Author

Kaeleigh Phillips

Browsing

How to cycle in the winter — and not slip and die

With winter on its way (or so we hear), many people are preparing themselves to be cooped up indoors for months on end without reprieve. Instead, why not outfit your bike for winter and get some fresh air while commuting to work? Sure, it may seem like a silly idea. Who would possibly want to ride their bikes in the snow, right? While it’s true that winter cycling is a brave adventure, with the right preparations, it can be a great way to get through the winter months. Canada has been lucky enough to get a pretty long fall, so before winter hits hard, prep your bicycle so that you do not slip and die when the snow finally arrives.

cycling_gloves
Cycling Gloves.

First and foremost: protective winter clothing is essential to make sure you don’t get too cold while cycling. High winds can be harmful (especially to fingers and toes). A thermal layer for your legs and cycling gloves are the most important pieces of winter clothing you can buy. Cycling gloves specifically are built to be wind resistant, but are still flexible enough that you can still use your hands properly in the case of a flat tire. Wearing layers is the best way to ride comfortably in low temperatures, but at the same time too many bulky sweaters will prevent you from riding properly — not to mention it will cause you to sweat, which will further decrease your body temperature. Instead, look into buying thinner thermal layers that help contain core heat that will still allow you to move easily on the bike.

bike-1205280_1280
Winter tires.

Your next task is to consider what kind of tires you would like to ride with in the winter season. If winter has a light snow fall, it is possible to reduce the air pressure in your regular tires and ride at 50 psi, though this is often considered the ‘poor man’s’ approach and not highly recommended. Instead, I recommend purchasing studded tires or trying out a fat bike for the winter. These bikes have the thickest and strongest tires and will prevent slipping and sliding on the wet roads. Road bike tires, a popular commuting tire that is quite thin, are to be avoided at all costs. If you don’t slide and fall first, your tires will go flat easily in rough winter road conditions. Be sure to get your brakes checked prior to winter riding to make sure you have the best braking system possible for slippery hills.

Fenders, side panels that block the wheels from the seat post, are a must for winter riding in slushy conditions. Getting splashed by snow and mud is distracting and unpleasant. The salt and snow from the roads can get stuck in hard to reach places,which can damage your bike. Fenders can be costly, but the added safety makes them worth it.

Frozen bike chain a.k.a why you need to wipe down after a winter ride.
Frozen bike chain a.k.a why you need to wipe down after a winter ride.

Once you are all set up with your new winter gear and are ready to ride, make sure you have cleaning supplies waiting at home near the door. Wiping down your bike after each ride will ensure it will be usable after the winter season is over. Winter can be really hard on bikes and I recommended not using a high-end bike during the colder months. Your bike chain will rust if you don’t dry it after each ride. Choose a cheaper bike if possible and be diligent about maintaining your machine so that you can keep using it.

Good luck on your winter ride and remember to be prepared and wear a helmet! Extreme winter conditions may seem intimidating for cyclists, but if you take the proper steps you will enjoy your commute. It is refreshing to be outside once you adjust to the cold, and cycling will keep your blood pumping.

What are your winter cycling essentials? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

I got a tattoo alone — and it gave me strength

People are constantly distracted and surrounded by other people all the time — talking, thinking, and spending time with people. Maybe you are collaborating on a project, working with a team, or eating dinner with family or friends. Someone else is always there!! So, let us ask you this: doesn’t it make you exhausted? When are you able to spend some quality time with the one person you wake and go to sleep with? Yes, yours truly!

I asked myself this very question. Though most of these human interactions were special and lovely, I found myself growing more exhausted because I wasn’t replenishing myself with any much-needed ‘me’ time. I decided I was going to take myself on a date. Instead of inviting someone out with me for an evening, I challenged myself to hang out on my own. Though this is initially very uncomfortable, I knew it was necessary.

I embarked out on my own for the evening with no set plan, but I was excited and nervous for the realm of possibilities. I was walking down the street in the drizzling rain, feeling a bit lonely, and I nearly pulled out my phone to call someone to distract myself. I stopped myself just in time, and that’s when something caught my eye; a tattoo parlour.

Right then and there, I knew what to do. I was planning to get a second tattoo on my wrist for years, but had put it off due to financial constraints and fear. With my previous tattoos, I had always brought a friend or partner with me for support and to hold my hand. I resisted the urge to call a friend that lived nearby and forged ahead bravely. I opened the door, linked up with a great tattoo artist and signed the consent.

That’s when the panic set in.

I was alone — who would hold my hand? I almost walked out of the salon right there and then, but a voice in the back of my head said no. I knew I had to stay and do this on my own.

I needed an opportunity to show myself that I could be my own support. I breathed deeply and coached myself through the pain. I told myself I could handle it and everything was okay. I knew that I was capable. I calmed down and in no time, the tattoo was complete and I felt amazing. I walked out of the tattoo place with more than a new tattoo on my wrist. I had a new sense of being grounded in my own life.

We all choose where we go and what we do each day. It may seem like circumstances are out of your control, like you have to spend most of your time living for others, but this is a choice. Supporting yourself through something scary or new without needing another person to be there is strengthening and creates spiritual renewal. So, get out there and take yourself for a night on the town! Start with someone simple like a movie on your own (and a giant bag of popcorn), and work your way up to a dinner out. Then, if you are feeling brave, try something new and fresh solo (as long as it is safe to do alone, no hiking trips up a mountain!).

After I left with my new tattoo, I treated myself to a dinner at my favourite restaurant, which I only attend alone. I make a point to have a secret restaurant that I only go to when I have date nights with myself. It’s a place where I order a meal and eat it nice and slowly. I let my thoughts take over. These nights are always a time of peace and solitude. Find a secret spot you love and keep it for you.

If you have personal time, you will learn to really love yourself — there is always time for that.

Canada and the U.S protest oil pipelines in our waterways

Mixing oil and water has never been a good idea, and oil companies should remember that rule of thumb. The thought of another pipeline blowing up in a fresh water source in North America leaves many environmentalists shuddering in fear — and for good reason.

People are joining together to demand that the Canadian and US governments put an end to this practice. Oil pipelines are coming under fire this week with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation protests in North Dakota and the Kinder Morgan protest at Parliament Hill. Social media has blown up with over one million people “checking in” to Standing Rock on Facebook to show support for the protests and deter police from trying to gain background information about protesters on social media and knowing who to target for arrest at the protest. On a slightly smaller scale, but nevertheless equally important, was the protest north of the border, in which over 100 protesters gathered in Parliament Hill and 50 were arrested for storming the fences to demonstrate that this pipeline is not wanted in British Columbia.

The Dakota Access pipeline is a project that is set to be built near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and crosses under the Missouri River. The pipeline would carry 470,000 barrels of crude oil and any oil spills would leave the reservation without clean water. In April 2016, a few representatives of Standing Rock Sioux Nation set up camp to block the pipeline from beginning construction on their land, and in the last few months the camp has increased by the thousands. The police have made several arrests and the tension is escalating at Standing Rock, but the protestors continue to protect their land.

Across the prairies and into Canada, the Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline transports 300,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to British Columbia and Washington. The new leg of pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby would increase crude oil transport to 890,000 barrels per day, a formidable number. The National Energy Board (NEB) approved the project with 157 conditions. Though the federal ministerial panel is conducting a series of public consultations about pipeline, the time is prime to protest Kinder Morgan because the federal government is set to end public consultations and make a final decision in December. Among many other protesters, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has strongly opposed the proposal. The expanded pipeline goes right into Vancouver at the Burnaby Chevron Refinery and if an oil explosion occurred, it would be dangerous to local residents and would cost millions in repairs. Ocean tankers having more access to increased amounts of oil is dangerous for the ocean if a spill were to occur as well. Robertson also argues that the pipeline threatens the green sector, a growing industry in Vancouver. Protestors crossed the fence to gain Prime Minister Trudeau’s attention and were subsequently banned from Parliament Hill.

Both demonstrations show a growing concern for the devastating environmental effects of oil spills in waterways. The public outcry against pipelines is the result of years of unkept promises by oil companies, who all say they will protect the waterways and then claim little responsibility when detrimental oil spills occur. This was certainly the case in 2010, when Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline burst in the Kalamazoo River and leaked thousands of gallons of oil into the river, contaminating the water source and  harming wildlife. Enbridge has another pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac that was built in the 1950’s and is growing old, heightening the threat of it breaking down. If this pipeline were to burst, it would spread oil into the Great Lakes, the largest fresh body of water in the world, at a rapid rate.

Building pipelines under water requires a lot of maintenance and the threat of leaking oil is consistently an issue. Alternatives to oil pipelines needs to considered because the threat of environmental disaster is extremely high. Furthermore, the ability for oil companies to carry unprecedented levels of the product is unsustainable and dangerous because it allows them to exploit the earth to an even larger extent.

The solution — end the reign of oil.

Currently oil is a necessity for the transportation sector. Instead, more sustainable technologies need to be embraced. This can include biofuels and electric vehicles. Biofuels are made most often with ethanol, and are highly available because they are made most often from corn, a common North American crop. This form of renewable energy has a closed carbon cycle where carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is recaptured by the plant material used to make the biofuels. It is then used to produce more fuel.  Cars can use biodiesels, which are a bi-product of biofuels. Another alternative is embracing electric vehicles that would make cars fuelled with oil obsolete and are a step forward to being rid of the dirty product.

On Nov. 5, protestors are joining together at Queen’s Park to peacefully march for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and call to everyone who cares for land and water to unite with them. The march will stop at TD Bank, RBC, and Scotiabank, companies that are funding the pipeline, and then end at the US Consulate. Protests will be happening worldwide to honour the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. The time to act is now before all of our waterways are contaminated. Putting in an effort to end pipeline use is the only option for a healthy future living in North America.

People with mental health continue to suffer in Toronto

Imagine yourself sitting in the house alone day after day, jumping at every noise and wincing at bright lights.  You finally get up the courage to step out the house and go to the hospital to ask for help. Getting there is painful. You have to deal with the crowds of people on the subway and the constant fear of being watched walking down the street. Finally, you get to the hospital and wait for several hours before seeing a physician. You are given a list of phone numbers and then asked to leave. Clutching the piece of paper, you retreat back to your home and close the door.

In Toronto, people are turned away every day at hospitals and health centres and sent home with a list of contacts to call, only to be forced to sort through the maze of mental health on their own, oftentimes ending up on long waitlists with no aid. The issue in part has to do with the history of mental health in Canada. In the 1980s, mental health reforms across the world deinstitutionalized people from mental hospitals and many countries failed to provide a strong alternative. Many sick people fell into chronic homelessness, and a lack of replacement funding was offered.

In Canada, this is certainly the case. Other countries worldwide did implement strong healthcare systems that work to this day. Trieste in Italy created a network of 24-hour mental health facilities with inpatient beds and group home facilities for people with mental health in need of housing support. Because of constant access to mental health care, Trieste is known worldwide as the example to follow in managing the mental health needs of a population adequately.

It is no longer acceptable to place mental health as a secondary concern in health care. In Canada, mental health is a leading disability and affects one in five Canadians annually. According to the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), by the time the average Canadian reaches 40, one in two having been diagnosed with a mental illness. Finally, mental illness burdens individuals 1.5 times higher than all cancers, and more then seven times of infectious diseases. This is due to the number of years living with mental illness and a higher rate of early death.

How is turning people away from receiving help for mental health issues a proper response to a severe medical concern? If someone can’t leave their house due to aggressive anxiety, or is so depressed they are contemplating suicide, how is it remotely appropriate to put people on a waitlist?

CAMH alone has an eight-to-ten-week processing time once a doctor referral is submitted.  If someone has a debilitating mental illness, it is left up to them alone to make a mental health plan. It often falls to families and friends to help strategize what to do, and finding resources and filling out forms for long waitlists is exhausting.How many people simply fall off the grid and never receive the help they need? If the person who needs mental health aid does not have anyone to support them, they have to shoulder to burden themselves with no help in sight.

The federal government has promised to make mental health a priority, but has come under criticism as of late for cutting the Canada Health Transfer annual increase from six per cent to three per cent. Health Minister Jane Philpott has said she is committed to supporting mental health help, but the federal government has yet to provide any specific amount of funding.

Mental health needs to be a primary concern in Canada. It is no longer a conversation to have in hushed tones in the corner, but a public discourse that needs to be dealt with in the immediate future. There is nothing shameful about living with a mental illness. Can you imagine a society where each person living in Toronto had access to free counselling in every neighbourhood? It could be the change our society needs, to put people’s mental health first and foremost in a world that definitely needs it.

How to find a winter coat as a vegan in Toronto

Finding a winter coat appropriate for vegans is similar to spotting a koala in downtown Toronto. There are very few options to choose from, especially considering most winter jackets are filled with down or made of wool. Many popular coats have fur collars and use water repellent sprays that are high in chemical usage. As a vegan, I find it frustrating looking for clothing that will keep me warm in the winter, especially coats. They are one of the most obvious examples of animal cruelty in the frivolous fashion industry. But, they are necessary in this wondrous Canadian winter.

Here are five vegan options I found during my search:

Better Sweater Fleece Jacket by Patagonia, $89.
Better Sweater Fleece Jacket by Patagonia, $89.

Patagonia Women’s Better Sweater Coat

Patagonia’s sweater coat was by far the best pick when considering style, cost, being cruelty-free, and environmental sustainable. The coat is made of polyester fleece instead of wool, and does not have a down stuffing interior. It has a soft fleece inner lining, which increases warmth of the coat. It comes in black, white, or burgundy and is dyed with a low-impact process that is environmentally sustainable. The coat is a fair trade sewing product and contains no animal product whatsoever. To boot, it is on sale for $89. Patagonia has several eco-friendly and cruelty-free jacket options and the prices are the most affordable out of any of the environmental conscious coats available in Toronto.

Hoodlam Hemp Ladies Parka Jacket, $484.95.
Hoodlam Hemp Ladies Parka Jacket, $484.95.

Hemp Hoodlamb Ladies Parka jacket

This parka jacket is can be found at the Hemp Store on Yonge St. in Toronto. This jacket is available in black and has a vegan faux fur collar. It is made from hemp and organic cotton, and costs $484.95. It is fair-trade and is well-made, which means it this jacket should last years. There are several more options available online if the parka jacket isn’t the right fit, and all the available jackets are eco-friendly and vegan-approved.

Doe Parka Jacket from Wully Outerwear, $699.
Doe Parka Jacket from Wully Outerwear, $699.

Mammoth Outerwear Doe Parka

The Doe Parka is made from a poly-cotton water resistant shell and has Primaloft insulation. Primaloft is a vegan replacement for down and is made from recycled fibres. It is one of the best down replacements in the eco-fashion market and is sought after by sustainable jacket companies. Wully Outerwear (formerly Mammoth Outerwear) is a Toronto-based, animal-free jacket company. Wully Outerwear donates $10 of each purchase to the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. The Doe Parka is $699, but is the top quality animal-friendly jacket that is made and sold locally.

Belden Future Vaute Couture Coat, $371.
Belden Future Vaute Couture Coat, $371.

The Belden Future Vaute Couture Coat

The Belden Future coat by Vaute Couture is a trendy dress jacket that will make heads turn on Yonge St. The jacket is available online and ships to Canada with no extra fees. Vaute Couture is one of the largest vegan jacket producers and is based out of New York. The company uses primaloft lining and organic moleskin on the exterior. This is a cruelty-free product and is water resistant. Vaute Couture are trend-setters in eco-fashion and no other dress coat comes close. The Belden Future is on sale for $371.50.

Lady Lane Fur Collar Jacket, $298.
Lady Lane Fur Collar Jacket, $298.

Free People Faux-fur coat

Free People produce some of the most trendy fashion items at affordable prices. The company also has a line of faux fur and vegan jackets that are funky and environmentally conscious. These jackets deviate from the norm, and don’t follow the traditional look of a winter coat. They are fashion-forward and are reminiscent of coats from the 60’s and 70’s. There are several jacket options ranging from $300 to $600. The Lady Lane Fur Collar Jacket is $298, making it one of the more affordable Free People jackets and eco-friendly.

Do you wear vegan-friendly winter wear? If so, let us know where you got it from in the comments below!

Women in Iceland walk off the job, demand equal pay

Can you imagine if every woman stood up at her desk and left work mid-afternoon to unite against gender discrimination in the workplace?

Women in Iceland are doing just that — and Women’s Post loves them for it.

Thousands of women left work at 2:38 p.m on Oct. 24 because, when comparing their salary to men, after that time their work would be unpaid. Women make 72 per cent of what men are paid to do similar jobs. At the same time, Iceland is the lead ranking country in gender balance worldwide according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), so the fact that they are leading the fight for gender equality is impressive and inspirational.

Canadian women also make 72 per cent of what are male counterparts earn, and yet there are no protests or demonstrations being organized to show that we don’t accept sexism in the workplace. Canada falls in 19th place for gender balance according to the WEF, scoring low points in politics and in economic participation and opportunity. Despite Canada’s attempts to be inclusive, we are significantly behind countries like Iceland that make gender equality a priority.

This is not the first time Iceland has protested the wage gap. Forty years earlier on Oct. 24, 1975, women joined together to march out of the office and make it clear they won’t work for free.  On this commemorated day, 90 per cent of women left their jobs and homes to protest inequality and this left the men to take care of children and work. Ninety per cent! That is an unheard number of participation in any demonstration.

Since then, women have protested twice more about the wage gap in an attempt to get equal pay faster. On October 24, 2005, women left at 2:08 p.m and in 2010, they left at 2:23 p.m. This year, women in Iceland left work at 2:38 p.m, which shows that the wage gap is slowly closing, but not fast enough. If the wage gap trend continues at this rate, women will achieve equal pay in 50 years. Imagine waiting 50 years until a you get paid the same as your male co-workers? This fact is absolutely unacceptable.

Women’s Post would like to commend Iceland for their persistence. In fact, women in Canada should take note of this persistence and do some of their own protesting. What do you think will happen if we all stood up and walked away from our desks at 2:38 p.m.? Would our employers take notice?

The fact that people have to say “Women deserve equal pay” in 2016 is starting and disgusting. If Iceland, a country that is ranked as one of the best in gender equality in the world, is putting in this much effort to close the wage gap, then Canada should be working twice as hard.

Tell us what you think women should do to encourage the government (and large corporations) to put an end to wage discrimination. Leave us a comment below.

Is regulating Airbnb the answer to housing crisis?

Without a doubt, rental housing in Toronto is a problem, but are short-term rentals the cause?

The City of Toronto is investigating short-term rentals such as Airbnb, Flip Key and Roomorama to see whether these temporary stays are taking available homes away from people who live in Toronto. In Wednesday’s Executive Committee meeting, the council voted to report back with recommended regulations in Spring 2017.

What is in the city report?

The Executive Committee wants to create a database that provides a breakdown of every service provider and unit type, including a list of landlords running short-term rentals. The city also wants to look into cases of sexual violence in short-term stays, safety standards, and working conditions for employees. The city will look into regulating and possibly restricting temporary rentals through zoning bylaws and licensing. Another solution presented in the study is to tax companies such as Airbnb and similar businesses as hotels.

Currently, Airbnb has 9,460 units or rooms in Toronto that were rented in 2015. These rooms were run by 7,320 hosts. Sixty-eight per cent of the rentals are held in apartments and the rest consist of a single room rental. This shows that not all rentals are taking up entire residences, but also include single rooms in people’s primary homes. Research also determined that 68 per cent of rentals were hosted by people who owned a single home and 37 per cent of short-term rentals were owned by people with more than one house. The high average of people who are renting from their primary residence also shows that not many people in Toronto are trying to make a business from Airbnb, but instead use it as a way to make extra money if they are not staying in the home.

How is Airbnb reacting?

Airbnb has released a report to refute the claims that the City of Toronto needs to regulate their short-term rental stays. Airbnb report says there are 8,200 active participants using the short-term rental program, which accounts for o.7 per cent of Toronto’s housing market. The company also relayed that 46 per cent of the rentals were less than 30 days annually. This shows that people most likely use Airbnb to rent out their homes while they work abroad or are on vacation. Airbnb proves that it differs from a hotel service because most hosts are only using the service occasionally rather than as a principal business. Airbnb also pointed out that the typical home listing earned $6.650 in the last year, which would divide into $550 per month. A long-term rental would make a landlord substantially more money, which further shows that hosts are not using the Airbnb service in place of renting out their home to a possible tenant.

How are other cities approaching Airbnb?

Other cities have adopted regulation approaches, with the most extreme being New York having outright banned short-term rentals. Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia have introduced regulations that ensure short-term rental hosts pay hotel and sales taxes for using the service. Chicago, London and San Francisco have put a cap on the number of nights per year that a property can be rented short-term. Vancouver is also in the process of introducing regulations to license short-term rentals that will allow an unlimited number of stays as long as it is the principal residence of a host.

Toronto is set to regulate temporary rentals in Spring 2017, although the details are still unknown. Licensing the various business ventures could have its merits, but restricting short-term rentals to avert the housing crisis will not work. By mandating that a host only use their principal residence, and limit the number of nights for short-term stay, it ensures that a host is not using their own home as a hotel, but is instead trying to make an extra buck when they are away from work. On the other hand, strict measures such as banning or taxing short-term rentals prevents people living in an expensive city like Toronto from profiting from their already pricey homes. Either way, the housing crisis remains and focusing on controlling short-term rentals seems to be merely a distraction from the lack of affordable housing that plagues Toronto’s future.

Woman of the Week: Chantal Kreviazuk

Singer and song-writer Chantal Kreviazuk is a Canadian icon who never fails to bring her listeners home. She is someone who loves the euphoria of performing, which is why after a seven year hiatus, she will be back to touring, promoting her new album Hard Sail. “To get to that moment [on stage], it is what we call enlightenment. It is so outer-worldly for me. It is like Christmas every day when touring. It’s scary as hell and exciting,” Kreviazuk says.

Kreviazuk began her career in 1997 with the launch of her debut album  Under these Rocks and Stones. This album was critically acclaimed and led to Kreviazuk’s first Juno Award nomination as Best New Artist. In the following year, Kreviazuk’s cover of “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, originally written by John Denver, was featured in the hit movie Armageddon. This song was arguably the turning point of her career and put her on the international stage.

Kreviazuk went on to create six albums, winning two Junos in 2000 for best pop album and best female artist. She also received an Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards a Canadian can be given, for her non-profit work and contributions to Canadian society. Kreviazuk is the honourary founder of War Child Canada and has traveled to Iraq, Ethiopia and Dafur to provide humanitarian assistance. She has contributed to several albums for the charity and also created the song “Na Miso” for the Enough project, another initiative to end genocide and war worldwide. Kreviazuk has also been a champion supporter for Sick Kids Hospital and Children’s Hospital Foundation in Winnipeg.

“I see myself as a human being and a global citizen,” Kreviazuk says. “I think the most important thing is to respond to that call to action. We all have that in us.” Kreviazuk intends to teach her children the importance of charity work as well. Prior to beginning her tour in November, Kreviazuk will be taking her oldest son to Peru with the Starkey Foundation to help doctors install hearing aids for low-income children.

One of the tracks on Hard Sail that has gained attention is ‘Vicious’. The main chorus of the song is “Please forgive me, I’m trying to survive/The wolves are vicious over here on my side/And I’m sorry, I’m sorry/There’s nothing else anybody can do/This is the life some say we all choose/And I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, reflecting the desperation of living in a war-torn world.

It has been rumoured that the song was made about girls who were being sold as sex slaves by ISIS, but Kreviazuk was on hand to set the record straight. “The reason I wrote the song is because of the work I’ve done over the course of twenty years that directly correlates with the girls at risk,” she says. “It talks about the science of war mortality. We are all in this high alarm action process and we need to calm down. We need to calm down before we hit the button and drop the bomb.” She goes on to explain that the song is about the wars that we fight in our daily lives as well as the larger wars that plague humanity, and how they are interconnected.

Kreviazuk has also performed songs on many notable movie soundtracks, including a cover of Randy Newman’s ballad, ‘Feels Like Home’ that was used on Dawson’s Creek and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. She also recorded the song of “In My Life” for the TV show Providence. Lastly, she performed the song Time in the movie, Uptown Girls.  She has also done song writing for other artists including Pink and Kendrick Lamar. “I really enjoyed working with Pink, and Kendrick Lamar,” Kreviazuk says. “It is a really cool experience to work with someone who lives their craft. They really encapsulate being an artist. They are our ‘Dylans’ and ‘Jonis’”.

Kreviazuk is also an active supporter of young women musicians looking to break into the industry. When her husband, Our Lady Peace frontman, Raine Maida forwarded her a couple tracks from one of his friends in Alberta who was looking to launch her singing career, Kreviazuk saw the talent of the young singer and immediately took her under her wing.

“I got through one verse of one song, and I felt like she did something so different from me. I invited her to work with me in my studio in L.A.,” Kreviazuk says. “This is a young woman who is committed to music. It is such a risk and there is no guarantees. It is easy for me to say don’t do it, but she has fire. She will do it anyways, so how can I help her? What information can I give her that took me 30 years to learn? Some things you can’t teach, you have to go through it, but other things you can teach a young person.”

Kreviazuk likes to read on her own time and is currently reading Democracy of America by Alexis de Tocqueville. When on the road, she also always takes a candle and takes a break to do yoga when she has can.

Kreviazuk released a new album called Hard Sail recently in June 2016 and will be touring with her new album starting in November.

How to make an eco-friendly home without breaking the bank

Trying to live an eco-friendly life when you are strapped to a strict budget can be difficult. Many green incentives require you to spend more money up front on expensive health food stores and energy saving products. Trying to save the world and not go bankrupt at the same time takes careful planning — but is possible.

Look for the Gaps

Heat escapes the home through various gaps, especially in aged homes. Blocking unnecessary gaps will help keep heat in the home in the winter and cold air in your living space during the summer. You can use caulking glue to seal open gaps that you find in open areas in the house and if you have an attic, pay extra attention to gaps on the top floor. Also seal gaps in the basement by looking carefully between the foundation and the wall closest to the floor. Also install weather-stripping around the doors and windows, which will keep drafts from coming into the house. You can find weather-stripping for under $10 and it will last more than 10 years, well worth the cost-savings you can get to keep heat or cool in the home.

vegetables-387503_1280

Be a smart shopper when it comes to fruit & vegetables

Buying completely organic is a tall order when you have a limited budget. Instead, try to prioritize the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic, also known as the ‘dirty dozen’. The dirtiest vegetables and fruits have the highest levels of pesticides on them and buying organic will help you stay healthy. Examples of vegetables and fruits on the ‘dirty dozen’ are apples, grape, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes. On the other hand, the ‘clean fifteen’ list are the fruits and vegetables that are the safest to buy without going organic. Some of the cleanest produce includes onions, avocados, mangoes, and cabbage.

7469025266_2035c57fb0_o

Keep the heat down

Simply keeping the heat down and wearing sweaters and slippers around the house will help save money, especially with Ontario increasing recent hydroelectricity costs. Installing a manual thermostat allows you to set the temperature instead of letting it run automatically throughout the day and wasting unnecessary heat. When you are at work during the day, remember to lower the thermostat prior to leaving the house if no one will be home for the day. Using a heater in particular rooms that you often use instead of warming the entire house will also waste less energy.

Re-usable containers and mugs for lunches

Taking the plunge and buying a good quality coffee mug and reusable water bottle will save you money in the long-run and will also keep you feeling eco-friendly. Many coffee places will charge you less when you present your fun travel mug, and buying bottled water is a huge waste of money. Packing a lunch in re-usable containers instead of purchasing plastic baggies every month saves money and helps you to avoid contributing to ‘Plastic Island’.

communityclosetthriftstoreitems

Choose Second-Hand

Instead of buying a spanking new sweater or buying the tool you need to fix the kitchen table from a big conglomerate, go to a second hand store or the tool library. Buying used items is one of the best ways to re-use and recycle, and also saves money. I have a list of thrift stores I visit regularly and love community trade groups like Bunz. Trading items online, Bunz is a great way to trade one un-needed item for something you do need without spending more money. More and more opportunities to borrow, trade or buy second hand are popping up because buying new is getting old. Embrace the trend, and get shopping! You will be shocked on the items you find.

What is your favourite eco-friendly habit on a budget? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

 

What happens on Halloween around the world?

Around the world Halloween is celebrated in various ways with one common thread; it is the day that honours the dead. These traditions either focus on protecting oneself from the spirits of the dead, respecting and remembering dead relatives, or trying to provide comfort to the spirits of the otherworld — a far cry from the trick-or-treating done throughout North America. Here is a compilation of some of the most interesting acts performed around Halloween.

Barmbrack in Ireland

In Ireland, Barmbrack is a Halloween tradition that consists of making a delicious fruitcake. Sounds normal enough, except for one thing. There are treats baked inside and wrapped in the fabric of the fruitcake to predict the future. If the cloth has a ring in it, it indicates romance. If the dessert lover find a coin, it means wealth, and a thimble means you won’t marry. Make sure not to bite down on the item. Ouch!

Leaving water and bread in Austria

In Austria, people welcome spirits back from the other world for an entire week! All Saint’s Week runs from October 30 to November 8. People will leave bread and water out for the spirits so they have something to eat when they visit. The tradition is a celebration, but the act of leaving food and water out prevents these angry spirits from retaliating.

4048134222_4459d2c3a6_b

El Dia Los Meurtos in Latin America

Day of the Dead is one of the most celebrated traditions in many countries around Latin America and is a three day celebration from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. It is known as El Dia los Muertos and celebrates deceased relatives. Candy, flowers, photos, and interestingly, the relative’s favourite foods are placed on an alter as an offering. Candles are also lit to show the spirits where to go. On the last day of the celebration, relatives will go to a cemetery for a picnic to reminisce about people they have lost.

Burning fruit in Hong Kong

Hong Kong celebrates a tradition called ‘Yue Lan’, also known as the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. It is held on October 31 and runs for 24 hours. People will burn money, fruit, and photos as offerings to the dead. It has two purposes: to bring comfort to the dead and to appease them from seeking revenge on the living. Fires are lit to burn the offers and kept alit to ward off ill-tempered ghosts.

fire-1002847_1280

Devil’s Night

Devil’s night is a recent tradition that has become more popular in the United States and even in some places in Canada including Winnipeg and Montreal. It is celebrated the night before Halloween and consists of people committing small acts of vandalism and arson. Some of the “tricks” consist of harmless pranks such as throwing rotten fruit at houses. More serious crimes are also committed as exemplified by events in Detroit where volunteers, calling the event Angel’s Night, have started patrolling the streets to prevent violence. With all the clown sightings lately, Devil’s night definitely gives the creep-crawlies.

 

Whether people try to protect themselves from the spirits of the dead, honour and welcome them or a mix of both, Halloween gives people the opportunity to celebrate a darker and fascinating part of the human psyche; our attraction to the fearful known of our future.