As the temperatures continue to rise, women may see more and more guys walking around the streets without their shirts on. It’s a normal thing, right? But, what about when women try to walk down those same streets without their shirts on?
People would probably stare or point. Someone may even ask these women to cover up, saying they are indecent in a public place.
Every year it seems like women get in trouble for baring her breasts in public. Whether it’s two sisters asked to cover up while cycling without a top or an eight-year-old girl told to put her shirt back on in a swimming pool, it’s obvious there is still stigma and misunderstanding over a woman’s right to go topless in public.
Over the last week, the media has reported a woman in Cornwall is making a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, claiming a pool policy that makes it mandatory for girls over the age of 10 to wear a top is discriminatory. City councillors now have to decide whether to fight the complaint or change the policy — a conversation that is bound to turn heads in both the press and in the chamber.
It’s a bit silly toplessness is still a problem in 2017, especially considering Ontario essentially made the act legal in 1991 when Guelph University student Gwen Jacobs won her court case. Municipalities have followed suit, adjusting policies where needed to adapt to this change, but it still isn’t common place. Women still get harassed and told to put more clothes on. Public beaches and pools still don’t understand that it is perfectly acceptable for women to go topless while outdoors. And men use this as an opportunity to make sexual remarks or comment on a woman’s figure.
While I was in Mexico, I went to a beach every day and saw women of all shapes and sizes walking around without a bathing suit top on. And you know what? It wasn’t a big deal! And in Europe families walk down the street or relax in the park wearing nothing but underwear! So, why is it that in North America it’s so taboo?
Personally, I think the sexualization of a woman’s breasts has become so engrained in social culture that it has seeped its way into every day activities. Anatomically, women have breasts in order to breastfeed. They were never “meant” to be sexual objects, and yet the number of brassieres and pasties makes it impossible to think of them as anything else. Even for women it becomes stigmatized. I know that for myself, being in public without something covering my breasts would make me uncomfortable. That’s a shame, but a reality of the kind of society we live in.
For those women who do feel comfortable — rock on! Remember that breasts are a part of the human body. They are not sexual objects, despite what people have been taught, and are no different than the nipples men showcase every day of the summer when they wander around downtown without a top.
So next time the heat becomes too much to stand, remember that baring your breasts is legal and totally okay — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Will toplessness ever be considered a norm for both women and men? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Named one of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Future Leaders and one of Canada’s 2016 100 Most Powerful Women, Sarah Jacob Barrs exudes passion for what she does. On the phone with Women’s Post, Barrs doesn’t glamorize her profession, but instead stresses how much she enjoys her work. As she says, “It’s important to have fun in everything you do.”
Barrs is the director of events for Klick, one of the largest marketing and commercialization agencies in the world, headquartered in Toronto. She manages a small team of women who organize internal and external events for the company. Some of the special guests that have spoken at Barr’s events at Klick include include Bill Clinton, Margaret Atwood, Arianna Huffington, David Cronenberg, Deepak Chopra, Craig Kielburger, and Steven Page.
It’s hard work that involves long hours and impressive people skills. Barrs’ events are highly curated for a wide audience, whether it’s 20 people at a managers’ retreat or 2000 guests at a town hall or a conference. She is also responsible for Klick’s external marketing events and coordinates international events for clients. All of this is in addition to the internal leadership conferences, wellness or fitness courses, and retreats she plans for staff.
“People come to me and ask about event planning. It’s a lot of work. There is glamour behind it,” she says. “But it’s also understanding your industry and knowing you need to stay on top of trends – you are constantly having to recreate what you do and change and do new things – not every career does that.”
Barrs was brought up with a strong sense of community, something that inspired her career path. In particular, she wanted to help the sick because everyone has been touched by loss or illness in one way or another. Since she was unable to donate money, Barrs decided she could help fundraise and plan events, which she did with great success. Throughout her roles as an event coordinator for Mount Sinai Hospital Auxiliary, Chair of the Leadership Board Toronto for Save a Child’s Heart, and Community Development Coordinator for the SickKids Foundation, she was able to land her dream job of working in both the event planning and health sectors.
“I grew up in a family where giving back was really important,” she said. “Over the holiday season we supported families to ensure they had wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah – picking out gifts for children my age,” she said.
One of Barrs’ first jobs following graduation was with Women of Influence, an organization dedicated to the advancement of professional women. She started working there as a receptionist in 2007, but was promoted a few months later to event coordinator. For Barrs, this opportunity spearheaded her career as well as a passion for helping other women. She even helped start a group based in Toronto for young women in business.
Although Barrs no longer works with Women of Influence, she continues to try to mentor and offer advice to young women pursuing event planning. She is also active in planning celebrations for International Women’s Day within Klick, something she is incredibly proud of.
When she isn’t working, Barrs enjoys fitness, spending time with family and friends and traveling. “I really enjoy doing nothing,” she says. “Sometimes you just need your downtime with this type of career.” She also finds a bit of relief through shopping, finding clothing that allows her to showcase her creativity.
Barrs is working on a big internal celebration in September to mark Klick’s 20th anniversary, as well as the company’s annual town hall marketing event in December.
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The Ontario government is looking to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with something called the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
The OMB is an independent adjudicative tribunal that conducts hearings and makes planning decisions on zoning bylaws, development proposals, subdivision plans, and ward boundaries. It has been around for over 100 years and has been criticized by some for its lengthy and costly process.
Despite these criticisms, the OMB is considered a positive third party officiate between developers and municipalities. The fear is that the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal may not have the same reputation.
One of the biggest challenges with the new tribunal is the elimination of the “de novo” hearings, which allows the OMB to consider municipal land use planning decisions as though no previous decision had been made. This is frustrating for city councils that may have already made a ruling on a development and it lengthens the hearings because all evidence has to be presented anew. It also gives the perception the OMB favours developers, despite this not being the case.
The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is supposed to be independent and at an arms’ length from the government — but removing the “de novo” hearings will ensure the decisions of city councillors and/or provincial representatives are taken into consideration during appeals, effectively giving them more power than before.
Another example is the new appeal process. The tribunal will only be able to overturn a municipal decision if it does not follow provincial policies or municipal plans, unlike the OMB, which has power to overturn a decision if it isn’t considered the best planning decision. Instead of repealing the decision, the tribunal will then give the municipality 90 days to take new action based on that information. The tribunal will have a final say only if on a second appeal the plan still falls short of provincial policies. The idea is to give communities more control in land use planning.
The new legislation will also exempt a range of major land use planning decisions from appeal, including Official Plans to support transit areas like Go Train and subway stations or Official Plans (and their updates) that have been approved by the province, as well as minister’s zoning orders.
All of these changes to the appeal system are meant to try and reduce hearing times and encourage mediation. Since length and cost are the two biggest complaints about the OMB, this makes sense. However, the new tribunal also makes it difficult for developers to get their projects past councillors who may not approve of their blueprints despite it being the best planning option. It also limits hearings to policy rather than encourage innovation and creative thinking.
While the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal does include a number of interesting new policies that would encourage resident and community engagement, it is unclear how it will function as a third-party appeal agency.
The legislation in question, also known as Bill 139, “Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act “, has already passed the first reading in the Legislative Assembly.
What do you think of Bill 139? Will it help or hinder the system? Let us know in the comments below!
Dressing for hot weather can seem impossible — running makeup, frizzy hair, sore feet, and of course, all of the clothing clings that to your body. It’s gross and can really ruin your day.
But, Women’s Post is here to tell you that it’s NOT impossible to dress to impress in the summer heat. In fact, the key is embracing your natural beauty and having a bit of fun with your summer choices.
Here are our top five tips to dress for a scorching summer day:
Natural makeup: I don’t know about you, but in extreme warm weather, the mere thought of foundation, eyeshadow, and lipstick makes me cringe. All I can picture is my face melting off as I’m walking outside with friends. It’s not even worth it. Instead, go for a more natural look. Stick to a bit of cover up if you have dark circles under your eyes and a bit of mascara. If you really want to go crazy, add some eyeliner on your top lids. Lipstick (or preferably a light coloured gloss) should be fine — just make sure you do a teeth check with a friend after that first glass of wine.
Updos: Do you ever feel like the simplest thing to do in the summer is to chop off all your hair? While short hair looks good on some people, others may want to keep their long locks despite the frizzy mess the humidity creates. In those cases, the easiest thing you can do with your hair is to put it up. Whether it’s a lazy bun or a braid, just get it off your face. Sure, curling your hair or straightening it may look professional and sexy, but once the humidity or head sweat attacks, those luscious curls will turn into a crimped monstrosity.
The best part is that updos can be equally fun. My biggest piece of advice is not to pull your hair back into a really tight ponytail or bun, as it may give you a headache throughout the day. Instead, put your hair up as you normally would and then tug at the ends to create volume. Add a headband if you want some texture. Let a few pieces hang down around your ears. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay! Perfection in an updo is overrated. Play around with braids and hair twists until you find something that works for everyday wear. If putting all your hair up is simply too horrifying to imagine, try the half bun. This hairstyle is very trendy this year and still allows you to get your sticky hair off your face while having the rest of your hair down.
Wear comfortable and loose clothing: Ditch the spanx and wear what’s comfortable. No one needs extra layers on when the humidity hits. Luckily, the trend this year is to embrace the baggy and bohemian — lots of colours and patterns. Tops are flowy with peek-a-boo shoulders and can be paired with shorts or a comfortable skirt. Try to find dresses that flatter your natural body shape. The trend this year is to have a dress with sleeves, which is perfect to protect your shoulders from the harsh UV rays of the sun. Dress these outfits up with a pair of cute laced sandles and a hat or dress it down with a pair of converse or walking shoes (see below).
The biggest tip: stay away from black (however slimming). This summer, embrace light colours and breezy materials. You won’t regret it.
Walking sandals: What used to be old and clunky has been reborn.They come in multiple styles and colours, including ones with laces and funky straps. I recently bought a pair of walking sandals that I love, and received a compliment at work about how they looked. The plus side? They were incredibly comfortable. Most walking sandals have cushioning and an incredible amount of support around the ankle — perfect to avoid those nasty falls. No blisters for me this summer! With all of these new styles, walking sandals can be worn to work or a night out on the town.
Hit the beach proud: Worried your body may not be “beach ready”? Screw that! If you have a body, and you go to the beach, it is beach ready! When I went to Mexico on vacation, I was really worried that I would look terrible in a bikini. But, when I got there, it was so hot that I decided to ignore what everyone else thought and I rocked the two-piece. I was able to survive the excruciating hot week thanks to that decision. The best part? I wasn’t the only one. Everyone on that beach, no matter their size, was wearing a bikini. Some were even going topless! If it’s a hot day, wear as little clothes as is legally allowed and be proud of your amazing body.
How are you going to dress this summer? Let us know in the comments below!
The Durham District School Board has ruled that students don’t have to read To Kill A Mockingbird if they don’t want to. It’s all part of a modern curriculum change that would give students (or most likely parents) more control over the novels studied in class.
To be very clear: the book is not being banned — students are just no longer required to read it. The idea is that those who feel uncomfortable about the language and the themes of To Kill A Mockingbird will be allowed to choose another option to read in class.
Written by Harper Lee and published in 1961, To Kill A Mockingbird follows the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. It’s a classic novel that explores themes of racism, gender roles, and religion.
Reaction to this decision has been mixed. Some are praising the Durham District School Board for “modernizing” the curriculum while others can’t understand the problems it may cause.
I’m all for diversifying the books students read. In fact, I think new literature should be added to the reading list every year — but there are some novels that should absolutely be read and To Kill A Mockingbird is one of them.
First of all, young people should be exposed to different kinds of literature, especially if it explores themes that make them uncomfortable. This is how they learn about history and aspects of life they may be unfamiliar with. Too often, especially in school, teachers lean towards political correctness. In typical Canadian fashion, no one wants to offend someone else. But, if there is one place students should feel comfortable enough to ask questions that may not be acceptable in current society, it’s at school! If all of the “controversial” books are removed from shelves or are provided as an option rather than a requirement, how will students be exposed to different walks of life?
The argument that this book may be offensive to some people is ridiculous. It’s a historic novel that presents real themes that still impact people today. Sure, the language can be a bit intense (no one likes the n-word), but how else can teachers begin a conversation about why those phrases and words are not acceptable now? A good novel has a way of introducing topics that may be disturbing or controversial, and allows for real discussion. I think all students should be encouraged to read books that explore themes like religion, gender, politics, and racism.
At the same time, I support the idea that new and modern books should be re-introduced into the curriculum. But, why not put these two ideas together? Instead of making students choose between a book written in the 2000s and one written in the 1960s, make them read both! Expose young people to a variety of literature, including those written in Canada. Who says students have to focus on one book a year? I say, the more the merrier.
So, Durham, I hope you have thought this through. Don’t deprive students from the teachings of a classic and important novel just because it may make some of them uncomfortable. It will only hurt them in the long run.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
“The Rail Line is an Amazing Piece of Canadian and British Columbia History” – Yale Historic Site Management
We thought we knew about B.C.’s rich, historic life line until our road trip to Hope, Boston Bar, and Yale. The drive from Vancouver was rapturous; urban life slowed to a tranquil pace as we moved closer to our final destination. The road we travelled had long stretches of windy roads, surrounded by mountains. There was no need for music playing in the car as the trip played to its own scenic symphony. One of the highlights was discovering the drinking water in Yale was, without exception, the best that we have ever tasted.
The word ‘Yale’ can be found in two different locations — Yaletown, which is one of Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhoods, and plain old Yale with its less than burgeoning population of 150 that was once a boomtown of 30,000 gold miners during the gold rush of 1858. It was one of the most popular places in Canada, with 17 saloons, a tent city that offered a general store, a dentist, medical doctor and barber, along with a gold panning site, a bath house, court house and of course, a jail. Once reality set in that most folks were not going to strike it rich, many followed the train out west for jobs in what became known as Vancouver’s Yaletown. Yale is known for playing a vital role in the growth of B.C. and Canada and was once the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Chicago. Yale was established in 1848 as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.
Our first stop was to ride the Hell’s Gate Tram which opened in July 20, 1971 by Habegger Engineering Works of Thun, Switzerland. It carries about 530 passengers per hour and is known as the steepest fully suspended air tram in North America. It is called Hell’s Gate for a reason – as they say on the Hell’s Gate website: “Simon Fraser’s voyage in 1808, stating in his journal that “no man should ever pass through here it was truly like passing through the gates of Hell!”
Despite being afraid of heights, it was worth it! While most gondolas ascent upon boarding, the entrance to Hells Gate tram is at highway level, far above the raging Fraser River, taking enthralled visitors on a breathtaking, if not steady plunge to the viewing platforms, which also has a restaurant and what might be the biggest fudge store in Canada. What motivated me was hearing my partner, John, rave about the world class fudge. During the descent, I enjoyed every minute, taking in the views of the mighty Fraser and Cascade Mountain range.
Ward’s Tea House – Part of the Historic Yale Site
“We heard that train-a-comin’- it was rolling around the bend!” Actually, it thundered around the bend within 20 feet or so of our first stop at Yale, Ward’s Tea House.
As we ate our delicious lunch served by Jacquie dressed in period costume, we were told that trains pass on a regular basis through the town. For both of us, myself being from a hobby farm in Richmond and John from rural North Burnaby, this just brought back childhood memories and sleeping was not a problem, even with trains whipping by close enough to see the conductor’s face. The Ward’s Tea House is a charming place, serving home style hot meals such as my favourite, Chicken Pot Pie. The tea house went through a facelift recently and now has a new kitchen, sitting area, and patio.
We learned that Yale helped to build Canada’s national railway in the 1880’s.
Another fun fact: In the 1860’s, with the construction of the Cariboo Wagon Road, Yale became the main terminal for one of the largest paddle wheeler routes in North America. The 1880’s saw the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway with construction headquarters housed in Yale. A National Historic Site monument to Chinese railroad workers is the first monument in Canada to be inscribed in English, French, and Chinese.
1870s Creighton House:
The manager, Deb Zirvini, gave us a tour of the museum, including gift shop, archives, and the Beth Clare garden. Their indoor exhibits include artifacts and photographs that showcase the diverse history of Yale. A collection of First Nations baskets, Gold Rush, Chinese and Pioneer artifacts, piano, railway exhibits and the first-ever revolver produced by Smith and Wesson that was used by Ned Stout in the late 1850s.
If you have always wanted to try gold panning, this is the place to be! It was fun and we gave it a try with a little assistance from Crystal, our tour guide, who showed us how it works. It was an interactive experience and is for all ages. I did find gold, but just a tiny spec.
1880’s Ward House:
We were warned that trains pass through day and night and we were supplied with earplugs. We were privileged to experience a night in the Ward house, which was built in 1863, burned to the ground in July of 1880, and rebuilt by Johnny Ward in August, 1880. It was like time-travelling. The house was fully furnished in period décor, beautifully restored to original condition. Looking at pictures on the wall, heavy pans that weighed a ton, added to the authenticity. I wondered what it would have been like cooking in these pots on a wood stove. The bathroom had the toilet tank high on the wall, requiring a tall person, which neither of us is, to flush. John was able to reach from his toes.
We were the first journalists to ever be invited to spend a night at the Ward House, which is quite an honour. The heritage home is just steps from the historic Pacific Railway line that was built in the 1880’s. We enjoyed our overnight stay and were treated to a healthy breakfast. The orange juice was delightfully served in jam jars.
Yale Historic – walking Tour:
We took in a bit of exercise for the day by doing the 45-minute walking tour of Yale. We went down to the Fraser River and walked along Front Street, heading past some truly historic places like the property where the original Hudson’s Bay Company store was located, the Post Office, Chinatown, the Jailhouse, and then made our way back to the Ward House.
Blue Moose Coffee Shop:
We had dinner at the Blue Moose Coffee Shop right in the heart of Hope, which offered gourmet sandwiches. With its trademark stuffed Moose to greet visitors, the coffee shop also sells craft beer.
During the summer holidays, you will love the charm of the locals and will appreciate the rich, important contribution to Canadian history from Yale. So why not come by, ride the Hell’s Gate tram, spend a day at the Yale Historic Site, and stop in Hope for lunch. You won’t regret it.
Thursday evening, Toronto city council approved the one-year King St. Pilot Study, with an amendment to allow an exemption for taxis during the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
There was quite a bit of debate from councillors surrounding this exemption, as well as the $1.5 million price tag of the project. But, after four hours of debate, the plan was approved 35 to 4.
The pilot will cover six kilometres of King St., from Jarvis to Bathurst. The corridor would funnel drivers to parallel east-west routes like Queen St., Richmond, Adelaide, Wellington, or Front, while still allowing local drivers to access the street for short periods of time.
The plan allows local residents to drive on King St., but only between intersections. These vehicles must turn right at the next traffic signal. Physical barriers will be used to prevent vehicles other than the streetcars from passing through the intersection.
There is also going to be designated spaces for short-term loading, deliveries, and taxis, something business owners indicated was a necessity.
courtesy of the city of toronto
Now, with this added amendment, taxis will be able to pass through intersections during the designated time slots. This exemption only applies to licensed cabs and not ride-sharing services like Uber.
City staff argued against the exemption, saying it has the potential to confuse drivers and that traffic is still heavy on King St. in the early hours of the morning. In fact, they said it could undermine the transit-first mentality of the study.
Regardless of the warnings, council choose to adopt the exemption anyway (although they limited the hours to the evening/early morning) to help relieve the nightlife crowding along the corridor.
Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Thursday that federal money is on its way as part of the second phase of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
“I’m thrilled that Toronto will receive approximately $4.8 billion of Ontario’s $8.34-billion allocation from the Government of Canada for our transit network expansion plan, which includes the Relief Line, Smart Track, the Eglinton East LRT and Waterfront transit,” Tory said in a statement. “This is a huge victory for Toronto and will lead to better transit for the entire region.”
He also confirmed that the province would be required to contribute 33 per cent of project costs and that Ontario would be encouraged to follow British Columbia’s example and commit to a 40-40-20 cost share arrangement.
The mayor has been a strong advocate for cost sharing when it comes to the Relief Line and Smart Track, and has been battling stubborn provincial politicians along the way. This soon-to-be announced funding is a big win on the part of Toronto and the much-needed Relief Line.
“With all the federal funding program allocations outlined today, including the Green Infrastructure Stream and Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream, we thank Minister Sohi for underscoring the important balance between provincial and municipal priorities, ensuring that funding will flow to where it is needed most.”
Everyone is talking about the foreign buyers tax in Ontario — but no one is talking about the increase in foreign builders.
What do I mean by foreign builders? Large, international companies based in Italy, France, or Japan, with small offices within the GTHA, are being given contracts for large transit projects while smaller Canadian companies are shut out.
If you take a look at the shortlist for the Hurontario LRT, half of the constructors are not from Canada. They may have Canadian offices, but the companies themselves were created and have headquarters in Europe, the United States, and Asia. While each individual “team” that is bidding for the contract does have at least two Canadian companies on board, this is not a guarantee on division of work and/or financial contributions.
And this is a big problem.
By allotting contracts for big developments and transit projects to foreign builders, it severely impacts the Canadian economy. It means less jobs and less money for construction workers, and it means the competition between Canadian companies is steep.
Canada also has a unique climate. There are certain materials that must be used for a development to support extreme cold and hot temperatures. Would a company from Spain or Italy be able to understand how to build something resistant to this temperamental landscape?
An even bigger problem is that these foreign companies are not connected to the community, and therefore do not understand and/or empathize with local concerns over a new development. These companies come in, build, and leave, which means they are not around if any problems arise and they don’t get to see the affect it has on the residents who leave them. There is no real investment to the community they are building.
To be clear, collaborating with international partners is not a bad thing. These types of partnerships can inspire new ideas and provide interesting solutions to municipal problems.
However, when native companies are pushed out of the process in favour of international conglomerates — it’s Canada that loses out.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Barefoot in the dirt, dancing around a bonfire with my soul sisters, music, wildflowers, and lichen everywhere. This was FrogFest, the celebration of music and nature, and a true healer of the heart after a long hard year of trucking away in the grind of city life.
Festival life in the summer has become as important as seeing cherry blossoms in May and eating fresh apples in late August. It is an essential part of the Canadian music lover’s life and is a process of revival in the midst of hot and hazy summer days. So, what does it really mean to be a woman immersed in nature and music with her best friends? Why venture out into the forest to not shower for three days and commit yourself to the frenzy of festival life?
Quite simply — to free yourself.
If only for a moment, bills cease to matter and the monotony of the nine-to-five life disappears. Life becomes about the next song, the heartbeat of the vast powerful forest, and picking wildflowers because that is the most important thing you could think to do in that moment.
Millennials are living in a time of low employment opportunities, rising living costs, and an increasingly frightening world. In the wake of the impacts of climate change and a growing sense of disunity on the international stage, young people today are left to face growing challenges. But instead of giving up all hope and turning away from the world, festivals like FrogFest inspire me to believe there is a collective of individuals who want to change the world for the better.
Alongside music, sexy people, and the lush forest landscape, there were many conversations around the importance of barter, trade, and changing society from the capitalist confines that have ravaged our planet. I personally witnessed a young seven-year-old lad trade a drawing for a patch that my friend had sewn. When a young woman tripped and fell during a show, ten people were there to pick her up instead of none. The entire experience was a series of gift giving, from physical objects to spiritual offerings. Festival spaces aren’t only about getting trashed and listening to tunes. It’s about experiencing the freedom to be inspired.
It is also a place to really honour the space and power of womanhood. I was lucky enough to camp with some of my oldest and wisest women friends. To see the ladies who have loved and supported me so happy and complete reflected how much opportunity being outdoors gives us to be our full selves. It was empowering to feel attractive in my natural body, and I saw many people, myself included, who frog-hopped into meeting a special someone who made them feel even more lovely in the brief and beautiful dream world of festival life.
If you haven’t been to an outdoor weekend festival before, it is well worth it. Gather a group of your best girlfriends, bring your most colourful and beautiful possessions to share, and get ready to feel more free than any amount of therapy can offer.
Oh, and don’t forget to find a magical frog in the woods. Ribbit! Welcome home.