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Help your kids be street-smart this Halloween

Donna Sevilla | posted Tuesday, Oct 21st, 2014

“Trick or treat, smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!”

I remember what it was like to be able to go trick-or-treating. Every year at my school, police would come to help remind us about the importance of safety on the streets. It’s the one time of the year where kids filled the streets and rang doorbells for sweet or sour treats, with the occasional trick.

Safety is just important today, and if you’re a parent sending your little ones out trick-or-treating, there are a number of issues you should keep in mind.

Dressing safely

Make sure your child’s costume is visible to motorists. One of the many ways is by adhering reflective tape to the costume, or ensuring they’re wearing bright colours (not head-to-toe black). The Rogers Pumpkin Patrol (now in its 30th year) recommends using face make-up — preferably bright make-up — or cutting larger holes for the eyes on a mask so your child can see clearly in all directions. If your child does wear a mask, make sure to tell them to push it up on their head while walking and especially when crossing the street.

Front-door safety

It’s all about the treats and it’s understandable that the kids want what that person at the door has to offer. But make sure your youngster knows to only visit well-lit homes that are clearly open for trick-or-treating business, and to never go inside. Also: it’s essential that kids travel in groups. Ensure your kids plan a route that keeps them close to home, with a designated time for them to return home. Parents should always accompany younger children.

Hitting the streets

The Rogers Pumpkin Patrol will be out in force once again to help keep all trick-or-treaters safe on October 31st. Employee volunteers will be riding around in red Rogers vans and will be available in case your children need assistance.

A special reminder to all motorists to be on the lookout this Halloween. The children might have their noses in their bags in excitement and might not be paying attention to the roads. Keep your eyes out for pint-sized ghouls and goblins, stick to the speed limit, and slow down at intersections to make sure that children crossing can do so safely.

Have a safe and spook-tastic Halloween!

For more Halloween content, check out Cityline.ca’s feature section here.

25 hopefuls vie for Tim’s love on City’s The Bachelor Canada

Cityline | posted Thursday, Sep 18th, 2014

Tim Warmels looks for love on the second season of The Bachelor Canada, premiering Thursday night on City.

Warmels has 25 bachelorettes competing for his attention, among them a lingerie model, an ER doctor and a personal trainer.

Born and raised in Campbellville, ON, Warmels attended business school at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Toronto and becoming an investment banker on Bay Street. He’s now exploring a number of tech ventures, and enjoys travelling and modelling in his spare time.

The best way to follow along with the show this season is on the brand new responsive site, as well as the Bachelor Canada appDownload it on your iPad to access video and photos from the show, bios of Tim and the contestants, the always-popular live chat, the Virtual Rose game (select your favourite ladies each week and see if they align with Tim’s picks), and the Fantasy Pool! Make your selections before the show airs weekly for your chance to win prizes from The Shopping Channel!

The Bachelor Canada, Season 2 premieres Thursday, September 18 at 8pmET (9MT/7CT) on City.

www.bachelorcanada.ca
@bachelorCA (Twitter)
@BachCanTim (Twitter) / @timbo0505 (Instagram)
#BachCan

5 ways to put money in your pocket right now

Cityline | posted Thursday, Sep 18th, 2014

Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! If you’re willing to make some temporary minor changes, you have the ability to save as much as you please. Whether you are saving for a trip or just want a little extra cash in your pocket, Bruce Sellery has brought us five genius ways to make that happen.

1. Advertise your motivation prominently
Who wants to cut spending? No one. It requires sacrifice and a change of habit, and that means we have to stay motivated. First you must figure out your “why.”

I want money in my pocket for:

  • Retirement
  • RESPs
  • Emergency fund
  • Vacation

To maintain your “why,” it’s crucial to take precautions so you don’t encounter any slips. Here’s what to do:

  • Write down one word or a get a picture of something you want that requires more money than you can spend. Put it on your fridge, on your phone, or anywhere that it will be in sight. For example, if you are dying to travel to Australia, print out a picture and post it up for the world to see. This picture will be your motivation to keep saving until you can reach your goal.
  • Talk to your friends and family about your plans to save. If you advertise that you are cutting back, you will be held accountable for your actions

2. Go “Cash Only”
Take your credit card and debit card out of your wallet immediately so you can reintroduce the pain of actually spending your money. Let’s face it, we are lazy. When spending is hard, we do less of it. By only using cash, you will have to plan ahead and make the effort to go to the bank and take out money—and who has time for that?! This will limit those impulse buys.

3. Renegotiate your phone and Internet packages
We get lazy about this too. Sometimes we don’t even know where our money is going—especially with our technologies. Even more, sometimes you will sign up for an expensive internet package that you aren’t using to its potential, and therefore wasting your hard-earned money. A major revamp is in order.

Here is the process:

  • Analyze your usage of your cell phone, landline, cable, and internet.
  • Research competitive pricing.
  • Call your provider and ask for “retention.”
  • Negotiate for a better deal.

4. Shop from your own cupboards
Buy only a little bit of bread, eggs, and milk, but mostly eat from your cupboards for as long as you can. Use up what’s in there (this means all those canned beans and rice packets that you always overlook). From here, you will be able to see what you actually use and  what you don’t.

5. Cut out one spending category for 3 months
We have a limited amount of willpower, so there is no use going overboard right away. You can’t control yourself in every area all the time. So choose one category (like smoking, drinking, or clothes shopping) where you spending a lot of money (relatively speaking) and be ruthless about it for 3 months.

Good luck!

Courtesy of Bruce Sellery

www.moneysense.ca
www.moolala.ca
@brucesellery

How to avoid the ‘Freshman 15′

Alexandra Davies | posted Tuesday, Sep 2nd, 2014

The rumours are true—the dreaded “Freshman 15” really does exist. For those unaware, the Freshman 15 is a nickname for the extra weight students typically gain in their first year — and we won’t lie, it is difficult to avoid. Myself? Well, I managed to gain my Freshman 15 thanks to copious amounts of Mini Eggs and the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies served all day every day. Who would pass that up!?

As you take your first steps into residence, your home-cooked hearty meals turn into mere memories. Your new life is composed of ready-made crispy homefries, a make-your-own sandwich bar conveniently open ’til the wee hours of the morning, and all the bulk candy your stomach can hold. Why would anyone choose a boring ol’ salad when Thursday is Pizza Day? To make things worse, students are typically set up with a meal plan that is pre-paid — so it really looks like you are getting all this glorious food for no money at all. Why hello, heaven!

I clearly fell into this trap and I know how hard it is to work off. To help out all the soon-to-be university students looking to dodge their own Freshman 15, I have composed a list of a few helpful hints to keep you on track, focused, and ready to enjoy a happy and healthy year.

Take Advantage of the Campus Gym
Odds are your campus will have a recreation centre of some kind. If you have the option for a membership, seriously consider getting one. Not only will you have full access to their fitness equipment, the price of the membership will motivate you to get your money’s worth. If your tuition covers a full membership, that is even better. Don’t let your money go to waste — take advantage of all the cardio classes and weight machines that you can get your hands on! Busy schedule? Excuses, excuses! In between your classes swing by the gym for a 30-minute cardio boost. You’ll be in and out well before Psychology starts.

Buddy Up
Committing to hit the gym yourself is hard, especially if you’re like me and “promise” to break a sweat after a couple episodes of Orange Is the New Black. But let’s get real — that never ends up happening. If you make plans with a friend to tackle a group fitness class, you’ll feel obligated to go. Bonus points: Take this same friend to the cafeteria where you can influence each other to choose healthier meals. You will be surprised at what can come from making your health a team effort.

Plan Your Meals Ahead
I know this sounds like a bore and very time consuming, but it will be worth it. Studies show that if you record what you eat in a journal, your odds of losing weight will increase. Planning out your meals ahead of time forces you to think about your calorie intake and can influence healthier choices while you scope out your dinner. Big lunch? Instead of selecting the chicken parmesan for dinner, opt for a salad with chickpeas, a little feta cheese, and your favourite veggies! There is always a healthy alternative that tastes good and is good for you.

Educate Yourself
What is the proper amount of calories for my age and height? I had no idea when I first stepped into my residence cafeteria. Without help from my parents, who usually took care of my nutrition, all I saw were the juicy hamburgers and omelettes bigger than my head. Educating yourself on healthy options and how much protein, carbohydrates, etc, you should be having per day is crucial for keeping control of your meals. Becoming aware of your body and what is good for it can significantly help to keep off the pounds. Most cafeterias will post Canada’s Food Guide on their walls, but if they don’t, you can find it here.

Final Thoughts
The most important note to take from this is to use common sense and make smart food choices as often as possible. A proper combination of exercise and healthy eating can save you from that first-year weight gain worry.

Do you have any anti-’Freshman 15′ tips and tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

For more back-to-school content from Cityline, click here.

Mairlyn Smith’s tips for food safety in the home

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Aug 19th, 2014

We love that Cityline viewers like to prepare and cook so many meals at home, but it’s important to do so safely! Protect yourself and your family from food poisoning (something over 4 million Canadians suffer from every year!) with these basic food safety rules from Mairlyn Smith.

CLEANING:

  • Make sure your hands and the counters are clean before and after touching food.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, sing a chorus of “Happy Birthday” to yourself, or pretend you are in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy just before a surgical procedure.
  • Designate a cutting board for fruits and vegetables and a separate one for meat, fish, and poultry.
  • Never transfer cooked meat, fish, or poultry onto a plate that was used for raw meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Avoid kitchen sponges — they are a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Wipe counters with paper towels OR change your dishcloth daily. Wash the dishcloth in hot soapy water and air dry.
  • To sanitize counters use Health Canada’s recommendation of 5 mL/1 tsp bleach to 750/2.5 L water.
  • Wash your reusable grocery bags often.
  • Wash out your cooler bags often.
  • Wash out lunch bags every day.
  • Rinse all produce under cold running water just before use including hard-peeled vegetables and fruits, i.e. watermelon, squash, etc.
  • Use a vegetable brush on skinned produce like potatoes, apples, pears, etc.

CHILLING:

  • Let the food safety rule “keep hot foods hot and cold food cold” become your food safety mantra. The temperature danger zone for food is between 4 °C (40 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F). Keep foods above or below these temperatures.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40°F/4°C or lower and your freezer at -18 °C (0 °F) or lower.
  • Bring raw meat, fish, or poultry home from the grocery store and refrigerate as soon as possible or within two hours in the cooler months. If it’s in the summer, put it in ASAP.
  • Store raw meat, fish, and poultry away from other foods in separate containers to prevent any raw juices dripping on other foods. Best place to store them is on the bottom shelf.
  • Store raw meat, fish, or poultry no longer than two to three days in the refrigerator. If it’s any longer than that, freeze and thaw as needed.
  • When freezing foods, place in a freezer bag or container to avoid freezer burn and label with the date.
  • Don’t overcrowd your fridge as you need proper cold air circulation.
  • Thawing: even though your mom may have thawed frozen meat, fish, and poultry on the kitchen counter, doesn’t mean it gets the green light. NEVER thaw anything on the kitchen counter. Thaw in the fridge, in the microwave, or in a sink full of cold water changing the water every 30 minutes.

COOKING:

  • The only way to tell that meat, fish, and poultry is cooked is with a food thermometer. Investing in one is the most important tool in food safety you will have.
  • Have a pot of chili on the stove for a crowd? Keep hot foods at or above 60ºC (140°F).
  • Cooked meat, fish, and poultry should be stored in separate containers within one – two hours after being cooked and should be eaten within two to four days. Remember you can’t smell bacteria until it’s so far gone that food poisoning is sure to occur. When in doubt, throw it out.

For more of Mairlyn’s great tips, check out the videos here at Cityline.ca

Weeknight dinners to make life easier when school’s in

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Aug 14th, 2014

There’s hockey practice and homework, piano lessons and playdates with friends. So how do you get a healthy and tasty dinner on the table for your kids and still ensure a reasonable bedtime?

Our friends at Cityline.ca have assembled a few of their favourite weeknight-friendly recipes from their roster of trusted guest experts — they’re quick, easy, and full of flavours your whole family will love. Use this page as a cheat sheet next time you’re not sure what to make!

Meatless and delicious: We love making at least one meal a week a meat-free one. These meatless dishes are filling on their own — but it never hurts to add some extra veggies or a salad on the side!

Mexican egg bake

Roasted portobello mushroom burger

Blistered corn, asparagus and pesto pizza

Maple Cheddar Granny Smith grilled cheese on the BBQ

Weeknight roasts: Roasts sound like a Sunday affair, we agree, but that needn’t be the case! The best part about a roast is that most of the work is hands-off, meaning you can help the little ones with homework while the main dish cooks away!

Weeknight roast chicken

Weeknight roast beef with carrots and spuds

One-pan wonders: Can we all agree that the worst part of cooking on weeknights (or any night, really) is the clean-up? You will love these dishes first because they’re delicious, and second because the clean

One-pot chicken with spring vegetables

One-pan pasta with tomatoes and basil

Provencal pan salmon

Making the most of leftovers: Here’s a great case for making too much food one night — the extras can help you get a head-start on the next evening’s meal. Leftover roast chicken, pork, or beef can be made over into a wrap, a veggie-packed dinner bowl, or a simple pasta dish.

Dinner bowl ideas

Chicken pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes

Everyone loves a burger: Your kids won’t argue when burgers are on the menu — set up a station with toppings so that everyone can build their own.

Oven-roasted burgers

Sweet potato and chickpea quinoa burgers

Quick-cooking seafood: Seafood dishes save us when we’re especially pressed for time! Most filets take only 10-15 minutes to cook through, and shrimp are even faster if you can find ones that are already shelled and deveined.

Chili mint shrimp noodle salad

Farfalle with creamy tuna and red pepper

Mahi mahi tacos

On the grill: While the weather’s nice, take advantage of the ease of BBQing. The grill heats up quickly, and also means easy clean-up. We love that we can often grill our main AND our sides!

Grilled salmon with orzo

Grilled shrimp salad

Citrus grilled chicken with pineapple salad

We love to hear your ideas! What’s your favourite weeknight dinner? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

For more great back-to-school coverage from Cityline, click here.

How I tackled Tough Mudder: Part 2

Alexandra Davies | posted Thursday, Aug 7th, 2014

Missed part 1 of Ali’s Tough Mudder journey? Click here to catch up!

With Tough Mudder in the back of my mind, I was determined as ever to be as prepared as possible. In order to feel and look my best, it was time to clean up my diet and hit the gym.

I’ll admit I didn’t take the smartest route at the beginning. I was so set on making HUGE changes, that I got a little (a lot) carried away. I went to the gym multiple times a day and drank green smoothies for almost every meal. I do not suggest this method. Ever. I was so focused on achieving immediate results in a short period of time that I didn’t take my body’s health into consideration. Sure I lost some weight, but I was so tired, moody, and even felt super weak despite my countless hours hammering it out at the gym.

THE (“LIFESTYLE CHANGE”) DIET

Clearly, I was doing something wrong. For the amount of work I was putting in at the gym, I wasn’t getting enough fuel to compensate. I cut back the multiple classes and threw back in solid foods, but I kind of went overkill. PB&J sammies would accompany my green smoothie breakfasts, bruschetta sometimes made appearances on my dinner plate, and the midday snacks were increasing quickly. Here I go again…I had to put the brakes on a repeat of first year university.

This is when a close friend talked to me about a diet she was doing and loved, something she called “Paleo.” I was intrigued by the idea and inspired by her raving reviews, so I decided to commit the month of June to being strictly paleo. This eating plan meant no dairy (farewell, cheese), no grains (sayonara, sourdough bread) and no sugar (so long, my beloved chocolate almonds).

The first week was the hardest. Conveniently, National Donut Day fell on the third day of my new diet and, of course, the office celebrated. All I wanted to do was bite into that sugary, doughy goodness —but I refused to give in. After only eating salads and pieces of chicken day after day, I started researching ways to make this diet not suck. From there, everything started getting a little easier. I found dozens of paleo food blogs that provided hundreds of fun recipe ideas. I ended up making paleo meals that you wouldn’t even believe were paleo. I made Pad Thai, vanilla-chai pancakes, and spiced pumpkin muffins, people! How cool is that!? It’s all about the ingredients you use.

The hardest part of paleo was the inconvenience of meals. I had to make everything from scratch using natural, organic ingredients — making it hard to whip up anything in a hurry after a long day at work. Though my meals take their sweet time to be made, the best part of paleo was how it made me feel — I have never felt so content inside. Generally, it made me happier, which was really my goal in the end.

THE WORKOUT PLAN

I have never been someone to loathe working out; in fact, I thrive off it. Whenever I’m upset or just need a pick me up, you can find me at the gym or running around my neighbourhood. The issue was the intensity — a light jog here and there wasn’t going to cut it. I knew if I wanted to keep up with the rest of the Mudders, I’d have to up my workout game. I needed to focus on cardio and major muscle building. I wasn’t looking to become a body builder, but I wanted to be able to do an actual push-up. I created my own personal “Summer Workout Schedule” made up of early AM fitness classes, running intervals, and even some hot yoga thrown in there. My absolute favourite is the Body Combat class at GoodLife. My good golly, this is an amazing class to release any pent up stress or worry. Every Tuesday morning I was able to beat up the air and feel like a real-time karate kid without looking insane (well, I probably looked insane, but the class was always packed so I blended in…hopefully).

I even took it a step further and signed myself up for a TRX bootcamp class. Though I’m still unsure of what it stands for, this was the hardest workout I’ve ever endured. A TRX workout simply uses your own body weight to do a zillion different exercises, all while suspended by two straps. After 12 gruesomely hard sessions, I felt a huge difference in my core and strength — and heck yes, I can do real push-ups now!

But what would be a good story without a little hiccup, am I right? TRAGEDY STRIKES! (Dun dun dunnn!)

Remember that pesky herniated disc of mine from way back when? Well, it just had to make an appearance a month away from Tough Mudder. Major buzzkill x100. How did I do it, you ask? I went to bed. I innocently went to sleep and woke up with a very sore back. I still have no idea what dream I had, but it must have involved some kick-ass parkour.

My workout plan was halted, along with my motivation. I was beyond upset, and very worried I wouldn’t be ready/capable of doing Tough Mudder (you can probably hear my heart breaking into a million pieces from wherever you are reading this). I went straight to my physiotherapist who has dealt with all my past injuries, including my year-long recovery of the herniation. After about a week of appointments, taking a forced break from my intense workout schedule, and resorting to only a couple of back exercises and stretches, I finally felt better. The constant pain was gone, but I was very wary on stepping foot in the gym. Making sure I took it easy, I slowly started introducing  more exercises to my days. At this point, I wasn’t focused on muscle building and running X number of miles as fast as possible — it was about doing simple exercises with perfect form, ultimately protecting my back from any further injury. Though it was extremely discouraging to take my workouts down a bunch of notches, I knew it was for the best if I wanted to be able to endure the craziness of the Tough Mudder course.

From this day, Tough Mudder is in exactly 17 days. And yes, I am totally freaking out.

I’ll be back with part 3 after I compete on Saturday, August 16th! Wish me luck!

More health coverage at Cityline.ca

Your fave cold drinks for a HOT day

Cityline | posted Thursday, Jul 31st, 2014

A hot cup of tea or coffee keeps you warm on cold days, but in the summer it’s a whole different story. What if we told you that you could make your own favourite beverage to keep you cool and refreshed even on the hottest summer days? Here are Pay Chen’s tips and ideas for making delicious cold drinks at home without all the fuss!

ICED TEA
This is super easy to make, cheaper than buying in the store, plus you are able to control the sugar content by adding only natural fruits and flavours!

Pay’s tips:

  • Brew your tea stronger than you would drink it hot. Use more tea instead of letting it brew longer (letting it brew longer can make it bitter).
  • Add sugar to the tea when it’s hot so that it dissolves – it will be grainy if you try to add sugar when the tea is cold. Or make a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) to sweeten your cold tea.
  • Use your favourite loose leaf tea or tea bags and enjoy!

TEA SMOOTHIE
Smoothies are a quick go-to breakfast or refreshing drink that are great for kids, too!

Pay’s tips:

  • Mix it up by using your favourite green tea or fruity tea.
  • Use seasonal fresh fruits, or frozen berries for a quick, frothy drink.

COLD COFFEE
No need to spend $5 on your favourite iced coffee! Save yourself the dough by simply making your own! There are tons of ways to mix it up just the way you like.

Pay’s tips:

  • Pour coffee into ice cubes and add that to milk or iced coffee for added flavour.
  • Remember to keep your coffee strong because ice will water it down (or use coffee ice cubes!).

For more of Pay’s great tips, check out her video demonstration below!

Click here for more great summer entertaining ideas from Cityline!

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