Strategy is key if you want your buying ban to really help you save

Katrina Clarke | April 23, 2017 | CBC Life

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Cait Flanders put herself on a shopping ban and saved $17,000 in one year.

“I could look around at my place and see, for whatever reason, I had four bottles of shower gel or three bottles of lotion,” said Flanders, a personal finance blogger based in Squamish, B.C. “We continue to add to those piles when we don’t actually need anything.”

For Flanders, her self-imposed shopping ban was motivated by a desire to save more money and cut back on clutter. But for other people, bans are a way to stop bad spending habits or get out of debt. They can range from small-scale and short-term, such as no take-out coffee for month, to the extreme – no makeup, clothes, shoes and books for years — which Flanders did.

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Are Instagram and Snapchat the new cookbook or mere “cook-tainment”

Katrina Clarke | April 22, 2017 | CBC Life

via @lobosworth/Instagram

On a recent dreary Thursday, I found myself learning how to make a cabbage and ramen noodle salad… from an Instagram story by Lo Bosworth. Yes, she of Laguna Beach fame.

It turns out I’m in good company when it comes to finding recipe inspiration on random celebrity and food blogger social media accounts! Food bloggers say their millennial audiences are increasingly looking to Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat to find recipe inspiration — meaning bloggers are amping up their bite-sized video output on those platforms. Some embrace it, but some still want their engagement (and traffic) on their website, where they make money. Others worry the deceivingly simple clips will end up discouraging amateurs from cooking.

“Four or five years ago, the blog was really the only spot to share what you were making,” said Ethan Adeland, managing director of marketing with Food Bloggers of Canada. “Nowadays, it’s complementary.”

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Why striving for minimalism can be downright maddening

Katrina Clarke | March 31, 2017 | CBC Life

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If your sock drawer looked like a work of art, you had only two jackets and your storage unit didn’t exist, would you be happier?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

With HGTV shows dedicated to tiny house-living, Marie Kondo books still flying off shelves and a documentary about minimalism having been a Netflix’s “must-see”, it’s clear the living-with-less trend is here to stay. But while there are undisputed benefits to having a tidy home with fewer belongings, including that it’s easier to find things and you might save money, critics argue living with less isn’t for everyone — that an organized living room won’t spark everlasting joy and you shouldn’t feel shame for having “stuff” and “mess.”

“I think it’s buls—t,” said Jennifer McCartney, author of The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy, of the minimalism and decluttering movements. “My take is we’ve been conditioned, especially as women, to think that being neat is better and having a tidy home is … this goal everyone should strive for.” Continue reading

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We talked to the guy who created the period-sealing glue that sexual health experts are blasting

Katrina Clarke | March 14 | CBC Life

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Photo: Getty images

If a Kansas chiropractor has his way, you could soon seal your labia shut.

Mensez is an in-the-works product that looks like a tube of lipstick and is applied to the labia minora. According to the Mensez website, the amino acids and natural oils in the formula would temporarily seal the labia shut, preventing menstrual blood from leaking out until the seal breaks due to contact with urine or soap.

It’s not yet on the market, but women’s and sexual health experts are already blasting it.

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Free the period: Why some women choose to free bleed

Katrina Clarke | March 10 | CBC Life

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Joelle Barron isn’t afraid of a little menstrual blood.

“I just always was more comfortable without anything on,” said Barron, now 26, a writer and doula who lives in Kenora, Ont. “(Though I) ruined lots of underwear and sheets.”

Barron is part of the free bleeding movement, in which women go without tampons, pads or other fluid-barriers and let their period blood flow. The act might seem radical, considering how few people even speak openly about menstruation, but free bleeding is now receiving mainstream attention, thanks to the likes of Kiran Gandhi, the former drummer for singer M.I.A., who ran the London Marathon while free bleeding in 2015, and others. In Toronto, photographer Rupi Kaur spoke out after Instagram removed a photo of her wearing period-stained pants in 2015, forcing the site to apologize. Most recently, Texas yoga instructor Steph Gongora posted a video of herself bleeding while practising yoga in white leggings on Instagram. The video garnered more than 500,000 views.

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Does a musical match mean a couple is in sync?

Katrina Clarke | February 28, 2017 | Toronto Star

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Pictured: Katie Nestor and Gareth Williams. Photo credit: Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

On Katie Nestor’s first date with Gareth Williams, she gushed about the bands she’d see perform at the WayHome music festival just north of the city that weekend. Williams stared at her blankly.

“I was like, ‘Who is this guy who doesn’t know WayHome?’ ” Nestor laughed, recalling the few dates later when she first learned Williams had no songs on his phone and was indifferent to music. “I was like, ‘Oh god, this guy is a loser.’ ”

Yet, a year and a half later, they’re still going strong.

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Children’s opera performed at Nazi concentration camp in 1943 to be restaged in Toronto

Katrina Clarke | February 24, 2017 | National Post

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Photo courtesy Jewish Museum in Prague

In the grainy film, a cluster of neatly dressed children stand tall. Some wear stage makeup, one sports a fake moustache and all sing in unison to a sea of fellow prisoners below.

The film was Nazi propaganda. The opera was real.

The Brundibar children’s opera, written by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása, was first performed by children in a Prague orphanage in 1942. A year later, it was smuggled into the Theresienstadt concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, where imprisoned children performed it more than 50 times. Now, on the 75th anniversary of the first performance, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company is bringing Brundibar to Toronto.

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With #deleteuber and #grabyourwallet trending, we ask: Do boycotts work?

Katrina Clarke | February 21, 2017 | CBC Life

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Hudson’s Bay is in the crosshairs of a Trump boycott – but does it matter?

With the Grab Your Wallet campaign against Trump products gaining steam in the United States and news that some companies, such as Nordstrom, are dropping Ivanka Trump’s line, it appears Trump boycotts are not only succeeding, but expanding in scope.

But just because experts predict more boycotts are to come doesn’t mean they’ll work. Indeed, the Hamilton boycott, initiated by Trump supporters after then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a November performance of the Broadway musical and was given a talking-to by the cast, asking him to work on behalf of all Americans, appears to have failed, and the Bay boycott may not even be making a dent in sales.

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Hygge: How a Danish lifestyle philosophy can help make your winter happier

Katrina Clarke | February 17, 2017 | CBC Life

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You’ve got the books, the tea and the candles. But unless you’re Danish, you probably don’t really get hygge.

Hygge, pronounced hoo-guh, is a Danish term that loosely translates to “coziness.” Danes consider it part of their national identity, and a ritual that helps them get through long, harsh winters. But as interest in hygge takes off in the United Kingdom and North America, experts say the true, subtle meaning of the term is getting lost in translation — marketers selling hygge products and Instagrammers hashtagging #hygge on anything fuzzy, furry, warm or nice-tasting, are missing the mark.

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The real science behind falling in and out of love

Katrina Clarke | February 16, 2017 | CBC Life

cover.jpgDry mouth. Butterflies in your stomach. Weak knees.

What better time than Valentine’s Day to try to figure out why being in love feels similar to a bad case of the nerves!

To help us, we reached out to a modern day love expert if ever there was one; Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, senior research fellow with the Kinsey Institute and author of the book Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. Indeed, there are unpleasant side effects that come with falling in love, which Fisher says we can thank evolution for—but, if all goes well, the suffering could pay off, since these feelings are meant to help steer you towards your lifelong mate.

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