Archive

May 2013

Browsing

Spring is here – time to get you ready for your first 5k or 10k run

If you made a commitment to start a running program, lose weight and keep the pounds off permanently, you deserve a pat on the back. Running five or 10 kilometres is an attainable goal for many.

A friend related her story of how she looked in the mirror one morning and almost began to panic. A decade ago she’d been fairly athletic but was now 50 pounds overweight and, worse, she smoked a pack of cigarettes per day. On this fateful spring day she chose the Stanley Park seawall route in Vancouver, planning to run slowly for 15 minutes, turning back in the same time. Her goal was to run 30 minutes every day.

She didn’t cover much ground but kept moving the whole time even when her body was begging to stop. She eventually developed shin splints, forcing her onto the bike for six weeks, but soon was back running, improving ever so slowly. A year later she was a non-smoker, 50 pounds lighter and racing every distance from 10km to the marathon. She still claims that first run on the seawall was the hardest workout ever. Following a proper program might have eased a lot of her pain and perhaps prevented training injuries too.

It’s suggested that once you’re able to run 5k distance, continuing on to running 10k is well within reach. Always check with your doctor before embarking on any exercise program.

In a phone chat with Jacques Chapdelaine, offensive coordinator of the 2011 Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions, he recommends drinking plenty of water during workouts. “The biggest thing for me is hydration at my size (over 190lbs),” Chapdelaine, who carries a water belt with him and drinks every 15 minutes, says. “This has helped me not feel so tired and want to continue running.” He adds, “I run three to four times per week – 40 minutes at a time.” His longer run is 90 minutes.

Here are some other helpful tips to make your running journey less painful.

Visit a running specialty store before choosing the right shoe. Bring in your old pair to check the wear pattern.

Avoid wearing cotton. Choose synthetic fabrics, such as CoolMax or Dri-Fit that wick away moisture.

Invest in an athletic watch to time your workouts.

Record your workouts in a log book to track your improvement.

Proper Fuel and hydration – consult the Canadian Food Guide or speak with a registered dietician.

Do all of the proper stretches after your workout, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.  Remember, no matter how tough it gets out there, if you stay with the program you’ll be amazed at the results.

5 amazing tweets from the Toronto Public Library

While we already love the Toronto Public Library for providing us the great service of free knowledge, many people don’t know just how above and beyond TPL goes to make the citizens of this fair city happy.

They already offer a gay literary speed dating program where members of the LGBTQQ community can show up with their favourite book, CD, or DVD to chat with other people about their favourite narrative and, just maybe, discover love. The concept behind this program is absolutely amazing. It’s also hosted right by my house, so if you wind up there and see someone holding a tattered copy of Watchmen come say hi.

TPL also offers a 24/7 Dial-A-Story service where kids can dial in and have a story read to them in 15 different languages, helping kids to feel comfortable and learn even when mom and dad can’t help. Certainly better than kids getting babysat by the TV, that’s for sure.

TPL also has someone fantastic running their Twitter feed. Here are five of the best tweets to come down the pipe recently. We love TPL for…

…The Phrase “If Shakespeare were a hipster”

…Keeping things steamy at the library

…Knowing where to find an owner’s manual for the USS Enterprise

…Asking us the worst mothers we can think of on Mother’s Day

…Helping us figure out how to be a cat

Be sure to follow @TorontoLibrary on Twitter for more literary updates — and follow @WomensPost and @TravMyers while you’re at it.

Anniversaries

Last weekend Boyfriend and I went out for brunch because that’s what Toronto couples do on Sundays. I made a joke about neither of us knowing our actual anniversary, which I thought was funny until he told me that he actually did know when it was. I assumed that he was teasing but then he passed me his phone which has a reminder on September 20th that it is our anniversary.

It’s really the little things that matter and the fact that he not only remembered our first date but bothered to include it in his calendar blew me away.

The last anniversary I can remember was with the Big Ex and by that point he was already cheating – when I texted to say “happy anniversary” I didn’t even receive a response. We broke up a couple weeks later. So to find out that Boyfriend is already assuming that we’ll make it through this anniversary and the next makes me smile in that dorky I’m-so-in-love kind of way.

When you’re happy you don’t need to rush; if things are going to work out then you can take your time getting there and enjoy all the little milestones. We have an anniversary coming up in September and there’s a lot to enjoy between now and then: summer cottages, BBQs with friends, concerts, beach days and road trips.

In Toronto couples have a tendency to move too quickly. They move in together before they’re ready to because rent is high, they let their relationships move at the pace of the city and lose each other in the rush. I just want to keep getting to know Boyfriend, keep falling in love and keep finding out new things about each other.

But as much as I love taking things somewhat slowly, because there’s no need to rush when you know things are right, I also love that he knows when our anniversary is. It makes me blush, it makes me feel like a total girl for enjoying it and it makes me smile.

I’ve said this before (and I’m probably going to keep saying it) but I’ve never had a relationship that wasn’t plagued with one problem or another. I’ve never had a boy care enough about me to put me in a calendar. I’ve always been the one who cares the most in a relationship and it’s amazing to feel like a real partner rather than a girl with a crush begging for attention from someone you’re supposed to be dating.

I didn’t remember our anniversary but I do remember our first kiss, I remember the first time he held my hand, I remember the first time he made me dinner, I remember that when I was waiting for a job offer he was the one who told me a million times that I didn’t need to worry. It’s the moments that I remember because it’s the moments that make us work. I can’t wait to see what happens next, and because it’s finally summer I kind of hope it involves a patio or a beach.

 

Women of the week: Michele Romanow

For Michele Romanow, co-founder of Buytopia.ca, there are three words that easily describe both her and her business. “Fun, hardworking, and bold,” she says in her breezy, upbeat tone.

After speaking with her it is hard to disagree that her approach to business is one grounded in hard work. At only 27 this businesswoman has achieved goals that most people twice her age can only dream of. An entrepreneur starting from her days as a student—while completing her undergrad, she started the Tea Room, a zero consumer waste coffee shop—she is now at the helm of her third successful business venture with Buytopia.ca and the key to her success is hard work.

“You always want to be adding the most value,” she advises women who aspire for greatness. “If you’re that person making sure projects always get things done and driving the relationships — if you are constantly the most valuable team member, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or not.”

For Romanow, being bold is a second nature. “I think that we’re bold when we go out to find the best deals for Buytopia. We try to be innovative for brands and I think that’s a huge part of what has made us successful and a huge part of what makes our business work.”

But to her, boldness stems from her personality. Her strong interpersonal skills shine through in every situation, giving her the advantage of winning over others in every walk of life. “I think I’m just a naturally social person. I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories, and I think that has given me an advantage in business.”

“I’m a natural extrovert, which means I come up with my best ideas by talking and sharing with people. What really balances my life are the people in it.”

And an advantage it has been. With Buytopia approaching 2 million subscribers the bond that Romanow forges between her company and Buytopia’s users is built upon the strength of communication, trust and, of course, great deals. By striking out to create the same kinds of bonds with national brands Romanow has successfully created a chain of trust from retailer to consumer that is unparalleled in Canadian business.

Romanow’s fun side is also displayed up front and centre. Her infectious laugh and easy demeanour puts others at ease. While many other 27-year-old women might balk at receiving a Mother’s Day note from an employee, to her it is a symbol of something more. “I think of my team at work as family.” As for her real family, she laughs as she explains the universally humbling nature of siblings despite the fantastic level of success she has achieved: “There’s nothing like a sibling to put you in your place.”

In her downtime she switches gears ever so slightly from running a business to running half marathons. For her, running is a calming, focusing experience. “Your body just falls into a rhythm,” she explains of her favourite pastime.

Buytopia is unique in the way it approaches the daily deals business, a field that can be tricky to master. By focusing on delivering quality unique experiences to subscribers they’ve managed to keep the colourfully decorated website in the hearts and minds of members even when they are offline.

“On Buytopia you should be buying things that make your life more wonderful: be it a spa packages or great restaurants, we want you to discover that gem in the city that you’ve never expected and try it out at half price. I want the website to have great pictures and be easy to use for a seamless experience. I don’t want you to be spending time there; I want you to be spending time in your life discovering these great services.”

On the future of web-based businesses, Romanow is looking up. “I’m optimistic the internet will have a lot of wonderful surprises in the years to come.”

Right now it seems like two lovely surprises, Michele Romanow and Buytopia.ca, are already here.

 

Win a McSorley’s night out

McSorley’s is offering one reader the chance to win the perfect Fathers’ Day prize: A set of his & hers McSorley’s T-shirts and gift certificates for beer and food for two.  Think of the fantastic bonding night this prize will let you have. Enter today for your chance to win.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Thursday, June 13th, at 3 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

Feminism as Practice: Valuing a Feminist Motherline in the Age of Neoliberalism

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming collection of scholarly feminist essays mixed with personal stories, Mother of Invention from Demeter Press. For your chance to win a free copy of the book enter here. 

Introduction: The Age of Innovation

In our current neoliberal age, innovation provides the guiding mantra. We are constantly looking toward the future, hoping to find the next best thing defined by what is guaranteed to ensure “value.” And yet our definition of “value” has changed drastically, with the language of social value increasingly being replaced by the economic determinism of market value. In this age of innovation defined by short-term thinking and future prospects, the value of the past is lost. It is precisely for this reason that a discussion of feminist motherlines is becoming increasingly essential. The stories of our mothers and grandmothers, and the intergenerational knowledge that is passed down from them, cannot be quantified in market value terms. And, more importantly, these stories weave the fabric of our very social core.

My Mother’s Stories

My mother grew up as the youngest child in a family of seven on a farm in the southern part of Holland. At the age of 12, she was sent to an all-girls boarding school that was run by nuns. At the age of 17, she went to an all-girls college to become a Montessori teacher. She then decided to travel by herself to Canada and teach kindergarten, and here she met my father. At the age of 24, she worked with my dad to build their own log home in Calgary because no bank would give them a mortgage. And at the age of 28, with two small children, she worked night shifts to make enough money so my dad could start his own piano tuning business that she would go on to manage for the next 30 years. When I listen to my mother’s stories, her words cannot be relegated to a particular feminist theoretical framework. In fact, when we sat down for an informal interview and I asked her whether she considered herself a feminist while living in Holland during the 1960s, presumably during the heyday of feminism’s Second-Wave, “nope” was her response. Then upon further consideration she laughed and said, “They called them dolle Minas. They were the ones that would burn the bras, feel the freedom […] the birth control pill came out, it was about love and no war. But I wasn’t part of that. We would see it on TV. Especially in Amsterdam” (Informal interview with Maria Vandenbeld, June 13, 2012).

Feminisms

From my mom’s perspective, feminism was something that had nothing to do with her; it was a theoretical paradigm that bore no relevance in her daily life. And yet, when I listen to her stories, and when I think about everything she has taught me throughout my life—particularly when I had my daughter—I know that my mother’s influence has been pivotal in my understanding of what it means to be “feminist”, and these are the very same things that I now teach my  daughter. The values of equality and freedom, that everyone is equally important, that being honest, sharing and being kind are the most essential qualities, but also the ability to recognize when injustice or inequality must be acknowledged and the capacity to be both kind and strong at once—these are the values that have been passed, and will continue to be passed, down my motherline. And when thinking about our motherlines, it is equally important to recognize how knowledge transfers in multiple directions. My mother now actively identifies as a feminist and laughs about how she didn’t think feminism had any relevance for her in the past making a discussion of feminisms so important. And I am constantly amazed and enriched by my six-year-old daughter’s understanding of the world and realize daily how much I have to learn from her.

During our discussions, my mom said that she always felt like an outsider in Canada, and that the mothers here were far more lenient with their children than what she was accustomed to. The 1970s were, after all, the age of the “free-range” child in North America. And I, too, often feel like I stand outside of contemporary normative mothering discourses. In our current hyper-competitive neoliberal age, while “freedom” remains highly prized, “equality” does not, and nor do the values of sharing or being kind. Rather, within an individualistic winners-take-all mentality, kindness can often be equated with weakness. As such there is an uneasy juxtaposition between recognizing where one’s own value systems emerge and appreciating their historicity, and acknowledging how these value systems, rather than being purely individual, are inspired by larger socioeconomic circumstances and dominant ideologies.

A discussion of feminisms enables the recognition of the multiplicity of feminist voices while also acknowledging the possibility for collectivity. While we are all part of larger societal discourses, we are also unique individuals with particular stories to tell. My mom might have been part of a larger second-wave feminist temporality, but her story is unique. And while she did not identify as a “feminist” until recently, her mothering has been the best example of feminist practice that I can think of. I will always be grateful for the values that my mom has taught me, and I hope I will be able to continue my feminist motherline by instilling similar values in my own daughter.

 For your chance to win a free copy of the book enter here. 

Win a free copy of Mother of Invention

Win a copy of the brand new book, Mother of Invention: How Our Mothers Influenced Us as Feminist Academics and Activists, edited by Vanessa Reimer and Sarah Sahagian. This book takes on feminist theory by inter-splicing scholarly discussion with personal stories and anecdotes and promises to be one of the most interesting reads of the year in Canadian feminist circles, and beyond. Visit Demeter Press for more information.

Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the book. Entries limited to one per day per person.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

DENIAL: Mayor Rob Ford says he is not a crack addict

Rob Ford addressed the media Friday at 3:30 p.m. to address allegations of his crack cocaine use and the video that was viewed by Star and Gawker reporters.

In a prepared statement Ford, flanked by his brother Doug Ford, flat out denied the allegations of him using crack and also added that he is not a crack addict.

He used the press conference to express his displeasure with what he described as hardships endured by his family as a result of this scandal and thanked his supporters for “calls and e-mails” he received.

He noted that his week long silence was the result of advice from his lawyer.

The Mayor also took this time to continually thank the people of Toronto, along with Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday who he described as the best the city could ever ask for. This comes on the heels of Holyday expressing concerns over Ford’s state and expectations that he may have to fill the top slot should Ford step down.

Mayor Ford left the room promptly amidst shouts of rehab related questions from the press and his brother took to the podium, giving a stern look to the press gallery, and answered a short few questions. When reporters shouted out to correct inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies  in his answers, he stuck to the trope that the Star is after the Fords. He asked that they ask the questions and he give the answers, covering no new ground with the press before ending the press conference.

This conference comes after more than a week of silence from Mayor Ford on the matter.

It remains to be seen whether Ford can recover from this scandal. As Councillors have urged him to seek help, co-operation at City Hall may not be possible for long if Ford remains mayor.

5 craziest tweets from Amanda Bynes from the last three days

While we here in Toronto have been watching a meltdown of our own over at city hall poor Amanda Bynes has been steadily losing it south of the border for quite some time.

The star’s Twitter account has been her outlet for a lot of her rambling and rantings, along with racy, sexy photos of herself, not to mention a blow by blow of a surgery she got for something involving her eyes and/or nose that we’re pretty sure no one ever noticed but her.

The starlet, who isn’t really doing much these days after retiring from acting, was arrested Thursday, May 23, in New York City. The cops were called when people complained that she was allegedly rolling and smoking a joint in the lobby. When the cops went up to her apartment on the 36th floor they reportedly saw a bong on the counter. According to the cops she ran to it and threw it out of the window right in front of them.

She says it was just a vase.

Um. Amanda. you can’t do that either.

Here are five of the combative, odd, and confusing tweets she sent out in the days before her arrest.

 

 

 

If you’re following the timeline here it would have been a few hours after that last rant that she allegedly chucked a bong streetside from 36 floors up.
 
You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

HAPPY FRIDAY: Here is a blog dedicated to photos of sloths

As you may have guessed from our previous articles, we here at WP had a love-on for sloths. Luckily we aren’t the only ones. That Sloth Blog is a Tumblr dedicated to bringing you photos of sloths doing sloth things and being slothdorable and slothcool. They sum it up pretty well by saying: “Us, we’re sloth people.” Yup.

Yes, there is a sloth-on-branch cursor on this website.

You are currently counting down the hours until you can use some of these relaxing sloth moves on your couch.

Here are some of our favourites from the blog.

Follow Travis on Twitter: @TravMyers