Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One of Those

Plans and appointments shaken and wobbled. Not going to get frustrated. 

Or something. 

Keep calm and carry on/shut the fuck up...

Monday, February 27, 2012

You NEED To Know

My company is launching a campaign against this soon. More information to follow.
It is my duty as a citizen of this planet to spread the word:

This makes me weep. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012


...is the day after my middle sister's birthday. She has grown into a woman I admire and respect.

...my husband went on a search for a beer called Penguin Party. He found it.

...I watched The REAL Ghostbusters cartoon with my kid. Slimer still annoys me.

...This :

is amazing. There is sound. Although, Brian might be getting jealous.

Sorry for yelling. 

...I woke up with an itchy right eye. Really hope it goes away by tomorrow. Actually that's a lie. I do not hope it goes away. I hope I can use it as an excuse for leaving work early tomorrow because I usually get annoyed on Sundays. 

Friday, February 24, 2012


Yesterday I was completely exhausted by the end of my day. We stayed in all day, but I was rather productive. Baked cookies, made dinner, cleaned up the mess, went to work...

My husband had an appointment in the afternoon and I had to work; so my awesome father-in-law stopped over on his way home from work (in the driving snow) to babysit. When he does this I insist on feeding him before I leave. 
I was rushing around like a crazy person when I realized that I had no dinner (as the spaetzle was not finished) and I could not eat anything at the mall (I've given up fast food for Lent). I threw together a small sandwich , some kale chips and ran out the door. 
It was not enough. 
By nine pm I was ravenous. 
By ten-thirty I was barely able to keep my eyes open to hear about my husband's incredible afternoon. 

And the snow has continued to fall. Outdoors is beautiful. I will bring my camera out with me this morning and post later today.

I am so glad it is Friday. Grateful for recent developments and praying to be a compassionate and kind person today. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Dare You

To handle the awesomeness:

This Day

I will:

DO pre-natal cardio and toning DONE

SEND out birthday Evites for Milo's FOURTH (ye gods) birthday DONE

BAKE chocolate chip cookies for the preschool bake sale DONE

PREPARE goulash in my crock pot DONE

FIND the instant coffee DONE

SANITIZE my cell phone

JUICE something delicious

PRAY for my husband and my bestie ALMOST DONE

EAT no more than three pieces of peanut butter toast today DONE (only 2)

WORK on numbers with Milo DONE


Maybe not in that order

eight outta ten ain't bad.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Final Installment

Nicole and Rachel stirring Buffy

Rachel filling Lustre. Sad face because she hates Lustre.

Happy face because she is a good actress.

Freshly made Sugar Scrubs, containing FRESH FRESH ginger and fennel to ward off the lumpies. 

Street art in Kensington

The happiest chicken I've ever seen. 

Gift wrap en Francais? MAIS OUI!!!

Making Spacegirl bath bomb with Rosie.

Whatever this is, you can't do it here. 

Words cannot describe how badly I wanted to dive into this massive pile of biodegradable packing peanuts. 

This is Tracy. She is my boss. Sometimes she thugs out. 

Rachel and I were very serious about taking a photo of each other through the gift-wrapping machine. 

The gift room crew. They were the most fun EVER. 

French labels in Distro. WOOOO!!!!!

This handmade cake made me cry. As a baker, I know how much love went into it. Our Lush hosts were so welcoming and kind...this preggo got super emo and had to leave the room. 

On our last full day in Toronto I realized that we were near a Great Lake I had not seen in years.
So some girls and I took the train down to the lakefront and took a walk on the (very cold) shore.

A boat. (a boat WHAT???)

I showed this photo to Brian and he said, 'That duck looks French.'
So, for your viewing pleasure...a French duck. 

Nicole looking wistfully across the lake. 

My Target boots held up well.

Nicole and me. 

This deserves and explanation, because it sums up this girl so wonderfully:
Okay, so Rachel K...my roomie...a fellow believer and married lady. An all around fantastic person. With this incredibly wicked sense of humor. I fell a little bit in love with her during the trip.
While Nicole and I were having our mini-photo shoot, Rachel very kindly grabbed all our shopping bags so that we could get going (it was COLD). I asked her why she had them all, and she replied, 'Well, I just want to look like a crazy bag lady for a minute.'.
I began laughing hysterically and directing her to the nearest trash can to pretend to pick through it.
She was game. And that is why she is awesome. 

Toronto is grey.

I left this city and country with a newfound appreciation for the products I sell (and a little bit of PTSD regarding them as well). I learned a lot about my coworkers-got to know some of them better, and for that I am truly grateful.
Many thanks to Lush for the trip, for the staff that helped us win, and most of all, to the Woodfield staff that stayed behind and held down the fort while we were gone. Many thanks to my in-laws for their help with childcare and to my amazing husband for supporting me in this. None of this could have happened without the support of everyone. 
Thank you times a million. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Factory Photos

On Tuesday we navigated public transportation to find the Lush factory in Etobioke...
We were welcomed by our hosts who fed us breakfast from Canada's version of Panera: Artisanal. They make breakfast pizza! Which I thought had a chance of being really super gross, but it was considerably better than the actual pizza that exists in Canada. More on that later.
Here we are!!!!

You can keep you Spiderman and Superman. We have LUSHMAN!!!

The soap room. Part kitchen, part science lab, part witchy. I asked the compounders there if they ever feel like evil scientists. The response: 
'Sometimes we do cackle..'

Leftover Sweetheart soap.

The soap room. Those yellow cabinets are what hold the ECs (essential components/secret ingredients). 

Rosie with a soap noodle mustache.

TEAM 2 REPRESENT: (from left) Natalie, Rosie, Rachel, Nilo. 

I was really impressed with the way Lush saves the unsellable soap pieces to re-melt and add to fresh batches. Alkmaar is my favorite. There were bins and bins of every kind of soap. 

The gang in the 'cold room' making Buffy. The ingredients get melted together and moved to this room to be mixed, poured into molds and set. 

Gratuitous eyelash shot.


Walking back to the bus after day one. They were confused by the sausage factory. Aren't we all?

Near the factory there was a childcare facility with these creepy statues on the building. OF COURSE I photographed them!!

Day 2. I made five million Jumping Juniper shampoo bars. I don't think I'm allowed to show the photos of HOW they are made, but let's just say it involves smashing machines. 
Ps...do you LOVE my hairnet??!?!?

KT, Rachel, Season and the Masked Wonder. She and I were 'I'm super overwhelmed by these essential oils and dust and must go stand outside for a moment' buddies. We share a love of saline nasal spray and Starbucks. 

French Kiss bubble bar.

Jumping Juniper shampoo bar. What struck me (and still does) is the amount of workmanship that goes into the creation of these products. Those lavender sprigs? Unpacked from large boxes and broken off the stems BY HAND. Insane. Those cone-shaped bubble bars? Shaped into said cones by hand. After seeing all this, I do NOT feel the least bit bad charging what we charge for our stuff. Six bucks for one bath? You bet your ass...
Tomorrow, more and more photos, and and explanation of breakfast pizza. 
And, if anyone wants to donate to our 'Send Lou Malanati's to Lush Canada', let me know.. Canada's pizza is really terrible. And they know it. Its so sad...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thank You Toronto!!!! Thank You Lush!!!

As some of you know, I was honored to be part of a sales team that won a holiday contest this past season. I'll not bore you with details; just know that we worked our butts off and completely deserved the prize we got:

A trip to the Toronto Lush factory for six days.

I've never been to Toronto, and hadn't left the country since well before I was married. If you read this blog, you could read my apprehension at leaving my boys for six days.

Yeah...they were fine. And so was I. On to the photos!!!

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard on Yonge Street, which is apparently the longest street in the world. Toronto reminded me of Chicago A LOT. They lacked a river, though. 
 The view from my 7th story window. We were directly across from an amazing sushi restaurant. While I am currently unable to eat raw fish *sob*, I did enjoy the best spider roll I've had to date. 
Toronto is kind of grey.

Probably the only bed in which I'll sleep alone for the next bajillion years. FIVE PILLOWS!!! ALL MINE!!!
Gratuitous pregnant belly shot in the closet mirror. This was the week I started feeling large. 18 weeks!!!

We arrived on a Sunday and weren't scheduled to begin working until Tuesday, so the group had plenty of time to get acquainted with and acclimated to the city. Lush delivered transit passes to us on Monday morning, so on Sunday we mostly just wandered around on foot.
Street art around the corner from the hotel. I think this was on some sort of family center. At this point of our walk I was delirious with hunger so I don't remember...

Roots store in Eaton Centre Mall. We tried on hats. There's me on the left, my manager KT and my new pal Rosie on the right. She was my airplane buddy and gave me Kashi bars when I was hungry. 

On Monday we were able to navigate using Toronto's amazing public transit system. They have a subway, a bus line AND streetcars! 
We visited Kensington Market, which is a part of the city full of vintage shops and ...more vintage shops....and...more street art...and ....lots of cheese shops and charcuteries.
 I thought these quotes were beautiful. Taken outside a shop on Kensington.
Vintage shoes and jukebox at a really cool store. The shopguy was  pretty jerky though. Stupid pompadour and a crummy attitude.

Pretty girls

 Chicken circus
Tags make me laugh.
Rachel and I. Arty shot in an old candy machine. 

Nighttime on Yonge Street.

More photos to come-shots in the factory and very exciting things!!!

On the home front, I am still a little bushed, but we are back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow so I need to sack up.
Today I made the chocolate chop cookies from my girl Nigella's book. I've already eaten two. But I DID work out today, so I'm even. RIGHT???
Dinner tonight will be these sandwiches and some frozen veggies. I haven't gone to Valli yet and won't until Wednesday...meal plans be damned...