Occasionally, I listen to a radio talk show that sometimes makes me hate myself, but that sometimes makes me go hmmm….

Dr. Laura Schlessinger would not like that my kids are in public school. She would not like that my son goes to a (lovely little) morning school while I’m at work. But she’d be somewhat satisfied that I finish work at 2:30pm in time to pick both my kids up from school, and that my husband works from home. She would like that I’m married, but she would not like that I’m on Twitter and Facebook. She would not like that I had a lovely part-time nanny whom I said goodbye to last week while shedding giant crocodile tears.

She would not like that I’m fat.

I listen to Dr. Laura’s show occasionally on my way home from work, bracing myself for points of view that make me shudder, but eagerly anticipating the odd pearl of wisdom. My mom used to listen to the show in the car when I was a kid, so the familiarity of Dr. Laura’s notoriously shrill voice at times renders comfort and reassurance — and at times makes me want to put myself in the corner with a giant dunce cap on my head.

After slapping working mom after divorced mom on the virtual wrist and blaming cheated-on wives for not pleasing their husbands enough in the bedroom, and chastising others for “shacking up” before marriage, she offered one forlorn fat caller some refreshingly eye-opening advice for losing weight.

The woman was calling because her husband was complaining about her weight gain, and she gave a bunch of excuses as to why she couldn’t lose the weight — hormones, no time to exercise, not motivated. Dr. Laura pooh-poohed every one of the excuses, and nearly lost it on the caller when she asked the question I, for one, really wanted an answer to: “But, Dr. Laura, how do I motivate myself to exercise and eat well?”

“MOTIVATION IS BS,” Dr. Laura exclaimed. “Do you think I want to drop and do 20 pushups during the commercial break?” she asked. “Do you think I want to get up in the morning and workout in the gym? No. Nobody does. But it’s the right thing to do, morally, for your health, for your husband. Maybe once you get to the gym, you realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad.’ But it’s much easier to be LAZY.” (I’m not sure if these were her exact words, by the way — except for “motivation is BS.”)

“Motivation is BS.” How true is this, Gorgeouses? I mean, I have all the motivation in the world to lose my excess belly fat — my kids! my husband, myself, yoga, energy, my new Lululemon clothes, him….

And then I see my friends and loved ones who’ve been on the operating table numerous times for near-death heart surgeries diving into chocolate, cookies and other stuff that put them on the operating table in the first place. Motivation is BS.

And in saying “motivation is BS,” Dr. Laura motivated me to stop waiting to get motivated. And then Theresa Albert motivated me, shortly after I listened to Dr. Laura’s show, when I read her great article in The Toronto Star about how our excess of food choices makes us “choose badly,” and then Alice came back from Italy (finally!), and David said after yoga the other day, “No lattes.”

I might be a bit quiet and cranky for the next few days while I attempt to tackle a healing macrobiotics plan. It’s quite a radical shift from what I’ve been eating lately, but if I don’t do something radical, something to “jump start” some weight loss (as Dr. Laura put it before offering the caller a free month of a diet shake program she swears by), it will simply never happen. And though I’ve been averse to macrobiotics lately (only because I’m not the greatest cook…yet), I’ve been mysteriously drawn to it for years — like I am to yoga and other ancient stuff — and I think I have to honour that. As a vegan, there are so many, too many, “diets” to choose from; I’m finally choosing this one as a practice. Done. No more emotion around it, as my friend Ruth has wisely advised me on various subjects. Just do it.

This will definitely be a major challenge as I continue be a darn good, responsible mom (even if I’m not Dr. Laura’s ideal), and work my soon-to-be svelte arse off with our awesome Todaysparent.com team as we prepare for our massive site RELAUNCH later this month (so exciting)! But, apparently, I’ll be thinking more clearly in no time, have that increased energy I’ve been craving, I’ll feel lighter, and I might get some glow in my skin — just in time for the BlissDom Canada conference.

Anyone going to the BlissDom Canada Conference in Toronto, October 13-16?

I’m excited to tell you I’m a Tribe Leader for the “Lifestyle Tribe.” So, if you’re going to the conference, be sure to join my tribe for a roundtable discussion Friday morning on blogging about LIFE. And, like all tribe leaders, I’ll be available if you have any questions, and to “help you make the most of your conference experience”!

By the way, my co-Tribe Leader is the awesome Ali Martell, who sums up Lifestyle writing (and our friendship) perfectly in her most recent post: “We’d love to talk with you about how writing about nothing is truly writing about everything.” Now you have to join us because Ali+Haley=CRAZY FUN, and you’ll want to be a part of that!


xo Haley-O

PS. Lord help me if Dr. Laura’s people find this blog post and she reads it on the air…! It is entirely possible. To make myself a little more likeable, then, I should state for the record here that I also have a dog. She’s a Maltese, and her name’s Betty White.

There we are. Jennifer Garner and me! You can read my interview and all about my Jennifer Garner experience HERE! It was a whirlwind. I haven’t had a trip like that in a long time, or maybe, like, ever? Crazy!

I left for NYC at 4:30am on Thursday morning. I got on the plane at 6:30am, but my co-traveler Emma Waverman got detained in customs and missed our flight…! It didn’t get much better for poor Emma. When she got to NYC, her car broke down on her way to meet the rest of us. She’s the one in the pretty sundress beside me….

Oh, wait! EVERYONE’s wearing a sundress but me (and tall Jennifer, who got fancy on us!). Apparently, someone didn’t get the sundress memo. But I did get the “wear heels” memo from a little voice in my head — thank goodness…! I went with black wedges and polished toenails, and I brought an extra pair of quite hideous sneakers for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I loved meeting Jennifer. She’s stunning and nice and very passionate about the charity Save the Children, which we were there to promote with my new favourite appliance company Frigidaire.

Little did I know, though, the trip was just beginning. After the event, Emma, Denise Smith from Savvymom.ca (in the grey dress on the end) and I hit the town thinking we should make the most of the few hours we had left in New York. Little did we know….

We went to Soho and walked forever in the sweltering heat to visit the famous vegan cupcake place, Baby Cakes. Shockingly, it was foodie Emma’s idea. She owed me one for trying to convince me not to be vegan that one time….

I cropped out our arms because we were both having “bad arm days” in our photos….

Such good sports they are to walk that far for vegan cupcakes! The cupcakes were pretty good. But I couldn’t really tell because I had some sort of weird laryngitis symptom that made EVERYTHING I ate taste sour for a good couple of days….

After the bakery, we went shopping. And startlingly, I was the only one who bought anything — a gorj boho-chic necklace from Free People. I don’t have a photo of it yet….

While in Soho, I took my first photo with a sleeping man (and, ooo!, there’s my necklace)!

Emma made me do it…. Hideous sneakers.

After that, we met our friends Irene Ngo from Chatelaine Magazine (in the blue dress, above), Rachelle Stark, David Riabov, and Stephanie (beside Jennifer Garner, above) and Norm from Frigidaire. We were supposed to go for dinner. But the traffic held us back, so we had to go straight to the airport. Parched, hungry and exhausted.

As we drove, the sky got DARK. People were walking the NYC streets covering their faces, the wind was so bad.

Our flight was scheduled for 8:30pm, but the weather kept getting worse, and there was no flight in sight. Eventually, we got out of there still parched and hungry (nothing was open!) and rebooked our flights for the earliest flight home the next day — 2:30pm (3:30pm for Emma, of course…).

We had no change of clothes, no makeup (gah!), toothbrushes, NOTHING. But we had each other. And we had Nobu, and we had 1am shopping at Forever 21 for fresh clothes to wear, and we had a hotel in Times Square, for the win!

Emma and I shared a hotel room, and Irene and Rachelle (above) shared another. I’m a VERY private person, and Emma and I didn’t even have a WALL on our washroom. It was more like a WINDOW WALL. But I didn’t care. Emma is a hoot. They all were. We giggled the whole trip. And I needed it….

I spent the next morning with foodies Irene and Emma. Of course, we checked out Chef Mario Batali’s Eataly. Some of us were in HEA-VEN….

Emma — she had no pants to wear! And Irene’s still wearing her blue dress from the day before…. Look! Mushrooms!

We did so much walking in our new Forever 21 clothes (I NEVER wear stripes! and Emma did finally find some pants to wear) that…

…(yeah you saw that right….) I had to get a Starbucks….

BUSTED…! Oooh! And there’s my new necklace again! Like it?

After that, we went to the airport, checked in. And, of course, Emma’s flight got delayed. We all waved goodbye to poor Emma and off we went. She left 3 hours later.

Okay, this was a lot of work, Gorgeouses! So in return for my sharing the intimate details of my fabulous trip to NYC, can you please do me one favour? Go and commit to “eat fresh.” For every person who commits to eat fresh (it’s quick!), Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children Canada. Plus you get a chance to win an awesome fridge. For more about this cause and to read my Today’s Parent interview with Jennifer Garner, CHECKIT!

Stay tuned. I interview Dean McDermott, whom many of you know as Tori Spelling’s hubby, Thursday. I’m bringing the Rascal with me…. Gaaahhh!

xo Haley-O

Photo by the lovely Jana/Ms_Blue.

I know I was supposed to write about the curious incident of the white elephant, like, two days ago. But it’s going to have to wait. This has been one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a long time. And that says a lot. Because I am freaking busy.

And before I continue rambling on in my record-exhausted state, I have to point out how awesome the people at my yoga shala are. I’ve missed three days of practice this week. Part of the reason for that is that the cat’s away: my teacher David Robson and his gorj wife Stan and their ridiculously-adorable baby (seriously, look how gorj they are) are in India for a whole month. I’m pretty sure that if they were here, I’d be in that studio EVEN if I accidentally threw my fake front tooth in the garbage and only realized what I did as the garbage truck went rumbling away……….

By the way, I’m getting a PERMANENT TOOTH next Friday! Can you believe!? Can I get a massive HALLELUJAH? Please, say it with me!

Anyway, I did get to yoga this morning. I apologized to Anna and Oliver and Lisa for not being there and they welcomed me with smiles and a pat on the back and, just, with such understanding and compassion. When I left, all sweaty and buzzing with joy and accomplishment, I talked to Jeff and Jodi outside as we put our boots on. We talked about kids and work and my insane schedule, and they got it. They just got it. They looked at me straight in the eye, and they got it. I felt beautifully, intensely, reliefully understood.

Note Bene: “Reliefully” is not a word. But it should be. Either that or “reliefly.” And maybe now I’m demonstrating the true extent of my exhaustion. Because there must be a grade-two level word to describe being understood in such a relieful way.

And then last night at book club. They got it too! At the end of one of the longest days in the history of my days, I hosted book club. And it was good. I sat back on my own cushy couch with some of my favourite people, talked books and gossip and the little humping thing my (female) dog does to my very reluctant (male) cat — TWISTED — at fairly regular intervals….

And that was what Jana was referring to when she tweeted the above photo of Minden with a caption that read, simply, “Alpha?”

And to that I would only add this — a theme song:

One day I will create a video of my dog’s twisted little hobby to the tune of that song — just for Emma Willer. BWAH! That was because she was being mean to ma dawg on twitter this afternoon. That’s what you get for that. Aside from her twisted humping issue, my Betty White is teh awesome. Even though, on our field trip today, the Monkey may or may not have put her hand up to say, simply, “My – dog – is – so – bad.”

And for ALL of that, I sincerely apologize.


xo Haley-O

Psssssssssssssst! Comment on this post below, AND THEN, get thee to my brand new “FIT AND FAB WITH HALEY-O” blog at Today’s Parent. I’ll be blogging there Tuesday’s and Thursdays for the next several months. Checkit!

I’ve been interviewed over at the Canadian Weblog Awards website! And you know what? I totally talk about YOU. I talk all about how much I love you and how much you drive me and support me and make me want to be a better writer.

Pretend I’m holding the award badges in hand and that they say “BEST READER” on them and I’m reaching them way out to you beyond this screen…. Here:

2010 Canadian Weblog Awards 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards

FOR YOU. And YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU. And YOU. All six of you. Heh. Well, there are more than six of you. A lot more than six of you — that’s what happens when you’ve been blogging for 5 years and have such awesome, supportive readers.

In addition to the badges, I give you Very Unflattering Pictures of me skating on the frozen lake last weekend….

I haven’t skated in 20+ years, okay?

I’m not sure why my hands are out like that. I mean, I’m trying to balance, but I actually look like I’m trying to fly. Maybe I am trying to fly. Who really knows? And, I’m telling you, all the photos are like that….

My 3-year-old nephew (above) is a better skater than I am. He doesn’t need WINGS. He also happens to be very TALL…. *Cough.*

Also. That jacket. It’s over 5 years old. It’s survived 2 pregnancies. The zipper is broken.

And how about those SKATES? (Unsolicited advice: Don’t try to figure out what’s going on up there with my scarf/hat….)

And, of course…, BETTY WHITE (you may have to squint your eyes to see her below)….

I think I told you she follows me EVERYWHERE, didn’t I?

Wait?! WHY are you still here? Go read the interview! I hope you enjoy it — because you’re awesome and I love you. (I also love Schmutzie for asking really fun questions and making me look like a rockstah! I was NOT going to send her that picture!)


xo Haley-O

Finally a good photo of Betty White’s under bite….

I told you it was insane. Oh, and the Rascal got his nails did by the Monkey’s good friend “M,” seen here doing a fabulous job, dahling, on the Monkey’s nails….

So much talent. Speaking of which…. Here’s Betty White’s under bite IN MOTION….

If you’re wondering why she’s wet up there, it’s because SHE WAS ON THE TABLE….

And for some reason I thought I could discipline her like a cat — and spray her with water whenever she’s on the table: “DOWN! DOWN!” SPRITZ SPRITZ…SPRITZ! Needless to say, it didn’t work….

…because SHE LIKED IT. She kept drinking the water. Can you smell the wet dog? So I turned the spray bottle on the monkeys, who also, of course, loved it….

Off to bed. I have to wake up early to do my yoga. My Ashtanga yoga teacher, David Robson (whose gorj wife *MISS STAN* is one of my all-time favourite bloggers, by the way, check it — their new baby is beyond adorable!), told me I could “have this if I want it.”

Gorgeouses, I can get my body back, and I can achieve all those unnameable things I’ve been wanting all these, what, 27 years I’ve been practicing yoga — as long as I DO IT. All of it. Including the food part. So I’m quitting. I’m quitting Starbucks soy no water tazo chai lattes once and for all. And I’m doing this. All of this. Because I can “have this if I want it.” What am I waiting for?

Big changes, Gorgeouses, HUGE. And the amount I sweat today during yoga — I looked like I showered in my clothes when I got home from the studio — is proof.

To cement the deal, Daniela the barista gave me a free chai yesterday — “because,” as she put it, “it’s [my] last.”

I can have this if I want it. Did he know that little bit of encouragement would be so big?


xo Haley-O

I didn’t take a lot of photos. I also didn’t take a lot of breaths. At one point, on the second night of the conference, I couldn’t hold back tears, and I ran up to the hotel room and cried. Yes. I did. But when I forced myself to lie down, pick up my novel and just relax, I felt better. (Awesome book, by the way.)

That’s when I realized I hadn’t taken a single break that day. While I may seem outgoing and (at times even) natural in social settings, inside I’m often anxious and tense. I’m really as shy as a turtle.

I need to make time to crawl into my shell and just collect myself for a bit — otherwise, I’m just all over the place. If you caught me JUST before I broke into tears, you would have thought me boring and spacey in a withdrawn sort of way. If you caught me AFTER the tears, you would have thought me just a weeee bit spacey and gullible in a Three’s Company‘s Chrissy sort of way….

Despite the social anxiety issssues, I had a great time. I partied HARD. And I haven’t done that in a long time. Those friends of mine, they dragged me out at a whopping 9pm for dinner and drinks, not at a quiet bar down the street from the conference hotel, but a longish cab ride away to the Lower East Side of NYC. The 15 of us (ahem) piled into an already PACKED bar in which there were men in plaid button-downs standing on the bar taking photos and swigging beers. Kind of like the gorj Miss Daniela Syrovy here in the green (with some seriously awesome and hilarious ladies — Joanne Acri, Theresa Albert and Emma Waverman [who’s either yawning or showing off her FAB Martha-Stewart-party “ring” craft])….

…who stood up on a chair in her fab green dress and took this pic of all most of us….

Can you see the social anxiety on my (distorted) face? Hmm, maybe not, since by then I’d had a glass of wine (it doesn’t take much). Look at all the lovelies! Where to start? Let’s see, next to me, Corinne, Nadine, Rebecca, Brandie, Rebecca, Emma (sweet WILLER), Maureen, Cora, Lianne, and Tracy. The only person missing in the photo, if I’m not mistaken…, is Ms. GREENERS, who earlier that night did THIS….

Her fab keynote speech moved us all to tears…. Here’s a link to all the Voices of the Year keynotes, including Karen’s. LOVE!

Despite the short and very therapeutic cry, the conference was an amazing experience. I got to meet a lot of my online friends in person, and I got to hear some incredible, inspiring people speak, including “international activists” who risk their lives blogging and make a real difference…for all of us.

Another really rewarding and memorable part of the conference was meeting LINDSEYJAY and SANDYEL! They met each other through MY BLOG! They’ve both been commenting here since the dawn of Cheaty Monkey, pretty much, and there they were, ROOMIES in NYC. Can you say FAHKLEMPT! I need to get a picture of the three of us, HELLO? Picture, anyone? FAHKLEMPT.


I left the conference early, alas, because I had to get back to work Monday morning — and we drove to NYC. When I got into the car, I was greeted by a very-desperate-to-see-me THIS….

She covered me in kisses — like I HAVE NEVER. It was good to be back….

And I’m back! When I got to work this morning, I found this month’s issue of Today’s Parent on my desk. Look for a feature on my CELEBRITY BLOG on p. 22 and on the “What’s on the Web” page, and, again, my name in the masthead (much to my mother’s delight!). FUN! My spoofy PINK article on Celine Dion will occur in the October issue.

How was YOUR week?

Love! xo Haley-O

Credit: Photo of turtles by cygnus921.

I just spent about an hour sitting with my legs up on my suitcase just people watching and waiting for Emma to arrive with the keys to our hotel room. Familiar thoughts rolling around in my head: “WHY am I here?” “I could totally just bolt!” “Is that…?” “Should I say ‘hi’ to her or just turn the other way because it’s, like, 1000 degrees in here and I’m schvitzing and not ready, I mean, ‘hi’ can wait…we’re here all weekend.” “WHY am I here?”

The BlogHer conference can be a little overwhelming at first. I remember last year: I got in to the hotel, looked around the lobby at little groups forming, listened to the echoing “squeeee”s, and then I ran up to my hotel room and just stayed there for a bit. I think I must have changed three times: went down in a green shirt, went back up to my room, came back down in a black shirt, went back to my room, and went down again in a different black shirt, and finally started saying some hellos.

I’ll be okay. I just take a while to acclimatize.

I’ve actually been in NYC for a few days now (after a lovely few days in the country). We stayed at a hotel in Brooklyn — right across the street from the JAIL. Talk about JEEBIES. We walked alongside it, and a car drove by with a bunch of SCARY-looking dudes yelling up at the barred windows: “YO JOOOOO! YOOOO! JOOOOOO! JOOOOOOOOOO!”


My family and I spent the day in Manhattan yesterday, walking along the sweltering streets, past one-too-many crackheads and a sunglass store at which I purchased these babies….

I was in mid-sentence at the time of this picture-taking, FYI. They look a little big on the sides, but it’s just the angle (I hope). I went in thinking — “I will not buy mom-glasses, I will not buy mom-glasses.” Success, I think!

So there’s that. And this….

Betteh White in NYC! It was VERY hard to leave her this aft….


Gotta go. Party at the Canadian Embassy. Promise I’ll start being more social.


xo Haley-O

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