Moms, Tweens, Teens and Brands

brandsIf you grew up in the 80s, or even worse, went to high school in the 80s, you were probably obsessed with having Tretorns, a Beaver Canoe hoodie, you wore 2 Polo shirts at a time (collars up, no doubt) and you’d be happy with anything from Cotton Ginny. Why? Because everyone was obsessed with these brands. And at that age, mostly everyone (except the trailblazers listening to the Smiths with a safety pin in their ear) wanted to fit it, blend in, and just be like everyone else.

Since there’s nothing new under the sun, why do we expect anything different from our own kids?

I remember the early days, laying out my girls’ outfits the night before school, my own creations I carefully thought out (and by thought out I mean whatever was clean). All those great hand me downs, like the skirts with the bows, the tops with the lace, who cared? Certainly not my oblivious children. But oh, oh how things were going to change.

I will always remember that dreaded day, picking up my then 8 year-old from the weekend spent with her “older” cousin. As soon as we were alone, she looked at me (bows and lace staring at me, while mocking her), and said, “Ya, I think I want an Ivivva top.” My heart either skipped a beat or I choked on my tongue, can’t quite remember which. But there it was, cat out of bag, Pandora’s Box ajar.

There was no going back, now that she knew. Knew there were great brands out there, wonderful brands that you couldn’t live without. Brands we snuck into the house to avoid our husbands saying, “Don’t you have like 50 pairs of those already?” It was her time. Everyone can remember their first time, when they knew.

But now that us 80s kids have grown up and have our own families, and all that comes with it: mortgages, car payments, bills (did I mention bills?), buying clothes for our kids can be quite stressful and a strain on the pocket book. And there seems to be an unspoken sentiment among parents today to encourage our kids to be independent, cultivate their own style, wear what makes them happy. I find this utter nonsense since kids change their style as fast as they can download an app, or get tired of something within the same week of falling in love with it, or grow so fast pants turn to capris overnight.

What’s a parent to do? I find it hard to justify buying the expensive brand name clothes that cost a little extra when I know they’ll be tossed aside before I even get the Visa bill! 

But I get it. It’s soooo hard, when you’re attracted to the more “desirable” brands, I mean…who isn’t? And I get that my kids want the Ivivva wardrobe and the Hunter boots, I really do. I remember being 12, pleading with my mother to let me keep the $100 Polo jacket I bought with my paper route money (she made me return it by the by…and good for her, $100 back then is like $1,000 now). But if I can just remember, for even a minute, what it was like to want that Polo jacket, I can understand how my daughters feel. BTW -  Did I even realize a men’s small wasn’t flattering for a 12 year old girl? Why did we wear everything so big back then?

Anyway, at the end of the day, I can certainly empathize with my kids a bit. I do treat them to those overpriced “must have” brands once in a while. Sometimes, my husband’s move is to make them pay half for the odd piece. He thinks it will instil value and appreciation for the finer things in life. And maybe, just maybe, it won’t end up, in a ball, on their bedroom floor. A girl can dream.

Andrea 2Andrea Hepworth is the mother of 2 girlie girls, who keep begging her to “buy” an Ivivva store. She’s also the co-owner of Style Crush, an online store that turns second hand clothes shopping into a first rate retail experience. Along with her business partner Julie, they buy and sell trendy, brand name, gently used clothing to teens and tweens (ages 8 to 16+, girls and guys). Most items are $5 to $15. Make your kids (and wallet) happy by visiting today. You might be surprised. 

Postpartum Recovery

postpartum recoveryHe’s here, he’s here! We’re so happy to that baby Sam has arrived! He was born two weeks ago by planned C-section. I’m thankful that this has been a much easier experience than my first labour. Now for the hard part: postpartum recovery. Despite my best efforts to twist the arm of my OB, I’m not allowed to exercise for the standard 6 weeks post C-section – with the exception of walking. It’s time for me to practice what I preach and be kind to myself.

Right now I’m focusing on:

RestI’m not the best napper, and to be honest, I’m really not that good at relaxing. Right now I’m making a conscious effort not to lift, bend or do more than I really need to. I know that my quick recovery really depends on me taking it easy in these early days.

HydrationI say it to clients often, staying hydrated is so important. Especially during times like these when you generally feel like a hormonal train wreck. I’m doing my best to stay hydrated to maintain my milk supply, nourish my skin and aid with digestion.

Splinting and Restorative Core Breathing – During pregnancy my abdominal separation (diastasis recti) progressed to 6 – 7 fingers, severely limiting my mobility. Throughout my third trimester I used the fitsplint to provide support and improve my overall function. After child birth, the most rapid natural abdominal recovery occurs in the first 6 -8 weeks postpartum. I resumed wearing my fitsplint, day and night, just a couple of days postpartum. Now, two weeks postpartum, my diastasis is measuring about 2 – 3 fingers. This is a major improvement, but isn’t considered ‘normal’ as yet. By Splinting along with Restorative Core Breathing, a technique that engages the deep core muscles, I know that I’m resetting a strong foundation.

WalkingPatience is the key word post C-section. As much as I’d love to get outside with my stroller for an hour walk, right now just 15 or 20 minutes is enough to tire me out. I’m doing my best to be okay with this, and know that I’ll walk farther and for longer each day.

During pregnancy I gained 30 lbs, 2 weeks postpartum I have about 16 lbs before I reach my pre-pregnancy weight. Being the type of person who isn’t good at sitting around, I’ve learned that overexertion will cause more harm than good, and despite my type-A personality and love for a good sweat, I realize that some things are beyond my control. I would be lying if I said that weight loss isn’t on my mind, but more importantly, I plan to use the first 6 weeks to heal so that I can really rebuild my strength once cleared by my OB.

Kale Caesar Salad with Seared Scallops

kaleIf Popeye was around today he might feel somewhat threatened since kale is pushing spinach out of the limelight. Instead of romaine lettuce in this classic salad I’m using baby kale, which is available in most supermarkets. It’s washed and packed for easy use by the company “Earthbound.” These baby leaves have a tender and mild texture, and a taste unlike the larger leaves which you literally have to massage to become tender. The kids will love this variety of greens.

Kale is a true superfood. It’s low in calories, high in fibre, iron, vitamin K and C and calcium. It’s also filled with antioxidants and considered an anti-inflammatory food. To eliminate the high calories of traditional Caesar dressing, I use a combination of olive oil and lower fat mayonnaise which cut the calories and fat considerably. You can omit the scallops or just substitute your favorite cooked protein such as chicken, beef, shrimp or even edamame beans.

Makes 4 servings. 


8 cups baby kale

8 large sea scallops

Caesar dressing

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp finely chopped garlic
½ tsp Dijon mustard

½ cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese


  1. Place kale on a large platter.
  2. In nonstick skillet sprayed with vegetable oil sauté scallops for about 3 minutes per side or just until cooked through. Do not overcook.
  3. Caesar dressing: Whisk 2 tbsp cheese, mayonnaise, olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic and mustard until smooth or puree in small food processor.
  4. Pour dressing over kale, mix well and garnish with ½ cup cheese and scallops

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories 270 * Carbohydrates 18 g * Fibre 3 g * Protein 18 g * Total fat 17 g * Saturated fat 4 g * Cholesterol 35 mg * Sodium 420 mg

Source: Rose Reisman
Photo: Rose Reisman

Back to the Basics: Healthy Eating for Mom and Baby

healthy eatingAs a mom, a food lover and a Dietitian, I’ve recently been inspired in the kitchen. And it’s all thanks to my 6 month old son Eli. We’ve recently introduced solid foods and I think I may be more excited than he is! Watching him explore different flavours and textures is endlessly entertaining, and concocting new flavour combinations that are tasty and nutritious has added spice to my own healthy eating routine, the impetus for writing this article.

All you need is a blender, some wholesome ingredients and some creativity, and your baby will be the happiest and healthiest little chomper. The best part is, so can you!

The transition to solid foods is an important and exciting stage in the development of your little one and for those of you with infants approaching this stage, you will soon learn all the healthy eating tips and tricks.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Forget about added fat, salt or sugar.
  • Make things tasty using creative combinations of fresh, colourful, wholesome ingredients.
  • Leave the processed foods, and sweet treats in the grocery store.
  • Introduce vegetables first…and offer fruits for dessert.
  • Experiment with a variety of NUTRIENT RICH foods, especially those high in iron such as meat, fish, spinach and legumes.
  • Develop good eating habits from the get go. This includes table manners, and positive food associations. Try not to use food as a bargaining tool…when avoidable!
  • Remember, 8 times a charm! Try foods up to 8 times before giving up.
  • Follow cues for hunger and fullness.
  • Check out this reliable source for more info on starting solids safely.

Putting together this list on how to feed your BABY, I couldn’t help but think, why aren’t WE all eating more like this? 

Eating akin to our little ones can help us avoid emotional eating behaviours that lead to poor dietary choices, and can lead to our increased intake of whole foods, including fruits and veggies, with less added sodium and preservatives. It also encourages us to get cooking and experiment in the kitchen! I call this revolutionary diet, Back to the Basics.

After only a few weeks of experimenting in my kitchen, here are some delicious and nutritious winners that both you AND your baby will love!

 Delicious Food for Mom and Baby

  • Steam and purée pears and strawberries to make a delicious compote. Make extra for you, and use as a natural sweetener mixed into plain Greek yogurt. Yum!
  • Steam and purée apples, water and cinnamon and stash some aside for you. Eaten on its own, in yogurt, or topped with cottage cheese, this homemade applesauce makes a wholesome snack.
  • Make a hearty soup or meat sauce for you, purée  it for your babe.
  • Create a vibrant and velvety side dish by steaming and puréeing buttercup squash with water and cinnamon. Note: Buttercup squash is the best for this dish. They’re green on the outside and round in shape.
  • Add steamed and puréed spinach, peas and carrots to potatoes, or rice, or eat on its own as a veggie side dish that’s packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make your morning breakfast cereal taste like warm homemade banana muffins. Combine plain cooked oats with cinnamon and bananas and zap in the microwave with milk. Sub in rice cereal for infants and remember to use breastmilk or formula for kids under 9 months. 

For more healthy eating HOW-TO TIPS read on… 

  1. Stock up on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. The sky is the limit here. The more colourful the better and pick something new every week. Tip: frozen produce may be BETTER than fresh, when produce is not local or not in season. Frozen items are picked and frozen immediately, which means all nutrients are fully retained. Canned products are often preserved in sugary syrups or salty solutions so are not as good a choice.
  2. Get a good blender and some storage containers. The baby bullet is great, but not necessary.
  3. Pick 2 or 3 fruits and veg, peel, steam until soft, and blend! Add water or broth for a smoother purée.
  4. Make a big batch to save time later. Store enough in the fridge to last 2 days and freeze the rest.
  5. Mix meats and fish with whole grains or starchy vegetables to increase the nutritional value and amp up the flavour.

Style Find – The Spring Desert Boot

desert bootCelebrate Vintage Style with this classic spring desert boot!

The iconic lace-up woman’s desert boot can be worn anywhere. As spring continues to be cool, slip these on with an edgy colourful sock and with, of course, The Boyfriend Jean from my blog last week.

Where:   getoutside

Price:     $129.99