Tag Archive: Lena

Apparently Shopping Makes Me Cry

December 3, 2011

I’m not usually driven to tears when I hit the shops. I must be getting old/sentimental/foolish.

It started out as a normal Saturday morning – there were things to buy, chores to split up, sticky handprints to erase. Except this morning, I had the pleasure of running a few errands ALL BY MYSELF. For a mom, running errands by yourself is akin to finding a $20 bill in an old pocket. Oh yeah, the good life.

My excellent adventure had only a few stops; the gas station, the bank, and Toys R Us. In that order. Since you don’t read my blog to hear about me pumping gas or handling my finances, I’ll skip forward to Toys R Us.

Although this (obviously) needs no disclaimer, shopping at TRU without your whiny, obnoxious kids totally freakin’ rocks. It’s actually a well known fact that even if you’ve raised the most well behaved children on the planet, they will turn into whiny, obnoxious, toy-grabbing-face-smacking mutants the second you cross the store’s threshold. Trust me, it’s science. And it is a truly euphoric feeling to acknowledge the background screams and caterwauling belongs to someone else’s offspring. Ha ha!

And just what was I doing at Toys R Us on a Saturday morning? I’d rather not say. (Okay, twist my arm.) Sigh… I was picking up two plush, talking Iggle Piggles. Yes, THE Iggle Piggle from the seizure-inducing, suicide-pondering, freakishly cultish “In the Night Garden”. My boys LOVE the show. Conveniently on at 8:00pm (just before the boy’s bedtime), we’ve been allowing them to cuddle up on our bed to watch the nightly episodes. Often, by the time the credits roll, they’re both sweetly sound asleep. So for Christmas, I reckoned I’d surprise them both with a soft sleeping buddy.

I should have grabbed the damn dolls and left.

Instead, I decided to plod around, enjoying my child-free excursion (frankly, reveling in it). And as I passed the opening to TRU’s sister store, Babies R Us, I paused for a moment before wandering in. After all, I didn’t actually need anything – with Reid being over 18 months old, my BRU days are likely behind me – but I decided to pop in for old time’s sake. And then it happened.

The SMELL of the store. The familiar COLOURS. The wall of BOTTLES and PACIFIERS. The exquisitely beautiful PREGNANT customers, joy and bewilderment etched plainly on their faces.

It was like a punch to the gut – or perhaps, a punch to the ovaries. It was a trip down memory lane that I was not prepared to take. It was a funeral – saying goodbye to the thrill of expecting, anticipating, organizing, expanding. It was the stark realization that my baby is actually a toddler, and my toddler is now a little boy… and I had no damn business loitering in Babies R Us.

So, I cried.

There was no rationale or reason for it; I know that my family is complete and we have no plans to have more children. I know that I have two beautiful boys whom I adore wholly and unconditionally. I know that I can finally, finally enjoy moments of freedom – the very reason I laugh off suggestions to expand our brood. And yet, there I stood, cowering behind the high chairs, wiping my tear-stained face with the back of my hand.

(On a related note, high chairs today are so ridiculously stylish. Like black leather and contemporary patterns. Seriously? The kid is going to dump pureed crap all over the thing. Just stick to animals and neon bubbles and get over yourselves.)

Hours later, I still can’t pinpoint exactly what drove me over the edge. Perhaps I’ll never know; perhaps every time I venture into Babies R Us I’ll turn into a nostalgic, blubbering fool.

Note to self: apparently shopping makes me cry. bring tissues.

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I’m Here!

November 7, 2011

Welcome Readers!

(Do not adjust your computer monitor – YES, you’re chez Lena!)

Here it is – my brand new site. I’m pretty much in love with it, and hope y’all like it too! Today I’ll be working through a few kinks and making sure that everything is where it should be. A few pictures have gone astray, a couple of comments are lost in space (but only those made on my last post – which we’re actually trying to recover! Yup, you know you’re with the best when they try to find 16 comments out of the 69,984 they successfully migrated).

But for the most part, I’m so happy to declare that the move was a SUCCESS! Much, much love to Cathy and team at Desperately Seeking WP – you’ll see me offering profuse thanks for the next little… eternity.

And if you’re liking what you see, send a shout out to Juan (@SproutAbound) on Twitter – he designed this magnificent theme.

I’ll be back to blogging once I’m through with a little housekeeping; until then, feel free to poke around! Muah!

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It’ Snot Fun, Said the Sickie

October 28, 2011

Uh oh…. I know you’ve seen this photo before. Yup, I’m fighting… something.

Allergies? An autumn cold? My body’s way of detoxing after a stressful week? Either way, it’ snot fun. Thank goodness I’ve got a blankie, a hot cup of tea, and a doting husband – the trilogy of fabness when you’re under the weather.

So, I *think* some posts will be up later today… please feel free to check back if you’re bored. In the meantime, have a wonderful Halloween weekend, especially all of y’all attending spooky soirées. Chat soon!

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Look at Me: Blissdom Canada ’11

October 18, 2011

As many of y’all know, I attended the Blissdom Canada ’11 Conference in Toronto this past week. Although it wasn’t my first blogging conference (third this year after BlogHer and ShesConnected), it was the first time I had partied up the Blissdom brand.

It was pretty darn spectacular.

For those of you not familiar with Blissdom, “The very best blogging, public relations and social media pros from Canada and the United States will be gathering in Toronto’s Hilton Hotel October 13 – 15, 2011 for a few days of networking , business development, community building, and a whole lot of mapletastic awesome.”

Now while I’d love to just launch into a rundown of my experience at the event, unfortunately, I do have to put forth a disclaimer: there’s a whole lotta Lena coming up. You see, I am the worst shutterbug in the world – I actually never take a picture unless it’s of my kids (even then, I fail miserably). So the only photos I have from the conference are a mishmash of pics that were tweeted to me and posted on Facebook; hence, me me me. So if you have an aversion to my goofy smile and predictable pose (right hand on hip) you may want to come back later. Frankly, I wouldn’t be insulted. (more…)

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I’m Back, Baby!

October 17, 2011


Is this actually a post from Lena? The same Lena who has been away for FIVE whole days?

(Yes, t’is me.)

If you can believe it, this has been the longest break in between posts since I started blogging three years ago. Due to a combination of household commitments, the 2011 Blissdom Canada conference and just wanting to veg upon my return, I’ve been sadly behind on blog posts. But I’m back, and you’ll see fresh new content this week! Chat soon!

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#Hollyweird and Other Random Musings

October 12, 2011

Disclaimer: Don’t be tempted to search #Hollyweird on Twitter. Four minutes of your life you won’t get back.

This Makes Me Sad:

Ashton Kutcher has reportedly cheated on wife Demi Moore with a young, svelte, “who wants to jump in the hot tub” kind of party gal. Oh Demi, it’s every woman’s worst nightmare come to life: being close to 50 and on the brink of marital divorce. Of course, it helps that you look like – well, you – but what hope would the rest of us mortals have?

Then again, women are pretty damn inspiring. And a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

Random Musings:

I’ve been reading the trash tabs lately (sorry People magazine; In Touch is slightly cheaper and only marginally more ridiculous with their cover stories) and I’ve heard tales of boyfriends, fiancés and husbands being STOLEN from another woman.

Jennifer Aniston steals whats-his-face from another woman!
Leann Rimes stole Eddie C from that skinny chick!

K, newsflash everyone: you can’t STEAL a man. What’d she do – gag him, pull a burlap sack over his head and throw him in her trunk? Now that’s stealing.

Otherwise… he LEFT you. Know the difference, and make peace with it. Or don’t. (more…)

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It’s My 3 Year Blogiversary! ($100 Giveaway!)

October 8, 2011

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and there’s so much I’m thankful for – including the fact that today, my little ol’ blog is 3 YEARS OLD!

Now I just happen to know a few readers who’ve been tuning in since October 8, 2008 when I published this little review on a Rimmel Eye Pencil (see? beauty obsessed even then) and to those very special peeps, I am humbled and incredibly touched by your support.

To the new readers who have joined in along the way – I love interacting with you, reading your warm and illustrative comments, and of course, liaising with the prize winners. What an awesome “job” I have.

And I’d like to propose a toast:

Cheers to me for finding something I love to do. I’ve worn a lot of hats over my career, and blogging is the only role that I’ve consistently poured my heart and soul into. Yes, I do wake up at 6:00am to blog, and no – I’ve never hit snooze on the alarm clock. I’m THAT addicted to writing.

Cheers to my family who not only support – but encourage – my little side business. Blogging has brought about many exciting and profitable opportunities, but my husband has been behind me since day one, when I wrote simply to have an escape from the suburban mom lifestyle. We giddily declare on a regular basis, “Who knew?”

Cheers to my friends (the girls and online buddies) who support my habit with witty comments, forwarded e-mails and timeless banter about shopping, family and the possibility of a patented coffee IV drip.

and of course…

Cheers to my readers who keep this blog relevant, keep me authentic, and keep coming back for more! *Blushing!*

Muah! Muah! Muah!

So what are my goals for the upcoming year?

I’d love to continue with the status quo… reviews, recipes, family and fun. A few awesome giveaways when the opportunity presents itself; a few random rants when appropriate and very necessary.

I’ve also teamed up with a spectacular brands – Fisher-Price, General Mills, Urban Barn, MTF Price Matters and more… so look for suggestions, tips and featured products from the companies I love.

Finally, although I’ve always maintained that the look of my blog really does reflect my personality (neon and bubbly) – I do feel that it’s time for a change. One that reflects how I’ve grown; and how my blog has matured and transitioned. Therefore I’ve enlisted the incredibly talented Sprout Abound (who is a new media designer, modern gentleman and overall good guy) to work with me to create a new Lena-inspired look. As I’ll also be making the big-girl move from Blogger to WordPress, let’s all join hands and hope the transition is a successful one!

And to round out this Blogiversary post, my very good friends at ShesConnected (thank you!) have decided to help me celebrate by offering my readers the chance to win a $100 Visa Gift card!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling everyone what you’re thankful for this year. I’ll draw for a winner at the end of the month – that $100 will come in handy for holiday shopping, I’m sure!

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Tell Me Something Good: Lesson Three

September 26, 2011

Hey hey, it’s the continuation of my “Tell Me Something Good” series, aimed at providing tips and techniques to help improve your communication skills. (And it only took about 5 months in between lessons! Yikes.)

Lesson One was to Speak with a Smile in Your Voice; a small change which yields great results… and something everyone is capable of. Lesson Two focused on one of the most frequent exchanges in communication – Asking.

Today I’ll like to teach you a thing or two about flirting. That’s right; good old fashioned eyelash-batting, sidelong glancing, giggling-like-a-schoolgirl flirting. What does flirting have to do with communication? Everything.

Now before you go all shy on me and say, “I can’t flirt!”… of course you can. Are you married? Have a boyfriend? Ever been on a date? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, YOU CAN FLIRT. I know so because it takes flirting to put a ring on it, put a bed under it, etc. etc.

But why should you incorporate flirting into your daily communication? Technically, it’s not really flirting you’re after, but rather the little tricks and techniques that come together to successfully “reel in your catch”. And for the purpose of this article, your “catch” can be anyone from the UPS dude to a potential employer; a little g-rated flattery can (and should) be applied generously and often, to both women and men alike.

(Flirt with a woman? An employer? YES! Flirting doesn’t always have a sexual or provocative undertone… a large component of being a flirt is simply engaging people in a charismatic way.)

Whenever I meet someone new, I like to flirt my way through my 5(+) C’s:

1. Confidence. Your level of self-esteem and confidence are highly in your control. I’ve never liked hearing the phrase “he/she shattered my confidence” because truly, you – and you alone – have the power to make or break your stride. Confidence is an attractive trait that people are inherently drawn to; in terms of communication (or “flirting”) it shows that you are proud of who you are and what you have to offer. Stand up straight, look people in the eye and have the courage to tell yourself that you’re a Pretty Big Deal (PBD). Just don’t confuse confidence with arrogance – it is possible to love yourself without being overly proud or insincere (see: Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino).

2. Charm. Paging Captain Obvious; you can’t be a good flirt if you’re not charming. And why not charm people? It takes so little effort to smile, pay attention and show that you’re interested. Charismatic, captivating people have open and inviting body language – they make eye contact; lightly touch people’s hand or arm when telling a story; toss their heads back when laughing. In short, charming people are both desired and desirable.

3. Courtesy. Or complimentary. Or conscientious. Or Christ-like. In other words, be nice. I should probably direct y’all back to Lesson One – Speak with a Smile in Your Voice – because this one line pretty much sums it up: “people REMEMBER nice folks just as much, or more, than they remember nasty peeps.” When I was young, magazines instructed girls to be aloof; to act disinterested and often rude to suitors in an effort to play hard to get. I never quite understood this reasoning and rebelled against it, going out of my way to be sweet and smiley to everyone I met. Turns out I’ve always been “in demand”, both on a platonic and hey-baby-can-I-have-your-number? level.

4. Conversation. To be a good communicator, one must be comfortable starting – and leading – conversations. Brilliant conversationalists are not born everyday, but there are a few easy steps to honing your own skills: make eye contact, speak clearly and coherently, use language familiar to the listener, stick to the topic, know when to speak and when to listen, express an interest in what’s being said, and know when to excuse yourself and move on. Of course, if you can do all this while incorporating 1. confidence, 2. courtesy and 3. charm, my work here is done!

5. Class. Whether flirting for kisses or flirting for a new mortgage rate, keep your words, actions and demeanor classy. Remember, interjecting a little fun and coyness can do wonders to improve your rapport with others, but only if you keep it light and cheerful.

There you have it! A few solid examples of how you can incorporate the principles of flirting into your everyday life to make you a better communicator.

Tell me – are you a flirt?

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Hold on My Heart

August 30, 2011

A few nights ago, while lying in bed, I whispered to my husband, “They wouldn’t remember me. They wouldn’t know me.”

Having being aroused from his slumber, he blinked his eyes and asked “Huh?”

“If something happened to me tomorrow,” I clarified. “Ryder is only 3; he would perhaps have selected memories of me, if any. Reid would remember nothing.”

“Go to sleep,” my husband ordered.

But I couldn’t let it go. I became obsessed with the idea of writing a letter to my boys. A letter that speaks to them today – but one I’d want them to read much, much later in life. Perhaps even after I’ve passed. Just a little note that gives them insight into my feelings, at this exact moment, while they’re still babies and will likely have no recollection of this time.

I also wanted to write a letter that tells it like it is. Because I’m not perfect. And they’re not perfect. But for better or worse, this is a snapshot of our time together. It goes something like this:

“Dear Ryder & Reid,

I’ll start this letter by addressing you both at the same time, because when writing about how much I love you, my feelings apply both equally and unconditionally. You are my LIFE. I have vague memories of a time before you, but at this very moment, every waking moment is consumed with thoughts of how fiercely I love you. Having children has both defined and justified my existence.

For Ryder:

Oh, where to begin. Dude, you cry waaay too much. It’s almost insufferable. Just shut up and calm down already; no, you can’t have jujubes for breakfast and yes, when I say stop jumping on the couch, I mean it. There are times when I really think you will break me; that I will throw my arms up in defeat and check into the hotel for bad mothers.

But at other times, I see this light shining in your eyes which reveals a beautiful, kind spirit. I see a playfulness and naughtiness that every child should hold onto for as long as humanly possible, before rules are established and routines are kept. Your smile is like warm sunlight on my face; it dazzles me and makes me incredibly aware of the quirky little man before me. I fantasize about the man you’ll become, and the lucky people who will bask in your glow. You are my first true love.

For Reid:

Just give up the boob already. What you’re doing is purely for show now. And I get it; it’s nice to have a warm, soft booby nearby. Remind me to mention this to your future girlfriends. But enough already; demanding “ne-ne” twenty times a day and then latching on for 2 minutes before you walk away does neither of us any good. You suck (literally) and it’s time to stop.

But I can never say no. I’ve got this unhealthy obsession with you. Perhaps it’s because I see so much of me in you, or because by nature, you’re just the sweetest little thing. But from the moment I held you in my arms, I realized that I could fall in love a second time – and just as hard. From your uncanny intelligence to your ever-ready smile, you pull at my heart and bring me to life. I’m not sure what I did to deserve you, but I will spend the rest of my life giving thanks.”

As you can see, it’s not all roses and lollipops. But it never is, is it? Still wouldn’t trade them for all the tea in China.

Have you recorded your thoughts & feelings in a journal – or post-dated a letter to your child? If you take the good and take the bad, what would it say?

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2nd Annual ShesConnected Conference in TO

August 24, 2011

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently joined ShesConnected as a Community Manager. I’ve been helping to plan their conference (including being privy to all the juicy shoe party details!), liaising with the awesome sponsors (woot!) and tweeting all day long – you can catch me on their two Twitter streams – @shesconnected and @SCConference.

And if you do follow my tweets, you’ll see that there’s an enormous amount of buzz surrounding the conference, especially among Digital Women in Canada.

“The ShesConnected Conference is different than the typical conference. Women attending this event want to work with brands and are chosen based on their social reach, power of voice, and influence as well as requirements from the brands attending. This year we are pleased to be choosing 200 women, which has doubled from last year. If you’re selected, you’ll get to connect with top-tier brands and digital women over this two-day event.

The best part? You get to attend for FREE because the brands pay your conference fee!”

It’s a blogger’s dream – meeting up with peers, connecting with brands and learning from experts, all in a fun setting in downtown TO! For more information on the conference (September 29/30 at the Sheraton TO) please click here.

Just about all the conference invitations have been handed out, but if you’re a blogger – or someone who is very active across other social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook – you can enter to WIN a ticket with me!

Simply click on over to this entry form and be sure to let us know why you want to come along. (Don’t you just love my Bobblehead? Nice boots!)

Good luck!

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Someone, Somewhere…

August 21, 2011

Last night, it took me a good two hours to fall asleep. In between staying up with Ryder (his tummy has been funny lately and therefore he’s been a bit clingy), trying to finally wean Reid (today is his 15-month birthday, translation: get off my freakin’ boob) and sorting through all the posts and commitments I have coming up, I was literally staring straight ahead for what felt like an eternity.

So I began to play the simple game I always play – a little time-filler I invented years ago while coping with a broken heart. It’s called “Someone, Somewhere…” and I begin by defining my feelings at that exact moment in time. For example, I may think:

“I’m so tired of shouting at the boys. Why can’t they just behave.” And then the little game begins… and I let my imagination run free.”Someone, somewhere is throwing up her hands in defeat.”
“Someone, somewhere took a positive pregnancy test and is screaming for joy.”
“Someone, somewhere just learned his petition to adopt was denied.”
“Someone, somewhere just reunited with an estranged child.”
“Someone, somewhere is holding her baby for the first time.”
“Someone, somewhere is kissing her child goodnight.”
“Someone, somewhere just lost custody of his children.”
“Someone, somewhere watched her baby take his last breath.”

Because that’s the way the world works, right? No matter what you’re doing, or feeling, at any moment in time, someone… somewhere in the world is either going through the exact same thing – or has it much better or worse. And I find it really helps put things in perspective for me; it allows me to feel connected to a lone stranger out there who’s on the same page; gives me hope that things will turn around; or it helps me look on the positive side knowing that it could be so, so much worse. Someone, somewhere thinks that I’ve got a wonderful life.

And for the moment… Someone, somewhere is lying on a beach. Sigh… one day.

What is your Someone, Somewhere…?

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August 11, 2011

Hey Fabulous Readers!

I’m back from a much-needed blogging break. SO much to tell!

My head is swimming with details and I simply don’t know where to begin, so forgive me if I list the awesomeness via Headlines:

I spent 5 days in sunny San Diego, enjoying my first (and certainly not last) blogging conference. For bloggers wondering what the conference is all about, and what to expect, I’ll let Google handle your inquiries – you’ll find many amazing posts on the subject, all from unique perspectives that really are a must-read. For my part, I’ll just say this: GO. Go once. Go every year. Go because you want to. Go because you should. Just GO.

As you likely saw from a previous post, I was sponsored by Ford to attend the event. Ford put together a wonderful group of ladies – including Donna Antoniadis from ShesConnected, Erica Ehm of YummyMummyClub fame, Dee Brun the Cocktail Deeva – and superstar bloggers from across Canada that I had the esteemed pleasure of both meeting and tweeting. More posts about my experience at BlogHer to come.

I was also lucky to have my makeup for the event provided by Vasanti Cosmetics, and SKECHERS outfitted my shoes for the duration of the trip (four stylin’ pairs to be exact). Yup, awesomeness all around… and posts on those fabulous sponsors to come as well.

I embarked on the conference with an open mind and put much thought into the direction of my blog. And after a lot of soul searching, I realized that my true strengths – and desires, for that matter – lie in posts that aren’t necessarily tied to reviews and/or giveaways. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE giving back to my readers, and will likely review many more products in my time, but have decided to transition away from a “review” blog and get back to Listen to Lena! 101: shopping, family, recipes and fun. So after my final set of giveaways for the Summer Beauty & Fashion Guide, you’ll see more classic Lena posts; me just writing for the sheer pleasure of writing. To all my sweepstakes friends, thanks for stopping by! Hope y’all will stay for a good story or two.

With so much going on over the last few days, I need to turn in! Goodnight friends, back for more fun tomorrow!

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Summer Beauty & Fashion – To Be Continued!

August 1, 2011

Whew! What a Summer Beauty & Fashion packed month! If you look to the right, you’ll see that THIRTY companies were featured in July, a feat this mommy blogger won’t be repeating again for a long time, ha!

I actually didn’t get to all the features I had intended, as I ran out of time and quite frankly, am really burned out. So I decided to hold back six (6) giveaways for the middle of August, when I’ll wrap up my beauty event with features on some of the hottest drugstore beauty finds around. I’ve decided to call it my “Bargain Beauty” segment – tune in for giveaways from Rexall, Burt’s Bees, Hard Candy, The Dial Company, got2b and Joe Fresh!

Until then, I’ll be taking a short hiatus later this week – more on where I’ll be, and what I’ll be doing, to come!

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Blogging Just to Blog

July 20, 2011

Stop the presses! Could this actually be a post with no review or giveaway attached? Why YES, indeed it is!

As much as I love reviewing products and offering my awesome readers a chance to win, I’ve missed just jotting down my thoughts, rants, etc. So I decided to take an afternoon to just be Lena, and chat about some of the things that have been on my mind. Here we go:

1. I’m sick of summer. I know, I’m opening myself up to boos, hisses and strategically placed middle fingers when I say this, but the truth is, I.CAN’T.BREATHE. It’s so freakin’ hot! Every day seems to have a humidex value in the mid-thirties, and even with sun protection, I am burning to a crisp. Another little victim is poor Ryder – he’s been having massive nosebleeds on a daily basis that our pediatrician has attributed to the constant heat. I’m done with this season! “Paging: September.”

2. I just opened the fridge and was confronted with two 2L bottles: one was Coke Zero, the other, Coca-Cola. Even though the junk in my trunk dictates I should have reached for the Coke Zero, I decided to have just a sip or two of the real thing. When I twisted off the cap, a swirl of cold condensation looped out of the bottle, just like you see on TV. Diagnosis: delicious. 


3. How many of y’all keep a pack of chewing gum in your car? I used to all the time, until I noticed a warning on my pack of Excel: “Do not expose to extreme heat.” With the temperature today comparable to hell itself, I would suggest yanking gum, plastic bottles and other perishable goods (obviously) out of your automobile. There’s some evidence (myth? fact?) that when aspartame is heated, it releases a toxic chemical. Not sure if it’s an urban legend, but if Wrigley Canada doesn’t want to take chances, neither should we.

4. How come you can’t tickle yourself? Not that I spend copious amounts of time trying to get in cheap laughs, but I do tickle the boys – a lot – and the other day, Ryder said “Mommy tickle you.” So then I had to tickle myself and fake ridiculous laughter for two minutes. (Not that women know about faking things…) But seriously, why can’t you tickle yourself? Perhaps tickling belongs in the same camp as massages – someone else needs to do it to work.

5. I need a recommendation for a good frizz-fighting product. I’m just about to put L’Oréal’s Frizz Taming Creme Serum to the test, but let’s just say my hopes aren’t high. I’ve yet to find a product that can counteract Treasure Troll hair. I have my hair trimmed regularly, use a quality deep conditioner, and always spritz a leave-in with SPF when I’m in the sun for long periods of time. Still, fuzz city. Seriously, any reco’s?

That was a nice break! Now back to the Beauty Event! xo

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July 15, 2011

I hope everyone is enjoying my Summer Beauty & Fashion Guide!

Here’s a quick little beauty tidbit – in the last week (and likely because you’ve been subjected to too many of shots of my mug) – I’ve received many comments asking about the brand/colour of my contact lenses.


Well, I’m going to spill my secret – they’re my own! #WhatGodGaveMe. Yes, they’re a freakish hue. But they’re 100% Lena.

Thanks for being interested in me! xo

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5 Essential Beauty Do’s

July 11, 2011

While I believe I’ve mastered the art of communicating some of the best beauty tips from the pros, I feel the need to put my own little spin on this beauty event – you know, offer up some Lena-inspired advice.

Now I’m not an expert (not even close), but I do know what makes me feel pretty. So I give you my 5 Essential Beauty Do’s –

1. Smile often. There is nothing prettier on a gal than a sincere, toothy grin. It does wonders to make you look fresher, younger, and above all, happier. (Before Victoria Beckham stopped eating, she used to smile too!)

2. Take the compliment. Are you quick to refuse compliments? Deflect them with self-criticism instead – “Oh no, I look terrible today! My hair is frizzy…” etc, etc. BAH. Just take the compliment, sister. People say nice things because you deserve them. A simple “thank you!” will do. (Of course, some people dole out insincere compliments. Recognize the source. They’re known as jealous b*tches.)

3. Find your perfect weight. Not everyone is meant to be a size 2, and no one should be a size 22. As long as you’re healthy and follow a good diet and exercise regime, learn to love your body. Stuffing your face with donuts is bad. So is stuffing your face with salad. Find balance and move on with your life.

4. Make time for pretty. Unless you have an actual allergy to makeup, there’s no excuse to leave the house bare faced. Take all of 10 seconds for a sweep of bronzer or blush and a swipe of tinted lip gloss. You’ll instantly look softer and more feminine. Plus, you can find cheek stains and lip glosses with sun protection, so you’ll actually do your skin a favour.

5. Be beautiful on the inside. It does wonders for how people perceive your outer beauty.

Do you have any “Beauty Do’s” to add to my list?

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It’ Snot Fun, Said the Sickie

June 29, 2011

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer since 6:00am, trying to find inspiration to write a post. A recipe? A random rant? A review? I don’t know.

Staring out the window, I realize that it’s because I’m sick.as.a.dog. Now I’m not quite sure if I’ve got allergies or a summer cold (ewww, #losing)… but my head hurts, my face hurts, even my teeth hurt. I want my blankie.

It’s taken me about 52 minutes to realize that before my boys wake up, and the chaos ensues, I should really be curled up in bed with a nice cup of hot tea.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Lena time now; blogging later. Now why couldn’t I have come up with this post 51 minutes ago?

Be back soon, peeps – hope y’all have a wonderful day!

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I said a hip hop, a hippity hop…

June 14, 2011

If you have 1 minute and 20 seconds to waste today, you can view the following video of Reid bouncing to old school beats. Oh, and be sure to check out his head moves at around the 22 seconds mark.

(The husband just hollered “Upload the Big Daddy Kane video!” – I don’t think so.)

Far more interesting is the fact that he will ONLY dance to hip hop music, whereas Ryder shuns all genres except retro 80’s.

EPMD. Dr. Dre. Common. Outkast. Pop it in, and Reid will stop what he’s doing and start dancing. Lucky for him my husband has a whole library of crap rap (most of which he’s forbidden to play due to explicit lyrics – if Ryder ever says “G’s Up Ho’s Down” I WILL have a coronary.)

As for me? I’m down for a little Taylor Swift, thank you very much.

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The Sights, Sounds and Smells of Summer

June 10, 2011

Ah… blogging just to blog. After an obligatory run of giveaways (more to come) it feels nice to just unwind with a chillin’ post. Which brings me to the title: The Sights, Sounds and Smells of Summer.

Last week, the whole family went out for a late afternoon stroll. Pulling the little guys in their wagon, we traipsed through the neighbourhood, basking in the warm summer day. As we turned on to a parallel street, I heard the faint sound of ethnic music drifting through an open window. Immediately, I was filled with nostalgia… but couldn’t nail down the exact memory.

We continued down the block, and within moments I felt yet another throwback to my youth: the pungent scent of Middle Eastern food wafting through a screen door.

And then it hit me: air conditioning killed the sights, sounds and smells of summer.

I began thinking back to my childhood; of my neighbours, who always had every window open and a constant stream of Portuguese folk songs bellowing a happy tune. Of the college kid around the corner who spent all summer in his open garage, working on his motorcycle (I may have had a tiny crush). I remembered the elderly lady across the street, who unfailingly greeted Saturday morning with a spicy curry you could smell for miles. And of people – friends, strangers, children of all ages – lounging on their balconies or the front porch. Kids circling the driveway on bicycles, skipping with one end of the rope tied to a railing. And all just to catch a hint of cool breeze… because the thought of staying in a sticky, hot, sweltering house was just not an option.

But that day, walking down that street… you’d think every single home was unoccupied. Doors and windows closed tight, not allowing one inch of precious bought-air to escape. The eerie quiet of citizens locked inside, with only the hum of air conditioners heard every few paces. The sun beating down on the back of my neck was the only factor that tied my childhood to the present.

How I miss the sights, sounds and smells of summer. Almost as much as I miss that green, polka dot romper.
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I’m Back, Baby!

May 23, 2011

For the last 9 months, I’ve been feeling a little dark. Dark-haired, actually. For the longest time since I first started highlighting my hair at age 17, I sported my natural colour – a dark, reddish brown.

Nine months!!! Okay, this may not seem long to some, but for those who know me (and my frequent hair colour changes), the longest I’ve ever stuck to natural has been 2-3 months max… then it’s back to the bottle.

So last week, I succumbed to the call of a bright, summer hue… and had strips of blonde put back where they belong. Highlights, how I missed you so!

Unfortunately, it was pouring buckets on the way home from the salon, so my beautifully blown out hair turned into drowned out frizz. But, after a quick towel dry, I couldn’t resist snapping a pic. It’s good to be back, baby!

(Highlights by Jermaine Stewart at Donato Salon and Spa, Square One – he’s been doing my hair for almost 10 years!)

Look out summer, here I come! I think I’ll go a teeny bit blonder next time… didn’t want to shock my tresses with too much peroxide the first time around.

Who’s with me? Anyone else going light for the warmer weather? Or, has anyone cut their hair in anticipation of hot summer nights? Woot!

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