Crowdsourcing a Bar Mitzvah

Oy, the stress

by: Erica Ehm

Crowdsourcing a Bar Mitzvah

You have no idea how shocking it is to wake my son up in the morning and see a beautiful young giant roll out of bed. My baby boy is almost a man. What's even more disturbing is that my son is having a Bar Mitzvah this year and I have no idea what kind of party to throw. Yes, it's all about priorities.

In all seriousness, in the Jewish culture, when a boy turns 13 and morphs into a man, a big birthday party is called for. But exactly what that party looks like is up to each family. The traditional Bar Mitzvah bash seems to be a somewhat pared-down version of a wedding—a sit-down dinner for friends and family with a loud DJ for the 13 year olds. Fancy. This doesn't appeal to my family. My son is more down to earth, verging on hippy. And I am...frugal. 

I've heard some creative ideas lately but nothing has resonated with my son. We are seriously considering the big trip to Israel so my son (actually all of us), can see first hand where it all began. But we're not 100% sold.

Basically, I'm stuck. So I think it's time to crowdsource my son's Bar Mitzvah bash. This where you come in. Can you suggest a concept for my boy's Bar Mitzvah? Something with meaning? Fun for old and young? Not toooooo expensive. 

I am sitting by my computer waiting for your ideas. Time is ticking. Help!


Target Canada Designers Revealed

Get Ready to Shop!

by: Erica Ehm

Target Canada Designers Revealed

It's less than three months until Target officially opens their doors to Canadians. Are you excited?

No more cross-border shopping expeditions necessary. Soon, most of the designer labels you're used to snapping up at Target will be available in Canada. 

Last night I was invited to Target's big designer reveal party, where I rubbed shoulders with some well-known celebrities whose products will be exclusive to Target in Canada. To ensure a Great White North feel, the clothing collection fashion show was done with skating models while hot chocolate was served to the fashionable reporting crowd.

Set against Target's familiar bold red and white graphic logo, the much anticipated creative design talent and collections were unveiled. Here are a few highlights!

For the Home

Interior design heartthrob Nate Berkus's interior collection will feature bedding, bath accessories, and window treatments.

Many sighs were heard from enamoured designers when Nate took the stage.

Food Network Personality Giada De Laurentiis has partnered with Target on her line of affordable cookware products filled with must-have tools for the kitchen. 


Sonia Kashuk has been designing makeup for Target for 14 years and is considered an innovator in her field. She promises to offer high quality cosmetics at affordable prices.

I'm also really looking forward to the Pixi line. It's geared to busy moms to help simplify our beauty routines with multipurpose products to help create a radiant glow. Sign me up.


If you've ever shopped at Target south of the border, Cherokee and Circo will be familiar labels. Their fun, playful, and inexpensive collections for kids are coming to Canadian shelves!

Shaun White is a superstar Olympic snowboarder. Target is carrying his *sick* line of graphic tees, sweats, and denim for boys and teens.

Merona, Mossimo Supply and Mossimo Black are the three stylish collections I tend to gravitate to at Target. Each of these lines, both the men and women's styles, will be a big hit here!

Kate Young, one of Hollywood's most sought after stylists, is bringing her glam to Target's racks with an exclusive collection of cost effective special occasion dresses and chic accessories. But you'll have to be quick to buy one. Her collection will only be available from April 14 until the end of May.

Canadian Content

Drum roll please...

The only Canadian collection to be featured at Target so far is....Roots. Owners Don Green and Michael Budman announced a limited edition Roots collection of comfy sweats and T's and hoodies for Target that promises to make the brand affordable for all Canadians...available only for a very short while. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to some lesser-known Canuck designers to be featured at Target to really add some unique Canadian culture to the giant retailer. It's a great opportunity for Target to be innovative and develop some local up-and-comers.

I'm excited! Let the countdown begin....


Updating The Wizard of Oz

Sacrilege or Superior?

by: Erica Ehm

Updating The Wizard of Oz

*Disclaimer: This review is entirely biased. Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. When I was eleven, I actually hand wrote the entire movie script. I wanted to BE Dorothy.

Last night, my kids and I were treated to the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz. Starring new talent Danielle Wade as Dorothy Gale, this version dares to tamper with the classic screenplay with new direction, songs and script.

For me, a long time Oz fan expecting to know every line and tune, it was a bit of a shock to realize this was not my grandmother's Wizard of Oz. This is Wizard of Oz 2.0. Once I understood to expect the unexpected, I relaxed and was able to enjoy this semi-new Oz vision.

Unlike most theatrical productions of Wizard of Oz I've seen (i.e., my daughter's school play), this version uses a lot of snazzy film and technical wizardry to bring the show to life. The famous twister scene where Dorothy is lifted out of Kansas and lands in Oz was fun to watch, as was the scene when the Wizard is revealed.

While the technical flash was effective, I found the direction to be the most modern, innovative element of the show. Rather than mimicking the beloved film performances of the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion, the three actors breathed new life, depth, and humor into their characters. By the end of the show, I knew them better than I had from watching the film fifty times. Part of this is due to the actors' obvious talent, but I give a lot of the credit to director Jeremy Sams who clearly wanted to reinvent the classic with his fresh ideas. 

The Wicked Witch was completely modernized. Her famous pointed black hat is replaced with black hair that shoots up like frozen black snakes, reminiscent of Ursula the witch from The Little Mermaid. Lisa Horner's Wicked Witch is wonderfully mean, although I did pine for Margaret Hamilton's well-known laughing cackle so synonymous with the film. As for Glinda, I would kill to have Glinda's vocal power but I found her missing the ethereal sweetness that, to me, is the essence of the good witch.

Surprisingly, my favorite performance of the night (aside from the very well trained dog who played Toto), was Cedric Smith who brought such depth and intelligence to the often bumbling character of the Wizard of Oz.

As for the star of the show, ingenue Danielle Wade's performance of Dorothy was quite beautiful—a mix of tomboy country girl bravado mixed with the sweetness of a girl coming of age—she stole my heart with her simple performance and gorgeous vocals. At times, she actually sounded like Judy Garland when delivering her lines, which I loved. On a personal note, my cousin Rebecca Codas was one of the Top 20 finalists in the Over the Rainbow: Search for Dorothy, and I am sure she would have done an incredible job in this part. 

So, did the Ehm clan enjoy the show? The answer is a resounding yes. Although there were some dance sequences and new songs I could have done without, we all enjoyed the updated version of the Wizard of Oz, especially the surprise ending that really reminds us that "There's no place like home."