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LOULOU_Mar23

Jeanne Beker’s Spring Shopping List

LOULOU | posted Thursday, Mar 26th, 2015

A jean jacket: “A great summer go-to. Team it with a little black dress to give some of the rock-chick edginess, or with a pair of great boyfriend or sexy skinny jeans.”
Jeanne Beker $124.90. Buy online

A great pair of jeans: “Whatever style they are—bell bottoms, skinny legs, stretchy, boyfriend—it’s a perfect pick for getting around every day.”
DG2 by Diane Gilman, $79.90. Buy online

A dress that you love: “Whether that’s a plain, sleeveless number in a nice fabric like ponte that hugs you in all the right places and makes you feel really sexy, or something flowy and romantic and printed, everyone needs at least one new dress for the summer that speaks to the girl in you and lift you right up.”
Eureka by Christos Garkinos $139.90. Buy online

A big, floppy sunhat: “As the weather warms up and the sun starts shining, you definitely want to be protected.”
Jeanne Beker $46. Buy online

Eye-catching shades:  “Every woman needs a great pair of statement sunnies that you’re going to feel really good about wearing.”
Joan Boyce, $59.99. Buy online

A lightweight knit: “Preferably a cardigan. Something that’s going to feel really sumptuous that you’ll be able to mix in a variety of ways.”
Lusso Apparel, $149.90. Buy online

A sexy shoe: “It can be a wedge or something really strappy, as long as it’s a glam one that makes a statement.”
Vince Camuto $175. Buy online

An everyday shoe: “Plain and simple: This one is all about comfort.”
Vince Camuto $130. Buy online 

A bold bauble: “I think a cuff is ultimately empowering, so I’m all about a statement cuff, big bracelet and/or ring. But that’s a personal preference. Some people may prefer a necklace, as long as it really stands out.”
Jeanne Beker $35. Buy online

A printed top or dress: “Choose any feel-good style that’s really going to sing to you.”
Guillaume, $99.90. Buy online

Check out the full gallery at LOULOU

Make tax time less painful with Bruce Sellery’s help

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Mar 24th, 2015

CityLineArticle_Mar23

Let’s begin:

Bruce advises everyone to begin with something sweet: a reward. Whether it’s a glass of wine, chocolates or looking at the new pair of shoes you want, start with that because no one loves doing their taxes but keeping a reward in mind (the tax return and what you can put it toward) may help you reach your end goal.

If you have a little bit of lead time, start with the paperwork. Find and divide your forms and receipts such as T4 slips, investment income slips, receipts for your kids’ activities and charitable contributions, your RRSP contribution receipt, etc.

Bruce suggests keeping on top of these receipts throughout the year as they come in. Keep them in a file or even a shoebox; this will definitely pay off when you are tackling your taxes. For example, if you qualify for the maximum deduction for physical activity, it could be worth $1000 — you don’t want to lose out on that!

Should you pay someone to do your taxes for you, or should you do it yourself?

If you are unsure whether or not you can handle your taxes on your own, there are three variables you need to consider, Bruce says:

  1. Complexity: Can you handle the work by yourself? Is it too complex?
  2. Competency: Do you have the basic skills to do it?
  3. Enthusiasm: Do you not hate it?

If any of the above is an issue, consider hiring an accountant or using an online tax filing service such as TurboTax. The online services are fairly inexpensive, they prompt you to ask questions, and remind you of the papers you need.

What happens if you don’t do your taxes?

If you’re owed money by the government, you won’t get it. If you have a salaried job and they have been withholding tax at source, you may be eligible for a refund but you won’t receive it. And don’t forget about the credits you may qualify for – if you’re unemployed, on maternity leave, or have kids, you may be in line for a refund. Don’t leave that money on the table!

If you owe money and don’t file, the consequences are significant. If you miss the deadline, April 30, by a day, the government immediately levies a 5% penalty on what you owe, plus an additional 1% every month you are late.

The one exception from the penalty is if you have had a significant life event, for example, if you are diagnosed with a serious illness. If so, you must call the CRA, prove it, and see if you can work something out to avoid the penalty.

What if you haven’t filed your taxes for years?

This is the time to say, “I need help,” and call a professional. They will walk you through exactly what’s required so that you can make a payment.

Indoor science experiments your kids will love

Cityline | posted Thursday, Mar 19th, 2015

science experiment

DIY edible snow (aka vanilla ice cream)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half and half milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 large one gallon Ziploc bag
  • 1 medium Ziploc bag
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 1 cup of salt
  • a kitchen glass

Method:

Place the opened medium Ziploc bag inside the kitchen glass to make it easy to pour the ingredients inside.

Pour in the cup of half and half and add the vanilla extract and sugar.

Seal the medium Ziploc bag, and remove as much air as possible.

Scoop 4 cups of ice into the large Ziploc bag and then add the salt. The salt will help to lower the temperature of the ice faster.

Place the medium Ziploc full of ingredients inside the large bag with ice, remove any excess air and seal tightly.

Shake the large bag for 5 to 10 minutes until the ice cream thickens. Wear gloves as this can get cold on your hands.

Remove the medium bag with the ice cream and rinse with cold water to remove any of the salt from the outside.

Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

DIY lava lamp

Materials:

  • a medium glass vase or cylinder
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • food colouring
  • Alka Seltzer tablets

Method:

Fill the glass vase with vegetable oil, leaving approximately 3-4 inches at the top.

Pour in the half cup of water.

Add 15-20 drops of food colouring.

Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into quarters and drop them in one at a time.

Voila! You have your very own lava lamp!

DIY volcano

Materials:

  • A deep kitchen casserole dish
  • 2 glass cups
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • Food colouring (optional)

Method for volcano:

Place one glass cup inside the casserole dish to catch the mess.

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda inside the glass.

In the second cup,  add 1/2 a cup of vinegar, and add a few drops of red food colouring to create the colour of lava.

Pour the vinegar into the glass with baking soda.

Watch it erupt!

Magical inflating balloon

Materials:

  • An empty plastic water bottle
  • A 12″ latex balloon
  • A funnel
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Method:

Using the funnel, add the vinegar into the plastic water bottle.

Rinse the funnel with water and pat dry, then place the funnel into the end of the balloon.

Pour the baking soda into the uninflated balloon and remove the funnel.

Carefully place the opening of the balloon over the opening of the water bottle without letting any of the baking soda fall out of the balloon.

When ready, hold the balloon upright allowing all the baking soda to fall into the water bottle and watch the magic begin.

The reaction will cause the balloon to inflate, but not break!

Rainbow flower bouquet

Materials:

  • A bunch of white flowers (6 carnations work well)
  • Red, blue and yellow food colouring
  • 6 glass cups

Method:

Fill each glass cup with water.

Add a few drops of each food colouring bottle into 3 of the cups. Mix the primary colours to make secondary colours for the remaining cups.

Trim the carnation stems on an angle making them short enough to sit well in each cup.

Place a flower in each coloured water cup, and within 24 hours, the food colouring will have transferred into the petals making for a colourful bouquet!

8 things to get rid of at home (you’ll never know they’re gone!)

Chatelaine | posted Tuesday, Mar 17th, 2015

chatelaine

1. Old Newspapers
That old pile you’ve been hanging on to for keepsake has lost all significance, and would be much more useful as an added source of flames in the fireplace. Want to read an old article? Look it up online – – it’s probably there.

2. Fridge Pin-ups
Last week’s grocery list, a printed recipe you tried last month, and an interesting article you found last year can all be taken down now. If you haven’t given it second thought in over 6 months, it’s time to clean up that fridge décor.

3. Ancient Electronics
Remote controls, flip-phone chargers, cords, monitors, and more. You’ve since upgraded and might think you’re being organized by leaving them in a box in the basement. You’re really just inviting extra, unwanted clutter. Electronics don’t need to be dumped in the trash…they can be recycled! Take 20 minutes of research to find an organization that works for you. Here’s one to get you started.

4. Outdated office supplies
Since moving over to laptop work, you’ve significantly cut down on traditional office supplies. That hasn’t changed the fact that pens, markers, highlighters and old (used) notebooks are still sprawled all over your house, dusting away. In fact, you could probably find at least 25 dried up pens lying around the house right now if you tried.

5. Old Mugs
Past jobs, gifts, and flash sales have left you with an over abundance of coffee and tea mugs that are now being crammed into every drawer, shelf, and crevice of your kitchen. Which ones are our go-to’s? Keep those. Toss the rest.

6. Bedding and beyond
If your linens are still comprised of old duvets from sleepover camp, college dorms, twin bedding that no longer has a twin bed, or some version of all of these…you know the drill.

7. Tupperware Plastic
Tupperware tends to build up in the kitchen like it’s nobody’s business. Rule of thumb: invest in a fresh supply every couple of years. As for the old ones? No need to be hanging out in a drawer for fun. Image:

8. Expired Food
Need we expand? Get rid of it!

This March on Chatelaine.com we’re launching the Clutter Cure Challenge. Sign up to the Chatelaine newsletter for updates. 

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