Body Sugaring- A type of sugar that’s good for you!

All rights, titles and interests in any images or   clips, used herein under fair use and fair coping remain the property of the author.

When someone first mentioned body sugaring to me, I have to admit I had no clue what they were talking about. Was it some kind of new skin treatment craze or was it something involving aroma therapy? I quickly discovered that it is a wonderful hair removal method that’s all the rage.

 First of all, let me be very clear that the idea of anything involving pulling on any hair on my body, is not my idea of a good time. I had such a bad experience in the past that I vowed never to put myself through that again. This said, The Sugar Hive-NDG had such great reviews that I couldn’t resist checking it out. Ample parking makes it easy to access and the owner, Oriel, was very inviting. Upon entering, my senses were treated to wonderful aromas both from candles and the lovely natural sugar based products being used in my treatment.  After filling out a form (health information taken only as a precautionary measure) I was guided to a lovely room where we began the process. While applying a skin preparation lotion (which helps to disinfect the skin and is completely natural), Oriel explained the origins of body sugaring to me. It all began thousands of years ago with the Egyptians. The pharaohs and their entourage used this method to remove unwanted hair. Up until very recently, body sugaring had popularity mostly in Europe but thanks to word of mouth, it has gained momentum here in North America and shows no signs of slowing down. All the products used are completely natural (made entirely of sugar, water and lemon juice) and this special formula of natural goodness does not adhere to live skin cells (unlike waxing, the sugar only removes the hair and dead skin cells, and not healthy skin cells). The advantages of this include reducing redness and eliminating the possibility of developing ingrown hairs. The sugar used is prepared at room temperature so there is no worry of dealing with that feeling of burnt skin often experienced with hot wax. The fact that it is a natural product also is good news for the environment, as no harsh chemicals are used and the sugar is applied simply by a technique using only the fingers (no messy cotton strips or wooden applicators to throw out).

So, I know what you’re thinking; it all sounds fine and dandy but what about the pain? It’s safe to say that at one point or another in every woman’s life, we’ve had to deal with hair removal torture, in the many forms that pain presents itself. I myself have had my share of bad experiences that include burnt skin, chemical burns and allergic reactions just to name a few. Let me tell you, body sugaring is my new go to hair removal must have! When Oriel started the process and began to remove the hair on my legs with the sugar, I was shocked! I literally felt no pain. I kept bracing myself to feel that all too familiar pinching sensation but each time I did, I was surprised I felt nothing. Even on the most sensitive areas, I was pain free and totally relaxed. It was such a refreshing experience compared to what I had endured in the past. Before I knew it, my session was over and Oriel was applying a natural soothing lotion (that btw smelled awesome!). My sugaring experience was one of the most positive hair removal experiences I have ever had and I highly recommend you look into it if you need to get rid of those pesky hairs (be it legs, arms, facial or otherwise). High praise to the Sugar Hive for a job well done,

About the Sugar Hive and its owner:  Oriel is from Kitchener, Waterloo and has been doing body sugaring for a few months now. She hopes to open her own body sugaring shop some day and would even love to offer a spa experience featuring all natural products. Her budding business is located at 4397 Grand Boulevard in NDG, Montreal.

Link to The Sugar Hive Facebook site:  //www.facebook.com/TheSugarHivee/    

 

To belly dance or not to belly dance...House of Lavender- Holistic Belly Dance Group

All rights, titles and interests in any images or   clips, used herein under fair use and fair coping remain the property of the author.

When I was asked if I wanted to take part in a belly dancing class and write a five-part article about it, I was really excited. Then, the more I thought about it the more I began to worry a little. I have never really attended any kind of dance class (if you don’t count when I was little) so belly dancing seemed like a bit of a leap. I have to admit though; I was curious and nervous at the same time. 

The day of my first class had finally arrived and my excitement/curiosity had made me almost an hour early. At least parking was a breeze (I found a spot literally in front of the building). I had some extra time to kill, so I decided to sit in the park right across from the dance studio. Despite the honking of cars and bustle of the city, it was very relaxing and helped to calm my nerves a little bit.

Then, before I knew it, it was time to meet the group and start my belling dancing experience. I was met by Brooke Megan (teacher and belly dance guru) with the warmest of smiles and the most welcoming of greetings. The studio had a very warm and inviting vibe and I was instantly put at ease. An introduction to the rest of my fellow dancers was given and everyone was gracious and friendly towards me (the new comer). Students had the option to bring their own hip scarves or to choose one from Brooke’s wide, not to mention beautiful, collection.  Not having any of my own, I chose one of Brookes’ (I would later find out that she’s owned this particular hip scarf for 8 years- no pressure).  Once everyone was ready to begin, we all took our seats on our mats and Brooke began her introduction to what holistic belly dancing is all about. Brooke’s view is that ‘’Dance is more than just a series of movements, and by underscoring its strong links to mental and spiritual health, it can be used to guide women toward a greater understanding of self’’. The class was a safe space where women could share their thoughts and emotions without judgement.  After Brookes’ explanations, we all sat in our circle and experienced the openness of touch with one another.  We all paired up and gave our partners hand massages using essentials oils (this exercise is practiced openly to learn to relax and give of ourselves but also to receive from others. Also it helps one to be open to new experiences and emotions by letting go of any negative energy we may have stored up). We were given a small demonstration as to how to massage the hand then we were off  (of course it is clearly mentioned by Brooke that any and all activities done in the classroom are not forced upon students and anytime anyone is not comfortable with something, they are free to sit out with no judgement or issues).  This said, I sat back and allowed my partner to give me my hand massage. At first, I was clearly not relaxed as my partner was so keenly able to detect (by simply feeling how tense my forearm was). Then as she calmly told me to relax and enjoy, I found myself surrendering to the calming music playing in the background and found that my massage was actually very pleasant. I found myself letting go of my tension and just giving into the moment. Once we had given and received our hand massages, we gathered in our circle once more and captured what we had taken away from the experience, in our journals.  The group then proceeded to share their thoughts on the massage exercise and what they had taken away from the experience. I myself shared how impressed I was with my partner’s ability to almost immediately detect where I was holding all my tension in my forearm (carpal tunnel syndrome- a common job hazard among writers) and therefore she was able to relieve some of the pain.

Now that our spirits were open and our emotional palettes were cleansed, it was time to warm up our bodies and belly dance. We started by stretching out and getting our muscles ready. Then came the moment I had been so anxious about: experiencing what belly dancing was all about. Poses and stances were front and center and I awoke muscles my body seemed to have forgotten I had. We observed ourselves in the studio mirrors so as to mimic what Brooke was showing us (to the best of our abilities). Brooke gave us a phenomenal example of what we could eventually accomplish with these wonderful moves and she performed for the entire class. It inspired us all and definitely made me want to give it a whirl.

The amazing part is by this time I wasn’t feeling self conscience at all. I was totally comfortable in the environment that Brooke had created for the class. We all moved to the music, holding our belly dance poses and receiving encouragement from each other and Brooke. The aspect that surprised me the most is that as a woman, I have spent the better part of my life trying to make my body giggle as little as possible. Now, I was being encouraged to shake all my little bits as much as I could and it was fabulous! No shame, just pure liberation and enjoyment of the female form in all its glory.

As we danced and learned how to move our bodies, time seemed to just fly by. Before I knew it, the class had come to an end and it was time to cool down. Brooke gave each and every one individual high-fives and congratulations on a job well done. It was such a rewarding experience.

So that marked the end of my first belly dancing experience (the first of many to come). As I said my goodbyes to my fellow belly dancers, I mentioned how I was looking forward to the next class.  I made my way home and discovered that I had a level of renewed energy and optimism that I have not felt in a very long time. I felt a boost both mentally and physically (even though my muscles were telling me otherwise).  I am so looking forward to next week’s class and can’t wait to share it with you all.

Namaste!

Dating: What do women really want?

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Dating can be a veritable mine field, from how to dress, what to say and how to act. There is no exact science to dating, no how to manuals we can read.  We are often left to follow our instinct and sometimes those instincts can be either bang on or dead wrong. As a woman I can only speak to men who are looking to find out what not to do if you plan on seeing a woman past the first date.  Below are just a few personal tips that I hope will help to make the mine field a little less daunting.

Tip #1 (this should be a given but it’s worth mentioning): Dress to impress. Most women will take note of a man’s appearance right away. While you are busy checking her out, she is actively doing the same but in a very different way. While you may be checking out her body, she is doing that as well, but in so much more detail. She is taking note of every little detail right down to the amount of facial hair you have and whether it’s been properly groomed. She is looking at your hands to see if your finger nails are dirty, she’s taking note on how much cologne you decided to put on (tip: less is more) and yes she is even checking to see if there is a tan line where a wedding ring might be. Some would say appearances don’t matter, not true. The old saying ‘’first impressions are important’’ is key!  In life they say you have to dress for the job you want, well dating is really not that different. Women love it when a man makes an effort to look good, it shows they care, not only about their date but themselves as well.

Tip #2: Leave the past behind. Nothing is more off putting than a man that seems to not have moved on from his last relationship. We all have our relationship baggage to deal with, but dealing with it while you’re on a date with another woman is not that time (this lesson applies to women too). If you’re out with a woman who just happens to enjoy the same kind of music as your ex, or she happens to like the same kinds of food as your ex, whatever you do, don’t bring it up! Mentioning any kinds of similarities between a date and an ex can lead not only to insecurities on her part, but also make you look like you’re still hung up on your ex! Of course, if you were in a serious relationship and are back on the dating scene you might notice you have a specific ‘’type’’ you are attracted to, which is fine. There are bound to be some similarities, just don’t go out of your way to mention them, especially on the first date. She will lose interest in you faster than you can say ‘’when can I see you again?’’

Tip #3: Confidence versus arrogance. Women love a man who is confident, but not to the point of arrogance. It is a big turn on when we see that a man has confidence in himself but at the same time he is humble about that confidence.  For example, there is nothing worse than being with a guy who is good looking and acts like he knows it. The turn on for us is, he’s good looking but thinks he isn’t (I know it’s weird but it’s true). On the opposite spectrum, you have the guy who thinks he’s god’s gift to women and dresses accordingly (either out of style, not their age or just plain weird). A man who doesn’t have a good sense of style can be a complete turn off for some, where others can see it as a challenge (a fixer upper kind of guy). Either way, it’s best to play it safe and go with a nice collared shirt (no tie) and a dressy pair of jeans. You can never go wrong with business/casual style.

 Tip #4: Keep some thoughts to yourself.  If you’re on a date with a woman whom you find very attractive, refrain from making awkward remarks about specific things you find sexy about her (especially on a first date). You might find she has a great body or sexy lips and that’s fine, but making a point about how you happen to find those traits sexy is just creepy. For example, your date happens to have very full sexy lips, don’t blurt out ‘’you have the most beautiful, sexy lips I have ever seen!’’.  It comes off as if all you’re looking at are her lips, which leads a woman to think all you’re interested in are her looks and not getting to know her as a person.  If the relationship progresses past a couple of weeks, then those kinds of comments most probably could be a turn on, as opposed to making her want to run screaming in the opposite direction. Keep your cool and instead of fixating on her looks, listen to her when she speaks. Really take an interest in what she has to say. A man who can have a real conversation with a woman is so sexy and believe me, she will notice if you’re not actively listening, so really put some effort into it. If the chemistry is good, you will find there won’t be much effort required.

I wish you all happy dating and I hope my tips will have proven useful to at least a few people. It can be tough out there and sometimes a few tips can go a long way.

Oh the guilt...Sex and the City Season 6

*Disclaimer: Sex and the city was produced by HBO and all rights, titles and interests in any images or clips, used herein under fair use and Fair Copying, remain the property of the author

It’s one of the most challenging things any mother (single or not) has to learn to cope with: How to balance motherhood/family life and a career. For nine months we go through pregnancy, coping with our ever changing bodies, preparing for the day when baby will arrive. We setup the room; making sure we have every detail taken care of (baby clothes, toys, strollers, car seats, etc...). Before you know it the day has arrived and you are happier than you ever thought possible. You bring your new bundle of joy home and you learn what being a mom entails (little to no sleep, what seems like endless diaper changes and cleaning clothes, bottles and other baby related paraphernalia). Eventually you get the hang of the whole baby thing (schedule and otherwise) and you’ve hit your stride. You have it all together. You feel like you have this baby thing under control and you are the super hero of moms (at the very least a side kick).

Then the day you’ve been dreading more than the labour pains, hits. You have to go back to your job. Suddenly, you have to trade in your mom card and go back to being ‘’professional’’ you. You hand in your diaper genie and get an upgrade to a briefcase. It feels weird, unnatural and somehow all wrong!

In season 6 of Sex and the City (episode 6- Hop, Skip and a Jump) Miranda is facing just such a challenge. She has been back to work for a little while now and has acquired help from her trusted house keeper, Magda, to look after her infant son Brady.  One morning, Miranda is running late for work when Magda arrives at the apartment to start her day. As all working mothers must do, Miranda relinquishes care of Brady to the help and sets off on her day to work. As she is leaving, Brady begins to howl at seeing his mama leave his sight. Although she knows she loves her job, Miranda is riddled with guilt at leaving her baby boy. None the less, she sets of on her long day of work.

Later that day, Miranda is summoned to a meeting (for which she believes involves a case she has been working tirelessly on for her law firm). She arrives in a bit of a rush and immediately begins to give the partners of the firm her assessment of how her case is going. They quickly interrupt her, informing her that the meeting is with regards to her work performance and not her cases. They mention that they have noticed her missing time, being late for meetings and leaving early on certain occasions.  Miranda, being the ultimate professional she is, makes no excuses for herself and states that those issues will no longer be a problem. She also takes the time to mention (you know, casually in passing) that as a lawyer, her performance has been unflawed but as a mother she felt like a failure. She gracefully leaves the room, and takes the time to remind the partners that when her mother passed, she happened to be at work the following Monday (only having missed 1 day).  

That evening, Miranda rushes home in the hopes of being able to spend some quality time with Brady. As she arrives home, she proclaims ‘’I’m here, I’m here!’’ to Magda, but to her disappointment Miranda discovers that Brady has been in bed for the past hour. She is so disappointed not only to find out that she missed spending time with her son, but also at herself. She feels like a failure as a parent!

Why is it so difficult being a working mother? It’s such a struggle to be successful at both. The more time we spend being good at one, the more time we end up feeling like a failure at the other. Is there a happy medium? The business world places so much emphasis on being successful at our careers and there is so much pressure to perform. On the other hand, choosing to spend time and invest in our children is seen as slacking off.  When a working mom needs to leave work because their child is sick, it is often met with scorn and disapproval (from colleagues and superiors a like). If there happens to be an occasion where a mother needs a day off to attend an event for their child, they are often either denied this opportunity, or are forced to lie about the reasons they need the day off (for example ‘’my car broke down’’, ‘’I was robbed’’, you get the idea).

The business world invests millions of dollars everyday into a multitude of business ventures, so how is it they don’t put the same value on investing into children, who essentially are our future leaders. Why does society shun stay at home moms instead of praising them for raising well rounded kids? It would be nice to have an equal balance of both worlds (family and career) so that working women could avoid the feeling of failure all together and just feel fulfilled, all the while enjoying success both in and outside of the family unit.

 

Sex and the City: Season 2- Ready, set...panic!!!

*Disclaimer: Sex and the city was produced by HBO and all rights, titles and interests in any images or clips, used herein under fair use and Fair Copying, remain the property of the author

Has this ever happened to you...Your thoughts are racing, your heart is pounding and then that dreaded feeling that you’re going to pass out begins. You feel like everything around you is closing in and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. What’s happening? Well, chances are you’re having a panic attack. It’s scary (especially the first time) and it happens to so many people, yet it’s something not spoken of, due to its stigmatic nature.

In season 2 of Sex and the City, episode 5 – Four women and a Funeral, Miranda has decided to make the jump and buy her own place. She is financially independent and feels ready to take the next step. Being a 35 year old, successful woman buying her own apartment alone (without the financial help of a man) seems to be a concept lost on many of the people around her (her realtor, the mortgage broker, associates at her law firm).Of course, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte are thrilled for her and think her decision is fantastic (what are besties for after all). With a gentle nudge from her gals, Miranda moves forward and buys her new home. She’s happy and excited to be living this new chapter of her life. As she visits the vacant apartment to measure for drapes, she meets one of her soon to be neighbours who mentions that the previous owner was an unmarried, lonely old lady, who died and was found a week later, having had her face eaten off by her cat!

Of course Miranda is a bit shaken by this new information, but she pushes forward and moves into the apartment. That same night, after a few hours of unpacking boxes, she decides to take a break and have something to eat while watching a little TV. She takes a bite from her Chinese takeout and is quickly horrified by the fact that she is choking on the very piece she just put in her mouth! She begins to run around in a panic, all the while realizing she is choking and can’t breathe. Finally in a last ditch effort to save her own life, she gives herself the Heimlich manoeuvre on the back of an unpacked moving box and  to her relief, she is able to dislodge the trapped Kung Pao chicken. After she has caught her breath, Miranda immediately calls Carrie to inform her of her near death experience, luckily Carrie is able to talk her off the ledge (so to speak) and calm her down. When asked if she needs company, Miranda puts on a brave face and shrugs off the experience (with the exception of making sure her cat’s food bowl is completely full with food, you know, as a precaution of course).

The next day, refreshed and enthusiastic, Miranda decides she wants to get to know her new neighbourhood by taking a stroll.  As she proudly walks down the street, she is taking in all the scenery, enjoying the fresh air and the people around her. Life seems perfect for Miranda and nothing can bring her down. Then out of nowhere, things start to feel very wrong. Her vision starts to blur, the buildings and everything around her begin to spin and she feels as though she is going to pass out. Luckily, a cab happens to be a few feet away (this is New York City after all), so she summons the strength to hail it over and immediately tells the driver to take her to the nearest hospital. $500 worth of tests later, doctors tell Miranda she has had a panic attack. Even though Miranda was trying to be strong, the stress from the possibility of living and dying alone became too much for her to handle.

Anxiety has a way of affecting us all in different ways. Some people eat, others bottle it all up until it explodes (like our brave Miranda). Some choose to binge watch TV to distract themselves and others sometimes turn to more drastic measures (drugs, alcohol, etc...)

In today’s society we are all finding our own way of dealing with the stress factor in our lives. There are so many issues now a days (divorce, politics, terrorism, bad economical times, etc...) that for many it has become almost impossible to not worry, a daily ritual if you will (in waking thoughts or as you put your head to pillow at night).

As I write this I can’t help but wonder, how much has social media played a part in this? If I didn’t have this blog to outsource this issue, would we even be talking about it? Mental health issues have definitely gotten more attention in the last few years, but it’s important that we all remember that the next time you see someone struggling, instead of brushing them off, be compassionate and think twice before judging. Everyone has ‘’something’’ and we can never really understand how they are handling it.

 

Sex and the City - Girl talk for the ages

*Disclaimer: Sex and the city was produced by HBO and all rights, titles and interests in any images or clips, used herein under Fair use and Fair Copying, remain the property of the author

If you are 25+ in age, you’ve probably seen at least one episode of this iconic show. Its appeal is undeniable and more often than not any viewer (male or female) walks away having learned something. Witty banter can involve sexually hot topics, fashion trends, designers and of course the ever popular theme throughout the series L-O-V-E. We follow the lives of four strong women who are fumbling through the complicated world of dating, love and sex. We become so intertwined with the issues they face, the audience is left feeling like we are a part of the group, and you know, just another one of the gals.

 Through the eyes of Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes and Samantha Jones we are immersed into the lifestyle of living in New York City, where we visit places to grab a quick drink/dinner, see fabulous shops, art galleries and of course there are the endless cocktails (more specifically cosmopolitans, the drink that became synonymous with this show).

 We follow these women through everything from intimate details about sex (it is called Sex and The City after all) to finding love, staying in love or even falling out of it. This show speaks to me on so many levels that I find watching it almost therapeutic.

 For example, in season 5 episode 6 ‘’ Critical Condition’’ Samantha decides to do some personal shopping which includes exchanging her defective vibrator to Sharper Image. Of course her request is met with some surprise by the store clerk as he mentions that Sharper Image doesn’t sell vibrators (it is in fact a neck massager. None the less, that’s what Samantha has been using it for ‘’wink, wink, nudge, nudge’’.  After some interesting and witty exchanges between the two, the clerk succumbs to Samantha’s charm and tells her to pick another. On lookers in the store have been watching the exchange between the two and have come to the conclusion that she is some kind of vibrator guru (which of course we know she is). They begin to ask her questions as to which model would best suit their individual needs. This scene is a perfect example of the way the show allows us to breach topics that otherwise might be considered risqué. After all, who among us hasn’t had the vibrator discussion with our own girlfriends? Shape, size, color or even added features, vibrator talk is more common among the best of girlfriends than you would imagine. I can’t help but wonder though, for how many people is a vibrator better than the real thing? I mean, most single women I’ve spoken to say there’s no competition but are they saying this just to spare the feelings of their significant other? In the case of someone who is in a married committed relationship, does the eventual vibrator need arise after the relationship becomes routine and predictable or is it a question of keeping things fresh and interesting for both parties involved. Maybe for some it starts out as a curiosity issue and evolves into a way to avoid intimacy with others. Think about it, a vibrator can’t hurt your feelings, doesn’t act selfish and can never break up with you. It’s always there for you and never asks for anything in return... just new batteries. So the question is where do we draw the line between recreational use and dependence on a battery operated relationship?

 

Pillow talk gal - Life , love and so much more

Pillow talk gal, just another one of your girlfriends. Someone you can chat with, post your ideas and share your thoughts. I love fashion, movies and so many other things so hold on, we're gonna have some fun!!!

The Perfect Eyebrow Obsession!

First skinny was in. Then fat was all the rage. Then back to skinny and now we're back to fat! No I'm not talking about your favorite pair of jeans, I'm talking about eyebrows.

What is our obsession with the perfect eyebrow? There is a whole industry devoted to grooming, growing and shaping them into the perfect contour. I recently paid a trip to my local beauty supply shop (most of you ladies know where I'm refering to, starts with an S) and I was amazed at all the products that exist just for the care and maintenance of eyebrows! And the prices, don't get me started on that. Of course I am guilty of wanting that perfect brow as well but I can't help but wonder... where does the eyebrow begin and the woman behind it disapear?

The trends are hard enough to follow, now we have to grow hair in different places, as well as look good, have succesful careers and perfect families. In the end, does it really matter what your brows look like? Our society is so caught up in looks that we've fogotten the most important thing of all....humanity.

What if we could "pvr"our lives?

The other day I had a thought...what if we could use a PVR to manage our lives.  What I mean by this is, we could use all the features a PVR provides us but apply those features to our daily lives. Here's a for instance, the moments that you just would rather forget (like the rude comment a collegue may have made, or you spilling your tomato soup all over your nice white blouse) you could FWD (fast forward).  The times you want to relish and hold on to forever (this is pretty self explanatory and self motivated) you could either RWD (rewind) or PAUSE.  

Then there's those moments you never want to end...for those, you could press "record" and watch them over and over again (until that moment where you've run out of memory and you need to start deleting things). That brings up another interesting feature....more memory (RAM). Would this give us the unbelievable ability to remember all the good times, forget all the bad and delete the forgettable ones all together? 

 Of course the rest of the time you could just let life cruise on "play" mode because you would know that if anything came up you have the nifty little features I mentioned to do with as you please. With all the advances in technology these days I can't help but wonder....how long until I can PVR my life?