Friday, June 29, 2007

More from the deleted scenes warehouse...

Last week, in response to many emails I've received from fabulous readers wondering when they can read more about Mara's life, I decided to post a deleted scene. Initially, one of Mara's to-do items on her OM list (a personal pathway to perfection) is to learn to sew so that she can create fabulous one-of-a-kind outfits. Unfortunately, it seemed that Mara had enough to do, what with learning to cook and getting a promotion at work and throwing fabulous parties, that learning to sew would just be impossible. I mean, I've been learning to sew for about three years now, and still, I can't seem to make a straight seam. So instead, Mara got to just shop for more unique clothes, which means that the sewing scenes are now deleted scenes for you to enjoy!

If you didn't read the first deleted scene, you can read it here, so that you'll know what's happening. The following deleted scene picks up where the first one left off.

Happy long weekend!

I was running short on sewing time, so I called Mrs. Freudel to find out the lesson plan for my second class. She informed me that I’d be ironing my seams flat and serging the edges so they wouldn’t fray. I decided I’d be further ahead if I skipped the class and taught myself to sew. Surely the library had a Sewing for Dummies book. And I intended to find it.

It was while roaming the aisles of the old Yorkville library searching for the Sewing for Dummies book (seriously, what is up with kids using the lookup computers for IM? Isn’t there supposed to be a rule against that? And why weren’t the librarians enforcing it? Is the Dewey decimal system still in effect? And how are sewing books categorized when one doesn’t know the last name of the author of Sewing for Dummies?) that I discovered the video section – and more importantly yoga videos – and picked up Yoga Instant Calm. The back of the DVD cover promised me that the video would help me improve my asanas, honor my body and bring a sense of peace to all aspects of my life.

The girl on the cover was wearing all black and sitting in Salutation Seal pose, which seriously isn’t the most flattering position in real life because it’s like sitting cross-legged except if you’re not super thin and super flexible then your knees aren’t down on the ground and so you’re sort of awkward looking and your belly’s sort of hanging over the top of your yoga pants and even though you’re supposed to be focusing on your hands in prayer position at your chest, it’s much too distracting to see your toes in front of you and wonder when you’ll remember to take off the chipping polish on your toes because you only seem to remember during this pose or cobbler’s pose when your toes are right beneath your nose.


It couldn’t hurt to practice yoga at home – especially if it promised to help me make peace with those around me. Plus, it was fulfilling my multitasking requirement – I was getting items to help me with more than one item on my checklist, and by doing yoga at home, I could have a pot of ratatouille simmering on the stove, completing several domestic tasks at once without even living the house. Or I could do it before work, something I couldn’t do at Bikram due to the inability to wash my hair with the hideous tea tree oil shampoo.

After considering the integration of yoga videos into my schedule, I headed to the help desk to find what I really came for.

“We haven’t got a Sewing for Dummies in book form in the library, but I can order you a copy from one of the other branches,” the lovely nanny-type lady with blue-tinted glasses said to me. “Or,” she said, looking back at her computer screen, “we have it on tape. Would that do?”

I should’ve ordered the book and waited an extra day or two, but listening to Sewing for Dummies on tape sounded like a much better idea. After all, I’d need my hands to sew, and if I had to read through the book and then stop, do what it told me, stop, read the book, and so on, all day long, I’d never get the dresses made. But if I listened on tape, I could sew as I listened. It was a perfect solution.

Perfect, I thought as the librarian handed me Sewing for Dummies on tape.
Perfect, except for one small point, which didn’t dawn on me until I got home – I didn’t actually own a tape deck.


“That’s because tape decks went out of style along with Rick Springfield and Debbie Gibson,” Bradford explained bluntly. “So did my car, though, so if you really need a tape deck, you can come over here and listen to it in the Skivvy” he said, referring to his beloved purple Honda Civic.

I wasn’t sure that was going to work, but what other choice did I have. “Where can I plug in my sewing machine, though?”

“Do you have an extension cord?”

I walked over to the kitchen and pulled the extension cord that allowed the fridge to run, and unplugged it. “Yep.”

“Then you’re in business.”

And that’s how I came to sit in Bradford’s driveway, with my pink sewing machine set up on a TV table outside the passenger’s seat in his magenta Honda Civic.

Bradford was no help at all, since once again, he lacked in a typical gay flair for fashion. He touched the interfacing that I pulled out of the bag and made a face. “That’s sort of scratchy, isn’t it?”

I handed him Pumpernickel to take inside, and shut the door to the Civic. Then, I pushed Play and the tape started to whirr away. The beginning was quite simple, explaining the parts of the sewing machine. First we wind the bobbin.

No problem – I did that in Mrs. Freudel’s class and my bobbin was already threaded with silver thread, ready for the dresses. Next, I was supposed to put my bobbin into place in the machine, then thread my needle. Over and down and up and down and through the needle. A cinch. Then, catch the bobbin thread. Catch. The. Bobbin. Thread. Why wasn’t it catching? Was it still down there? I was afraid to actually open the bobbin compartment because, truth be told, I didn’t actually remember how to thread it through. There was something about a waterfall and it going down the river and the bank on the left. Or right. I wasn’t sure, and I was pretty sure if I opened up the bobbin compartment it would be worse than a can of worms scenario. So I kept rolling the side dial toward me hoping the thread in the needle would eventually catch the bobbin.

Finally, it did, and I exhaled heavily and then felt proud of myself for keeping my yoga composure. I had just worked through a difficult pose – call it “waterfall besides a bank” and pushed through.

The instructor, however was already talking about stitches and moving the dial to 10. 10? I only had pictures of stitches on my machine and orange dots to match up. Was 10 the stitch on the end? Or were there 100 numbers on most machines and 10 was near the beginning? Or 50? Now the instructor was telling me to put two pieces of fabric with the right sides together and pin them in place. Then to place the material 2 cm over from the foot, backstitch and then start sewing. I didn’t even have the right stitch figured out. And 2 cm? I only had fractions that I was pretty sure were inches. What was I going to do. I looked for the STOP button on the tape deck but there was only an EJECT. I pressed the button and the tape popped out. I pushed it back in and hit REWIND. Then PLAY. This was going to be a long afternoon.

Around five o’clock Bradford opened the door to the driver’s side of the car and sat down beside me, holding Pumpernickel in his arms. He nodded, surveying the scene. The patterns were spread out across the car, but there were so many lines and pieces to cut I had abandoned them long ago. After all, I knew what a dress looked like and since the patterns required zippers, something I had no idea how to make, and something I wasn’t sure where if at all the instructions would be on the Dummies tape, I decided to boycott them and instead, make tank dresses. Thankfully I had been wise purchasing cotton with a bit of spandex, so surely the girls could wiggle their way into the dresses. I had one dress pretty much complete – okay except for the unhemmed collar and bottom – I held it up for Bradford to see. He nodded with approval.

“So these are armless girls?”

I looked at the armpits. I’d sewn them shut.

I wanted to cry, but Bradford pulled me out of the car before I could work up the tears.

“How about a cocktail?”

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fur, fashion and Book #13

A few days ago a friend and art director at another magazine emailed to ask if I had a fur coat. This, just days after my father asked, after cleaning out the basement, if I wanted any of my mother or grandmother's fur coats that were stored down there. While I didn't want to part with them -- I loved these coats growing up, and I still do -- I'm not sure I have the moxie to parade past the PETAs in one.

But today, the fur coats are going to be famous! They're heading off to be in a photo shoot. And just like any model, it's not about the model, it's about what the model's modelling. In this case, the fur coats will be the "coat rack" for belts. For a belt ad.

The strangest thing about this is that the coats are being paid a sum that is the same (or in some cases more) than some magazines pay a model for a photo shoot.

How sad is it that a 25-year-old coat is making more money than a 25-year-old model?

In other modelling news, I just finished reading Fashioning Reality by Ben Barry.

Ben started his own modelling agency in the basement of his mother's home in Ottawa when he was 14. Fourteen! Do you remember what you were doing at 14? He wanted to help one of his friends, who didn't have a typical model body but who was gorgeous nonetheless find work. He started with a few models, getting them mall shows and department store ads, and now, he has offices in London, New York and Toronto. His roster includes all women: short, tall, fat, skinny, young, old. His girls were used in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty -- the one that changed the way we all think about beauty, models and advertising. The campaign that was just feted at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Now, he's at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University on an Ogilvy Foundation Research Grant, doing a study on whether consumers want to see a new style of model -- one that is more than tall, thin and flawless. The average model is 5'11" and 117 pounds. The average woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds. I think as consumers, we know which type of model we'd rather see in ad campaigns. And Ben is the driving force behind making this change.

I picked up his book last weekend and finished it in two sittings. It's part business, part fashion, part memoir, and all fun. While I loved the insider info on the fashion, modelling and agency world (Ben mentored under Elmer Olsen), I found the entrepreneurial message captivating and one that anyone can relate to, either in their own job or if they've ever thought of starting their own business. Meanwhile, the story of how Ben got to where he is today was as good as any novel. I never knew what was going to happen when I turned the page. From winning the CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year award while at U of T where he attended on a four-year National Millennium Scholarship to getting his girls into the final show at Toronto Fashion Week (sample sizes be damned!), Fashioning Reality is an inspiring, motivating, feel-good read.

I met Ben briefly at BookExpo and found him to be sweet, funny and charming. If he agrees, I'm going to get him to stop by here to answer all our questions about fashion, modelling, real beauty and what it's like to be running an international business, going to school, and still not being old enough to rent a car.

Can't wait? To read an exerpt of Fashioning Reality, go here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Mayor and his bling

On Saturday, I went to St. Catharines, my hometown, to do a reading & signing at the Chapters at the *NEW* Fairview Mall. I say "new" because that's what it's now called, and I was excited to see why, since growing up, the Fairview Mall was the secondary mall, to the larger, more impressive Pen Centre. The Fairview Mall was always one of those malls that isn't quite a mall, that has a Zellers and a food court and a lotto stand, but the rest of the shops sort of come and go, and are the type you can never really remember the name of.

Since we were early getting to Chapters, my stepmom and I decided to walk around the mall for a few minutes, which is all it took. The lotto booth was still there, though it was doubling as a funeral and gravestone flowers express pickup, which struck me as sort of odd. I mean, people die suddenly, and that's awful, but is anyone ever in such a rush to get the flowers on time? But what do I know? All I know is that they also removed the movie theatres -- which makes no sense to me! Don't malls usually ADD super amazing theatres to help attract people to the mall? Those theatres were home to many crushes on boys over the years. Boys who, now that I think about it, never liked me back. So maybe it's fine that they're gone.

My dad and stepmom did an amazing job of inviting everyone out for the signing, and then hosting a backyard reception afterward, which was so fun. In preparation, however, there was apparently some all-nighters being pulled by a certain male parent who shall remain nameless. Apparently he felt it necessary to finish reading a certain book that I wrote, perhaps so that when the neighbours said "Have you read the book?" He would be able to say no, without lying.

This is because he is a very honest person, who taught me you should not lie. Except when you're writing FICTION, people. FICTION! So anyway, he finished reading the book the night (or morning) before I arrived, and had this to say when I walked through the door:

He: "Fiction, huh? Even the part about the Apple IIC?"
Okay, so maybe we did have an Apple IIC. And Print Shop. And orange paper.
Me: "But it's funny, right? Right?!" Besides, I wanted it to be authentic and how could I write about a Commodore 64 if we never had one, for the exact reasons that Mara never had one (that you can only play games on them and not do your homework). For the record, I think my father was secretly flattered that his computer had a cameo appearance in the book.

During this debate, I asked my stepmom what she thought. She shrugged and smiled, remaining neutral -- or so I thought -- until I returned from golfing the next morning with my dad to find her on the couch reading my book. Aha! I'd caught her. She hadn't gotten involved in what was slightly modified reality because she hadn't read the book. But she was well-rested for the signing, and it was a good thing, because guess who arrived... the mayor!

I think the mayor is super. Okay, okay, so I'm not actually important enough that he came just because I was an author who'd written a book. He may be related to me. Sort of. He's the Hubs' second cousin-in-law thrice removed. Still, it was super sweet that he and his wife and family came, considering Dan Akroyd was having a wine event and there was a potato stomp and a million other events that day that he also had to get to.

But the best part was that he brought his bling!

He: "I see you've got some bling." (pointing to my faux fat pearls). "How about I put on my bling and we get a picture together?"
Me: "Alrighty!"

Here we are.

Then we sat down and talked about how they're going to make a cat commute boat from Toronto to St. Catharines so that Mr. Baz can zip across the lake to the country whenever he wants to, unaccompanied by me, and he doesn't have to whine about how hot he is in the car when we're stuck in traffic for three hours.

Okay not really. That was fiction.

PS: Thanks also to the Cupcake Shoppe for the fabulous cupcakes and to everyone that came out!

And now, I'm off to tell only the truth for the rest of the day.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Book #12: Baby Proof

I've always admired Emily Giffin. She's smart, accomplished (she worked as a lawyer before becoming an author), a mom of two and the bestselling author of three novels, all of which were launched within the last five years. And she's only 35.

However, since I've just recovered from five summers-full of weddings, I never read her first two novels -- Something Borrowed and Something Blue -- since I needed a bit of a wedding break.

Then Baby Proof came out. I'd seen it everywhere for months, but never picked it up because I figured it was the third in the series and since I hadn't read the first two, I'd be lost reading the third.

On Friday I stopped into Book City on my way home from work. I was looking for a new book and I picked up Baby Proof, just to see what it was all about. I should've realized that from the title it was about not having a baby, but for some reason, I just figured that the couple in books 1 &2 were now having a baby. I was totally wrong.

The premise: Claudia is thirtysomething. She has always known she doesn't want kids and in most of her relationships, it's been the dealbreaker. Then she meets Ben, and he feels the same way. Now, they've been happily married and child-free for years. Until Ben decides he does want kids after all.

I couldn't put this book down. I read it on the subway, walking down the street and even waiting on the street to meet a friend. Unlike most chicklit, where you know exactly where the story's going and just hope for some laughs along the way, I never had any idea what would happen on the next page. Emily's writing is fresh, witty and smart and the story is funny, sad and totally engaging. And now I can't wait to read her first two books.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The mysterious mystery of why I haven't seen the new Nancy Drew movie yet...

I love Nancy Drew. I blogged about my love for her. I collect the books. I couldn't contain my excitement when I heard about the movie. I counted down the days until it came out. And then....nothing.

Everyone keeps emailing me asking why I haven't blogged about the movie.

I haven't seen it.

But I have good reason. It was a crazy week.

First, I planted a white oleander on the balcony.

Pretty? Check.

Loves heat? Check.

Loves sun? Check.

Doesn't need a lot of watering? Check.

It seemed too good to be true. Like perhaps I wouldn't kill this tree with my lack of gardening skills.

It was too good to be true. I might not kill the tree, but that's because the tree was going to kill us all. I mean, how could I not remember that white oleander is lethal?

I read the book. I saw the movie. It was actually my love of both that convinced me to buy the oleander tree -- and to get white, instead of pink or lavender. But why did the garden experts, when recommending the tree for my black thumb, fail to tell me it was poisonous, or ask if I had pets?

So anyway, we'd had the tree for less than 24 hours when one of my friends made a joke about slipping the leaves into tea, which is when I went into full freak-out mode about Mr. Baz, who at that very moment could've been fixing himself an oleander salad while I was at work. First I Googled it to make sure it really WAS poisonous to pets. It was. I left work immediately and went to the vet. They looked at me like I was crazy.

Me: Is it really lethal?
Vet: It's really lethal.
Me: Like, Mr. Baz will DIE? If he eats one leaf?
Vet: He'll DIE if he LICKS one leaf and you don't get him here in time.

I raced home praying that Mr. Baz was smart enough to not eat the tree. Thankfully, he was sleeping under the bed. And breathing. Still, I felt like the worst "kimmy" (kitty mommy) ever.

So until I could get the oleander tree unplanted and back to the garden centre, Mr. Baz had to stay under house arrest, with me on 24 hour watch to make sure he didn't try to fling himself at the tree (a very real possibility given how he'd been stalking the leaves that were blowing in the wind before I knew the tree was a murderer).

By Saturday I got the tree back to the garden centre, where they didn't act at all concerned that my cat almost DIED, but they did give me my money back so that I could buy a non-poisonous Snowball tree instead.
Then, just as life was returning to normal, I threw my keys down the garbage chute. Who does this? Me. I blame it on my lack of both attention span and detail. I'm just so easily distracted. I don't mean to get myself into these situations, but as much as I try, I can't seem to help it. So then I, like Mr. Baz, had to spend the next two days under house arrest, until I could get all the keys - to our home, mailbox (because you never know who might try to steal your mail!), office and car changed. Now, we've got new shiny locks on everything, and I'm on 24 hour watch of my keys to make sure that they don't try to go flinging themselves down chutes, sewers, elevator shafts or off balconies.

I'm really hoping that this weekend will be un-eventful and that I can get down to more serious matters, like seeing the Nancy Drew movie.

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mara learns to sew...

I've been getting lots of emails lately wondering what happens to Mara and whether I'm writing a sequel, and while I can't give anything away just yet, I've got something I hope will tide you over for a bit...

a deleted scene!

If you've read the book, then you'll know who everyone is. If you haven't, this won't spoil anything since I decided that Mara was overwhelmed enough and didn't need to learn how to sew, too. All you need to know is that Marjorie is her boss, the plastic surgeon she works for at the cosmetic surgery clinic.


After lunch while amusing myself with a package of Twizzlers, Marjorie re-emerged with a crisis. Her maid’s triplets were appearing in the Kmart Talent Competition and Marjorie had promised she would take care of their costumes in an attempt to stop her maid from leaving her for a more lucrative job in Rosedale.
Realizing this was my chance to show Marjorie I was worthy of promotion, I shot my hand in the air and waved it around dramatically. “I’ll do it!”

“Great,” Marjorie said, handing me the info. “The budget is $1,000. Just call Dina’s Dressmaking in Little Italy and give her the measurements.”

I nearly choked on my Twizzler. One thousand dollars? Surely I could learn to sew, then pocket the money instead. I mean, how hard could sewing really be?


If I had any sewing smarts, I would’ve taken the $1,000, and gone straight to the Dina’s Dressmaking Shoppe on the College and got the cute little lady – Dina – to make the dresses, just like Marjorie told me to do. Wiped my hands and patted myself on the back for taking care of business. But instead, as I was picking out fabric at Queen Street Fabrics with all good intentions to then take the fabric to Dina, I saw a sign for Mrs. Freudal’s Frugal Sewing Classes and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Not only could I check off #8 on my OM List: Design and sew my own clothes (or rather, clothes for other people, which was far more charitable anyway) – but I could make a quick $1,000 (minus the fabric costs) and impress Marjorie. I took down Mrs. Freudal’s phone number to sign up for lessons, bought enough fabric – three color variations on the same patterned cotton with a touch of spandex – for three pint-sized dresses and left the store.


Miss Freudel told me to bring my sewing machine to her home in the Annex on Saturday morning. I didn’t have a sewing machine but I was sure I didn’t need one. After all, women in the olden days didn’t have machines and they sewed all their clothes. They didn’t have H&M to rely on for cheap essentials. They had to sew everything and make it last for years, not just a season. Surely if they could do it, so could I.

Miss Freudel had other ideas.

Miss Freudel lived in an old Victorian house that looked like it hadn’t seen paint since well before Debbie Travis got her own line of colors. A grey-haired woman answered the door and stared blankly at me.

“Miss Freudel?”

“I’m her daughter, Lucille,” the woman said. If this woman was a daughter, who was teaching the class? Lucille pointed toward the dim staircase straight ahead, which was lit by a single bulb with a dangling chain to turn it off and on. I expected the entranceway to be exquisitely decorated with gorgeous fabric used wherever possible, but it was just as disheveled as the exterior. She didn’t follow me down, but shut the door behind me. The whir of sewing machines made my descent feel like I was entering a mine. At the base of the stairs the room opened up into a full-on sweat shop. There were more than 20 tables set up with a sewing machine on each and a woman behind each machine. Lucille was right – she really was the daughter. And her mother was a cross between Miss Hannigan in Annie and Harriet Oleson in Little House. She stood dauntingly at the back of the room with a yard stick. She looked up at me. “Where’s your machine?” She barked from across the room.

“I don’t have one,” I answered meekly, knowing there was no way she could hear me over the machines. “I’d like to sew by hand,” I said louder. I clutched my bag of interfacing and multicolored cotton for support.

“Out.” She thrust the yard stick at me and then followed her point, edging closer to me. “You must buy machine or I can’t teach you to sew.”

“Couldn’t I borrow one of these?”

“You can use one of my machines for today only. Then you buy machine.”
I smiled. I wouldn’t need to buy a machine – I’d just sew all three dresses today, and be done. One thousand dollars minus twenty-five for the class and fifty for the fabric. Easy peasy.

I sat down at a boring brown machine at the back of the room and then got out my fabric. “So, I need to make these Lycra costumes, and I’d like to use interfacing,” I told Mrs. Freudal. There was no reason why I shouldn’t at least recover my eBay costs in this venture.

“First you’re going to sew these scraps of fabric together,” she told me and handed me a pile of green cotton. “One of each type of stitch on your machine.”

“But I don’t know the stitches. And I really need to make three dresses. Quickly.”

“You cannot make an apple pie until you learn which apples are best for baking. Start with a straight stitch. Set your dial to 10. Go.”

I didn’t even know how to thread the machine. I was doomed.

Stay tuned for more deleted scenes to come!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Movie Montage

Okay, it's not really a montage...since they're not sliced together. And they're not movies... but it IS Monday & these three clips are really good, each in their own way.

First, we have the object of my affection, Adam Noah Levine, and Maroon 5 during soundcheck at the MMVA's...

Next up is "one-person party" Avril Lavigne. Seriously, people, this is who we chose as our favourite Canadian artist?. Where are her manners?

Finally, we have Johnny Depp, being a dream interviewe...


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ladies who lunch...

I thought I hated couscous salad.

When I was a mini-chantel, my mom went through a couscous phase (which followed a tabbouleh phase). It put me off both for years. But this summer it seems like every magazine I read has a recipe for Couscous Salad, and they all look so tasty that I wondered whether I should try it again.

In the midst of considering this, I went to do a TV interview for my book. While sitting in the green room, I met this super funny, smart and savvy chef, caterer and spokesperson for Dominion named Jenna Wilson. So I asked her if Couscous Salad was making a comeback. She told me it was, because it's such an easy salad for summer BBBQs and get togethers. Easy? Maybe easy for her -- a trained chef -- but for me? Not likely. I didn't want to believe her but she seemed so genuine and knowledgeable and inspiring that when I got home from the interview I decided to attempt the salad. The result? It was one of the easiest salads I've ever made and it was so tasty that I ate it for three days straight! Plus, you don't actually need a recipe. You can just add whatever ingredients you like. Note: I also realized that it wasn't the couscous I disliked, but the parsley and coriander that is usually in it (which is also in tabbouleh and which I omitted from my recipe). It only took me 15 years to figure it out.

Then, the day after I made the couscous, I received an email from Jenna, offering to cater a lunch for me and my coworkers! I had made a lunch date with a girlfriend and freelancer for Friday afternoon, so instead of meeting at our usual - Spring Rolls - we took Jenna up on her offer and had a catered lunch on my patio in the sun.

On the morning of the lunch date, the meal arrived by delivery, perfectly presented on white square plates, wrapped, with condiments, so that all I had to do was pour the cocktails, set out the silverware and sit back. Jenna even included adorable menus on her letterhead so we could follow along with the meal. Here's what she served up:

Baby Arugula/Toasted Walnuts/Port Poached Apples/Walnut Vinaigrette...

Seared Rainbow Trout with Peruvian Blue Potatoes (so cute!)
Ontario Asparagus, Oven Roasted Grape Tomato and Roasted Fennel Slaw...

Fresh fruit platter with cherries, blueberries, raspeberries, strawberries and melon...

Everything was so pretty yet so flavourful that we just felt like we were living someone else's life -- like, say, the life of a woman who doesn't have to work and gets to eat a three-course meal for lunch that includes blue potatoes! The best part of all, though, was that it was so relaxed and that I didn't have to spend hours in the kitchen cooking. (And, that when we were finished, I slipped the dirty dishes in the dishwasher then left them with my concierge the following day and Jenna's driver picked them up!).

If you're thinking, "But I LIKE to cook..." (I can't really relate)... Jenna's got you covered: in addition to catering, she teaches super fun all-girls cooking classes out of her studio. The next one is on July 21 at 2 pm and the theme is Outdoor Eats (aka Picnics). And yes, there will be cocktails while you're cooking!

To get on Jenna's mailing list for more course updates and catering options, email her at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday Tuck Shop (special Wednesday edition)!

(aka a day late...)

Baby Wipes (aka Super Inexpensive Makeup Remover!)

As I mentioned, I found a solution to my dirty Coach bag - unscented baby wipes! - and blogger Laural (whose site design - and content - is fabulous) commented that they're great for removing makeup. I was skeptical as to their efficacy, but I figured, now that I had a box full of unscented baby wipes, I could do two things: get pregnant and wait nine months to use the baby wipes, or try them to remove my makeup. Since the latter is definitely easier and quicker, and because I just ran out of eye makeup remover a few days ago, it couldn't have come at a better time.

I have a love-hate relationship with makeup remover. It's necessary, of course (though it took me decades to figure this out). For years I never used makeup remover. Instead, I used my facecloth to remove my mascara, even if it was waterproof. If you've ever tried to do this you'll know that a few things happen:

1. the facecloth becomes littered with black smudges that don't come out in the wash.

2. It takes a very long time to get your makeup off - especially black eyeliner (a staple in high school) and waterproof mascara (a must if you like to swim, play sports or cry a lot ... given that I like to do all three, a lot, I never even tried non-waterproof mascara until a few years ago).

3. In going to such effort to remove your makeup with a face cloth, you tug and smudge in all the wrong places, which causes wrinkles. Not good.

The problem is that eye makeup remover is expensive. While I wouldn't mind spending money on a great lip gloss or eye shadow palette that I could see the benefit of when I used it, I find it hard to justify spending so much money on something that removes the pretty product, returning me to my start-of-the-story Cinderella state.

But a few years ago I decided I had to start using makeup remover to save my face and my light-coloured facecloths. After using Lancome Bi-Facil for a while (my favourite because it's non-greasy yet effective) I decided to look for something less expensive. What I found was Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover wipes. They come in a handy travel packet of 15, and they're perfect since you just need one a day, and they work so well! But today, I tried the Rexall Baby Wipes, and they are now my favourite eye makeup remover product ever! They're just as effective as Marcelle, but they're about 5x the size, and a pack of 12 is $1.49. I'm so excited by this great find, so thanks Laural!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday mysteries solved

This weekend I solved a lot of mysteries, in anticipation of the Nancy Drew movie, which opens this Friday. First, I stopped off at the vet to ask them about Mr. Baz and his dandruff. The vet assistant told me that he was probably allergic to something. I told her I live in a condo. We have two plants, which are new (because I always kill plants so then I have to buy new ones) and Mr. Baz's dandruff has been going on for nearly a year, so I'm not really sure that could be the problem.

She re-emphasized that he's probably allergic to something. She said SOMETHING in a very conspiratorially tone, like I should know what she's talking about but she shouldn't have to say. So I said, "What? Me? Do you think my cat is allergic to me?" She shrugged, as if to say, "You said it, lady." Hmph.

Thankfully the other cute vet assistant said, "It's probably nothing. It's very common." Then he added, "Do you always have the heat or air conditioning on?" A-ha! That's it. Because when Mr. Baz is at the country home (my dad's house) there is never ANY air conditioning on. My father believes in letting the fresh air in -- even if it's 100-degree-fahrenheit fresh air. But we always have the air conditioning on.

When I got home, my friend Vickie wrote me an email to say that it was probably air conditioning causing the dandruff. Vickie's looking to get a cat, so she's been doing a lot of research into all things cats so I totally believe that she knows what she's talking about. The cute vet assistant also said to try brushing Mr. Baz to try to get rid of the dandruff. So I dug out his cat brush (turns out he has TWO brushes, since apparently at some point I forgot I'd already bought one and bought another, though I haven't brushed hiim in ages, since he really, REALLY hates it). Still, it was for his own good, I told him. He didn't look impressed but we carried on. But you know what? It turns out that BRUSHING him only makes the dandruff even worse! It's like it scrapes off another layer of dead skin, so that the specks of dry skin quadruplify! So much for that. I knew there was a reason I wasn't brushing him.

In other mysteries solved, I found the missing cord to my camera. It was -- where else -- on my bookshelf, which is a perfectly logical place for it to be, no? So, a month later, here are some pictures from the Toronto book launch party of my book.....

Here's my aunt saying "Are those CONDOMS? What IS that?" FYI, I have no idea...


Eating cupcakes....

Setting up the books...


And signing...

In other picture news, this weekend I was at BookExpo Canada , signing copies of my book for booksellers, librarians and other book lovers. It was super fun and I met so many great booksellers from stores like Indigo Peterborough, Indigo Scarborough Town Centre, Indigo Pickering Town Centre, Indigo Oshawa and Chapters St. Catharines, not to mention a bunch of girls from Indigo Eaton Centre and Indigo Bay-Bloor, which are two of my most frequently visited Indigo stores. I also got to meet Vanessa Craft , author of the novel Out of Character, which I just finished reading. Here's a pic of Vanessa and I at the booth signing together. Vanessa is super funny, and probably just said something ridiculous, which is why I'm making such an unflattering face. Vanity shmanity.

Sadly, I was at my publisher's booth at the same time that Sarah Mlynowski was signing, so I didn't get to meet her, even though I really wanted to. Here is a picture someone else took of her...

I also didn't get to meet Vincent Lam, since as I mentioned, he was also signing at the same time as me....

Finally, I leave you with a little past prime minister...

Jean Chretien!

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Friday Five in Books (#8,9,10,11,12)

I haven't blogged about books I've read lately, so here goes:

#8 &9: One of my friends lent me two teen books recently by Natasha Friend, which really is like the cutest name, ever. Natasha's first book was Perfect (2004), the story of 13-year-old Isabelle, who deals with the recent death of her father by controlling what she eats. The book feels so honest and realistic, which is probably why it sold more than 100,000 copies even though it was published by a small press. When Natasha, a former teacher, stressed to a group of seventh graders in San Francisco the importance of getting help for a friend in trouble even if it means risking a friendship, than to do nothing and risk losing a friend, she inspired two girls to tell an adult about their friend who was cutting herself. Scholastic picked up Natasha's second book, Lush, which came out last year.

Along similar storylines, Lush is the tale of 13-year-old Samantha, who's trying to deal with an alcoholic father without much support from her yoga-obsessed mom. Her boobs are also growing out of control. I can't relate to that part, but the book is amazing. Natasha's next book is called Bounce, and comes out this September.

#10. As I mentioned last month, after seeing Little Children, I started reading the book because the movie was that good. And unlike in many instances where I've tried to read the book after watching the movie, I wasn't bored. There was a lot more depth to the book than there was to the movie, simply because Tom (you know, Tom Perrotta, the author), let us inside each of the characters' heads so that I really felt like I was understanding each of them, and their reasons for being the way they are. The story, I think, is about acceptance, and how each of the characters, in their own way and their own world, wants to be accepted, either into a group, or for who they are, or whatever. Because they aren't, they act the way they do, whether it's having an affair, or being a pedophile. I found the book fascinating, and I couldn't put it down, so much so that I had to turn off The Painted Veil on the mini back-of-the-seat TV on the plane ride to Manitoba because I wanted to keep reading Little Children. It usually doesn't matter how bad the movie is on the plane, I will usually always watch it, because it's just too addictive, and also passes the time so easily. Even though I love to read, the movie always wins out on the plane. So this is really saying something.

#11. I just finished Out of Character by Vanessa Craft. This is Vanessa's debut novel, and she's with Key Porter too (like me), but I've got to say, she's got a lot more nerve than I do. This is the story of Emma, a bookish 30-something woman who relishes (and recites) Jane Eyre (in normal conversation, which is awesome) and works at an edgy magazine, where she goes undercover as a dancer (a nice term strippers use to describe themselves). I want to say more, but if I do, I'll spoil the story, and I dont' want to because it's one of the most unique novel premises I've read (or heard about) in a long time. Vanessa's signing copies of her book with me at the HB Fenn booth at Book Expo Canada this Sunday from 1-2 pm. We're on at the same time as Vincent Lam, so please, if you can make it out to Book Expo, come by our booth! Even if you don't want our books, we'll be giving away nail polish and bookmarks (talk about bribes)! And if you can't make it, Vanessa will be stopping by my blog to talk about Out of Character. I'll keep you posted when we have a date.

#12. Okay I totally lied. I haven't read 5 books since the last time I updated on books. I totally suck. So I'm using this space to say that I have a huge-mongous crush on Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5. I've always like Maroon 5, but then I saw him in his super sexy suit on the Today Show a week or so ago, and then again on Ellen, and I really just love him. Also, when I was on the swim team, our colour was maroon, so everything I wore from about age 8 to 12 was maroon: swimsuit, jacket, warmup suit... which I think just goes to show that Adam and I were MEANT to be together. Right?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The case of the kitty dandruff...

Mr. Baz has dandruff. He's had it for a while, and it's particularly noticeable because he's very black. And not just his hair, but even his face and his nose and his little paw pads are black. Anyway, the dandruff seemed to get worse ever since we switched to the veterinarian-only cat food after Mr. Baz had the penis incident, where it got blocked and he started peeing in the bathtub. (Note: if your cat starts trying to pee in the bathtub, get him or her to the vet straight away! This a sign that something isn't right and he or she is trying to tell you.)

The veterinarian cat food actually isn't more expensive than the grocery store stuff we were feeding him before, but I am forced to buy a 10 kg bag and lug it home. The vet is close by, and right on my way home from work, so it seems plausible to carry it home while walking, but since the guy at the reception desk often insists on putting the bag of cat food inside a large black garbage bag ("In case you drop it! You don't want the bag to rip open on the street!" is his logic...), it sort of looks like I'm carrying home a dead body. Surprisingly, no one offers to help carry the bag home for me, even though people stare. Alot. You might be thinking, "Why WOULD anyone offer to help you carry the bag home?" But I live in a friendly neighbourhood. Like last summer, I decided to walk to The Beer Store (which is right across the street from the vet), and carry a 2-4 home (really, does it get much more UN-GIRLY than that, considering I don't even drink beer?) and I had three offers to help "carry" the case of Heineken home. I'm starting to think that the case never would've really made it home though - at least not to my home. Still, I'm a married woman, so I didn't accept the offers. I'm just saying it would be nice if a guy offered to help carry the bag of cat food/dead body home for me. Of course, I live beside the gaybourhood, so I'm guessing that's why no guys are really interested in my cat food, or me. Thank goodness the Hubs still is.

So anyway, the point of the story is that two weeks ago, while we were on vacation, Mr. Baz went to his summer home in the country (read: my parents' place in St. Catharines) And when he came back, the dandruff was gone! Vanished! Not a speck of white to be seen. Anywhere.

I have a theory. Perhaps my parents were NOT feeding him the specially formulated pee-freely cat food as instructed. Of course, I brought the food and it was sitting prominently beside the dish, so I can only assume they were feeding it to him. And if they weren't then he wouldn't be eating now, because he'd be used to eating something else.

So theory 2 is that the dandruff is caused by stress and that the stress of the city is too much for him and going to the country for two weeks chilled him out and the dandruff problem disappeared. But what's so stressful about living in the city? It's not like Mr. Baz has to fight traffic to get to work, or anywhere. He just sits inside all day. We don't ask him to do any chores, or even fill his own water bowl. And he's a city boy at heart. He was born in the city, on the streets, right in Chinatown. I mean, if anything, our place should be an oasis compared to the chaos a few blocks over - with the constant fish trucks driving around, millions of street cats to fight off to keep your home...

For a moment I thought maybe he's stressed out because he's inside all day, and is going stir-crazy. But if he wants to go outside, he can, because we leave the patio door open all day long, and he can sit out there as long as he likes. It's not the same as roaming in a backyard, but there's a lot less stress. There are no birds, no neighbouring cats or dogs, no bugs biting his butt.

But maybe he likes other cats, dogs, birds and bugs biting his butt. In the country he goes outside and the birds dive bomb him to tell him to get back inside. He chases bugs and catches butterflies. He rolls in the grass and hides under trees. He has none of that here in the city. Occasionally a leave will fall off one of the plants in the planter boxes and drift across the patio and he'll catch it, but that's the end of that game. So then I got to thinking, maybe his dandruff is caused by utter boredom.

Which is so awful, but what can I do? I wish I could bring the birds up to the 25th floor, but they're just not into it. Even the pigeons don't come this high. And bugs... can I transplant bugs into the planter boxes? Does he need a little Baby Baz to play with? And what if it's not boredom, what if he's over-stimulated at the cottage and the dandruff is really just caused by the difference in tap water he's drinking and then I go and get him bugs and birds and a baby kitten brother and that totally stresses him out and then he hates me?

Maybe I need a cat whisperer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Best Beach Reads

Yesterday I found out that Stuck in Downward Dog debuted on the Winnipeg Free Press bestseller list at #3! I have no idea how many books people needed to buy to get it on the list, but I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all the Winnipeggers and southern Manitobans who bought the book! When I told my stepmom, she said, "Just how many books DID your mother in law buy for relatives?!" Ha. Ha. Ha. Or maybe...true, true, true. In any event, I couldn't be more thrilled, so thank you.

Speaking of books, Chatelaine just published its 50 Best Beach Reads for the summer, which is the perfect little guide to kick-start your summer, and give you a whole range of books to read, in case you were looking for inspiration. As you know, I'm WAY behind on reading. There are so many books I want to read, but never make enough time to. Still, I always love a good list, and I like Chatelaine's list. It's not just a list of best-sellers and new releases. Instead, it's broken down into categories, so that if you read all the books you'd have covered a range of everything from chicklit to thrillers, including a few books I haven't even heard of (which is always great to find), such as Lullabies for Little Criminals, Rebeecca, The Thirteenth Tale; favourites I've read over and over again like The Bell Jar, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Bridget Jones's Diary; and books I've wanted to read for some time, but haven't, such as She's Come Undone, By the Time You Read This, and Prodigal Summer.

And unlike the 1001 Books List, of which I've failed miserably to read even 10%, I've read 24 of the 50 books -- nearly 50%! I can't believe it.

What's on your summer reading list?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday Tuck Shop

When I was younger, I lived in the sun. I took waitressing jobs so that I could tan all day, then work at night. But now, I'm not an idiot, and I wear SPF 30 every day. The result is that I'm so pale. I don't mind having a pale face - I try to remind myself that it's better than wrinkles, but since I'm not likely to get massive wrinkles on my legs (just yet), I wish my legs were tanned. Given that I have no patience, I've never been a fan of self-tanners since I don't take the time to smooth them on evenly, wash my hands thoroughly, or let them dry fully before dressing. Then a few years ago, companies started making moisturizers with a hint of glow in them. Everyone raved about them, but I was a skeptic, because you still need to let them dry before dressing, and I really can't figure out what to do with myself while standing around naked in my bedroom waiting for my legs to un-slime-ify. But in early spring, with skirts and shorts weather looming, I really couldn't handle looking at my white post-like legs any longer, so I decided to try Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer. This product relaunched this year with the "firming" aspect (it contains collagen and elastin that are supposed to work with the naturally occurring collagen and elastin in your skin to help keep the skin more taut like it was when you were 20). I figured since it was now a 2-in-1 product, perhaps it would be worth my while to stand around since it would be doing double-duty: I'd be getting tanned AND firmed-up legs at the same time! (If, that is, the cream actually worked). Still, even though I was excited at the idea, I was hardly diligent. I applied the cream once, then promptly forgot about it for two weeks, then applied it once more, then fell off the bandwagon. Then I went on vacation where it was chilly and I was back to covering up, and I forgot about how white my legs really were. Until last week's heat wave hit and I was forced to pull on a pair of shorts.

I decided to apply the Jergens cream every morning, no excuses. And then something happened. I hadn't been going to the gym very much (read: at all) since I got back from vacation, but yesterday I decided it was time to get back on the treadmill. Afterwards, I attempted to reinstate my weight workout, so I was standing in front of the mirror doing squats, when I felt alarmed at my legs. Like they weren't my own. They looked toned, like there were actually muscles in them! Since I hadn't done any exercise in weeks, for a split second I thought that maybe laying on the couch, eating dessert every day, and not working out WAS the secret to great legs! Maybe I didn't ever need to work out again, I thought with glee.

And then I figured it out. My daily application (I'd just completed my first full week of streak-free applications) of the Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer HAD actually made a difference. Most doctors and dermatologists will say that collagen and elastin can't enter your skin in topical form (being applied in a cream to the top layer of skin), but I'm not so sure. Maybe all it took was a hint of a tan to make my legs look better. Or maybe the collagen and elastin in the cream DO work. But either way, I'm hooked. I suppose I should still try to do some form of exercise every day, but when I can't, I've now got my backup workout plan - and waiting around for five minutes for the cream to dry is actually a lot easier to do than running on a treadmill for half an hour.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Homebody Kabul

My friend, Gregory Myers (which is his stage name, which feels very celebrity since only his real friends know his "real" name) is in a play, Homebody Kabul (by Tony Kushner, who wrote Angels in America). Greg's also been in Honey (you know, with Jessica Alba) and The Gospel of John (which is a three-hour epic), but he didn't have any lines in either so I was really excited to see him in live theatre, where he had not one, but two parts. For his role as an Afghani soldier he had to grow a beard. He's also a supply teacher for grade school kids, and apparently there's a new song going around the playground:

"Mr. Myers is so weeeeeeiiiirrd, Mr. Myers has a beeeeeaaaaard."

I think the beard is awesome, but I do recall, when I was younger, that teachers who did anything differently than say MY parents WERE weird. Because I saw my parents everyday. They were the authority on being an adult, so I felt that they were the right way, and anything else was just, well, weird.

For example, my seventh grade art teacher had very, VERY large breasts. She was a large woman, however, so they sort of went with her body, but they were so large that she would rest her arms ON TOP of her breasts when she was speaking. This, to me, was weird, if only because my own mother was an A cup, which was more like a small hiccup in the wall (I can say this as an inheritee of the A cup), rather than a full-blown ledge and so I didn't understand it. It was like an entirely different body part I wasn't familiar with. By comparison, my seventh grade georgraphy teacher wore Birkenstocks and socks, even in winter. There's a very good chance, looking back, that he needed orthotics and this was the most comfortable footwear for him, but of course, I didn't know that and since my own father wore closed-toe shoes to work everyday year-round, the Birks were weird. (Birks and socks would later become the status symbol of being a rower in high school, something I joined to be around the hot guys who rowed only to discover that with daily 5 am practises in freezing temperatures, there was no hope of looking cute for the hot rower guys -- who somehow managed to look just as hot at 5 am as they did once they were washed and combed and in their school ties later in the day. I, on the other hand, looked a little like Rainbow Brite, wearing as many clothes as I possibly could, with matted hair and no makeup. Needless to say I was boyfriendless for most of high school).

So back to the play. I tend to see a lot of theatre because I like it and also so that I can write about it for Sweetspot. A lot of the time, I would've never seen the play, simply because I'd never heard about it. There are just so many small-budget, short-run plays that don't have budgets to advertise and rely on word of mouth publicity. The unfortunate part is that by the time someone sees the play and tells their friends there's maybe a few nights left of the performance, and sometimes, I don't tell anyone about the play I've seen simply because there's nothing to say. Often, they're not very thought-provoking or interesting. And by the time I'm in a cab I'm thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home. After Homebody Kabul, the Hubs and I were walking up to a busier street to hail a cab, but we started talking about the play, and didn't stop, and walked all the way home. And we weren't just talking about Greg's beard.

There are only a week's worth of performances left of Homebody Kabul, but if you like theatre, I really recommend seeing the play. Not just because it's at the Berkeley Street Theatre, which is just one of the most adorable theatres in the city. And not just because Fiona Reid, who has an Order of Canada, has a one-hour monologue at the start of the play that is so captivating you'll fall in love with her. Or because Greg has a super cool beard.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

This just in! The Coach handbag dilemma...solved! (at least, i hope)

So apparently I'm not alone in having a dirty Coach handbag! Thanks to everyone who emailed me telling me they have the same problem, which made me feel like maybe I'm NOT that careless! (Of course, I am, but it makes me feel like I can blame the bag and not my bad habits). Alot of you, who are apparently better sleuths than I am, suggested that I call the Coach store and ask them, which really is the best solution. Which makes sense and I'm not sure why I wouldn't have known to do this myself, except to say that I have a real problem asking people for help. I have this incessant need to figure it out myself, and I'm not sure why. It's most apparent when I'm in a store, looking for an item. When I'm with the Hubs we're not even in the store five seconds before he tracks down a salesperson, asks them to help us find the item, and within five minutes, we've got the item and are in line paying for it. So, so efficient. But when I'm alone, I'll meander the store for nearly an hour, or more (I'm not joking), trying to find the item myself, like I'm solving a mystery, just like Nancy Drew. It's like I feel that if I do it myself, it'll be much more rewarding. But is finding the right lightbulb really that rewarding? What would Nancy Drew do?

So anyway, I decided to take your good advice and call the Coach store, only when I was Googling the phone number, I found this site, which is a site where tons of women just like you and me, who have dirty Coach bags -- and solutions, for every type of bag (cloth, leather, white) and shoe. And the best part? I learned to NOT take the bags to the cleaners, because everyone who did got yellowed fabric or wrinkled leather. So THANK YOU crazy dry cleaner man for NOT understanding that I wanted the bags cleaned! Without the misunderstanding, I might have ruined two bags!

On the Thrifty Fun site, I also found what I think might be the best solution for my cloth bag:

"Unscented Baby Wipes! They have worked wonderfully on my two-year old khaki signature bag. They were recommended by a Coach store manager. Important that you get UNSCENTED and non-lotion type wipes. I have had excellent results with Huggies Unscented Natural Care wipes and also Kleenex Moist Wipes in a box. Just lightly scrub into the fabric and you will see the soil coming off into the wipe. Doing this every 3-4 weeks takes off the surface dirt and really brightens up my bag. They also a great for a quick cleaning of leather bags and shoes." -- Jeanne

You know what this means though, right? I didn't call the Coach store, so I think I'm still doing what I always do -- trying to solve the problem myself. But Jeanne SAID a Coach store manager recommended this solution! Still, I'm going to try this on the cloth bag but NOT the suede bag, so I may actually call the Coach store this weekend about the suede bag. After all, I'm sure even Nancy Drew would just call the expert about her own handbag, so that she could get on to solving more important mysteries.

Friday, June 1, 2007


Yesterday, I went to Oshawa to appear on Daytime on Rogers Durham Region. Now, given that I was going to an ENTIRELY different city in an ENTIRELY different REGION, you'd think that perhaps I'd leave myself say, more than, 25 minutes to get there. But did I? No. I was completely prepared to leave at 9:45 am, which would get me there at 10:45 am, when I was SUPPOSED to be there. I was also supposed to get ready by 9 am, THEN watch Regis & Kelly as a reward for being ready to go early. But what did I do? Well, I wanted to watch the Today show because I thought I was AHEAD of schedule, but because I did, I kept sitting on the couch watching Regis & Kelly when it came on, and at 9:30 I realized that I hadn't done my makeup or my hair! So by the time I left it was 10:15. Not good. Especially not good when I finally got to the 401 and started driving east, thinking, Oshawa's right after Pickering. Which it's not. Because at Pickering, the highway sign said: OSHAWA 35 --- THIRTY FIVE KILOMETRES? -- that's right. Which is when I started speeding and planning in my head what I was going to say to the officer when I got pulled over. "I"m going to be on TV! I have to hurry!" Which I'm SURE would've gotten me out of the ticket. Right. So I was very glad when I saw another car pulled over at the side of the road for speeding, because that meant that potentially, the cop that would've pulled me over, was busy. Which is just really bad logic.

So then I started thinking, it's okay, calm down, you'll get there with plenty of time. Because the TV interview I did on Tuesday, I had time to sit around, get my makeup done, sit around some more, and still I was the first guest on the show. So maybe I wouldn't have time for makeup. So what? I didn't need to look perfect, just real, right? Right. I looked at the show info again, only to confirm that my arrival time was 10:45 and the show started LIVE at 11 am. Which hardly seemed enough time to sit around for even 30 seconds let alone get my makeup done. Unless, of course, I was the LAST guest on the show. Right, that must be it, I kept telling myself. I'm the last guest on. It's going to be fine.

As it turned out, I arrived only 5 minutes late (phew), because I ended up being the first guest on the show, so I had just enough time to walk into the studio, watch the two hosts - Kasia and Jim, who were both just so adorable, gorgeous AND funny -- do their thing for 5 minutes before Kasia came over to sit with me in the comfy chairs, where she said the nicest things about my book and made the interview so fun that for a moment I wished that I lived in Oshawa, just so that I could watch Daytime Oshawa with Kasia & Jim every day. If I did, then I wouldn't have had the crazy drive there, though, and what I learned was that apparently, Oshawa really IS only 30 minutes away. You know, if you're willing to endure a speeding, stressful drive on the 401. Or maybe not.