the thirties grind

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

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Meet the Halloween Grinch

So, some lady in the U.S. has decided to take it upon herself to tackle child obesity by handing out letters to overweight kids on Halloween instead of candy.

Here’s the letter:

halloween letter

And here is this “good Samaritan” advising other concerned citizens to take a page from her book:

Lady, get a life!!  Instead of being a passive-aggressive asshole, how about doing something constructive.  Why don’t you start a local kids run club, coach a soccer team, create nutrition clinics for kids and parents…or do what other Halloween Grinches do and hand out raisins or tooth brushes.

Every party has a f*%king pooper…

Absurd Vancouver Property (October 31st, 2013)

Happy Halloween!

There isn’t much that’s more frightening than the price of real estate in Vancouver…but I’m not dressing up as a scary character this year.  Tonight, I’m going to be a princess – and I’m in search of a castle.

Oh…there’s a beautiful palace for sale in Beverly Hills.  Actress Shari Belafonte has listed her cliff-top estate for $1.2 million:

Belafonte 1

belafonte 2

“Known simply as “The Castle,” Belafonte’s feudal fortress sits surrounded by boulders and natural rock beds on a 1.2-acre parcel presiding over the plains of West Hills, CA. Medieval influence is evident throughout the property. The exterior is lined in blocked concrete with corbeled arches and there is a corner viewing tower. Vaulted ceilings in the master bedroom give off an air of nobility.

Listed for $1.26 million, the castle offers a total of three bedrooms, three bathrooms and approximately 3,465 square feet inside. Australian walnut and Arizona river rock flooring can be found throughout and a gourmet kitchen is lined in granite and cherry wood. A row of French doors leads through a breezeway to a covered patio with a deck and pool.” –

Completely fit for a princess, no?

In Vancouver…you can dress a girl up like a princess, but it’s doubtful she’ll feel like one in this $1.2 million East Vancouver house:

Vancouver $1.2 million

Ah, well, at least all the neighbours will be living the bourgeois lifestyle as well.

Vancouver, are you f*%king kidding me?








Gripes from the Grind: Controlling the cost of auto insurance

auto insurance

I know, I know…it seems like a dry topic but auto insurance is an inevitable reality of parenthood.  Whether you’re trekking the kids to soccer, escaping for a date night or taking your brood on a road trip, it’s important to ensure you are fully covered…and coverage can be costly, if you don’t know the ins and outs of the auto insurance biz.

Insurance Bureau of Canada has a few pointers on how to become more educated about auto insurance and how to control the cost to you and your family.

First off, it’s important to know where payments go and how insurance claims are paid off:

  • The payments (or premiums) of the many pay for the losses of a few.
  • Your premiums go into a large pool, if you will, at your insurance company. The claims of the few are paid from that pool.
  • Because there are more people contributing to the pool than there are making claims, there is always enough to pay the claims – even large single claims like when someone is permanently disabled as a result of a car collision, or many smaller claims like those resulting from a natural disaster

Next, take into consideration how your premiums are calculated:

  • Your premium is calculated to reflect the probability that you will make a claim – that is, that you will draw funds from the insurance pool.
  • Those who are unlikely to draw from the pool pay less than those who are more likely to draw from it.
  • A common misconception is that a policyholder who has never made a claim should pay less, little or nothing for insurance. While it is true that past claims history is important, a more reliable indicator of how likely a person or business is to make a claim is the statistical group to which he/she/it belongs.

Finally, here’s what you can do to control the cost of auto insurance:

  • Drop collision coverage on an older car
  • Maintain a clean and safe driving record
  • Installing an approved theft deterrent system in your vehicle

What are your tips with controlling what you spend on auto insurance?


IBC logoDisclosure:  Although this post has been generously been sponsored by IBC, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Kelly Trerise

kelly rhovKelly Trerise has spent well over a decade as a professional makeup artist in the TV and film, fashion and magazine industries. 3 years ago her passion for boudoir was born when she started working for Jennifer Williams as her official “Beauty Queen” and Studio Manager.  World renowned for her creative and artistic ventures, Kelly’s true love for business has emerged and her entrepreneurial spirit allowed to thrive with Gloss Boudoir. She’s recently engaged to the man of her dreams and lives and works in Yaletown.

What characteristics define the Vancouver Housewife?

In my mind the Vancouver housewife is a woman who loves her job, is independent and powerful and who takes great pride in her family and her relationships. She spends a lot of time outside, using the Vancouver landscape to stay healthy in both mind and body and who might enjoy cooking some incredible west coast cuisine while enjoying some family time.

Are you a good representation of a Vancouver Housewife? Why?

I like to think I have some of the attributes that I listed above, sure. I love my family more than anything and find that time with my Fiancé while eating home cooked food is my favourite and most important time of the day. I love to go for runs on the seawall to clear my mind before heading off to a job that I have worked incredibly hard for.  I love what I do and sometimes need to remind myself that I need a bit more balance in my life. I spend all of my time either at the studio or at home and every once in a while I need a reminder that it’s very necessary to go out for a shot of tequila and a good dance night!

Do you feel that living in Vancouver in some way defines who you are? Please explain.

I’ve been blessed in my life to have been able to travel around the entire world.  I’ve been to 66 countries on 5 continents and no matter how amazing each country is that I visit, I still love coming home to Vancouver. Living in a city that is multicultural, has great health care and clean streets makes it easy to say that if living in Vancouver does define me, I’m very content with that!

Have you ever had cosmetic surgery, Botox, Restalyne injections, etc.? If so, please provide details. If you haven’t had any of the above procedures performed, would you consider it?

I have had a breast lift and implants put in.  I run marathons and they weren’t looking as perky as I’d like them too.  Getting my breasts done was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  I believe that everyone has a choice on how to make themselves as happy as they can be and I made the right choice for me.

Other than your children (if applicable), what is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?

My business partner Jennifer and I recently opened our second boudoir studio called Gloss Boudoir. The amount of love and hard worked that I have put into building that business is what I’m most proud of.  I’m building something for myself and for my families future and couldn’t be more thrilled with going to the “office” every day!  We started Gloss Boudoir to empower other women to see themselves as amazing and beautiful so my work feels very fulfilling to me.

Has the desire for affluence/power/money been a motivator in the choices you’ve made for your life?

I’ve always wanted to be successful.  That hasn’t necessarily meant “rich” or “powerful” to me but when I made the choice at the age of 18 to be an entrepreneur and not to go to University people told me it was a bad decision.  Part of me has always wanted to show those people that following your heart is never a bad decision and I think I’ve done that. It feels good to be in my thirties as a successful business owner who is independent and can take care of herself.  It’s refreshing to be at this point in my life.

Tell us about your stuff. What do you like to buy, collect, etc.?

I have an obsession with makeup, watches, and handbags.  If I’ve had a successful month at work I always treat myself to one (or all!) of those items.  I can’t help myself, I’m a girly girl!

Do you have “staff” in your home? (E.g. nanny, driver, chef, etc.)

Nope! I do the cooking, my Fiancé does the cleaning and we don’t have kids yet so no need for the nanny 🙂

Do you belong to any clubs, teams, groups or social organizations?

I prefer to spend my time one on one with people as much as possible.  When I have time off I like to spend it with my Fiancé, my sister or friends having a glass of wine and talking about life.  Or dancing!

Finish this sentence: “My life’s motto is ….”

“Do what you love and the money will follow”  My Mom supported me through my life by reminding me that personal happiness is much more important then anything else in life ❤


Momcabulary Monday: Nipple Confusion



I’m not talking about when your baby gets all upset because he can’t tell the difference between a bottle and a boob.  I’m talking about how perplexing it is to look at your own breasts before, during and after breastfeeding.  During pregnancy, your nipples likely became enlarged, perhaps dark brown and…if you were really lucky…they leaked (we call those “keen-ips”).  While you’re breastfeeding your girls are sore (the only way to describe it is like someone placing hot embers under your skin), cracked (we’ve all heard the stories of nipples coming right off – these are urban legends, right?) and, in all truth, a f*%king hot mess.  Finally…when you’ve finished giving all you’ve got….when you’ve been, quite literally, sucked dry, you look in the mirror to see what’s left.

What the hell??!!

Forget about your kid…so much happens to this part of your body over the course of having a child that YOU are going to be confused about your nipples and breasts.



October Snackbox Review & Giveaway

Image from Snackbox

Image from Snackbox

Well, my October Snackbox arrived and I was delighted to see the new branding all over the box!  It’s exciting when you have seen a company and concept grow…I’m so proud that’s healthy snack delivery service is gaining traction across the Lower Mainland and beyond!  Here’s a little look at my faves from this month’s Snackbox:

Back to Earth – Weeds and Seeds Cereal

Using non-GMO organic ingredients, this cereal is vegan, lacose-free, gluten/wheat free, high in fibre, calcium, iron, protein, anti-oxidants and phosphorus.  I snuck this into my kid’s morning cereal.  They loved the crunch and taste…winning!

Vega One Bar

These plant-based nutrition bars are a great “grab-and-go” snack.  I brought mine with me for an energy boost after an early morning workout.  I felt a bit sneaky having chocolate for breakfast…but it’s all good.

TCHO Chocolate

Where have you been all my life??  TCHO claims that their bars are “the purest expression of the cacao bean itself…what you taste is precisely and only what is in the bean.”  My husband has officially been replaced.

Quinn Popcorn

I’ve told you before how I’m a bit of a popcorn freak.  This stuff is the business.  Quinn’s mommy and daddy decided that they wanted to create a healthy, organic, non-GMO and chemical-free microwave popcorn.  The Vermont Maple & Sea Salt flavour we sampled was AH-MAZING!  A great bedtime snack you can give the kidlets…or enjoy yourself!

october snackbox 3

Terra Chips

I’ve been a fan of Terra Chips for quite a while….I opened the bag as soon as I saw it inside the Snackbox.  YUM!  Each one ounce portion is a full serving of vegetables…which is awesome news on days when getting the good stuff into the munchkins is a little more challenging.

Try Snackbox for yourself!

Snackbox is offering readers 50% off their first order!  Use the code below and get started on some healthy snacking!


I also have a Personal Snackbox to give away.  To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite “no guilt” snack.  For extra entries, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The most wonderful day of the year: We Day 2013

A few years ago, I came across a Craigslist ad looking for media volunteers for a youth event to be held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.  At the time, I had never heard of Free the Children or We Day…but when I read more about it, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to participate.

We Day is the movement of our time, empowering a generation of young global citizens through an inspirational event and a year-long educational initiative.

I spent a day back in the fall of 2010 checking in media, assisting with operating the press room and getting a first hand look behind-the-scenes of what was to become one of the most impactful youth movements in history.

Since I started this blog almost two years ago, I have gotten the chance to experience and participate in some amazing things.  This, however, tops my list of payoffs for the work I do on this website:


Three years later, thanks to my friends at TELUS, I was media at WE DAY!!  And what a day it was…

I brought along my daughter.  Although she is only seven, I believe it’s never to early to learn how you can work to make the world a better place.  She loved the musical performances and energy of the nearly 20,000 youth gathered in the arena.


We listened to amazing and inspirational speeches by leaders like Premier Christy Clark (who, by the way, was the only speaker to not use a teleprompter – props for that!) , Mayor Gregor Robertson, Martin Luther King III and Kofi Annan.  My favourite parts of the day, however, were when the young crowd was addressed by their peers…other youth who had overcome adversity or who are striving to make a difference in the world.  People like Molly Burke – who spoke about bullying and taking a vow of silence in honor of those who have been victims.  People like Spencer West – who despite his physical challenges continues to redefine possible.  People like Vishal Vijay and Hannah Alper – who spoke passionately about their fellow children, who because of their desire to be educated and equal were executed.  Celebrity aside…these are the people that make We Day the amazing and inspirational day it is.

Them…and this guy:


Craig Kielburger was just 12 years old when he read about a murdered child labourer in his local newspaper.  Being a kid didn’t stop Craig from believing he could do something to make a change in the world.  He brought that newspaper article to his class and asked his peers to help him.  Eleven kids raised their hands that day and Free the Children was born.  I want my kids to be like Craig Kielburger when they grow up…hell, I want to be like Craig Kielburger when I grow up!!

Attending We Day for the second time reminded me of the kind of children I want to raise.  It has reinforced my values as both a parent and a human being.

It was, literally, the most wonderful day of the year.


We365If you are interested in getting involved, check out the WE365 app recently launched by TELUS and Free the Children – a first of its kind digital platform (in combination of functionality) for young people, making it easier than ever to make positive change in communities, locally and globally.  For every sign-up from now until April 2014, Free The Children will immunize a child in its Adopt a Village communities overseas. Immunizations are crucial to preventing illnesses and enabling youth to grow up healthy and strong. In addition, every person who registers for We365 between September 20 and December 31, 2013, will be entered for a chance to win a $10,000 gift to their charity of choice* from TELUS.

* Must be a registered Canadian charity and cannot be registered as a religious organization.

Absurd Vancouver (Vacation) Property

I have cottage envy.

Every month, my House and Home magazine arrives.  In it, aside from the gorgeous primary residences, the vacation homes of stylish Canadians are featured.  I get really lost in the pages and dream of a life where I can pack up the kids on the weekend and head to our own little piece of paradise.

Since buying a home in Vancouver is so ridiculously expensive, it goes without saying that cabins and cottages in the surrounding areas are off-the-chart expensive.  But…I found a bargain for $265,000.  Now…don’t all of you run off at once and try to buy this beauty.

The listing is on Craigslist and reads:

Live the dream at Cultus lake. $264900 / 2 br. – Furnished Cultus Lake Cottage

Semi waterfront cottage with 2 bedrooms and 3 additional hide-a-beds, 2 in the Living room and a third one in the dinning room. Great year round living or weekend getaway. Close to golfing, mountain biking, water slides, water activities, hiking or just walks along the beach. Build your dream home or use as it is.


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Are you f*%king kidding me??

Gripes from the Grind: Enough with the open letters, already!

open letters

First Sinead, then Amanda Palmer…then my freaking grandmother.  ENOUGH.

I get it.  You have opinions and you want them to be heard – by the masses.  However, I am starting to think that everyone writing these open letters isn’t doing it for altruistic reasons.  It’s called jumping on the bandwagon…but you’re taking the entire internets with you and I, for one, desperately want to get off.

Just when you think you’ve heard the final word on an issue…out comes another open letter.  It feels like a quarrel with my husband…a fight to the death over who can get in the last word.  What’s that? Someone didn’t like a part of your open letter?? They wrote one of their own…with their opinion in it??


Seriously…now you have to go back and write a response open letter to that open letter.  Yes, yes…it is as exhausting as it sounds.  Now, imagine being the reader inundated with all of this.  I want to smash my computer screen.  Especially when these letters come from, you, celebrities.

Really, Sinead…you’re telling me there is no way that you could have just sent Miley a private email?

Are you for serious, Nick Cannon – Amanda Bynes wouldn’t take your call?

Cissy Houston – just pick up the phone and call your granddaughter…I’m sure she’d prefer that to this.

Is it just me…or is anyone else suffering from open letter overload?

Oh wait…did I just write an open letter?? ARRRRGH!

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Michelle Phillips PLUS a chance to win a designer raincoat from Echo Rain

michelle phillipsMichelle lives in downtown Vancouver and has a nine month old baby boy (her baby Duck). The ultimate bargain hunter, she was frustrated with the discrepancy between US and Canadian prices so she started Baby Duck Club, a weekly deal site targeted at Canadian moms (

In her spare time (ha,ha), she loves swimming, yoga and walking around the seawall soy chai tea latte in hand!

Connect with Baby Duck Club on Facebook for weekly product giveaways and the latest deal information!

What characteristics define the Vancouver Housewife?

Although I don’t really like the term housewife (stay at home parents deserve a more powerful word), I think Vancouver moms are an interesting blend of health-conscious and decadent (farmer-market, kale chip making, organic eating vs. cupcake girls and grilled-cheese-food-truck loving) and want amazing quality at great value (local brands, sustainable organic fabrics, bargain hunting, driving to America to shop and emailing 20 mommy friends about the best deals).

Are you a good representation of a Vancouver Housewife?

Yes, I too want it all! I want my power muffin to be healthy and I want the best products at awesome prices. That is why I started, a Canadian online baby deal website, I was tired of having to pay exorbitant shipping prices to get cool baby gear from US deal sites and I no longer had the time or energy to drive down to the states.

Do you feel that living in Vancouver in some way defines who you are? Please explain.

The city’s beauty, as well as its focus on health and work life balance has definitely influenced the decisions I have made.  I love living steps away from the seawall and downtown. Plus I happily lived in a 550 square foot apartment for more than six years with a 6’7” husband and a dog – what could be more Vancouver than that!  We had to move out after my son hit five months as we just couldn’t make it work anymore.

Have you ever had cosmetic surgery, Botox, Restalyne injections, etc.? If so, please provide details. If you haven’t had any of the above procedures performed, would you consider it?

No but the idea of trying to look younger is very tempting and I think botox can work wonders on some people but I am also torn. I look at older movies and the starlets looked so natural and beautiful and their facial expressions were so expressive. Now sometimes I get scared by the frozen expressions on the silver screen.

Other than your children (if applicable), what is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Starting Baby Duck Club. I have always been entrepreneurial but it is scary to start something on your own. My long term goal is for Baby Duck Club to positively influence Canadian businesses and help other mompreneurs.

Has the desire for affluence/power/money been a motivator in the choices you’ve made for your life?

I want to be independent and have control over my life and have what I do make a difference. I want power only as a means to my own independence. I want money so I can be comfortable.

Tell us about your stuff. What do you like to buy, collect, etc.?

I love finding high-quality and interesting baby gear and outfits. I definitely buy more clothing for my son than myself these days!

Do you have “staff” in your home? (E.g. nanny, driver, chef, etc.)

Wouldn’t that be nice!

Do you belong to any clubs, teams, groups or social organizations?

I belong to the English Bay Masters Swim Club and I do yoga which makes me feel so much more balanced. I love that Vancouver has so many programs for moms with babies to meet one another; I have met a lot of local moms through the nurses’ parent and infant drop-in and library storytime programs.

Finish this sentence: “My life’s motto is ….”

Find your inner voice and follow it, and surround yourself with good people who support you.

Michelle wants to offer you a chance to win a $150 eco-friendly, locally made raincoat from Echo Rain!! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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