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the Lainie List

she needs to go to sleep with all three of her babies. and get tucked in.
  1. The Spiritual Child. a book recommended by a friend.
  2. Whiskey In A Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, Book by Reese Witherspoon
  3. Love the Get to Work Book products like: Do Good Work (print) and motivational cards
  4. Austin Kleon and guardian spirits for his notebooks
  5. Dead little tree free library is the most creative I’ve seen
  6. Far From the Tree. Loved this on Netflix.
  7. Stretch cording
  8. the best field guides. keeping this idea for later.
  9. Meet the woman who creates dolls like me for children with disabilities. heartwarming.
  10. The Confessions Game

the story of Joy.

Tucked in my wallet I have: a ticket stub for a movie. a dime. and a picture of Gram and I.

I kept them to remember how I felt that night, so I would have the courage to keep going.

I was eight or nine months pregnant with Thatcher. Mom and Dad were in Toronto visiting; it must have been during Christmas holidays. I didn’t want to fly home that winter because I was worried that I might go into labour early (they live 4 – 5 hours away from a major city centre with a hospital).

With my parents at home with Tate (who was 1 at the time), we decided to duck out and see a movie. We hadn’t gone in over a year. We went to see Joy. We knew little about it and thought we might be able to stay awake long enough to see the whole thing.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie is based on the true story of Joy Mangano. A very successful entrepreneur who owns over 100 patents for various inventions and is known for her work on the Home Shopping Network.

Joy was a single mom who had a creative and inventive mind. As a kid, she loved coming up with ideas and making them come to life through paper and prototypes. Joy’s biggest cheerleader and supporter in life was her grandma, Mimi. They had such a close relationship. Mimi often told her that she was destined for great things.

In the movie, Joy invents a new mop. She knows that she has a great idea and has to overcome many obstacles to become successful. And in the middle of it all, her grandma dies.

Now picture me. 8 or 9 months pregnant, with my big round belly, sitting in the middle of a movie theatre. It’s been just over a year since my Grandma Lainie died. At this point, I still can’t talk about her without crying. Now I’m watching someone on screen lose their grandma, their biggest cheerleader in life. It hit too close to home.

You know that feeling when your throat constricts and burns when you try not to cry? You hold your breath, just trying to keep it together. That was me. I knew that if I started, it would become a sob. A messy, loud sob in the middle of a movie theatre.

I missed my Gram. I grew up with a woman who made me feel like I could do anything. And she would want me to be happy. She would want me to go for it.

Why was I still in a job that I didn’t enjoy? Why did I keep pushing myself to live a life that wasn’t me?

I was done.

When I walked out of the theatre that night, I told myself that I would do my own thing. I decided that my career as an educator was over. I didn’t know what I would do, but life was too short. I would figure it out and she would want me to.

That was in 2015.

Today is January 15, 2019. It’s officially my last day of work. Last week I submitted my resignation.

It was as easy as an e-form and picking out my last date. An entire career ended with a few blanks to fill in and a quick phone call. Such a weird way to end such a big part of my life.

I worked so hard to become a teacher. I have two degrees and my Masters in Education. I did my Masters degree while teaching. Teach during the day and then classes and assignments at night.

I became a curriculum consultant for a school board – facilitating learning for teachers and principals. I have my qualifications to be an elementary school principal if I wanted to. I knew it wasn’t for me, but I was interested in learning more about leadership.

I have a math specialist. I taught the Math Specialist Additional Qualification course for the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario for two years.

I chose to leave a job with an incredible pension. benefits. and job security.

And it’s scary. Who leaves a career like that?

Apparently me.

I was afraid to tell my parents. I didn’t want to upset them or for them to worry about me. Even this morning I was picturing them having to explain to others what I’m up to these days. I don’t want them to feel embarrassed having to tell people what I’ve done.

And there are days where I’m worried that I won’t figure it out and that I might put our family in a difficult situation financially.

And yet I know that I need to pursue something different.

I want our kids to grow up seeing a mom who loves what she does. I want them to be brave enough to do work that is meaningful to them and not worry about the expectations or views of others. And I want them to have a mom who is happy.

For the first time in my life, I am unemployed. I’ve had my own paycheck since I was 12 years old. This is new territory for me.

And this decision wasn’t made lightly. I’ve sat in on webinars about my pension. We have a rental property. I have been making and selling things for a year now. I host workshops and have lots of other ideas I want to explore. I know we’ll be fine.

It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve known since 2009 that I needed to do something different. I can read it in my notebooks…

And I am so thankful for Eric. My husband is my biggest supporter and the one who has helped me feel brave enough to do it. You’re an educated person, Lainie. You will figure it out. We’ll be fine. I love him.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do, but I’ll get there (which is so not me). I’ve always had my life mapped out with career goals and expected milestones. School. Job. Marriage. Children. I wanted to make my family proud of my accomplishments. And I feel like I’m starting over. I am trying to picture this all as one big adventure.

I am writing a book that I want to publish. I have two publishers in mind. The book launch in already planned in my head. I have 419 pages sitting in Google docs and a clear bin in our bedroom that I call My Book. I keep tucking pieces inside.

I want to create e-courses and do workshops. I want to create things that will make a difference in other people’s lives. It probably sounds cheesy and I’m okay with that. I want to do good and I feel like I can finally start.

Here’s to new things. Here’s to Joy.


Gram once told me that I need to write my own book. I will and I’ll dedicate it to her.

the Lainie List.

when your brother comes home from school, you cuddle.
  1. What Will the Future of Work Look Like in 2019?
  2. love this for toy organization
  3. kitchen knife for kids. shaped as a dog.
  4. wonderpens. a magical stationary shop.
  5. E. Frances Paper for the cutest paper products.
  6. TOOLS to LIVEBY
  7. Craftsman Explorer stamps
  8. Hightide Tiny Container | TOOLS to LIVEBY
  9. What Is Spirituality?
  10. Style Glossary – Ultimate list of interior design styles & definitions
  11. men’s bike pants for commuting
  12. the best skin care product I’ve ever used. cleansing balm from Beautycounter.
  13. Fiver Parties. Have you ever heard of them?
  14. an app that tracks your creative and productive times during the month (based on your flo). I know someone who loves it.
  15. love Field Notes

we sang you home.

by Richard Van Camp
illustrations by Julie Flett

we sang you from a wish
we sang you from a prayer

we sang you home
and you sang back

we give you kisses
to help you grow

and songs to let you know
that you are loved

as we give you roots
you give us wings

and through you
we are born again

our everyday miracle
our everyday smile

our forever home
is inside of you

thank you for joining us
thank you for choosing us

thank you for becoming
the best of all of us

we sang you home
thank you for singing back

welcome to the world
we love you!


a reminder of how kids awaken a new us. they leave us changed and for the better.

the Lainie list

three kids who are thrilled to finally have snow for their new sleds
  1. Five exciting brands opening stores in Toronto next year
  2. trying to find fabric with mail or envelopes on it. found this so far.
  3. Sisu fabric line from Art Gallery Fabrics.
  4. watched The Green Book. didn’t know that the writer was the son of Tony Lip.
  5. ordered myself power sheets this week!
  6. What Is a Chakra?
  7. The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
  8. Before Pantone, there was Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours. Colours from nature.
  9. the cutest little toy blender set for kids.
  10. you have to notice when the universe is cheering you on.
  11. @enneagramandcoffee a fun new account on Instagram from Sarajane.
  12. my birthday cake this year.
  13. o-souji. you might have done it without knowing.
  14. the Poop Cafe in Toronto. yep, it’s actually a thing.
  15. my creative hibernation.

you have to notice when the universe is cheering you on.

I love Tina Roth Eisenberg.

She’s the founder of Tattly, Creative Mornings, and multiple other companies.

She’s creative. She thinks big picture and sees the beauty in every day things.

I just watched her DO Lecture. If you want to watch it, just click on the image above.

Here’s what stood out to me from her talk…



I’m good at extending trust to other humans… just not good at trusting my own heart. In the last few years, I’ve been coming home to myself.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a spiritual journey.

living this superhero life.

I knew in my heart of hearts that eventually I needed to give in to this flow of life. I was simply terrified of the consequences.

Crisis takes place when the old has not died and the new has still not been born. – Bertolt Brecht

My heart got through to my brain.

It’s up to me how I handle this. How I flip the situation…

I couldn’t point to the North Star.

Stupid Capricorn me, I just didn’t ask for help. I felt like I was hanging on for dear life.

Stop trying to do it on your own. Get help.

We think of our work as a community.

Companies have energy like we do. Everything filters through us.

What you nurture, grows.

If I’m not rooted, my business is not rooted.

The more connected I got to my heart, the more I worked on myself, the more energy started flowing through me…

A business is like an expression of spirit and heart.

They need to see me adding light.

Take care of your gentle hearts so you can give into the flow of life.

Pay attention to those full body yes-es.

Notice when the universe is cheering you on.


“…the two films idea of your life. There are two stories you can tell.
One that is safe and full of regret.
And one that is risky and full of pride and joy.”
(from the intro to the talk)


The DO Lectures…

It takes place on the far edge of West Wales. And, yet, it attracts some of the most progressive minds on the planet. For many who attend, and indeed, who speak, it proves to be a life-changing set of 3 days. The talks are filmed and then made available to the world for Free. They attract a global audience each day to a cowshed. It’s a network to help others reach their potential. That is why we do the do.

my creative hibernation.

I so badly need to go into hibernation. I’ve been filling my head with ideas and images for the last 3 years; collecting pieces I love on my phone, in notebooks, in Google docs… I’ve been squirreling away stuff. I keep telling myself that I’ll need it later. Now it’s time.

I’m ready to do a brain dump. To go back through everything I’ve gathered and create something with it. I don’t know what it will look like, but I’m excited and hopeful. It feels important, and at the same time, I’m also afraid. What if it ends up being nothing?

I know that I care about stories and making things with layers of meaning. I’m not sure how these pieces will come together, but I’m hoping that by the spring, I’ll be able to answer this question.

I also know myself. I can easily list 10 projects or more that I would love to tackle this winter. I want to sew a lap quilt made of wools from home. I want to sew a Canadiana quilt. I want to host more mitten making workshops. I want to make an online course: How to Sew Upcycled Mittens from Sweaters. I want to help my Mom finish her online course: Sew Your First Quilt. I want to do more printing with wood. I want to learn how to sew my own clothes. I want to offer my Writing Acts of Kindness e-course….

See how this brain of mine works?! I am very good at filling my time with a whole bunch of projects that could easily veer me away from doing the work that I need to do.

So in thinking about my creative hibernation, I’ve asked myself, What will inactivity look like for me this winter? Meaning, how will I stay focused and settled? Because I need to keep my head clear in order for everything to come out.

This is my plan:

  • no work on the weekends (I need to turn it off, even though I enjoy it)
  • sticking to work blocks versus family time (not grabbing time here and there while the kids have a snack or watch TV)
  • saying no to things that are not aligned to my goals (even if I really want to do it). Note to self: I need to really pinpoint goals so I can use them as a filter.
  • slowing down and being intentional with my time and work.
  • one thing / one place at a time. “I am eating lunch versus I am eating lunch and scrolling Instagram and thinking about my next project.

So if you notice lots of projects popping up in my Instagram (@verylainie), please ask me how my writing is going. It will be the reminder I need to stay the course rather than avoiding it – because I’m afraid.

Here’s to an interesting winter…



If you’d like to follow along with me as I figure out what this looks like, you’ll find me on Instagram (@verylainie).

the Lainie List.

the boys getting ready on Christmas Eve. Tate cut carrots for the reindeer. Thatcher got the cookie plate ready for Santa.
  1. this song made me laugh at Tate’s Christmas concert. it’s really cute.
  2. who knew that a picture of tea tags could be so cool.
  3. this has sparked my next art project.
  4. Reuben de Maid’s first makeup tutorial (he’s 13 years old)
  5. The DO Lectures: Tina Roth Eisenberg
  6. How to Email Busy People
  7. love this fabric shop.
  8. Merchant & Mills Patterns
  9. I want to learn how to sew: The Victor, The Dress Shirt, The Tee Shirt, The Top 64 (as a dress)
  10. The Story of Your Year
  11. Wreck this Journal
  12. Mom’s Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
  13. Daddy O Doughnuts are ridiculously good. keep up with the changing menu through their Instagram account.
  14. FIKA Cafe. I want to go here.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
chocolate covered mini pretzels
mini brown M&Ms

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg ; beat until just blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Form dough into 1-inch balls. To make reindeer-shaped cookies, pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point, then gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until set or just beginning to brown.

Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer’s antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose.

Allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely.

Makes about 40 reindeer cookies.


my makeup story.

I recently decided to become a grown up…

my makeup bag as a 38 year old woman. it’s pretty embarrassing.

I have a make up bag that was a Christmas gift from a friend. Tweezers. Mascara my Mom bought me last Christmas. I have eye shadow with a brush that has fallen apart. I don’t remember when I bought the blush (there are only a few small pieces left inside). I have a compact. I usually pick fair because I’m a pretty pasty redhead. There’s under eye stuff; I bought after having our son, Tate. I saw Marilyn Dennis talking about it on TV one day. I found it at Shoppers Drug Mart. And there’s lip gloss that I’ve worn once. I hate how tacky it feels on my lips.

I recently ordered this through a friend (hence why I feel like a grown up).

I don’t know what colours I should wear for eye shadow. I thought I’d try this.
I decided to try this tinted lip gloss. I hate the feel and taste of a regular lip stick.
I’ve upgraded my under eye concealer to the fancy gold stick thing. I ordered a defining brow pencil (I have no idea how to use it. I just know that as a redhead, my eye brows are barely noticeable). I ordered blush and the other items in the picture were complimentary. And today (as I write this), I went to MAC to buy my first makeup brushes. I was asked if I liked full coverage or contouring. Sorry, I have no idea. I’m just learning all of this stuff.  I came home with three brushes and feeling very uncomfortable with how much they cost. Makeup is expensive! 

I have wanted to learn about makeup since I was in elementary school.

My mom never wore it. My grandma didn’t either.

My Auntie Lyd did. I remember asking her if she would teach me how to properly wear makeup. She once talked to me about blush and how it went along the cheek bones. I didn’t get to learn more from her. My Auntie Lyd died in a house fire when I was in grade 8.

The first time I wore makeup, I was in grade 9. My cousin Troy had asked me to be a junior bridesmaid in his wedding. My older cousin Laurie (who I thought was the coolest) took me to a pharmacy and picked out what I needed. It’s pretty much what I buy and wear now. A Cover Girl compact. Blush. Eye shadow. Mascara.

20 years later, I’ve decided to buy something different and figure out how to wear it. And I don’t know why.

And why now? We have three small children. My time is limited. And financially, I shouldn’t be spending money on something like makeup. And yet, I want to.

Maybe it’s because I’m tired of looking frumpy. Maybe it’s because I want to feel good. I have no idea. But I do love how it looks when people wear it well. I love the colour and how it can bring a healthy glow to someone’s face.

I also want to teach Charlie how to wear makeup when she’s older (if she wants to). I want it to be seen as something that is fun and more about how she feels when wearing it. I think growing up I picked up on a lot of negative messages shared by those around me. People who wore makeup were self-absorbed or caught up in their appearance. Wearing makeup was to draw attention to yourself. For me, I just want to feel more confident wearing it and more knowledgeable.

So if you happen to know of some good videos I could watch or a place to go to learn more, let me know!




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