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October 31st, 2014

This is Halloween!

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So it seems that this site is resolving itself into some sort of Mom Blog, but I am entirely OK with that. This year, for halloween, Edward and I decided to take full advantage of our daughter’s love of the spotlight, and attention, and over-friendlyness with strangers – and put on a show! Last week at Nathan Phillips Square, Lydia was the center of attention as our little Baby Zombie…

It was exciting and fun – although something she won’t remember, something I hope that she looks back on fondly. She certainly had a good time, playing to the crowd and being generally adorable. It was a bit bizzare though – like how I assume celebrities feel when they are mobbed by photographers. Eddie and I didn’t dress as zombies – but rather as a 1950’s couple, which I thought was clever although did realize that it was lost on most spectators – we hardly got a passing glance.

 

Lydia loving the limelight. #zombiebaby #torontozombiewalk #toronto #zombiewalk #babyzombie

A photo posted by Chantelle Joy Otto (@chantellejoy) on

 

However – that was only the beginning – I spent the entire week leading up to Halloween working on the costume we’ve been planning for… well, over a year! Last year she was too little (and I was out of town), so we didn’t really do costumes. This year, I wanted to hand-make her costume. I have really fond memories of my mother making our costumes every year. Not only could we not afford store-bought ones, she happens to be extremely handy on the sewing machine (and knitting needles, etc).

So, when it came time every year for Halloween I hardly had a choice in the matter – it was whatever awesome pattern my mom could get. I’ve begun the tradition anew and (at least for the next few years) Lydia will be the unwilling victim of my Halloween Wimsey – which, alongside a healthy dose of Hipsterism, means that she’ll likely be dressing as obscure movie or TV characters for the foreseeable future.

To begin my rein of Vintage Terror – I give you: Lydia!      

“Though I know I should be wary, still I venture someplace scary. Ghostly hauntings I turn loose…” A photo posted by Chantelle Joy Otto (@chantellejoy) on

Not to get too Pintersty on you, but I did happen to take a few photos of me making the costume along the way – so here goes…

Red wool, measured and cut to her wingspan and just below knees – I didn’t want to make it so long that she’d trip on it. I simply traced placed the wool on the liner fabric and cut 1″ larger, then pinned and sewed it with a hem.

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I realized almost immediately that I had made an error. I did a fantastic job of sewing the lining – but it should hae been the LAST thing I did. I now had to work via the neck-hole to sew the webbing on. It was difficult as heck – but after a few test-runs with pins – I managed to actually do it.

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It just needed a few finishing touches, around the collar – and of course, the worlds cutest model.

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And for those poor souls who need a bit of extra help:

cartoonlydia

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

October 22nd, 2014

Baby Book Review

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In downtown Toronto it’s no easy feat to get into certain programs or classes (see this article from The GridTO on the issue). So when I was able to get Lydia into Baby Reading Time at the brand-new Fort York Library (after calling for over 2hrs, and then being waitlisted, and switching to a third just-added class), I was very proud. Except, after the first couple classes I realized something very tragic.

Lydia doesn’t seem to like books!

She loved the singing and dancing portion of the class, but for the part where she’s supposed to actually sit down and listen to the books, she wasn’t the least bit interested. As the weeks continued, however, it became apparent to me that it wasn’t a Lydia Specific Issue. The class was for ages 0-18 months, and while the younger (immobile) babies seemed to be enjoying themselves aplenty, the older kids (over-one-year-olds) had the same issue as Lydia – she just didn’t want to stay still.

I’ve actually read quite a bit on how to raise a child that ‘behaves well’ – most specifically one that’s quiet and attentive in public places – like restaurants. The trick to this, it seems, is to teach them how to sit still.  One way to to do that is to read to them, everyday! Armed with that knowledge, we’ve been making an effort – and can actually get her to sit through several stories right before bedtime, but our resources are limited. While obviously she loves the same stories over, and over, and over, I do not.

So, back to the Library we went – and checked out her very first batch of books! Here they are, with our expert opinion on each.

First up, The Very Hungry Caterpiller. A Classic.

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I very much enjoy the art work, and Lydia very much enjoys the Flappy Bits.

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The following is a standard Saturday meal for me, too.

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Eddie remarked that he though the Caterpiller might be Pregnant. Spoilers: it isn’t.

The second book was a delightful surprise. One of my favourite stories, adapted for babies. Amazingly, and hilariously acted out by felt puppets.

Pride and Prejudice as told in exactly a dozen words by Cozy Classics.

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Sadly, in this extremly abridged version, Lydia’s nametwin does not make an appearance.

Next up was a classic that I knew was likely a bit too complex and long of a story for a 17 month old, but I wanted to get it anyways. The artwork is delightful and the vaguely macabre overtones make me giggle.

Besides, Eddie made me read Bringing Up Bébé in the hopes of raising a perfect little French Child – I’m certain that reading Madeline is part of that recipe, non?

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How can a book at once idealize French Orphanage while also making them seem so bleak?

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Or, wait, is it a Boarding School? I’d better go read it again…

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Ugh, this art just kills me. So beautiful.

The next book we got, was entirely found by accident (I think some kid left it behind on a shelf it wasn’t supposed to be on) but is probably my favourite of the bunch. Super Hero Opposites.

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This book is RIFE with begging-to-be-photoshopped material.

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But, mostly I just like how much it features Batman.

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Which leaves us with our final book.

I picked this one up because we are trying to start to teach the kid about The Potty, and this book seemed to cover that issue. Turns out, it’s probably one of the most hilarious, funnest, cleverest baby books I’ve ever read. Dinosaur VS The Potty.

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In doing my research to post about this, seconds ago I found out that it’s part of a Series (including Dinsosaur VS Bedtime,  Dinsosaur VS The Library and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT - Dinosaur VS Santa!)

Eddie LOVES reading this book, and the sarcasm and wit of the author really comes through.

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I’d love to show you more – but keeping this book away from Lydia for more than 3 seconds is impossible. It’s her new Favorite!

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If you have any baby book suggestions, I’d love to hear them!


We’re going to try to make going to the Library for books  a more regular thing!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

September 16th, 2014

2014 So far

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Lets just skip the whole part about the 14+ month absence and continue on like everyone has kept up to date via Facebook and Instagram, because lets face it, anyone who’s reading this has.

So, TIFF 2014 is over, and the weather has turned drastically to Autumn, and for some reason I feel like writing a blog post. Maybe it is because I believe things are going particularly well right now – optimism, for once!

I started a new physiotherapist at the start of the month and already feel like it’s helping immensely – which is good because once Lydia gets her cast off (Tomorrow!) the Otto family will be back at FULL SPEED AHEAD. Eddie and I are off to Vegas (made possible by the generousity of His Parents flying from Alberta to Babysit for 4 nights!) in a few days, and I am very much excited about that. We haven’t ever been away from the kid for a night alone by ourselves, let along four nights!

She’s back at playgroup (whenever we get to it), and we have Library Reading Time every Tuesday, and I feel like I’m really Parenting the heck out of her. Some auditory feedback in the way of a verbal “Mom” would be nice – but she has resolved to calling everyone “Daddy”, especially when she wants something out of reach.

I honestly havn’t much else to share, but feel this strange need to never let this site be completely useless or un-updated, so here we are.

 

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

July 17th, 2013

So, Baby Carrot is a girl. Her name is Lydia.
Which was my Grandmothers name. (But mostly we’re telling people it’s from Beetlejuice)
(Or, more honestly, this Beetlejuice)
(Unless, you’re Ahli, then this Lydia)

She’s also nearly two months old, and I haven’t updated my blog. Roh Noes. Obviously I’ve been a bit busy.

I won’t go into great detail about my delivery (8 Days Late, C-Section; actually went pretty smooth), or the first week (Hell. Pure Hell.), but will go on record as saying that I *seriously* lucked out in the Baby Department.

When they were assigning babies to parents at the Distribution of Infants Facility they really messed up – I got a very relaxed, quiet, super extra adorable one (which makes the above photo even more hilarious). She only really cries when I’m being mildly neglectful (like letting her wimper for a few minutes longer than I should, while I finish up sending an Instagram, or tweet, instead of feeding her Right Meow).


Actually this is how she is 95% of the time that she’s awake.
(Which is really only like 50% of the time, anyway)
I’m finding my new profession of Stay At Home Mom to be very similar to my previous profession of Deadbeat Pregnant Wife, but far superior to my Actual Job, mostly because there are more naps included. And TV watching. Feeding a baby is super boring. I’ve watched nearly all of Hannibal (amazing – watch it now!) in the span of a week. I’ve also plowed through all three seasons of Portlandia in about about a fortnight. Seriously, Netflix is a new parent’s Best Friend.

A few things that I’m missing though are*; the time I spend on a computer (I get a few minutes here or there – but I’m so out of the loop, I simply can’t Internet while Mothering… yet.), and the time to do my Nails whenever I want. I mean, I’m still doing both those things, but I have to strategically schedule them around when The Husband will take over. We still go out to restaurants, we flew to Alberta and visited Friends & Family for a week (again, awesome baby was awesome – slept the whole flight there & back!), I’ve seen a few movies (thanks to Babysitter Grandma), so overall things are basically the same as usual.

Enjoying the rest of summer with visits to The Island, Billy’s Cottage, and (now that I’m back on the Booze…) Beerfest!

*Oh, and Sleep. I miss Sleep. She’s a decent sleeper, going one 5-6hr stretch at night, followed by one (maybe two) 2-3hr stretch – but once she starts going 8-10 at once I’ll be grateful and overjoyed. Mama needs her Z’s.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

April 26th, 2013

AppoLearning

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So proud to be a part of the AppoLearning expert team. See all of my reviews for this education-based app review site by reading my Expert Profile. Learn more about AppoLearning here, or visit the site!

Status: Ongoing 2013+
Visit: http://www.appolearning.com

An Expert on appoLearning.com

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

April 15th, 2013

So, I’m two weeks away from being Full Term.
Yikes.

At this point I couldn’t imagine myself getting any bigger, but Baby Carrot still has some growing to do before they enter the world. One of my most favorite hobbies is watching my belly bounce and wriggle, which is both very amusing, and quite horrifying.

This post really isn’t about me though. It’s about my Husband and how:

I think Eddie is having a Hard Time with The Pregnancy
(Well, to be fair, I pretty much just mean the last month or so of The Pregnancy)

He seems to have started suffering from, what I can only assume is,
Body Dismorphic Disorder By Proxy.

(It’s totally a real thing!)

The further along I am, the more he grieves at the loss of Medium Size Chantelle

Don’t get me wrong, he knows I’m not getting fat.
He knows that I’ve actually only gained an appropriate, normal amount of weight.
He knows that I’ve made the effort to stay healthy & active.
It’s not about that, really.

It really comes down to me being a Kiwi Bird.

Sometime in the last 8 months Eddie came across this picture;

That image has stick with him, to the point of distraction.
He can’t not think about it when he sees my belly.

If it weren’t for the fact that he can feel and see* the baby moving around in me, he’d probably be convinced that I’m growing an Egg.

*I can understand how this fact of the process is terrifying for most people.
As a Pregnant Lady, I am lucky enough to be dosed with the exact right kind of hormones for me to think that a writhing-under-my-skin bump/lump is Adooorable, but for most it’s pretty disgusting, I get that.


This is a photo that I took this morning.</p>

I think I just look like a typical pregnant lady.

Messy Hair, striped shirt, weird butt-out posture.

But then it dawned on me…

Eddie is right, I am a Kiwi Bird!

I really don’t want to give birth to an Egg!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

March 12th, 2013

Showered with Love

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I might be a loud, talkative, know-it-all – but surprisingly, I don’t like being the center of attention that much.

I’ve not had a proper Birthday Party since I was about 10 years old, and didn’t have a Bachelorette/Wedding Shower, or anything like that before I got married. My wedding had three guests. However, I really wanted a Baby Shower though, something about the attention, for baby was acceptable.

I was also opinionated on the fact that I didn’t want to be the one organizing the whole thing, knowing I would stress over the littlest details. I had Angelina (and her amazing father, who is the #1 best Party Host of all-time) step up to the plate – and Boy-o-wow did they deliver! Amazing decorations, food, and games!


My wonderful hosts – Mrs. Purpura Earley & Father, Captain P!

Firstly, I was so happy and grateful to every single person who came out – just by doing so they made me feel loved and special (which, sappy, I know, but it’s true). It was the most random mix of people! From family, friends and co-workers, and nearly everyone didn’t know the other two thirds of the group – I was the only one who knew everyone! That made me feel very special.

I also got to see Ingrid, my ‘Big Sister‘, who was one of the most influential, inspirational, motivational and supporting forces in my young life, that I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without her. I hadn’t seen her in nearly a decade!

And the generosity! My word! Every single person was amazing at picking out gifts for me and Baby Carrot! I am so grateful to everyone, and was brought nearly to tears a few times from a few of the more sentimental/personal gifts. There were a few hilarious highlights – including Nipple-Guard-Turned-Tassled-Pasties, and a Rilakkuma Tissue Box (which matches exactly with the Nursery theme – an impressive feat when your theme revolves around a Japanese Bear!).

A Few Photos


Some of the lovley decorations, perfect for the theme – Baby Carrot!

 

All the gifts, organized in the (unfinished) Nursery!
 
Grandma Bennett (my mom) & all the treats!

Visit my Album with all my Photos from the Baby Shower

It was a lovely party in honour of my not-yet-arrived little one, and fills my heart with happiness, joy, and antipation for Carrot’s arrival in about 10 weeks!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

February 24th, 2013

Oscars 2013

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While last year I boycotted The Oscars by dressing up from my favorite Snubbed Film, and watched Drive at Allison‘s place, this year I’ve actually got Legit Plans. For my celebrations, I will be attending a TIFF Members-Only cocktail reception and dinner at Spice Route thanks to, and with, Angelina. Although I am unable to get drunk due to a certain medical condition at this time, in my imagination I will be downing Lychee Cosmo after Lychee Cosmo, and finishing with a glass of Champagne.

If you’re interested in my opinion, here is a rundown of my picks, and very brief notes on the matter of the Oscars this year.

BOLD Denotes that films that I suspect will win. PINK are the ones I hope will win. GREEN are my fantasy picks, that were not nominated.

Best Picture

Of these options, Argo is obviously going to win. Although sometimes the Academy pulls a fast one. I liked but didn’t LOVE Les Mis, so that leaves Silver Linings Playbook as the only option I’d like to see win.Although I appreciate the gesture, I think it’s cute that Django is nominated, it’s a great movie (to be sure) but Oscar Material? Meh.

 

Best Director

I haven’t seen most of these films, so I’m left with rooting for one that’s only “Pretty Good”. I am honestly relieved that Tom Hooper wasn’t nominated for Les Mis because that was one of my largest criticism of the film – the directing was *awful*.Moonrise is the best film Anderson has done since Tannenbaums. (Although of Affleck didn’t get nom’d there was certainly no hope for Wes).

 

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper impressed my socks off with his emotional acting chops, I hope he wins (even though Jackman or Day Lewis is more likely).Viggo in there as my fantasy pick: I love him, especially when he’s playing his own twin.
John Hawkes was out-of-this-world amazing in The Sessions – can’t believe he’s not among the nom’d.

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<p>While <a href="http://chantellejoy.com/2012/01/25/the-academy-dumbs/">last year</a> I boycotted The Oscars by <a href="https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/478277_10100971057090882_418059527_o.jpg">dressing up from my favorite Snubbed Film</a>, and watched <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780504/">Drive</a> at <a href="http://ahlicake.tumblr.com/">Allison</a>&#8216;s place, this year I&#8217;ve actually got Legit Plans. For my celebrations, I will be attending a TIFF Members-Only cocktail reception and dinner at <a href="http://www.spiceroute.ca/">Spice Route</a> thanks to, and with, <a href="http://www.theroaminglife.com">Angelina</a>. Although I am unable to get drunk due to a certain medical condition at this time, in my imagination I will be downing Lychee Cosmo after Lychee Cosmo, and finishing with a glass of Champagne.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re interested in my opinion, here is a rundown of my picks, and very brief notes on the matter of the Oscars this year.</p> <p></p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><strong>BOLD</strong> Denotes that films that I suspect will win. <span style="color: #ff00ff;">PINK</span> are the ones I hope will win. <span style="color: #008000;">GREEN</span> are my fantasy picks, that were not nominated.</span></p> <table width="100%" border="0" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left" width="50%"> <h3>Best Picture</h3> <ul> <li><em><a title="Amour (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)">Amour</a></em></li> <li><strong><em><a title="Argo (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(2012_film)">Argo</a></em></strong></li> <li><em><a title="Beasts of the Southern Wild" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beasts_of_the_Southern_Wild">Beasts of the Southern Wild</a></em></li> <li><em><a title="Django Unchained" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Unchained">Django Unchained</a></em></li> <li><em><a title="Les Misérables (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_(2012_film)">Les Misérables</a></em></li> <li><em><a title="Life of Pi (film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Pi_(film)">Life of Pi</a></em></li> <li><em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em></li> <li><span style="color: #800080;"><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><em><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Silver Linings Playbook</span></a></em></span></span></li> <li><em><a title="Zero Dark Thirty" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Dark_Thirty">Zero Dark Thirty</a></em></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="middle" width="50%">Of these options, Argo is obviously going to win. Although sometimes the Academy pulls a fast one. I <em>liked</em> but didn&#8217;t <em>LOVE </em>Les Mis, so that leaves Silver Linings Playbook as the only option I&#8217;d like to see win.Although I appreciate the gesture, I think it&#8217;s cute that Django is nominated, it&#8217;s a great movie (to be sure) but Oscar Material? Meh.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table width="100%" border="0" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left" width="50%"> <h3>Best Director</h3> <ul> <li><a title="Michael Haneke" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Haneke">Michael Haneke</a> – <em><a title="Amour (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)">Amour</a><br /> </em></li> <li><a title="Ang Lee" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ang_Lee">Ang Lee</a> – <em><a title="Life of Pi (film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Pi_(film)">Life of Pi</a></em></li> <li><a title="David O. Russell" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_O._Russell"><strong><span style="color: #ff00ff;">David O. Russell</span></strong></a><span style="color: #000000;"> - </span><em><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><strong><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Silver Linings Playbook</span></a><br /> </strong></span></em></li> <li><a title="Steven Spielberg" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Spielberg">Steven Spielberg</a> – <em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em></li> <li><a title="Benh Zeitlin" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benh_Zeitlin">Benh Zeitlin</a> – <em><a title="Beasts of the Southern Wild" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beasts_of_the_Southern_Wild">Beasts of the Southern Wild</a><br /> </em><span style="color: #008000;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes_Anderson"><span style="color: #008000;"><br /> Wes Anderson</span></a></span><span style="line-height: 19px;"> &#8211; </span><span style="color: #008000;"><em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonrise_Kingdom"><span style="color: #008000;">Moonrise Kingdom</span></a></em></span></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="middle" width="50%">I haven&#8217;t seen most of these films, so I&#8217;m left with rooting for one that&#8217;s only &#8220;Pretty Good&#8221;. I am honestly relieved that Tom Hooper wasn&#8217;t nominated for Les Mis because that was one of my largest criticism of the film &#8211; the directing was *awful*.Moonrise is the best film Anderson has done since Tannenbaums. (Although of Affleck didn&#8217;t get nom&#8217;d there was certainly no hope for Wes).</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table width="100%" border="0" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left" width="50%"> <h3>Best Actor</h3> <ul> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a title="Bradley Cooper" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Cooper"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Bradley Cooper</span></a> – </span><em><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Silver Linings Playbook</span></a></span><br /> </em></li> <li><strong><a title="Daniel Day-Lewis" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Day-Lewis">Daniel Day-Lewis</a> – <em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em></strong><em><br /> </em></li> <li><a title="Hugh Jackman" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Jackman">Hugh Jackman</a> – <em><a title="Les Misérables (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_(2012_film)">Les Misérables</a><br /> </em></li> <li><a title="Joaquin Phoenix" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaquin_Phoenix">Joaquin Phoenix</a> – <em><a title="The Master (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_(2012_film)">The Master</a><br /> </em></li> <li><a title="Denzel Washington" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denzel_Washington">Denzel Washington</a> – <em><a title="Flight (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_(2012_film)">Flight</a><br /> </em><span style="color: #008000;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viggo_Mortensen"><span style="color: #008000;"><br /> Viggo Mortensen</span></a> &#8211; <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Has_a_Plan"><span style="color: #008000;">Everybody Has A Plan</span></a></em></span><span style="color: #008000;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hawkes_(actor)"><span style="color: #008000;"><br /> John Hawkes</span></a> &#8211; <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sessions_(film)"><span style="color: #008000;">The Sessions</span></a></em></span></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="middle" width="50%">Bradley Cooper impressed my socks off with his emotional acting chops, I hope he wins (even though Jackman or Day Lewis is more likely).Viggo in there as my fantasy pick: I love him, especially when he&#8217;s playing <em>his own twin</em>.<br /> John Hawkes was out-of-this-world amazing in The Sessions &#8211; can&#8217;t believe he&#8217;s not among the nom&#8217;d.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><center><img src="http://chantellejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/SilverLiningsCast.png" alt="" title="SilverLiningsCast" width="550" height="300" size-full wp-image-1645" /></center></p> <table width="100%" border="0" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left" width="50%"> <h3>Best Actress</h3> <ul> <li><strong><a title="Jessica Chastain" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Chastain">Jessica Chastain</a> – </strong><em><a title="Zero Dark Thirty" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Dark_Thirty"><strong>Zero Dark Thirty</strong></a><br /> </em><em></em></li> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a title="Jennifer Lawrence" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lawrence"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Jennifer Lawrence</span></a> – </span><em><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Silver Linings Playbook</span></a></em></li> <li><a title="Emmanuelle Riva" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuelle_Riva">Emmanuelle Riva</a> – <em><a title="Amour (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)">Amour</a></em></li> <li><a title="Quvenzhané Wallis" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quvenzhan%C3%A9_Wallis">Quvenzhané Wallis</a> – <em><a title="Beasts of the Southern Wild" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beasts_of_the_Southern_Wild">Beasts / Southern Wild</a><br /> </em></li> <li><a title="Naomi Watts" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Watts">Naomi Watts</a> – <em><a title="The Impossible (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Impossible_(2012_film)">The Impossible</a></em></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="middle" width="50%">I love Jennifer Lawrence to pieces, but I have a few issues with her in this particular role. I know she&#8217;s already gotten a few awards so far, but I have this tricky feeling that Jessica Chastain will win. Besides, <em>She&#8217;s SO Hot Right Now</em>.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table width="100%" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Supporting Actor</h3> </td> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Supporting Actress</h3> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <ul> <li><a title="Alan Arkin" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Arkin">Alan Arkin</a> – <em><a title="Argo (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(2012_film)">Argo</a></em></li> <li><a title="Robert De Niro" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_De_Niro">Robert De Niro</a> – <em><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook">Silver Linings Playbook</a></em></li> <li><a title="Philip Seymour Hoffman" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Seymour_Hoffman">Philip Seymour Hoffman</a> – <em><a title="The Master (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_(2012_film)">The Master</a></em></li> <li><strong><a title="Tommy Lee Jones" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Lee_Jones">Tommy Lee Jones</a> – <em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em></strong></li> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a title="Christoph Waltz" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Waltz"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Christoph Waltz</span></a> – <em><a title="Django Unchained" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Unchained"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Django Unchained</span></a></em></span></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <ul> <li><a title="Amy Adams" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Adams">Amy Adams</a> – <em><a title="The Master (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_(2012_film)">The Master</a></em></li> <li><a title="Sally Field" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Field">Sally Field</a> – <em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em></li> <li><strong><a title="Anne Hathaway" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Hathaway">Anne Hathaway</a> – <em><a title="Les Misérables (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_(2012_film)">Les Misérables</a></em></strong></li> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a title="Helen Hunt" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Hunt"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Helen Hunt</span></a> – <em><a title="The Sessions (film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sessions_(film)"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">The Sessions</span></a></em></span></li> <li><a title="Jacki Weaver" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacki_Weaver">Jacki Weaver</a> – <em><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook">Silver Linings Playbook</a></em></li> </ul> </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">I&#8217;m weary, but hopeful that Christoph Waltz will take home the gold &#8211; he was outstanding and brilliant, and I love him so much. I&#8217;m putting in Tommy Lee as a possible backup, even though I havn&#8217;t seen Lincoln.<br /> <br /> I don&#8217;t know a more locked-down bet than Anne Hathaway for her award this year. She had it in the bag before the film even came out. She was good, and the acting/singing was outstanding by the whole cast, I won&#8217;t even wager anyone else will take it home. That being said, I&#8217;d like to see Helen Hunt win, so that The Sessions could get a bit more publicity. The movie was so good &#8211; one of the best of <a href="http://chantellejoy.com/tiff2012/">TIFF 2012</a>.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><center><img src="http://chantellejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MoonriseKingdom.png" alt="" title="MoonriseKingdom" width="550" height="300" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1648" /></center></p> <table width="100%" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <h3>Best Original Screenplay</h3> </td> <td> <h3>Best Adapted Screenplay</h3> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <ul> <li><em><a title="Amour (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)">Amour</a></em> – <a title="Michael Haneke" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Haneke">Michael Haneke</a></li> <li><strong><em><a title="Django Unchained" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Unchained">Django Unchained</a></em> – <a title="Quentin Tarantino" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Tarantino">Quentin Tarantino</a></strong></li> <li><em><a title="Flight (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_(2012_film)">Flight</a></em> – <a title="John Gatins" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gatins">John Gatins</a></li> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><em><a title="Moonrise Kingdom" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonrise_Kingdom"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Moonrise Kingdom</span></a></em> – <a title="Wes Anderson" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes_Anderson"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Wes Anderson</span></a> and <a title="Roman Coppola" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Coppola"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Roman Coppola</span></a></span></li> <li><em><a title="Zero Dark Thirty" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Dark_Thirty">Zero Dark Thirty</a></em> – <a title="Mark Boal" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Boal">Mark Boal</a></li> </ul> </td> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <ul> <li><strong><em><a title="Argo (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(2012_film)">Argo</a></em> – <a title="Chris Terrio" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Terrio">Chris Terrio</a></strong></li> <li><em><a title="Beasts of the Southern Wild" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beasts_of_the_Southern_Wild">Beasts of the Southern Wild</a> -  Lucy Alibar and <a title="Benh Zeitlin" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benh_Zeitlin">Benh Zeitlin</a></em></li> <li><em><a title="Life of Pi (film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Pi_(film)">Life of Pi</a></em> – <a title="David Magee" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Magee">David Magee</a></li> <li><em><a title="Lincoln (2012 film)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_(2012_film)">Lincoln</a></em> – <a title="Tony Kushner" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Kushner">Tony Kushner</a></li> <li><span style="color: #ff00ff;"><em><a title="Silver Linings Playbook" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Linings_Playbook"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Silver Linings Playbook</span></a></em> – <a title="David O. Russell" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_O._Russell"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">David O. Russell</span></a></span></li> </ul> </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">These are both difficult to call, since I&#8217;ve seen so few of the nominations. I want, so badly, for Moonrise Kingdom to win &#8211; but up against Django I doubt it has a chance. I&#8217;d say Zero Dark Thirty is the runner up, even Amour probably has a better chance.Again, Argo (or at the very least Lincoln) are your bet best for &#8216;Adapted&#8217;, but wouldn&#8217;t it be nice if Silver Linings got it instead? Not to say that it&#8217;s a better screenplay, just that I&#8217;m rooting for the underdog, once again.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p></p> <p>I&#8217;m just going to list the prospective winners/hopefuls for the other categories, to save on time for the &#8216;Less Popular&#8217; awards (although some of my favorites are in here):</p> <h3>Best Original Song</h3> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall_(song)">Skyfall</a> will probably win, and deservedly so! But people <em>loved</em> Les Mis &#8211; even if <em>Suddenly</em> was only OK.</p> <table align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Animated Feature</h3> <p>After the <a href="http://chantellejoy.com/2012/01/25/the-academy-dumbs/">Great Travesty that was last year</a> in this category, I&#8217;m glad to see they&#8217;ve considered some decent nominees, and I&#8217;m quite sure <strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_(2012_film)">Brave</a></strong> is going to take it, but I&#8217;m rooting for <span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wreck-It_Ralph"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Wreck-It-Ralph</span></a></span> (I haven&#8217;t seen it, but I didn&#8217;t care for Brave very much).</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Foreign Language Film</h3> <p><img src="http://chantellejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/madstiff.png" alt="" title="madstiff" width="150" height="150" class="alignright size-full wp-image-1655" /><br /> It&#8217;s going to be<strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)">Amour</a></strong> (nom&#8217;d for Best Picture and all), but I&#8217;m always, perpetually, unconditionally rooting for Denmark &#8211; so my heart goes to <span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Royal_Affair"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">A Royal Affair</span></a></span>. Although I&#8217;m not at all sad if it doesn&#8217;t win, this just puts more time between the last time Denmark won <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_a_better_world">Best Foreign</a> and this/next year, which will bring <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt_(2012_film)">The Hunt</a>, and gives them a better chance at it in 2013, right?</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Documentary Feature / Best Doc Short.<br /> Best Live Action Short / Best Animated Short</h3> <p>Of all the categories above, I&#8217;ve only seen <span style="color: #ff00ff;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperman"><span style="color: #ff00ff;">Paperman</span></a></span>, so that&#8217;s my pick! ;)</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="left"> <h3>Best Original Score</h3> <p>I&#8217;ve only seen <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Karenina_(2012_film)">Anna Karenina</a> &amp; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall">Skyfall</a>, but Argo will probably win.</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="left">As for the rest, I&#8217;ll just say I don&#8217;t care much either way, except that I&#8217;d like to see the following winners in these categories: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hobbit:_An_Unexpected_Journey">The Hobbit</a>, for Production Design, Make-up and Visual Effects (but will happily accept <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Avengers_(2012_film)">Avengers</a> for the latter) as well as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Karenina_(2012_film)">Anna Karenina</a> (or Skyfall) for Cinematography.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Well, that&#8217;s all I have to say about all that, for now. There&#8217;s nothing really shocking or exciting this year, so I probably won&#8217;t be too elated or disappointed (except when it comes to Moonrise Kingdom and The Hobbit). What are your predictions?</p> <i>[via <a href="http://ChantelleJoy.com">ChantelleJoy.com</a>]</i>

February 22nd, 2013

So, this week it was announced that Colborne Lane would be closing. This is a crying shame. As one of the most talked about restaurants since it’s opening in 2007, it was a beacon among what few Molecular Cuisine offerings we have in the city.

If you Google “Molecular Gastronomy in Toronto” you’ll find, nearly every result refers to this restaurant. While opinions about the quality (and indeed if it qualifies as ‘Molecular Gastronomy’) vary, one this is for certain – it was a pillar of the post-modern fine dining movement in the city, and a sign that Toronto is open to try and welcome the world of Molecular Cuisine into our city.


But now, five years later that doesn’t seem to have been the case at all. Between this shocking news, and the closure of L.A.B. last year, it seems Toronto isn’t ready for restaurants offering the unique techniques and scientific approaches which are so popular among the worlds greatest in the last decade – like El Bulli, The Fat Duck, or Alinea.

I’m left with a sort of frustration and sadness, at this news. I honestly believe that Toronto could be one of the greatest dining destinations in the world, and we’ve taken such great strides in the last few years. Considering both our USA imports (Momofuku, Cafe Boulud), and our own stellar home-grown talents (Hopgoods, Acadia, Parts & Labour, Scaramouche, etc), this just seems like an unfortunate setback towards greatness. What’s worse is, I’m honestly not certain of the cause!

Perhaps ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ is considered too elite? Too in vogue? Are people turning towards the more rustic, casual, dining experiences in our city? And if so, why does this differ from the rest of the world’s top dining cities? As far as I can tell, Toronto stemming against the tide when it comes to popularity of this type of cuisine. Perhaps we simply do not yet have the talent to hold diners and critics attention.

With Colborne Lane’s end, what we’re left with is a less obvious representation of this type of cuisine in the city. In restaurants list BarChef, Origin and Yours Truly, you’ll get just a vague idea that there’s something vaguely ‘molecular’ about the food – but in the way that tea vaguely reminds one of coffee. It’s not the same, but until a chef can come along to astound and impress Torontonians once again with their post-modern food masterpieces, and have Torontonians respond in kind, they’ll have to do.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

February 11th, 2013

One Year Quitaversary!

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Exactly one year (and one day) ago, I quit smoking. The day I decided to quit, I wrote about it here. I was absolutely 100% positively certain that I would never have another cigarette after that morning – and I’m so relieved and proud to have proven myself right.

As you can read from the entry, a huge motivating factor was Eddie, and the idea that one day we’d get Engaged, Married, and Knocked Up. I certainly didn’t think that all of those thing were going to happen within 6 months of my quitting, but I’m happier, healthier and pregnantier than ever – and delighted about it.

Looking back on it –

I would have to say that the first 2-3 weeks were really hell. Most of February and a good portion of March 2012 was spent in a sort of survival/panic mode where I was afraid of myself, wanting to smoke again. Although strangely confidant, I was still consumed by the possibility that I’d screw it up. Eventually, more important things going on in my life won out – and I stopped obsessing over my former addiction. At first, I missed the Habit – especially at work – but now I don’t. It’s become such a non-issue, and I’m such an easily reformed non-smoker than I sometimes forget what a Big Deal it is. Eddie constantly reminds me, and showers me with praise, for having quit:


“1yr smoke-free! @NoTwitterEddie got me Quitaversary Roses
(Lavender – just like from our wedding!) #quitsmoking” ~ via Instagram

Something I seemed to have missed including in my original post a year ago, was some hard numbers:

Age started smoking: 13
Years a Smoker, 1994-2012: 18

Age Quit smoking: 30
Years a Non-Smoker, 2012-2013: 1

One down – the rest of my life to go – I’m coming for you, eighteen (and beyond)!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]
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