I feel bad about my blog

I feel bad about my blog. No really, I do.  A couple of years ago I wanted to learn about blogging to understand how it fits in with marketing.  So I decided to launch my own blog and share all the stuff I’ve kept since I was a kid in the 80’s.  My blog was born!  Under the Lids held so much excitement, and such promise – I’ll post once per week!     Ok, this is more time consuming than I thought so – I’ll post once per month!    Well look at that, it’s been a year since my last post.

Circa 1980.

I shouldn’t be surprised.  My childhood diary also had such promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what’s sadder N.H.  or C. R.

That’s Nothing  Happened and Can’t Remember.  Please, I was 11.  What on earth was going to happen every day?  Oh I know  – a new crush.  (My boy-crush levels were epic.)  Some of my diary entries were actually kind of cute.  I’m hoping I can convince my kid to let me record him reading my words from when I was his age.

Kristen Laco of Mum Revised summed up blogging best in a recent post – The 8-Stage Life-Cycle of a Blogger.  Most blogs only last about 2 years, but many continue in a more random schedule of posts and shares.  This makes sense when you consider a lot of blogs, including mine,  are a side thing. For me there’s not a lot of time left over between work, family, and fun. Maybe there’s a 9th stage – the lazy blogger.  It’s easier to post a picture and short story on Instagram than spend a couple of hours working on a blog post.

So this isn’t goodbye, but more like see you around when the stars align for me with an idea, pictures, and time.   Until then, follow me on Instagram and see what else is under the lids.

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Holy crud! The Bad News Bears is 40!

Do you think of opera when you hear Bizet’s Carmen or do you think of baseball?

The Bad News Bears theatrical release poster. c/o wikipedia
The Bad News Bears theatrical release poster. c/o wikipedia

This week marks the 40th anniversary of The Bad News Bears, one of my all-time favourite movies and what I think is arguably, one of the best sports movies ever.   I don’t have anything under the lids for this movie other than the memories.

In 1976 I was 7 years old and we lived in a small town.  A family friend owned the local movie theatre which meant we saw a lot of movies for free. That year was no exception with releases like Rocky and King Kong.   When The Bad News Bears came out, my brother and I saw it a bunch of times. There was something about this movie that I loved right off the bat.   I wasn’t into sports and didn’t play Little League.  It was kind of like a modern day Little Rascals but with a lot more swear words, although I think everyone said crud.  Perhaps it was early on-set puberty kicking in and this movie was filled with boys.

c/o Paramount Pictures
c/o Paramount Pictures

I had no idea what a bail bond was but yellow and white uniforms still make me think of Chico’s Bail Bonds.

 

 

 

 

bad news bears dvd
c/o Paramount Pictures

Over the years I would watch it every time it was on TV.  It became one of those weekend time-suck movies.  It seemed like it was always on, so I never bothered to buy it on VHS or DVD.  (40th Anniversary re-issue where are you??)

 

 

 

Of course, along the way there were sequels:

bad news2
c/o Paramount Pictures

Bad News Bears In Breaking Training – Starred William “Let them play! Let them play!” Devane

Bad News Bears Go to Japan – A movie about them going to Japan

Plus there was a TV spin off which I vaguely remember watching.   But I definitely didn’t see the 2005 remake even though Richard Linklater directed it.

Although technically not sequels, these movies are definitely off-spring of the original:  Bad Santa, Bad Teacher, Bad Grandpa.

When my hubs and I got married, we named the reception tables after ten of our favourite movies instead of using numbers 1-10. We sat at The Godfather,  while guests sat at The Bad News Bears.

Recently, I re-watched the movie promo and I cringed – were those racist slurs in a trailer?  How was it rated PG?   It’s hard to reconcile a beloved movie from my childhood with what would be considered so un-PC now.   Our 10 year old wants to see Bad News Bears but I think the viewer discretion disclaimer would have to go something like this:  Warning: This movie contains scenes that will be offensive to just about everybody even if you first saw it in 1976.  Yes things were a lot different then but that doesn’t mean you can say those kinds of things now.  Viewers may laugh at kids having a beer but this does not mean you condone underage drinking.  Scenes of children smoking and flirting may have seemed innocent then and but is definitely wrong now. Viewer discretion is advised.

Say what you want about Bad News Bears – I still love this movie.  Cue the orchestra.

P.S. Check out Dan Epstein’s excellent article on Rolling Stone about The Bad News Bears.

 

The Next Day

David-Bowie-Last-Photo

When you hear that someone you don’t know, but have known for as long as you can remember, has died, can you cry?  Can the news of their death compel your friends and family to think of you first after hearing the unbelievable news?  In my case, absolutely.

 

 

 

 

My Bowie bookshelf
My Bowie bookshelf

On David Bowie’s birthday last week, I planned to start a countdown to his 70th birthday in with a series of posts over the course of 2016.  I have lots of David Bowie stuff “under the lids” –  clippings, magazines, and souvenirs and I thought it would be fun to share.

 

 

 

 

But then this ….

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.

Like millions of fans around the world. I never met David Bowie but have had had him in my life for as long as I can remember.  I think my first Bowie memory is from the late 1970’s when I was around 8 or 9 years old,  hearing his music on our kitchen radio.  I’ve surrounded myself with David Bowie ever since.

My first David Bowie purchase was Let’s Dance both on vinyl and cassette.  My first concert regret ever was not being able to see the Serious Moonlight Tour.  I would have to wait until 1987 to see him perform live.  It was at the CNE with Northern Pikes and a version of Duran Duran.  We had terrible seats but it was incredible and worth the journey from London, Ontario to Toronto.  I saw him every time he came to Toronto after that. IMG_4366 Here’s my first of many David Bowie concert ticket stubs.  Note the ticket price and “No Cameras” message.

 

 

 

 

 

I went on to watch every video, attend every concert, and buy almost every magazine that featured him, and courtesy of Etsy, have been able to find Bowie-inspired accessories to add that little of Bowie to my day.  IMG_4273

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the evening of January 11 listening to David Bowie on vinyl while I looked through my folder of clippings and stack of Bowie related magazines including a couple wonderful Hello! magazines and Architectural Digest.  My husband flipped the albums for me and listened to me as I went through  my collection of Bowie stuff. (When we got married, there was no question Heroes would be our wedding song.)  David Bowie had been mostly out of the public eye for so long, it was easy to almost forget how very public he once was.  His personality, his charisma and his sense of humour all came through in interviews and performances.

So over the course of the year as we inch closer to “what would have been his 70th birthday” and the first anniversary of his death, I will share more of my favourite Bowie moments.  When I was much younger and living at home, this was how I surrounded myself with David Bowie.

My room when I was growing up. Under the Lids
My room when I was growing up. Under the Lids

 

 

For the kids on the cusp of Claus

A few years ago we discovered the ultimate, most incredible stocking stuffer. The solution for kids to continue believing in the magic of Santa Claus.     The best gift for kids on the cusp of Claus. 

Enter the Chocolate Santa aka Secret Santa Notes.  Deborah Torr is the owner, chocolatier and head Elf at Coco Organic Chocolates in Toronto.   Here’s how it works.   You write a personalized note from Santa to your kid and email it to her.  Deborah and her elves hand write the note (guaranteeing handwriting your kid hasn’t seen before).  The note from Santa gets rolled up – and here’s the magic part – gets sealed inside of a hollow chocolate Santa.   There is no marking on the chocolate Santa other than a handwritten name tag.  There isn’t any packaging to indicate this came from a store.  And the fact that the chocolate is AMAZING is bonus!

Chocolate Santa from Cocos Organic Chocolates
Chocolate Santa from Cocos Organic Chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The email my husband and I write is highly personalized to our kid and reflects what’s been happening lately, whether it’s good or not so good.  One year he and his best friend had a little fight and Santa wrote “How disappointed he was to see him fight with his friend”.  Our kid was almost in tears.    He’s a smart kid and loves Christmas and believes in Santa Claus.  Chocolate Santa helps keep that magic alive in our home.

Click here for more information.  Hurry! You have until December 10 to place your order for a milk or dark chocolate Santa.

 

It’s YOUR Turn

Me October 2015
Me! October 2015. Phillipa C Photography

For many years I would ask myself, when is it going to by my turn?   I would run  into people I hadn’t seen in ages and they had lost a lot of weight by following a weight loss program or taking up running.   Coworkers would try a weight loss program, lose a lot of weight and look great.  Friends were also losing weight, looking amazing.  And don’t get me started on celebs.  I worked out (1-2x/week).  I counted points (sometimes).  I ate healthy (mostly).  But I didn’t lose weight.  When was it going to be MY turn?

 

Me January 2015. Photo via Cityline
Me! January 2015. Photo via Cityline

A year ago I applied to be on the Cityline Weight Loss Challenge.  1200 applicants. 30 interviews. 3 lucky ladies including me. I was more than ready to shed my old way of thinking, my old actions, and my old body.  It was my turn.

I followed Dr. Joey Shulman’s program to a T by keeping a food journal, getting weighed each week and always trying to make the healthiest choices I could.  I literally worked my butt off  working out at The Motion Room 3-4x/week focusing on strength training through bootcamps and personal cotraining.

Photo via Cityline, April 2015
Photo via Cityline, April 2015

At the end of the 3 month challenge I was down 26 lbs.   Since then I’ve lost a total of 35 lbs.  I went from wearing a size 14-16 to a size 8-10.   I  finished my very first 5K run in 30:45, which placed me 46th out of 358 women in my age category!   I have never felt better in my life!

 

The 2016 Cityline Weight Loss Challenge is now accepting applications. You have until November 22 to apply.   Even if you don’t make it on the show, you can still make it your turn.  Dr. Joey’s program will be available to everyone watching the show and online.

It’s your turn!cityline-weightloss-600x400_Final-wo-button-475x315

Last week Joe Mimran – this week Joe Fresh

JoeFreshLogo

If Joe Fresh were a boy he would wear size Large, which is for 10-12 year olds.  Next year marks 10 years since Joe Fresh has been in our closets. Ten years of orange tags, and rounded/even prices – a purposeful strategy to align pricing with the brand.  Ten years of fun, trendy, classic and always affordable fashion.

When the invitation came to join LouLou Magazine for an evening of shopping and cocktails at the Joe Fresh store on Queen and Portland, I RSVP’d yes please!    I arrived to a store that felt like girls’ night out on Boxing Day (minus the coats and boots because it’s summer in November!).  It was wall to wall people, and just about everyone had either a bottle of Mill Street or a glass of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.  A DJ provided the party soundtrack while servers moved effortlessly throughout the store with trays of yummies like mini chicken & waffles, and the tiniest tacos I have ever seen.  And of course, the ubiquitous cupcakes topped with Joe Fresh orange frosting.  I wonder if the original Joe would have gone with vanilla cupcakes & orange frosting to better complement the brand.

Joe Fresh cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Fresh tiny tacos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I briefly chatted with one of the Joe Fresh girls and mentioned I couldn’t  help but notice how neat the store was.  I was impressed at how quickly the piles were replenished, and how despite the crowds, they were still able to help the customers, and how quickly the line was moving.  She said the staff at this location are amazing and I’d have to agree.  She introduced me to Claude Laframboise, LouLou’s fashion director, who patiently held my clothes while I looked for my pen.  Merci Claude!

Joe Fresh change roomJoe Fresh Holiday invites us to embrace the season of giving with collections full of holiday warmth and enchanting winter style.   With collections like Cozy Cabin Getaway, and the new Sweater Dressing, I wasn’t sure I’d find what I was looking for, but I did manage to find a few items to try on from the party-ready black and white themed area.    No matter the price, if the fit and/or cut isn’t right for me, I won’t buy it.    I ended up with one black top and a black skirt, neither of which look anything like the other black tops and black skirts I have in my closet.  I’m of the opinion you can’t have too many black clothes.  And since I got rid of most of my wardrobe, I’m stocking up.

I came away with an outfit, 2 pairs of tights, a sparkly belt, the coziest hoodie ever, 2 pairs of PJs, and a pair of pants for my kid.  Everything was 25% off AND I redeemed some of my PCPlus Points and saved another $60!

If Joe Fresh was a boy turning 10, he’d finally get to drive a go-cart all by himself.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Joe Fresh will celebrate being 10.

 

The man with the brands: Joe Mimran

joseph_mimran-410x215
Joe Mimran c/o Gibraltar Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

My career has came full circle: I used to work retail at Club Monaco, and on October 30th I was at the Canada Post event, Think Inside the Box , listening to Joe Mimran talk about Building a Brand.  Yes, the man behind such Canadian brand success stories as Joe Fresh, Club Monaco and Pink Tartan.  And don’t forget the short-lived but beloved Caban – a retail concept clearly ahead of its time.  Joe Mimran was speaking to a room full of direct marketers about branding.   I worked at Club Monaco from 1990 when they were the near the end of their preppy era – think button downs and khaki shorts  and giant logo-fronted sweatshirts – until 1993 when it was leggings, over-sized Versace-ish shirts and scoop neck tops.   My superior folding skills date back to when I had to line up the M’s on all those sweatshirts.

via Sierra Rose Vintage
via Sierra Rose Vintage

 

 

 

 

 

Listening to Joe Mimran speak, it was clear where his passion is because the words came freely and from the heart.  He talked about coming to Canada from Casablanca at the age of 4 and living on Spadina Avenue.  His mom used to make his clothes and he helped make decisions about the designs.  Picture one of his favourite outfits:  yellow mohair sweater paired with brown corduroy pants.    I don’t think even Karlie Kloss would rock this #OOTD like 12 year old Joe did.

He intuitively decided against trying to license an American brand in Canada and instead chose to launch a fashion brand from the ground up.  He spent 60% of his time getting capital, while dealing with 28% interest rates.  But he persevered and the first Club Monaco store opened Queen Street in 1985.  Joe’s passion was only matched by his vision – with only two stores under his belt, he would tell staff Club would one day be a global brand.

His passion and his laser focus on details are what help set his brands apart.  Joe shared a story from when he was doing consulting.  He worked with a new company who wanted so desperately to launch their brand   At every meeting they asked when they would have a fashion show but Joe said they had yet to build their brand.  This continued until he finally said to them one day “If you really understood how to build a brand, you’d get rid of the dead plant in your reception area.”  Brands need to be consistent inside and out.

Joe said he had failure at every one of his successes.  When asked about his leadership style he spoke again about passion.  One of the design associates at Joe Fresh was responsible for socks.  She was capable and technical, but not really passionate about socks.  He shared his ideas and enthusiasm for what could be done with socks (again, way ahead of the current sock craze) and he got her excited about socks.   I found this funny as he’s now usually pictured without socks.

Joe’s words about building a brand are simple.  Brands need strength, flexibility and a clear vision.  Be prepared to take risks and embrace change while staying true to your brand ethos.

dead-plant-400x251

Windows 85

September cal 2

Back in 1985, one of my friends had some time on her hands and decided to make me something very special.  Using different scraps and magazine cutouts, she created a personalized advent calendar that was all about me.  Each window was numbered and labelled with an A.   Except for 5.  Poor five was forgotten.   Open a window and get a peek at me.  But not in a creepy peeping Tom kind of way… A window into my life 30 years ago.

Each day this month I’ve been opening the day’s window and sharing the video on Instragram.   We’re only half way through September and I’m surprised at how much about me is the same from 30 years ago.

I want to post each of the tiny videos here, but until I can figure out how to do that, I’ll continue sharing via Instagram.  If you’d like to see the videos just click on the Instagram link on the right hand side of this page.   Let me know what you think.  And I’m curious, how different is adult-you compared to highschool-you?

In the unlikely event I meet Judy Blume

ButtonA couple of months ago, I abruptly ended my post about the 40th anniversary of Forever when I found out Judy Blume was coming to Toronto.  I wanted more details and I NEEDED tickets.  The Toronto Public Library was hosting the event to promote Judy’s first adult novel in 15 years, In the Unlikely Event.  Judy – she of purple-cover Are You There God It’s Me Margaret – was going to be the Toronto Reference Library!  I HAD to be at this reading.  I put reminders in my calendars and weeks later when the day came I went online and my tix were confirmed at 9am sharp. I think by 9:10 it was sold out.  But I had two glorious tickets and couldn’t wait!   I would get my copy of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret SIGNED!!!!

Old Blume I checked my book shelf at home and found 3 old Blume books, but not Margaret.  Then it hit me – I lent it out to someone years ago and now it was gone.   Plan B:  I’ll just buy an old copy and bring that to the reading.    Starting with Pandemonium and a couple other used book stores in the Junction I came away empty handed, except for the reminder to check out abebooks.com, a terrific aggregate used book store.

Between the CoversAnd thanks to the good folks at betweenthecovers.com I had a purple cover back on my shelf, ready for Judy.

Old and new Blume

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the event, TPL emailed all ticket holders:: “Please note: Judy Blume will only be able to sign one copy of In The Unlikely Event per person. Because of audience size and time constraints, Judy will not be able to sign any of her other books.”   Sad face.

got your back judyBut I turned that frown upside on June 29 – the night of the BIG EVENT.  I arrived at the library before 5pm and there was already a line up.  As I waited for my friend, I was surrounded by the chatter of hundreds of 12 year old girls disguised as 20, 30, 40, 50 year olds.    Still waiting for my friend at the front of the line, suddenly there she was and pretty in pink!   How can this woman be 77 years old??  I’ve got your back, Judy!

 

judy interviewRachel Giese was the woman we wanted to be as she interviewed Judy Blume and she did a terrific job.    Judy was such an absolute delight to listen to.  Her stories were interesting, her answers insightful.  I loved how she kept reaching out and touching Rachel’s arm like they were old friends catching up.  She was so genuine, warm, funny and real. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this.   I could listen to her recite a recipe and know that there will be wonderful twists and tangents that will go beyond what’s on paper.  And then there was George.  George Cooper, a non-fiction author and Judy’s husband of nearly 30 years.  Their love and partnership was clearly evident as he helped fill in the blanks in her stories, and stood to wave the crowd of his wife’s adoring fans.  George chatted and even signed books as we waited for our moment with his wife.

Judy 1The staff from Penguin Random House were super organized in ensuring the line moved fast and not a moment was wasted or lost.  Here’s me and Judy!  “HiJudyit’ssoamazingtomeetyou!”  Yes I spoke that fast.

 

 

 

judy 2Me::  “If you’re not busy on July 20 you should come for a girl’s cottage visit! You’ll have so much fun!”  Judy:  “I’d love to!   Here let me write down the directions.”  Actually I think her words were “Oh!  I’ll be in Dublin Ireland.”  Me:  “That’s ok.”

 

 

judy 5“ThankyousomuchforeverythingJudy!”

 

 

 

 

Love Judy