The Purple Fig Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I Discovered That I Am My Mother’s Daughter Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00:44 +0000
“You look just like Munnoo!”said my grandma several years ago. She always called my mom using her childhood nickname. I was standing in my mom’s kitchen, with my back facing her. “Really?” I laughed in surprise. It was probably the way my hair was done that day; tied up on my head, showing off a meek looking neck that begged for respite from the raging Lahore summers. I never thought I resembled my mama much. Her beauty and ability to look good in anything, her grace and skill, her judgement and critique, her determination and confidence, her kindness and wrath. Who was to know? My grandmother’s statement would often make me wonder in the future.
I was an insufferable part of the corporate sector before I got married. Whenever I got back from work, I’d melt into the living room couch like an overzealous ice cream cone working hard under the sun. House work? Yeah, right. That was never my thing. My mama worked too. Almost all of her life really. But my brother and I never felt her absence. Nor do I remember many times where she was preoccupied more with her work than her family.
My little ones sometimes miss me even when I’m sitting right in front of them. Because well, when I write, I forget everything else. Strange, now that I think of it. It seems almost unreal to be present fully in both demanding worlds. But that’s what mama has been always known to do. The impossible. A cliché for many, but one of my biggest truths.There’s no way to explain her overpowering presence throughout my life. Wiping away my tears and telling me to chin up on my failed cupid adventures. Giving me freedom but always hovering at the background, making sure I didn’t mess up diabolically. Serving me delicious food at my study table during my final exams in high school. Peeking in often, caressing my hair and face lovingly, telling me I’d ace. She made a huge deal out of it all. It was serious business. I was to study undisturbed, in the comfort of an air-conditioned room, while the rest of the house had to endure the heat. She understood where she had to let go, though.
So I was allowed to watch ‘The X-files’ that was aired on the satellite dish every Wednesday night. Even this timid teenager would have lashed out on account of a missed date with David Duchovny. Fortunately, we understood each other.When I got married, the entire process passed by like a storm. Leaving us exhilarated, tired, overwhelmed and relieved, all at the same time. This was one time when mama and I didn’t see eye to eye on certain matters. I even disagreed with my dad on a few things. That’s when I realized how parents are not always right or sure of what they are doing. But they do it anyway. Because they are required to act as opposed to just simmer like a relentless pot of water on low heat. I realized that parents can also lose their way sometimes and that they don’t always have the answers. But in all times, good or bad, certain or uncertain, one thing remains constant; they will always have my back. And that’s miraculous enough for me.I moved across town from my parents. I secretly yearned to find similarities between my new kitchen and my mama’s. The way all her kitchen counters would sparkle and shine within minutes of cooking up a delicious storm. If it were the cook in charge, he’d be forced to do just as mama pleased, or he’d never hear the end of it. Everything was always in its rightful place. From the oft-used rolling pin to the coriander powder spice jar. And why wouldn’t it be? It was my mama’s kitchen. All this time, I wondered if I’d ever be able to keep it all together like her. Forever hoping for some of that magic to trickle down the hereditary ladder.
A year later, I had a baby boy. The first month I felt like a child lost in the jungle. Forever on the verge of tears, and always choking with delight when mama came to the rescue. She fed me healthy and strange concoctions that were apparently a necessity for a new mother’s ravaged body. Turmeric and almonds with hot milk. And a few spoonfuls of ‘Panjeeri’, a medley of delicious nuts and fancy things(I can barely pronounce) cooked with clarified butter to ease my bones. I never thought she was truly conventional or dated in her beliefs. But she knew the important things to pluck from the ancestoral tree. Setting up a warm bath to sooth my stinging stitches. Putting an anxious baby to bed, while I snored away. In those few weeks staying with my mama, I felt like a queen. By the time my daughter was born, I didn’t feel as Alice-in-wonderlandish lost as before.
Years later, I moved to Canada with my husband and two children. When it was time to set up my own home, I thought I’d be clueless. But then I felt myself moving about as she might have. She also gave me a hand-written cookbook. I wanted to preserve some of her taste in my own cooking. I had my entire life ahead to fall back on Google for recipes. I’m still struggling and nothing’s perfect. But I hope that I’ve not fallen too far from the tree.Mama used to tell me how she was as emotional, trusting and vulnerable in her younger years as I was. But then real life happened to her. And that’s how a person hardens with time. Something that she hinted might happen with me too. I don’t think I’ll ever be there, mostly because of her. Because of her I have lived a beautiful life. Because of her I feel that no harm can ever come to me. Sure life can punch you in the heart, but it can’t change your soul. I have seen the little girl that she once was. All it takes is an injured bird at the doorstep.My parents are visiting us this June. I am pregnant with my third child. I am hormonal and already hyperventilating. A panting mess who has to clean, scrub, organize and arrange. But you know what my mama will say when she enters my home for the first time? “You didn’t have to tire yourself in this condition, beta ( loving name for son or daughter). Relax! Housework can always be done later. “Yeah right, mama.I may not be like you, but I am my mama’s daughter.
Photo: iStock 
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My Husband’s Colonoscopy Revealed That He Is A Big Baby Mon, 18 May 2015 13:00:28 +0000 Have you ever noticed that a gastroenterologist’s waiting room is rarely filled with happy faces? And the furniture is rarely upholstered in nice, bright pastel shades but rather in sickening, dull green hues.

A few years ago, I accompanied my husband (herein known as “The Big Baby”) for his much-dreaded colonoscopy. Even if a designated driver wasn’t required, the thought of him driving without even being sedated makes my eye twitch. 

I noticed he wasn’t exactly deep breathing, so I felt the need to soothe his jitters. “Just think of it as an oil change, babe,” I said. “You know how your car feels all clean and running like new after one? Now you, too, can run smoothly with all your various internal combustion parts lubricated. And just because you’ll have a three-inch wide PVC pipe with a camera up your nether regions, do not even think it’s anything like going through childbirth. Well, maybe close.”

Entering the waiting room, I saw a virtual Noah’s Ark full of paired-off couples. The calm individual with the book or knitting needles was obviously the lucky one. The suckers – I mean patients – sat pale-faced, eyeing each other with sympathetic glances. It was like a silent Twitter convention. I could hear the less-than-140-character thoughts bouncing off the beige walls: “I chugged that crap in 6.5 seconds.” “I set up the big screen in my bathroom.” “I can never look at Crystal Light. Ever. Again.” “I’m buying stock in baby wipes.”

And I’d like to meet the Dr. Jekyll who came up with the rule that you need to be in the office one hour before your procedure. That is just cruel. The form took 3:01:04 minutes to fill out. Then there was the waiting and pacing. Stomachs growled and echoed in their cavernous solar plexuses. Feet shuffled. The cumulative blood pressure in that waiting room had to be going through the roof.

I breathed a sigh of relief when they called my husband into the great abyss known as “the back room,” which I pictured as a large automobile assembly line. But it was nice to be released from The Big Baby’s sweaty-palm vice grip and let the nurses mother him for a change.

I proceeded to bolt to the nearest deli. God forbid the waiting room would have refreshments for those waiting. But I understand why. I know the smell of coffee alone would probably have had Starving Sam grabbing those knitting needles from his wife and stabbing someone’s eye out. 

Upon my return a few minutes later, I noticed the waiting room was filled to the brim, and the natives were getting restless. The receptionist came out from behind her desk and made an announcement that their computers were down, and there would be about a 15-minute delay, so things were a bit backed up. I giggled. Nice choice of words.

I glanced at the woman sitting next to me knitting and said, “Uhhh, does this mean our husbands are in there with their innards being sonared with no camera to smile at?” I asked. She just shrugged, methinks a little perturbed that I made her lose count in her reverse stockinet stitches. She was as uptight as a nervous sphincter.

The receptionist then came back out and suggested, “If anyone wants to reschedule, please come see me.” She turned and tip-toed away as TwelveAngryMen gave her the death stare so bad it relaxed her perm. She advised the IT guy to move quickly and quietly less he start a mutiny.

Alas, all was well within minutes and before I knew it, I was accompanying The Big Baby back to the car. He was cleared by the doctor who indicated that everything was “uneventful” (easy for him to say), and I drove to the closest fast-food place to get Hungry Herman a double cheeseburger with fries.

Apparently, he never noticed there was a delay since he had been off in la-la land. But just to be sure, I double-checked that there was no unprocessed film floating in the toilet bowl that night.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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Honouring Moms: Raising Children From Generation To Generation Fri, 08 May 2015 14:04:15 +0000 As I sit back and slowly open the heart shaped locket left to me by my mother, I look at the beautiful, young, innocent, smiling face and a torrent of memories flood my mind.

I remember her as hard working, tireless in her endeavour to ensure that my siblings and I were always properly fed and clothed, and her home was always kept spotlessly clean. This was the normal role of women in the 1940’s and 50’s, but her circumstances were anything but normal.

About two years after marrying my father, who was seventeen years her senior, he left a secure plant job in the city and decided to purchase an ice cream parlour and confectionery in a small town 100 miles away. Suddenly, uprooted from her family, she was thrown into the task of running an enterprise of which she knew nothing about. I was less than a year old at the time and had to be left behind in the care of my grandparents until the business was established. It must have been a heart wrenching decision for my mother and it would be another 2 years before I could join them. For the next 25 years she would play the main role in the raising of the children, running of the household as well as all aspects of the business.

A few months ago I was assisting a granddaughter with a school assignment and asked the question: Did your mother influence your life and how?

My mom always seemed to be busy. Her days were filled with household duties as well as obligations to the store. I will forever remember the hours she spent ironing everything in sight and I mean everything. One day I asked why she felt compelled to put so much effort into something so unnecessary. Her reply, just because. I shook my head in disgust and felt time with her children was already scarce and adding this menial task constricted it even further. I was annoyed and resentful, giving no consideration to her own feelings.

Mom wasn’t one to display her emotions. There was a scarcity of hugs, and the words “I love you” were very few and far between. I didn’t think too much about it at the time because she was always there when a bandage was needed for a boo boo, when a nose needed to be wiped, in fact, whenever I needed something she always made sure it was provided. No matter how hard she worked or how much her weary body ached at the end of a long day, I never heard her complain. After all, in my opinion, it was her job, wasn’t it?

One of my fondest memories occurred on a night when my boyfriend and I were on our way home from a drive-in movie and the radio disc jockey announced it was two a.m., well after my twelve o’clock curfew. My head exploded, my heart rate accelerated and I started shaking. I didn’t know what or who to expect waiting for me at the door. 

More essays on motherhood

Sure enough, it was mom and I prepared myself for the worst lecture of my life and more. She asked if I was okay and told me to make sure I called the next time I would be late. Through my own, I saw a glint of tears in her eyes as she tenderly kissed me goodnight and walked away, leaving me in total bewilderment. History was to repeat itself when my own daughter overextended her curfew one snowy night. I, unlike my mother, expressed my feelings with the sage old words of wisdom, “you’ll never understand until you have children of your own,” all the while, tears of relief were flowing down my cheeks.

She was a perfectionist and this was reinforced one day when we were busy making cabbage rolls. I could never perfect her recipe and wanted her step by step instructions. I was having difficulty rolling the filling inside the cabbage leaves and she kept slapping my hand and rewrapping them as I attempted to put my very uneven, loose little bundles in the pot. “Why did they have to be perfect? I asked, after all they would be covered in sauce and nobody would notice. She gave me the look and answered, “If you can’t do something right, don’t do it at all.” I got the message loud and clear.

When my parents sold the store and moved back to their hometown shortly after I married, I was very angry and could not understand how she could leave her children and move one hundred miles away. Over the next 25 years we drifted further apart. Unfortunately it was the death of my father that closed the gap. Her health was deteriorating and my sister and I insisted she move back to our area so we could properly care for her in her declining years. We did not give her the opportunity to refuse and were relieved she immediately adapted to the transition. I suddenly came to the realization that she must have felt the same way about her mother those many years ago.   I felt very selfish.

Thank God I was given a second chance and the opportunity to become a better daughter, heard those three little words spoken more often and forged a very close bond with her before her unexpected, sudden death of a massive heart attack. I regret to this day leaving her alone in the hospital, only to receive a phone call informing me of her passing less than an hour later. I refused to accept this and immediately drove back. It was true, too soon my time with mom was over. I was not ready.

I know she is taking care of me still, because a few years ago, doctors discovered a severely blocked artery in my heart and told me I should not be alive, that a guardian angel must be watching over me. Thanks mom.

When asked the question – Did your mom influence your life and how, it did not take me long to reply. Of course she influenced me. Every day I emanate the high standards she set. Following in her footsteps I tried to be the best mom, I could possibly be, established a loving and caring relationship with my children and developed a commendable work ethic. She not only gave me life but also demonstrated how it should be lived. It is not necessarily what we say but what we do that speaks volumes.

There are no words that can describe the way I feel about my children. They have brought me my greatest joy and at times my greatest sorrow. They have made my heart almost burst with happiness but also with pain. These feelings cannot be put into mere words. As generations of women before me, I do the best I can and am just a mom.

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May is Melanoma Awareness Month: #newfamilyrule Putting Sunscreen On Our Kids Mon, 04 May 2015 14:05:52 +0000 One bad sunburn before the age of 18 doubles your chances of getting melanoma – the most serious and often fatal form of skin cancer. Let’s make it a #newfamilyrule to protect our kids from this risk each and every day. 

 Please watch this video from The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and #newfamilyrule


Why a new family rule?

The good news is that the majority of melanoma cases can be prevented. Since sun/UV exposure is the primary cause of melanoma and other skin cancers, the best way to reduce your child’s risk is to protect their skin.

What is Melanoma?

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an estimated 9,940 people in the US annually.

If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, more than 135,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year. In 2015, an estimated 73,870 of these will be invasive melanomas, with about 42,670 in males and 31,200 in women.




See Melanoma: The Young Person’s Cancer

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Post Baby Droop And Drip: Let’s Fix This! Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:42:59 +0000 “When you get up from laying down, it’s always the Sexy Senior. Remember that, Sexy Senior,” Nikki Bergen of The Belle Method, Pilates extraordinaire and prenatal expert, says as she leads a room full of women towards stronger pelvic floors and the reparation of abdominal separation after pregnancy. 

Sexy Senior is the process of rolling on to your side and lifting yourself up from that position rather than pulling your body straight from your back into a crunch every time you get up. These are not the things you think of when you’re pregnant with your first child. Your vagina falling out. Your abs separating. Peeing a little every time you cough. Chronic back pain.

When I was pregnant with my first baby I thought of the labour and delivery. How is it going to go? Will I get the epidural in time? Will it be my doctor that actually delivers the baby or some stranger on call covering for her? I thought of the sleeplessness that I would endure because of what I’d witnessed being around my sister and her babies but it was sort of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ type of thing. I was focused on getting this baby out and then figuring out how to care for him would come next. Doing kegels seemed about as irrelevant as the technique of rolling a tennis ball along my spine during labour. It wasn’t going to do anything. Or would it? 

As it turns out, everything is connected, and kegels aren’t just performed to cure pee-when-you-giggle syndrome. They actually play a huge role in the process of healing Diastasis Recti, aka Mummy Tummy. The first 8 weeks postpartum is the most critical time for healing DRA (as people in the bizz call it) but it can still be fixed many years after pregnancy if workouts are done correctly. 

Bergen says, doing kegels isn’t just the motion of stopping your pee from coming out, there is a complete breathing technique that goes along with it. “Think of your core as a barrel. All around to your back, up top and down to your pelvis. Expand the breath when you inhale. Fill the barrel with wine and then release. The release is just as important as the inhale in term of kegels. You need the full contraction.” 

So, how do you know if you have DRA? 

Do an ab crunch or get down into a four point kneel or simply just get out of bed. Do you see a tent going up for business on your stomach? when you’re standing, does your belly still look slightly pregnant even though you’ve lost all the baby weight? Sorry toots, you’ve got DRA along with the rest of the millions of women in North America who deal with the same issues. If you are French however, you’ve been educated on pelvic health right out of the delivery room.

In France the government pays for ten pelvic physio appointments after the baby is born. Here in Canada, we don’t so much as hear our doctors utter the words pelvic floor repair. Anita Vandenberg, Registered Physiotherapist-Pevlic Health and Orthopaedic, says that when we go for our six week post delivery appointment, most doctors don’t even do a vaginal exam. We are told that we can go back to our regular exercise routines and life carries on. This is irresponsible. Hence why Vandenberg has made it her professional and personal crusade to educate women on the importance of taking care of our pelvic health. 

And caring for our lady bits means getting informed. The first thing to note? If you’re going to do the work to correct the problems, do it right. Bergen writes in a recent Huffington Post article:

It turns out that a functional pelvic floor is pretty much the most important thing ever. Want to prevent pregnancy back pain and reduce your risk of mummy tummy? Want your body to bounce back after you deliver your baby? Want to avoid organ prolapse and incontinence? It comes down to keeping your pelvic floor — the base of your torso and centre of your stability — strong. It comes down to your “kegels,” and whether you’re doing them right (hint: most aren’t).


It’s also important to remember that just because you’re leaking doesn’t mean you’re loose down there.  Women who are incredibly tense suffer in the same way. Their floors are hardly ever released which can cause the same issues as what Poise pad wearing women face.  

So ladies, let’s start doing right by our pelvic regions. See a physiotherapist and get assessed. Start doing the work to strengthen the area. And if you’ve just had a baby, check out the FITsplint to help with post baby recovery. Unlike corsets or other over-the-top materials, these splints are recommended by doulas in the postpartum period to help mama recover quickly, safely and comfortably. 


Click to order

Also, check out The Bump Method at-home workout video programs from The Belle Method. The 4th Trimester program is the one designed to help repair diastasis recti. 



If you are in the Toronto area and you’d like to attend a Mummy Tummy workshop led by Nikki Bergen and Anita Vandenberg, you can check out details here for their June 7th event

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The Kylie Jenner Challenge: Race Against Self Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:31:23 +0000 It doesn’t come as a surprise when your favorite make up artist or brand posts a picture of a latest makeup trend and you find yourself adopting the same techniques for the desired result. But it becomes disturbing and extreme when the technique involves physical pain and mental anguish to achieve that look. The Kyle Jenner challenge has taken the social media by storm with teens uploading pictures of their plumped lips to resemble those of Jenner. And some of the images online are extremely disturbing. The ‘do it at home’ procedure entails putting your lips in a small glass container like a shot glass and suck as hard as possible. Your lips briefly swell as if you got a cosmetic injection. But during this method lips can tear or get bruised. But those few moments of plumped up lips is what youngsters are attracted to and it lasts just long enough to take a selfie.


For teens this comes as a free ride to instant (and transitory) popularity on social media. Are teens to blame when that’s all they get to see around them? Cosmetic surgeries and use of botox injections is on the rise; what may have seemed uncommon years ago is today as common as going for a blow dry. And the simple reason is that we no longer want to look like ourself.


The Kim Kardashian look has penetrated the beauty industry, every one wants that chiseled look, perfect hair and curvaceous body. The makeup industry is booming with almost all leading brands introducing contouring products that can give that defined look, high cheekbones and plumped lips. Nothing wrong with that, provided all that is practiced with moderation, without an unhealthy state of mind. But is it really that easy to define a boundary today, where you want to look good but not at the expense of looking like ‘another’?


The moments of glory that are experienced with social mediums such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are enough to make us want more. The addictive aspects of likes, comments, compliments and shares are the new currency to self-actualization. With that thirst for achievement, recognition and acceptance, women/ girls (primarily) are targeting their looks. Society feeds women that their acceptance and popularity is first and foremost through external aspects, such as luscious hair, beautiful looks and a perfect body. Attaining the look is made easy with use of excessive makeup, while those with thin hair can now get thick locks with extensions that are commonly available everywhere. Hair extensions, that were only used for special occasions years ago, have now become a part of every day beauty routine. The different kinds of extension options have given us the freedom to look our best, even if it’s a borrowed luxury, something that’s not natural.


How far is this illusion going to go. Social media is here to stay, and social mediums are now the life blood of our daily lives. Whether it’s for work related purposes or personal, daily interaction with friends and strangers alike has blurred the line of who are we out to impress? Boy’s may be fighting a different battle, but their’s doesn’t include constant evolvement and changes to self, especially when society and different industries make it one of the strongest most effective currency for acceptance. This is the day and age where our self image seems to have superseded our mind’s power and soul’s spirit.

  • Kylie-Jenner
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10 Tips For Young Writers, From A Young Writer Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:59:44 +0000 As I graduate from Ryerson University’s prestigious School of Journalism, I find myself looking back on the incredible writing mentorship and experiences I’ve had throughout my degree.  It feels simple enough to type this story, as I reflect on my personal writer’s journey to becoming a fashion and lifestyle journalist. However, like any other piece, I’m struggling to find the correct words, the right usage of emotion and the balance of language to share my thoughts.

How exactly do you write? Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Of course, it’s now 2015. Typewriters have been reduced to relics in antique shops, and twentysomething digital journalists like myself are now tracking our every move on social media. We still bleed (or maybe #bleed), but there’s a new self-awareness and self-consciousness with writing,  largely due to the 24 hour news cycle and a highly competitive industry.

Here are 10 tips from an emerging writer. I hope that these can inspire you to break out that long-forgotten secret diary, or perhaps finally work toward that dream of being published. Let’s #bleed together.

1) You are as good as anyone else, maybe even better: It’s easy enough to pinpoint your peers as the future superstars. When in doubt about our own greatness, we tend to shift the responsibility to someone else. For many aspiring writers, that attitude can follow them into the real world. You are as good as anyone else, if not better. Who says that YOU are not the all-star in this room?

2) Words are not your enemy: In order to #bleed, we need to stop fearing words. Sadly, there are many languages I do not understand, like the spider web of HTML codes and the whispered, exotic phrases from my array of vibrant, multicultural friends as they call home. However, I am not afraid of the English language, and I will take the time to befriend that perfect sentence.

3) Look for inspiration in unexpected places: Whether you’re writing a journalistic story or a work of fiction, head into the great outdoors and interact with your fellow humans. Places like the park, waterfront, a library or a coffee shop can help bring your mindset from corporate and urban to creative and thoughtful.

4) Be grateful for great editing: Editors are a primary resource and solid source of support for up-and-coming writers. Ask for assistance and do not fear constructive criticism. Your writing is not perfect, but you’ve still got plenty of potential. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be receiving critique in the first place, would you? You’d be at home, watching “that movie about that girl who became a writer” on your laptop (and wishing you were her instead).

5) Promote and prosper: Today, the world of journalism and writing has become closely linked with marketing. Journalists and writers have to develop business savvy and social media skills for their published work to be noticed. Once you develop confidence in your written work, promote as often as possible on Twitter and Facebook. Chances are this will allow bored acquaintances from your past to track your EVERY single career move on social media. On a positive note, you can also inspire others, share your work and bring awareness to your story topics. You’re an all-star, aren’t you?

6) Take a break to stay efficient: Whether it’s a phone call with an old friend (by old friends, I do not mean potentially nosy acquaintances, see #5) or a quick walk, a refreshing break can help you stay on deadline. By bringing focus and a clear mind to your work, you’re more likely to write a successful story.

7) Keep your words simple to relate to your readers: I’ve learned that good writing is concise, witty and to the point. This is a tough skill to master, but it’s essential to think of your reader. To keep your audience engaged, offer all the facts, use simple language, and add in a joke or two if you can. Humour will keep your writing fresh, which will keep your readers tuned into your story- and away from Netflix.

8) Carry a pen and notebook at all times: Recently, I did an interview with a brilliant, engaging subject. I was speaking to her on the phone and also recording the conversation on an iPad placed next to me, when I realized that the speakerphone was NOT on! Technology can fail all journalists, so always take notes if you can. Even a black liquid eyeliner and a receipt from 7-11 beat the alternative of lost information.

9) Have other hobbies: Journalism, especially covering fashion, beauty, culture and lifestyle topics, is my passion. However, as much as I love writing and am privileged to be a young writer, I believe that everyone should also have another hobby. Join a mermaid swimming class (yes, such a thing exists), hit the gym or stay creative with arts and crafts. Your mind and body will thank you, and you may get a story out of it.

10) Spread the love of literacy: Writing is known to be therapeutic, as an expressive release of emotion. Spread the love by mentoring youth through writing, or helping international students master their essay skills. Perhaps, you can even discover the next all-star writer. You’ve made it this far, after all.


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Video: Hilarious Mom Parodies Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:51:19 +0000 Need a giggle and a distraction? Check out these mom parodies. 

 Blank Space – Taylor Swift


I’m So Pregnant – Iggy Azalea 

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I Dated an Older Man – And Didn’t Like It Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:50:12 +0000 I’ve always had a thing for older men.

Posters of a shirtless, tanned Mel Gibson and a smirking Kevin Costner in a V-neck T-shirt – both well into their late 30s — adorned my walls as a ten-year-old.

The first man I pictured as I dry humped my pillow at thirteen was 35-year-old David Duchovny.

And don’t even get me started on what I’ve done to Robert Redford in my mind.

I don’t know why I was attracted to men who were old enough to be my father. It was so innate and so natural that I’m sure there’s some kind of Electra-complex thing going on that I’d rather not think about (sorry, Dad). Maybe it had something to do with my being an only child and being exposed to adults 24/7. Maybe this old soul of mine was the culprit. Whatever it was, unruly chest hair and crow lines did crazy things to me.

My obsession with May-December romances wasn’t helped by my mom, who would regularly say to me during dating fiascos in my teens and twenties, “You should date an older man.” Her reason being that an older man would be more mature. More stable. More equipped to deal with my “strong” personality.” I had a tendency to date men around the same age as me, take a few years below or above. Whippersnappers who slept on messy futons with emotional availability issues up the yin yang. I soon considered these men useful “practice” before the inevitable older man entered my life. The man who would just “get” me.

I imagined this older gent had been around the block, both professionally and personally. He owned a car or a home, or at least a piece of furniture that wasn’t Ikea. He could advise me and guide me about whatever I was navigating in life with support and a “been-there-done-that” confidence. He could pay for dinner without coupons or a pile of loonies, and he liked vinyl records unironically. Most importantly, he had sowed his wild oats in his youth, so he wasn’t into playing games and knew what he wanted in relationship and wasn’t afraid to ask for it.

I eventually dated this older man. He was twelve years my senior with chest hair, a stable job and his very own Manhattan apartment. He was also a friend of mine for over a decade, which, I believed, boded well for our connection because we got along swimmingly, and he did “get” me. An added bonus was my being privy to his dating past. He was one of those perpetual New York bachelors: never married, never engaged, with a short list of long-term committed relationships. Maybe his relationship history would have been a red flag for most, but, instead, I only saw green. I thought based on his age, experience, and our friendship, that I would be the exception, not the rule. And I liked him. A lot.

At first, our relationship was what I had pictured life with an older man would look like. We spent quiet nights in his apartment with a great vintage bottle of wine or dined at only the most exquisite and refined restaurants. He’d tell me fascinating stories about his life, and he was always quick to offer sound advice for whatever was ailing me. He was also romantic in a way I had never experienced before, whisking me away on a once-in-a-lifetime rendez-vous to London and Paris. I felt like Amal Alamuddin — without the sky high legs.

But for all of the pros, there were cons with dating my older man. We couldn’t have sex in certain positions because of his back pain. Those quiet nights at home meant he was set in his ways. Whenever I stayed over at his apartment, I conformed to his way of living. My place as a “guest” was made very clear, and I soon understood that his habits of living alone weren’t going change just because I suddenly arrived on the scene.

The wisdom he liked to dispense could also be condescending. He was undoubtedly a wise man, but he frequently took on a fatherly patronization that was not only unattractive, but also made me feel like I couldn’t contribute to a conversation equally. I remember repeatedly telling him, “I can be right sometimes, too.”

And as for the emotional maturity I so longed for? Well, I should have heeded the red flag flailing in my face at the beginning of our affair. There’s a reason he’s alone and still single: because he’s more comfortable that way.

After nearly four months together, we broke up. But our age difference wasn’t to blame. The truth is we were fundamentally different people. It didn’t matter how old he was, or how young I was, we just couldn’t fulfill each other’s emotional needs. We broke up for the same reasons any couple of any age break up: we weren’t compatible.

I realize now that my idea of an instant “perfect” relationship with an older man was a naïve one. Age doesn’t always equate maturity or emotional availability, nor does it guarantee compatibility. An older man won’t automatically “get” me more than a man who’s my age, or younger. I crave now the quality of a partner – not his quantity of years.

Although unruly chest hair and crow lines still do crazy things to me.

  • david-duchovny-fantasy
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My Best Friend Dumped Me Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:22:36 +0000 There comes a point in your thirties, when you look around, and your friends from your twenties are nowhere to be found. It can be especially difficult when your best friend from your twenties, the university years, the single years, who’s been with you through thick and thin, has suddenly disappeared from your life.  


I didn’t have the most secure start in life. My parents were so consumed by their own problems, that they didn’t really have time to dedicate to childrearing. So I learned really early, I would have to make my own “family” if I wanted to have Sunday dinners and warm & fuzzy family room gatherings. As I got older, when I made friends I could trust, they were my family. For me, it was a great relief and perhaps the beginning of real social and personal acceptance when I realized, in my 20’s, I could find friends who would be lifelong fixtures in my life. I became attached to my friends the way kids with “happy” childhoods seemed like they were attached to their mothers and fathers.


I did take her for granted. We celebrated birthdays, holidays, weddings and divorces together. And I took her for granted, just like I imagine I would have if I had a sister. She was certainly the sister I never had. After I had them, my kids called her “Aunt.” I never for a moment considered that a year could go by without them seeing her. I never considered that I wouldn’t be as important to her as she was to me.


One day, she met someone. I was so happy for her. I happily anticipated being by her side as she went through all of the things she had been waiting so long for. But it did not unfold like I thought it would. Slowly, she slipped away, not just from me, but from my whole family. I was left to wonder, was it just the new guy, new life? Did she really suddenly not have any time at all anymore for me? Did I do something really offensive and not know? I was constantly second guessing myself. Where did I go wrong? I’ve seen her only a handful of times in 3 years. At first, it really hurt. Time has definitely healed the wound, but for a while, it was sure difficult to move forward.


Life happens to all of us. Friends meet someone else, get a job in a far off place, find a new passion we don’t ‘get’, get married or get divorced. And then all of the years of memories with that person slowly start to fade. You rationalize, telling yourself this is normal and people drift apart, right? Life takes people in different directions. Why am I being such a baby?


After a while, I got really sick of feeling sorry for myself. And my other friends probably got sick of hearing about it. I also realized, I might have been more attached than she was (my childhood experience sending a boomerang to hit me again). With the love and support of some wise people, I pulled myself out of this incredible feeling of being rejected (my therapist would have a field day with this).


In hindsight, this is how I did it. I started to realize, “it is what it is,” otherwise known as acceptance. I could only control me. I realized I couldn’t make anyone want to stay in my life, hang out with me or call me to go out for drinks. I started taking a lot of deep breaths. It then occurred to me, just because she was experiencing something new, didn’t mean she didn’t want me in her life. Friendships ebb and flow, and people come and go. Just because someone is in the “gone” phase, doesn’t mean they won’t be back. I learned to slow my thought process down. Rather than feeling badly, I started to poke holes in my negative self-talk theories. I also realized, I was still me. Just because my friend had forgotten how fabulous I was, didn’t mean I was no longer fabulous. I didn’t need to be constantly validated. I was still fabulous.


Then I realized, there was more for me to do. I cultivated more independence. Learning to focus on myself, rather than constantly (that’s how it feels) living in reaction to external demands can be challenging, but I’m a survivor. I spent more time embracing the things I liked to do, rather than what others asked me to do. I started to surprise myself. Finally, I realized this was an opportunity. I suddenly had time to explore new interests, learn new things and made some new friends, who did suit this phase of my life.


People expect sadness and heartbreak when a romantic relationship dissolves. But it can be just as devastating when a decades long friendship starts to fizzle (despite your childhood issues). No matter where this takes me, I try to remember that I am constantly growing and getting to know myself better. That is cause for celebration. I have me for the rest of my life. I’m making sure I am the best version of myself I can possibly be. And now I also know the people who bring out the best in me, demand the best of me and whom it gives me pleasure to be my best self around. I’m choosing to surround myself with those people. I hope she comes back one day. But if not, I’ll be okay.

  • bestfriends
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