{FAMILY} Epic Quotes From My Angsty Teen Years

My closest friends and family roll their eyes at me whenever I share a story and say that it ‘happened in grade 9’. They claim that everything I talk about ‘happened in grade 9’. They mock me, but it really was a monumental time in my teen years.

Grade 9 was the year that I fell into a full-blown stage of teen angst. That stage when you hate your parents, your boy crush doesn’t know you exist, your friends are your world, and your self confidence is at an all-time low. You’re consumed by how much your life sucks, and how no one understands you. You’d do anything to fit in, and you long for nothing more than to find yourself.

Grade 9 was a long long time ago for me now, but some of these quotes, shows, songs and moments, will stick with me forever. Because these moments – these epic quotes from my angsty teen years – bring me right back to grade 9. And they remind me of my ‘so called life’ as a teen.

My So Called Life

Long before she played Carrie in Homeland, Claire Danes epitomized my teen self in what will always remain my favourite 90s show of all time – My So Called Life. Swoon-worthy scenes of Jordan Catalano – his perfect coif grazing the brow of his crystal blue eyes as he pulled on Angela’s heartstrings (and ours). One does not get over Jordan Catalano. Not ever.


Ugh, she tried to play it so cool in this scene. Poor, poor girl.

The Cranberries

To this day, whenever I hear an old song by The Cranberries, I am immediately transported to my best friend’s bedroom, where we used to sit together and cry as we sang along to the angsty lyrics of songs like Linger and Zombie.

I’m sure our parents just loved our off-key whining at all hours of the night.

teen angst

Pulp Fiction

The entire soundtrack from Pulp Fiction brings me back to the early 90s – everyone had the soundtrack – and I played this CD on repeat (yes, I said CD). Tarantino was a movie producing superstar – responsible for not only Pulp Fiction, but also Reservoir Dogs, and Natural Born Killers. There are so many great quotes that I could pull from this movie, but this one summarizes the teen rebel that I thought I was at the time.

teen angst


While I thought I knew everything, I was completely and utterly clueless. And this quote was basically the worst insult you could possibly give to a clueless, emotional, angsty teenaged girl like me at the time.

teen angst

Reality Bites

Winona Ryder pretty much owned the 90s.

teen angst

And so did this movie.

Lisa Loeb

That little black dress, those thick-rimmed glasses and those lyrics! Nothing got me through my make-believe heart break like Lisa’s words in her chart-topping hit Stay.



The real Beverly Hills 90210. So many epic scenes and memorable moments, but none like this one. My best friend and I still reenact this scene from time to time.

Wait for it…

Brenda: “I was always taught that if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck..”

Kelly: “Go to hell!” (storms out)


Do you have any epic shows, songs, scenes or quotes from your teen years that you want to share?

5 Quotes To Get You Buzzing In 2015

A new year, a fresh start. A fresh page, ready for a new story to be written. How will you start your story?

While others are scribing their lists of new year’s resolutions, I’m keeping it real by sharing 5 motivational quotes that will hopefully get you buzzing about the exciting things to come this year. No unbroken promises to yourself, no unattainable challenges to face, just words that will hopefully light the fire within you to get sh*t done – whatever your sh*t may be. Enjoy!





Quote 1Don’t compare your successes to those of others, learn from your challenges, and don’t forget to value your own worth. That’s it, plain and simple.

Happy New Year and buzz on friends! XO

New Year

Embracing the happy chaos and letting go of the urge to achieve the perfect family photo.


Dear Mastitis: Don’t.


When you’re pregnant for the first time, no one tells you about it. Perhaps on purpose. It could be because women who have had it before are so haunted by the experience that even uttering the word “mastitis” brings on dark and disturbing flashbacks. Because even the thought of it elicits feelings of fear, anxiety, and toe-curling pain.

Full-fledged mastitis is no laughing matter. It can be worse than a bad flu, and in severe cases like actress Jaime Pressly’s experience, it can even lead to a 7.5 hour surgery to remove abscesses and breast tissue that have formed as a result of an extreme case of untreated mastitis.


What is it? Mastitis is what happens when milk builds up in your breast (often referred to as a “blocked duct”, but isn’t actually a physical blockage) causing inflammation, and even infection. It amazes me that something that sounds so simple, could be so physically torturous.

Side Note: do NOT Google “mastitis images”. You can’t unsee some of the images that come up. I’m serious, JUST. DON’T.

It is said that one in ten breastfeeding moms experience mastitis. Based on those odds, you probably think you’re safe, right? Not necessarily. I’ve had it three times – once with each child (so far), and not just the mild version.

A few weeks ago, we went on a little out-of-town jaunt to visit family. On our first night away, while I was nursing, I noticed a little tender spot on my breast. I knew immediately what was coming, and I lost sleep over it that night.

The thing about mastitis is that it starts slowly, and then progresses at the speed of light. You flirt with a little tenderness, and then it slaps you in the face. All of a sudden it hurts to have your t-shirt graze the agonizingly painful spot. You feel light-headed, and start to shiver uncontrollably. A fever comes on, and nausea creeps up your throat. This may not always be the case, but this is how it has always been for me.

Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of the torturous infection. And while mastitis is worse than any of the other things I hate about nursing, it too shall pass.




I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

I’ve been thinking about my journey as a writer a lot lately. Where my journey began, why I love it, what motivates me to write, and where I want my writing to take me.

Before The Blog

When I was six years old, I wrote my first book. I remember stapling together a stack of lined paper, and wrapping it securely in a folded piece of cardboard. I had found a piece of burgundy velvet, and had glued it to the cardboard cover. I remember thinking it made the book look mysterious and exotic. I filled the book with stories and colourful drawings of a character named Garbanzo, each page neatly numbered, and each chapter cleverly titled. I cherished that book and was proud of its contents.

Throughout my childhood I journaled daily. I filled diaries with my thoughts, fears, dreams, secrets and desires. Writing was how I coped with teen angst, secret crushes, quarrels with friends, insecurities, and frustrations with parents. It was my outlet – a way to clear my head.

I remember writing my grade 12 final exam. While my grades had been average throughout my final year of high school, I had received such a high grade on my final exam essay that my English teacher had double-checked my paper. He was convinced that an error had been made.

When I went to University, I was convinced that I wanted to be a Child Psychologist, so my first two years of study were focused on Psychology and Sociology. But what I soon realized was that I was only excited about what I was learning when I had the opportunity to put my thoughts down on paper. I received the highest grades and more thoroughly enjoyed assignments that required essay writing. In my third year, I switched my focus to English Literature and obtained my BA Degree.

I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

As I moved through various careers (editing for a teen magazine, teaching English as a second language, and more recently, marketing and business development roles), I felt as though something was missing. I had stopped journaling and missed writing. I realized that I was frequently sharing stories (whether people wanted to hear them or not). I was thinking about writing ALL THE TIME – in the shower, as I fell asleep, any waking moment when I had a few moments alone with my thoughts.

I wanted to write again – to document my thoughts and let my creative juices flow – but I didn’t know where to begin. After a few popular Facebook posts and conversations with friends, I was convinced: I needed to start a blog.

The name came to me quickly, and after a few Google searches, I had my platform set up and ready to go. And then…I wrote. Words spewed out of my fingertips and across my computer screen. I wrote until my fingers hurt. I didn’t edit, I didn’t proof read, I just wrote. I was quickly transformed into a blogaholic, and it felt good.

Blog Quote

 What’s Next?

I want to step outside the blog world and expand my writing to other platforms. I want to continue to write freelance articles on topics that require research and creativity – that challenge me to write beyond the confines of my own thoughts. I dream of one day writing and publishing a novel – of hiding away in a bungalow in a small town in Greece like Leonard Cohen, and writing until my book is complete. I aspire to write a column for a newspaper or magazine, and to make a living through my passion. I want to continue to write, until I become a kick-ass writer. For as long as the passion flows through my veins, I will write.


Adoption: An Open Letter To Birth Parents

For most of my life, I hadn’t thought about my birth parents – where I came from, who they were, or why they had chosen to give me up. For me, the only thing that mattered was that I had parents who loved me – who chose to be my parents.

When I met my biological father just over three years ago, I was overwhelmed by his reaction to reconnecting with me. He spoke as though he had known me and loved me for my entire life – this “stranger” who hadn’t crossed my mind even once as I had transitioned through childhood and into my adult years. I felt a strong bond with him as our relationship started to blossom, but was sometimes confused when he became overcome by emotion.

When we reunited in person, his eyes would fill with tears. I could hear in his voice a certain desperation, as though he was holding himself back from bursting at the seams. This both comforted and scared me, as to me, he was still a stranger.

We wrote to each other every day for almost 2 years, and met in person half a dozen times – until he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Christmas Eve in 2012.

I feel like so many things between us were left unsaid. And after having spoken with friends who are birth parents and fellow adoptees, I feel like sharing some of those unspoken feelings through an open letter to birth parents, from the perspective of an adoptee.

Dear Birth Parent(s),

I am so thankful that you made the choice that you did – to carry and deliver your baby, and to choose to provide that baby with a home and a life that you didn’t feel you were able to provide on your own. This was the ultimate act of selflessness, and I’m sure it was the hardest thing you have ever had to do.

I can’t imagine how difficult it has been to move through your life – the thought of that baby always living in the back of your mind. Wondering if they are safe, if you made the right decision, and if they are loved.

You may one day feel an overwhelming need to seek out that child – to look into the eyes of your offspring and tell them that you’re sorry, that you did what you thought was best for them, and that you have never stopped thinking about them.

They may accept you back into their lives, and you may feel an overwhelming urge to make them a part of yours once again – to make up for all of those lost years.

For an adoptee, reuniting with birth parents can be a mix of emotions: resentment, confusion, curiosity, fulfillment, forgiveness. While you may feel overcome by emotion – desperate to catch up and make that child a part of your life once more – the child may respond with hesitance, reluctance, and caution. Please don’t feel offended – be patient.

It will take time for them to find a place in their hearts for you. It will take time for them to understand the choices that you’ve made, and to understand your perspective.

Don’t push, and don’t pull back. If they have agreed to reunite with you, they will come around. Don’t overwhelm them – share your stories but also listen to theirs. Don’t pressure them into putting titles on your relationship – just go with the flow.

One final piece of advice: let them lead. As much as you may want to dive in, let them take the wheel. They may need to take things slowly. After all, choosing to reunite with some who had once chosen to give you up can be a confusing decision.

Where ever life may have led you – you are amazing. You have put someone’s needs before your own, and this is truly commendable. You have given someone the gift of life, and someone else a child to love. I wish you luck, love, and acceptance.


An Adoptee

If you are a birth parent or an adoptee, I’d love to hear your perspective on your experiences with reunions.

 Adoption Quote


Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

2013 has definitely been a big year for our family. A year full of new and exciting experiences, ups and downs. 2014 promises to bring new adventures, and I’m welcoming the new year with open arms. As a farewell to this last year, here are my 10 favourite blog posts of 2013:

Will You Tell Your Kids Everything About Your Past?

Dealing With Kindergarten Bullies

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails on the North Shore

A Disney Dream Come True

Vancouver By Water

Ask Mama Dina: Pretty Little Liar

He Put WHAT Up His Nose?

Back to the Barre: Adult Ballet Classes

5 Ways to Help a Friend Through Miscarriage

The Reveal

Wishing you all a new year full of adventure, love, rest, happiness, and inspiration.

new year quote

Leading Moms: The Importance of Play

Leading Moms is an annual, all-day event featuring inspiring talks from extraordinary women, and this year, I was not only an attendee, but part of the incredible team who planned the day’s festivities.

When I went to last year’s event, I didn’t know what to expect. I left feeling inspired, connected to a community of women who understood my perspective. So many women who, like me, were trying to solve the busy mom jigsaw puzzle of life. Who were striving to find a balance between career and family.

The theme of this year’s event was the importance of play – and the speakers tackled the theme with precision, each adding their own dash of spice to the perfect recipe for success.

We laughed through anecdotes that we, as moms, could all relate to. We danced, connecting through movement and song. We cried as our hearts burst, touched by song lyrics and inspiring stories. We sang, our voices loud and proud, and we learned about the importance of play, both for children, and for ourselves.

Leading Moms

(Left to Right) Anna Rice, Badminton Olympian; Me, strutting my stuff
on the runway; Monica Morong, Mom Rapper; the Vancouver Mom team

Because I’m a quote-lover, I thought I would share with you my 3 favourite quotes from the day’s event:

“You can uncover more about a person  in an hour of play, than you can in a year of conversations.”  – Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Counsellor and Educator

“It’s time for us to get back to the ‘being’ and not the ‘doing’ part of life.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

“Be the person you want your children to see in the world.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

The biggest takeaway for me was learning about “how to play”. Dr. Deborah MacNamara explained that it wasn’t only important for us to know that play is an integral part of a child’s neurological development, but that it was also important for us to understand how to encourage children to play authentically.

She explained that in order to properly play, there must not be an expected outcome. Colouring within the lines of a pre-drawn image doesn’t let their creative juices flow – instead, give your child a blank piece of paper. And don’t overschedule your children – make room for free time so they can learn how to play on their own.

To summarize, Dr. MacNamara shared with us –

6 Steps To Creating The Conditions For Play:

6 steps to creating the conditions for play

I’m sure I’m not the only mama who left the event feeling emotionally-drained, filled to the tip with inspiration, and excited to head home and play with my children.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure to catch it next year!

The Lowdown On Literacy – Teaching Your Child How To Read

Reading Quote

When my girl entered Kindergarten, I knew that part of the curriculum would include learning to read. But what I didn’t realize, was that her progress would be heavily reliant on the participation of her parents – that it would be our job to guide her through the tedious process of learning the life skill that is reading.

At first the thought of my little girl learning to read on her own was exhilarating. My daydreams were filled with visions of her sitting cross-legged on a patch of grass under an old elm tree, holding a classic storybook daintily in her hands. Spending hours lost in her own world of imagination – swirling down the tunnels of Alice in Wonderland, chasing the little white rabbit and celebrating unbirthdays. Lost in the stories of Anne of Green Gables, quoting and re-enacting the verses of The Lady of Shallot like Anne Shirley.

>But so far, I have to confess, teaching my girl to read has been…less than exotic.

When we sat down to tackle our first read, she came well-equipped with the sound that each letter makes, and how some letters make different sounds when read together. But the challenge with our oh-so-complicated language, is that we have so many silent letters, inexplicable rules, and seemingly nonsensical spellings, that it’s next to impossible to explain it all to a 6-year-old’s inquisitive mind.

I thought that this would be the one time that my Degree in English Literature, and years of experience as an ESL teacher would come in handy, but there is no skill that can prepare you for this milestone.

In the beginning I was patient. “Sound it out” I would coax in a motherly tone. “Good try honey, very close, try again” I would say between gritted teeth. Not only is our language a tricky one to master, but navigating through the rough waters of a frustrated 6-year-old’s temper is even tougher. “Tuh-oh-uh-guh-huh-eh-er?” – “No honey, -ou makes the sound -ow, and -gh sounds like -fff, and -er together is -ur.” What the eff, right?

And once Summer hits, us parents are on our own. No more skipping the odd nighttime reading, knowing that the content will be covered in class the next morning. No my friends, we are left to fend for ourselves.

Thankfully, the BC Library Association and our local public library have developed a Summer Reading Club – one that encourages early readers to read one book a day, and gives them milestones to reach, weekly gifts, games and resources, and a prize (they can choose between a trophy and a new book) for reading every night for the duration of the Summer. Motivation for the kids, and ammo for us parents.

My girl has now completed 5 weeks of the Summer Reading Club, and only has 2 weeks to go. She has become a more confident and skilled reader, and I have become a more patient parent!

Check out the great Tips For Parents page on the Summer Reading Club website, and don’t give up frustrated mamas and papas, I promise it gets easier!

Have you been having a hard time teaching your little ones how to read? Do you have any other tips for making it easier for us parents?

Does The Second Child Play Second Fiddle?

“It needs more skill than I can tell
To play the second fiddle well.”

– C.H. Spurgeon

The other day one of my friends asked me an interesting question: “When you had your second child, did you find that people seemed less interested in holding him?”While my initial reaction was to reassure her that having a second child was just as exciting to my friends and family as the birth of my first, her question made me think…did my second child play second fiddle?

I remember being pregnant with my second. I was so worried about how having another baby would affect my firstborn. Would she be jealous of the new baby? Would she feel left out as people cooed and cuddled her new little sibling?

I also remember being worried about how having a second child would affect me. Would I be able to love it as much as I loved the first?

But what I hadn’t ever thought about was how other people would react to my second child. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they might not be as excited about the new addition to our family, or that they might be less interested in cooing and cuddling my second bundle of joy.

Do you want to hold him?

When my son was born, my daughter welcomed him with open arms. She stepped back, proud to show off her little brother, and encouraged people to hold him. I too was so relieved to find that my heart exploded with mama love for my second just as much as it had with my first. But when I think about it now, I had fewer visits when I was in the hospital the second time. I received fewer cards and emails congratulating me on the arrival of my baby, and fewer home visits from friends and family.

Now that I think about it, I do remember holding him more when people did stop by. Having to ask visitors to hold him for a minute so I could change my other child’s diaper or grab a quick drink. Was this because they were simply less interested in my second child? Had my friends and family moved from baby hogs, to baby dodgers?

I don’t take it personally. When I think about my visits with friends who have just had their second child, I am just as excited for them, and I just as desperately want to snuggle with their little newbies.

Perhaps we tend to focus our attention on the first-born child in the room to make sure they don’t feel left out. Maybe we focus our attention on the frazzled parents who are new to life with two. Or maybe we just feel less inclined to coo over baby number two because we’re worried that the new parents will think we’re being baby hogs.

Whatever the case, number two will be loved. Number two will be embraced and cuddled, and number two will not play second fiddle – because number two will receive so much love from someone that the firstborn didn’t have – a sibling. And a little extra love and attention from the mamas and the papas won’t hurt either 😉

Did you find that your second child received less attention from friends and family than your first?

Emma Says: When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

My daughter Emma may only be five, but she is full of aspirations.

When I was her age, all I wanted to do was to become a dancer. It was all I thought about, and I danced to my heart’s content all throughout my childhood. However life took me on a different path, leading me to a long career in marketing. And while I love what I do, I sometimes wonder, what would my life have been like had I followed my dreams of becoming a professional dancer?

Emma has told me that she won’t settle for just one career, she has ten things she’d like to do. For her, the sky’s the limit! Once, when she was three, she said to me, “Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a mommy AND I want to work.” That’s my girl.
So today, I’ve done a little interview with Emma. Here’s what she had to say to my question: “What are ten things you’d like to do when you grow up?” (in her own words):
1) I would like to be a singer like Taylor Swift.
2) I would like to rescue animals like cheetahs and horses.
3) I would like to be a Kindergarten teacher, because I would get to teach all the kids really nice things.
4) I would like to be a horse rider like my auntie Jillian does. A brown horse.
5) I would like to be a doctor, because I would get to help people.
6) I would like to make games like Angry Birds.
7) I would to be an owner of a movie theatre because then I would get to make sure that everyone would be safe in the movie theatre, and I would get to see all of the movies.
8) I would like to make toys, like Polly Pockets.
9) I would like to write books so that I can make a good story.
10) I would like to own a store, like Save-On-Foods, because it’s a very nice place with lots of food.
So there you have it, my girl’s going to be a singer/animal rescuer/teacher/horse rider/doctor/graphic designer/theatre owner/toy maker/author/store owner. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her, and I will encourage her to follow her dreams no matter where her life takes her.


What do your children want to do when they grow up?