You asked for it!

Sometimes, I have a hard time coming up with topics to blog about.

Actually, I have a million things I want to blog about but some topics are off-limits, and sometimes I start several posts at the same time, without finishing any of them. Since I was having a hard time last week, I asked you to ask me questions you wanted me to answer. So, thank you for your questions—and now, here are my answers!

John Cave Osborne asked: What's your stance on the proposed mosque in Manhattan near ground zero?

I wrote a blog post about this a few weeks ago. I would like the victim's families to be consulted. If they're okay with it, so am I. I also want you to read this amazing post by a great blogger I know about this very topic. Her post and the comments she received are worth reading.

Marinka asked: Who is your favorite actress? Which actress can't you stand? And what is the one question that you hope no one asks?

I love Audrey Hepburn, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Diane Lane, Rachel McAdams and Winona Ryder. I don't love Jennnifer Aniston as an actress, even though I want her body.

The one question I hope no one asks me? What I dislike about myself. Because then I'd have to be honest and point out things about myself that I don't love!

Leslie asked: What draws you to shop as much as you do?

Shopping is like therapy for me. I love the feeling of walking into a store, running my hands over the clothes, or trying on new shoes, and walking out with new purchases. It's a natural high and I love it. Shopping makes me happy, and when you're happy, it's a good thing!

Suzanne wanted to know: In today's world, what do you think is the SINGLE most important thing you can teach your children?

I think the single most important thing I can teach my children is to treat everyone with respect, and to love their family, because there is nothing more important than family.

Jen wanted to know: What has been the best and worst experiences blogging, tweeting, etc? Any negative encounters? Best connections or favourite opportunities, moments that arose from blogging?

My blogging experience has been 98% wonderful with a lot of fabulous connections and opportunties made, from working with Mom Central Canada to being asked to co-host a big couture cosmetics gala here in Ottawa later this month. There have been a few negative encounters, but I don't dwell on people who don't like me or who are mean. There is so much greatness in the blogging community, I'd rather focus on that!

Tell me how you can walk around craving a salad and a workout, simultaneously.

That doesn't happen often, but when I am working out hard-core I like to eat healthy. I feel better overall! However, mostly I crave chocolate and chips and ice cream!

What the heck do you do for work, anyway?

I have degrees in Communications and Broadcast Journalism and I used to work as a reporter and as a news writer. Currently, I work in communication for the Federal Government—writing, editing, research work. My real job, though? Being a mom to my two little boys! No job on earth is more hard or more rewarding than being a mom!

Avitable asked: What is your favourite movie?

I love so many movies that I can't give you only one answer! But, okay—the one movie I watch over and over again is Dazed and Confused. I love that movie! I also love Goodfellas, Blow, Snatch, Kill Bill (1 and 2), Cluesless, Legally Blonde, Amercan History X, (Actually, American History X is one of the greatest movies ever made.) American Beauty, Chicago, Scarface and Godfather II. And of course, my all-time favourites, like Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

Elisa asked: What is the one thing you believe it's worth spending money on? What about the one thing that isn't worth spending a lot of money on?

I think it's worth spending money on purses - I'm a designer purse addict and I love it. I drop money on purses and sunglasses and I have no regrets. Not worth spending money on? Things like tank tops and little tshirts - they're just as good at Old Navy as they are at Banana Republic! And bikinis! My favourite bikinis are usually just $20. My favourite bikini was purchased on a beach in Acapulco from some Mexican man selling bikinis for $10. Score!

You must have seen that episode of friends where everyone compiles "the list". Who would be on your list? 6 names, in order of preference.

I have never really thought of mine! And in order of preference? Well, I like, um... Edward Norton, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Johnny Depp, Eminem and Denzel Washington. Because they're all very talented!

As your birthday buddy, I'm almost obliged to ask: What do you REALLY want for your birthday this year? (And don't say world peace.)

I know world peace is not going to happen in my lifetime, so I'll settle for a key necklace from Tiffany & Co. (I also just received an awesome new Canon camera from my husband that I'm super excited to use. My children are going to be so annoyed with me very quickly! Also excited that I will be like all the other bloggers at BlogHer11 with a 'grown-up' camera!)

Fanderson: I want to know about your D.C scary moment!

As I was waiting for the bus to get to work one day, a man in an orange truck (why is it always a truck, why?) approached me and asked me to get in. I said no, and he insisted, opening his passenger door. He sped off and then drove around again, coming closer to me, almost driving onto the sidewalk. He yelled at me to get in his truck again. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do—luckily, the bus came and he sped off. I'm pretty sure I was almost kidnapped and to this day I remember what he looked like.

Heather: What was your worst/best experience while blogging?

The best experirence has been meeting bloggers in person and getting to know people better. It really is a great community. The worst experience blogging? Feeling like I have nothing to blog about!

Chelle asked: What do you like to do for "you" time at home? And lets say that the boys were away with your husband and you had, oh, 8 hours of peace and quiet. What would you do?

I'd be on the computer, organizing our closets, or catching up on missed episodes of Entourage.

What is one room in your home that you would want a makeover done on? Why?

I want a new kitchen—new granite countertops, a new backsplash, and a new kitchen table! If I had all this, I swear I'd be better in the kitchen!

What's your favorite drink at Happy Hour? Or anytime for that matter!

I love wine. All the time!

Faiqa asked: Why do you never say no to your children?

I have a hard time saying no because I have a hard time with discipline. I hate making my boys upset so I just give in. I have recently started saying 'no', but for some reason, my children do not understand the meaning of the word! Also, saying 'no' doesn't mean my 2 year old won't march right past me and get that box of Oreos and proceed to eat about 12 while staring at me with that devilish look in his eyes. And then, sigh. He melts me... so I go from saying 'no', to yelling, 'why don't you ever listen to me?' to just... letting them get away with whatever they want. Bad, bad, me.

Jill aka Scary Mommy asks: Is Mary Hart as annoying in person as I believe her to be? Inquiring minds want to know.

I only saw her briefly, for like a second, as she walked past me outside the studio. She smiled. And that was the only encounter I had with her!

Kate asked: Would you ever consider having plastic surgery (cosmetic - not reconstructive) and if so, what would you do? And what would you never consider?

I would probably not have anything done. I'm pretty happy with myself and my body. I know any improvements I want to see in myself can be attained by working out and eating well. I am not against anyone else having cosmetic surgery, though. And if I had to get something done? Maybe a boob job? Whatever it takes to feel good about yourself is okay with me! (Unless you're Heidi Montag. Then I just feel sorry for you, beause I can't imagine being 22 and feeling the need to get 10 surgeries done to make yourself feel pretty. That's just awful.)

Sara: What is on your bucket list?

One day, I'm going to write a really good bucket list. Currently, the only thing on my bucket list is to buy a house in Florida, visit Italy and France, and take as many vacations as I can. I love to travel! I'd also love to get back into the media world, when my children are older. Maybe I should add 'travel writer' to my bucket list!

Jen asked: What did you think of 'my big fat greek wedding' ?

I laughed! Great movie. Was it a totally accurate depiction of Greek people? Not really. At least, not in my family. We do love eating a lot, though! And Greek people are very passionate about life.

Anonomous asked: Why do you bring 2 glasses of water to bed with you?

One for me... one for my baby!

Midwest Mommy asked: Do you paint your nails from left to right or right to left?

I don't do my own nails! That's a disaster waiting to happen!

CaraBee asked: Do you change your purse to match your outfit or do you always carry the LV?

I usually carry my LV, but I do switch it up. I have a big Marc Jacobs purse that I carry when I'm with the kids, or my Coach over-the-shoulder purse. I have a cute little Gucci for evenings, too, that I love using.

Modern Mom: You have a great following on your blog and twitter. Do you find it easier to form relationships, get to know people on twitter or through your blog? Oh, and were you a blogger or a twitterer (is that a word) first?

I started blogging close to 4 years ago, so I was a blogger first. I love Twitter and have met many awesome people because of it. The only negative thing about Twitter is that people tend to leave blog comments there, and not on the actual blog post - that's a no-no!

I have found that every blogger I've admired online has been just as terrific in person. Twitter is like a non-stop party, where conversation is fun and fast, and blogs are more intimate. More like a sit down dinner or drinks with good friends. I love the connections I've made through blogging and through Twitter.

Nenette asked: Who was the most obnoxious celeb you encountered while interning for ET?

I left my ET internship early because I was offered a job in radio back home. I absolutely regert this now. If I had stayed for the entire internship, the last few weeks would have been me going out with the reporters to interview celebrities. So, I didn't meet any celebs while I was an intern at ET, sadly!

What are your 3 makeup case must-haves?

I have a few favourite lip glosses from Chanel and Estee Lauder - I am always re-applying! I also love StudioFix from MAC and black eyeliner.

If you were told that you had to move out of Canada, which country would you move to? (US and Greece don't count.)

Oh, come on! I'd move to the US in a heartbeat! Even though I love Canada. I need to live in Florida. It's my second home. I crave the ocean. I'd also live in Bethesda, MD - I love, love, love Washington, D.C. and visit as often as I can. I actually wouldn't live in Greece. It's great to visit, but not to live, in my opinion. Okay, so I'd live in... Capri. Or Monaco. And then I'd get to watch the Grand Prix from a yatch. How awesome would that be?

The new mile-high club

Yesterday, a friend on Twitter showed me this article and asked what my thoughts were. Because it's kind of hard to say in 140 characters what I really think, I decided to blog about it.

A recent poll released by a travel website asked if people would like a 'family-only' section on flights. Almost 60% of the people who responded were in favour of a 'family-only' section. Another 20% said they prefer child-free flights. The poll was released after a 67 year old passanger on a Qantas flight sued the airline after a 3 year old screamed on her flight last year. The woman complained about pain in her ears. Cry me a river.

The idea of making a 'family-only' section on an airplane, to me, is laughable because HELLO - airplanes are SMALL. Even the biggest airplane I've been on is small. Noise travels. And children are not second-class citizens.

It's absolutely ridiculous to propose a 'section' for children. As if children are less important passengers than anyone else! (Wait. If my children can fly for free, I might be in favour of sitting in our own section. Now that's something to think about!)

I would like to propose another section - a section reserved for assholes.

For the people who give dirty looks to moms on planes who are dealing with a baby who won't stop crying. As if the mother really wants her baby to be crying! Trust me, as a mom I can honestly say it's not easy dealing with a crying baby on a plane. We want our children to be happy. We don't want our children to have sore ears, or feel sick, or get bored, while flying. We also *know* we are getting dirty looks from mean people who have never been in our situation before, and we have to deal with their attitude, too. Can't we all just get along, damn it?

A close friend of mine who has no children told me she once asked a mother to make her baby stop laughing because it was bothering her. I think I was in too much shock to answer her.

I'd also like to reserve a section for people who won't shut-up!

Just because I'm sitting next to you doesn't mean I want to talk to you. Stop it with the small talk. If you see me nodding, and looking disinterested, it's a pretty good sign I don't want to talk to you. I'm nervous enough flying and thinking of ways to stay alive in case the plane falls out of the sky, that I really don't want to hear about how much fun you had on your vacation or if I know Bob from Toronto because I live in Canada.

And how about another section, for people who take their shoes off and have smelly feet? Disgusting!

Or... how about a section for people who fall asleep and snore really loudly? Surely we don't all have to be subjected to that annoying sound. Making a section for people who snore makes sense, right? What? You think those people would take offense to that?

My children travel by plane often—my 2 year old has been to Florida twice, to Bahamas, and to Washingon D.C. My oldest son, who just turned 5, has flown even more, and is a better flyer than most adults I know. I have no terrible experiences about flying with my children, except the time I flew alone with them and had to use the washroom, bringing both boys with me into the already tiny room. That was not fun.

I bring a carry-on filled with items to entertain my boys on flights—lots of snacks, DVD players, games, Play-Doh. I do whatever I can to keep my boys happy, entertained, and quiet. I am respectful of other passengers, always. But sometimes my children will cry or yell or do things that children do. And there is nothing I can do to change this. Even before I had children, I would smile at the parents who were trying to console their crying baby. Rather than give dirty looks, how about offering the parents a hand? Ask to hold the baby, smile, play peek-a-boo... that's so much more well received than giving dirty looks.

Chances are, a 'family-only' section on airplanes is not going to happen. The logistics behind that are too difficult, and flying is already hard enough.

If you don't like children, too bad for you. Put your earplugs in, have a glass of wine, and relax. And if I happen to walk by miserable you and my baby throws up on you, you sort of deserved it.

Round 2! What do you want to know about me?

Since coming home from NYC and BlogHer, I have written only 3 blog posts - one about BlogHer, one about the fear of flying, and one about summer.

I've started and saved about 10 blog posts that I need to return to.

I'm suffering from some sort of inability to blog, which probably has more to do with the fact that I've been pretty busy - busy with my job, busy with my children, busy with soccer tournaments and end of summer festivities like BBQ's, dinners with friends, last dips in the pool and the Greek festival, as well as getting things organized for back-to-school. (Can you believe summer is really almost over? I want to cry!)

Regular blogging will resume after this - but I thought now would be a great time to do a round 2 of Ask Me Anything, especially since I was asked.

So here you go - I turn the floor over to you.

Feel free to ask me whatever you want and I promise to reply in an upcoming post. I want to say nothing is off-topic, but I'm kind of scared. Ah, whatever. Ask away!

What is your burning question for me?

Are you dying to find out what I consider more painful - a brazilian wax or labour?

How it felt to sit in Mary Hart's chair when I interned at Entertainment Tonight?

What my scariest moment was when I lived in D.C.?

Do you want to know what my top 5 favourite TV shows are?

Or who makes my favourite jeans?

Want to know why I never say 'no' to my children?

Or why subway rides in NYC can be scary?

Who my favourite bloggers are?

I'd love to hear your questions, so go ahead... I'm ready!


Summer is my favourite time of year - always has been, ever since I was a little girl. I love everything about summer - the warm days, the sunshine, ice cream, swimming, bike rides, and going on vacation.

As a child, it was the innocence of summer that was so special - camp days, exploring the forest behind my childhood house, building a space-ship that never left the ground, collecting rocks and chasing rainbows.

As a teenager I did a lot of babysitting for the children in my neighbourhood and I remember looking forward to becoming a mom so I could do simple things like running through a sprinkler and building sand castles at the park with my children.

Summer has been totally awesome this year. Actually, summer is always awesome. This year, I've been able to work part-time for the last couple of months, which is the perfect situation—home with my boys some days, and working downtown other days, which affords me the best of both worlds.

Summer has been all about taking it easy and enjoying ourselves, from mini vacations to beautiful Mont Tremblant to relaxing days at the park.

We've spent many of our summer days and nights swimming...

Cheering on our future FIFA player...

Enjoying ice cream on vacation...

And corn on the BBQ...

Touching the sky on gondola rides high in the mountains...

Witnessing sweet kisses between brothers...

And childhood joys...

It's been a lot of carefree days.

And that's what summer is all about. The carefree days. Barefoot in the grass, cloud gazing, bathing suit wearing, popsicle licking days. It's been a blast.
I welcome fall back into our lives, but only because I love boots and cute sweaters. And I don't might some snow for Christmas but after that, I could happily spend January 2nd to May 1st in south Florida.
I know, we are months away from dreaded winter, but I need to start preparing myself early. It's never an easy transition, you know.
Hope you've had a great summer so far, too!

The post I can now safely write...

Now that I'm back from BlogHer in New York City, I can safely write this post.

I hate flying. I fly all the time, but no matter how many times I get on the plane, I don't feel relaxed until we have safely landed.

Of course, I have my share of "OMG, we totally almost crashed!" stories, like near-death landings. (I'm only slightly exaggerating here.)

I hate turbulance. Even though I have been told time and time again that it is safe, it just doesn't feel right when the plane you are on thousands of feet in the air shakes, drops, and goes through 'bumpy' patches. What the hell is a bumpy patch in the sky? Don't tell me. It still won't make sense to me.

Also? No matter what food is served on the plane, I will eat it all. I eat everything that is presented to me, even if it's gross and unidentifiable, because I know I will need my energy to tread water for hours until I am rescued. In case, you know, we drop from the sky and land in the ocean. I am a master swimmer and I can tread water for over an hour. I practice all the time, just in case.

When I was coming home from a vacation in Greece the year I graduated high school, I had a layover at Heathrow. While there, I bumped into a classmate who was returning from Scotland. We were on the same flight back to Ottawa. Then we bumped into another friend, who was coming home from Portugal. What a coincidence! We were all going to be on the same flight home! Shit.

I tried to keep the conversation light, but all I could see was the headline in the papers the following day:

Three students from the same graduating class perished on flight 147 from London to Ottawa.

I spent years working in television and radio, and I'm a news junkie. I see a good headline a mile away. I was not okay with being on the same flight as my two friends.

Of course, our plane didn't crash. But it was a very uncomfortable 6 hours.

Last week, I travelled to New York City on the same plane as quite a few other bloggers.

Tell me these headlines weren't just screaming to be written!

Plane of bloggers heading to BlogHer crashes.

BlogHer still going on despite the loss of several members of its community.

'I should have taken more than one Ativan!' were the last words heard before the crash.

Argh. With each mysterious bump, I held on for dear life. Of course, it didn't help that this was the very first plane ride I had taken without my children. What kind of a mother was I? Then I took my first Ativan and things got a lot better.

I walked by Sharon, and gave her a huge smile. "I'm feeling so good right now, Sharon," I said.

With a nod and a knowing smile, she said: "Isn't it great? You go from thinking: OH MY GOD! I'M GOING TO DIE! to: I may die..."

Needless to say, we landed safely. And my fear, once I returned back to Canada, subsided yet again.

Until the next flight.

Perhaps now that I have written this post, I should fly solo to San Diego for BlogHer'11?

I went to BlogHer and all I got was a fridge magnet!

So. I'm back from BlogHer '10 in New York City.

And all I got was a fridge magnet.

Oh, and a suitcase full of swag.

And the very best memories EVER.

BlogHer was more than I expected. It was more fabulous, more fun, more overwhelming, and more amazing than I thought it would be. BlogHer was more than a conference - it was like a retreat filled with very cool people who all shared a common interest. I'm so glad I went.

In fact, I was having such a great time at BlogHer I didn't leave myself any time to shop. And if you know me at all, you know this is a VERY BIG DEAL. I didn't go to Saks. Or spend more than a few minutes on 5th Avenue. In fact, I only went to FAO and to a souvenir store for a fridge magnet and snow globes for my boys. And I'm totally okay with that. (Except my first night back I did wake up in a panicked sweat screaming out OMG! THE SHOE FLOOR AT SAKS... NOOOOOOO!!!!!!)

The very best part about BlogHer? Meeting all the people I have been dying to meet, and seeing people I've met before, like Jill, and getting to know everyone better.

From the second I boarded the plane with Erica, Sharon, Candace, Cherie-Lynn, Alison, and a few other fabulous Canadians, it was nothing but good times. (The Ativan sure helped on the plane ride!)

Random thoughts about BlogHer:

Meeting my roommates Jessica and Jessica was 'squee!' worthy. I loved hanging with these two girls - it was like we had known eachother forever! I loved walking throught the streets of NYC with Jessica at 1 a.m. to find food (really expensive - but good - pizza!) and to talk. We literally didn't stop talking for 2 days. It's like I met my new BFF. Who lives too far away from me!

Meeting everyone was amazing. Did I already say that? Like Kate. And the fabulous Audrey, who hosted the Getting Gorgeous event. And Jen, a fellow Canadian I was dying to meet. And Miss Britt. And Brittany. And Marinka - OMG - I love Marinka even more than ever! (And I'm not just saying that because of the free LG vacuum cleaner everyone got at the Mouthy Housewives party!)

Bloggers are even more gorgeous in person. Hugs were plentiful and never weird.

People coming up to me and saying: "OMG! Loukia!!!! HI!!!!" was totally awesome.

Free drinks two days in a row was sweet. And so was the Pink Twitter. I survived on alcohol and cupcakes. No complaints!

The parties and events I was at - Getting Gorgeous, SocialLuxe, Ralph Lauren, Nikon, Hallmark, Sweets in the City and the Mouthy Housewives party - were a blast! And all at pretty fabulous locations, like penthouse suites and rooftop patios, where the wine flowed freely.

Hanging out at Hotel Gansevoorth in the Meatpacking District with a few great bloggers - Jessica, Pauline, Adam, Emily and Toronto aka Tempting Mama on Friday night was also so so awesome! I think the most fun was had at non-BlogHer related events - at dinner, bars, and just random meet-ups in the lobby.

The community keynote speakers were amazing. I cried. I laughed. I cried some more and almost had to re-do my make-up! Everyone was brilliant, and listening to Amy sing was kind of like BlogHer's own personal broadway show!

I actually changed outfits 4 times on Friday, much to the amusement of Maria who was rolling her eyes at me from across the room, but with a huge smile - it was awesome seeing her again, too.

I never used my credit card.
My feet DID hurt by the end of the night but it was a good pain and worth it!

I handed out all my business cards. And came home with a suitcase full of other people's fabulous business cards.

BlogHer is what you make it. If you sit in a corner not talking to anyone, I can't see how you'll have a good time. Get out there and talk to people! I had high expectations before going, and I was not let down at all. For the most part. I wish there was more time to talk to people, though.

The news on the little TV's in the elevators were very annoying, especially after a few glasses of wine when you started wondering who the hell was talking to you. Except for the time I saw Catherine on CNN, and I was like, "OMG! I KNOW HER!" to a group of non-bloggers. (There were like 27 non-bloggers at the Hilton at the same time BlogHer was going on. I wonder what they thought of us all?)
I am so glad I met YOU. I can't name everyone because I'd be up all night long, but know that seeing you all had me so excited, because you're all just as fabulous as I thought you'd be. And more.

So... see you all next year. At BlogHer'11. In San Diego, baby!


P.S. If you have a pic of me and you, please send it my way so I can add it here!

5 years...

My firstborn child. When you were born, my life changed in ways I never imagined. I could not stop staring at you. I actually did not sleep for 48 hours, which started to worry my family, but I was too afraid to close my eyes. You were perfection.

When I went back to work when you were only 6 months old. I knew you would be in great hands being looked after by both your grandparents and great-grandparents. Still, I stayed up the night before returning to work writing out detailed notes to the family that would be looking after you.

Notes like:

Christos wakes up around 7. Give him a warm bottle of milk, and then take him downstairs. He loves to be carried into the kitchen and family room, and he loves watching me open the curtains and blinds. We do this together and he loves it! Next, play with him. He loves his little musical train that moves and his blocks. Feed him some cereal for breakfast, making sure it's not too hot, and then take him for a walk. He should nap around 9 a.m., in his crib...

Every day, you do things that amaze me.

You've just turned 5, and yet, you're wiser than most children double your age. You know most of the periodic table of elements, because you love to learn new things. You know how to use our ipad already. You ask questions all the time, storing new knowledge in your head, never forgetting. You love the Discovery Channel.

You could list the order of the planets in our solar system in under a minute, and you love to play 'gems and jewels' store. You love to go on fossil finding expeditions. You love visits to the library, and sitting at home reading your new books. You build towers with your lego that we proudly display on our bookcase for months on end. You write your name and each time you do, my heart swells with amazement. I think you're going to be our scientist, while your brother becomes the new Schumacher.

The new career you're chosen for youself? Paleontologist. I think that's an upgrate from your last chosen career, constuction worker. Although no matter what you become, I will support, love and respect you until the end of time. (As long as you finish University first!)

You protect your little brother, and always give in when he wants his way. It's not fair, is it? Yet, with nothing more than a sigh, you let your adorable brother get his way. He loves you, so, so much. Seeing you two together makes me the happiest person ever.

You're the strongest child I know, having had to go throught so much already, including several hospital stays, surgery, a chest tube, countless numbers of x-rays and ultrasounds and lots of IV's from when you had a severe case of pneumonia. You've changed me, baby boy, and I worry now more than ever before.

You love to collect rocks, sea shells, and special coins, and you have specific shelves in your room to display your favourite things like family pictures, snow globes from places you've travelled to, and gold coins you say you'll never use. The only thing you want for your birthday is a solid gold bar.

You are an observer, a thinker, and a conflict avoider. Once shy, after finishing your first year of kindergarten, you're more outgoing and love playing with your friends. You are becoming more independent every day.

You love soccer and you love to swim. You love your father in such a fierce way I sometimes get jealous. But when you call out 'mommy' in the middle of the night, I come running, each and every time.

I cherish our conversations and your laughter, and your little boy ways.

Happy Birthday my love. I love you more each and every day, forever.
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