Lost: One Happy Place

Twice in the last two days, completely unprompted and in totally separate conversations, two friends have mentioned that being near the ocean is their happy place. These friends are entirely different from one another, and in fact don’t know each other. But each made this statement so resolutely without even having to think about it.

It made me wonder where my happy place is.

sand bar

I’ve lost it, you see. If you asked me to think of the one place I can be happy, peaceful, content, no matter what else is going on, I’d say… I don’t know. I don’t know where that is. I don’t think I have one right now.

I have places I enjoy, but that’s not the same.

I have places I retreat to, but that’s not the same either.

I’ve been doing more retreating than enjoying lately. Since this.

It turns out you can’t just draw a line in the sand. There isn’t everything before and everything after. It’s more like a Venn diagram – everything that remains untouched from before, everything that will be new after, and all the crap in the middle.

It turns out the crap in the middle is both bigger and crappier than I had expected, and at the moment it feels like I will be in that middle zone forever.

Logically, I know that won’t be the case, but today I came face-to-face with something that has moved from the untouched zone into the crap zone. I should have anticipated it, or known that there would be places from before that would become tainted by the now. But I didn’t and so I ran smack into it and now a place that had good memories…doesn’t anymore.

Another piece added to the middle zone.

Another thing to grieve.

ocean at sunset

Right now I am near the ocean, which used to be my happy place. Less so, strangely, once I moved away from it, but definitely a place I still enjoy.

I ended up in this particular place quite unexpectedly. It has incredible views and amazing sunsets and an abundance of shells.

It’s beautiful here, but right now it’s not managing to be my happy place.

Maybe nowhere is. Maybe the peace and contentment that come with a happy place are elusive when you’re in the crap zone.

Regardless, right now, in this place, the sun is setting on this difficult day.

And for right now, I will simply enjoy the view with as much peace and contentment as it can offer.

West coast sunset 

The diaper days continue

I spent part of the afternoon on a search for newborn diapers – not for me, of course (because thank goodness), but for my sister, whose first sweet boy was born yesterday. Ah, newborns. My sister and her husband are already learning how many diapers babies go through in a day.

I forgot how hard it was to find newborn-sized diapers, especially when you’re trying to avoid the scented ones. After browsing the aisles in a few stores, I finally settled on some Huggies, which, as I mentioned before, is what we use with Ethan. Yes, we still use Huggies, because this child has no interest in potty training.

He’ll be 3 in October, so I guess that’s not entirely unusual, though I think his brother was trained by this point. Connor was, relatively speaking, quite easy to potty train, but I guess one thing doesn’t equal the other. Which shouldn’t surprise me, I suppose, given that in so many ways they’re totally different kids.

I think if we focused and bribed Ethan with new underwear (Spider-Man would probably do the trick) and M&Ms, he’d probably show some interest. I’m just hesitant to push it.

I’ve also always felt that I’d rather deal with diapers than accidents in underwear. Right? And there’s so much other stuff going on that this just isn’t a priority right now. Besides, some days he just seems so big.

chasing waves

And as long as he’s still in diapers he can stay my little boy.

wearing Huggies diapers

And I kind of like him that way.




We used cloth diapers with Connor but, for a variety of reasons, didn’t for very long with Ethan. These diapers we’re using now are Huggies Little Movers Plus, and here are some of the reasons I like them:

  • They’re really soft and really absorbent. No leaks here.
  • They have tabs called Double Grip Strips that hold no matter how active he is.
  • They have the previously mentioned Disney designs.

Huggies Little Movers Plus are available exclusively at Costco in sizes 3 to 6. They also carry Huggies Little Snugglers Plus in sizes 3 to 6 as well as 1 and 2.

Disclosure: I’m a Huggies ambassador and was compensated for this post, but all opinions (including those about baby bums) are my own.

RapidLash trial results

You know what I’m not good at? Taking pictures of my eyes. But I finished the RapidLash trial I told you about and want to show you how it turned out.

Actually, these are terrible pictures and the light is different, which is distracting. So I made them black and white, and I think that helps show the differences anyway.

RapidLash before and after pictures

The first thing I notice is that I look awfully tired in the first picture. Maybe eyes that look less tired is a nice side effect of RapidLash. But overall my eyelashes definitely seem fuller on the top, especially at the outside of my eyes, and stronger (darker? something) at the ends. I’m not sure if you can see all that in the pictures, but that’s my observation.

I’m pleased with those results, because as I said before one of my biggest annoyances about my eyelashes is that when I’m not wearing mascara you can hardly tell they’re there. RapidLash does seem to have helped with that, and my eyebrows feel better too. (And guess what? I finally got them threaded again after almost three years. Which has nothing to do with this post, but that helped too.)

I was skeptical about whether RapidLash would do anything, but it apparently it does work. It’s really easy to use, non-irritating, and you can’t even tell it’s there once you’ve applied it. I could sort of feel it on my eyelashes when it was dry, but by the time I woke up in the morning I didn’t notice it at all.

If you have eyelashes that don’t live up to their potential, I’d recommend giving RapidLash a try.


Disclosure: I am part of the RapidLash campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions (and eyelashes) on this blog are my own.

Retiring the pre-mom bras

A few weeks ago I vacuumed under the dresser in my closet for the first time in… Well, it was probably the first time since we moved into this house. At least that’s a reasonable assumption, for two reasons: one: holy dust bunnies, Batman, and two: I found two bras under there that I had completely forgotten about and probably haven’t worn since I got pregnant with Ethan (which was approximately 6 weeks after we moved into this house). Once the bras were clean I pulled on the lacy one figuring I’d feel a little less mom-ish again.


Now I remember why I didn’t miss that particular bra: it’s wickedly uncomfortable. I don’t know if it’s the lace or that it doesn’t fit right or a combination (or, quite possibly, the fact that generally, sigh, I’m the sort of girl who likes non-complicated bras). I wore it for one day and then promptly tossed it back under the dresser. (Kidding. It’s taking up space in my drawer and depriving dust bunnies of a home.)

I have a love/hate relationship with bras. I love that they can make me look bustier than I am; I hate that most of them that have any sort of anything on them are uncomfortable.

The two bras I saved from their fate under my dresser aren’t the only ones I’m still wearing from my before-Ethan era. In fact, I think all the ones I currently wear pre-date at least him. They might even pre-date his brother, but let’s not think about how terribly sad that is and just pretend it’s possible I have acquired some new bras in the last 7 years.

It was definitely time to do something about this sad situation (regardless of whether it’s been going on for 3 years or much longer) so I went in for a bra fitting. Have you ever done this? I’ve often thought I should, and quite recently decided it was high time I at least figured out if I was wearing the right size bra. So into The Bay I went to meet with Angeline.

Wacoal bra selection

Angeline was the sort of woman whose lacy bras, I suspect, are not gathering dust under her dresser, but she was very nice. She quickly measured me and announced her suggestion for size, which happens to be the size I usually buy, so I at least have that going for me. That was pretty much the last thing I was right about, though.

Giving the band of my bra a tug, Angeline noted that it was too loose, which I conceded was because I hate having tight bras that feel like they’re digging into me. And not that I don’t credit her with giving me an accurate size, but this is where Angeline scored her first big point with me.

She explained that having a band that fits properly and is done up snugly enough helps to prevent your bra from riding up. Well, I’ll be damned. I’m constantly pulling the band of my bra down while doing it up on the loosest clasp hoping that will make it more comfortable. Lesson number one learned: the band has to be snug for it not to ride up.

Leaving me with that tidbit to ponder, Angeline went to get some bras for me to try on. She’s a Wacoal consultant, and I had never actually looked at this brand before, but having browsed the selection after my fitting I’ll admit I’ve overlooked some great options.Wacoal-bras-logo

The first one I tried was the one below – the awareness seamless underwire bra. I tried a couple of sizes, and it didn’t feel right.

Wacoal Awareness Seamless Underwire Bra Hudsons Bay

It felt, or maybe looked, decidedly awkward, in fact, and that’s when Angeline came out with it: “I don’t feel like this bra really suits you.” Whew. I’m with you, sister. It looks great on the model, but did not look great on me.

If you’re going to find a bra that fits properly and suits you, it helps to know the qualities you’re working with. I am, as Angeline pointed out, tall and not very busty, but I do have a big ribcage. (I do, it’s true. I hate it.) The tall combined with big-ribcage factors are what result in me continually messing around with the straps on pretty much any bra I wear, but in trying on something else Angeline reiterated that finding a bra that fits right in the band – meaning it fits nicely on the middle clasp, giving you some room to go up and some room to go down – is the secret. Get it right in the band, adjust the straps to suit, and you’ve got a bra that fits.

The second major point Angeline scored was in bringing me a bra with no underwire to try. Aside from nursing bras and sports bras, I have always shied away from bras with no underwire because I always felt they played right into my lack of busty-ness and left me looking droopy. (Especially post-nursing. Oy.)

Wacoal How Perfect Non Wire Bra Hudsons Bay

This one – the Wacoal how perfect non-wire bra – is seriously comfortable. It’s not fancy (but I think we can all agree that’s probably a good thing for me) and it fits well. Plus, it looks good under a shirt, which is another of my major criteria. And I needed another nude bra because I recently tried my old one under a white shirt and it definitely didn’t have a nude effect. Time to retire that one, I think, and go with this one instead. (I tried it under that same white shirt – totally invisible.)

So that’s my bra story.

If you’re still wearing the same bras (or not wearing the same uncomfortable bras, as the case may be) I’d highly recommend getting a bra fitting. Angeline tells me women come into The Bay all the time to do this, which helped me feel less like it was a weird thing to do. And it wasn’t awkward. Really quite helpful, actually.

Wacoal bras (which are available in Canada and the US) are really good quality but reasonably priced, and as you can see from the photos come in a variety of styles both sexy and straightforward. The whole point of this brand is to help women look and feel their best, and that’s a big part of what a fitting with a Wacoal consultant can do for you. The bras are designed for women of all shapes and sizes (even tall, non-busty ones with large ribcages) and have options for underwear and lingerie, too.

Who wants to go shopping with me? I’m eyeing one of the pink bras from the top photo, and I know someone who can help get you kitted up right too.

11 Ways to Let the Light Back In

I recently ended up in a crappy situation and had to scrape myself off rock bottom – possibly the rockiest bottom of depression I have ever encountered. I couldn’t stay like that, literally couldn’t live like that, so I deliberately and thoughtfully found a way to pull myself back up. The beautiful thing was that I did it, and it was hard but also not really that hard. It showed me that even in the crappiest of situations it’s possible to find your strength – even more than you knew was there – and draw on it. It’s possible to let the light back in.

I’ve been thinking about how to do that and there are some strategies that usually work for me, so I thought I’d share them with you (and with myself for the next time I need them, because there’s sure to be a next time).

Here are 11 ways to let the light back in.

11 ways to let the light back in
1. Listen to podcasts that make you think. I like This American Life, Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and (when it returns) Invisibilia. Two feel-good podcasts are Dear Sugar and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

2. Read the Brave Girls’ Club.
Brave Girls Club quote
3. Read stories from people who have experienced the same thing you’re struggling with. It will make you feel less alone.

4. Exercise. Just do it!

5. Find something that’s happening in your community that sounds interesting and go to it. Getting out is hard, but helpful.

train tracks
6. Put your phone down and pick something else up – a book, a craft, anything.

7. Related: turn off notifications for Facebook and whatever else sucks you in and allows you to be passive. Don’t wait for other people to post something interesting/inspiring/funny. Passive procrastination is a huge mood killer.

8. Go for a walk and deliberately look. Take pictures of things that make you pause.

art in a garden9. Eat ice cream. Or whatever you like to treat yourself with, but use it as a treat. Don’t make it a habit, or it will contribute to your crappy feelings.

10. Colour. Yes, with crayons (or, my preference, pencil crayons).

adult coloring pages

11. Make your bed. Truly, it helps.

What strategies have you found that help you let the light in?