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Leanne Benn

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From Toronto, New Year’s traditions from around the world

As we approach 2018, it’s time to think about all the positive things we have managed to accomplish in 2017 and how our lives will be different in the new year. Luck and prosperity are just a few of the things many people from around the world hope for. In keeping with this, many people have a few customs and traditions to help make the transition easier, and hopefully bring luck along the way. Here are some New Years customs and traditions from some countries around the world.

Brazil: jump seven waves 

NYE in Brazil is well celebrated and can feature spectacular firework displays all along the famous beaches in Rio. Many people find themselves hanging out by the beach and not just to watch the fireworks. Wave jumping is another tradition. If you jump over each wave while making your wish, this will increase your luck and bring you joy for the new year. If you want to increase your chances in love, make sure the first person you greet in the new year is someone special.

Turkey: wear red underwear

Wearing red underwear is common in many countries on NYE, especially those in Latin America. Many people head to the malls to buy themselves some red undergarments for their NYE celebrations. Wearing red panties guarantee passion and love for the new year ahead for many women. It is also common to wear yellow underwear to bring happiness and money. Perhaps aim for a red panty with yellow polka dots?

Spain- lucky grapes

There is a tradition, as well as a superstition, in Spain where people eat 12 grapes at midnight. These grapes are known as the lucky grapes and can be traced back to a custom in 1895 by grape growers. If you eat 12 grapes at midnight, each grape will represent the 12 months of the new year and the 12 wishes you are permitted. These 12 grapes must be consumed in the first 12 minutes of the new year. If you get a sour grape amongst the bunch this could mean a sour month in the year ahead. It is also common to find this tradition in the Philippines and other Spanish countries and communities.

Denmark- break plates

If you live in Denmark and you have a broken dish, don’t throw it out. Instead, smash the remains on NYE. This tradition is odd, yet serves as a sign for friendship in that country. After midnight, it’s not uncommon to find a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep, as this is a sign that someone values your friendship. Smash plates and other wares against your friend’s door as a sign of lasting friendship and love — just make sure it’s not glass.

Jamaica- clean your house

Similar to many other Caribbean islands, Jamaicans have a tradition of cleaning out their homes for Christmas and for the New Year. You clean out all the negativity and leave room for positive space in your life. People find the time to buy new decorative items for their homes and even repaint their houses. Many people around the world also take a broom on NYE and (literally) sweep all the negativity held throughout the year.

Japan- ring 108 bells

This may not be a personal requirement for the New Year in Japan, but many temples ring the bell 108 times at the stroke of midnight. Ringing the bell 108 times represents 108 worldly temptations a person must overcome in the Buddhist belief.

Italy- Pucker up

particularly in Venice, there is a custom of mass kissing that takes place at the stoke of midnight. As fireworks  light up the sky over St Marks Square, couples are encouraged to start smooching!  Many couples make this a romantic event. It’s not odd to kiss at midnight, as this is common in many cultures around the world, including here in Canada and in the united States. kissing someone at the stroke of midnight is meant to set the tone you wish to establish for the future with that person. It is about maintaining the bond. If you’re single and don’t have anyone to kiss, I say to kiss all your problems from 2017 goodbye.

Happy 2018!

Toronto eatin’: easy cauliflower ‘fried rice’

If you feel like you’ve been eating badly this holiday season and you want to ‘lighten up’ your dinner menu, there are many great alternatives to dishes that contain rice. In some homes, rice is a staple and in others it is avoided at all costs. Cauliflower fried rice will make you feel less guilty, but still fill you up. Personally, mashed cauliflower or cauliflower mac and cheese is a favourite of mine to make every time I want to switch it up and reduce my carb intake. Cauliflower fried rice will be another one to add to the list.

Ingredients:

  • One large cauliflower head
  • 2 large eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 1 tsp fresh hopped ginger
  • 5 table spoons soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots ( or broccoli mix)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 1tsp salt (or more if needed)

Directions:

  1. You can choose to grate your cauliflower or just place in a food processor to make your ‘rice’
  2. Add vegetable oil to a hot skillet and lightly scramble your eggs with a dash of salt. Remove eggs and set aside
  3. Add more oil to fry the scallions, garlic, ginger and onion, stir until softened- not brown
  4. Add the cauliflower along with some salt and the soya sauce
  5.  Stir constantly and cook until tender
  6. Add the eggs, sesame oil and sugar
  7. Taste to add more seasoning if necessary

It’s that quick and easy to have delicious guilty-free fried rice at home. you can use this dish as a side or even add cooked chicken strips.

Will you try this recipe at home? Comment below

 

5 hair trends you need to leave behind in 2017

We’ve talked about beauty, fashion, and food that have all become a hot mess in 2017. This week we are going to close off the trends series by talking about some wacky hairstyles I’ve seen this year. Here are five hair trends you need to leave behind in 2017:

Unicorn Hair

This one should not come as a surprise! We are living in a culture that seemingly obsessed with a mythical and magical creature. Unicorn hair, or hair in layered pastel colours, is not uncommon to find, especially during the summer of 2017. There were lots of millennial pink heads out there in addition to the rainbow hair styles.

Silver Hair

At one point silver hair on a younger person became all the rage and it’s still present in 2017. Maybe in 2018, we should try not chemically stripping our hair for the sake of fashion and embracing our natural hair. Colourful styles can we fun, but by all means get highlights and stop layering in bleach and dye.

Chunky Highlights

Speaking of highlights, back in October of this year, a hairstylist from New Jersey posted a few pictures of her clients wearing this 90’s trend in 2017. It was well liked and many started to consider bringing back chunky look. Think Kelly Clarkson peak 2003 the Thankful album cover. While we have seen some embarrassing styles in the 90’s (I’m not afraid to admit I was once a lover of chunky highlights too), I think people should return to the preferable the thin, blended or ombre effect for 2018.

Half Shaved Head

It’s the classic ‘badass’ look. Having one side of your head buzzed and the other with a flip of luxurious hair. This look has been popularized in the pop music industry by people like Cassie and Rihanna. It also made its way to Hollywood. However, shaving half or even a bit of your head is a big commitment. If you really want this style you have to stick to it and maintain it, or deal with having uneven hair for a very long time afterwards if the look doesn’t please you.

Excessively Long Extensions

Long hair can be a lot of work, but it sure looks great.  However, if you’re a lover of wearing hair extensions, the excessively overdone look can be bit much. Celebrities like Kim and Kylie Kardashian have been known to switch up their looks ever so often using this trick, but half the time they are using some really good quality wigs. Earlier this year, Kim was known to switch up her looks from blonde to short to extreme 32 inch extensions. It was her “Cher’-inspired beauty look. This Rapunzel type look has been a favourite of celebrities to express drama and luxury — but that doesn’t mean it works for the regular everyday person.

Here is hoping you can leave all the excess baggage and negativity in your life behind for 2017 and focus on better things to come for the New Year!

Leave a comment below!

5 low-carb Christmas recipe ideas

Christmas foods may offer temptation and delight, but if you’re interested in a more low-carb Christmas, maybe for personal of health reasons, Women’s Post has got you covered. Here are five low carb christmas recipe ideas to enjoy over the holidays.

Parmesan Spinach Bake

If you’re thinking about replacing the side order of mac and cheese at the dinner table, this creamy parmesan spinach bake will leave you wanting more. It simply a combination of spinach, cream cheese, and parmesan

Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots

This can be such an elegant dish once prepared the right way, You can choose to keep the carrots whole or cut them lengthwise while baking and sprinkle with thyme and honey.

Studded Peppers with Bacon and Blue Cheese

It doesn’t get more delicious than mixing blue cheese with bacon. These stuffed peppers can be cut in quarters to offer up as an appetizer.

Baked Cajun Shrimp with Lemon

The perfect combination of spices and zing will make your shrimp burst with juicy flavour as you slowly let it bake in a bed of lemon cajun juice. Talk about adding some heat to your holidays.

Low Carb Coconut Chocolate Mousse

This easy to make chocolate treat will be the perfect finish to your holiday meals. It’s also dairy free and egg free. Simply combine coconut cream, cocoa powder and chocolate to whip up the most creamy and chocolatey dessert.

What will you be making for Christmas dinner? Let us know in the comments below!

10 movies to put you into the Christmas spirit

By no means do you have to agree with me, but I feel like I’ve watched enough Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies to rank the best Christmas movies of all time. I have become an expert. There are the classics, the romantic comedies, and the plain silly ones, but some remain stuck in our hearts and minds and we end up watching them almost every time Christmas rolls around. Here are 10 Christmas movies that will make your holiday season. Grab your hot-chocolate and let’s go.

10. Love Actually

If Love Actually was not on this list, something would be severely wrong. This holiday favourite is a must watch on my list. Since it’s release in 2003, there is something about the unique story pattern of the several characters that remains to be sweet, honest, loving and romantic. The classic cue card scene is Love Actually will always give me goosebumps.

9.  The Holiday

The Holiday remains one of those feel-good romantic comedies, that will leave you inspired and hopeful, even if you are suffering from a breakup during the Christmas season. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. Also – Jude Law, am I right ladies?

8.  The Santa Claus

I don’t recall how old I was when I first saw the Christmas movie. Released in 1994, this family comedy served up Tim Allen as an accidental replacement to Santa Claus. The Santa Claus is the first of a trilogy and gives a modern twist to a classic tale. It’s cute, cheesy, and just entertaining to watch. Apparently, our editor watched all three movies in one day!

 

7. Bad Santa

Bad Santa is definitely not your classic family-friendly film, but it will leave you laughing all the way through. Santa is unlike anything you expect and proves that the holiday season isn’t for everyone !

6. Elf

This 2003 light-hearted comedy tells the story of Buddy, played by Will Farrell, who as a human,grew up in the North Pole amongst Santa’s elves. However, he always feels like he doesn’t fit in, so he travels to New York in search of his real family. This movie provides lots of fantasy, laughs, fun, and a touch of romance.

5. Family Man

This is one that I always end up watching during the holidays. Released in 2000, this romantic comedy, explores thephrase, “be careful what you wish for”! It’s a reflection of the choices we make in life and how it impacts our future. It definitely causes you to reflect during this holiday season and be thankful for your family.

4. La La Land

While technically not a christmas movie, it was released during the holidays of 2016 and starts with an opening winter scene in balmy LA. This musical/romance flick starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is whimsical, dramatic, and will leaving you dancing amongst the stars. Its a reflection of life, love and how our careers can inevitably take over our lives.

 

3. Serendipity

Serendipity is one of those moves that will always leave you hopeful and touched. This romantic comedy sticks true to its name. It revolves around events that happen by chance that result in a happy or magical situation. It taught me that what is meant to be will be. Love finds a way.

2.  Home Alone

Home Alone is without a doubt a holiday classic. Many people feel like it’s not Christmas time unless Home alone is on television.  Home Alone and the subsequent movies to follow in the franchise always provide fun entertainment for the family. The message is always the same: no matter how much you fight with your family and friends, nobody wants to be alone at Christmas.

The Polar Express

This 2004, 3D animated film transports us on a magical and inspiring adventure based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. Viewers are invited along for ann adventure on a magical train ride to the North Pole. This movie heightens the sense of imagination and self-discovery, especially for children.

Hope you enjoyed this list of Christmas movies? While many classics like Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story were omitted, that doesn’t mean you can’t fit them into your viewing schedule.

Happy Watching and Happy Holidays. Comment your favourite movie below!

5 last minute, impressive D-I-Y holiday gifts

I love gifts that have thought behind it, like personal touches, For instance, last Christmas my niece gifted me a homemade brown sugar and lemon hand scrub, which smelled just as delicious as it sounds. This holiday season, it’s all about that age old saying: ‘it’s the thought that counts’. With the right amount of ingredients, you can craft Christmas presents that will leave others impressed, without spending a ton of money. Here are five do-it-yourself holiday crafts you can git to your loved ones (or even to yourself)!

Hot Chocolate Mix

It’s rather fun to put together deconstructed kits. There is nothing better than some homemade hot-chocolate on a chilly winter night. All you would need is some mason jars, ribbon,  hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, crushed candy-cane for topping, and any additional ingredients you choose. There are so many variations: try creating melted snowman hot chocolate by using white chocolate and decorated marshmallows or add a small bottle of Baileys to your chocolate kit for an adult-friendly beverage option.

Sugar Scrub

The options are almost endless when it comes to choosing the ingredients for your sugar scrub. Sugar scrubs are easy to make and make easy and thoughtful gifts. For instance, if your sister loves lavender, consider adding lavender oil to the mix. With a base of brown sugar and coconut oil, adding additional ingredients will be easy.

 Hydrating Face Mists

There is nothing like a little burst of a facial mist to brighten your day. These face mists are easy and portable, and will keep you going on those long days. Depending on the skin type you want to target, you can try a green tea hydrating mist for dry or sensitive skin. Combine water with green tea bags and rosewater, and put it in a spray bottle. The best thing is that these mists can also double as natural toners.

Cookie Mix

Back to the idea of putting together deconstructed ingredients, why not put together your own little d-i-y baking kits for your loved ones or friends. Measure out the appropriate ingredients for your favourite cooke mix and layer in a mason jar or bundle a collection of tubes. Feel free to write out your own recipe card to include with the gifts for an even more personalized touch. The same can work for cakes and other pastries.

Bath Bombs

D-I-Y bath bombs are fun and easy to make. Using a base of baking soda, epsom salts, and citric acid, you can combine different essential body oils and essences to come up with the perfect scents. You can also add colour, glitter, and even petals to your homemade bath treats.

Are you putting together some DIY holiday gifts? Let us know what you made in the comments below!

Try these holiday inspired beauty and fashion looks

Christmas and New Year festivities are real opportunities to dress with a slight touch of elegance. Think glitter, shimmer and shine. It’s the one time it’s acceptable to look like you stepped off the set of a glamorous Hollywood movie instead of rolling out of bed, throwing on a pair of jeans and a sweater. Here are some holiday inspired beauty and fashion looks

Headbands with style

A simple and put together look can be completed with a perfect headband. During the holidays, it’s fine to add a bit of shimmer and bling to your accessories. Every queen needs her crown, right ? Try a tiara-inspired headband to pull your holiday look together.

Red Lips

Thanks to Fenty Beauty and Rihanna’s newly released Lip Stunna, lip paint in Uncensored, red lips will be plentiful this holiday seaosn . I love a classic red lip and Rihanna’s universal red works for every skin tone. Red, after all, is the colour of love and celebration.

Glitter eyeliner/ eyes

The glitter eye look will be popular this holiday season. Fenty Beauty’s Galaxy Holiday Collection presented products like glitter eyeliner and a glitter eyeshadow palette. Put your creativity to use and explore different festive eye looks, think gold, silver, green, copper, and even burgundy. A smoky eye with some glitter eyeliner also works. These looks will certainly match your sparkly dress.

Glossy Lips

If you don’t want to be over the top with heavy eye makeup and red lips, there is the choice to keep it minimal on your lips with a simple gloss look while you play up the eye makeup. It’s a more neutral look, but you will sill look polished.

Glitter clutch

If you will be pulling out that little black dress for the holiday party, you need some bold and bright accessories! Consider adding the glitter and glow to your choice to party clutch or shoes. The perfect glitter and holiday-inspired accessories will help your look come together. Just remember to go classy rather than trashy. Too many bobbles your hair will ruin the work you put into your dress and makeup.

What will you be wearing to ring in the New Year? Let us know in the comments below!

Here are the most Googled terms for 2017

So what’s the most Googled term for 2017? It seems like this year went by quickly, but at the same time it was a never ending year of controversy and natural disasters with a few light moments thrown in just to make sure humanity didn’t go insane. Since we spend most of our time on the Internet, it’s only natural that Google, one of the world’s most popular search engines, has released some of the most Googled search terms for 2017.

Here were the top 10:

  1. Hurricane Irma
  2. Matt Lauer
  3. Tom Petty
  4. Super Bowl
  5. Las Vegas Shooting
  6. Mayweather vs Mcgregor fight
  7. Solar Eclipse
  8. Hurricane Harvey
  9. Aaron Hernandez
  10. Fidget Spinner

This was not the only list released by Google. The popular search engine was able to compile a list of different popular categories including most Googled songs, season finales and people.

 Top three people include:

Matt Lauer

Maghan Markle

Harvey Weinstein

Top three television season finales include:

The Bachelor

This is Us

Game of Thrones

Top three movies include:

It

Beauty and the Beast

Wonder Woman

 Top three songs include:

Despacito

Humble

Bad and Boujee

and my personal favourite…

 Top three ‘how to’:

How to make slime?

How to make solar eclipse glasses?

How to watch the solar eclipse?

The ‘how to’ section remains to be the most popular according to Google data. ‘How to’ questions ranged from natural disasters to politics. ‘How to make slime?’ was the most popular question asked in the United Kingdom and the United States. Strangely, the iPhone 8 was searched for more times than the iPhone X. In terms of the most searched woman, Meghan Markle — no surprise since she stole the heart of one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. There was also an increase in the question of ‘How to buy bitcoin?’

In a statement released by Google, they said the most googled terms say a lot about the last year. “These questions show our shared desires to understand our experiences, to come to each other’s aid, and ultimately, to move our world forward.”
For the full recap, click here.

What do you think of the most googled terms for 2017? Comment below

New Airbnb regulations for the City of Toronto

A new set of regulations for short term rental spaces, such as Airbnb, has been approved by Toronto’s city council.

One of the biggest changes is that basement apartments have now been banned from use as a rental space, leaving many potential landlords who use Airbnb to make some extra cash out in the cold. By limiting guests to people’s primary residences, the city hopes to have better insight into the current housing situation in the city. It also allows more of these suites to be available for long-term contract rentals. One of the new regulations states that only long-term tenants of secondary suites, not the owner, could offer up space for nightly rental.

This step will mean that families who take part in home sharing will now be regulated and formally recognized. Alex Dagg, the policy director for Airbnb Canada said, “This is truly a big step forward for the City of Toronto, in terms of supporting the fact that we have thousands of families in Toronto who have been home-sharing and are now going to be formally recognized and regulated. We look forward to working with the city on the next steps.”

Short term home-sharing hosts will now pay the city $50 per-year for a rental maximum of three rooms, which will be rented for no more than 180 nights per year. The unpredictability of the current housing market in Toronto, along with fluctuating costs, could mean there will be more short-term rentals and less room for long- term tenants.

Those fighting to include secondary suites argued these rules put many homeowners at a disadvantage and they should be allowed flexibility in the choice of renting out spaces they choose. Toronto Mayor John Tory voted in support of the regulations, saying that City Council had the responsibility to put reasonable limits on property use.

Airbnb, which is a San-Francisco-based company that allows users to book home-sharing services online, said that in the past year there were over four million Canadians that have used this service to travel domestically. Earlier this year as part of the government’s pre-budget process, Airbnb sent a letter to the House of Commons finance committee asking the government not to over regulate. This request was unrelated to Toronto’s new regulatory process. So far, the regulations seem to be pleasing to both the government and Airbnb.

The government is set to revisit the rules in 2019 as this will provide a timeline in order to observe any major changes to Toronto housing.

What do you think about these new regulations? Comment below.

26 African girls were found floating in the Mediterranean

The bodies of 26 teenage African girls were found floating in the Mediterranean sea on Nov. 7. It’s been more than a month since and very few details have been released about their deaths. Who were these girls? How did they get there? And why isn’t this story in the headlines? It is believed the victims were part of a sex trafficking trade from African to Europe and that the girls met their untimely death along the perilous refugee sea path to Italy that has already claimed many lives. The victims were between 14 and 18 years old.

Over the years, we have seen many headlines that flash briefly about the bodies of refugees found at sea, mostly those from Yemen and Syria, as they try to make their way to Europe. So far only two men in Italy have been arrested and charged in the deaths of the girls. Many of the girls as young of 14 suffered visible abuse. It is alleged the girls were picked up in southern Nigeria, held in Libya and then sent to Italy.

These girls were only a few of the many that may have been trafficked over the years — girls who have been tortured and raped. And we know very little about them.

These girls are nameless. They are forgotten victims. Their bodies, which were fished from the sea and placed in body bags, have not been identified or claimed. Since the early 1990s, girls have been taken from Nigeria and sent to Italy where they are forced into prostitution. According to the United Nations, there has been an increase in the amount of potential victims arriving in Italy by sea.  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that in 2016, nearly 11,000 girls made the trip.

The IOM conducted a study that found since 2014. over 22,000 migrants disappeared globally while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. These are, of course, simply statistics. There is barely any background information on most of the refugees or those being forced into prostitution. Libya is serving as a modern day port for slavery and sex trafficking.  It’s a topic that is being ignored by mainstream media, as many sub-Saharan migrants face bigotry in Libya. The darker your skin, the fiercer the abuse. Men are being forced into construction jobs with almost no pay and migrants are even auctioned off.

For the girls that do survive migration trips, they are greeted with intense racism and degradation of the body once forced into prostitution.

Situations like this are heartbreaking and are spinning out of control.  That 26 African girls can disappear and nobody will notice is a debilitating thought. I can only imagine what their family and friends are feeling back home. These girls deserved much more — they deserve the headlines, to be remembered instead of being left floating in the sea.