[caption id="attachment_20390" align="alignleft" width="295"]486870_10151211553601357_1290598133_n When it began. That's me on the left.[/caption] When I was a kid, I couldn’t go to sleep unless I completed a very specific set of nightly routines. I was inexplicably terrified of water dripping from the bathroom tap, so I worked at tightening the faucet until I was sure I was safe. The bathroom light switch had to be flicked on and off exactly 10 times. Each item on my shelves and desk needed to be perfectly aligned and I felt compelled to yell, “Goodnight Ma!”, from my bed at least a dozen times.

[caption id="attachment_21635" align="alignleft" width="350"]IMG_4440 Low lunge with Moksha instructor Cyndie[/caption] If you look up Type A personality in the dictionary, there’s a good chance you’ll find my picture. I’m a perfectionist, a catastrophist and an overachiever. I generally sleep like shit because the wheels in my head are always turning. I have a terrible time relaxing. I feel stressed, a lot, and I’m always rushing. Lisa is forever telling me to slow down because it’s not unusual that we’ll be walking down the street together and I’m half a block ahead of her. I just don’t do slow or relaxed. Fast paced and constant motion are more my thing.
Add a little adrenaline and excitement seeking (and a healthy dose of anxiety) to the mix and I’m essentially Bugs Bunny’s Tasmanian Devil, whirling through life in a miniature tornado.

A few days ago, I had an incredible opportunity to talk to a class of McGill University social work students about living with anxiety and depression. I’ve been upfront about my struggles here on the blog, but writing about it and standing up in front...

[caption id="attachment_23002" align="alignleft" width="225"]This is actually hanging above my kids' toilet. It doesn't work. This is actually hanging above my kids' toilet. It doesn't work.[/caption] It’s my birthday today, and as a special gift to me, I asked my kids to flush their toilet.

You see, my three children (ages 15, 15 and 12) share a bathroom and it’s a rare morning when I don’t have to flush for them.

Maybe it’s the muscular exertion required to depress the flusher that stops them. Maybe it takes too much time out of their very full schedules. Maybe, and very likely, they’re trying to drive me insane. Because despite the constant nagging, yelling, threatening and even signage, they consistently fail at this one very simple task.

I hate September. I hate the tinge of cool in the air that reminds us fall is almost here. I hate the change of routine; from the easy, schedule-free, long summer days to the frantic return to morning alarms, carpool, work and extra-curricular mayhem. I hate that September reminds me of the last days of my father’s life. September, to me, represents endings, not beginnings.

It always feels like I’m trudging through quicksand, desperate to stay afloat and make it to October when the routine settles and I feel like I can breathe again.

[caption id="attachment_21204" align="alignleft" width="224"]IMG_3044 My right foot[/caption] I did it for the first time when I was 33. It was a Friday, and I was with a couple of girlfriends. And while it wasn’t exactly a spontaneous decision (I’d been thinking about it for a while), I hadn’t planned to do it that day. Armed with my design, I walked into X/S Tattoo in the West Island, by chance the artist I'd already consulted with was available, and just like that, I got my first tattoo - a stylized heart with three butterflies representing my kids - on my left hip.

[caption id="attachment_21030" align="alignleft" width="300"]www.christinaestebanphotography.com He didn't freak out![/caption] A few weeks ago, I published a blog I’d written about my fight against anxiety and depression. I’d actually written the post a couple of months before it went online, around the time of Robin William’s tragic death. It hung around in the back end of WordPress for a while until I found the nerve to put it out there for the world, or at least the West Island, to see.

[caption id="attachment_19707" align="alignleft" width="200"]Sky and Joel Ovadia Sky and Joel Ovadia[/caption] When my son, Aidan, was about 10, he started asking for drum lessons. My response was somewhere along the lines of, “No freaking way!”. The mere thought of having a drum kit in my house was enough to give me a massive headache. Also, we’d had a previous unsuccessful stint at piano lessons that required the purchase of a keyboard - which now serves as a musical dust collector.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective.

In the olden days, as I like to refer to them, I think I had a hard time discerning what was worth making a big deal about and what wasn’t. I was easily upset and stressed by little things and was quick to overreact.

One of the questions I get asked most often is which make-up brushes, among the eleventy billion available, are the most important to have. [caption id="attachment_3952" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Whoa.[/caption]   Don't be intimidated by the massive brush selections you find at most beauty product stores. If you're just starting...

This is Elly.
She's my amazing mother-in-law, my children's super-star grandmother, and a GREAT dresser. You may have seen her around here before. I had to feature her here in Style 101 because she's great at adapting the latest fashion trends in a way that is age-appropriate. When I told Elly the theme of this week's post was leopard and stripes, she jumped all over it.

Last week, I talked about a great white t-shirt being a true wardrobe essential, but I neglected to mention WHY this very basic item is so important. Here's the thing - a white tee can really serve as the foundation for a great outfit...with a pair of jeans and a great necklace, under a blazer, tucked into a skirt, knotted at the waist - the options are virtually limitless.

It always sort of bothers me when a magazine tells you what every woman should have in her closet.  How can a lawyer, a teacher and a personal trainer all be expected to need the same wardrobe staples? I mean, sometimes I fantasize about dressing in tailored suits like Kerry Washington from Scandal, but sadly, my lifestyle just doesn't involve extricating the president from crisis situations.

  Things got a little heavy around these parts last week, so let's take things down a notch with another topic that's near and dear to my heart. Hangers. I grew up with a father who was a neat freak. His clothing was color-coded and each hanger hung exactly two fingers widths apart from its neighbor. That was a little crazy, and also a hard standard to replicate without a ruler and a compass.