lessons i've learned in my first year of motherhood

It really is true that you can learn so many lessons from an infant. No matter how old you are.

We recently celebrated our son's 1st birthday. Yeah, we made it a year and he's still alive and well!

We survived the sleepless nights.

We survived (and attempted) breastfeeding. Ouch.

We kept him alive and healthy.

We nurtured him, loved him and made him the centre of our universe.

The things you do for your child but I wouldn't have it any other way. He came into our world exactly 367 days ago via c-section and life has never been the same since.

Even at 40 and 39 years old respectively, we have learned more from this little peanut than my 17+ years in business. Having a child is no joke (obvious statement, I know but I feel like I have to say this) because you not only have to be prepared physically, financially and in a solid relationship, but mentally. This was my toughest challenge. The mental exhaustion and challenges Grayson put me through each and every day, was a test and a testament that patience really is a virtue.

in good company // issue no. 14 // john ounpuu

Who: John Ounpuu, Co-founder of Modern Craft
What: strategic savant, creative by default, marketing zealot, thinker, doer, dreamer
Where: Vancouver, BC
Follow: @obviousness

Most professionals who work in an agency exude this electric, how ya doin, have-you-seen-my-work type of personality. Their all about the awards, the showcase, the thrill of poaching and winning clients. I should know, because I've been there. Twice. 

John however, is a little more subtle than that. He's the strong silent type, and no that isn't an insult. It's probably one of the best qualities he has, aside from his talent. That talent is strategy and he has the chops to prove it. His resume is remarkable but his work is even more impressive, because I am lucky to have been on the receiving end as both a colleague at Blast Radius and as a potential client when I was with Browns Restaurant Group. This guy knows his shit, but he's as humble as humble pie.

CONTRIBUTED // when you find yourself at the hospital with your kids

I'm writing this as I sit in the hospital with my six-month-old son. We've been here for two days and they've told us we'll be here for a few more. What started as a tiny blister on his finger two weeks ago is now a staph infection that's gotten into his blood, requiring him to receive antibiotics through an IV.

I feel like a horrible mother. How could I have let this happen to him? I've been told by two doctors that there is no way to know exactly when, where or how this happened and to not blame myself, but mom guilt thrives in a situation like this.

you-can't-just-eat-one peanut butter bars

Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate together? I've definitely been guilty of dipping a spoon in BOTH a jar of Nutella and THEN a jar pf peanut butter. Gulp. No judgement.

Our contributor Jill Hatch is here to share her amazingly delicious recipe for peanut butter bars so you can now make this sweet treat to have at home or for when company shows up. And hopefully, you make them last longer than a day, because I am warning you now, they ARE DEADLY DELICIOUS!

in good company // issue no. 13 // krysta masciale

Who: Krysta Masciale, Co-founder of Big Deal Branding
What: brand therapist, career-driven mom, motherlucker, bad ass
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Follow: @krystamasciale

It takes a marketer to know a marketer. It's like we have this marketing radar and when we spot creativity, we make a beeline across a crowded room just to strike up a conversation and be inspired.

Wait, back up here. I've actually never even met Krysta, but I felt this instant connection to her. We know each other because we're both contributors to a raw and uncensored parenting blog called Motherlucker. We're 2 of the original 10 that were chosen to share our stories as mothers, professionals and super women trying to survive one day at a time. All shapes and sizes, all different situations, all fascinating stories. That's what a Motherlucker is.

EATS // dreamy, creamy mushroom soup

There are two soups that I will always order on a menu when the craving hits.

French onion soup and mushroom soup. Homemade of course.

See, homemade is very important to me because I don't care how big of a fan of Campbell's soup you are, its from a can (and screw convenience sometimes, I mean come on! If you're a full blown adult, make some god damn homemade soup for once in your life!). [end rant]

Nothing beats the flavour, texture and freshness of homemade soup. Oh, and did I mention most soup is tremendously easy to make? You heard it here first. No word of a lie, most soups are roasted veggies, tossed in stock with a plethora of herbs, cooked, then pureed. That's it!

CONTRIBUTED // find direction by figuring out how you feel

I just heard this great quote from Steve Jobs:

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

In my life, the dots have always made sense looking backwards. But trusting that where you are now, and that this is all happening for a reason that will make sense at some point in the future is a lot harder to get behind, particularly if you're at a crossroads and the path forward is no longer clear to you.

Here's the good news: even if you don't know how or where you are going in your life, there are some things that you can know, and that is how you want to feel in your life. And knowing how you want to feel can be a great starting point in giving your life direction.

TRAVEL // honolulu, hawaii

My second travel destination feature is one that has slowly become a place near and dear to my heart.

Honolulu, Hawaii is a tropical island like no other, with all the hustle and bustle of a growing city (and boy is this city growing!) but also has those secret hidden gems that are quiet, serene and breathtaking.

My guncles have been vacationing in Hawaii for around 30 years and a few decades ago they decided to make it their second home, buying up real estate and living there for 6 months of the year. They have developed quite a life over there, meeting some amazing people, hiking the island far and wide, and immersing themselves in the rich community that has welcomed them with open arms.

So you can imagine that I have been fortunate over the years to stay with them when I venture to this tropical island and most recently, we took our little peanut Grayson to visit them when he was just 3.5 months old.

FOOD // the only red pasta sauce you'll ever need to make.

Here's a little story about this magnificently, tasty, smooth, slightly spicy, addictive pasta sauce I once made.

But first, let me tell you that I wish I had made a giant VAT of it to freeze. There I said it, the sauce was that good!

Not to mention, the ingredients were SO SIMPLE and tasta....however, a bit laborious to make, not that I'm complaining.

I first stumbled upon Scott Conant's Spaghetti Al Pomodoro sauce on Cupcakes & Cashmere. The blogger (Emily Schuman) fell in love with this chef's sauce years ago, only to discover that he resurfaced at LA's new The Ponte restaurant. She was happy to discover that her fave Spaghetti Al Pomodoro made the menu and she was on a mission to get the secret recipe (note: they serve it on their brunch menu, not the dinner menu).

my favourite go-to cookbooks

I get a lot of questions about where I get my inspiration when I cook. In fact, I've had people say "hey, why don't you do a YouTube channel where you cook and share?" Hmmm....something to think about. As outgoing as I am, the introvert/shy side of me is scared and well, I just don't think its for me (and with the constant interruptions of baby getting into things he shouldn't that would be near impossible!)

It's no secret that I LOVE to cook. I sometimes will go on cooking binges (like the one this past Thanksgiving!) where I am making at least 2-3 homemade things a day....slightly obsessed but I'm not working now, so I have a bit of free time on my hands! I love the experimentation of cooking, the look on people's faces when they try one of my meals and the fact that I can test out recipes on people makes it that much more enjoyable. I remember cooking when I was single and living on my own, I was still testing out recipes, but then I would have leftovers for DAYS! Plus, sitting at the table with just my own self enjoying this meal was, well....lacklustre and sad. 

EATS // my canadian thanksgiving feast

I will admit, I've never been the biggest fan of Thanksgiving mostly because I really don't love turkey (there, you heard it here first!). It's way too filling, often too dry and just so bland. 

I loved more the social gathering and meaning of what Thanksgiving is about, which is really the important part, right? The food is just the icing on the cake and an excuse to get together, eat, drink and be merry.

But when I became an adult and bonafide cook (beep beep, toot toot), I felt like I could finally do it the way I wanted to cook this holiday meal. I love to cook and if this blog (or my Insta-stories) hasn't illustrated that to you then you need to take a closer look.

Also, I have finally gotten over the fear of not being so traditional in the foods that I cook. Who says you need to have turkey? Why not chicken? Or ham? Or if you're a vegetarian, some version of a tofurkey?

Alas, my Canadian Thanksgiving feast idea was born and it was delicious! I love to experiment in the kitchen and this year I was in full-on experimentation mode. The family was busy working and Nathan was knee deep in studying for his exam, so it was just us three. Quiet and small, which made me extremely happy.

Today, I share with you the full menu of what I cooked and if it offers you any sort of inspiration (or a copy cat) well then that would put a smile on my face. Most items are fairly easy, some are more adventurous but they are all DELICIOUS!

are you there dream job? it's me andrea.

There was a time in my life when I was certain about my career.

That ship has temporarily sunk and is in need of dire resuscitation (sorry for the melodrama, but stick with me here and I'll explain).

Last month, I parted ways with my employer (I was technically a "full-time" contractor). And let me clarify, they were good to me. They hired me when I was 4 months pregnant and allowed me to take the time off I needed after Grayson was born. And they were a US company, so I was very lucky to even have 4 months off as I navigated my way through motherhood.

EATS // no really, it's damn good lasagna

I'm always a bit of a skeptic when I see recipes titled "the BEST....." because I feel like everyone is a critic and people are so particular about the food they eat and what their expectations.

BUT, I was on a mission to make a damn good, but simple and classic, lasagna. I follow A LOT of food blogs and I have far too many cookbooks, so you would think I have a ton of lasagna recipes at my disposal. Well, a little column A, a little of column B.

When I googled and stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman's "The best lasagna. EVER." recipe, I was intrigued. After checking out the ingredients, I spotted the one ingredient I thought pushed it over the edge: hot breakfast sausage. 

I had made a few other recipes from her blog and I was never disappointed. Its comfort food at best, because she does live on a cattle ranch in the middle of America, with her 4 kids and cowboy husband. But simple it was and it was exactly what I was looking for.

TRAVEL // new york, new york

It's no secret that I LOVE New York City. I've probably bored my friends for years with my constant whining about how I just need to live there. ASAP.

I don't know what it is, but this city melts my heart when I see it in movies. When I travel there, I just never want to leave. My obsession with NY started when I was a young, impressionable 7 year old because I fell for all the movies in the 1980's where the power suits and corner offices were a bucket list item of mine. Working Girl, Baby Boom, When Harry Met Sally, Wall Street, and Annie Hall. I was obsessed with these movies (ok, I still am). My father would go to NYC on business trips in the 80's, stay at the Plaza Hotel, get shuttled to and from meetings in a limo, schmooze over oysters at the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar, but always found time to get my brother and I gifts at FAO Schwartz (RIP sweet toy store). 

This city is my home.

But it's not.

title means nothing. impact is everything.

The idea for this post was literally a lightbulb moment. It also came from years of business experience working with some of the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

There I said it.

Yes, its true. Not all of the people I've worked for and/or reported to in the past have been great humans. At least not in business. AND they have the balls to call themselves leaders!

So many people get hung up on the title of their role. They assume that it means more power, a bigger salary, the opportunity to boss more people around, manage a bigger team, earn more accolades. You name it, "title" holds a lot of clout for some people.

Well, I'm here to say its BS and simply not true. Business Lesson #1: Don't get hung up on your title.