the thirties grind

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

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

HAWT summer legs with Jergens Skincare (+ Giveaway)

When it comes to getting my glow on for summer, I’m a total cheater.  I usually start months early building a base.  But, I don’t hit up the tanning salons…ew!  My secret has always been bronzing products by Jergens.

Recently, Jergens was kind enough to send me (along with my daughter and her two friends) to Stars on Ice!  It was an incredible evening filled with uber-talented Olympic champions including Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette and more!  As I watched in awe, the one think I kept thinking was, “how can I get my legs looking as fabulous as those ladies before summer?”

//, Jergens also sent me a HUGE basket filled with a new line of goodies to try out!  Included in it was:

  • UltraCare dry skin moisturizer – fantastic for getting moisture back into that winter-dry skin
  • Natural Glow moisturizers – love these because they don’t leave the gross odour that many bronzing creams do.  A subtle glow will brighten even the palest of skins (trust this Irish lass!) in just three days!  Best of all, the face creams have SPF!
  • BB Body Creams – the holy grail of skin perfecters…OMG!  This cream corrects, smoothes, illuminates and moisturizes.

I was quite certain that this little basket was going to have my legs looking as amazing as Tessa’s (okay…maybe not as amazing) come summer!  A girl can dream, right?

Win your own basket of Jergens Skincare goodness!

SOI Basket

I have a basket EXACTLY like the one I received and it has one of your names on it!  To enter, just follow the directions in the form below!

Good luck and happy bronzing!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch: parents react to BCTF job action 

Did you get your note from the Vancouver School Board informing you about the scheduled BCTF rotating strikes that will be commencing next week?  I did.  With a heavy heart yesterday, I listened, watched and read as our public education system in B.C. continued in it’s pattern of push and pull…where parents and kids are continually at the centre of this tug-of-war between the BCTF and government.

Don’t get me wrong…I want the best education for my kids and their peers.  They deserve it.  Parents and taxpayers also deserve to know their hard earned money is being spent adequately by our government. And accountability at the school level is also extremely important.  Classes should be carefully and realistically sized and composed.  Teachers should be paid well.  I get all of this.  However, as a parent, I am  When my daughter began school in 2011, we spent a year of uncertainty as job action took place and the threat of strikes loomed.  Both sides dug in and, it seemed, no end was in sight.  3 years later and, frustratingly, not much has changed.  My son will be starting kindergarten in September and I fear his first year in the classroom will be much the same as his sister’s.

The hardest part is that I love our school.  We have amazing teachers and parents and community.  We all want the same thing: the best education possible for our kids.  However, it is starting to feel like it is, in fact, impossible for this to happen.  Bargaining is happening in the media, neither side wants to give.  It’s an all out war and my kids are getting caught in the crossfire.

What if this goes on for years?  What will this mean for my child’s education? What, as parents, are we to do?

I am genuinely asking these questions.  I can’t say that I blame parents who are throwing their hands up in the air and saying, “we’re done,” and are looking for alternatives.  I also rally behind parents who are doing what they can to support teachers by calling their local MLAs to voice their dissatisfaction.  But, ultimately, will any actions that parents take change anything?

Can citizens demand that a third party be called in to resolve this situation?  Is it even possible for this dispute be taken to arbitration…get the two sides in a room and lock the door until they come to an agreement?  At the very least, can the government bring in a proven and successful outside mediator to resolve this stinker tout suite?

What are your thoughts?

It’s just our kids that hang in the balance…no biggie.

Tips for getting AH-Mazing head shots!

My husband is the actor in the family.  Every few years he’ll go out and get photos taken of himself for head shots.  In the film industry, this is an absolute necessity.  I never really thought head shots would be something I would need in my professional life.  However, since I’ve delved into this blogging world, I have developed a bit of a “public persona”.  I’m often asked to speak at events or be a guest on television or radio programs.  Sometimes I’m asked for a photo of myself to accompany a bio.  Up until recently, the only photos I had of myself are ones my hubby had taken with his iPhone!!  LOL.

When my friend Chris Thorn of Chris Thorn Photography asked me if I’d help him promote a head shot special he was launching, in exchange for my own set of mug shots, I was super excited and very flattered.  I’ve worked with Chris on projects for my “day job” and know how talented he is.  Nonetheless, I do not enjoy having my photo taken, so I was still a bit nervous.

Chris immediately put me at ease.  He is just so chill…which alleviated any of those nasty butterflies that were swirling around in my stomach.  I think it helped that he wasn’t a complete stranger!

The end result were beautiful images that I am very proud to use in my public and professional life!

Melissa Carr - web_MG_1072-Edit

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Melissa Carr - web_MG_1226-Edit

My tips for getting a great head shot:

Get to know your photographer

Do some research.  If you have a friend who is a professional photographer, consider using them.  You will likely feel much more relaxed and your true personality will shine through!

Chose a variety of looks

I went for three distinct looks…casual, business and edgy.  I wanted to end up with shots that could be used in a variety of situations.  I couldn’t be happier with the results

Look like you

When choosing your clothing, doing your hair and applying makeup for head shots you want to still look like you.  Avoid outfits that aren’t your style, keep your hair and makeup natural.

Makeup is important

I applied makeup as I normally would, but was sure to use a bit more foundation than usual.  I found some great contouring videos on YouTube, which were really helpful in accentuating the structure in my face.  If you’re not comfortable applying your own make-up, spend the extra bit of money and pay a professional!

What’s wrong with renting in Vancouver? A lot, citizens tell city councillor…


As the dream of home-ownership slips away, many Vancouverites are looking towards a life of renting.  One would assume that this would be a more affordable option but, as citizens expressed at a recent public forum hosted by Vision Vancouver, this is not the case.

According to the Vancouver Courier, the city’s housing numbers reveal that Vancouver has a shortage of decent, affordable rental housing. Vacancy rates are chronically low, averaging 0.9 per cent over the past 30 years.  Add to this absurdly high rents, and our city is looking at a dire future where renters are concerned.  Read more…

Vancouver’s WOMAN2WARRIOR raises money for B.C. kids (+ Giveaway)

W2W_ShowYouGo copy

Vancouver women are tough…by day, many of us are raising families, rocking our careers, contributing to our community all while maintaining the healthy, active lifestyle that our city affords us.  Life for many women is like an obstacle course – we navigate through ups and downs, scale walls and climb ladders.  Sometimes we fall down, but there’s always another sister to help us up.  We dust ourselves off, grit our teeth and get on with it. Read more…

It’s back!! Orange is the New Black season premier June 6th (watch trailer here!)


Usually it takes me a while to get into a new show.  I typically hum and haw over the plot line, debate about which characters I like and pick apart dialogue.  I’m a hard to please television consumer.

When the series Orange is the New Black premiered in 2013, I was unconvinced that I would enjoy the story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend.  Then I learned that Piper’s is a true story…that intrigued me.  The show is based on the memoir of real life Piper (Kerman), adapted for the small screen by Jenji Kohan of Weeds fame. Read more…

New OneCity party will focus on housing affordability in Vancouver


OneCity leader, RJ Aquino and his family. (Photo from the OneCity website)

There’s a new kid in town…

A new party has thrown its hat into Vancouver’s political ring, and it’s being led by a former COPE executive. Read more…

To sell, or not to sell…

I love our house, but…is there something better out there?

I love our house, but…is there something better out there?

Well…yesterday we did it again.  We woke up thinking it would be a good idea to discuss our future as home owners in Vancouver.

This never goes well.

At first, I feel invigorated.  I get out my laptop and drool over houses in and around our neighbourhood.  What I quickly realize, is that if we sold our home, we would never be able to afford anything better in our current community.  So, then I start to look at townhouses.

Downsizing has its appeals.  There are a good number of (relatively speaking) affordable and newer townhouses on the market.  The problem is that most of them are quite small.  For example, we went to see a new development of 16 row homes on 41st and St. George (just off of Fraser).  They were super cute and, technically, have everything we need.  Three bedrooms, two bathrooms (and a powder room) a large and open living, kitchen and dining area.  What’s missing?  Outdoor space, storage and parking.

Everything has a trade off and we, ultimately, always end up feeling like we’re better off staying putt where we are.

I hate this bathroom…but just have to live with it for now.

I hate this bathroom…

Usually, I come home after looking at sparkly new places and pick apart every fault in our home that we have worked so hard to make our own.  I beat myself (and my poor husband) up over the unpainted walls, outdated bathroom and half-finished projects.  See, we couldn’t afford to do a “to the studs” renovation when we bought our home…we’ve done what we could, bit by bit.  Most days, I love it…but on days like yesterday, all I want to do is fold.  Put the “for sale” sign up out front and get the hell outta dodge.

I know, I know.  Boo hoo…poor us.  But do you ever feel like this?  Sometimes I just want it to all be finished.  Alas, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  So…we’ll tough it out and keep at it.  One day – I swear – it will be done.


Best Vancouver Events (May 2nd – 11th)

best eventsFrom a clothing swap, to a roller derby, to ballet, this week has quite the mix of events you may enjoy checking out! Read more…

Absurd Vancouver Property: “special” edition

Vancouver Specials…originally designed to maximize the amount of house you could fit on a lot in our fair city.  Today, for the most part, these homes are disdained by the majority, although, there are some amazing examples of how you can renovate and improve their kitchy design.

More about Vancouver Specials from Wikipedia:

Vancouver Specials are characterized by their typical “box-like” structure, low-pitched roofs, and balconies across the front of the house. Brick or stone finishes on the ground floor are characteristic of the ground level facades, with stucco on the 2nd or 3rd floors.

Vancouver Specials have similar floor plans with the main living quarters on the upper floor and secondary bedrooms on the bottom, making them ideal for secondary suites.

From a builder’s point of view, it is a very sturdy — yet cheap in material and time — design to build.

In response to public reaction to the proliferation of this design, the City of Vancouver made changes to the single-family zoning regulations in the 1980s with the intent to stop additional Vancouver Specials from being built.

Hmmm…wonder why?

These days, even a Vancouver Special will cost you more than a pretty penny.  I’ve found five of what are, in my opinion, the most absurdly priced ugly boxes in the city:

261 West 19th Avenue – $1.7 Million

Vancouver Special

Friends of ours used to rent this place and there is, literally, nothing special about it. According to the listing, it’s “waiting for your cosmetic touches. Best buy today!” *Barf*

1867 East 12th Avenue – $1.25 Million

Vancouver Special

The diarrhea brown colour is definitely special.

4886 Fleming Street – $1.08 Million

Vancouver Special

If you have a super special relationship with your mother and would like to co-habitate with her…this is the home for you.

6021 Argyle Street – $1 Million

Vancouver Special

An entire back yard of concrete makes this one extra yardwork!

2215 East 27th – $899K

Vancouver Special

5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms is very special in any Vancouver home…and this one also has 2 kitchens.  Who cares what they look like?


What do you think?  Are you a fan of the Vancouver Special?




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