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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!

Hey Toronto – Santa’s sleigh is pulled by women!

According to the Chicago Zoological Society, Santa’s sleigh is most likely pulled by some seriously strong female reindeer!

I saw this statement on Facebook last week; although I didn’t know it was a legitimate conversation scientists were having.

This is the rundown: Reindeer loose and grow a new rock of antlers each year. Adult reindeer lose their antlers in early December, while female reindeer lose their antlers in the summer. According to the Chicago Zoological Society, their rack of antlers stay longer so they can protect their babies from predators.

In every image of Santa’s reindeer, they have antlers. Therefore, if the Chicago Zoologist Society is correct, this means that all the reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh may be women! Strong, powerful, and magical women!

Of course, some may still be male, as not all male reindeers shed their antlers right on schedule. But, I like this theory better!

Toronto drinkin’: signature holiday cocktails

I went to a holiday party the other weekend and the hosts served a signature cocktail.

A signature cocktail adds a lot of class to a get together, especially when that party is BYOB. It’s a nice touch that shows the host was thinking about their guests. It adds class to a simple party. These signature cocktails are also fun to make and will fill you with pride when friends and family ask for seconds. Here are some simple, easy cocktails you can make for your holiday parties this weekend:

Mulled Wine: Why serve plain old wine when you could serve a holiday delicacy like mulled wine. The beverage warms the soul from the inside out! It’s ten times better than regular sangria. Combine one bottle of red wine, 1/4 cup of brandy, 1/4 cup of honey, one orange, two stars of anise, eight cloves and two cinnamon sticks.

Juniper Champaign: Champaign is nice, but it can sometimes have a bit of a funny aftertaste. Juniper syrup is a lovely addition to any cocktail. Simply mix together juniper berries, orange zest, cardamom, and half a cup of water and half a cup of sugar. Boil and let cool. Add a squirt of juniper syrup and a fresh pine sprig for a festive, celebratory beverage.

Cranberry Mule: This twist on a classic is perfect for afternoon cocktail. Combine equal parts cranberry juice and vodka. Add ginger beer, lime juice, and some cranberries to garnish. This drink is sweet, but packs a punch.

Orange gin martini: Not every drink has to have cranberry. Try adding some one and a half ounces of blood orange juice, half an ounce of Campari, a dash of vermouth, and one and a half ounces of gin. Mis together in a cocktail shaker with some ice and pour in a martini glass with a sugared rim.

Coconut warmer: Sure, you can serve the typical hot chocolate or eggnog, but why not create a new concoction? Mix an even amount of coconut and whole milk together with two to three teaspoons of hot chocolate powder (or homemade chocolate syrup). Heat up and stir in one and a half ounces of rum. Top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

What are your favourite signature cocktails? Let us know in the comments below! 

Toronto decor: 5 simple centrepieces for your holiday dinner

Are you hosting Christmas dinner? I’m sure you already have your menu prepared (if you don’t, you should probably get on that) — but how about the decor? Typically, people don’t think about how they are going to set their table until the night before. By then, it is too late to get any kind of extravagant dishes or inspiring centrepieces.

But, don’t worry. There are some simply ways to decorate your table for company. Here are a few ideas:

Centrepiece: The table centrepiece is critical to the ambiance of a dinner party. If you don’t have a lot of space (who does during a Christmas feast), take a clear glass vase or even a bowl and fill the bottom with large chunks of salt or stones from your backyard. Rinse if dirty. Place a thick, round candle in the centre of the bowl and place some pinecones, garland, or even some extra bobbles you may not have put on the tree, around the candle close to the rim. If you have a spare long piece of garland, you can also line the centre of the table with it and place candles, bobbles, and pinecones at random across the table. It sounds messy, but it can actually turn out quite pretty.

Floral arrangements: Get a thin vase (or even a glass cup) and fill it with water and some fresh flowers. To make it more festive, try adding in a few pieces of pine or a ring of cranberries. Make sure the colour of the flowers is warm and inviting, like a dark red. Feel free to use fake flowers from the dollar store if you can’t get any real ones. No one will care that much. You can make them even more festive by wrapping your vase with small string lights!

Place settings: Uncle Jim may not get along with Aunt Sally — don’t give them the option of sitting near each other! You can create some really nice labels using Microsoft Word, but you can also get a little creative. If you have some stock paper, print a small tag with each guests name on it. Punch a whole in the top and thread a ribbon through to create a bow. Place on top of each plate setting with a red or gold bobble. You can even do it without the bobble!

Bar cart: Keeping wine or bottles of scotch on the table can prove welcoming with easy access, but it also takes up much needed space. Instead, set up a small table and put your alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages there with an ice bucket. Put bobbles, ribbon, pine, or garland in between the bottles. You can even use tea lights, which are easy and cheap to find at any dollar store. You can even tie cinnamon sticks together with a ribbon! Get creative. Keep a small tin of holiday cookies by the car cart too! For those who may be indulging over the holidays, it’s a great way to soak up the alcohol. It also offers a conversation piece while people wait to get their wine!

These are just a few suggestions. Above all else, use what you have at home and make your atmosphere as cozy and comfortable as possible. Keep to rich tones, put on some soft holiday tunes, and enjoy the company!

How will you be decorating your home for Christmas? 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.

What’s in the title “First Lady”?

The title of First Lady is widely recognized around the world as the descriptor of the wife of the President of the United States. But, what do you call the partner of the Prime Minister of Canada? This question actually popped into my head when editing a piece for Women’s Post. When addressing Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau do you use a title or do you just call her by her name?

In Canada, the spouse of the Prime Minister has no title. While some have mistakingly referred toSophie Grégoire-Trudeau as the “First Lady of Canada”, the fact of the matter is that the partner of the leader of this country has no official responsibilities in parliament. They can be as active as they want to be.

I have to wonder if the title of First Lady creates an image that American’s can’t shake — that the role of a woman is to be sitting at the side of her man. That there is a President, and there is a First Lady. The First Lady has a very specific role within the White House, to be involved in political campaigns, to manage the White House, to champion social causes, and to represent the president at official events and ceremonies. This is an important job to be sure, but it also creates a dangerous association between women and the role of managing a household and representing your spouse’s interests.

Whenever a woman gets close to running for president, there is always discussion about what her husband would be called. Is it First Gentleman, First Man, First Husband? It boggles everyones mind. People become consumed with this idea – of what that man’s title would be and what his role would be, as if it would be different than that of a woman.

In Canada, this association is non-existent. There is the Prime Minister, and then there is his or her spouse. This person does not receive special standing simply because of who he or she married. Most choose to take up social causes and to attend events, but it is not mandatory. And there is no gender-association with the role.

I guess to answer my first question — it’s simply Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, no title, no fuss.

Canadian government spends $5.6 million on skating rink

As part of Canada 150, the Canadian government decided to spend $5.6 million on a skating rink on Parliament Hill.

The rink is being built in partnership with the Ottawa Senators and the Ottawa International Hockey Festival. It will be open until February 28th (although it was originally supposed to close on Jan. 1, 2018.).

While the building of any public space is a good thing, the rink comes with a long set of rules. No hockey sticks, food or drink, and no cell phones. You also aren’t allowed on the ice if you don’t have skates — sorry parents! There are also a ton of warnings sprawled out around the rink, such as “may be slippery”, just in case you forget it’s ice you are skating on. Disclaimers renouncing the government’s responsibility for injury are also placed prominently in the area.

People wishing to skate on the new rink must register at least 48 hours beforehand for one of the 40-minute skating sessions available.  You also need to arrive between 40 and 60 minutes before your session time. Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis. With all the rules, it will be interesting to see how many people actually use — or are permitted to use — the rink.

Now, I’m all for building new skating rinks, but it seems a bit redundant to put a new, expensive rink a few blocks from the world’s biggest skating rink, the Ottawa Canal. The Canal is a fan-favourite spot to skate, with food vendors (like Beavertails!) and hot chocolate vendors selling their products directly on the ice. It’s an extremely picturesque skate, and instead of going round-and-round in a circle, you actually get to see the city. Given the choice, I would absolutely chose to skate on the Canal rather than a small rink in front of Parliament.

What do you think? Would you use the rink?

5 beauty trends to leave behind in 2017

The New Year is fast approaching and while some people may have already started working on their resolutions ( if you make one) there are some things we should agree to leave behind in 2017. This week I am going to be talking about five beauty trends you need to leave behind in 2017.

Over highlighting

I’m talking about that ‘natural glow’ many women try to achieve by using a glowing powder or cream stick. Highlighting just the right points on your face can be amazing, when the light hits you at the right angle that is. But, I’m not entirely sure how this became a ‘thing’ and  it may be time to stop using more than two highlights on your face. I’ve seen some people sparkling like Edward* out in the sunlight. *clearly a Twilight reference – sorry, not sorry.

Unicorn anything

I really thought the unicorn trend was left behind in 2016, but then there was the Unicorn frappuccino released by Starbucks in April and the Unicorn Essence by Farsali that started making appearances on beauty vloggers You-Tube pages. Now, Too-faced cosmetics is also set to launch their Unicorn-themed holiday makeup collection called Life is a Festival, which includes a lipstick properly entitled Unicorn Tears. Unicorns are magical, happy, pink, and beautiful, but can we leave the unicorn tears in 2017?

Over-edited pictures

To believe everything we see in the media and on the cover of glossy magazines is, most definitely, naive. Celebrities have been long known to have their photos retouched when appearing in the spotlight, sometimes with or without their consent. Just last week actress Lypita Nyong’o’s pictures were heavily retouched for the cover of Grazia U.K magazine and this left the star voicing her concerns about African-American beauty in Hollywood. There is nothing wrong with the light smoothing of a wrinkle, but pictures should not be altered in such a way where the subject is almost unrecognizable.

Weird brows

I was not entirely sure if these brows were a joke when I first started seeing them on Instagram. Some memorable ones included the feather brows, glitter brows, braided brows (thanks photoshop)  and the most memorable, the squiggle brows. 2016 was all about bold and full brows, so I am not sure how we have managed to stray so far from normalcy. While these looks may work in high-fashion, I hope not to see any more brow trends popping up in my Instagram feed for 2018.

Eyelash extensions

Have you considered eyelash extensions? I have, but then I asked myself — is this something that’s really for me? Sure, they would be more convenient that having to glue the false regular lashes to your face, but I’ve realized that a well-invested mascara is all you need to make your natural lashes look long and full. There are too many negative affects associated with eyelash extensions. You can’t get your lashes wet (no sad movies for you!), they are expensive, and not to mention time consuming. So that’s why I am voting to leave this trend behind and stick to my Too-Faced mascara.

What will you leave behind in 2017 ? Comment below.

5 tips to plan the best holiday party

Tis’ the season — the season for holiday parties that is! There is the office party, the obligatory family parties, and of course, a party for each circle of friends. It can get exhausting!!

More and more people are opting out of hosting their own parties. First of all, you have to clean your house top to bottom. Then you have to prepare music, food, alcohol, spend money on decorations, and then act as the host the entire night making sure everyone has a good time. At the same time, it can be really fun to invite all your friends and family over for an afternoon or evening of holiday cheer! Here at Women’s Post, we understand the conundrum.

That’s what we have some tips for how to throw a seamless, easy, and memorable holiday bash:

Pick a theme: While it can be amazing just to gather with friends and loved ones, the best holiday bashes have a theme. Having a theme can help with decorations, food, music, and attire — it brings a party together. It doesn’t have to be crazy. For example, you can have the very casual “wear your ugly sweater” or the more glamorous “gold and silver”.   It also gives your guests an idea of what to expect when they arrive.

Signature drink: Even if your party is BYOB, always have a signature drink or cocktail to offer guests when they arrive. The key is not to choose a drink that most of your guests will enjoy — something not too sweet, with the perfect amount of alcohol ratio. It’s also ideal to be a cocktail you can make in mass so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen all night. Sangria is a classic option, and there are plenty of ways to make it more of a holiday beverage. Try mixing white wine with white cranberry juice, some sugar and club soda. Put it in a few large pitchers with oranges, cranberries, apples, and raspberries, and let soak for a few hours. Keep sprigs of rosemary to garnish. Pour over ice! This drink is easy because you can keep everything on a bar or table and guests can help themselves. Just keep a pitcher in the fridge for latecomers.

Decorate, but don’t overdo it: I always aim for comfortable holiday decorations – a beautiful tree, a few wreaths, table runners and centrepieces with green, red, and white accents. Twinkle lights work no matter your theme. They can appear elegant, or urban-chic, and they can create some really great ambiance. Try to avoid cheesy santa statues or name tags. Keep the atmosphere warm and comfortable. Have a few playlist selections but avoid a lot of the classic orchestral music unless your theme is a bit more elegant or your event is actually a dinner party. It tends to make people sleepy and you may find your party ends before planned. Go with plastic cutlery and napkins that fit the theme.

Be creative with your canapés: Food is one of the most important parts of a party. If you aren’t hosting a dinner or doing a meal, guests will expect a few snacks, if only to soak up that sangria! The classic baked brie is a fan favourite around the holidays. Drizzle honey and rosemary overtop of a round of brie. Put it in the oven or even the microwave to heat it up. The brie should be soft enough to cut into, but not too soft as to be misinterpreted as soup. Serve with a variety of crackers, some cranberry sauce, and some red pepper jelly. Other options include spiced meats, jalapeño poppers, and a popcorn/nuts and bolts mixture. Make sure to have a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans.

Have an activity: No one hates icebreakers more than I do, but it’s always fun to have an activity, no matter how small, to get people talking. This can be a secret santa, a gift exchange, or even a decorating of a tree. Drinking games are always fun with the right crowd. It can also be something outdoors. If there is a skating rink or a park with lovely lights, organize a bit of an outing for those who want to be a bit more active.

Let us know how your party went!