the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Gripes from the Grind: should I stay or should I go?

gripes grindIn Gripes from the Grind, I’ll feature guest posts from others who want to share their rants, gripes or frustrations.  Today we hear from Adam, who moved to Vancouver in 2005 with his wife Natasha after tiring of Toronto and wanting more adventure and less frigid temperatures. His biggest day to day challenges are getting his two little girls up and ready for daycare and competing with his wife for exercise time. To keep a roof over his head he works in the real estate development industry while squeezing in Nooners at the Nat and the occasional golf game.  Read more…

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Hilary Letwin

hilary letwinHilary Letwin lives in Port Moody with her husband and daughter. She has worked in a number of museums, including most recently at the British Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She owns Culture Babes, a business devoted to organizing cultural events for new parents and their babies, such as museum visits and classical music concerts. She holds graduate degrees in history and art history, and is currently completing her PhD in Italian renaissance art history at Johns Hopkins University. She has written extensively about the arts for a number of international publications, including Montecristo Magazine, and has collaborated in the writing of art historical references on Filippo Baldinucci and the Lishawa Collection of nineteenth-century plein-air sketches. Read more…

Momcabulary Monday: Juice Box

[joos – boks]

boxed_wineIt’s not what you’re thinking…this is Mommy’s juice box.  Not filled with meh orange or apple concentrate, but pure, delicious grape-y goodness.  What we love about the juice box is that is is good for days.  No need to send hubby out to the store in a panic after the kids are down for bed and you realize the bottle you opened last night is empty (don’t judge…).  Yeah…it’s not the greatest wine in the world, but it gets the job done.  Best of all, once the box is empty you can use the neat little bag inside as a pillow.  ‘Nuf said.

Would you hand a teenager a litre of vodka and expect them to exercise “common sense”?

Last night I engaged a a bit of a Twitter-debate around Internet dangers and kids.  In the wake of recent tragedies stemming from online bullying and sexual exploitation, there have been serious discussions around implementing protections for minors online.  Furthermore, it’s argued that these protections should be the responsibility of social media companies.  Currently, parents are floundering – trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the Internet and social media.  Our children are making adult decisions online.  Predators know it…and are exploiting it to no end.

Those who oppose restrictions and protections argue that it is up to parents to teach children best judgement and to exercise common sense online.  I think this is absurd.  Of course, parents will do whatever they can to protect their children from predators and exploitation.  Just ask Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen who recently took her own life after being bullied and sexually exploited online.

We can teach young people how to behave appropriately online, however, I don’t think it is possible that all of them will.  We have restrictions on the age a child can drive a car…this is because a car is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool…even when we do allow our kids to eventually get behind the wheel, we can only hope they will be heeding the advice they have been given.  Same goes for substances like alcohol and tobacco…we know these items are harmful and there are laws to govern their use.  The industries themselves are mandated to protect minors from misuse.

Nevertheless, some people believe that kids and parents should just navigate the wild, wild west of the internet alone.

Others believe industry should be working to make the Internet a less scary and potentially harmful place for children.

Raffi Cavoukian (known and loved my most as simply RAFFI) is a passionate advocate for a child’s right to live free of commercial exploitation. He and many other concerned B.C. citizens banded together to form Red Hood Project, a movement for consumer protection for children online.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE the Internet.  I love the connections I make, the work I can do and the possibilities it presents.  However, I strongly believe that the Internet can be a dangerous place.  As an adult I recognize that online activity can become all consuming – addictive even.  A child should not be expected to exercise the same level of self-regulation and caution that I do as an adult.  The adults that are running these industries, along with our government should be aiming to protect children online.

Currently, the inmates are running the asylum…

What are your thoughts?  Should more be done to protect children online?  Who’s responsibility should this be?

What to do in Vancouver this weekend (July 27 & 28, 2013)

PicMonkey CollageI don’t know about you but I am ready for the weekend.  I just had the longest day…which began with me walking to Hillcrest pool with my kids, only to discover that I’d forgotten my wallet at home.  Luckily, a kind gentleman in line behind me offered to pay for us.  When stuff like that happens, my faith in humanity is restored…

There’s a lot of fun stuff happening in our gorgeous city this weekend.  Hope everyone gets out there and enjoys themselves! Read more…

Absurd Vancouver Property: $700K in 4 Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods

People have been asking me to compare homes in areas closer to Vancouver…places that people here are more likely to move to (i.e. not L.A. or San Francisco).

Here’s what $700K buys you in Richmond:

$700K Richmond

Cute house, right?  And a decent size at 1800 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It’s close to Steveston and has a pretty incredible back yard…25 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver.

In North Vancouver, $700K can buy you this:

$700k North Vancouver

Pretty sure Grandma still lives here.  Sure, it’s kitchy and dated, but it’s a big lot (50 x 135) and the neighbourhood is apparently nice.

In Burnaby, a $700K home looks like this:

Burnaby 700K

The listing says this place is “renovated,” but I’m not sure I believe it.  The front stairs look like a pretty sweet DIY job…I’m not sure I’d risk my life navigating them every day.  Nevertheless, it’s a house, with land for $700K, 15 minutes outside of downtown…worth it??  Jury’s still out.

Back in YVR proper, on the Eastside, $700K will fetch you this beauty:

Vancouver $700K

Apparently, the privilege of living in Vancouver does not afford one windows.

Vancouver…are you f*%king kidding me?

Got an axe to grind? An opinion to share? I want to hear from you!


I’m going to be running guest post features where people (i.e. YOU!) can share their gripes, opinions, rants and raves!

What I’m looking for:

Honest pieces that reflect your true opinion about something.  It could be a parenting technique or struggle, something about your lifestyle, financial woes or successes…the main criteria here is that it is 100% authentic.

What I’m not looking for:

Content that promotes a brand or product…I don’t want pieces on your goods, services or products.  I’m sure they are fabulous, but they’re not what I’m after!

You don’t have to be a professional writer, but if you are it could be a great opportunity to expand your audience.  I am also open to anonymous guest posts, so you do not have to disclose your name on the piece if you feel it may be too controversial…


Drop me a line at!  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Momcabulary Monday: Vajayjay Vacay

vacationvuh-jay-jay vay-kay

Literally a vacation for your vagina.  This is precisely what your lady parts require after nine months of pregnancy and hours of labour and birth.  Typical prescribed vajayjay vacay is six weeks…but we all know this is bull s*%t.  One look in a hand mirror would tell any lady that her business is in need of some serious time off.  The vagina equivalent to three months in Hawaii with a soft breeze, a tropical drink and no circling predators is exactly what would be in order.  After any major trauma, most people need a good bit of time to relax and recuperate.  Our vajayjays are no different.

Things to do this summer: make your own butter!

I always remember my mom getting us to make our own butter when we were kids…it wasn’t out of a need (we always had store-bought butter in the fridge), but more of a fun thing to do.  I realize now that she likely put us up to this to have a few minutes to herself.  She’d send us outside to shake our jars and, I imagine, enjoyed a cup of tea in silent bliss.

All you need is some whipping cream and a mason jar.


Fill the jar about 1/3 to 1/2 full with the cream and close the lid tightly.

butter 2

Now…shake it!!

You’ll know the butter is ready when a solid ball forms in the jar.  There will be a watery, milky liquid surrounding it.  You can use a sieve to drain the liquid.  Add some salt to taste, if you like.


You’ll likely need to place the butter in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes to solidify…it will “sweat” a bit more, and you can drain off the excess before spreading it on whatever you like! Enjoy!!


My “To Die For” July Snackbox


Erin Ireland of To Die For Fine Foods

This month’s Snackbox was, hands down, my favourite!!  Each of the items was carefully selected by Vancouver TV personality and foodie, Erin Ireland.  I am not kidding, every single thing in this box was amazing…it was difficult to choose my top picks, but here they are:

Chocolate Ginger Cookie from Kitchening & Co:  This family-run company based in Vancouver is known for their macarons and the Chocolate Ginger Cookies in this month’s box.  I brought ours along when we went for an evening picnic at Deer Lake Park, where we enjoyed the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s summer outdoor performance.

Fresh is Best Tortilla Chips:  these are already a popular item in our house.  They are so, so good that no other tortilla chip will do.  The snack sized bag was perfect, however, because if I had a large bag…it would eat every single last chip!!

Monkey Butter – Salted Caramel: Shut. The. Front. Door.  This stuff is ridiculously good and highly addictive.  You don’t even need to spread it on anything (I ate it right out of the jar).  I would imagine it would also taste good slathered on slab of dark chocolate.  Based in Vancouver, Monkey Butter has the most innovative flavours out there.  Low sugar, low sodium, no hydrogenated oils – all great, of course, but it is soooooo good that I just don’t care – give me MORE!

Cocolico Sweet and Salty Pretzel Snack Mix: Local gal, Wendy Boys brings you this addictive pretzel mix that has everything you want in a snack.  I enjoyed them late at night with a bowl of cherries and glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Definitely kept me going as I burned the midnight oil!

Organic Lives Chocolate Macaroons: Okay…my husband got to these first…and I’m lucky he left any for me as these raw, organic morsels are absolutely divine!!  Local Vancouver company, Live Organic prides themselves in creating the most nutrient-rich and truly healthful chocolate whole food snack possible.  Really, people, you need to try these!

Hippie Food Coconut Chips:  These were a favourite of mine from a previous SnackBox back in the spring.  Be warned that once you open the bag, you will not be able to put these tasty treats down.  I must have been feeling inspired by Erin Ireland, as I made a batch of banana bread.  I’m sure it’s not as good as her To Die For Banana Bread, but it was pretty fantastic – especially with chocolate and coconut chips sprinkled on top!

July snack box

You can get your first personal Snackbox for 50% off when you use the code THIRTIESGRIND.  Go to to order!



Full disclosure:  I am being compensated by to promote Snackbox.  Opinions, however, are honest and my own.


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