Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All my bags are not packed...

But I'm leaving, tomorrow, for France. Or, as The Hubs and I have become accustomed to saying, France in our Pants. Because we will be wearing pants, I suppose. But I'm not packed. Still, there's always time for packing. I mean, do you know anyone who gets to the airport with nothing in their hands and just shrugs and says, "Well, I ran out of time. So I guess I'll just go as is. Who needs more than one pair of underwear?" No, this never happens. Because you always make time for packing. Which is why I'm leaving it to the very last second, and instead, taking time for one last blog before I go. After all, I'm going to be gone for 18 days. Eighteen days with a self-imposed ban on internet, phones, cellphones, email or Blackberrys. I think the last time I encountered such a phenomenon may have been in 1988 when I was forced to go to a Girl Guide camp. I only lasted one night. One raw hotdog (who has patience to stand over a flame and cook it?), 3 raw marshmallows and a sleepless night reading Sassy magazines in my tent by flashlight with my two BFF Girl Guides in Crime later, I called my father and asked him to pick me up -- my friends toughed it out. Even then, I wasn't fully without connection to life since I had my ghetto blaster, stocked with D batteries to get us through the night. But that was enough disconnect with the real world for me.

So, since I won't be updating this blog while I'm gone, I thought I'd leave you with a few random thoughts.

* Lost and Found. I heard about this book on Jennifer Weiner's blog, and picked it up immediately because the story sounded good - the story of a mother & daughter in an Amazing Race-type reality TV show? What's not to love? The story is slightly ironic, making fun of reality TV shows, while delving into the contestants' lives. I didn't love the ending, but I loved the rest of the book, which is a great switch, since sometimes you read a book and love the ending but the rest is just the getting there, so this was a nice surprise to love the actual story. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a quick but good read.

2. Right now I'm reading Ann Brashares' The Last Summer of You and Me. As I'm sure you know, Ann is the author of the Travelling Pants' series, for which I have an interesting tidbit. The Hubs and I were visiting a friend and her new boyfriend to be was over so the four of us decided to have a low-key night with takeout and videos. The first movie we rented was something boyish (I say this because that's what I call any movie with boys, guns, blown up stuff and swearing). The second movie we rented was The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. I hadn't read the books but wanted to see the movie. The Hubs was ALL for it. I mean, what's not to like about a light, fun, easy movie?

So we watched the boy movie first. And then, do you know what happened? I'll tell you. The boyfriend to be left after the first movie. Oh yes he did. He said he was tired, but of course we know he just didn't want to watch The Pants. Which is SO wrong. I mean, how macho do you have to be to refuse to watch it? And even if you HATE it, you'd be spending time with the girl you like, right? I don't think I have to tell you that he did not make it from "boyfriend to be" status to full-on "boyfriend" status. And now my friend is engaged to another boy. All this to say, if you're ever trying to weed out the real men from the too-cool-for-schoolers, you might want to rent The Pants. I'm just saying.

So anyway, this is Ann Brashares' first adult novel and so far I'm loving it. I was supposed to be saving it for the plane, but I couldn't wait to get into it. It reminds me a lot of Judy Blume's Summer Sisters, which was like the best gift ever when she published it, years after I'd run out of her novels to read. Anyway, The Last Summer is the perfect read in this summer-like weather we're having.

* The other books I've packed for my trip are:

* The Accidental by Ali Smith, which my book club is reading -- I've been thinking about reading this for a while, so I'm so glad this was chosen. I don't know anything about it, except from what I can judge by the cover. Either she's very tired or has fallen down. Perhaps from an accident. We'll see.

* Happy Birthday or Whatever by Annie Choi. I discovered Annie when Meg Cabot mentioned her on her blog and now I'm addicted to Annie's blog. It's hilarious. You should check it out. If her memoir is anything like her blog, I'm set. That is, if the book actually arrives today in the mail. It wasn't available in any bookstores here, so I had to order it online. I'm thinking I may have to go stalk the mailman. Maybe he's reading it and doesn't want to give it up til he's done. I could totally understand why. I would totally do that if I was a mail girl. Which is likely why Canada Post would never hire me. Too bad for me.

* The golf season has come to a close, and I've decided that this is the most useful lesson I've learned this season. It's not just a golf lesson, either, so even if you don't golf, I think you'll agree you can apply it to most any aspect of your life:

When your ball goes into the woods and you go after it, and you find it sitting on top of a used condom, just leave it. A true friend will lend you another ball.

* Finally, I am absolutely obsessed with this product: J.R.Watkins Apothecary Lemon Cream Shea Butter Hand Repair Moisturizer. It arrived on my desk last week and I cannot stop applying it. It's like a lemon meringue pie without the calories but all the indulgence. And you know how some creams smell great but it's like putting a layer of butter on your hands and you can't pick anything up because your hands are so slippery? This cream is totally NOT like that. It actually WORKS. Soaks in. Makes your hands less dry. So much so that I actually end up applying more just because I love the scent so much, even when I don't need any more. It's that good.

So there you go - you've got books to read, hand cream to buy, blogs to read and a lesson to remember. See you mid-October!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I heart NY

I've just gotten home from my whirlwind trip to New York. I've always loved New York, but this, although one of my quickest trips into the city ever, was one of the best and most memorable, of course, because I was given one of the best book launch parties ever! Anna, my new BFF at the Canadian Consulate, was the uber-cute, super fun wonder woman behind the event and it couldn't have been more perfect. There are a million chicklit books out there, but Anna read mine, and thought it was something worthy of an event in NY, and so, in her contagiously energetic way, went about seeing that it happened!

Here's me and Anna...

And I just loved all the Lulu girls at Lululemon's flagship store, where the event was held. The girls at the store were so welcoming and fun, and they made these signs...

And Anna sent out hundreds of invites, including one to Katie Couric, who couldn't come, but I'm sure it's because she was actually AT yoga class.

Also, there was a cocktail reception, too (because what kind of yoga girl doesn't like a little wine with her workout?) which included wine, cheese and grapes. Only my three favourite foods. Could it have been any more perfect?

I met so many fabulous New Yorkers and New Jerseyites, who came out to support the book, me and Lululemon. The best part? Many of these guys and girls are just like me -- love yoga, love the clothes, not SO good at the actual yoga part.

Also, I loved that so many women wanted to talk about their own stuck-edness, particularly in relationships. It's really hard to talk about not being happy in a relationship, or not knowing how to move on after a string of bad, ego-smushing boyfriends, but these women were so open and honest, and I just loved that! Not only could I relate on behalf of Mara, but of course, I've had my share of crapola relationships, so it was the best girl-bonding session ever!

My publisher and a few others from my Canadian publishing house also came to the event, which was just SO supportive. I don't know many Canadian first-time authors who get a New York launch party, so I'm just so, so happy. As soon as I get more pictures from Lululemon and the Consulate, I'll post them here.

Thanks also to Denise, yogi and author of it's all about yoga for mentiong my book and the event!

Nothing could really compare to the night, but I also managed to sneak in a few other things while in New York, all of which I highly recommend if you are going:

Cocktails: at the Mandarin Oriental. I'd been to the MO before, but never for cocktails, and it's the perfect setting. The lobby bar's on the 35th floor, overlooking Central Park. I had a peach cocktail, which I'm now, as I write this, recreating at home, because it's so simple, yet the perfect start-of-the-weekend drink: Vodka, peach puree and champagne, and three raspberries, just so that you can call it a meal.

Burgers: If you're looking for a good burger, there are a lot of new burger places that give you that perfect option between the foie gras burger at $40 and the McD's burger at $1.39. We opted for this tiny burger joint that inside Le Parker Meridien. There's not even a sign - you just have to go inside and then you'll see this tiny fluorescent picture of a burger with an arrow behind a curtain. You get back there and you're in this uber-cool burger joint with no frills (no plates or cutlery) but so-good burgers.

Afternoon tea: We went for afternoon tea at the Ritz, which is another of my favourite meals. Is there anything better than mini sandwiches, scones and cream, teeny tiny desserts and your own pot of tea? My favourite tea spot in NY is still the St. Regis because the scones are bigger and better (and when you're paying like $3 a raisin, you want a big ass scone, don't you?) but the Ritz came close, particularly for the full-size shrimp on the shrimp sandwich and the fact that they put your teapot on a tealight to keep it warm. Hmmm... it never really crossed my mind that this might be why it's called a tealight. Eat mini sammys, learn something new.

Finally, I have to tell you that I saw Georgia Ru on the plane. On the way down I saw the first half - Georgia - and on the way back I saw Ru. That's right - almost all of Georgia Rule, but not quite. I missed the last 10 minutes. Ten minutes! The worst part was that the pilot was like, "I have some bad news. There's a whole whack o' planes up here waiting to land in Toronto, so we're going to be in a holding pattern for about 25 minutes." And I was like "YES!" And then, not even two minutes later he came on and say, "Guess what?! All of the rest of the planes have decided to go elsewhere, so we're gonna land now!" Noooooo......

When I asked the Hubs what he watched (because we weren't next to eachother) he said "Silver Surfer." Duh. Then he said with a knowing smirk, "What'd you watch - Georgia Rule?" Like I'm THAT predictable. And then he said, "I can't believe you watched that without me - I wanted to rent that!" Riiiiiight. So now, of course, I'm betting I won't ever see the end of this movie.

If any of you HAVE seen the movie, can you please email me and tell me what happens in the last ten minutes? I need to know!

Okay, that's it. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New York, New York

Tomorrow I'll be in New York for the launch of Stuck in Downward Dog in the US. If you're anywhere near Manhattan, please come to the Lululemon store on Broadway at W 64th from 8-9 pm. I promise, you will not be required to do yoga required at the event, but you can of course buy cute yoga outfits if you like, which could come in handy (elastic waistband!) when you're noshing on the hors d'oeuvres and cocktails! We'll also have a giveaway for a beauty basket filled with hair products, thanks to my friends at John Frieda!

Because as Mara would say, even if you suck at yoga, at least you can have frizz-free hair.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Important matters to discuss

Last night, I watched the Singing Bee. Have you seen this show? Joey Fatone (of *NSYNC) is the host, which is really the best part. The premise is that they play a song and when the music stops you have to sing the next line. In the first round I watched, NONE of the three contestants got ANY of the lyrics right. One of the contestants didn't even try because he'd never even heard the song or the artist! So they had to go to a tie-breaker because the score was 0-0-0. Um, is it REALLY a tie-breaker when no one even gets anything right? Aren't they all losers? And then, it felt very suspicious, like the producers were worried no one was ever going to get a line right, so they put a teleprompter up with the lyrics, because all of a sudden one of the contestants was staring at something even though he was jitterbugging around the stage. Hmmm.... So then, isn't it just karaoke? Anyway, this isn't last night's episode, but if you want to see what it's all about, here's the premiere, which I have to say looks a lot more "perfect" than what I saw last night. I mean, who are these people who actually KNOW the lyrics to all these songs? I think I'm just envious. I can NEVER get lyrics right. Usually, I just make up my own words...

"Don't mess berade with the guy in shakes oh no."

In other TV news, did you watch Whoopi make her debut on the View? She feels very strongly about Michael Vick and the whole dogfighting incident. That it wasn't THAT wrong. That in the South, it's just something kids do. Hot dog! Does that make it right?

In other news, the cobbler downstairs in my building is now offering digital passport photos. The sign says "You'll WANT to get your picture taken!" And you know what? I do. I just got my passport renewed last year, but I'm seriously considering doing it again. The picture in mine is just awful. AW-FUL. I mean, it was taken on one of those totally retro black and white machines where you look bad no matter what, but I look 10x worse. And now, with digital, if it was bad, I could just keep retaking it until it was good. Think of the multi-tasking abilities, too. Like when they say it's going to be half an hour to get your shoes reheeled and you can't figure out what to do while you wait, now you could just get your picture taken. Except at the place I go, because it's just one guy who does it all so he'd have to either take my picture or heel my shoes. Not both. Anyway, maybe I'll just wait until the four years are up.

Finally, if you're looking for a cookie recipe, I just discovered a new oatmeal chocolate chip raisin cookie recipe that is now my new all-time favourite. The recipe actually doesn't call for chocolate chips, for some reason if you add Hershey milk chocolate chips they stay MELTED inside the cookies, even once they're cool. Even the NEXT DAY! How crazy is that?

I can't even explain it. Don't mess berade with the guy in shakes, oh no.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


It's September! Can you even believe it? Yesterday, the Hubs and I played hooky from work and went back-to-fall shopping. We spend our summer weekends golfing so I love that time when our weekends are for getting lattes and strolling on Bloor Street. The Hubs was looking for a few tres-chic items for our upcoming trip to France in our pants. I was looking for a New York-y outfit for my book launch later this month.

If you live in New York, I hope that you can come. And if you don't live in New York, I have comprised, for the September list on my website, 10 very worthy reasons to drop everything and spend the month in New York. Obviously if you can drop everything and spend an entire month in another city, you are leading some sort of life that involves much intrigue, spies or lunching with ladies, and I envy you. But if there's just one day you can go to the city (like me), will you come on the 12th?

That is when the fabulous people at the Canadian Consulate in New York, along with my publishing house and Lululemon in New York have teemed up to have a book launch for Stuck in Downward Dog! I can't think of a better place for the event. I just hope that we won't be actually doing yoga. Because the jeans I just bought are so tight I can barely breathe. If I attempt a downward dog, I will literally get stuck. Also ever since I finished writing the book, my yoga (which was quite regular for research) has gotten a little rusty. I seem to be spending more time sitting on the couch eating potato chips. I'd like to say it's research for the next book... note: I should probably try to add a potato-chip-eating-couch-sitting scene. Anyway, this isn't about me, this is about you. So here are my 10 best reasons why you should visit New York this September...

1. Courtney Thorne-Smith at B&N, Sept 19. Who even knew that Allison on Melrose (btw my favourite character on the show, and yes I liked her much better on that than on Ally McBeal or the show with the fat husband) was an author?

2. Megan McCafferty at Borders, Sept 6, promoting her latest book in the Jessica Darling series, Fourth Comings. It's already a bestseller!

3. International Carpet Show, Sept 18-21. Because who doesn't need carpeting?

4. NY Film Fest, Sept 28 onwards... Movies, popcorn, Mark Wahlberg...

5. US Open, Sept 1-9. Tennis anyone?

6. Autumn Crafts (crafts! crafts!) Festival, Sept 9.

7. Alan Alda?!, B&N, Sept 5. Again, who knew he wrote a book?

8. NY Fashion Week, Sept 4-12. Don't forget your grannie boots.

9. Walk it Out Harlem Hip Hop Walking Tour, Sept 5. This is just fun to say.

10. Stuck in Downward Dog NYC launch, Lululemon, Sept 12!

In the meantime, I hope you're spending your long weekend exactly the way you like to. Whether that's lattes, potato chips, shopping or yoga.