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Women of the Week: Sarah Jean Aguinaldo

Sarah Jean Aguinaldo, also known as Serena Jean, is the founder of Lifeward Choices Empowerment Centre. With over 15 years of experience, she is skilled at helping people uncover their life focus areas and guiding them to empowerment.

Her interest in this field (as she defines it, a “humanitarian interest”) started very early in her life, and she retained it throughout her schooling.In fact, as a teenager, she received the University of Women Award for her volunteer work.

“I was very passionate about helping others grow and experience quality living,” she says.

When it came time to pursue higher education, her path was easy to choose.

“I wanted to help people experience improved living/great quality living, help people take care of planet…wanted to be a part of finding solutions to making this happen,” she says. So, through a double major in Environment and Resource Management and Urban, Economic and Social Geography, Aguinaldo was able to explore the many important global issues humanity is currently facing.

After completing her BA, Aguinaldo went after a B.Ed, before starting work as a teacher. It was here, she says, that she fully realized her desire to work in the life coaching field.

“There is nothing more important in life than personal betterment and helping others grow – the two go hand-in-hand and such care is needed to help our planet become healthier and more wonderful. These things are all interconnected.”

Thus, in March of 2013 she launched the website for the Lifeward Choices Empowerment Centre. The Centre, she says, “sees life coaching as a two-way and collaborative process; learning and development occurs for both parties involved.” Through each interaction, both the coaches and the clients are given the opportunity “to learn from one another/from other’s experiences and constantly adjust our self-views and worldviews.”

As well as offering access to skilled life coaches, the Centre reaches out to clients in unique ways through its conventions and mentorship programs.

The conferences, Aguinaldo says, “build rapport and genuine community,” which in turn creates “long-term clients who are satisfied clients, and they further recommend the business.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the mentorship program (which Aguinaldo calls “extremely fun”) sees coaches reach out to adolescent girls through social outings designed to increase their self worth.

“It is wonderful to witness their transformation into strong aspiring ladies who love themselves and their lives,” she says.

Furthering her reach, Aguinaldo is currently working with YourDailyMentor.com “to provide online mentoring and coaching to reach the deaf community through subtitles and sign language” and is planning to launch a line of coaching videos, translated into multiple languages, in October of this year.

As a life coach, Aguinaldo has found her niche. Not surprisingly, when asked what her most important piece of advice is, Aguinaldo quickly responds,  “Ensure you are genuinely going after your personal passion, what naturally calls to you, and not simply what societal norms is directing you to follow; thus, success is already yours from the outset.”

Wise words indeed.

CNN mocks indigenous New Zealand group in segment on royal visit

Sure, thousands of years of culture might have been snuffed out with colonialist expansion, but aboriginal groups around the globe have spent decades trying to reclaim what they can of a history that has been fractured and lost — in New Zealand one such indigenous group even took the time to meet with members of the UK and Commonwealth royal family upon a recent visit. But, alas, the story of a conquered people’s long road toward actualization in the modern world and peaceful meeting with modern representatives of their acquisition isn’t the story.

Nope, there was a butt.

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To truly understand the scope of the racism and flippancy around this meeting you have to watch the video by CNN where the commentator fixates on a part of a man’s body before going on to make fun of various world leaders who have taken the time and innitiative to connect with other groups on their terms. Hilarious.

Of course there is always room for cheeky news and a side-eyed view of current events — most telling is the Maori’s total disregard for what might be considered proper for Princes and Dutchesses, it is possible they’re getting a good laugh out of the coverage — but to have your culture mocked simply because you don’t adhere to Victorian shamefulness around showing your bum can also be quite hurtful.

What stings the most is the shocking omission of the story that could have been told here.

The story could have been one of redemption for the royals, one of forgiveness from the New Zealand tribesmen, one of the meeting of old and new, north and south in the 21st century.

But no, there was a butt.

 

Tell us what you think, was the CNN segment racist or are we overreacting?

Should women be charged with assault for taking drugs while pregnant? Tennessee thinks so.

Tennessee is poised to become the first state in the United States to charge pregnant women with assault if they consume drugs while pregnant. The controversial bill passed through both chambers of the state government and is set to come to life at the beginning of July.

The bill states that, should children be born “addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug … as a result of her illegal use of a narcotic drug taken while pregnant” the mother could be investigated and prosecuted for assault — harm in this case including deformities related to drug use — and if a child is stillborn or a mother miscarries as a result of illegal drug use she could be investigated and prosecuted for criminal homicide.

The bill has raised some important questions:

What does this mean for the legal definition of when life (and motherhood, in this case abuse) begins?

What does this mean in terms a setting a president for prosecution the transmission of genetic disorders or lifelong conditions like HIV?

What does this mean for women who consume substances before knowing that they are pregnant?

Alternatively, why should the law protect women (or anyone) who knowingly abuses their child, whether that is post-natal or in utero?

Let us know what you think, should women be charged with assault if their drug use during pregnancy results in ddeformity or addiction in their child when they are born?

 

India’s supreme court officially recognizes transgender people as third gender

In a landmark ruling out of India’s supreme court transgendered people have officially been granted status as a third gender in the country. With the granting of rights to those who don’t identify as either male or female the courts said “it is the right of every human being to choose their gender.”

Indian trans people, often called hijra, are an ostracized group that often has trouble finding work because of their gender identity. This new ruling means that hijra/trans people will be included in government quotas for employment along with other recognized minority groups.

BBC estimates there are up to two million transgender people in India, a country with a population of over one billion people.

Read more about the ruling in BBC’s coverage.

UofT study finds toddlers are ‘surprisingly sophisticated’ at understanding accents

According to a new study from the University of Toronto toddlers and small children have a much better comprehension of foreign and unknown accents than previously thought, or, in short: baby-talking to toddlers and small children might not be needed after all.

“Fifteen-month-olds typically say relatively few words, yet they can learn to understand someone with a completely unfamiliar accent. This shows that infants’ language comprehension abilities are surprisingly sophisticated,” according to UofT associate Psychology professor Elizabeth K. Johnson.

This means that adults speaking to a child in Australian English, American English, or British English can be understood fairly quickly by youngsters, even if the children themselves don’t say too much yet, possessing similar understanding skills to adults who take longer to fully comprehend accents.

The findings are based on two studied recently published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and in Language Learning and Development.

Women of the week: Hina Rizvi

Hina Rizvi figured out her role in this world very early on. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, since I was very young,” she tells me.

To be fair, Rizvi is still what many would define as young. But this makes her success in her field all the more remarkable.

She received her law degree from the University of East London in London, UK. After graduating at the top of her class in 2008, Rizvi set out to conquer the legal world. While working in the field, she would gain an important mentor, a sole practitioner, who, she says, “gave me the confidence to not only be a lawyer but an entrepreneur.”

Yes, not willing to be simply a cog in an established legal firm, in November of 2012 Rizvi set out on her own. The reasons for going solo, she says, are threefold:

“One, I have more freedom to choose cases; two, it’s a better investment [in terms of salary and economy control]; and I can expand into New York. Not all firms have New York clients.”

She chose a good time to explore an independent firm, as clients are starting to look beyond established Bay Street firms. One reason is the cost: solo practitioners’ fees are lower than those of Bay Street, yet they still have the resources to provide clients with quality services.

Rizvi has an extra edge, as she has UK experience and has qualified for the bar in both Ontario and New York. In this new “localized” corporate world, she provides her clients the option of having one lawyer serve their needs across borders.

She also understands the need to adjust and work within the client’s specific needs, as her international education, she says, “opens your mind to different morals and principles.”

“It is very important where the client is coming from […] what their values are.”

One of Rizvi’s areas of specialty is collaborative law, a legal option for divorcing parties. It is an area Rizvi would like to be more well known. “Quite a few people are not aware of it, and would pursue this option if they were aware of it,” she says.

Collaborative law allows her to help people minimize the negative effects of a divorce, as it “promotes out of court settlements between families” and “healthy relationships between families,” which is important when children are involved and the parties need to work together.

As well, Rizvi, through social media, is doing her part to help the general public become more aware of the legal process. Using her blog (“blawg”), she defines areas of the law to her readers. This initiative of hers allows people the chance to learn more about areas of the law on their own time.

With an impressive resume so early in her career, Rizvi is sure to go far. Yet she is quick to stress that she is not done the learning process.

“I am still adapting and developing myself as a person and lawyer,” she says.

It is safe to say these future permutations will be an asset to the legal field.

Newsflash: April 10, 2014

Jim Flaherty has passed away, Patrick Brazeau back in the slammer, Pauline Marois turns down payday, Quebec Liberals will bring back secular charter, massive layoffs hit CBC, Sarah Thomson unveils first leg of transit plan, and a New Brunswick abortion clinic is shutting its doors.

Former Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty died today in his Ottawa home at the age of 64 only one short month after resigning his position. His final tweet: “It has been an honour to serve Canada. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Suspended Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau spent the night at the police station after cops were called to a Gatieau home where Brazeau was apparently wasted and found to be in possession of cocaine on top of assaulting someone. Looks like Patrick keeps getting so high he thinks his charity boxing match against Trudeau is still raging on.

Pauline Marois became the first premier to ever turn down their severance pay after the loss of an election/seat, saving the taxpayers over $180,000. It’s a shame it took her this long to do something worthwhile. But, of course, she can always court some extra shady cash from some other engineering firms if need be.

The new Liberal government in Quebec will continue on with their own version of the divisive secular charter that the PQ crafted. It won’t end in firings for public servants like the PQ charter would, Coulliard assures. Uhh… Well at least he isn’t a separatist.

The CBC has announced they will cut 657 jobs and won’t compete for pro sports rights any more to make up for funding lost from the government and revenue shortfalls. The hashtag #CBCcuts was trending on Twitter with many journalists expressing greif for their peers who might soon be unemployed. The layoffs will be spread over two years and will most likely hurt the sports division of the Corps. Say, don’t the feds always promise they’ll be creating jobs for Canadians?

Sarah Thomson announced the first leg of her transit plan today on CP24 that includes full funding for a Yonge Street relief line through tolls on the DVP and Gardiner expressway. The rest of the plan is under wraps for now, literally, with the other portions of her graphics covered up. The rest is expected to be unveiled some time over the next few weeks.

A New Brunswick private abortion clinic is closing its doors at the end of July after being unable to receive government funding to provide abortions. Abortions are available at two hospitals in NB, however provincial restrictions state that patrons must first get two doctors to sign off on the procedure being ‘medically necessary’ — a definition that can mean almost anything.

 

 

 

The best tweets from #DayOfPink

 

 

Meet Valeria Lukyanova — the ‘Human Barbie’

Some girls like to play with Barbies and dream of becoming her, and for Valeria Lukyanova that apparently became a reality — with a little help from plastic surgery and makeup.

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See a resemblance?

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Valeria is known not only for her Barbie doll looks but also some of the more, um, interesting views she has. For example, in February she announced she acheived her thin waistline when she converted to Breatharianism, the practice of only absorbing water and sunlight for nutrients (also known as anorexia).

human barbie

She also came clean in August, 2013 to the Daily Beast about her contact with extraterrestrials. “My communication with aliens is not verbal — we speak the language of light. I have learned a lot from my contact with them. Now I know that my spirit is very old. And also that humans are the least sophisticated civilization — we’re on the lowest level of evolution.”

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She also said some vaguely racist stuff to GQ in April 2014, stating that “ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this.” Um, what?

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Finally some evidence that you need food to think properly.

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

RECIPE WEEK: Healthy hot cocoa

Woman of the Week Ann Barnes, has provided us with her delicious recipe for healthy hot cocoa. Give it a try when you’re looking for a tasty, guilt-free treat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Rice Milk (raw nut milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (or raw Agave Nectar)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Roasted Hemp Hearts
  • 1 Teaspoons ground Chia
  • 1/8 Teaspoon vanilla extract (1/4 tsp raw ground vanilla)
  • Pinch of both pinch cinnamon and nutmeg

Cooking instructions:

 

  1. Blend the roasted hemp hearts along with 1/4 cup of the rice milk in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add cocoa, syrup, chia, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg & blend.
  3. Add the 1.5 remaining rice milk to a sauce pan and place on stove top element.
  4. Put on medium heat.
  5. Take the blended mixture and add while stirring to the rice milk.
  6. Heat to desired temperature.
  7. For a frothy “top” place 1 tablespoon hemp hearts and 2 tablespoons water in a blender – blend until fluffy and top off the hot cocoa with it.
  8. Note: For a “new flavour” try adding 1 tablespoon of orange juice.