Sunday, November 2, 2014

Exciting Projects!

Well hey there friends! It certainly has been a little while.

There are some very exciting things coming up over the next couple of weeks and I wanted to share them with you!

JazzFM 91.1 Radio Special!

A few years ago I hosted a half hour special paying tribute to Clark Terry. Tonight (Sunday Nov 2nd) at 11:30pm I am doing it again! I will be sharing some songs off my current playlist with you as well as playing an exclusive unreleased live Oscar Peterson track. So please, please, PLEASE tune in! It means a lot to me. Worldwide listeners can tune in online at WWW.JAZZ.FM

Update!
Here is the music I played on Sunday night! Click the links below to buy the music.

Please support these wonderful artists.


At Home with Oscar: New YouTube Series!

 Over at the Oscar Peterson Facebook Page we announced yesterday a brand new YouTube series, "At Home with Oscar". We bring you into the Peterson house right in front of OP's Bösendorfer Imperial where you will hear and see some of your favourite piano players performing special songs just for you! We are thrilled that this project has come to life and can't wait to share the results with you. Performances will go live every other Monday starting tomorrow, November 3rd. You want to be subscribed to Oscar Peterson Legacy on YouTube so that you are guaranteed not to miss an episode. You should also be following us on Facebook - you know, for good measure. 

Trailer for "At Home with Oscar"
**Update: The first episode is now LIVE!
Gerald Clayton, "Sunny Day GO"

"Keep On Keepin' On" is Returning to Toronto!

The critically acclaimed documentary from Alan Hicks, which showcases the beautiful friendship/mentorship between Clark Terry and his student, Justin Kauflin will return to the Hot Docs Cinema starting November 14th. This doc is very personal for me. Clark has been in my life since I was born and believe me when I say that he is one of the most special human beings on this earth. We al know that he is a legend in the music world but this film gives you an inside look into Clark's life and struggles over the last 5 years. His unbelievable and inspiring positivity is the staple in this film for me. You must see it while it's here. However, the opening night screening is on November 14th and is hosted by JazzFM. Ross Porter has invited me to take part in a special Q&A prior to the screening and I of course, said yes. So please come out to enjoy the film with us and say hi! But if you can't make it, be sure to catch another screening between the 14th and 26th.

"An Oscar Peterson Christmas VINYL RELEASE"

Concord records is releasing (for the first time EVER) "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" on Vinyl and we are hosting a release event at L'Atelier Grigorian on November 23rd in Toronto! Come join myself and my Mom with Dave Young and Lorne Lofsky and pick up your copy of the vinyl (or win one of the 10 will we will be giving away) and get it signed by Dave and Lorne! We will also be playing 3 unreleased tracks from the recording date all of which have Dad SINGING on them! You don't want to miss hearing those and this will be your only opportunity!


That's all I got for now folks! As I said, some very exciting things coming up over the next few weeks. Hopefully you're enjoying some of the new things we're doing and if there is something you want to see you can comment here or send me a tweet! (Twitter.com/CelineOlivia). Have a great week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

80 Years of Oliver Jones!

What can I say about the great Oliver Jones that hasn't already been said. The truth is, not much - but this is because anyone who has heard him play has said what a gift he has given us with his music, and everyone who knows him personally has shared how much they love him. That being said, I am going to share why I love him anyway. 

We all know that Oliver Jones is one of the greatest legends the music world has ever seen. He makes the piano sound more beautiful than can be imagined. What some people don't realize is that when you are watching him on stage, of course you are watching one of the greats interpret a melody like no one else can, but you are also watching the young kid who loves his instrument just have the time of his life up on stage.

I can remember getting more excited than usual whenever we would go to Montréal because I knew it meant that I'd get to see Uncle Ollie. Actually, I remember one specific time when I was very young where I was told we were going and I instantly got excited because I thought it meant a visit. But he was on tour in Europe at the time and I turned on my parents so quickly they didn't even recognize me. I adore him.

Ollie is someone that you always want to share your good news with. When he is speaking with you, he is genuinely interested in what you are saying. A word that best describes him would absolutely be "nurturer". Whenever someone is introduced to him they feel a sense of comfort. Very few people can make someone feel that comfortable in an instant. He takes you under his wing and it is as if you have known each other your whole life.

There is so much that I want to say about Ollie but all I can manage to say right now is thank you. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for being willing to dedicate your life to enriching the lives of those around you. Thank you for giving me a spot in your heart. Thank you for your music. Thank you for being you. 80 years of Oliver Jones means 80 years that the world has been smiling. Happy Birthday dear Uncle Ollie. May your birthday bring you all the happiness you have given us and more. I love you.

Sharing my last birthday with this special man.

Mural dedication courtesy of MU in Montréal. Lionel-Groulx and Georges-Vanier.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

23.

My life is and always will be unique. I grew up in a lifestyle unlike any other. I was lucky enough to experience things that I could not even begin to imagine in my head. With all that said, I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing. I just do what feels right and I do what makes me happy. Sometimes I am overcome by the fact that I feel I need to do things because they are what other people want from me or because they will make someone else happy. Other times I don't give a damn. At 23 I am happier than I have ever been. I get nervous very easily, confused regularly, frustrated often, and scared that I am making mistakes. But I am still happy. What prompted this? Well to be perfectly honest it was my seeing the bigger picture thanks to a friend. A friend who is the complete opposite of everything I want to be in life. I really needed this huge dose of reality and ironically, it took someone who is not seeing anything even remotely realistic at all to give it to me. I am very grateful to this friend (who will be too oblivious to realize I am talking about them) for helping me get here. So this is me at 23. No idea where I'm going tomorrow, but I know where I am today and what I want at this moment...a peanut butter sandwich. That's just right now really - down the line I'll want something a little more stable. Actually, scratch that. Honestly, what is more stable than a peanut butter sandwich? Nothing I tell you!
Oh, and if you're still reading this...man are you dedicated and loyal! Thanks  I love you Mom!!!

Photo is courtesy of my dear friend, Tracey Nolan!!
www.traceynolanstudios.com
www.misstraceynolan.com
twitter.com/misstraceynolan

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Good day one and all!

A few days ago my Mother and I were challenged to pour ice and freezing cold water over our heads to bring awareness to ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease research. If we chose not to complete the challenge we had to donate $100. We, as I know other people have, did both. Simple.

What is not simple is how outraged people have become over this challenge. I won't stop on the subject of how ridiculous I think that is, but I will say that I am happy something as simple as pouring bucket of ice on your head has brought people's attention to a disease I'm sure most of them have never heard of. If you hear someone speaking about Lou Gehrig's Disease, then maybe. But ALS? Probably not. I, like others, know that there are a good chunk of people out there doing the ice bucket but not having a clue why. That's unfortunate, but that's how the world works. Some people just don't take the time to get all the information, and others just don't care. But so many people do. Last year the ALS Association raised $1.9 million dollars from July 29th-August 19th. This year during that same time period, they raised 22.9 million dollars. Did you read that number? Read it again: 22.9 MILLION DOLLARS. Yes. The silly notion of pouring ice over your head caused someone to research this and donate. Imagine.

I think it's wonderful. There is very little that I can do as a non-doctor, non-scientist, non-researcher sitting on my couch at home. But donating money to a very worthy cause and dumping ice over my head for the entertainment of others is definitely something I can do. So I did.

I saw this video on Facebook thanks to my friend Louisa. If you would like to witness the most real and honest ice bucket challenge out there, then please watch. Take a few minutes out of your day and watch as someone who was recently diagnosed with ALS not only does the challenge, but explains why it is the furthest thing from silly. Then after that, you can scroll down a little further and watch my Mother and I pour the ice over each other's heads. I enjoyed putting my Mother through that a little more than I should have. Now after you've gone through the process of reading this, and watching those videos, please donate. WWW.ALSA.ORG!! They need all the financial support they can get and for most of us, that is all we can do. So please give what you can.




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

60 Seconds With Hillary Clinton

I had nothing to do yesterday, which as of late is a very rare occurrence. So I was taking that opportunity to finish the spring cleaning that I started weeks ago. At 1:45pm I was taking a break with my friend Facebook and I noticed that Tracey Nolan posted saying there were still wristbands left for the Hillary Clinton signing taking place at Indigo downtown. Before I passed out, I managed to message her for a second opinion on whether or not I would make it down there from where I lived in time to get a wristband.

I ultimately decided to just take a chance and see what happens. Thus begins what seems like the craziest journey I've ever been on. I grabbed the first non-pyjama type shirt I saw and threw it on and then the first pair of pants next to it. As I was running down to the garage to get in my car, I realized that the pants didn't feel right. It may have had something to do with the fact that they were on inside-out. Of course they were. No time to deal with that now so I got in my car, turned it on, and saw that I had NO GAS! Of course I didn't. So I stopped at the gas station and went right in-front of someone (sorry dude!), which I'm sure karma will bring back to me at some point.

With my car gassed up and ready to go I headed downtown. I managed to get there quicker than you would on a Sunday night at 4am. I scared myself. As I pulled up by the store to go and park I saw a line that went down the block, around the corner, and all the way down the other block. Awesome. The next question was "did these people all have wristbands?" Luckily for me, they did. So I parked and ran upstairs into the store and I'm sure the poor cashier I obtained the wristband from was scared of the crazy girl saying "please tell me you have wristbands left!"

Once I received my wristband I felt that immediate feeling of relief as I was walking downstairs and outside to go wait in line with everybody else. The first part of the wait was in the shade, which was nice because it was quite relaxing. While waiting in line I had a phone call with my brother (who though I was insane), my friend (who was debating whether or not to come and get a book signed while laughing at the fact that I put on dirty inside-out pants to meet Hillary Clinton), and my banker who only heard "bad timing" from my end of the phone.

Then I met two really lovely people with me in line and we proceeded to have great and interesting conversation while we waited together. Aside from meeting the former Secretary of State, that was the coolest part of this experience for me. We were all waiting in line with only slightly different versions of the same story in terms of our reasoning but all coming from different places. Even though we really didn't end up waiting nearly as long as we thought we would, the time definitely went by quicker with kind people to talk to.

Once we got into the store and just as I was approaching her, I did what I think most people do. I went blank. I had no idea what to say to a woman whom I admired as much as I do her. Do I tell her I'm a dual citizen and I hope to be able to vote for her in a few years? Do I thank her for coming to Toronto? Do I just say hello and thank you then walk away? How much time will I have? Those and many other thoughts took over my head until finally it was my turn.

I stepped up on the riser and smiled at her. "Thank you for coming to Toronto. Your influence is of course worldwide, but as a dual citizen I am so happy to see you in our city." "Oh how kind. Well thank you for coming!"

I was ecstatic. What an incredibly nice woman. People always talk about how cold politicians are and that the only reason they seem nice is because they are trained in how to handle these kinds of events. While I think that is to true a certain extent and completely accurate for some people, I also believe in genuine politicians and the fact that you can see real kindness in someone. I felt that yesterday. It was a once in a lifetime experience and it did not disappoint.

One other thing I really have to touch on is the establishment itself yesterday and their setup. I have attended my fair share of in-store events at Indigo in various cities but especially their flagship in Toronto. Aside from attending them, my Father had one in summer of 2002 when his book, A Jazz Odyssey, was released. I have never had a negative experience but today was beyond my wildest expectations. They were running that store and controlling the crowd like it was absolutely nothing. Their staff remained as friendly as ever and even the security people were kind and not at all pushy. If you had a question, anyone you asked that worked for that store was qualified to answer and did so with a smile. You knew where you had to go, if they needed you to do something you were asked politely, and not for one second did anyone complain about anything. Aside from that, they had the line moving very quickly. I thought I was going to be there all afternoon and from the time I stepped in the line to the moment I was handed my book was only one hour and thirty five minutes. I really commend them for the way they arranged and ran this event. I'm sure it took an unbelievable amount of work but they really pulled it off without a hitch of any kind and I am more impressed than I have ever been. Thank you!

All-in-all it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience. I am very glad I was able to do this and I came home with a signed book for my Mom. If Hillary Clinton is doing a signing in your area (especially at an Indigo) make sure you go. I can promise you that it will be worth it.

Until next time!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Every day I grow older and learn something new, I become more and more grateful for the 16 years of lessons that my Dad taught me. Thank you and I love you. Happy Father's Day.

"My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." - Jim Valvano

Friday, June 6, 2014

International Jazz Day 2014

On April 30th 2014, the 3rd annual International Jazz Day events took place all over the world. While the main celebrations were taking place this year in Osaka, there were multiple events in various cities worldwide. In Copenhagen, my friend Niels Lan Doky was hosting a full day of content at his club, The Standard. Along with performances there was also a panel discussing a variety of different jazz-related subjects. Niels asked me if I would contribute a talk via video to be shown as part of the panel. So I sat down in-front of my camera and shared a few thoughts with you.

I decided today to upload the video to my YouTube channel for those who either missed the live stream or did not know this was happening. So feel free to watch and then share your opinions on what I had to say. This is the first time that I have ever publicly shared my opinions on the state of jazz today and I know that there are many people who will probably disagree with me. Either way, give it a watch and let me know your thoughts.

Eventually I will be posting more on that channel so be sure to subscribe to be notified whenever I upload new content. It will be very different every time so make sure you don't miss out. 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend! 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oscar Peterson's Tribute to Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - "The Viking"

*After Uncle Niels' passing, Dad wrote the following tribute and published it to his website. In my opinion it is one of the most honest and genuine pieces of writing that I have ever read. With Niels' birthday coming up I thought sharing this would help us remember not only his talent, but what an incredible a man he was. We miss you. -Céline


My heart is heavy and yet grateful and happy. Heavy with the realization that Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen has left this earth; happy with the thought that this gifted brother and fellow musician did not suffer with a delayed departure filled with pain and remorse.

From the first night that my dear friend Audrey Genovese of Chicago played a Dexter Gordon record that featured Niels Pedersen on bass, I realized that this musical giant and I might someday have the pleasure and occasion of not just meeting, but also playing together. After hearing this phenomenal talent on bass, I realized that somehow, someday we should meet, thereby giving me the opportunity to also play with him. This vision and thought took place in the early 1970s, when I was fortunate enough to be able to invite him to join my then trio. This came about due to the fact that the bassist I was using at that time could not return to his home country in Europe because he was worried that he would be interred by the Soviet Union, due to his behavior at some embassy function. Norman Granz entered the picture, and with his usual directional thinking, simply said, "Why don't you use Niels Pedersen?" for an upcoming concert that my group had in one of the then Iron Curtain countries. Norman contacted Niels and reached an agreement for him to do that one particular concert behind the Curtain, thereby alleviating any chance of political upheaval. I vividly remember Niels stepping in without any fanfare (or rehearsal) for that particular concert. This turned out to be a totally impromptu performance. I selected tunes that I had obtained an OK from Niels about, and believe it or not, we managed to have a wonderful performance that evening, filled with exciting spontaneity and musical searching into each other's jazz thinkings.

After the concert, I immediately thanked Niels and told him how much I enjoyed playing with him, even considering the unexpected spontaneity that we had to work through. The audience seemed to have really enjoyed the evening. The following day I called Norman and apparently was overly excited about the immediate cohesion that took place between Niels and myself the evening before. With his usual ad lib and spontaneous reaction, Norman simply said, "If it was that good to play with him, why don't you use him as your regular bassist?" Needless to say, I am happy that this took place, and Niels has remained in my group until his recent unfortunate passing. Allow me to express my reaction to his playing this way: first and foremost, he never got in my way, but in reality virtually had such a great musical perception of what I was trying to do that he served to greatly inspire me from a spontaneous aspect. I came off walking on Cloud 3000 that evening because of Niels' musical contribution. He had the most phenomenal technique, coupled with incredible harmonic perception, along with impeccable time. I shall never forget that evening. 

Almost from that evening on, we became very close friends, not just musically but most certainly personally, for I developed a great admiration for the depth of Niels' political, geographical and personal understandings. He was a man that had an almost unbelievable wealth of historic cognizance pertaining to European history. He also had a very kindred spirit as a human being, always able to easily make good friends, should he care to do so. People in general that got to know Niels the man, grew to love him apart from his unbelievable musical talent and dexterity on his instrument. I think I can afford to make this kind of evaluation of him, for I have had the good fortune to have played with some of the other great bassists in jazz over time. I used to marvel at the respect and love (and almost musical fear) that I saw in some of jazz's best bassists whenever they were around Niels. One point that I must make here that perhaps is not known by many people, is that Niels could also play the piano (many times sitting in for me in the pre-concert sound checks). I know he had a great love for the piano, which we saw when on a visit to the Boesendorfer piano showroom, he was lovingly impressed with the Boesendorfer grand that I eventually picked out as my own choice.

Over time, I dubbed (and announced him) as The Viking. He seemed to enjoy this title, and for some reason it stuck to him. 

I have had the opportunity of having played with and used some of jazz's best bassists (ie. Sam Jones, Major Holley, and of course Ray Brown). Niels and Ray became fast friends and had a great love and respect for each other. This may seem odd in that they were basically both operating in the same musical medium. I can now say, though I have been asked numerous times before, which of the two I preferred. I can easily answer that query by saying I would have been equally happy for whichever of the two were part of my group at the time. I see no reason to go into some of the musical idiosyncrasies of either of these great players, but I can say that individually they have left an indestructible path and indelible guidelines for all of the future bassists of jazz. Niels-Henning was a player of unbelievable talent and dexterity, but selfishly speaking, personally, he became my closest friend and brother, and I shall never forget him or his talent. God bless you, Niels, and may you brighten up the musical world in Heaven as you have done on this earth. - Oscar Peterson, April 2005




Monday, March 3, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Bars (and the best batter...EVER!!!)

Pinterest and I have a relationship that will forever last. Nothing can break us. NOTHING! These cookie bars are the thing that solidified that fact. I pinned the recipe for this beauties a few weeks back and in light of attending a dear friend's Oscar gathering last night (list below of who I would share these with and who would be snubbed from the gooey chocolate cherry awesomeness) I decided that was the perfect time to bust out these bad boys.

The original recipe can be found here (Averie Cooks - awesome site!) but I did make a few adjustments and have experimented with different versions of these bars, which all have been just to die for.

First off, the important thing to take from the recipe is just the base of the batter. Egg, flour, sugar, and melted butter. That's it. No, really. That's IT! The first batch I made are the ones that are pictured. I used mini chocolate chips and fresh cherries (halved) with the addition of vanilla extract and salt as stated in the recipe. Turned out great and I was completely satisfied. 

The second time I made them I decided I wanted to use vanilla bean seeds instead of extract. What I did notice as soon as I put the beans in, is that the tiny bit of liquid that extract brings to this is very much needed. You will notice the dryness. So I added just a touch of water and decided next time I want to add vanilla bean seeds I will mix them with that small amount of water and then incorporate it. All the flavour with the help of the liquid. Perfect. This version was also chocolate and cherries.

The third instalment in this series of tests was an unbelievable success and will be making an appearance at Mardi Gras tomorrow. The original batter but without any vanilla and I added my favourite baking friend, Butter-Almond Emulsion courtesy of Lorann Professional Kitchen. But wait, it gets better! Instead of dark chocolate and cherries I added white chocolate and almond slices (I do NOT do macadamia nuts so get over it and move on). I can't even describe what this smelled like. It was heaven. Smellivision has to happen soon (come on Apple!) so I can share this. It was beyond my wildest imagination. So this is what I recommend you try immediately!

There are many other things I think this batter would be good for. From what I have seen this is a great basis to endless baking possibilities. Any type of cookie or bar that you like will work with this recipe. Give it a try with some dried fruits. Maybe some candied ginger? That would give these a cool taste if you mixed them with something else fitting. Try other kinds of fruit. They cook just enough in the oven that you will get a nice juicy texture from them but they won't bleed out into your bar and make it mushy. The bar itself (if cooked properly) is consistently crunchy on the top and then completely chewy in the centre. This why I think the recipe is listed as a blondie but I am going to go ahead an call it a cookie bar. 

So have fun with these babies. They are definitely worth trying and take no time whatsoever to prepare! So have fun and pin your pictures because chances are I will find them without even looking. 

Have a great week and hopefully everyone is taking part in Mardi Gras celebrations!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hilary Kole

When we are little our parents teach us to always tell the truth. We are also taught that anything worth having is worth working for. That saying is true whether you're a kid and you want a video game, or if you are a singer and you want a successful music career.

Lately I have been witnessing what I will go ahead and call the downward spiral of someone who seemingly had it all. I struggled with whether to not to write this post because I really don't want to give her more attention than she has already gotten off of my family, but since she wants it so badly I figured hey, why not. 

It is no secret that over the last few years Hilary Kole has been spending more time filing legal documents and attempting to publicly shame people for no apparent reason than she has actually performing. If you google her name instead of music coming up (which is what you would think musicians would want you to see first) you get articles about her many lawsuits with her ex, her attempt at media sympathy, and now the fact that she just lost a copyright lawsuit with both my father's estate and Jayarvee Inc. 

Normally I would not care what some Diana Krall wannabe is doing to publicly embarrass herself (because this is something you see all the time in every genre of music) but the problem this time is that she has been trying since the day my Dad died to have an association with him to further her career. I completely understand the appeal. He was the best. Having the opportunity to work with him is something that musicians all over the world wish they had. What I don't understand is why you would blatantly take advantage of someone who was genuinely being nice and doing a favour for his friend (Gianni Valenti) and attempt to use that to make yourself famous. By the way, I believe in shooting for the stars - but Diana Krall? That's a bit of a reach don't you think, Hilary?

I have bad news for her. If it were not for Gianni, Dad would never have recorded with her in the first place. I am being completely honest in saying that although she has a beautiful voice, she does not have the jazz chops that would bring him into the studio to work with her. That is a fact. There are many kinds of talent and she has a wonderful voice for cabaret but she is not and never will be a jazz singer.

What is even more disappointing about this woman is that she seems to forget on a daily basis that she has worked with some of the best musicians in this industry. Hank Jones, Monty Alexander, Dave Brubeck, Benny Green, Michel Legrand, Cedar Walton and so many more. I am insulted on the behalf of these men by the amount of disrespect she has shown them through all of this. Even though they are all separate from what she attempted to do to my Dad, she is professionally disrespecting any musician she has worked with by causing a scene like this. Basically she is showing that if she doesn't get her way she will strong-arm as many people as possible into pushing the issue whether it is right or wrong.

Throughout all of this I have not felt sorry for her. She did this to herself. I do feel sorry for her family who should be embarrassed, her team who has to try and clean up after her, and for the musicians that work with her. I think she should have a career considering she is a talented singer. I stated earlier that I do not think Jazz is her forte, but I do think she is a talented singer and could have a wonderful and rewarding career that she earned on her own merit. I would have said that even after all the personal insults to my family before this legal case. But now I think you would have to be crazy to work with her. Why would you put yourself in that situation? Look what could happen.

I know a lot of people who are aware of this case (especially her loyal fans) read the information she provided for her friends at the NY Daily News and thought that the Oscar Peterson Estate was bullying poor innocent Hilary Kole. Let me break this down for you:

- In 2006 while performing at Birdland, Dad's good friend, Gianni Valenti arranged at the end of the week for Dad to go into the studio and record with his then girlfriend, Hilary Kole. The session was arranged and together they recorded 4 songs that were meant to be kept as a personal memento of the occasion. There was no contract, no managerial involvement, and no talk of releasing these tracks in any way shape or form.

- In January of 2009 Hilary contacted Kelly Peterson to talk about releasing the tracks on her upcoming Duets album. Knowing that the tracks were never meant to be released, my Mother did not immediately say yes like Hilary wanted and said she needed time to think about it.

- Over the next months many discussions happened about which tracks she would consider, what could and could not be promoted and many other technicalities.

- The discussions fell apart over Hilary being unwilling to accept the terms of the deal. Had she accepted, she would have been able to use a song or two on her album and she would have been happy. She didn't 100% get her way so as expected, she threw a hissy fit, and the whole idea was scrapped.

- This resulted in the perishing of a friendship and no permission whatsoever to release those tracks in any way shape or form.

- In recent years I started hearing the tracks being played online through various radio shows during interviews Hilary was giving. She was contacted by my Mother to kindly stop doing what she does not have permission to do and she refused.

- In January of 2013 the tracks were played again on a radio show and Hilary sealed her fate. We sued her for ownership of all the takes of every track and one year later, we won.

That's right. We won. Hilary's lying under oath, changing her story, singing and crying in court, and her never-ending manipulation of every person around her did not get her what she wanted. Turns out that our parents were right in telling us to always tell the truth. A few thoughts come to my mind when I think of this case. The first of which being how sad this whole story is. I find it quite heartbreaking that this situation had to come to this. I was quite young when I first met Hilary and came to consider her almost like a sister. When all this was first happening I honestly did not understand why. I could not understand why someone I had come to trust implicitly would be doing this to my Mom, my Dad, and me. It didn't make sense.

Secondly I think of how hard I laugh every time I remember that she really thought she would be able to convince countless people that my Dad, after 60 years in this business, would go into the studio with no contract drawn up and record tracks to be released and then hand them over. He had a contract with Ella Fitzgerald so trust me Hilary, he would surely have a contract with you.

Lastly, the part of this that removes whatever ounce of sympathy I had for her in this situation. The fact that Hilary went into the studio to mix the tracks mere days after they had been recorded and decided for herself that Oscar Peterson was not playing his best therefore she would bring in another pianist (shoutout to Mike Renzi - can't wait to meet you and your ego) to fill in the gaps and play what she thought should have been played. Excuse me? Pardon? That's right. That was not something she was talking about to those radio stations while they were playing the tracks. She didn't say Hilary Kole and Oscar Peterson featuring Mike Renzi. No no. This was a secret. So if you did actually get to hear the tracks, you were not really hearing Oscar Peterson. You heard him on the intro and at the end but basically everything else you heard, was Mike Renzi. I am glad he doesn't have a problem fitting the giant head that told him he could play just as good (or in this case, better) as Oscar Peterson through doors!

To be honest there is not much else to say on this subject. The only reason I am writing this is because I am still in that rebellious 20-something stage and the fact that I have been forced to listen to "Why is your Mom bullying poor Hilary" has me sick. Enough is enough. What you just read is the truth. In my opinion Hilary should stop alienating the people who tried to be nice and help her and just stick to singing, which is what she loves. The evil bitterness act got old a long time ago and no one is paying attention. All that positive press you thought you were giving yourself should stop now. Just live your life. Play shows, engage with your fans, and be thankful that you have been given a lovely voice and be happy for the experiences you had. If you can't do that, then I really do feel sorry for you because the years you have left in your life will never truly be happy ones. I have a wonderful life ahead of me and I don't have to manipulate or backstab anyone to get that happiness. Why don't you try it. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Top 12 Albums of All Time...Kind of.

There has been this tag going around on Facebook where everyone lists their top 12 albums of all time. I wasn't going to do it as I was so interested in seeing other people's lists but then I just decided to bite the bullet and try. I don't think it is an overreaction on my part to say that this is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I knew it would be hard but I had no idea the panic, sweat and anxiety that this would bring for something that is supposed to be fun. Somehow I (barely) made it through and posted it on my Facebook. I decided to share it here as well but with a few minor changes. Somewhere around 13 changes. The addition of 13 more albums. Here we go!

1. Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown
2. Monty Alexander - Goin' Yard
3. U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
4. Roy Hargrove Quintet - Earfood
5. André Previn & LSO - The Nutcracker
6. The Who - Who's Next
7. Stevie Wonder - With a Song in my Heart
8. Benny Green and Russell Malone - Jazz at the Bistro
9. Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
10. Judy Garland - Judy at Carnegie Hall
11. Singers Unlimted - Christmas
12. Oscar Peterson - With Respect to Nat

13. Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
14. Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - A Classy Pair
15. Brandi Carlile - Brandi Carlile
16. Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall
17. Jamie Cullum - Pointless Nostalgic
18. Frank Sinatra - The Concert Sinatra
19. Audrey Morris - Film Noir
20. Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra - Live at Orchestra Hall
21. The Beatles - Meet The Beatles!
22. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Natty Dread
23. Nat King Cole - Ramblin' Rose
24. Diana Krall - Glad Rag Doll
25. Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - This is All I Ask

So there you have it. My top 25 albums (in no particular order! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!) of all time. If you haven't already tried this then stop laughing at what you think is an over exaggeration of frustration and get to work. You will quickly realize this is not easy. If it is then you don't listen to enough music. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's 2014 and There's Almond Milk!

I can't decide whether the funniest part (to me) about putting up this post is that no one knew I make my own almond milk or that once they found out they challenged me on the lack of skill necessary to complete this task. So for all of my lovely friends out there and people who are just curious as to the process of making your own delicious almond milk, here you go!

This isn't even a recipe so I will not present it as such. It's unbelievably basic. It's 2+ days but really only 5-7 minutes of your time. The one thing you need to know is that the ratio is twice as much water as almonds. That's it. No really, that's all you need to know. The first step is taking your almonds, measuring them out (kind of... just figure that your hand is maybe a half a cup), throwing them in a bowl and adding twice as much water (enough to completely submerge them). Then put it in the corner and don't look at it for two days. Seriously. Step away from the almonds. Don't even cover them. LEAVE THEM ALONE! What happens here is that you lose all the rough and tough in the almonds (technical terms people) and they gain moisture and expand a little bit. This makes for really smooth and creamy almond milk. So the longer you leave them, the creamier your milk will be. I usually go 2-3 days but if you are really impatient, overnight is fine. But don't complain to me when your milk is not as smooth and luscious!

Once the time has passed, drain the water and put the almonds in a blender with (again) twice as much cold water as you have almonds. Put that thing on liquify and let it do it's thing. Mine is timed so when it's as smooth as it will get it turns off. If yours doesn't do that then go maybe 2-3 minutes. What you will have is a gritty porridge-like nasty looking substance. Fear not! We can save this. Take your strainer that you have lined with cheese cloth (spend the $1 on the cheesecloth - believe me you want it) and pour the milk over it into a bowl...SLOWLY! You can work the milk through with a spatula at first but then just get in there and straight up squeeze out all the milk through the cheesecloth.

That's it! See how easy that was? Annoying isn't it? Truly one of the most simple things you can do in a kitchen. So you can leave it as is and just enjoy in whichever way you use your milk products or you can take it a step further. You can flavour this in whatever way you want. In the photo below are some examples if you are not one for the taste of the plain milk or if you are making this for a child. Mess around with it and see which flavours you like best.

Here is the key in all of this. This almond milk as it stands is only good for two days or so. So don't go over board with 6 cups of almonds and 12 cups of water because you cannot drink that much in two days! You can however make this last longer by heading over to your stove and pasteurizing it. I don't do that step because that is one of the main reasons I don't buy almond milk to begin with. This is the real deal. It's completely up to you. I'm sure you can find out how to pasteurize using our friend, Google so if that's what you want then that is your next step. 

That's all I've got for you! As I said, this is simple. For those of you who have skipped to the bottom of this post looking for directions, Bazinga!! Head back up and read this through. Just do it. 

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year! I had a very relaxed night in with my friend where we enjoyed some wine, talked a lot, baked cookies, and attempted (and failed) to sit through The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann I am so very disappointed in you. 

2014 has some exciting things in store. I have some really fun things planned for the blog as well as a fun announcement that will come at the end of this week (but if you follow me on Twitter then you already know what it is!) I am just excited for some incredible opportunities that have come my way and I plan on being all over the place this year. So get excited! Or don't...whatever. You doubted me on Almond Milk! Who does that?

Happy New Year!


If you can't see the flavours: Agave Nectar, Almond Flavouring, Vanilla Beans, Vanilla Bean Paste, Honey, and Chocolate.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to Be Inspiring

I have to start this off by saying that originally this was going to be a different post, which I actually started writing about 2 months ago. I am fascinated by the whole concept of Old Media vs. New Media, and I have been working on trying to explain my thoughts on it for quite some time now but can't actually manage to make it come out in wording that could be considered a part of the English language. So it has been on the back burner. Ironically this is a little bit of a continuation of those thoughts but much more specific and to be honest, at this point, more important. So let's dive right in. 

Charles and Alli Trippy are incredible. 

The End. 

Just kidding but the statement is 100% true. I am going to give you a little bit of background BUT if you are not familiar with the YouTube world in terms of it's stars and what not then I suggest you just start googling because my run down won't be enough for you to fully grasp what I am trying to say. However if you are familiar with them feel free to skip this next paragraph (but you could read it to be nice...)

Charles Trippy and his wife Alli do daily vlogs on YouTube documenting their lives and essentially taking their followers (non-creepy) on their adventures with them. Charles plays bass in a great band called We The Kings so there is a really cool aspect of their vlogs, which is that you get to travel all around the world with him and see tons of beautiful places. Personally I think it takes a lot of course to let millions of people into your lives every day but I also think the fact that they have the opportunity to document their lives in this way is very special and will create wonderful memories to then share with the kids/grandkids years down the road.
 
Last year Charles was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor (grade 2 Oligodendroglioma) and he went through brain surgery to get rid of the tumor. After surgery they found out that it was benign and everyone was able to breathe a sigh of relief. This spring he had another seizure, which was later followed by another one after that. They then found out that during the last surgery they were not able to get all of the tumor and had to leave a small piece in his brain so as not to risk damaging his speech or the use of his arms/legs in any way. So it was time to go back in the OR for more surgery but this time he was going to be awake. Yes. Awake. That was so that the surgeon can ask him questions and get him to move his arm so they didn't do any damage to his ability to live his life and still play music. So off to Boston they went to have the surgery and he actually filmed during the surgery, which made news all over the world (Click here to watch "MAN FILMS OWN BRAIN SURGERY!!!!!). He spent some time in Boston recovering and then was able to return home to Florida and see his family, puppies, and friends. Unfortunately in yesterday's vlog Charles and Alli received some devastating news in that the pathology report showed that Charles' tumor was now a grade 3 Oligodendroglioma, which is considered cancer. Although they are not sure on the details yet, there will be treatment involved and the positive side to this is that this is not a C***** (will not use the word) that spreads to other parts of the body.

With everything that you have just heard, could you imagine continuing to document your life for the world to see? Well Charles can't imagine doing anything else. The dedication that he has to everyone out there who follows him as well as his genuine love for doing this is incredible. The other thing that amazes me is how connected he really is to his fans. I spent some time yesterday reading comments and tweets when they shared his news with everyone and there are people out there who feel like their brother or best friend just received this news. A majority of these people have never met them and yet they have a family-like connection. 

This is not a character on a sitcom that the fans have fallen in love with. This is a real person that has made the decision to put his life out there for anyone that is interested and then on top of it all he has gone through hell in the last year and a half and continued not only to vlog but to stay positive and keep a smile on his face the whole time. Instead of letting your kids sit in front of the TV all day watching Justin Bieber make a fool of himself, maybe they should log onto YouTube.com/CTFxC and watch someone who is actually inspiring.

Now comes the time where you may be wondering where I am going with ALL of this information. Well honestly, I wasn't really going anywhere. I just think you need to be informed about his story. I think that it is important to know about things like this. It makes you put a whole lot of things in perspective. Take a moment and think about the courage that this takes not only for Charles but for Alli as well. Being the person watching someone you love go through this is absolutely not easy. 
 
I honestly believe that the world is changing. Unfortunately not in some ways, which a lot of other people may see as more important, but I think the fact that the internet is not always seen as a scary place is pretty impressive. Not to be fair, I do not think it is a good idea for people to sit online all day and ignore the outside world. Fresh air is a necessity people!!! But I do think that when parents are panicking about the fact that their kid is watching YouTube videos after dinner, maybe just take a peek and see if it is CTFxC or other youtubers who are actually good influences and have the ability to inspire your kids. Might not be such a bad thing.

If this post did anything at all for you please take a moment and send a message of support to Charles & Alli either through YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter (Charles - Alli). It would mean a lot to them I'm sure.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Real Life Movie Scene

You know those scenes in movies where the customer service person at either the store, spa, or office you happen to be at will all of a sudden lose their mind and freak out but not realize it's happening until it's too late? That totally happened to me today and it made my week. 

I was minding my own business shopping at this kitchen supply store that I love. The hilarity that ensured is really indescribable but I'll do my best to portray it here: 

Cashier: How was your long weekend? 

Me: Fine thanks, and yours? 

Cashier: Mine was miserable thanks to my stupid husband his bright ideas. He decides that it would be a brilliant idea to take the grandkids camping and like an idiot I went along with it which of course ended in my being bitten to death by mosquitos and sunburnt to the point where I can barely move all so he can win Grandfather of the year. Never again I tell you. Never again!"

Now keep in mind while this is happening, she is very angrily throwing my purchases into bags. One of which was a bottle of Vanilla Bean paste. A glass bottle. Yeah that's right. While emphasizing her point of "NEVER AGAIN" to a complete stranger, she slammed down the bottle into the bag and it of course shattered, ruining everything in that bag. This lead to the other woman who worked there running from the back of the store to see what the commotion was. She quickly told the lady to go into the back and calm down while she anxiously apologized to me and grabbed everything out of the bag to go and find replacements. 

What she would learn if she knew me better was that there is no need to apologize - this stuff makes my day! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To Mulgrew, With Love

My heart is very heavy today as I learned of the passing of the incomparable Mulgrew Miller.

Mulgrew, quite simply, was one of the best. I grew up being a fan of his music but it wasn't until I was 15 years old that I had the opportunity to meet him for the first time. He was truly one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. Extremely honest, funny, and true, Mulgrew always seemed to put others before him. The few times that I had the chance to meet him are some of the most memorable moments in my life.

This tight-knit jazz community knows how talented Mulgrew is. I have yet to meet a pianist (or musician for that matter) that has not listed him as one of their major influences. I was introduced to his music by my father. He spoke often about how beautiful Mulgrew's playing is and how he is "one of the good ones." I can only hope that going forward the new generations will continue to be influenced by Mulgrew's music and will be told stories about his personality and character that will inspire these young players to be the best musician and human being that they can be. No matter what field we are in, Mulgrew Miller is someone who's book we could all take a page from.

Recently Mulgrew was playing a show in a city close to where I live. My Mother and I got tickets to see him and I was extremely excited. Due to a back injury I was unable to go. I now sit here wishing I could turn back time and force myself to go to that show. This is of course one of those things that happens in life and you just have to live with it. I will continuously remember that I have been fortunate enough to see him when I did and my fond memories of these encounters will stay with me forever

If there is one thing I have learned growing up around members of the jazz community, it is that the musicians in this particular part of the music industry are truly like a family. At times, a dysfunctional one but a family nonetheless. When there are hard times people really come together to support each other. This special kind of hospitality is not limited to just within the musicians, but it is extended to the musician's family and friends. If there is one thing I can hope for through all of this it is that his wife Tanya and their family are greeted with all the love and support that they can possibly get during this devastating time. My musical family has always had a stronger bond with me than a lot of my blood family and I know that without the support of certain people around me, life would be a lot more complicated and I would be in a very different place. I truly hope that through all the support and love that Mulgrew's family will take even a small bit of comfort in knowing that they are not and will never be alone.

Dear Mulgrew, thank you for the gift of your music, your spirit, and your overwhelming kindness and generosity towards every single person that you met. You have left a mark on this earth that will only grow bigger with time. We all love you.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Soda is Soda is Soda is Soda!

Regular or diet, soda is not good for you. End of story. 

I try to go through my life being as kind as possible to everyone but especially to those who are struggling with something. But really I am just sick and tired of watching people who are unhealthy complain about being unhealthy and then watching them down soda by the litre. Give me a break. No wonder you don't feel good and you're constantly tired and have no energy - you fill your body with nothing but either a) liquid sugar or b) fake sugar in chemical form. Either way, both are doing damage to your system. 

Nothing makes me more frustrated than listening to someone try to justify their soda addiction by saying that they drink diet. It's the same thing. Makes no difference - I promise you. If you really want to be healthy, cut out soda (as well as iced tea, orange "drink", energy drinks, and anything else that comes in a can) and try drinking other things. There are natural flavourings that you can put in your drink if you don't want to drink water all day. They taste good and they are not bad for you. Not to mention you can drink real juice (if you drink it often I'd suggest watering it down a little bit so it's not as much sugar but at least it's natural sugar) if you have that much trouble with water. 

I understand. Believe me - I have a hard time drinking nothing but water all day. As soon as I stopped drinking soda (and all connected drinks) I realized this was going to be tough. I never drank it all day every day but making the conscious decision to not grab one out of the fridge was hard for the first little while. Then I noticed that weight was just falling off and all of a sudden I had more energy than normal. It was great and still is to this day. In all honesty, every now and then I have a ginger ale but that is only on very rare occasions. Oh and I don't have to apologize for it. Cutting pop off all together for a year and a half was what I had to do in order to be able to have one once in a while. 

Consider yourself hypocritical if you complain about your weight, how you feel, or your overall health if you consume soda on a daily basis. You may as well just put liquid sugar directly in your veins. It's really bad for you. 

You may wonder what inspired this weird post. I saw a commercial last night from Coca-Cola where they were talking about their new health movement and the alternatives they offer to just drinking full on Coke. Give me a break. We need to avoid your company as a whole - not give in to your other products that are just as bad for us. Be strong people! It's a better decision. But hey, you don't have to listen to me. Just don't expect me to listen to you when you complain about how unhappy you are and how bad you feel. You are doing it to yourself! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

We'll See You At The Movies...

Thank you for everything.


"Your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never lie to you."
-Roger Ebert

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tundra Books - Why Print Facts?

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in the following post are those solely of Céline Peterson and do not reflect those of anyone else associated with Regal Recording Limited, Oscar Peterson, and his Estate.

I have been itching to write this post since the fall. I was not allowed to until recently and I am thrilled to finally be able to air this out in the open. So let's get right to it.

As part of my job I keep a close eye on anything that is going to be released that has to do with Oscar Peterson. Everything from music to articles, videos, and books I have seen. When something comes up it gets handled in the most respectful manner either by myself or someone else from the company. All conflicts should be resolved smoothly and all projects should be done respectfully. This was not the case when native Toronto writer, Jack Batten, decided to write and release a book aimed at younger adults about my Dad.

Entitled "Oscar Peterson, The Man and His Jazz" *gag*, Batten attempts to write a page turner enlightening the younger generation's minds to my Dad's career. Good intentions, but there are a few issues. Actually, it is categorized on the Tundra Books website as "Juvenile Non-fiction" and I can say that they're half right. I'm going to take you through how this went down and then you can form your own opinions.

I found the book for pre-order on iTunes. I sent an email to my Mom and she contacted the publisher. She sent an email saying that she saw the pre-order and asked if they would like to send a copy for her to read to ensure accuracy. They said thanks but no thanks and Mom said that she was at their disposal if they needed any help at all. They had every right to say no so whether or not I think it was a stupid move doesn't matter. When the book came out, we bought our copy and proceeded to read it. This book has misinformation reminiscent of when we were approached by writer, Kathleen Hicks (who is so well known it took me over an hour and a half to find her on Google as I couldn't remember her name), who wanted to write a book on Mississauga. She came to us, we pointed out her very obvious mistakes, and she said that she didn't care what we said she was going to publish it anyway. People! Why would you want to let the publisher print something that does not have the correct information in it? We already have Wikipedia for that! Publishers - why would you even accept that?

Now, just to give you an idea of the kind of mistakes we are talking about, allow me to give you some examples. Jeff Hamilton is a legendary jazz drummer and an fantastic teacher. He has had incredible success playing with his own group, co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with John Clayton, and has played with a who's-who in music. If you are a fan of Oscar Peterson's, then you know that Jeff Hamilton played with him. What may confuse you if you read this book is that a drummer named "Jeff Richmond" is said to have played with my father. Guess what - no such guy. The late Ramon Hnatyshyn is Canada's former Governor General - someone who is respected all over the world. Somehow the spelling his name as "RAYMOND" slipped through the cracks of the various people who read this book before it was printed. Other misinformation include the year of President Obama's inauguration, the year of the Queen's Golden Jubilee gala, the misspelling of the woman behind the Oscar Peterson sculpture in Ottawa, Ruth Abernethy, and a story about my Dad having heart disease and dying of liver failure.

It is disgraceful that the simple research could not be done to correct these mistakes. It is an embarrassment on behalf of the writer of course, but in a way more so on behalf of the editors and publisher as this proves that they will publish anything. If you think about the research that Mr. Batten had to conduct in order to find out certain things such as who created the sculpture in Ottawa, then you know how simple it is to spell her name correctly. The same goes for going on Wikipedia and finding out that Oscar Peterson performed at the Queen's Golden Jubilee Gala in 2002 (not 2003). It is even more embarrassing to have the wrong year for the current President's inauguration! President Obama was elected in 2008, but the inauguration where "Hymn to Freedom" was sung by the San Francisco Boys and Girls Chorus' was in January, 2009.

Mom went back and contacted Tundra Books and informed them of all the mistakes currently in this book sitting on shelves in actual bookstores waiting to be bought from Amazon and iTunes. The correspondence took weeks. The publishers were stalling and I'm sure, trying to figure out how best to deal with us. The fact of the matter is, even though what was written was not slanderous misinformation, it was still disrespectful not only to the man the book is about but the people that are also mentioned with him. When we finally got a formal response we were told that they will not be removing the book from shelves or stopping any printing, but they will make the changes in the e-book. Unacceptable! From sloppy writing to sloppy editing and publishing through and through, this project is a disgrace.

It disappoints me to no end to know that it is possible for writers to have projects with mistakes like this one still reach publication. As someone who is aspiring to be in this industry, it is disheartening to know that potential peers and colleagues would let this happen. In my mind, this discredits what could potentially be a well written and informed book and turns it into a joke. One of my pet peeves with biographical works is when someone who did not personally know who they are writing about (and does not use credible sources) writes so-and-so "felt" or "thought". How would you know? You can't write "Oscar felt" when you did not know him, and you didn't even make an effort to speak to the people who did. That is no different than writing that he had heart disease when he did not. I'm not even sure where one would come up with that piece of misinformation. For future reference, he died from kidney failure.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that this man is a bad writer and that it is not worth looking up his work. I can't say that. I have not read any of his other work. All I can say is that I am disappointed in his apparent lack of interest to correct mistakes that were very easily remedied. I am disgusted that this slipped through the multiple channels at the publisher, and I am appalled at the fact that we were brushed off when we brought these mistakes to the attention of the publisher. I will tell you that if you are looking to learn more about Oscar Peterson, there are other books out there (such as his own) and other ways to learn about his life. 

In terms of Tundra Books, I am glad I learned this about them because I now know that even when I am at a low place and wishing that someone would publish my book, I won't want it to be them. Publishers who are more credible and have 3x as many writers under their name, somehow manage to get the work published without blatant, laughable, and insulting mistakes. Some may say that I am not taking the high road and I am burning a bridge, but I don't see it that way. How can I burn the bridge with someone that I have no desire to be associated with?




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baby Food or Dog Food - You Be The Judge

Let's be real - this post was bound to happen sooner or later. I do think it should come with some kind of a disclaimer, so here it is:

WARNING:  The following comments are coming from a 21 year old woman who is not a parent. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't listen to her...I actually think you should. However, should you not want to hear that your feeding your children canned/jarred/processed baby food is worse than the cheap stuff you get at Walmart for your dog, then I suggest you turn back now and pick up a copy of Today's Parent, which will say the same thing. 

Alright now that we have that out of the way, let's get started. STOP POISONING YOUR KIDS! Seriously people do you have any idea what you're doing to them? I will say first off that I completely understand the need for convenience when you are a parent. This is just general knowledge and then of course there are certain situations that prevent you from having much of a choice in the matter. However, those of you who could take the time to find a better solution to baby food are just plain lazy and need to snap out of it quickly.

Over the last few weeks I've been noticing an interesting surge in 'Baby Food Challenge' videos on YouTube. For those of you who remember the Cinnamon challenge (or have been on GloZell's channel where she just makes them up for the hell of it) this is basically just a re-invention of that. The idea is to blindfold yourself and have a friend feed you various kinds of baby food and you have to guess which flavours they are. I have noticed that this quickly turns into you blindfolding yourself, your friend giving you baby food and the challenge is if you can keep it in your mouth long enough to identify it. That stuff is just plain nasty. Just because the Gerber baby is cute does not mean that what is in that food is good for your kid.

Every parent, before feeding this to their child, should do this challenge. I can guarantee that you will be making your own baby food. It's not in some file of Government secrets that this stuff is processed. I promise you, if chicken and gravy was meant to come in purée form, they would serve it like that in restaurants. That being said, if you want to put that garbage in your fully grown adult body, then you be my guest. Why would you want to put those chemicals in your poor innocent infant's body? Parents all over the world are worried about things that stunt their children's development and affect the way their mind's progress through the childhood years, yet no one says anything about how the larger percentage of baby foods on the market are no different than the pink slime McDonald's calls "chicken".

When your children get older and start spending more time on the playground, you don't let them eat sand. When they're doing art projects, you don't let them eat paste or paint do you? Certain paint companies make paint safer for kids by making it non-toxic. There is a bigger chance of me giving my child a bottle and some paint than processed baby food!

I'm not saying you have to make your own. Of course that is always the best option. But be smarter about what brands you choose to go with. There are credible organic baby food companies that provide you with food that is actually made with natural products and will give your child the real nutrients that it needs to live a happy and content baby life day-to-day. Personally, my goal would be to make my own baby food. The benefits of that far outnumber buying baby food. Not only will you know exactly what your child is consuming, but you will have the comfort of knowing that it actually tastes good and like food (as opposed to hobo piss and processed cheese), but at the end of the day I guarantee you will be saving money.

As I am not a YouTuber-er, you will not find me making a video doing this baby food challenge. Well that and the fact that there is a better chance of me tasting various dog foods with a glass of toilet water to wash it down with. You can go to YouTube yourself and check out some of these baby challenge videos that others have been stupid brave enough to try.

With that, enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

An Open Letter to Lane Bryant

Every time I post a blog post, I notice that I am usually expressing my frustration with something or ripping something apart so I walk away from it telling myself that will not be the case next time. Then by the time I sit down to write another post, something happens and here we go again with a blog post expressing my outrage towards something else. Can we all at least agree that these are fairly important subjects? Yes? Good. I feel better. Now let's get down to business.

As you may have gathered from a previous post of mine (#OnlyFatPeople) or if you have seen me before, then you know I am a plus size woman. I am not ashamed of anything and in fact I am very proud of who I am. That does not mean that I am okay with staying this way the rest of my life but my goal is to be healthy, not skinny and there is a huge difference. Anyway because of my size I tend to shop in plus size stores. This is for many reasons, which I will not list here but the fact is that I do and have found a few that I quite like. One of those stores is Lane Bryant. 

I was just browsing around the site today doing a bit of window screen shopping, when I came across an item in the sale section that I thought was a little...off. Take a look at the picture below.

SANTA SKIRT?!!

Do you see what I see? Yeah I thought so. I'm not even sure where to begin and honestly as I look at the picture again it is only making me more angry.

Aside from the fact that I have never met one self respecting plus size girl in the world who would ever consider putting that on under any circumstances, I can't even name one friend who resembles the girl in the picture who would wear that either! In this case, size doesn't matter! But my real problem with this is the model they have wearing that thing. What exactly qualifies her as a plus size girl?

I am disgusted that this even got through the multiple channels it had to go through to get on this site. If you look at a lot of their clothes (especially pants/shorts) a lot of the models that they use are not plus size. They are normal size women. This is a website that sells up to a size 34 in some of their items. What is a size 6 doing modelling these clothes? It is insulting to the customers who are being mislead in the merchandise. It is insulting to the women that look at this site and think even worse of themselves because they are nowhere near the size of this "plus size" example they are given. It is completely disrespectful to the poor girl they have modelling these clothes. Honey, you are nowhere near plus size so you should be modelling at Old Navy or The Gap. Lastly, it is the reason that people of all sizes feel bad about themselves every single day.

This company has billed themselves as merchandisers who constantly make their consumers feel good in their skin and provide them with clothes that they can wear comfortably. This is not an example of that. There is no way that I will shop at this store and support a company that is misleading in a way that is painfully obvious. I'm not a fool. I understand that this is all about business for the company. Think of all the business you are going to lose with garbage like this. This girl is probably a third my size and I am nowhere near the biggest size you sell at your store. It's degrading. This is the problem with the world. A plus size clothing company is contributing to the fact that women all over the world are not eating, and learning over toilets with toothbrushes shoved down their throats so they make sure not to gain any weight and lose all they can. You're contributing to the downfall of women's self esteem.

People need to be healthy. Women need to be healthy - but we do not need one of the stores where we go to find clothes that fit to be misleading us and indirectly judging us for being a certain size. Get your act together. You have my word that I will not be shopping at your store, which is a shame for me because the products were not half bad and a shame for you because I was a damn good customer until today. Your contribution to the "full figured" women of the world is insulting us and making us feel bad about ourselves. Not to mention the poor girl who you basically call fat by using her in an ad for clothing that starts at a size 12. Disgraceful.

I urge everyone who reads this and agrees to write to Lane Bryant and make this disgusting error in judgement noticed. Send an email to their customer service (HERE) and tweet them (HERE). You can add the link to this post as well as your own comments. Make sure that your voice is heard.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Made Macarons...what!!!

Today was a big day for me. The kind that means nothing to everyone else and people laugh at me for, but a big day nonetheless! Oh and by the way I had no idea that tomorrow is Macaron Day in Toronto so thats that.

I've been scared to death to make Macarons. You hear stories about how hard they are to make - easily messed up and it takes 4 tries before you're successful. I can now officially say that is not the case! The recipe is simple and boy will you feel accomplished when you're finished! Here goes:

Sift together 1 1/4 cup of ground almonds (almond flour) with 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. Side note: You DO NOT want the skin on these almonds so save yourself the trouble and buy them already ground. Do not skip the sifting - it is really important that there are no lumps in your dry ingredients.

Whisk 3 egg whites until you have very soft peaks. I'm lazy so I used my Kitchen-aid. After you have your soft peaks, slowly add 2/3 cup of white sugar until thick and glossy. This took me about 5 minutes.

Slowly FOLD in your drys to the meringue mix. I did this in 3 stages. You don't have to be too worried about your egg whites deflating because you want them to go down a little bit. Only mix until everything is combined.

Once this is done, you can add your colours and whatever flavour you want to use. I added a little bit of almond extract to enhance the almond flavour.

Put your batter in a piping bag (I used a Ziploc and cut the tip off - works perfectly) and pipe onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Mine were slightly bigger than a tablespoon. Once that is finished, bang your cookie sheet on the counter a few times. This is what gives you the signature of a Macaron, those little feet around the edges. After that leave them to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. You want the tops to dry. While they are sitting, pre-heat your oven to 315 degrees.

Now comes the scary part - cooking time. Depending on the size of your Macarons, this will change so you need to watch them. Mine baked for 7-8 minutes.

Once out of the oven, let them cool completely before filling them. You can fill them with whatever you'd like! Flavoured buttercream, curd, jelly, ganache, whipped cream - the possibilities are endless!

This really is not that scary. So follow the steps carefully and you will be fine on the first try! Good luck! Send me pictures of the finished product! @CelineOlivia