fbpx

Stories

Gift the Unexpected: 3 Unique ‘Gifts for Good’ Ideas that Help Children Worldwide by Fred Witteveen   My family, perhaps like yours, has an annual holiday tradition. Every year, no matter where we are, we make the same Christmas breakfast. We prepare our special crepes, the recipe handwritten on a stained decades-old 3x6 card. As a family, we have moved often and even relocated abroad for a time. Change is a constant for us, but so are those pancakes. My daughter, now 28, grew up on them; I figure she downed hundreds over the years before leaving her now empty-nester parents. As a result of COVID last year, we spent the holidays miles apart in New York and Toronto. Even quarantine could not stop us; we laughed together as we flipped crepes made with our special recipe over Zoom.   Holiday Traditions Children everywhere love traditions (parents, too), and traditions make memories. Celebrating Giving Tuesday (November 29) is a tradition in our family, too. It marks the largest global movement of generosity and signals the start of the holiday season. If you're writing up your family's holiday wish list this year, consider including some 'gifts for good' that will make a lasting difference to vulnerable children worldwide and create a new family tradition. Children Believe is a charity that supports more than 1.2 million children, youth and community members annually. They release their Gifts for Good catalogue every year. It features gifts that can help break the barriers to education that millions of children, particularly girls, endure in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay—countries where Children Believe serves. All 54 gifts featured in the Gifts for Good catalogue will support children and their families to overcome the challenges they face, not only during the holiday season but all year long. Here are three of my favourite picks that I hope might make your family’s list this holiday season, too.   Goats – the Gift Of All Time? Being the GOAT – what younger generations recognize to mean the “Greatest Of All Time” – may be an accolade given to sports stars, but we think real goats are the “Gift Of All Time”. Why? Goats have proven to be useful in developing countries as a source of milk, fertilizer, and income for vulnerable families. Parents can use these funds for their children’s  school fees and supplies. You can help a family for a year by giving a goat ($100 per goat, $250

Virgin River's Jenny Cooper on Juggling Motherhood with Acting by Arianne Granada     You might see her as a familiar face on television. Jenny Cooper has played prominent roles in crowd-favourite shows like Grey's Anatomy, Open Heart, 24, Law and Order True Crime: The Menedez Murders, Scandal, NCIS, and CSI: Miami. Currently, she is starring as Joey Barnes in the Netflix series Virgin River, which is based on the long-running series of novels by New York Times bestseller Robyn Carr. When she's not starring on Virgin River, Jenny Cooper is raising her three kids in Los Angeles with her husband. We had the chance to talk to Jenny about how she balances work and family life, and she gave us some pretty insightful tips for anyone else trying to figure out how to do it all.   Tell us a bit about your character in Virgin River.  Joey is Mel's older, protective sister who, when the series started, seemed like she had it all together and was there mostly to support Mel. But we have seen through subsequent seasons that she was hiding a lot from her sister, including the state of her marriage.    Virgin River has tackled issues like postpartum depression, cancer, sexual assault, pregnancies at an older age, grief, and domestic violence that many women and parents could relate to. Do you think this openness and honesty to real-life situations contributed to the show’s success?     It's so hard to say what contributes to any show's success or failure. In our case, it feels like it was the right show at the right time. There's so much unrest in the world right now, I think our audience wants to believe that a place like Virgin River actually exists, with people who are kind and generous towards one another. And it seems like the larger issues that are tackled in the show work in part because of the beautiful performances of the cast, because of the love people have for these characters, and, as you said, because many of us have experienced these kinds of challenges, so it's always inspiring to see someone work through a dark time and come out on the other side.   Joey is Mel’s sister and go-to person for advice. What can you say about their sisterly love and how do you think they maintain their strong bond despite their distance? I think they have the kind of relationship where they are always at the forefront of each

5 Ways to Have Philly Fun With Your Teen By Rosalind Stefanac   If you’re looking for a walkable American city filled with history, fantastic food and fun, Philadelphia will not disappoint. With some of the most historic sites in U.S. history—and plenty of places to “hang”— Philly proved to be a perfect blend of learning and adventure for a recent weekend with my teenage son.   Where to stay   Stay downtown for easy walking access to a multitude of parks and free historic sites, such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the U.S. Constitution was created), and the infamous Rocky (Balboa) steps and statue (more on that below). We loved the atmosphere at the iconic Notary Hotel, which is located in Philadelphia’s former city hall — a building that dates back to 1926—and features all the modern amenities, including a 24-hour gym and a fully stocked tuck shop for late-night snacking. It’s also a block away from the Reading Terminal Market, a food bazaar sure to please every appetite.   What to eat   You can’t not try a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia. We walked the aisles of the Reading Terminal Market to find these delicious sandwiches topped with thinly sliced steak, caramelized onion, and melted provolone cheese. With more than 80 other merchants there, we also filled up on soft pretzels, tacos, cannolis, cookies and donuts made fresh before our eyes. Open at 8 a.m., the market is a great place for breakfast too. For a memorable dinner, a Mexican-inspired feast at the funky Condesa was also a big hit with my teen (and me).   What to do   #1: Philly fun at Franklin Square As one of the city’s original open space squares, it centres around a 180-year-old fountain and classic carousel and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. While there we explored the Philadelphia Lantern Festival with more than 30 brilliant displays illuminated by tens of thousands of LED lights and plenty of cool photo ops. #2: Take a segway tour Philly offers some fantastic tours by foot, bike, bus and boat, but we opted to see the city’s most iconic spots via Segway with Philly Tour Hub. Following a brief training session, this mode of transport proved to be an exhilarating way to tour a variety of Philly neighbourhoods. If you’ve never ridden a Segway before, go for the shorter, 60-minute tour to avoid sore legs from all that balancing. #3: Channel the champ Burn off some steam by running

6 Reasons to Visit Mexico’s Marvellous Yucatán State By Rosalind Stefanac   A recent trip to Yucatán State proved that there's so much more to Mexico than sandy beaches and ocean views. In fact, venturing inland on the southeastern Yucatán peninsula revealed so many historic gems, along with scenic retreats that offered a blissful escape from crowds and the hustle of everyday life. In planning your next adventure down south with your tween, teen or solo, here are six reasons to put Yucatán on your radar:     Cenotes are so cool These nature-made, deep-water wells (or sinkholes), surrounded by rock formations, date back thousands of years. They're filled with fresh water fed by rain and underground currents. Most of Mexico’s more than 6,000 cenotes can be found in the Yucatán peninsula. At the Zazil Tunich in Valladolid, you descend 20 metres down into a cavern to reach the cenote where you can swim in the refreshing waters (average temperature 75-degrees Fahrenheit). Here you can opt for a guided tour that includes a traditional Mayan purification ceremony. It’s magical!   It’s Taco Tuesday every day!   All that swimming in cenotes is sure to spark your appetite. Luckily Yucatán is home to some of the best tacos on the planet — at least in my opinion. Be sure to try the cochinita pibil (shredded pork shoulder or loin), a popular taco filling in the region. They usually serve it with lettuce, pickled red onion, tomatoes, avocado and habanero chilli. At the Kinich in Isamal, you can even watch the staff hand-roll fresh tortillas before your very eyes. It doesn’t get fresher than this.   You can be one with nature (literally)   At the high-end Oriundo Luxury Nature Villas, which opened this June in Valladolid, every detail in the guest rooms has been designed to harmonize with the surrounding jungle. Not only are the materials all natural but you’ll find trees growing throughout the indoor space, and plenty of windows overlooking the lush green foliage. If you’re on a tighter budget, the area has plenty of haciendas with accommodations surrounded by lovely outdoor spaces ideal for nature exploring.   The architecture is awesome   In Merida, Yucatán’s pedestrian-friendly capital city, you'll find colonial history evident in most of the colourful and lovingly restored mansions, many of which are open to tourists. I took a guided tour of the stunning El Minaret, which was built in 1908, and is also known as the watchtower of Merida’s centre. Aim to be there

5 Tips to Raise a Resilient Teen By June Rousso, Ph.D.   Teens today are faced with so much rapid change along with everyday academic and social demands. All of these demands can be very stressful at times. Our bodies naturally react to stress with a fight, flight or freeze reaction. However, we also can use our thoughts and emotions to develop resilience and better manage stress. This is where resilience comes in. But how to build it? Here are some tips for parents guided by the words of teens themselves from ChildResilient.org, a student-run non-profit organization born out of the pandemic.   Tip #1: Encourage a strong sense of self in your teen. If you have a sense of who you are, you can easily direct yourself towards and away from situations — even toxic ones. As parents, give more choices when you can, and encourage your child not to be influenced by social conformity. While it is natural to want to be liked by others, it's also important to live by your own will. Let them learn to think independently, regardless of the good and bad opinions of others. Help foster resilience as well as build your teen's self-confidence by encouraging this kind of independent thinking.   Tip #2: Don’t dwell on the past, especially the bad life experiences. While you never want to dismiss your child’s feelings, dwelling on the past prevents building up the strength to move forward in life. Children, especially teens, can be so sensitive to how they might have been judged in the past. Past opinions don’t matter and they need to learn to do things for themselves. Strengthen your teen's sense of self by teaching them not to be swayed by public opinion. With ongoing emotional reactions to stress — such as depression and anxiety — it is important to remind your child that these feelings are not all of who they are, which helps to keep your teen resilient.   Tip #3: Explain that making social comparisons is natural, but overdoing it hinders being a resilient teen. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually come out on the short end of the stick or take on an arrogant attitude of feeling better. Communicating that there will always be people with more of something in some way is one message, but teens can also learn that these same people can serve as role models and be inspirational. At the same time, despite the social comparisons,

Paula Jiven Explores Musicality in The Duality in Me By Tanishq Desai     Swedish rising pop sensation, Paula Jiven is kicking the doors down with her radiant creation of original pop music on her debut EP, The Duality In Me, out May 6th. Curating a sonic world that is truly her own, Paula steps out of one phase of life and into another by discovering her sound and sharing the creation process behind songs that she’s been writing since she was 13. Now, the singer/songwriter is ready to reveal her multidimensional musicality to the world with her dreamy pop synth moment.    At the age of 13, you performed at Sweden’s Got Talent and got a Golden Buzzer from the judges. What was the build-up like from the moment a young Paula Jiven picked up a violin on SGT and getting a golden buzzer? “So yes I started playing violin at the age of three, and at that point, it was more so just something for fun. I had so much fun practicing how to play, and ooh I got better, but for many years it was just something that I did like how other kids played football. And I guess at some point it started becoming more of a form of an expression. I started singing as an art form, and by the time I was on Sweden’s Got Talent, I was writing my own songs but I was not ready to release them in any way." "It was so scary, even playing them for my own family. But I did that show because I wanted to get into the music industry and I wanted to be able to build some contacts. Get my name out there and that’s kind of what happened with that golden buzzer. I honestly blacked out when that happened, of course, I was so happy and excited like yeah we finally did that. But usually, on these artistic journeys, it’s not all about the moments, it’s about the build-up to it. When it happened I was just like okay good, that worked out, next step and I think we need to see more of that in the creative industry like I did that. ”   Since then you have been very careful in selecting the writers and producers you work with on your music, is there a specific process that you apply when you pick collaborators for your projects? “Basically, I’ll do sessions. And

3 Ways to Suit Up for Prom 2022 By Arianne Mae Granada Roll up your sleeves and put your dancing shoes on because prom is finally back! It is time to suit up for Prom 2022! (WARNING: Marvel reference ahead!) Still can’t have a sensation of the prom fever? Think of it this way: two years ago, Thanos snapped his fingers and took away the biggest events of your teen’s life — prom night, graduation day and spring break. And in a snap (pun intended!), they’ve all been brought back to life. That is their version of the blip. After 2 years of cancelled plans and dampened expectations, the long-awaited prom season is upon us once again. Prom can be a great opportunity to communicate and help you to connect with your teen. The highly anticipated celebration is set to be welcomed back with doubled excitement and 110 percent energy. Considered a huge milestone in every teen’s life, prom is definitely the special occasion they would invest their time and money on. Whether your teen is a first-time goer, a soon-to-be graduate throwing a “make-up prom,” or a hopeless romantic staging a promposal, it’s important that they put together the perfect ensemble to make it worth remembering. Along with failed dalgona coffee attempts and DIY haircuts, we’re leaving boring prom OOTDs behind in 2020. It’s time to suit up and welcome this year’s prom season with creativity and self-discovery. Whether you prefer an unconventional look over the usual prom dresses, or you want to put on a modern take on a traditional tuxedo, there are endless ways to style a basic suit and tie, and we are here to narrow down your options.  For switching up a classic The Slim-Fit Stretch Peak Lapel Tuxedo is a modern take on a fashion classic that will make anyone stand out at the prom venue. This tailored suit is available in a variety of sizes and is gender-neutral… because there are no rules when it comes to fashion!  For a chill night For a more casual look, this Slim-Fit Stretch Suit is available in five different colours including grey, pink and light blue, delivering versatility and an instant confidence boost.  For an instant upgrade TipTop.ca also offers a range of accessories from bowties to pocket squares in a variety of different colours so you can jazz up your look with a pop of colour. One thing the pandemic has taught teens and young adults alike —

Actor Dan Payne's Judgement-Free Philosophy on Parenting and Mental Health By Tanishq Desai From John Tucker Must Die to Watchmen - Dan Payne has over 100 credits in the form of television features or indie films to his name. Apart from being a full-time husband, father and actor who actively advocates for mental health, the Mulligans heartthrob talks about his upcoming feature film, Corrective Measures, alongside Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker. Tell us about your new movie, Corrective Measures. “Well, it’s a big step up for me! I got to work with a couple of guys that I consider to be legends and icons — Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker — so I did a little happy dance the moment I found out that it was happening. And I also get to play a character that I’m not used to. He’s an ex-military vigilante, which is kind of far away from the loving-nature-doting-husband type of roles that I’ve played! This project is on a way bigger scale too. It’s Fox Tubi’s first original content release and I’m honoured that I get to be a part of it.”   You play Walter Arthur Locke (aka Payback). Tell us about your character and what drew you to him? “So Corrective Measures is a graphic novel turned into a movie and Sean Patrick O'Reilly who directed, wrote and executive produced this did a magical job of making it a fun story and a great ride to be on. My character, Payback, is an ex-military guy, and some things happened to him that put him on a pretty strong vigilante path of revenge. But he ends up in one of the state-of-the-art hidden octane penitentiaries where all the main bad guys of the world get stuck. Now we’ll have to watch the movie to know if he ends up there on purpose but he’s got a pretty strong vendetta against criminals. When a radio magnetic pulse goes out over the world, it gives some people superpowers, kills the rest and some get mutated because of it. But this gives us a little good vs. evil because the good people put their powers to good use and the bad tend to go to evil, which eventually leads them all into this prison so you understand how it can get when there’s a bunch of superheroes and badasses put together. It can get messy.”   Coming back to you working with some icons in this

5 Creative Ways To Spend Time With Mom For Mother’s Day Although one day a year really isn’t enough to honour the person that gave birth to you and raised you, Mother’s Day is a great way to show mom how much you appreciate her. It turns out that finding the best gift for mom is easier than you think! Here are 5 ways to add some laughter, sweetness, and love to your Mother’s Day celebration.   1. Cook for Mom  There truly is nothing like a home-cooked meal by mom and it is time to return the favour. Cook your mom her favourite meal, buy her favourite wine or cocktail and even have siblings or partners act as hostesses and waiters. Give her a 5-star dining experience at home, one she will never forget.  2. Play games to celebrate If food isn’t her thing, then why not liven up the party with some games to keep the crowd engaged and make cherished memories. Ideas like karaoke, mad libs, and bingo are always fun. We all know mom deserves a break from daily chores. You can create your own game like the “Give mom a break” game that you can create for the day. Let mom be the centre of attention by offering to do all household chores. This can be a wonderful way of showing gratitude while mom puts her feet up on her special day. 3. Something sweet for mom Who doesn’t love ice cream, especially from your favourite brand? Skip the flower store and head straight to dessert with the new Tall Stack Cake from Baskin-Robbins Canada. Customize with mom’s favourite cake and ice cream flavour topped with a special message to let her know how much she means to you. 4. Watch a movie together A budget-friendly way to stay in and avoid crowds is to let Mom cuddle up on the couch in her pyjamas! Yes, we're talking about streaming a movie! We all know that the best Mother's Day gift is quality time, so make plans to catch up and then press play on the TV with some of her favourite movie treats.  5. Get pampered At some point on Mother's Day, mom may want some time alone or a chance for a little rest and relaxation. A few ideas include a 60-minute massage to help her unwind, or by bringing her to the hair salon and treating her to a cute new cut and blowout or taking her

7 Tips to Understanding Your Teen By Ishank Katyal Dealing with a teenager has always been the most complicated and challenging part of parenting—the significant change in brains and hormones, not to mention the impulsiveness and emotions that teens build after turning 13. External factors including academic pressure, peer pressure, social media, and many other problems adolescents face every day can affect them both mentally and emotionally and might restrain their relationship with their loved ones.  Here are some of the tips which might help you understand your teen better:   1. Listen to them Your teen will listen to you only when you’re a good listener. It requires a lot of energy and patience, but it is a key tool for improving your relationship with them because it builds trust and helps them gain self-confidence and self-esteem. 2. Avoid asking too many questions Kids become more uncomfortable when you keep asking them questions and it feels like an interrogation rather than a healthy conversation. Ask only those questions which are relevant to the situation, otherwise, they could get irritated and be hesitant to share their problems. 3. Give them space Just like adults, teenagers also need some privacy and space from the people around them. Try to approach them not as a parent, but as an individual and learn to respect their privacy. Avoid barging into their room whenever you please and teach them the value of privacy and personal space. 4. Make sure they’re not addicted to their electronics Do they find it difficult to put their phone down while studying or doing any important work? Try to limit their screen time (no matter how much they fight for it!) to give them a break from social media and the Internet. This helps them to learn to be in the moment and can foster some great conversations. Even a small gesture like putting their phones away and joining you for a walk can go a long way in bolstering their moods.  5. Treat your teen as an individual Yes, they may take after you or your spouse, but your teen is their own person, with their own beliefs and opinions. Letting them express what they think and feel without judgement will help boost their self-esteem while fostering a great relationship. It can also make for some excellent dinner conversation. 6. Be honest with them One of the best things you could do for your teen is to be honest. A positive parent-child