October really kicked my ass. There was something in the air, in the universe. Bad news out in the world and bad news closer to home. Friends and acquaintances and strangers going through terrible times all around. And then with Halloween came a sudden upswing, better vibes. Maybe my kids excitement was contagious, maybe it was all the candy I got to eat or maybe it was November not sucking. The last couple of weeks have been really interesting and exciting and scary on the work front. More than ever before people are requesting meetings to show me their work in the hopes that I can get my clients to buy their goods; publications are asking for my two cents; stores are wanting me to come check out their collections. There has been a sudden amping up of interest in Annika Krausz. I’m not complaining. It has been nice and meant that I’ve been asked to be part of fun things. Like writing a local’s guide to Montreal for What Would Gwyneth Do, a great lifestyle blog based in sunny California. And it has also amped up my work load. I am re-designing a bathroom in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Montreal, working on a kitchen renovation in NDG, and continuing my work with existing clients. Last week, I met with a hugely powerful and successful woman who is as of today a new client and I’m thrilled and terrified all at once. This contract could mean big big things for me. Or not. You never know how a project will develop in my line of work. It could be love and professional bliss just like it can sour for no specific reason. That’s why you should never ever work with/for family. If it sours, it’ll make for pretty awkward family functions. Trust me. And though this potential contract can mean big things, I am only a little bit frightened by the actual work. It is more how this particular job will affect my family life that worries me. I’ve had a steady little rhythm going of late but it’s been a manageable one. With my oldest in school and needing to pick him up as early as I do, it makes for pretty short working days. I’ve been more or less able to work a bit, cook a bit, clean a bit and still make it to Oscar’s school by 3:30. This new job could mean that mama won’t be able to do pick ups every single day. Much less cook and clean and do laundry. But a fulfilled mama makes for a happy albeit stressed mama. I’ve been really lucky to be able to spend as much time with my kids as I have, but I think it might be good for them to have their mom be a little less available from time to time…
Speaking of the little kidlets/monsters/angels, they have been all kinds of fun and nutty these past few weeks. I am loving 5 so much. My son is liking school, learning tons, making friends, and pleasing his teachers. Bonus: he is falling asleep exhausted from this whole kindergarten thing at a reasonable hour. He is being a good big brother and taking pride in teaching his little sister new things even if it is the words to Gangnam Style. His brain seems to be growing every minute of every day. And then there is my baby, my Lou Belle. What a piece of work! Independent, feisty, brave, strong, so funny, and so driving me nuts. She turned 3 this week and though I COULD NOT WAIT for her to get out of her seemingly endless terrible twos, a part of me is really very super sad at the thought that my baby is a big girl. I know logically that 3 is still very little, that in the grand scheme of aging 3 is tiny, but it’s all relative. And for me 3 means there are no more babies in this house. Sniff.
We threw her a big party on Sunday, her first extra big party. She insisted on inviting all the kids in her class (which means at least one parent for each kid in her class) plus all of her cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her (my) adult friends. And though Sunday is sacred in our house due to my husband’s football addiction, I got around that by making the party a morning one: technically the party would be more or less over by kickoff. Everybody wins. It was mayhem as most children’s birthdays are, but it was really great and she had a blast. As the second kid, I feel like she often gets the short end of the stick- I did swim classes and play dates with her brother when he was little, read to him more, spend tons of one on one time with him. Oh mama guilt! This is the first year where she got a say on what her birthday would be like and who got to come. Big girl style.
When I host a party, whether for four people or forty, my keys for success are food, drink, setting a nice table, and ideally when dealing with kids, some kind of activity or event. For adults, it’s really all about having enough food and booze. Never ever ever let a guest go hungry or thirsty. For Lou’s birthday, I think we hit the checklist in a big way. Food was a mix of Costco, our Butcher shop, and my girl Reema’s cake shop. As for decor, we still had some of the pretty paper fan decorations up from our summer backyard wedding, I blew up some balloons, and I got cute gingham plates and napkins from the Dollar store. Easy peasy.
My bunnies swinging at Cocoa Locale; the kids waiting for mom to be done at the Butcher’s; table is set.
Where we really hit the jackpot was with the “activity”. I totally lucked out in having a super awesome and talented friend, Michelle “The Beadlady” Wiseman. She runs her own company doing activities like jewelry making parties, beading and crafting parties, and face painting for kids, teens, and adults. For our Lou, we thought face painting/stencil tattoos would be the best suited activity for kids their age. It was so much fun! The kids loved it and many of the adults (including my parents) got tattoos. It was great seeing the shyer children work their way up to approaching Michelle, who by the way, was so very approachable. She came in and set up her table and chairs and went at it like a boss. Little dudes getting superhero tattoos sprayed on their arms and kids of all ages getting stars and butterflies on their faces. I got a pretty rad skull and cross bones. It was the best. I want her at all my parties from now on. Seriously, so fun.
My friend Nadine’s cool star tattoos with the cutest little pumpkin, baby Yohann; Oscar the raptor or some reptile, I’m not sure; Lou helping Michelle out.
And though it was madness- 20 kids and 25+ adults, the explosion of toys and glitter everywhere- Lou had the best time. That’s what we do it for, right? And it didn’t cut into my husband’s day of football. Wins all around.
With the party now behind us, it’s back to the grindstone for me. Working hard, getting it done, trying to take the time to write and be inspired. I am currently sourcing items for my annual holiday gift guide. You can check 2013’s ones here, here, and here. I love doing guides even though it can seem cheesy to some. Truly it forces me to look at what’s out there, what’s going on in the world of fashion and design and art and literature. It gets me off the Facebook and onto cookbooks and design blogs and cool sites that I barely ever get the time to check out. It is an excuse to seek out inspiration, and boy do I ever need that.
And coming up in a couple of weeks is a family trip to Toronto where my father has a show. We will pack everyone up for the drive, hopefully see some good friends, definitely see some good art, eat some good food, and maybe even squeeze in some shopping. If you are in the area, come say hello we’ll be there on Saturday the 22nd!
So here is to November not sucking, to new jobs and new fears getting tackled, and to 3 year olds who kick ass and take names!
* Rosella Tursi took some of the party pictures.