuck in Downward Dog! What are the odds? (Very good, I think!). You have to be Canadian or live in Canada to enter.

2. Enter to win one of 2 copies at Women Can Do Anything, an amazing site that offers business tips to inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who've turned a hobby or passion into a successful business. You can live in the U.S. or Canada to win!

3. Chatelaine magazine has named Stuck in Downward Dog the Book of the Month(!), which I'm super thrilled about, and if you join the book forum, you can win a copy of the book! Plus, the forum has some great discussions about other fabulous books.

Just remember, "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits." Good luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger Awards!

I came back from the long weekend away to find that I'd been awarded a Rockin' Girl Blogger award!

How cool is this?! I don't win a lot of awards. Actually, the last time I won an award may have been when I was 12 and won the MSP award on my softball team. You're probably thinking MSP? Don't you mean MVP?

Nope. MSP means Most Sportsmanlike Player. In other words, the player that isn't the best pitcher or catcher or the fastest runner or hits the most home runs, but the one who sometimes doesn't strike out and sometimes gets safe on base and sometimes even catches a fly ball when she's sitting in the outfield picking dandelions. And she doesn't throw a hissy fit when she gets out or gets benched, but just smiles and cheers on her (much better than her) teammates (while secretly seething inside). That was me. And while it was an honour to win the award and get Orange Crush and ice cream cups to celebrate, it still sort of reminds you that you suck.

ANYWAY, this award totally rocks, and not just because it's PINK!, but also because one of my favourite bloggers, Laural Dawn, awarded it to me! Laural has her own blog, The Misadventures of Mommy Laural , which I just love. I started reading her blog after we bonded in the comments section of my blog over the mystery of the dirty Coach bags, which now, thanks to baby wipes, we've solved.

As part of winning the Rockin' Girl Blogger award, I get to award five other Rockin' Girl Bloggers with the award! Here goes!

Martinis for Milk: I first met Scarbiedoll at a tea party, and her blog was the first I'd ever read when she started it in 2004 when she got pregnant with her first child so that her friends could keep up to date with what was going on in her belly and her brain. Her tagline says it all: Party girl gets knocked up. Trades stilettos for stretch pants. Now she's pregnant with baby #2 and her posts range from hilarious to heart-warming to completely cringe-worthy. This post may be my favourite one yet.

Meg Cabot: You probably know Meg as the author of the super-popular The Princess Diaries series, but I got hooked on Meg's blog after reading the first in her Heather Wells Mystery series (Size 12 is not fat, Size 14 is not fat either and the upcoming Big Boned) for adults. She's written more books than her age (40) and she published her first book when she was 30. That works out to one new novel every 91.5 days. Or one book a season, which seems practically impossible, to me, especially in summer, between sitting on patios having cocktails, eating ice cream, reading other people's books, eating ice cream, tanning (I mean, loading up on SPF 30 and sitting in the shade), and eating ice cream. Still, when I learned that she didn't publish her first novel until she was 30, she inspired me and made me believe that I could still pursue my dream of becoming an author. That, at age 28, it wasn't too late. So thanks Meg.

Sarah Dessen: Sarah's the author of seven YA books (her eighth, Lock and Key out next spring), and I've read them all, and loved each of them, for various reasons, but also because they all take place in summer, which, when you're growing up, is that time when you can forget about school and cliques and frenemies and boys who don't like you and instead, wear flip-flops and hang out with your real friends and eat watermelon and go swimming and read books. Although I wish she'd been writing books when I was a teen, I sometimes think I might enjoy her books even more now, simply because they transport you to that time in your life when summers stretched on forever and each summer was so different from the last. In between reading her books, I get my fix from her blog, which she updates daily, with endearing snippets into her life as a full-time author, a wife, and a mom to a pond full of fish, two dogs, and a baby-to-be.

Megan McCafferty: Megan's the author of the Jessica Darling series for teens (which includes Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds and the soon-to-be-released Fourth Comings). Instead of a typical blog, her (retro) blog shares actual pages from her journals, which she kept for 15 years, until she started writing her first novel. Some of her notes from her past are so honest that they give me that same blush-and-squirm feeling I get when I'm reading my own diary or watching people karaoke. I just love the blog, especially the entries about her days as an editor at Cosmo & YM, a job that sounds so glamorous, but as any girl who's read or watched The Devil Wears Prada, or worked at a magazine can attest, is not always so. She just recently ran out of (retro) blog entries, so a few weeks ago she began posting pages from her writing notebooks, some of which become actual scenes in her books.

John & Hank Green (aka Brotherhood 2.0): Okay, I'm TOTALLY breaking the rules and awarding a Rockin' Blogger Award to not just one boy, but TWO BOYS. I have to. I just love the Green brothers so much (no, I've never actually met them). Whatever. That's just a minor detail because these boys don't drool, they rule, and they're so girly it's like they ARE girls (I mean that as the highest compliment). John is the award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, and his brother, Hank, is a journalist who runs Eco-Geek. I've been a fan of John's blog ever since I read Looking for Alaska. Then, this year, the brothers decided to put a ban on communicating by email, and they started the Brotherhood 2.0 vlog, in which they correspond daily. Each entry is TOTALLY un-sucky, but since I can't pick my favourite, I'll leave you with this awesome opening credits that one of their fans created...