I recently had the honour of attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference at Walt Disney World in Orlando. As you can imagine, like everything else Disney touches, it was magical. I am constantly in awe of the way Disney runs their business and as it was pointed out to us they are not in the “hotel and theme park” business but rather in the “guest experience” business. For a full recap of this event please check out these awesome blogs here, here and here.
It is always interesting to me what people walk away from a conference with. I’ve read many of the blogs some of the attendees have written and while I think we all had a rich experience, we all came away with something different. What filled my soul and made me think was two of the amazing speakers, Chris Brogan (more on Chris later) and Rene Syler.
Admittedly, I did not know who Rene Syler was before the conference. Being Canadian, I wasn’t really up on my American morning shows. I did a little research on her before heading to the conference and quite honestly was sort of “Meh, not sure what she’s going to offer me”.
Rene, my apologies.
From the moment Rene walked on stage, I felt immediately connected with her. Funny, vibrant, self-deprecating, and honest, she stole my heart. Rene has a story worth hearing. It reminds us that there is only one journey through this life, so make it what you want it to be and get on with it.
Why is Rene qualified to tell you that? Hmmm, well, let’s see. Maybe because she had her ass kicked by a series of life-altering ordeals. First, as if it’s not humiliating enough to be fired, Rene had to endure being fired from a national program. Second, in a move that stirred some controversy, Rene had her breasts removed in a preventive mastectomy a mere two weeks later. Both her parents had breast cancer. Then, she lost all her hair after another illness. It’s interesting to note here that gasps from the audience came when she said she lost her hair, not when she talked about having her breasts removed, something Rene was quick to point out and laugh with us about. Finally, she dealt with depression.
And then...and then, she reinvented herself. She started her second act and hasn’t looked back. And this is why I love her, in a totally non-creepy way of course. I love her because she understands that YOU make the journey, YOU make the choices, YOU decide the path. Sometimes life hands you a pile of crap. It ain’t pretty. But it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to lie there and wallow in it, or clean it up.
So what’s Rene’s mission? She’s here to tell you that perfect is unattainable and that good enough is good enough. She wants you to be at peace with who you are so she started her website Good Enough Mother as an extension to her book of the same name. Rene offers her from-the-hip opinion on just about anything and she’ll make you laugh out loud and ask hard questions all at the same time.
Because this blog is not about me, I’ll only say this, I too am in my second act. I am happier at 41 then I ever was in my twenties. Ok, ok, I’m not so happy with my abs but they’re good enough and that’s good enough, right? Second acts are the good stuff because you made all the mistakes in the first.
At the conference, I tweeted “Sitting behind @goodenufmother. Would it be stalkerish if I hugged her?” In true social media mom fashion, she read my tweet on her laptop only seconds later and I got my hug. Have I mentioned I love her? Next time we meet, wine and lots of it.
*Read Rene’s take on Disney Social Media Moms here.
I haven’t driven my car in two weeks. Only two weeks, but you’d think I hadn’t driven it in two years. I took my daughter to skating tonight and in typical "Candace" fashion, my van was practically on empty. I’m not a big fan of putting gas in my car. I typically try to time it so that whenever my husband takes the van it’s running on fumes. This saves me the aggravation of filling it up. Tonight however, my fuel light came on just as we were arriving at the arena. Odds of getting home were slim, so I had no choice but to find a full serve gas station.
For the record, I have driven this car for three years and know that the gas tank is on the driver’s side. I swear I have actually stepped out of this car and put gas in it. Occasionally. Tonight however, I swore the gas tank was on the passenger side.
I pull in and the attendant points to the other side of the gas tank. I
point through the window and mouth “Over there?” and he nods. "Ok", I think, "maybe the gas isn’t pumping on this side". I back up and do a three point turn and proceed to reverse my car with the passenger side again facing the pumps. The attendant is now waving at me, looking perplexed. I roll down the passenger side window and he says, “Madam, your gas tank is on the driver’s side?” and this is where the idiot makes an appearance......
“No it’s not” I say indignantly, as I whip my head around to look out the driver’s side window and proceed to whack my forehead full on into a closed window.
I give the attendant full credit for stifling his laughter. I can not give my husband the same credit. He is still laughing a good hour after I told him. I need an Advil for my headache and a hole to crawl into for my embarassment.
A few weeks ago, my friend Jen posted a link to her blog on Facebook. What caught my eye was the cover of the cookbook she was talking about. It made me laugh out loud. Naturally, I clicked the link to find out more and proceeded to laugh, cry and order the book.
Minivans, Mammaries and Muffintops - The breast darn cookbook you’ve ever seen! was the brainchild of Tara Marchiori, friend to Cherie Metcalfe who is fighting Stage 4 breast cancer. Along with other friends, who rallied behind Cherie after her diagnosis, these ladies decided to put together a cookbook filled with delicious good for you recipes with a biting sense of humour. See how I did that? Biting. Get it? Oh sometimes, I crack me up.
Anyhoo, enough of my wit, and back to Cherie. Cherie has some kick ass friends. The kind of friends that say “This world won’t be the same without you so we’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep you here. Take that you nasty Cancer bitch”. I have friends like this. I know I do. I have friends that I love so much I’d go over Niagara Falls in a barrel if it meant it would keep them here one more day. Good friends, no, scratch that, GREAT friends are the best health care you can have. Whether you have one or twenty, your true friends have your back or your boobs as the case may be. Oops there I go again. Don’t hurt yourself laughing. I'm on a roll here.
This cookbook is not just a collection of recipes, and it’s not just a fundraiser to help Cherie fight staggering health care costs associated with a clinical trial treatment she receives in the U.S. This cookbook is a celebration of great friends. It’s funny, touching, AND inspiring. When is the last time Bon Appetit did that for you?
Do you want to be more supportive than a good sports bra? Ummm, well it’s pretty easy and totally on the honour system. Isn’t that uplifting? Sorry, sorry, enough boob humour. Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Go to their Facebook page "I Support Cherie" Friend Group and message them.
Step 2: Wait for reply.
Step 3: Have a discussion with one of the fab ladies and exchange details. How many cookbooks? Your address? Bra size? Kidding. They don't want that. I just share mine with everyone.
Step 4: Your cookbook and your cheque should cross somewhere in the mail.
Step 5: Laugh so hard your boobs shake.
Step 6: Tell your breast friends all about it.
I was not asked to write about this cookbook, in fact it will no doubt come as a surprise to these incredible women, but it shouldn’t. When my cookbook arrived, there was a note attached that read “Thanks for the support! Good Karma coming your way. T.” No. Good Karma coming your way ladies. My cups already runneth over.
Ba dum bum."