“Here's the story of a lovely lady……” Ok, this is where the comparison ends between the Brady Bunch and Rebecca Eckler’s blended family. In her new book, Blissfully Blended Bullshit: The Uncomfortable Truth Of Blending Families, Eckler gets candid about the realities of blending families and the hard truth behind what it means to meld a new life with exes, in-laws, new children, bonus children, bio children, households and even a dog. We sat down with Eckler to talk about her new book, falling in and out of love and what she wants you to know about being blended. By Rachel Naud Why was it important to you to write this book? There are two reasons I thought it was an important topic to write about candidly. I didn’t realize how hard being in a blended family was, and it was only AFTER I would vent to girlfriends, who were in, or had been, in blended worlds themselves, that they would admit that they had the same issues. I had no idea what they had/have been going through, again, until after I was the one to start the conversation. Also, I realized there was nothing out there about what to do AFTER you blend families. There is a lot out there about the stepmother/stepchild relationship, but there was nothing about what to do when blended stops being so splendid, and all the BS that pops up in blended families. When you blend families, it’s not just about ‘How To Be A Step-Parent.’ Blending affects everyone, from our in-laws, ex-in-laws, our exes. When I read the stats on blending families, I was shocked. By the year 2020, there will be more blended families in North America than any other kind of family makeup, so, really, there is an epidemic of people blending, who have no idea what to do after they blend. I wanted to help, or at least share, what people are going to have to deal with, and hopefully they can learn from my mistakes. When you reach a certain age, and get divorced, and start dating again, there is a huge probability that you will be dating someone who already has children. And no one has really shared what it’s really like to blend, and all the variations of people who need to get along for blended to be splendid. I also wanted people like my parents, my (now) ex’s parents, and
10 Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts She'll Love Buying for the mothers in your life can be hard. That’s why we’ve chosen 10 gift ideas for the women that do so much everyday. By Rhiannon Ness 1: Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, $499, dysoncanada.ca Spoil your mom with the best in luxury hair care. This hairdryer saves time and leaves a sleek finish compared to a regular dryer, so mom can get right back to her busy schedule! It relies on its power to dry hair fast instead of just using extreme heat, making this a healthier and quicker alternative to a regular hair dryer. 2: Breville Smart Tea Infuser Compact, $199, breville.com The Breville smart tea infuser does all the hard work for you. It knows the proper temperature and steep time your mother’s favourite tea needs, so she can just set the timer and go! 3: Casper Hybrid Mattress, $925+, casper.com Maximize your mom’s sleep by getting her one of these mattresses. They’re comfortable and limit the body pain that is usually caused by other mattresses. The mattress features temperature-regulating technology to prevent overheating, as well as upgraded support technology to address aches and pains for the most comfortable sleep. 4: Cute mom mugs, $14, chapters.indigo.ca For the caffeinated mother, these mugs show your appreciation for everything that Mom does (and she’s reminded every morning!). 5: Bite Beauty lip set, $39, sephora.com For the makeup lover, this Bite Beauty lip set contains three lipsticks, a lip balm and a lip mask in a travel pouch. Bonus: they’re cruelty-free and made in Canada! 6: Tropical iced tea set, $39, davidstea.com Kickstart summer with this iced tea kit from David’s Tea. The kit includes three teas, a spoon and a steeper so your mom can indulge in these tropical iced teas on a hot day. 7: Conversations with my Momby Lark Crafts $14, chapters.indigo.ca This collaborative journal is something you and your mom work on together. It features guided questions to get you talking about things you might never have mentioned before. This book is a conversation between each other and is something you’re both bound to cherish. 8: Pandora charm bracelet, $75, Pandora.net A Pandora charm bracelet is something you can add to every year. There are Disney charms, mom charms, grandmother charms, mother-son charms, mother-daughter charms—charms for every occasion and every mother! 9: Drunk Elephant Littles Kit, $110, sephora.com This Drunk Elephant skincare set is great for all skin types. Whether your mom’s skin concerns are hyperpigmentation, aging skin or dullness, she will be sure to love the products
We first fell in love with Sean Astin, watching him play Mikey in The Goonies. We then cheered him on in the critically acclaimed movie, Rudy, and we laughed through the Lord of the Rings trilogy watching him play the trusty sidekick to Frodo Baggins as Samwise Gamgee. Today, Astin is playing a character closer to home – and his heart – on the new Netflix show, No Good Nick. Portraying the loveable dad, Ed, Astin says is the closest character he’s ever played to himself. We sat down with the actor and father of three daughters to talk about being Dad, on and off screen. Congrats on the new show, No Good Nick! It’s very unique compared to other family shows on Netflix. How would you say this show stands out? No Good Nick takes a more dramatic, intriguing turn. It’s more of a thriller. The lead character is a 14-year-old criminal, breaking the law. It’s entertaining but a little disturbing. It’s made for binge-watching and it’s very plot-driven. What drew you to the character, Ed? I’d like to believe I AM Ed. I like that in this strangely unique show of intrigue, Ed gets to be typical. He’s dependable. Reliable. Upbeat. Happy. According to the synopsis of the show, “The series will be highly serialized and show how each character is flawed in their own way. People make mistakes and can sometimes do the wrong thing for the right reasons.” How would you say this pertains to your character? For all the reasons I describe Ed as being reliable and typical, as the show goes on, there are other aspects of his character that are revealed that are less than appealing or morally certain. It’s unsettling when these moments come about. I hate it when I see what Ed does and he’s not the perfect family dad — Ed and the “Edness” that I know. But, of course, the writers are correct in wanting to make it more specific. At one point in the show, all the stuff in our garage goes missing and Ed calls the police and insurance and his attitude is cavalier. You think he would be a rule follower. You have three kids, as a parent how do you relate to sometimes making mistakes and/or being flawed? Frequently. You know, I’m so disappointed in myself a lot for not being better. My life philosophy and sense of myself is that I am
How I Helped my Daughter Transition from Dorm Life to Living on Her Own By Sara Dimerman After my younger daughter’s first year away in residence at university, I thought that we were pretty much done with questions such as, “How long after the best before date can I keep yogurt?” and “When should I choose ‘permanent press’ on the washing machine?” However, after she moved into a house with four other girls for her second year away from home, I learned that there were many more questions to come – such as how to make hot chocolate on the stove like the way I make it for her at home. And I continued to encourage them because being able to ask for direction when you’re not sure what to do is an indication that you’re not ashamed to show that you don’t know everything there is to know, especially when living alone. I think it’s great that students living in residence during their first year away at university buy meal plans. This way, at least parents know that their teens won’t be starving or having to worry about what to buy and make for meals. Especially in addition to adjusting to living independently and managing time and responsibilities like never before – laundry and getting themselves up in the morning, for example. By the time second year rolls around, most students are tired of cafeteria food and showing a great deal more appreciation for home-cooked meals when they come back to their nest for visits. However, many are not quite prepared for the effort it takes to think about what they need to put into their fridge and cupboard (often only on one or two of the assigned shelves), making time to shop for those ingredients and then cutting and cooking them up, after a long day of classes. Even though my daughter has an interest in cooking (and often sends pictures so that she and her dad – the cook in our family – can compare their creations), she often lacks the energy or space required to cook a meal for herself. So, we agreed to pay for weekly meals in a box ( three at a time which allows for six dinners over the course of a week) which still means that she has to prepare the food, but this saves her the time of shopping for as many ingredients, teaches her to
3 Tips on Managing Your Teen's Mood Swings Is your tween or teen experiencing the symptoms of what I call the ‘Emotional Armageddon Syndrome' or EAS? Let me give you an example of how EAS might look like. This is a real story. Picture my 13-year-old daughter bombarding me with hugs, telling me how much she loves me. A split of a millisecond later, her smile magically transforms into the meanest frown simply because I said: “Honey, don’t forget to clean your room before you go to bed.” Does this sound familiar? The truth is most kids become a different child when they reach the tween or teen years. As they enter the pre-adolescent years, they begin to experience physical, emotional and social changes. Frankly, many have a hard time facing their puberty and don’t know what to do with it. If you remember, our bodies were totally wacked and out of control when we became teens. Between the menstrual cycle, wild hormones, physical development, voice cracking, new desires and curiosity, puberty can be quite challenging. Then, you have the teenager who tends to over-react as her world is seemingly crashing down. “I hate school. All my teachers hate me. No one wants to be my friend. Everyone is trashing me on social media. My life is a disaster!” Maybe you’re noticing these unpredictable and intense mood swings yet finding yourself unprepared to deal with these changes properly. The good news is that, according to research, mood swings during adolescence are actually normal, aren’t necessarily a reason to worry and they shall pass. I wonder if these researchers have tweens and teens at home? Anyhow, the key here is to help you and your tween/teen manage these swings in a healthier way. In this post, I’m sharing three tips to help you guide and support your child during this intense journey so that they learn to face mood swings in a healthier way while keeping your sanity along the way. Does this sound like a plan? All right, let’s get started! Tip 1. Stay Calm One thing that worked well for our 17-year-old son and seems to be working well for our 13-year-old daughter is focusing on how we’re going to react to their mood swings before we correct the behaviour. An effective way to address your children’s mood swings is to remain calm, in control and exercise patience as you interact with your moody tween or teen. In other words, don’t take
Carlos Bustamante's 5 Truths About Hollywood As a reporter on ET Canada, Carlos Bustamante is used to life in the spotlight. He’s had a front row seat to the glam life of Hollywood and has witnessed first-hand the making of stardom. That’s why he knows all too well that fame is not as simple as it seems. Behind every success story is not only years of struggle, but a team of people to manage everything from hair, makeup and publicity to being responsible for what comes next. What else he sees? Hollywood life is not all it’s cracked up to be, which is something he thinks every star-struck teen needs to understand. We sat down with Bustamante to chat about the realities of Hollywood and fame, and the messages he wants every teen to know. By Rachel Naud Your kids are still young but if they become interested in Hollywood glam, what will you tell them? They’ll understand how unreal a lot of what they see is. I have friends that are makeup artists and publicists that work with actors. There is a community of people that make a famous person famous. They will understand that. If they become obsessed with fame or want people to know who they are, they will understand that there is work that goes into becoming a top-rated movie star. You don’t just wake up one day and have someone discover you. More often than not, it comes from years of hard work, whether you want to be an actor or a musician. Behind every success story is one about a person working for decades before a big break finally came along and 100 more people that never got their big break. The main lesson I want them to learn is that if they choose a career that might end up in fame, their main focus should be their love for their craft. Because if they don’t have that, they’ll never be happy trying to make it. How do you think Instagram and other social media feeds have influenced the desire to be famous? I think social media has made fame accessible. Anyone can pick up a phone and record themselves. The possibility becomes so much closer to home. You don’t have to live in L.A. to make it big. But they still have to understand that the YouTubers who have the highest followers or have endorsement deals work every single day,
6 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TEEN Many of us have made the resolution to do better. To have more meaningful relationships with our teens and to connect with them on a higher level. If you want to make this year the best ever with your teen, here are six things you can do. By Brooke Martin LISTEN Teens have their hearts and minds pulled in different directions from daily pressures and worldly influences. The art of listening is a gift that heals wounds, loves unconditionally, and ignites creativity in the one being heard. Think about it. What kind of person do we lean into when we are trying to sort out problems in life? Generally, we gravitate to the open-hearted, non-judgmental and unsolicited people in our lives. The ones who listen, truly listen. Why is the art of listening so powerful? We can help our teens discover who they are by creating a safe space where they can pour out their thoughts and perspectives of life, tell their stories, and unload disappointments. MONITOR DIGITAL DEVICES Strap in parents! Teens today are the first generation of "screenagers," which means we are the first generation to parent screenagers. This is not an easy task! As a mother of three teenagers, the digital device battles flooded our home for a good two years until I finally grew a backbone and buckled down. As a result, my kids are happier, less stressed, and there is more peace in our home! Teenagers are turning to devices to cope with normal hard emotions instead of learning healthy coping skills in life. The average teenager in the U.S. spends nine hours a day of screen time. Studies show teens who spend over three hours a day are much more likely to have depression, anxiety, feel fatigued and chronic stress. The iPod was released in 2007 and Instagram was released in 2010. In the U.S., from 2007-2015 the suicide rate in girls doubled and increased 30 per cent in boys. Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst all teenagers in the U.S. and is the No. 1 leading cause of death in teenage girls. How can we make improvements? SELF-CHECK. Our kids model our behaviour. Are we on our phones during dinner? Do we set our own time restrictions? Do we turn to social media (or video gaming) to cope with hard emotions instead of healthy coping skills? Be transparent with your teen in your own personal
5 Ways to Get Festive with the HP Sprocket Printer The HP Sprocket Printer is one of the season’s hottest gifts for teens. And, while it’s perfect for printing photos and sharing with friends, there is more you can do with the HP Sprocket Printer than just print and share photos. For the ultimate in festive fun, here is 5 ways you can spread the holiday cheer with your HP Sprocket Printer. Sweet Treats. If you’re gifting a jar of your famous shortbread or Christmas bark to friends and family, use your HP Printer Sprocket to make a very personal label! Maybe it’s a picture of your bestie enjoying your treats? Or perhaps it’s a snapshot of the two of you together? Either way, they’ll be sure to love the package as much as what is inside. String it up. Whether you’re decorating for a party or want to add some flair to your bedroom, the HP Sprocket LED String Light Clips lets you deck your halls with memories of friends and family throughout the holidays! Throughout the year, you can swap out the photos each season! Put together a holiday bullet journal. Bullet journals are the latest trend wherein practicality meets creativity. Part To-Do Lists, Part Planner and Part Diary, these all-in-one organizers are ideal for keeping your tasks on track while writing down your deepest thoughts or sharing life’s happy moments. A reminder of an upcoming New Year’s Eve party can be heightened with photos printed from your HP Sprocket Printer of all the fun you had at the party once you get home! Map it out. Are you travelling over the holidays? Tape a map to your wall and print out photos from your journeys. Dot the map with memories of skiing in the West Coast or sipping frosty mocktails poolside in Cancun. Better than any passport stamp, your HP Sprocket Printer photos will brighten your map while taking you down memory lane every time you look at it. Tag. You’re it. Need a creative tag to put on a hostess gift? Or meeting up to exchange gifts with friends on Boxing Day? Instead of sticking a generic tag on a present, print out a photo of the two of you and attach it to the gift for a personalized festive touch.
My Favourite Shops to Find Fun Gifts for Teens By Rachel Naud When Interac challenged me to shop local, it was a challenge I gladly accepted! Part of the reason I love living in Toronto is the array of independent shops and boutiques in every area. When searching for some fun gifts for teens, I certainly didn't have to travel far! Here are some of my favourite spots where I discovered fun finds and gift ideas. Yellow House Gallery & Framing This contemporary art gallery and custom framing shop in the Upper Beaches of Toronto showcases local, regional and international emerging artists and focuses on original works and limited edition prints. I picked up a super cool graffiti-inspired custom painting, perfect for any teen! (Or myself, really!) Tertulia This independent coffee shop is new to the Riverside area. Inside, the vibe is quaint and contemporary. I went for the gourmet chocolates and caramels but I stayed for the London Fog! Best in the city! The Nooks Located in Toronto’s East End on “The Danny,” The Nooks sells hand-crafted and curated gifts, made by local artisans. The perfect place to get that one-of-a-kind gift! I found some cool necklaces! Good Neighbour This funky find is a one-stop shop for everyone on your list. This little house turned gift emporium serves up everything from house & home and bath & body items to men’s and women’s clothing and winter accessories. iQLiving Located in the heart of Greektown, I adore the kitchen accessories and cookware in this shop, especially the Orla Kiely line. It’s got a retro vibe that I love!
Teens can be the trickiest people to buy for because they can also be the pickiest! With trends, coming and going every day, finding that perfect gift can be daunting. But don’t worry. Rachel Naud, the editor of INBETWEEN magazine, has got you covered with a selection of gifts any teen would love to receive this Christmas. New England Patriots Toque, $27.99, nflshop.ca The perfect stocking stuffer, this New England Patriots toque will keep their heads warm this winter while letting them show their pride for their favourite team! 2nd Edition HP Sprocket Printer, $159.99, hp.ca If your teen is into tech and loves to take selfies and photos with their friends (basically every teen out there!), you’ll win major cool parent points with this 2nd Edition HP Sprocket Printer. It’s about the size of a cell phone, so they can take it with them when they’re hanging out with their friends, and up to three devices can connect to one printer so they can all get in on the fun when they’re all together! Once connected with the app, they can have fun customizing their photos with colourful filters, frames, text and stickers! Afterward, they can also use the pint-size pictures to decorate their spaces or share with friends and spread some holiday cheer. Dermalogica Smooth Skin Favourites, $47, dermalogica.ca The teenage years is an ideal time to get into a skincare routine because it sets them up to learn how to properly care for their skin, which is especially important when they’re often going through hormonal changes that can cause acne. And during the winter, when the weather is dry and cold, you want to really pamper your skin, which is why this Dermalogica Gift Set is great. It includes everything they will need to cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate their skin and give them a glowing complexion for the New Year! Hidden Gems Bath Bomb, $49.99, shopatshowcase.com Being a teen is stressful and taking hot baths is a great way to de-stress and more importantly unplug! While every teen knows about bath bombs, these Hidden Gems are extra special! Inside they’ll find an extra special surprise — a piece of jewelry! And the really fun part about it? The jewelry inside can be worth up to $5,000! E310 Explorian Series Vitamix, $419.95, vitamix.ca This gift is perfect for that athletic teen that is always up early and out the door for those early morning practices or games. Or