Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share this link my BFF passed along:

PopSugar's "They Dated? Fun Celebrity Couples From the Past"

If the crazy pairings don't blow you away, the hair, makeup and clothing will at least give you a good laugh.

My favorite - Brad Pitt and Christina Applegate.

Umm.. when did this happen? Answer - 1989. That explains the hair and makeup.. sort of. Also, check out Brad's vest.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Work, Parenting and Society

I’m not a mom (not yet, anyway) but I AM passionate about women’s issues with an especially fierce emotional connection to the issue of work, gender expectations and motherhood. 
When I read Kristin Maschka’s post titled Why We Need to Get Rid of the Terms “SAHM” and “working mother”, her arguments resonated with me, and got me thinking about my own views of work and family.
Anyone who has dared to broach this subject with me has likely heard my argument (rant?) using large law firms as an example. This industry is a strong, yet perhaps extreme, example of how employment frameworks (across all industries, not just law) are flawed and need to evolve based on social realities. This Globe and Mail article reports that the way law firms are run (long hours, late meetings) means that women are much more likely than men to leave the firm and only account for 21% of law firm partners.
When discussing this with a lawyer at a networking event, he argued that many women (and some men) have different priorities and therefore should not be partners, and the system is encouraging them to self-select out. He felt this was okay, a good thing even.
It is not a good thing and it is definitely not okay.
I counter-argued. This “system” or employment framework of long hours and 5 pm meetings – what is so essential and necessary about this to be a successful lawyer or run a successful law firm? Is this really the best or only way to run a large law firm, or are these practices based on tradition? Is it a bona fide requirement of the job or an irrational cultural expectation? 
Are there not alternatives that could be used that would accommodate not just these female lawyers, but all lawyers? After all, men are parents too. As much as women are leaving high powered careers in favour of more family time, those male partners are sacrificing fatherhood in favour of their careers.
I challenge organizations to redesign the employment framework. Be creative. I’m not just talking about offering flextime or parental benefits. I think society can go much farther out of the box than that. In our generation, both women and men are educated, experienced and valuable employees. They are also both nurturing and caring parents. My vision for the future is a world that doesn’t just accommodate parenthood, but integrates it.
My life is my work and my family; my economic contribution and my relationships.
And I don’t see the need to choose between the two, even if I have to fight to keep both.
Licia Ronzulli, an MEP from Italy, took her daughter Victoria to work at the European parliament in September 2010. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Baking

I'll use any holiday as an excuse to bake and Valentine's Day is no exception. Last night I baked six cupcakes and a small cake:

Cherry chip cupcakes with buttercream frosting and MMF toppers

Cherry chip cake decorated with MMF
I'm especially proud of finally getting smooth fondant corners on the cake! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One week, two dinners!

I'm very proud to say that I've cooked not one, but two dinners this week!

I have a serious aversion to cooking meals. It's a combination of lack of interest, little to no patience, and embarassingly bad cooking skills. This year though, as I mentioned in my New Year's post, I've been inspired to learn to cook and contribute more in the kitchen.

I'm happy to report that this wasn't a fleeting new year's resolution, and I'm actually following through!

This week I've made baked chicken tortilla rolls with a salad and a turkey mushroom lasagna. This wasn't an unwrap the package, stick in oven type meal either. I was chopping vegetables, browning meat - and even made a sauce from scratch for the tortillas! Maybe I'll even get good at this whole cooking thing and be posting tutorials one day! (yeah right)

Both my meals received good reviews (positive reinforcement?) as well as some suggestions for improvement ... but its a learning experience, right?

Turkey Mushroom Lasagna

Friday, February 3, 2012

Momma & Me in Mexico

I'm back from paradise nice and relaxed with a tan. Momma took me for a week long vacation to the El Dorado Royale as a 25th Birthday gift.

Side note: Remember how excited she was for my birthday? She was just as excited for Mexico!

We got up early most days - usually around 6:30am. No, I'm not kidding. That's what happens when you travel with your mom (or at least my mom).

It was a great routine to get into that I really appreciated. We even saw the sun rise! After an early breakfast and delicious coffee we were changed into our swimsuits and tanning for hours in our own private swim-up area, with a view of the beach and Caribbean Sea.

On our way to lunch we would stop and say hello to the many local iguanas, including this one just across the lazy river from our room:

Mom got up close with one the staff told us was named Pancho:

A favorite lunch dish of mine was the taquitos - much better than the frozen ones I microwave at home:

Back in our room we were greeted by beautiful towel art. This elephant was my favorite!

Our afternoons were spent doing activities like archery, water balloon fights and trivia contests, or simply reading and swimming at the pool or the beach.

Each evening we enjoyed amazing food - our favorite was the formal Italian restaurant with delicious portobello soup and lobster lasagna that I'll be craving for months.

An excellent trip and I just want to say: