#requiredreading: I'm Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett

Ok, so here I am, writing another book review. 

Except I am probably really bad at this. Because all I really want to do is quote you all the things I highlighted in the book. I want to read you the parts that made me cry, the lines that made me laugh out loud, and especially the ones that I actually had to write down on sticky notes and past all over my desk/mirror/headboard/fridge. 

If I do all of that, I will of course ruin the book-reading experience for you. I'll tell you the ending before you even read the book. The funny thing is, you may already know the ending of this one, and it's the middle part where the real story is here - and it is for this reason, you need to read THIS particular book. 

I am talking about Janelle Hanchett's new memoir of mothering and addiction, I'm Just Happy to Be Here, available for pre-order NOW and being released on May 1, 2018. 

Like I said, some of you are already familiar with Janelle. She is the writing genius behind the blog Renegade Mothering. You know, the one who writes all the things we are all thinking about motherhood and life (with the requisite curse words), but are too nice to actually say out loud for fear of being thought of as an asshole, or you know, a person who is not the Valencia-filtered, my house is all white but I have three kids and two dogs and a goat and go check out my Instagram Stories for my DIY hand-scraped hardwood floors, perfect MOMMY!

You may think you know Janelle and her lovely brood of children with her equally lovely (read: hot, bearded, HOTTIE MacHOTPANTS) husband from reading her blog, and maybe we all do, to a point. #HappytoBeHere is the part of the story we don't know, the part where we see how far someone can go and how much they can lose to addiction. Janelle takes us along on her reckless journey to her lowest point and then, with repeated backslides and falls along the way, her climb back up from that pit. 


This isn't just a recovery memoir. It's a truth-revealing one. And not just Janelle's truths, but universal ones that we all need to hear, and maybe write on sticky notes and post them all over the place to repeat to ourselves like little daily mantras helping us get out of our own heads, you know, ummm... if that is something you do. 

Go and pre-order the book. Request it at your local library. Tell your book club to add it to their list for 2018. Whatever you need to do, just get it and read it. 

You too will realize, just how happy you are to be here. 


Disclosure: Hanchette Book Group sent me an Advance Reading Copy of the book to read. All opinions are my own. 


Friday Faves: In no particular order.

I'd like to get back to sharing my favourite people, places and things with you again. This practice is yet another on the list of writing related things that bring me joy and I'm all about getting and giving joy where and when I can. Especially when our current world can seem like a giant mountain of poop some days.  

I've taken to using the hashtags #shoplocal, #shopsmall, and #askmewhere on my Social Media posts lately and I wholeheartedly believe in local/small/ethical consumerism and love to help others discover really cool companies to support.

And I like to shop. Plain and simple. Pretty new things also bring me much joy. 

So, without further ado, here are my current favourites:

1. Everlane High-waist Wide-leg Cropped pants

Ok, listen up women. We've been doing pants wrong. We all have a natural waist and we've been ignoring it for years. I stumbled across high waist jeans last year when I got my first pair of high waist Gwen jeans from Fidelity Denim and now, I swear I don't want to wear anything BUT high waist pants anymore.  High waist pants are the freaking cat's meow people! They make you look taller, they contain what may otherwise (with a low waist pant) appear as "muffin-top, and in my case, actually help me with my posture and gait post hip and knee surgery. 

They are like miracle pants! Basically - just do it. Jump on this here bandwagon and stand a little taller in your fancy ass high waist pants! (Oh, and yes, your ass will look rather nice too.)

  Everlane Wide Leg High Waist Cropped Pant   (not so cropped on me of course!)

Everlane Wide Leg High Waist Cropped Pant

(not so cropped on me of course!)

2. Knix Padded Evolution Bra and High Waist Luxe Underwear. 

I've been a fan of the Knixwear Evolution bra since it's Kickstarter days and I have a few of them, but I JUST ordered a padded one this past month. And now I have ordered another one. I like it that much! Full disclosure, I've also tried the V-neck bra, but I don't like it as much as the original Evolution bra. Oh and since I am on a high-waist kick at the moment, I am also loving the Luxe High Rise briefs from Knixwear as well. 

Pro-tip ladies - high waist or retro briefs are great under skirts and dresses, again, getting rid of those pesky muffin panty lines. Do not know the so-called granny panties, our Grannies knew a thing or two about undergarments!

3. Boocha

Do you like kombucha? Do you even know what kombucha is? Never mind. The details don't really matter (and may gross you out a bit). Just know that it is good and good for you. And there is a local company here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada making the yummiest handcrafted kombucha. They are called boocha. You can find their kombucha bottled in their cute stub-neck brown bottles at various cafe's and businesses in the city and on tap at a few places too. And rumour has it, boocha makes a great mix for cocktails. My personal trainer fully endorsed this idea this morning as a healthy alternative to pop or juice for your fancy drinks. ;)

 Testing all the flavours to find my favourite. (missing is the Lavender one - which is super Yummy too!)

Testing all the flavours to find my favourite. (missing is the Lavender one - which is super Yummy too!)

4. PURA Botanicals Skincare

I hate winter. Ok, fine, I don't really hate it, I just hate how dry my skin gets in winter. In order to combat the epic dryness that our extended winter's inevitably bring, I started using PURA Botanicals skin care this past fall. And I am in LOVE. First off, all of the Pura products are made in small batches of the most pristine plant-based, non-toxic ingredients. Second, they SMELL amazing, and last but not least, they work. I now have the softest, loveliest, skin ever, and have not had that tight dryness feeling in my face all winter. I am particularly fond of the Overnight Watermelon Mask and the Ambrosia Beautifying Serum. And for those winter getaways, I can't recommend the little sample/travel kit enough. Everything is the perfect size to get you through a week away, without having to lug around all your big pots of product. 



5. The Poppy Barley Satchel

I am forever on the hunt for the "PERFECT PURSE". You know, the one that is not too big, not too small, can fit all the things I need, but also force me to edit what I actually need to be carrying around so I don't end up with a Mary Poppins carpet bag purse where things get lost in the far recesses. 

I think I may have found it, thanks to Poppy Barley. I already have The Essentials Purse from PB, and I love it for when I just need my wallet and my phone and a lipgloss or two. The Essential is perfect for a night out and when a purse is needed, but a sequenced clutch would be too much. For those other times when I need a little more room, the newest addition to the PB Accessories line, I think The Shoulder Satchel is the one. It's got a classic, sophisticated look to it, can fit an iPad (and everything else I need), and can be held with the handle or worn cross body. It looks and feels like a proper grown-up purse and one that will never go out of style. 

Now, I just need to decide if I want the Black or the Caramel...?


And there you have it, my current list of favourite things. What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments. And as always, know that I like to #shopsmall, #shoplocal and give shout outs to companies that are run by women and for women. 

Have a great weekend everyone!








Required Reading: So you want to talk about Race, By Ijeoma Oluo

It's hard to write a review of a book that you wish never had to be written. 

(And right off the bat, I screw it up, because you know what's way effing harder than writing a review of a book like this...

WRITING the gawd-damn book. Fuck. I'm sorry Ijeoma.)

But here we are, it's 2017, North American politics is a cess pool of alt-right, fake news, white supremacist bullshit, and there are people who either believe that racism doesn't exist anymore or who see the rise of these so-called "politicians" as permission to be their racist-ass-selves all out in the public now.... 

And we (white people) all wring our hands and wonder, how did we get here? 

The thing is folks, I am 100% positive that people of colour haven't seen this "sudden rise" in racism. They know it has always been there. That WE have always been here, a lot of us with our heads buried comfortably in the sand.  

The internet and open platforms like Facebook and Twitter and blogging have given voices to those who have been on the margins of our squeaky clean, literally WHITE-WASHED world, and the choice we are faced with now, is to keep our heads buried in that sand, or lift them up, see the injustices faced by people who don't look like us, and figure out how to be good, effective allies and help put out the garbage-fire that is consuming our world.

Reading this book would be a good place to start. 

I am talking about "So you want to talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo. I first started following and reading Ijeoma two years ago via Twitter. I have since devoured everything she has written. She is a warrior, a mother, a writer, a gawd-damn genius with make-up, and as much as I know this exhausts her - an educator for the (white) masses. 

SYWTTAR is both a memoir and a manual. Oluo mined her life to give us examples of the kinds of everyday racism she has faced, that she still faces, each and every day. Can you imagine the strength one needs to be able to do that? To relive over and over, through edit after edit, book tours, interviews, and readings, the most painful, dehumanizing points in your life?

I started writing because I had to.
Because my world was on fire and nobody was saying anything.
Now my world is still on fire,
but people keep applauding my ability to describe the flames.
— Ijeoma Olua, Medium: My Book is about Race. Of course it is.

Ijeoma did that. She has said that she writes because she has to, she writes to be heard and for others who can't be heard. And in this instance, I feel like she has also written this book, so that when the randos come at her on Twitter or Facebook demanding she explain racism to them ONCE AGAIN, she can now send them a link to Amazon and GET PAID FOR THAT SHIT! 

And people, you will pay for this book, and if you are ready, you will learn from it, and as a result (I hope) you will become a better ally to all people of colour. Because this book is not only a memoir of Oluo's deeply personal stories, it is a manual for the rest of us on how to not only talk about race, but to actively do some introspection to understand and acknowledge our own racism, and then actually do something about it. 

If you consider yourself to be intersectional, this is required reading. 

If you consider yourself an ally to people of colour, this is required reading.

If you think you shouldn't talk about racism because you are not a visible minority, this is required reading. 

If you are worried about saying the wrong thing when talking about race, THIS IS REQUIRED READING. 

If you are a human person, who was born on a day ending in Y,


And yes, there will be a test...

Be ready for it.