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Kaeleigh Phillips

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Would you try these vegetable masks?

Facial masks are refreshing and give your skin the rejuvenation it needs as the seasons change.

To shake things up and get away from buying a facial cream potentially full of chemicals, why not try a natural vegetable cream? Though imagining mashed up vegetables on your face is a bit gross, the result of treating yourself to a hydrating organic facial will be well worth smelling like tomato paste or garlic for a couple hours….or days.

Food Fresh Avocado Avocados Fruit Organic

Avocado Body Mask

  • 2 avocados
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • Two fresh lemons grated
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Apply to face for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off. Refrigerate remainder and use every two to three days. Avocado is very hydrating and will leave your skin silky smooth.

Vegetables Carrots Basket Market

Carrot Facial Mask

  • 2-3 carrots
  • 4 tbsp honey

Cook carrots and mash with honey, and apply to your face. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse with a cool cloth. Carrots are great for the skin because of their Vitamin A content and they are hydrating.

Tomato Paste Facial

  • Tomato
  • Dash of water

Blend tomatoes until smooth, but not the consistency of juice. Apply to face and leave for 10 minutes and wipe dry. Tomatoes will regenerate the skin and give it a new glow.

Garlic Face Mask

  • ½ tbsp. corn flour and ½ tbsp. sandalwood powder
  • Squirt of Lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp garlic paste
  • Dash of almond milk

Mix all ingredients and add a dash of almond milk to make into a gooey dough. Apply to face and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Garlic is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E and protects the skin from sun rays.

Kale Face Mask

  • Two leaves of kale
  • Almond milk
  • ½ tsp honey

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and rub on face. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse. Kale contains a lot of hydrating nutrients and will leave the face feeling refreshed and moisturized.

Vegetable facial masks aren’t just fun to make, they are also a lot less expensive than the spa alternative. So, for your next girls night, why not try them out!

Would you try any of these veggie facials? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

The Canadian Liberals are piping up about pot….finally

As it turns out, marijuana legalization in Canada is not up in smoke.

The Liberal government announced last week they will introduce legislation on April 20 to approve the legalization of marijuana — legislation they hope will be active for Canada Day 2018. This declaration follows a 106-page report released by theTask Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, which was assembled in June 2016. The task force was created to weed out any issues pertaining to legalization and has set guidelines on how to proceed to approving the product.

The report has an extensive set of recommendations for the Liberal government, including who will be able to sell it, buy it, and how much it will cost. The recommended age limit is 18, but can be set higher if the province chooses. The Canadian Medical Association had a problem with the age restriction and suggested it be raised because the teenage brain is still developing at 18, but ultimately the task force believed this would fail to adequately solve the issue of young adults smoking unregulated pot.

If this legislation is approved, the government would control and license producers, though people would be able to grow up to four plants in their own home. As described in the report, the plants would have a maximum mandatory height limit of 100 cm and would need ‘reasonable security measures to prevent theft and youth access, with oversight and approval by “local authorities”.

The restrictions of marijuana would be similar to the Tobacco Act in that it wouldn’t allow advertising or endorsements. The packaging would contain company name, strain name, price, amount of THC in the product and any warnings. There would also be a seed-to-sale tracking system implemented to avoid corruption of the market. The price of weed would have to be competitive with street prices and would be lower to invigorate people to buy legally-regulated marijuana.  The report also discussed the criminal penalties after legalization. Criminal punishment will remain for illicit production, trafficking or possession, and trafficking to youth. There is also an imposed limit of 30 grams on a person at any given time, and vape houses will require a permit.

People have been buzzing since the announcement and it has been met with varied opinions. The Liberals have been in hot water as of late with their millennial supporters who are feeling snubbed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to not carry through with his promise of electoral reform, and many sense this is the government’s way of winning back support. It will be interesting to see whether legalization of marijuana sways the vote in the favour of the Liberals with the election looming in the following year.

Being able to grow plants at home deserves attention as well. Several people would adhere to the rules of only having four plants, but it would be hard to monitor people who would potentially take advantage of growing at home, and may use it as an opportunity to sell recreationally. The information provided on licensing and which producers would receive approval is also vague. It is concerning to think of massive producers getting contracts and making pot that is full of additives and chemicals similar to tobacco. The task force did emphasize licensing smaller producers as well, but more transparent information should be provided to the public ahead of that decision.

The legalization of marijuana is a progressive and smart decision. It is positive to see the Liberals keep their promises and commit to following through with a controversial and important initiative. Taking weed off the streets will help people get high safely and will help normalize a fairly typical drug of choice. Canada is finally becoming a ‘chill’ nation, and July 1, 2018, will certainly be a very relaxed day for most Canadians celebrating the new legislation.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Hang up on your social media hang-out

Has social media made it easier to make friends, or is it even more difficult with our mobile devices in hand?

Technology has vastly changed the way younger generations make friends. With the overconsumption of various social media apps ranging from Facebook to Snapchat, the rules have changed on the how-to’s of finding your bestie.

There are many pros and cons of the social media world people live in today. There is a lot of accessibility, opportunity, and connection that can happen because of computers and cellphones. On the other hand, these positive developments in technology are also paired with pressure to constantly be plugged in and responsive, resulting in face to face interactions becoming less valued. Remember when people used to call a friend’s house and make plans in order to hang out? Now, it’s possible to have a Skype date with a friend across the world and watch a movie without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Though there are perks to social media, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out. Call me a skeptic, but I’m very hesitant about social media. There is something innately creepy about having your every breathing moment tracked online. It’s also clear that people are addicted to their phones. It also puts more pressure on friendships. If someone doesn’t answer immediately, it is quickly assumed that something is wrong (guilty as charged). This need for immediacy and instant gratification creates a lot of issues and useless drama. It is also anxiety provoking to be expected to be available at all times.

It is all too easy to hide behind the computer screen and utter disrespectful statements on a whim that would never fly in person. Social media’s accessibility has made people quicker to cut another person off permanently with the flick of a button. Being able to ‘block’ someone so easily or bully them online has caused a lot of hurt, and instigates more issues. I’d like to believe that most people are decent human beings, but online communication can turn even the kindest friend into a ruthless beast if an argument occurs over the interweb. The golden rule folks: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

So far, I’ve only touched on the direct affects of social media on friendships, but there are also a a lot of unusual rules and social patterns developing. Instead of watching concerts, people are often too busy taking a video of themselves being “cool” or appearing “valued.” When people hang out in groups, oftentimes it feels like the other person isn’t there because of the phone they can’t tear their eyes from. And of course, there is the “don’t eat until I’ve taken three dozen photos for my Instagram” phase.

It is time to put down the phone or computer! Relying on social media to build and maintain friendships is not the way to go. Instead, try the good old-fashioned in person hang-out without phones. You will find yourself looking at the world in a whole new way without any distractions in your face. There is still hope for people to interact without a social media hang-up, all is not lost, but it is vital to put down your phone first.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Affordable housing to recieve billions in federal budget

The federal budget is taking affordable housing seriously, with a new National Housing Strategy that wants to tackle Canada’s housing crisis.

The 2017 budget proposes to spend $11.2 billion over 11 years and will build safe and affordable housing across the country. In cities with high prices and a severe lack of affordable housing, like Toronto and Vancouver, this funding cannot come soon enough. The government’s proposed housing fund will be run by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) — the country’s public insurance program for mortgages. The CMHC will receive $5 billion over 11 years to work on several projects related to housing. Another $3.2 billion will be dedicated to affordable housing specifically and will use a multilateral investment framework, relying on private and public funding to get affordable housing projects up and running across the country.

Out of the $11.2 billion, $3 billion will be spent in the next three years and $20 million for this year.

The money budgeted falls short of what the big city mayors caucus asked for at their meeting in late 2016. They asked for a pledge of $12.6 billion, spread over eight years to solve the affordable housing crisis that are growing in Canada’s largest cities. Toronto specifically has $2.6 billion in repairs needed for Toronto Community Housing units on the brink of being closed down.

Mayor John Tory is asking that the province pitch in to the housing fund as well and fill the gap that the federal government cannot commit to. Affordable housing in Toronto needs a huge investment to repair current community housing units as well as provide more. There are 82,414 households on the waitlist in the city, most consisting of families and seniors, and with rising house costs people are desperate for somewhere to live.

All three levels of government ultimately need to work together to tackle the affordable housing crises popping up across Canada. The National Housing Strategy is a brave step and the commitment of billions of dollars will make headway to giving vulnerable parts of the population somewhere safe and healthy to live. Without a home, it is nearly impossible to escape the throes of poverty — finally it seems that Canada is realizing the importance of shelter in the Great White North. Let’s hope that investment is maintained!

Morning pages are a creative writing process every journalist needs

Writing is not only a honourable vocation, but it is also an immersive and enlightening way to help sort out your thoughts on a day-to-day basis.

Setting aside a few minutes every morning to write as soon as you wake up helps to begin the day with a clear mind and create a monumental sense of clarity. The concept of the ‘morning pages’ was originally introduced by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ , a book written in 1995, as a method of encouraging creativity. The theory is that prior to going to bed, you will set out three blank lined pages and a pen by your bedside. Upon waking up, you start writing the morning pages. Beginning your day by writing will introduce interesting thoughts and can often lead to beautiful moments of intelligibility.

The idea is deeply related to understanding how the subconscious and dreams correlate with daily emotions and it tries to make a creative bridge between the two worlds. People often dream about things that don’t seem to make sense or aren’t realistic, such as flying through the air or falling without dying. Writing three pages each morning helps record last night’s dreams and possible reasons why a bad or good dream may have occurred related to deep-seated feelings from daily life.

It is also a mindful exercise that allows people to begin their day by being still and aware of themselves rather than jumping out of bed to tackle the day head-on. As someone who isn’t a morning person, easing into the day in a gentle way is essential, and writing with the materials ready on the bedside is the perfect solution. But, you don’t have to write about your dreams — you can write about anything you want. There are no deadlines or expectations (besides filling the three pages), and any type of writing is acceptable. Switch between stream of consciousness writing about life to a short poem or even a short story if your heart desires. As a writer, this kind of control over my creative intellect is emotionally healing and empowering.

Creating a private writing space that is out of the public eye is essential for any artist. It will keep your personal love of writing intact and also resolve any internal writing block dilemmas that arise. Try it for a week and you will find yourself more connected and aware of your own feelings. Without a doubt, you will be surprised by the feelings and ideas that arise — it may even change your life.

Investment in greenhouses is an environmental win for Ontario

Eating local produce is not only much more delicious, but a healthier alternative for the environment as well.

Earlier this week, Ontario launched the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative to fund $19 million into greenhouses to promote local and high quality produce in the province. The initiative will allow for the use of new and sustainable technologies and will encourage investments in greenhouse agriculture.

Ontario is the leader of greenhouses, currently contributing to over half of Canada’s greenhouse produce. The province is growing by 150 acres per year and continued investment in this form of agriculture has positive financial benefits for the future. Greenhouses are especially beneficial for sensitive crops that are susceptible to erratic weather patterns and a harsh climate — like the weather Ontario was subjected to this year. Continued investment in greenhouses allows Ontario to expand its local produce capacity and provide people with fresh, homegrown food.

Greenhouses are a sustainable and ‘green’ initiative because they allow carbon to be captured in a concentrated area with high density of green growth being grown inside of a structure. Greenhouses also open the doors for other innovative technologies such as solar-powered electricity and using recyclable materials to build (with the poly-tunnel as an example). Transporting produce locally also lowers carbon emissions because it doesn’t have to travel as far.

Overall, Ontario’s investment in greenhouses will benefit the green economy, provide more green jobs and the province will continue to be a national leader in promoting an environmentally-friendly agenda. By focusing heavily on innovation in the green sector, perhaps Canada stands a chance at actually meeting carbon targets in the future.

Celebrating Women: Entrepreneur Dyana Biagi

Building a business from the ground up is no laughing matter, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it while smiling all your way to the top. Founder and CEO of Aji Gourmet Products Dyana Biagi is one of the friendliest and most charismatic people out there, and she really defines what it means to build a business with an affirmative attitude.

Biagi sells a Colombian hot sauce commonly known as Aji and it is positively sizzling with popularity along the west coast. She began the business when her family migrated to Canada in October 1999. “I wanted to keep a little piece of Colombia. When we had our own little place, I made Aji. It is a typical condiment in all of Latin America and I thought this would be my little bit of Colombia at meals,” Biagi says. “When parent get-togethers started happening, someone said you bring the guacamole. I told them ‘I’m not Mexican, but okay!’ and I decided to put the Aji in it. The people at the party were blown away. They thought it was delicious.”

From there, Biagi began selling the product at farmer’s markets in British Columbia around the Lower Mainland and quickly noticed that Aji was a hit. Her husband joined in to help sell the product at markets, and after her son, Nicholas Gonzalez, graduated, he joined in as well. Now a family business, Aji has expanded exponentially and is in over 100 stores, including Whole Foods in B.C. and Save on Foods. The next step is to launch into the United States.

Biagi believes family is imperative to the success of her business. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of my family,” she says. “Starting a business on your own is really tough. If you start a business, I think that it would have a greater chance of succeeding with family support.”

The social climate of the farmer’s markets are also like a big family, according to Biagi. Instead of the typical competitive cut-throat attitude that exists in many business markets, the grassroots approach in the farmer market community in Vancouver is very inclusive and accepting. “At the farmer’s market, we are a family. We see each other every Saturday and Sunday, and there is always a little bit of time to talk to each other,” Biagi says. “We are all there rain or shine and I’m open to helping anybody who needs. I don’t doubt in helping them find jars, labels, information, or grant money.”

Despite the obstacles of building up an organics product in a competitive market, Biagi is a mentor to other women on how to never give up on your dream. “Persistence is definitely important. You need to keep going and not give up after the first mishap,” Biagi says. “I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, but I believe in my business. I want Aji to become a staple in North America and I believe in it.”

Aji regularly gives silent auction items to several charities, including the Parkinson Society B.C. Ronald McDonald House Spinal Cord Injury B.C. CBSA UBC Land and Food Systems Society, Crossroads Hospice Society, and JDRF Rocking for Research Gala for diabetes. Biagi and her family also foster exotic birds from a rescue called Grey Haven in the Lower Mainland area. They have had one of their Macaw parrots, Hobbes for seven years, something that reminds Biagi of being back home in Colombia.

In her spare time, Biagi loves to horseback ride and has a degree in Equine Studies. She is also an avid photographer and loves to cycle. Biagi is an example of a female entrepreneur that has embraced her culture and passions and fused them into making an amazing product that is becoming successful. She also reminds us of the power of family and persisting through obstacles with a winning smile. Aji truly is an inspiration for all product entrepreneurs working hard at farmer’s markets across Canada. Follow your dreams, you never know what can happen next.

“The day I walked out of that store with my supplies when I first decided to make Aji, I never thought I’d get to where I am, but yet here we are.”

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The poetic justice of growing old and letting go in “The Analyst”

“It’s always backwards in analysis, isn’t it?,” poet Molly Peacock asks in her new collection.

The Analyst by Molly Peacock is a book of poetry that explores the evolution of relationships as people grow older over time, and how these emotions can be captured and understood through the process of creative license. The anthology of poems is based on the author’s relationship with her therapist, Joan Workman Stein, who she met in New York when she was a young woman and stayed in contact with for several years. Stein suffers a stroke and Peacock, once the patient, becomes a caregiver in helping her therapist recover.

The book is separated into four parts, Part One: The Pottery Jar; Part Two: The Hours; Part Three: Ruby Roses, Kiss Goodbye; and Part Four: Whisper of Liberty. Each section follows the two friends through the initial shock of having a loved one experience a stroke, helping them recover, letting go of their lost capacities and accepting their new self. Peacock helps Stein to rediscover her lost love of art, and it ultimately becomes the tool that brings her back to life.

Peacock ultimately realizes that Stein helping her all of those years prepared her to return the favour when her therapist reaches old age and needs someone to be there. In the final poem, “Mandala in the Making”, she states, “Only when something’s over can its shape materialize,” thus showing that life is a series of evolutionary cycles repeating themselves throughout time. The Analyst uses a deeply creative means to show how people can never know quite what certain events their lives truly mean until they have passed.

The set of poems employs subtle references and the author’s own experiences to lead the reader down a path of understanding long-term relationships and how they change as people grow older. Oftentimes, poetry seeks to avoid the more disgusting facts of aging, and focuses instead on the beauty of youth and love. Peacock avoids this pattern and faces the gruesome realities that lie behind having a stroke and losing the capacity to be fully functional that is ultimately a result of aging. In “The Canning Jar”, it is almost hard to swallow the description of the dead rabbit in the St. Lawrence Market, but the reader is forced to contend with death and ultimately reconcile with it.

Overall, Peacock takes the mundane and turns it into art. Growing old is by no means special, but her changed relationship with her therapist puts her in a position to see how letting go of the old self is always a singularly unique and beautiful experience no matter how it happens or who it happens with. The journey of The Analyst becomes exceptional precisely because it turns the tragedy of a stroke into the miracle of rebirth when Stein embraces becoming an artist and let’s go of being a therapist.

This book of poems is a great read, especially for someone looking to reconcile with an aging loved one. Peacock engages with the trauma of watching her friend be affected by a stroke and the reader can feel her desperation and eventual acceptance. Take a chance on The Analyst and it will leave you wondering which relationships will change and evolve over time and how each person will meet their own limitations of mortality.

The ultimate healer: Tumeric and Ginger Anti-inflammatory Tonic

With the fluctuating weather lately, everyone seems to be getting sick. Instead of popping a ton of Advil and chugging cough syrup, why not try a juice? This anti-inflammatory tonic should help you heal in a natural and organic way using fresh ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2tsp fresh turmeric
  • 4 carrots
  • 1cm fresh ginger
  • 1 orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 stalks celery

Directions:

Simply add all ingredients into a food processor with 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Enjoy in sips as the drink will be very concentrated, but will clear your system immediately.

Drinking homemade juices with the soothing spices of turmeric and ginger will strengthen your immune system and flush out nasty toxins from your immune system without using immune-suppressants such as cough syrup. Vitamin C found in oranges and lemons will also help heal a cold in no time. Enjoy this fresh juice and hopefully you are better for spring  just around the corner!

Captive whales and dolphins in Canada may be banned in our lifetime

Imagine living your entire life in a bathtub with glass walls. You can barely turn around and other people watch you all day in your struggle to get out. You have scars on your body from trying to break out of your confines and are forced to put on a show daily for your jail keepers.

This is the daily life of captive whales and dolphins, intelligent and deeply intuitive species of animals.

Banning whales and dolphins in captivity is an idea that is gaining in public opinion and Canada has the opportunity to follow suit on a federal level. Bill S-203, a private member’s bill tabled by Senator Wilfred Moore that would ban the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins in Canada, is currently being reviewed before the Senate. The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans heard the first testimony on Feb. 28. The bill is relatively moderate and would allow existing facilities to keep the animals they already have and use them for research. It would move to ban future cetacean captivity. The bill has been met with mixed reviews with strong partisan support and is being slammed by Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium, which is no big surprise.

The Vancouver Aquarium has also been the subject of controversy since November when the only two beluga whales at the facility, Aurora, 30, and her calf, Qila, 21, died nine days apart from each other. The Vancouver Park Board voted on March 9 to prohibit the capture and display of whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium as a result of the beloved belugas’ deaths. The decision has been a subject of controversy with many critics claiming the Park Board shouldn’t intervene in Aquarium affairs, while others believe that respecting the overwhelming support to end whale and dolphin captivity is essential.

Animal Justice is also involved in a case against the aquarium that involved intervening on behalf of animal rights filmmaker, Gary Charbonneau, who created the film Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered. The Vancouver Aquarium filed a lawsuit filed against Charbonneau for violation of copyright law and was partially successful when the judge ordered nearly five minutes of material removed from the film. In May 2016, the Court of Appeal granted the filmmaker an opportunity to appeal the decision and Animal Justice has been allowed to intervene. Last week, they headed to court and the outcome of the case is yet to be determined.

Whale and dolphin captivity has consistently been losing support over the last few years. SeaWorld completing their final entertainment show involving orcas on Jan. 1. and California banned captive orca breeding in 2016. Ontario banned orca sales and breeding in 2015.

In January, Marineland was fined with six counts of animal cruelty. The entertainment agency has not been supportive of the Bill S-203, and has even gone as far to claim that animal rights group, Ontario Captive Animal Watch, is ‘using’ children to push for support of the bill.

It is clear that the the public opinion of whales and dolphins in captivity is changing drastically. The years of ‘Free Willy’ are behind us, and people are becoming more educated and aware of the frightening downfalls of captivity for marine animals. As an animal advocate, it is amazing to believe that in our lifetimes, we may just see Willy really go free and Canada become a leading nation in banning whale and dolphin captivity permanently.