Archive

March 2014

Browsing

MONEY: 5 trading myths exposed

By Sarah Potter

Day trading ETF’s, Stocks and Futures have become more accessible and mainstream as investment options. Many banks and investment firms have created choices for individual investors to take hold of their finances and invest on their own. Even though these opportunities are gaining in popularity, there are still some myths about trading that need to be exposed.

Myth #1: All trading happens on a trading floor with people screaming at each other

While it is true that there are some trading floors still in existence, a computer and an internet connection is how most trades are executed today. The ability to trade remotely from anywhere using the internet has made trading more accessible. In fact, trading can occur almost 24 hours a day depending on the market. You can pretend you are on a trading floor and scream at the computer screen, but it won’t help to enter or exit a trade.

Myth #2: All traders are men in suits

The trading world is certainly dominated by men, but this doesn’t mean that women are less adept at trading successfully. Trading is like any other skill that has to be learned and mastered to trade successfully. With a good trading plan, anyone can learn to trade. Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t matter what clothes you wear. Suits look nice, but they don’t help you become a better trader. Since trading can occur from the comfort of your home, the dress code is at your discretion.

Myth #3: You have to have a PhD in economics or other accreditations to trade

Like other investment strategies, trading is a skill that can be learned and can be profitable. You don’t need a special degree to trade. Just like any other investment, there are risks involved. But just like other investment options, there are high risk and lower risk trades that can be made. The key is to have a clear trading plan, and to trade within your risk parameters.  There are an abundance of ways to access information about trading various markets. Some strategies are complicated, and some are straight forward.  Just remember that trading and gambling are not the same thing.

Myth #4: You need to watch the news all day to understand what is going on in the markets

This might be shocking to some of you, but I trade all day and choose not to watch some of the large news broadcasters. With the abundance of information that is available online, when the news hits, it often means the move in the market has already happened. News broadcasts and financial reporters can provide some information to help support your trading plan but it should not be your only source. While it is important to balance a broad view of the markets, analysing charts from multiple time frames or listening to independent market analysis can be very valuable.

Myth #5: You have to sit in front of a computer screen and be focused on the markets all day to trade

There are many styles of trading. Some trading plans buy or sell positions and hold over days or weeks, while other trading plans focus on entering and exiting a trade within a few minutes. Different markets and strategies have different personalities. It’s important to find a trading style and personality that suits you.  Spend some time researching various markets that fit your trading style and match the time you can invest to trade.

Porn: The dreaded mistress in our relationships

If your man says he doesn’t watch it, he’s probably lying. With a dreaded rep for making wives wince and girlfriends erupt with jealousy, porn is the seductive mistress luring our men into a world of unrealistic eroticism and fantasy.

Recent studies indicate that men in relationships watch porn about 1.7 times a week for around 20 minutes, according to Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse from the University of Montreal. These stats are not surprising with the growing availability of high definition porn today.  At all times, men can easily access porn on their tablets, smartphones, and laptops for quick and easy arousal wherever they go.

Yet, to what extent are women affected by this multi-billion dollar industry? Is there some level of pressure to fulfill these pornographic fantasies in order to keep men satisfied? It seems nearly impossible to maintain a comfortable balance between fulfilling these fantasies while also feeling secure and respected. And while it’s important to entice your man, you shouldn’t abandon your personal style of sexual expression.

Of course, men are not only to blame. The palette for porn is shared by both men and women alike.  A couple that embraces porn may be adding a playful element to their sexual routine. So, in many ways, porn can offer a healthy source of inspiration before or during sex. However, a chronic dependence on porn can estrange sexual partners. Couples should also ensure that they can nurture their sexual bond without the aid of a third party. This means being able to separate the hyper-sexualized world of porn from real life interactions.

Yet when it comes to separating fantasy from reality men usually have a trickier time accepting the pornographic world as mere make-believe. In more severe cases, men can become reliant on these steamy exploits as the ideal stimulant.  In an interview exploring this issue, Daniel, 43, shared his thoughts by stating, ” I am happily married but I can’t fully enjoy myself with my wife unless I think about pornographic images in my head.” When addicted to hyper-erotic acts or thoughts, it’s easy to lose interest in real-life sex.

Consequently porn can alienate a woman in her relationship. A woman may become a mere accessory to her man’s mental fantasy instead of being the main attraction.

A recent film, “Don Jon”, explores the allure of porn and its effects. The plot focuses on Jon, a womazing gerbronie, who struggles with his obsession with porn and masturbation causing deteriorated connections with women. Moreover,  as porn feeds his erotic fancies, it weakens his interest in real-life sex. As a result, he is unable to appreciate reciprocal and meaningful sexual experiences. Through this movie, we may recognize how the porn industry can spoil relationships.

Despite these dangers, it’s understandable why so many men become lost in the rapture of porn. The sex is vividly over-glorified: the women are always idealized, the sharp lighting enhances every detail,  and the pleasure is exaggerated to a show-stopping, shrieking spectacle. This often causes real life sex to pale in comparison. Also, men are highly visual, and porn provides the ideal pressure-free gateway to high-intensity visual arousal.

Yet, porn worshippers need to accept reality. The truth is that most women do not wear leather stiletto boots in bed, nor do they yearn to have their hair yanked from their skulls or faces slapped. And finally, most women do not relish being showered in sticky love juices. These are male-dominated fantasies, not reality!

Perhaps porn fanatics should consider changing the type of porn they watch in order to gain more realistic perceptions of sex.

 

3 ways to relieve foot pain

by Dr. Suzanne Bober

Do you suffer with foot or heel pain that feels the worst first thing in the morning?  Does it affect your gait and limit your running?

You may be suffering from plantar fasciitis – a syndrome in which the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot becomes irritated and painful.  This strong tight tissue contributes to maintaining the normal arch of the foot. It is also one of the major transmitters of weight across the foot as you walk or run.

It is largely believed that this condition is due to repetitive trauma or microtrauma at the origin of the plantar fascia and is aggravated by the presence of a low arch, also known as overpronation, or a high arch known as oversupination.

Plantar fasciitis afflicts up to 10 per cent of the adult population over the course of a lifetime, and accounts for 15 per cent of all foot complaints requiring professional care.  It is common in people with a high body mass index, pregnant women and most commonly, runners.

If you think that you have plantar fasciitis, there are a number of things that you can do to help reduce the pain.

1. Wear supportive shoes

Firstly, make sure that you are wearing a good supportive shoe. As almost 70 per cent of the population overpronate when they stand, walk and run, it is important to ensure that you have adequate arch support in your shoe. It may be necessary to have your gait assessed properly in order to determine if overpronation or oversupination is occurring.

2. Try soft tissue massages

Secondly, using a golf ball on the soft tissue on the sole of the foot can help to release tension in the plantar fascia.  Sit with the golf ball directly under the foot, and slowly roll the ball on your sole using increasing pressure as you lean into it. Do this first thing in the morning before you take your first step, and this will help to reduce the pain.

3. Try these stretches

Thirdly, it is important to ensure good flexibility of the calf muscles to allow adequate mobility in the ankle joint. Lean into a wall while keeping your heel firmly on the ground and keep your knee straight. You should feel the pull behind your knee. It is important to keep your spine parallel with the wall to get the most benefit from the stretch.  To lengthen the deeper muscles of the leg do the same stretch but now bend your knee. You should feel the pull closer to your ankle now. Hold each stretch for 30 to 40 seconds and repeat three to five times on each leg.

These tips will help to reduce the strain on the plantar fascia by supporting the arch, loosening the tension along the sole of the foot, and improving the mobility of the ankle joint. If after using these tips you still have foot or heel pain, you may require custom orthotics and/or manual therapy techniques aimed at further reducing plantar fascia tension and improving joint mobility. Consult your health care provider if the symptoms persist beyond two weeks.

RECIPE: The homemade granola formula

The first time I decided to make my own, I felt like some sort of domestic goddess. The truth is, making this tasty cereal at home couldn’t be easier and, because it’s endlessly customizable, you’ll never get bored and can tailor each batch to suit whatever you’re in the mood for. Try using the basic formula below to make your own blend (share it in the comments below if you do!), or try my favourite spring-time mix.

Yummy homemade granola

3 cups of rolled grains
1.5 cups nuts and seeds
3/4 cups dried fruit
6 tablespoons liquid sweetener
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp dried spices
1 teaspoons salt
Optional mix-ins, like dried coconut and chocolate chips

Springtime granola mix

3 cups rolled oats 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sun dried raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
4 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tea spoon sea salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Mix all ingredients together (except dried fruit and chocolate if you’re using it) in a large mixing bowl.
3. Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, checking every 5 until it starts to get golden brown. It won’t be crunchy yet.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool, at which point you can mix in your additional ingredients.
6. Store in airtight containers. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, or all on its own as a great snack.

6 ways Pilates can help expectant and new moms

Pregnancy, childbirth, and the never-ending needs of a new baby place incredible physical and emotional demands on a woman. Committing to a specific Pilates program pre- and post-natal will do wonders to alleviate the back, hip, and shoulder pain that often accompanies pregnancy and new motherhood. Not to mention Pilates’ positive impact on the stubborn weight gain, the fog, and the fatigue. Here are six ways Pilates can help both expectant and new mothers.

1. Pull up your privates and strengthen your pelvic floor

A Pilates program that incorporates enhanced Keigel exercises with squats and lunges will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles before and after baby. Your pelvic floor muscles are highly stressed during pregnancy and labour and are often damaged during delivery. It’s important to rehabilitate your pelvic floor because those muscles play a vital role in healthy sexual function, urinary and anal continence, and core support of your spine and pelvis.

2. Connect to your core and build a strong foundation

Pilates will strengthen your deep-core abdominal muscles to ease pelvis and back pain and provide more support for weight changes and your shifting centre of gravity. Remember your core is not just your belly! Pilates strengthens, balances, and tones your deep back, buttock, and hip muscles too.

3. Ease the fatigue with better posture and improved flexibility

Your body goes through massive changes during pregnancy and then suddenly you are spending hours cradling, feeding, and carrying your baby. Plus your breasts are huge! All of this compromises your posture creating neck, shoulder, back, and hip stiffness and fatiguing your already exhausted body. Pilates will lengthen and strengthen your spine creating better posture and keeping your body in optimal alignment for everyday activities.

4. Power up those pipes

New babies may not weigh much at first, but they grow fast! Carrying around a 10-15 pound baby for hours every day – not to mention the weight of the car seat and diaper bag – requires upper-body strength. Pilates will not only strengthen your arms and shoulders, it will teach your body how to lift and carry in the most efficient way – strengthening your entire back.

5. Build muscle for better weight loss

It took nine months to put on the baby weight, it’s going to take at least that long and often up to a year to lose it. Total body conditioning with Pilates resistance training will build muscle and rev up your metabolism making weight loss easier. Plus you will feel better all over.

6. Connect mind and body to create a quiet calm

Pregnancy and motherhood are stressful. The concentration, precision, and purposeful breathing of your Pilates work-out will get you back in tune with your body and focus your mind on creating an inner calm.

It’s hard to find time to take care of your own needs when all your energy is focused on the new wee person in your life. Of course we know you will have an easier time after your baby is born if you work at getting strong, fit, and centered before the birth. But it’s never too late – or too early – to get started.

Follow Barbara on Twitter at @BarbaraGrant7 and @RetrofitPilates.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Can you be friends with your exes?

Whenever a relationship ends, one part of the former pair insists on remaining friends, even if they don’t mean it, they somehow feel necessary to pretend that their now ex-partner will remain in their lives. But can we really be friends with our exes? Should we?

I don’t speak with the Big Ex; he cheated on me and broke my heart. My friends don’t lie to me, they don’t take advantage of me, and they don’t leave me crying on a couch wondering what I’ve done wrong. Sometimes relationships end amicably, sometimes two great people just realize that they don’t belong together and they go on to be great friends who once upon a time used to have hot sweaty naked time together. But more often than not, a break-up happens because of something more severe and at least one person is left with a broken heart and a bruised ego.

A couple of weeks ago I was out with a friend of mine who recently left his partner after two years; I asked him very calmly if he planned on being friends with her in the future or ever getting back together with her. I did this because you never know and what I had to say about this person could not be taken back; I then proceeded to use a four-letter word that happens to start with a ‘c.’ There were some other words that my inner feminist would not approve of, but sometimes you just need to get your feelings out and this self-righteous woman had all of it coming. That’s the most difficult part about being friends with an ex: once you’ve done something really terrible most friends have picked a side and if your behaviour was bad enough, that side likely isn’t yours. How can you ever be friends with someone when everyone who knew you together now thinks that you’re the worst kind of person for one reason or another?

Boyfriend and I are at the point in our relationship where we have a lot of mutual friends. My pals are becoming his and I love that, but if we broke up tomorrow, it’s easy enough to know who would pick my side and who would pick his. After a break-up, terrible things are said, tears are shed and promises are made; but it’s your best friends who hear the absolute worst about your former love and asking them to just forget about all the bad things is asking the impossible.

Maybe the couples who end things happily knowing that they’ve made the right choice can be friends, but there are some things that once said can’t be taken back; there are some things that once done can never be undone and as a result – friendship is impossible. Let’s all stop kidding ourselves and admit that being friends with an ex is almost as bad as sleeping with an ex; it’s never going to end well and someone is almost always going to have unrealistic expectations.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

People with the perfect life

I’m waiting for the light to change. The man standing next to me – a David Beckham type, handsome with carefully contrived stubble – is close enough that the faint lemon tang of his aftershave reaches me through the warmth of the day. My stomach twists at the unexpected recognition. A small boy of about one year has his peachy head nestled in his father’s neck and his bottom is being supported in the hammock of an impressive bicep. Beside him, pushing the now vacant stroller, is a young woman with square, candy-apple red nails and generous blonde streaks in her hair. He leans into her and she responds to whatever he has said with a tinkle of laughter.

Do you recognize these People-With-The-Perfect-Life?

Or, so I imagine.

Until my husband left us – quickly, cruelly, and without a satisfying explanation – I didn’t truly understand the phrase ‘come undone.’ Hours melted into months of stunned disbelief as I examined the past, scene by scene with the eye of a critical jeweller. Many, many weeks I cannot recall anything beyond staring into space, conscious only of the thud of my heart and an ever-present skittering of panic in my chest. Sleep was elusive. I once got up at 3:15 a.m. and stood looking at the little red fish in his bowl as he circled, pursing his lips. When I finally decided to make tea, I realized that I had been standing there for a full ninety minutes.

Some time has passed now, but I remain fascinated by how close to the surface the pain still bubbles. This perfect couple, for example.  I had that life. I had romantic, daily proclamations of love and cozy goals about house renovations, travel, and of course, our children. I miss that life. I mourn that innocence.

When I return to the pain, as I do this day, I am no longer surprised or alarmed; indeed, it’s much easier for me to accept that I will – I must – return to this place over and over. But in between I am mostly okay now. Small things help enormously: the girl at the market who compliments me on my earrings; the pale blue concern in my best friend’s eyes; a lovely man who fixes my lawn mower for free; fat, purple hyacinths swollen with their heady scent. These are the footholds that beckon me on and make me climb.

All inclusive vs. a la carte vacations: A lesson learned

by Nicole Duquette

Corona’s advertisers got it just right. My own personal Corona commercial was what I had in mind when taking off for my last vacation. Two big chairs, warm sun, cool ocean, and a white sand beach that’s deserted except for one waitress who is conveniently there whenever the beer is running low. But, that wasn’t exactly what I got. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about a sunny week on the beach, but the all-inclusive experience simply did not fulfill my ultimate vacation fantasy.

The biggest discrepancy between my mental image of the vacation, and the real thing was that the beach and pools were anything but deserted. We were met by an astounding 3,000 fellow hotel guests. My first thought upon being confronted with the mob of sun worshippers was, “We should have gone to Europe.” At least in Europe, if there’s a mob it’s a mob observing great historical monuments, and discovering rich cultures. But, European vacations (or any non-all-inclusive vacation for that matter) are not all that relaxing.

Á la carte vacations, ones where you control the entire itinerary and pay for everything are great adventures, but they can also be hectic. Racing to catch buses, trains, boats, and planes adds stress to what was supposed to be a stress-free vacation. Not to mention, navigating language barriers, waiting in line-ups that are bigger than the attractions themselves, and finding out your hotel is really a hostel can quickly cause blood pressures to rise. When nothing goes wrong á la carte vacations are dreams of wine, cheese, and riverside strolls come true, but when does nothing go wrong?

As great as á la carte vacations can be, this time around relaxation was my main goal, so an all-inclusive southern vacation was the obvious choice. Even though there were more party people than leisure seekers, we did find what we were looking for. After a walk around the entire resort, we discovered a second pool where the music was soothing rather than blaring, and the ratio of children to adults was significantly decreased. We parked ourselves there for most of the week, and let the tensions of home melt away.

By the end of the trip, I no longer regretted not planning an á la carte European vacation – we can always do that next time (I still think they are fun – busy, and fun). But, this time I still would have preferred a smaller, adults-only resort, so lesson learned: research the size and atmosphere of the resort, not just how many swim-up bars there are. Or, maybe next time I’ll just call Corona’s advertisers and ask where their private beach is.