The Purple Fig http://thepurplefig.com Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:15:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Are You Afraid of Elevators, Pickles, Chicken? http://thepurplefig.com/are-you-afraid-of-elevators-pickles-chicken/ http://thepurplefig.com/are-you-afraid-of-elevators-pickles-chicken/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:14:16 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6745 Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.

But what about when that ‘traumatic’ event isn’t an event at all and the only thing that took place was a story in your head?

Recently I was telling friends about my ‘traumatic event’ at Target a few weeks ago. Although embarrassing and not something I like to admit as a grown woman, I’ll just say it: I’m not great with elevators.

If they are small and older than five to ten years, you won’t catch me in one.

My husband and I have been to the same resort in Jamaica three times and I have never taken the elevator once. I once sent my stroller up the elevator of a medical building while I ran up the stairs with my baby. I sometimes wait near an elevator checking my phone until someone comes along and if they look like a maintenance man, I will surly hop on with him. It’s like sitting next to a pilot on an airplane. If the elevator is new and has one clear glass to see out of (like the ones at a mall), I’m all good. I’ll ride those all day long with a smile on my face but place me in one with limited lighting and a certain kind of bounce when you step in and my palms are sweaty. All sad, but all true. Fear created from nothing.

So every so often I like to challenge myself and that day when I was faced with a cart full of garden pots and only an empty elevator, I told myself to man-up. You got this girrrrl. It’s a huge elevator (like the ones at the airport) and it’s new. What’s the big deal? As the doors shut, I realized that my phone was dead. It’s okay, I won’t need it.

But what if I do?

What if this is the one time I get stuck and it’s the one time in the history of my phone that it’s out of power. What if? What if? The elevator moved like an elephant through a pool of molasses. I wasn’t even sure if it was even in motion at all. The floor level sure didn’t change either. I panicked.

After grunting obscenities at the floor and squeezing the handle of the cart so hard my hands burned, the doors opened. I was free. I would live. I got into my car and held up my hands. They were still shaking.

Absolutely nothing had happened. But oh so much had. It was through my perception and my expectation that this profoundly anxious moment had occurred. What actually happened though was nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I laughed at myself because sometimes that is the only thing we can do. Fear is, most of the time, a complete waste of emotion and energy. My elevator phobia is somewhat ridiculous and inconsequential in the grand landscape of my life, and it does not in any way stop me from going anywhere or doing anything. I always make it to where I need to go either via the stairs or within the dark elevator for a few minutes of body freezing tension. But for other people however, their irrational phobias take over their lives.

If I can laugh at myself, it’s okay to laugh at others then right? Check these hilarious videos out.

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Girl is afraid of pickles:

Oh no, not a chicken!

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5 Books to Increase Your Vocabulary This Summer http://thepurplefig.com/5-books-to-increase-your-vocabulary-this-summer/ http://thepurplefig.com/5-books-to-increase-your-vocabulary-this-summer/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:22:36 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6727 I caught a little bit of The Bachelorette last night and before long I had to turn it off. I actually had the option to turn it off because my husband wasn’t there (he’s a rather large fan of the show). The reason I couldn’t stand to watch it anymore was because between the bachelorette Andi Dorfman and one of her beefy suitors, I heard the word ‘like’ approximately 357 times during the course of one date.

Now she’s actually an intelligent woman according to her law degree and the guy she was on a date with has a pretty high profile job as well. But when it came to carrying on an everyday conversation they were both lost for descriptive enough words to complete a sentence. And it got me thinking: What if they read one or all of these five books this summer? Maybe they’d soak up some nifty adjectives and go an entire day without saying, “I like don’t know, what like, I feel, in this moment, like.”

#1 The Bell Jar (We had to put this on the list of course because The Purple Fig was named after a passage from Plath in this book)

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This book was first published in the UK in 1963, was Sylvia Plath’s only novel. It chronicles the dark descent of Esther Greenwood whose beauty, brilliance and talent are progressively eroded into a deep depression. The novel is semi-autobiographical drawing on the parallel experience of Plath’s own life prior to her suicide which occurred just a month after its first publication. This book will take you to some dark places but her illuminated descriptions are breathtakingly brilliant and maybe some of her words will land in your repertoire.

 

#2 The Sun Also Rises

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Written in 1926 by American author Ernest Hemingway about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. Now this may not sound like an interesting story and trust me, Hemingway’s ‘restrained’ and sparse writing can be hard to get used to but it’s what he’s known for and by the end of the book you can’t help but love it. Hemingway said this in an early draft of the novel: “In life people are not conscious of these special moments that novelists build their whole structures on..Gertrude Stein once told me that remarks are not literature. All right, let it go at that. Only this time all the remarks are going in and if it is not literature who claimed it was anyway.” And he stuck to his guns on this one. All remarks are left authentically placed within the pages of this book, although I didn’t see the word ‘like’ in any dialogue once :)

 

#3 The Year Of Magical Thinking

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From one of America’s iconic writers, this a stunning book of incredible honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage — and a life, in good times and bad — that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child. Didion’s way of describing life’s most relatable scenes seems to come with such ease and intelligence. It’ll make you cry but simply because we’ve all sat a kitchen table with someone we love and whether or not you’ve lost someone in your life, you’ll know the sadness that would exist if they weren’t there at all. 

 

#4 Dry 

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This is a memoir written by American writer Augusten Burroughs. It describes the author’s battle with alcoholism. It is gritty and unwavering in its determination to capture the insides of an addict while being quite funny and relatable. His haunting words will stay with you well after you’ve finished the book. Also, this book could almost have a Manhattan tour as the references to bars and the type of drinks inside those bars are right down to the price and location of each of them. 

 

 #5 The Catcher in the Rye

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Since its debut in 1951, protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage angst and helped sell almost 65 million copies in its lifetime. Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. The dialogue is old world and punchy, also bringing you back to Manhattan pre-Mad Men. The prose stays classic and timeless, surely enough to inspire a more colourful vocabulary in one’s repertoire.  

 

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Sexologist Discusses Sexless Marriage, Lesbian Lovemaking, and Erectile Dysfunction http://thepurplefig.com/sexologist-discusses-sexless-marriage-lesbian-lovemaking-and-erectile-dysfunction/ http://thepurplefig.com/sexologist-discusses-sexless-marriage-lesbian-lovemaking-and-erectile-dysfunction/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6717 Sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly has been making the rounds as a TV personality and author. But it’s her services that include workshops on sexuality, counselling sessions for both couples and individuals, offering training to teachers on instructing sexual education, or public speaking gigs, that makes it clear that Dr. Jess is quite the sexpert! With her unique mix of business and pleasure paired with a laidback attitude, we recently spoke to her about intimacy. Here is our exclusive interview with the renowned Sexologist behind Sex with Dr. Jess:

TPF: What initially inspired you to become a sexologist, and why?

 

Dr. Jess: I was working as a high school teacher, teaching English, social studies and health and noticed gaps in the system. I noticed that high schools lacked the proper resourced to support teachers to teach sexual education. Labelling “ovaries” doesn’t help students become aware of how to set appropriate boundaries. I went back to school and did research, although I didn’t originally didn’t plan to work in the entertainment and TV industry.

 

 

TPF: How can a woman best cope with a man who struggles with erectile dysfunction? For example, in a case where the woman is trying to get pregnant? What are some of the emotional effects of a scenario such as this?

 

Dr. Jess: It’s nobody’s fault. We get self-conscious and seek reassurance, but it’s important to remember that he needs reassurance too. It’s a two way street, after all. There are some physical causes as well as psychogenic (or psychological) causes that manifest as physical symptoms. It’s important to take the pressure off. You can try toys, and remember to focus on pleasure versus performance.

It is also hard to make a generalization about why the erectile dysfunction happened. It could be a symptom of a larger issue, or even emotional issues such as performance pressure, stress or anxiety. He could be facing stress from work or money issues, which detract from sexual function. While nobody wants to acknowledge it, in the heat of the moment, there are so many factors. Every couple has its unique issues.

 

TPF: As a sexologist, what advancements do you believe need to be made in the market of female condoms?

 

Dr. Jess: Some people don’t always love the female condom, because it feels like having sex with a bag! Other people like the fact that women get to carry the condom and explore it. There are challenges around it because of feel. For many, it is not their top pick, because people tend to like the idea of condoms that feel like skin on skin. The RealFeel condom by Durex is a good example, however.

 

TPF: What are some of the challenges associated with sexual pleasure and sexuality for a couple which includes a transgendered person who is transitioning? Also, what are some unique challenges which a lesbian couple may face in this area?

 

Dr. Jess: We definitely dichotomize gender into male and female, as opposed to transgender. In terms of a transgendered individual, surgery and hormonal treatments can affect your sex drive. In terms of lesbian couples, there are often challenges around desire when both halves of the couple lose their desire. How do you maintain that intimacy in a relationship? For any type of couple, it’s about quality versus quantity- as opposed to “how long did the sex last?” or “how many times did we do it this week?”

 

TPF: For couples who are struggling with a “sexless” relationship or marriage, what technically defines the term “sexless”?

 

In terms of a “sexless” relationship, it’s about the couple. Most of us would consider no sex at all to be “sexless”, but it could also be once a year, twice a year, or whatever is normal to you.

 

TPF: How can a woman deal with the feeling of rejection in a sexless marriage? What are some coping strategies for healthy sexuality?

 

Regardless of rejection, there are ways to include intimacy. For example, you can snuggle or kiss. Masturbation also has many benefits, from improved circulation to promoting a good night’s sleep. In fact, most women learn to orgasm through masturbation. In many couples, one person initiates sex more frequently. When we start a relationship, there are nerves of meeting someone for the first time- it’s chemically a different attraction! It’s important to cultivate some mystery.

 

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Letter to my Older Self http://thepurplefig.com/letter-to-my-older-self/ http://thepurplefig.com/letter-to-my-older-self/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:35:34 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6697 My grandma set the bar for me on how the elderly should roll. I’m only realizing now that she was truly one of a kind. I thought that all grandmas flashed their grandchildren for a laugh and flipped the bird for family photos. She taught us how to play poker, allowed us to say shit (only when playing poker), and played ‘British tea time’ whenever we wanted. She aged gracefully with poise and class, and there was never a shortage of love and affection.

 

Even though she mothered four children, worked well into her seventies and had lived in a few different cities across Canada, she still maintained a sense of innocence that allowed for open-mindedness and even more so, an open heart.

 

She was the kind of woman you just wanted to be around. Her liberation from life’s social rules and constraints was comical and infectious. It taught me to not take things so damn seriously. I want to be just like her when I’m older so I wrote this letter to my older-self in the hopes that I don’t forget about that playful spirit she had along the way.

 

Dear Old-Hot Stuff,

 

First off, I’d just like to say that I really hope you still wear jeans and that your hair is long. Jeans and long hair. You can do it.

 

I am writing you this letter to remind you of a few things that you may forget along the way. I know that experience and age-weight may provide you with the assumption that you know it all and you don’t need advise from your 35 year old self. But memory-loss aside, you may have gotten a little too fixed in your ways to remember a life, well let’s just say, a little less-lived.

 

Remember that time when you left the back door open and the air conditioning was on and bugs were coming inside and nobody died? Those were awesome times.

 

Life is, shall we say, more behind you than in front so sit back and relax. Let your kids cook you a meal. Maybe they want to take you out for a meal. You may not be used to it but they want to do things for you—it makes them feel good.

 

I understand that body temperature is rapidly changing for you from morning to night. That must suck. Maybe just try not to mention it so much throughout the day. Grab a sweater and stuff it, you dig?

 

Whatever you do, please don’t become grumpy. I know it may feel very natural and justified to complain about this or that but you’re just being a downer. You’ve lived this long so you know how very insignificant the small stuff is and how very big the impact of dwelling on them can be for  those around you.

 

If you start feeling complacent, do something you’ve never done before. If you are able-bodied and your spirit is still swirling inside, get out of that chair and do something! You’ll be reminded of your youth if you do.

 

Try not to nag. I know it’s hard. I know most people don’t know how to do things ‘right’ and you may be the only person left on this green earth who does, but just try to remember that letting people do things their way makes them feel good. Making people feel good will be a large part of growing old for you so just zip the lip and enjoy the trip.

 

Every time you feel yourself slip into a state of rigidness, think of Grandma Molly and how she left a beautiful imprint on all of our hearts by laughing, not complaining; hugging, not directing; loving, not judging. Life is a series of rain and sunshine—don’t ever get stuck in the mud for too long.

 

Sincerely,

 

Your younger-jean-wearing-long-haired-self

 

 

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Tying The Financial Knot http://thepurplefig.com/tying-the-financial-knot/ http://thepurplefig.com/tying-the-financial-knot/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:02:14 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6704 It’s wedding season, but before the happy couple can tie the knot, there is another not-so-romantic topic that all newlyweds or engaged couples need to think about: finances.  More than a quarter of married couples say disagreements over finances are most likely to lead to arguments, according the American Institute of CPAs.

So before you walk down the aisle and exchange your vows, make sure and have the financial conversation with your spouse.   The most important financial topics to discuss:

Know Each Other’s Financial Histories

You probably know everything there is about your soon to be spouse, to the foods he likes and his taste in clothing. But do you know his financial history? Gather all of your paperwork, statements, bills and personal financial information and really evaluate your finances so you both are on the same page. Do either of you have student loans or credit card debt? What kind of retirement plans or saving vehicles do you contribute to? How much are you paying for your cell phone and cable bills? Do either of you have an emergency fund? What is your general attitude about money? Knowing where your partner stands with his or her finances is crucial because they’re now becoming a part of you.

Beneficiaries

Revisit all of your accounts from retirement plans, wills, trusts and insurance policies, and update your beneficiaries where you see fit. Doing this before you become husband and wife will avoid problems down the road. Make sure both of you know where your assets are going if you should both pass unexpectedly, and have it legally outlined so there is no confusion once you are gone.   Insurance Review your medical, life, and car insurance plans. You may find that combining coverage may save you money or that your plans have some overlap. When it comes to life insurance, don’t be naïve and think you have forever to live. The greatest gift you can give your spouse and family is peace of mind through life insurance. You’ll also feel better knowing they’re protected if you are no longer here to provide for them.

Name Change

Having a marriage license with your new last name on it is only the first step in changing your last name. If you or your spouse is opting for a name change, it is important to notify the Social Security Administration and the DMV. You will also want to notify your financial institutions, employer, credit card companies, voter registration office, doctor’s office and others.

Joint or Separate Accounts – or Both? 

Long gone are the days when it was assumed that marriage meant newlyweds would open a joint bank account and share credit cards. Some couples are now keeping separate accounts while others still choose the traditional route, and everything in between is a viable option. There’s no right or wrong way; it’s whatever works best for you and your spouse.

Determine a Budget and Financial Goals

Hopefully you were good about budgeting when you were single, but getting married is a good time to start the invaluable practice of budgeting, especially if you have never done it. Once you have a joint budget, you can evaluate your discretionary income and determine both short-term and long-term financial goals. If you plan on having kids, remember it’s a lot easier to save money before children come into the picture. Be careful about the so called ‘American dream’ of homeownership, and realize that renting is a prudent alternative that will help you save money. Owning a home is one of the biggest expenses known to man.   The bottom line: If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it, and in any financial discussion, the key is open communication between both partners.

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I Wish That I Was Needier http://thepurplefig.com/i-wish-that-i-was-needier/ http://thepurplefig.com/i-wish-that-i-was-needier/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:50:54 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6689 Yes, that’s right, I wish sometimes that I was needier. In recent months, I’ve come to a very blunt awareness about just how independent I had become in my 4 years as a single person. Moreover, I can reflect today and acknowledge just how much society places value on that independence. Is our system flawed.

Historically speaking, relationships were formed on a need basis. Clear roles were assigned and those dependencies were the glue that bound two unrelated people together. For children and for income. Today, this imbalance has been levelled off. While I see that as pretty amazing, and certainly life altering, I cannot help but acknowledge the risk.

It is perfectly possible today for a single person, male or female, to have a child on their own. It is also common for women to be financially independent. These differences in our modern day lives have created an awesome opportunity for the evolution of relationships. Not to necessarily remove “need” but to change it. To change dependency for basic things to dependency for something much deeper, expansion. Growth as a person, a contributor to society. Yet, we fight that.

What do I mean by fighting that? After months of both thought and years of experiences, I recognize in myself the desire and success at overcoming the need to rely on anyone for anything. I also acknowledge, the deepest desire within me for someone to push me in my life. We no longer ask for relationships to “complete” our lives, but rather to ‘compliment” our lives. This is an awesome dynamic. However, I have come to realize through my own failures and successes, that the only way that is possible is to need.

At the core of it all, we, as humans are not as rewarded by materialistically satisfied needs, but rather, a fundamental, core level need to give, and need to receive. But have we given up the belief in needing as our “basic needs” in relationships have changed? When it was no longer acceptable by today’s society for women to need a “bread winner” or a man to need a child bearer?

Worse, we live in a society that teaches us that “neediness,” almost as a black and white rule, is unacceptable. While this isn’t actually the hard truth of the matter, humans, in their need to “fit in/be needed” have hardened the rule, taking independence to a new level breeding a whole new culture of singleness.

At the end of the day, I’d argue that the deepest emotional connections are built on the foundation of vulnerability, of the need to be needed, and the need to be supported, loved, nurtured and accepted. If this is true, than independence is wreaking havoc on our single world today.

Perhaps it took someone strong enough to show me that they could need me, miss me, and love me for me to realize just how far I had gone in life to eliminate those very needs in order to fit into this needless and ironically isolated society. Food for thought… now I need to work on allowing myself to be needier, because that is the foundation upon which the need for my relationship has grown, I NEED to be loved. It brings me a level of happiness above what I could already bring to myself.

 

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3 Key First Steps To A Fast Post-Baby Body Recovery http://thepurplefig.com/3-key-first-steps-to-a-fast-post-baby-body-recovery/ http://thepurplefig.com/3-key-first-steps-to-a-fast-post-baby-body-recovery/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:10:52 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6631  

1) Bind your Belly: Women have been wrapping up their torsos after delivering babies for thousands of years. Japanese women wear a “sarashi”, Latin women bind themselves with a “faja” and Malaysian women use a “bengkung”. North Americans are evidently far behind when it comes to this practice! One of my new clients started crying after she bound her belly following her third c-section. Alarmed, I asked if she was ok. She responded saying her body felt “so much better” and was upset wishing someone had told her about binding benefits after her first two deliveries.

Binding the belly after delivering your baby provides support to stretched out abdominal muscles, helps your uterus contract, can prevent back pain (especially those with C-sections and abdominal wall separation), helps rid your body of excess fluids and helps pull your hips and ribcage back into their pre-baby position. The greatest benefit comes from binding during the first 8 weeks post partum, when the hormone levels of relaxin are still very elevated. It’s a no brainer: binding is a win-win.

 

2) See a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist: You just grew a human and carried it around in your womb for the better part of a year. Regardless of how you deliver your baby – vaginal or caesarean, the weight of your uterus has been pushing sustained downward pressure on your pelvic floor for many months. Your pelvic floor is like a hammock from pubic to tail bone that supports the internal organs, prevent urine leakage, supports your spine, and keeps your sex life happy, to name but a few of its functions. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists are licensed to do internal exams and can safely determine if a) Your pelvic floor is weak or tight b) If you know how to properly do a kegel, c) If your bladder, uterus or rectum have dropped, and to what degree. d) If you have abdominal separation or diastasis recti.

These highly specialized physiotherapists are invaluable to post partum women. In fact, in France each woman receives 6 pelvic floor physiotherapy appointments after childbirth as part of her government covered health care. Even if you don’t have extended health insurance, these practitioners are worth every penny! Even just one visit can tell you so much. Here’s where you can search for a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist in your area.

 

3) Connect with your Deep Abs: No we’re definitely not talking about crunches. It all starts with understanding how to engage your pelvic floor (refer to step 2 above!) The idea is to work your deepest layer of stabilizing muscles called your Transversus Abdominus. This deep muscle wraps around your torso like a corset and stabilizes and compresses the abdomen for a “flat belly.” This is key after giving birth when your internal organs are contracting back down to their pre-baby size. Learning to engage the deep abs is also crucial to “lifting” your internal organs and preventing pelvic organ prolapse, which often happens over the course of pregnancy and during pushing in delivery. (NOTE: traditional sit ups can actually make prolapsed organs drop further as the forward crunching movement creates intra-abdominal pressure, essentially pushing things “out the exit door”. So, to reiterate – NO crunches!)

The only way to engage this inner core unit is by recruiting your kegels and doing a deep belly vacuum exercise through diaphragmatic breathing. The result is a flat strong lower tummy.

The good news with all of these steps is you can start right away. The exercises in step 3 are gentle, similar to a meditative breathing (they require a great deal of concentration!) Give your body the time and proper tools it needs to recover. Connecting with your muscles will give you the strength and confidence to get back to your favourite activities, whatever they may be! Not to mention, these 3 little steps will also help get you back into those skinny jeans safely and quickly.

Cheers to that!

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WorldPride 2014 Was A Vibrant and Inspiring Explosion http://thepurplefig.com/worldpride-2014-was-a-vibrant-and-inspiring-explosion/ http://thepurplefig.com/worldpride-2014-was-a-vibrant-and-inspiring-explosion/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:09:29 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6666 With a vivid procession of rainbow costumes and floats at WorldPride 2014 in Toronto on June 29, it would be an understatement to describe the parade as simply a sensation. As a 6-hour long celebration of support and love for the international and local LGBTTIQQ2SA community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, 2 spirited and Allied), the parade was an international party with Toronto as its gracious host.   unnamed The event was a colourful explosion, as children waved rainbow flags in the air, standing next to their parents on the sidelines. Student groups from universities and colleges marched in the parade, followed by proud groups from churches, workers’ unions, and major corporations. Crowds watched as a group of glamorous drag queens stepped out in beautiful full-length dresses and artistic makeup, sashaying down Yonge Street in their towering heels. Later in the parade, police officers, firefighters, and politicians paraded past in their elaborate floats, as the audience cheered to the sound of Top 40 summer anthems. At one point, a loving mother proudly help up a sign declaring “I Love My Trans Son”. As cultural groups from the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities joined in the marching, it became obvious that this event was a celebration for the world. Amnesty International also participated in the festivities, as groups representing countries as diverse as Spain and Ukraine proudly marched along. The song Born this Way by Lady Gaga was the theme song of the day, as crowds belted out the chorus of “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way” in the summer sun . According to CTV News, an estimated 12,000 participants marched in the eye-catching and inspiring parade. WorldPride 2014 was an incredible sight with a far-reaching and effective message, surrounded by a party atmosphere that Lady Gaga herself would be proud of. Photo 1: Twitter (@WP14TO) Photo 2: Fatima Syed

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Self-Made Entrepreneur Shares Her Journey to Style, Substance and Success http://thepurplefig.com/self-made-entrepreneur-shares-her-journey-to-style-substance-and-success/ http://thepurplefig.com/self-made-entrepreneur-shares-her-journey-to-style-substance-and-success/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6602 Nadine Devereux is carrying a sexy beast on her arm.

As the founder and CEO of Pelle Imports, Devereux is responsible for transporting exotic leather handbags from Italy to Canada. Her hand-picked leather goods are then sold at home parties (called Pella Festas) and major events such as the National Home Show.

The sexy beast in question is a gorgeous deep red bowling bag, which is a personal favourite of the Toronto-based accessory maven. Devereux is refreshingly relaxed and laidback, a rare quality in the famously competitive fashion industry. While she is at ease, she reassures me that the dynamic and daring import and export game is often anything but.

She launched her home-based company in December of 2011, after settling into an advertising and marketing career in digital publishing. Devereux, who had always admired classic style and simple design, realized she had connections through her Italian fiancé and his family.

“You’re relying on everyone to get their part in, and you just don’t know,” she says of the competitive business.

With an eye on details such as zippered tops and closures, good quality components, and practical pockets, Devereux set off on an adventure to bring the finest pieces back to Canada from her travels.

 

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There is no doubt that a great deal of family support has gone into creating Pelle Imports. Devereux and her fiancé met while working in Amsterdam several years ago. She visits Italy several times a year to source her imported pieces, staying with her fiancé’s family. His mother has very classic taste, Devereux explains. Not only does she assist with the language barrier, she also offers input and her personal views. With the perspective of two different generations, Devereux is able to source eye-catching pieces while on her journeys.

Her mother has also been a source of inspiration for the fashion-forward entrepreneur, telling Devereux early on that she had a good eye for style. When combined with the ability to know products, market, and advertise, it seemed like this sartorial sensibility gave birth to Pelle Imports.

With a range of authentic leather handbags, wallets, tote bags, and evening clutches, the brand is quickly gaining popularity among women who want sensible yet elegant style.

This is no surprise, as Devereux herself is a natural beauty who describes herself as a “simple person”. She got her start in the fashion game at age 14, as a part-time model who appeared in advertisements for a teen clothing line. From age 17 to 18, she bought every issue of Vogue, tabbing her favourite pages as she wanted to avoid tearing out the beautiful images. With a love of photography and fashion editorial spreads, a brief stint behind the camera, and an education in marketing, being at the helm of a fashion import business seemed like her next stop.

Despite the high-end luxury, Pelle Imports focuses on casual and short home parties, useful pieces which women can carry all day, and most importantly, on the comfort factor.

Devereux advises aspiring entrepreneurs in the fashion industry to ask for help and take on challenges, one step at a time.

“Don’t feel like a failure if you can’t do it all yourself, and don’t be stuck on perfecting before launching. Everything can always be tweaked,” she adds.

However, it seems that the accessory business is far more than just a job to her. One might describe it as a passion for customer service, and most importantly, for doing her part to make style user-friendly. As for the coveted handbag which the smiling Devereux describes as a “sexy beast,” one could say that she’s testing out her own product, on herself.

“I’m aiming to provide ladies with what they desire.”

 Photo Credit: Pelle Imports

 

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TPF Hits the (Pelvic) Floor At Kegels and Cocktails Event http://thepurplefig.com/tpf-hits-the-pelvic-floor-at-kegels-and-cocktails-event/ http://thepurplefig.com/tpf-hits-the-pelvic-floor-at-kegels-and-cocktails-event/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=6608 Imagine a group of women in summer dresses, gathered around a downtown showroom on a warm June evening as they delicately sip cocktails decorated with sliced fruit and nibble on cupcakes. The room is filled with chatter, laughter, and the sounds of women’s voices, and appears to be any other cocktail party on a Thursday evening until you take a closer look at the festivities.

Those creamy chocolate cupcakes aren’t topped with icing flowers (not in the traditional sense). Rather, they are stealthily decorated with vaginas crafted out of candy. The refreshing beverage with iced berries, nectarine, and orange may look innocent enough, but it’s been cheekily titled “Pussy Punch”. If you take another step into the room, you might hear the cries of a few babies as their mothers comfort them.

This party is the Kegels and Cocktails event organized by the founders of Bellies Inc., and all of these women are ready to hit the floor -the pelvic floor, that is.belliesinc

Personal trainer Kim Vopni, pre and post-natal exercise specialist Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, and pelvic floor physiotherapist Julia Di Paolo are three busy mothers who founded Bellies Inc., with a goal of helping fellow moms combat “mummy tummy”. While all ladies wish to look their best whether they are currently pregnant, have already had children, or are happily child-free, this trio is aiming for far more than just tight and toned bodies.

Bellies Inc. has an aim of helping women to improve their pelvic floor health, become better prepared for childbirth, and stay healthy through exercise.kegelsandcocktails

An upbeat and entertaining Di Paolo bounces onto stage to describe pelvic floor health in detail. In the spirit of World Continence Week, she promotes pelvic floor treatments such as PFMT (Pelvic Floor Muscle Training) to help strengthen core muscles. As kegels are not always the answer for everyone, PFMT can help with timing, control, strength, and coordination.

In fact, Di Paolo advises all women to consult a pelvic floor physiotherapist during pregnancy. For other issues such as scarring, leaking, incontinence, painful intercourse, or ongoing pain, she agrees that seeing a licensed physiotherapist is also a smart and health-conscious step.

With vendors set up such as Knixwear, which promotes feminine and fashion-forward underwear for women who suffer from incontinence, Kegels and Cocktails leaves us more aware of our bodies and the unique needs of the pelvic floor. In the spirit of education and health, that’s definitely a cause that we can raise a glass of Pussy Punch to!

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