Summer Skin Care Tips

Summer is arguably always the best time of year, it calls for relaxation, vacations, and beach days. Though all this can take a toll on your skin. Skin is one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies and it is very important to take care of it and make sure its healthy. Here are six summer skin care tips that are sure to keep your skin healthy and glowing throughout the summer.

  1. Exfoliate: Exfoliating will help to get rid of dead skin and keep you pores unclogged. This helps with keeping your skin smooth and allows for better makeup application!
  2. Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your self in the summer. Not only will it help keep your skin clear and healthy it also keeps your body energized and going throughout your day.
  3. Sunscreen: Water and sunscreen will become your skins best friends during the summer. Wear sunscreen to keep your skin protected and make sure to look for a higher SPF if you know you will be in the direct sunlight for a long time. Remember sunscreen can’t reverse damage but it can protect you from it.
  4. Keep it covered: You can’t always lean on your clothes for sun protection, because chances are you will still get some love from the sun. It is always a good option to have a hat (wide brims are the best options) and sunglasses on hand. These give you the extra protection that you might just need.
  5. Try non-comedogenic products: Keep this in mind for sunscreen as well, non-comedogenic products are made to not clog pores (which can lead to irritation and blemishes). This is especially important for the summer ; hot and humid weather leads to sweat which in combination with oily makeup can irritate your skin. Opting for oil-free and non-comedogenic makeup/products can be much better for your skin.
  6. Minimal Make-Up: Along with using oil-free and/or non-comedogenic makeup, it is also a good idea to avoid heavy make up. Look for long wear, multi use, light make up that will give you good wear and not clog your skin.



Best Family Hotels of 2017

Every year Family Vacation Critic and TripAdvisor release a list of the best hotels for families in 15 regions across the globe. Each hotel on the their list has met a strict list of family specific criteria and have been highly-rated by family travelers.

In order to become designated a Family Vacation Critic Favorite, hotels had to meet the following criteria:
“Hotel must have been personally vetted and visited by a member of  Family Vacation Critic’s team of hotel experts, and receive either a four- or five-star editorial rating. Hotel must have been recommended by 75% or more of families who have rated the property a four- or five-star review.”

California: West Inn & Suites (Carlsbad, CA)

Florida: Premiere Hotel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Hawaii: Four Seasons Resort Lana’i (Lanai, HI)

hawaii, resort, four seasons, travel, family, vacation
Mid-Atlantic: Casablanca Hotel by Library Hotel Collection (New York, NY)

hotel, nyc, new york, new york city, fun, vacation, hotel, family
Midwest: Black Hawk Motel & Suites (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

New England: The Nantucket Hotel & Resort (Nantucket, MA)

Pacific Northwest: Hallmark Resort Cannon Beach (Cannon Beach, OR)

Rockies: Tivoli Lodge (Vail, CO)

Southeast: The Inn at Christmas Place (Pigeon Forge, TN)

Southwest: The Venetian Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)

Canada: The Ritz-Carlton Montreal (Montreal, Canada)

monteral, vacation, ritz-carlton, pretty, hotel
Caribbean: Round Hill Hotel and Villas (Montego Bay, Jamaica)

jamaica, hotel, resort, beach, summer ,fun
Central America: Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort (Costa Rica)

Europe: Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate (County Clare, Ireland)
Mexico: Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

mexico, resort , hotel, beach, vaction

Hotels are not ranked in any particular order and vary in price range.

5 Tips to Get Spring Cleaning Essentials Done in Record Time!

The snow has melted, the winter coats have been put away, birds are chirping, and the sun is shining–it’s time for that annual spring ritual of cleaning your home.

It’s also the perfect time to get organized and declutter your home and workspace, and at the same time, improve your health and well-being. That piled-up clutter can impact your mind and body as well as mess with any plans to have guests over! You will be able to sleep better and gain mental clarity. The added bonus is the satisfaction of donating unused items to a charity so others can benefit.

It can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Not everyone is a fan– but here are some tips to ease you into taking it on, and get you out enjoying the warm spring air in no time!

  1. Follow a plan:

Work from the top down, inside to outside.

Pace yourself. Do one room at a time. Or just part of a room, like a closet, or drawer. Set aside a few hours each day to tackle the cleaning jobs, leaving some time to put your feet up, enjoy some spring sunshine and relax.

Multi-task, have laundry going while sweeping the floor for example.

Do the easy stuff first, take out the garbage and recycling, gather up the laundry, etc.

  1. Get the right tools:

Invest in good rubber gloves to deal with the dirty stuff.

Gather up the cleaning tools, dusters and cloths, and garbage bags, you will need. Use a decent mop with a squeeze mechanism for wringing it out plus a heavy-duty pail with a measuring scale.

Use washable, reusable microfiber cloths instead of paper towels.

A high-quality HEPA vacuum is one of the best cleaning products you can arm yourself with. It will remove dirt and dust, allergens and impurities in the air.  Make sure you put all those attachments to use getting all the dust bunnies out from under furniture, cobwebs and get into all the corners.

There are even apps you can download for your phone that help you organize and set up tasks and create checklists. For iPhone there is “Cleaning Checklist”, and “Spotless”. The Android choices are “FlyHelper” and “Spring Cleaning Checklist”.

  1. Don’t do it alone

If you know someone that is willing to help it will make the job more fun and any decisions easier to make with an arbitrary opinion.

Enlist the help of your partner for all the heavy stuff. Spring cleaning can include a lot of reaching and lifting and be quite exhausting.

  1. End the clutter!

Begin each room, by doing a quick sweep, collecting items that need to be sorted or put away into a bin, to be dealt with later.

Going through piles and piles of stuff, making decisions on what to keep and what to toss, and dealing with memorabilia can be difficult and emotional. Sometimes there are things we just want to hang on to, even if we don’t have the storage space for it. My brother-in-law is a good example of this. He has 75% of his home’s basement filled from floor to ceiling, with boxes filled with memorabilia, from old cameras to worn-out hockey skates. His wife is not too enthusiastic.  She is always apologetic to their children since they will one day deal with it.  Ease the guilt of getting rid of stuff by donating to a charity like the Canadian Diabetes Association.

When you’re done, make sure there is a place for everything so that clutter doesn’t build again. Add shelves, and hooks for hats, gloves, and bags.  A disorganized home can increase your stress level.

  1. Hire a professional

for things like carpet and upholstery cleaning, and window cleaning if you have hard to reach ones.


7 Habits to Ensure A Good Night’s Sleep

Have you ever begun your day feeling a little less refreshed and a little more confused and forgetful than usual? Perhaps you’ve spent more time counting sheep and less time asleep the previous night. You may have been deprived of a good night’s sleep for a number of reasons.


The earlier you realize what is preventing you from having a quality eight-hour sleep, the better! Sleep deprivation over time can lead to many chronic health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, depression, and suicide. It can also harm you in an instant, as in a car crash!

Getting enough sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle and vital to our general well-being. It helps us function well the following day. While we sleep, our brains are active, forming memories, going through events of the last day and preparing for the next. With a good night’s sleep, you will be better equipped to learn, to think creatively, to be alert, and make clear decisions. It also affects our mood and how we interact with others.

  1. Have a Consistent Sleep Pattern

Try to get to bed around the same time each night. This holds true for weekends as well. This can be a problem for people who do shift work, late night entertainers, or travelers dealing with the affects of “jet-lag”.   It can take some time to get caught up on missed sleep.

  1. Take Time to “Power Down”

Have a pre-bedtime ritual. At least a half-hour before you turn in, take the time to de-stress and turn off the noise of the day. Walk away from any screens. Try to avoid using the computer, or watching TV. Listening to some quiet music, that can help you relax.

  1. Don’t Exercise Late in the Evening

Gentle yoga postures that help you relax are okay, but strenuous exercise that gets your heart pumping close to bedtime is not a good idea.

  1. Create a Bedroom Oasis

Your bedroom should be a calm relaxing environment. It should be dark, and quiet. Some people like to introduce white noise such as the sound of a fan or humidifier to drown out loud street noise.

You’ll need a comfortable mattress, pillows and suitable blankets or comforters. If you consistently wake up with a sore neck, your pillow may be to blame.

An overnight temperature of between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 19 c) is ideal. As we sleep, our “set point” for body temperature goes down. If it’s too hot or too cold, the body struggles to reach this ideal temperature for sleep.

  1. Don’t Eat Close to Your Bedtime

Avoid late meals, and keep any pre-bedtime snacks “small”. Also, limit the fluids you drink, so you won’t be awakened in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

  1. Avoid Coffee, Alcohol, and Cigarettes

Alcohol may act as a sedative and help you fall asleep, but will likely disrupt your sleep throughout the night. Not to mention your unruliness will affect anyone you are sharing your bed with! Coffee or any other caffeinated drinks and cigarettes are stimulants that will affect your sleep.

  1. Be Aware of any Medical Conditions Affecting Your Sleep

Be aware of any medical conditions that might be interfering with your quality of sleep, such as leg cramps, stomach pain and digestive issues such as heartburn, joint pain, arthritis, asthma or psychological issues. There may be some side affects of any drugs that you are taking. Check with your doctor if you have any condition or sleep disorder that prevents you from having a good night’s sleep.



Be On-Trend with These Paint Colors for 2017

Sophisticated hues take center stage, according to Behr®

I had a look at some rooms painted in these new paint colors for 2017, and I have to admit, I like them all! While I never been a lover of pink walls, a really light shade of pink on the walls, paired with some gray and white furniture would be a lovely start to a bedroom color scheme. Add some bright reds, chocolate brown, and hot pink cushions and it could be dynamite!

  1. Confident colors for composed creative types: dusky blues, spicy reds, lime greens
  2. Composed colors for the traditionalists: earthy greens and taupes
  3. Comfortable range lists light pastels, pinks, blues and yellows

Benjamin Moore’s® paint color of the year is named “shadow”. It’s lovely! A dusty muddy shade of gray and eggplant.

“It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life. Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morph into lustrous coal. Indulge your mysterious side. Let Shadow set the mood.”

—Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director

If you are drawn to colors, by their names, you will also love these: Pink bliss, Wish, Stormy Monday, Sea Star, Gentlemen’s Gray, Porcelain to name a few…

Dulux® Paints names its paint color of the year: Starry Sky, which is a mid-intensity grey-blue.

The Pantone® color institute, known for its color management system of the print industry are also jumping in with colors pulled from the film industry, most notably Star Wars: The Force Awakes, The Peanuts Movie, and Disney’s Inside Out.

These palettes have dreamy names such as Day Dreaming, At Ease, Forest Bathing, and Florabundant.

It’s chosen color of the year is about the brightest neutral you’ll come across! It’s a bright green, named Greenery. If you’re looking for a bright color to revitalize a room, this one’s for you!


Spend Less and Have More

Many people hold the view that the more that you have, the better your lifestyle, and the happier you’ll be. The search of “the good life” includes the pursuit of a faster car, a bigger house, and the latest technological gadget in an effort to reach the most comfortable lifestyle one can possibly attain. People soon get caught up in this rat race, always needing to earn more to get more. While trying to maintain this materialistic, consumerist lifestyle, they become stressed out, burned out, and just plain unhappy. When material wealth becomes the measurement of one’s success, consumerism has become a trap where a person cannot make real choices any longer.

This is the powerful influence of consumerism. Consumerism is a cultural phenomenon that is intricately woven into our society. The economical wealth of a country is often measured by its consumer economy. The theory is that a country that consumes goods and services in large quantities will be better off economically. Ideally, as more goods are produced, so are more jobs, wealth, and comforts for a better way of living.

However, it has become a system where consumer demand for goods is influenced and manipulated to increase sales. Advertising and promotion of new technologies and luxury items are so strong we are often driven by want over need. It can create false desires and sometimes-unattainable aspirations.

A Product’s Lifecycle

“They don’t build them like they used to!” This is something you hear pretty often these days. Many products are built to last for a limited period of time. This built-in obsolescence is a way to increase sales. When the option to have an item repaired is so high, it becomes easier to replace it with a new one. This creates the new problem of dealing with all the waste that is generated.

More, Newer, Better

Who doesn’t want the latest coolest technology? For many, a functioning smartphone is not enough. If a new iPhone is released they feel compelled to buy it. Screens and monitors are getting bigger and better all the time. Household appliances are getting shinier, slicker in design and more colorful, but not necessarily more efficient.

Buying is Easy

We are told that we are headed into a cashless society. This may seem smart and convenient. But keep in mind; credit cards make it easier for us to spend money that we don’t have. This leads to a larger debt load, further driving the stress and the need to earn more to keep up. While debit cards seem like a better alternative, it gives us access to more money than we carry.

Negative Impact

If we continue down this consumerism path, we need to become aware of its impact on our lives, our environment, and the future of our planet. Globally, this lifestyle is unsustainable and destructive to the environment in the long run. Natural resources are being depleted and our natural habitat is being constantly destroyed to create more goods and buildings. Global warming and industrial pollution will eventually lead to more health problems.

While people are running around trying to keep up with their needs and wants, they fail to strive for the things they really need for happiness: relationships, spirituality, and personal development, time for children and for reflection.

What You Can do About It

We need to care less about materialism and live more, by refocusing on the things that really matter and bring true joy and happiness.




Growing Herbs Indoors

Growing herbs indoors is an easy, inexpensive way to have them fresh and handy for snipping into your favorite dishes as you prepare them. Anyone who enjoys cooking knows the difference in flavor and aroma between using fresh herbs over dried. Cooking with herbs also means being able to use less salt but keeping all the taste­, a definite bonus for anyone watching their sodium intake.

Choosing Your Plants

Easy ones:


Bay tree – slow grower

Kaffir Lime tree – leaves are used in Thai cooking

Lemongrass – doesn’t even need soil. Just put it in a glass with water. It will send out roots, and new sprouts with many new stalks, that can be cut off from the bottom.

Mint – easy to grow, but invasive, so it needs it’s own pot.

More Difficult:





Basil – needs a warm and sunny spot.



It’s better to buy plant seedlings from a greenhouse. It’s much harder to grow from seed. Terra cotta clay pots are best, but any pot with good drainage will do. Bigger is better, so your plants have room to grow. A good idea is to place your pots on a tray covered in pebbles so that air can circulate up through the drainage holes.

Use a premium potting mix with good drainage. Don’t be tempted to bring in soil from outside. You’ll end up bringing in organisms that are balanced by nature but won’t be under indoor growing conditions.

Ideal Location

For optimal light, your herb pots will do best in a location facing south or southwest. They will need a minimum of 4 hours of light each day, though 6 to 8 hours is optimal. If you can’t get enough light from the sun, consider fluorescent lights placed about 4 to 6 inches away from the plants. A windowsill is a good spot since the plants don’t mind cool temperatures at night so long as you keep the plants from touching the glass, so the cold doesn’t nip the leaves. Dry air will be hard on the herbs, so if that’s the case, you can give them a weekly misting. If the plants become too spindly, it’s a signal that they are not getting enough light.   Brown spots on the leaves mean that they are burning, and probably getting too much light. Rotate your pots regularly to keep a well balanced shape to your plants.

Watering and Feeding

The most common mistake people make is to overwater. If leaves are yellowing, the plant likely is getting too much water. The rule of thumb is to let the plants thoroughly dry out. While they don’t like to be overwatered, they do require consistent watering.

Fertilize about once a month. If the plants seem to have stopped growing, they probably need food.

Time to Enjoy!

Enjoy your herbs often. Cutting encourages growth, but don’t cut more than a third at a time.

Finely chop or cut your fresh herbs. The more surfaces you expose, the more flavor that you will release.

Don’t overcook your herbs because their flavors and aromas can be lost with too much heat.


Living Your Best Life or What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

Everyone wants to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life, to cultivate what is best within them, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.


Get to Know Your Authentic Self

It’s a good idea to have a regular conversation with yourself. Take a time-out at regular intervals to reassess your life and your goals.

Life is ever changing and so are you, and this is why you need to have this regular check-in with yourself.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to be? Many of us have other roles that we play, such as wife, mother, teacher, manager or perhaps grandmother, which include obligations, demands, and expectations placed upon us by ourselves, or those that depend on us. Sometimes we lose sight of our own needs in our efforts to please others.
  • What makes you happy? What do you do for fun? What movies to you like? What books do you like to read? Are you able to define what makes you happy right at this moment? Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference in our immediate happiness. When we can appreciate the seemingly mundane moments in our everyday lives we have mastered a very valuable skill indeed. Live in the moment and don’t always wish you were somewhere else.  According to Gretchen Rubin, author of the NY Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project small changes can have huge effects on our happiness levels.
  • What do you value the most? Most of us are looking for greater meaning in life. What are you most passionate about? Is it your career, family, pet, a special talent? It’s important to appreciate what you have, and what you are grateful for. Research shows that people who cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood and physical well-being.
  • What don’t you like? What would you change? Target what you would like to change, and take the steps towards fixing that. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with your personal satisfaction and pride. You can always move your career in a different direction. There is a ton of how-to blogs to learn from, so you can achieve success in any industry. Maybe your present job situation just needs a little tweaking. Discover what works for you, and structure your life towards that.

Limit Your Regrets­–Set your goals

Don’t wait too long to do the things you want to. Don’t end up with too many regrets later in life. Set your compass towards attaining your short and long-term goals.

Learn to explore and then grow. Answer that knock on the door, and you may learn new things about yourself.

Still that Inner Voice

Don’t be so critical of yourself. Often we are our own worst critic. Accept who you are, recognize your qualities, both good and bad. Celebrate your strengths, and you are on your way to self-appreciation.

Get to really know yourself and love yourself, so that you can love others.

Living up to Expectations

Are you trying to live up to someone else’s expectations? Don’t be so concerned about what others think of you. It’s your life, your path to take, and your happiness. No one can take your place. Are you failing in some areas? What steps can you take to improve? Sometimes we work so hard to not disappoint others, at the expense of our own happiness.

Take Care of Yourself

When you sleep, your brain recharges, to ensure that you wake up alert, clear-headed and in a good mood. Don’t overload your body with sugar-laden, greasy or over-processed food with empty calories. Exercising for even 10 minutes a day will help keep you in a positive mood. It’s that simple.



10 Budget-Friendly Home Upgrades

Spruce up your home with these low-budget upgrades to add new style and value!


  1. Paint

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, then painting walls in any room of your home is the way to go. New color on the walls will instantly freshen up a room. And while you are removing anything hanging on the walls, it will also give you a chance to reassess the arrangement and maybe try something new, like adding shelves, a photo collage of travel or family pictures, or an entirely new piece of art.

  1. New Lighting

Updating older light fixtures is another good way to give a room a new look. A new lighting fixture or ceiling fan can add instant drama. If a completely new one is out of the cards, even installing a dimmer switch can increase the functionality of an overly bright light.

  1. Installing a Kitchen Backsplash

can add instant glamour and bling. There is a wide range in pricing whether you go with white ceramic subway tiles, glass mosaic, or a combination of the two. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, they are not too difficult to install yourself. You will need a tile cutter, which many rental services and hardware stores carry. You can even simplify the job by installing a handy pegboard to hang all your kitchen utensils.

Not only will it look good, it will make kitchen cleanups so much easier.


  1. New Cabinet Hardware

Another relatively quick and easy upgrade is to change out the kitchen and bathroom cabinet hardware. The only thing that might take some time is choosing one, since there are so many choices! Make sure you measure the distance between the existing screw holes so that the new ones you buy will fit without any redrilling.

  1. Paint Cabinets

A more time-consuming, but very rewarding task would be to paint your cabinets. If they are dated wood, wood laminate or metal ones, painting them a fresh white, or trendy shade of gray will make your kitchen look brand-new and add loads of value.

  1. New Faucets

If you think of the knobs, handles, and faucets as the jewels of the kitchen, this is where you can add the shine and the bling!   Plus faucets can add a lot more functionality if you include a spray function, so the upgrade is not just aesthetic.

  1. Door Knobs and Handles

While you are shopping for the cabinet hardware, you might also want to take a look at doorknobs and handles. Changing out the doorknobs may be all it will take to give interior or exterior doors a new look.

  1. Moldings and trim

really class up a room. Replacing baseboards, adding crown molding, or a chair rail will give a space a more finished and refined look. If you are confident with the measuring and cutting, you can tackle the job yourself or leave it to the experts. Getting the mitered corners clean and exact takes some skill! Sometimes just painting older wood trim will give it the new look you’re after.

  1. New Window Dressing

Adding blinds, new curtains, or both, in fresh new patterns and colors will instantly update your home. You’ll need to consider issues such as privacy, insulation value, and style.

  1. Enhance the front entry

All that might be needed is a fresh new coat of paint for your front door to add instant curb appeal. Add in a new door wreath, some urns with seasonal plantings, a new doormat, perhaps new house numbers and voila!


Will a Robot Steal your Job?

Robots will take over most of these jobs within 30 years, experts warn. If you are doing any of the following jobs, you are in danger of surrendering it to a robot, since somewhere in the world; they are already doing your job!

Stockroom worker

A robot stockroom worker can easily outperform a human worker in efficiency and accuracy.

3,000 Kiva robots zoom around Amazon’s warehouse floors moving inventory.

German fashion retailer, Solebox is using robots to staff its shoe stockroom.

Both the automotive and electronics manufacturing industry have experienced the benefits of replacing human workers with robots for many years.


Your next cocktail aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas ship may be served by none other than a dancing robot; the cruise line has added two of these—named the N1-C and the B1-O—to its new ship.

Meanwhile, in the German town of Ilmenau at a bar called Robots Bar and Lounge, a robot will serve up the drinks.

Sous Chef

Noodlebot will cut a specific type of noodle called dao xiao mian, or “knife cut noodles,” and works faster than chefs. The robot is not only faster, but more accurate, and cuts 150 noodles a minute.

Bulldozer Drivers

Restrictions on visas for blue-collar workers caused the worst labor shortage in 20 years for Japan. In an effort to remedy the issue, Komatsu — the second largest construction company in the world — is using robo-dozers that are led by drones.


Soldier robots can handle everything from dismantling land mines to engaging in front-line combat.


Currently, at the University of California, San Francisco, computers receive the prescriptions and robots package and dispense them.


There are already wine-bots, which prune vines in vineyards, and lettuce-bots, which pull up the weeds near the base of the plant, among many other farming robots.

Bomb Squad

Bomb squads use robots, which often can better dispose of the bombs while minimizing the risk to human lives.


Business journalists—especially those who focus on numbers-heavy stories like market reports—and sports journalists who do a lot of numbers analysis—may be most at risk.


The company, who makes the Roomba, iRobot, also makes the Scooba 450, which will scrub the floors, as well as a sweeping and gutter-cleaning robot.

Paralegals and doc-review-focused attorneys

Silicon Valley-based Blackstone Discovery offers that service—it can search both words and concepts—without the need for human hours.

Tellers and Clerks

At least one bank is trying to drastically reduce that cost: at more than a dozen Coastal Federal Credit Union branches in the U.S., consumers won’t find a single bank teller when they walk into a branch; instead, they’ll find “personal teller machines” that do much of what the teller could.


The Humber River Hospital in Toronto is using robots to deliver patient care. Robots there are capable of mixing chemotherapy for patients, taking radiation scans, and making food and medical supplies deliveries.


An Android named, Geminoid F is starring in a Japanese film based on a play by Oriza Hirata. But Geminoid F still requires a human to control her.

Delivery Drivers

Drones and driverless cars are taking over this function. Domino’s Pizza has introduced “DRU”, a self-driving vehicle developed by Sydney-based company Marathon Targets, delivering freshly made pizza to waiting for customers in New Zealand.

Two former co-founders of Skype at Starship Technologies have developed a food delivery robot that can transport up to 10 kilograms or 3 shopping bags to homes within 15-30 minutes in a 3-mile radius.


A dexterous humanoid robot named Robonaut has been designed and built at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. They are continuing their research to build robots that can help humans work and explore in space.

Store Clerks

In many department stores around the world today, store clerks and cashiers are being replaced by virtual assistants and self-serve machines.


Would you let a robot entertain your child?

Several mechanical child-sized babysitters have been introduced to the market. One is iPal developed by Avatar Mind, with offices in China and Silicon Valley. iPal is able to keep three-to-eight-year-olds entertained for “a couple of hours” without adult supervision. It can sing, dance and even play rock, paper scissors!

Another, named Pepper, an emotionally responsive human-like robot was built by SoftBank, a Japanese technology company. It retails for an affordable $2299.18 CAN.


Robots can reach areas that are inaccessible to humans and provide crucial help in rescuing victims from natural disasters.

If you’re still concerned, check out this cool online calculator that the BBC has developed to check if your job will be automated in the next 2 years:


Is a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet Right for You?

Whether you are considering a vegan or vegetarian diet for health or ethical reasons, there are some things you should consider.

A vegan is considered a total vegetarian. Vegans do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or any products derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.

Some vegetarians eat a primarily plant-based diet but include eggs, dairy products and sometimes also fish.

Ethical reasons

People become vegetarians for many reasons, including, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources.

For Your Health

The Heart and Stroke Foundation estimates that 1.6 million Canadians are living with heart disease or the effects of a stroke.

The increased intake of dietary fiber, coupled with the lower consumption of foods high in saturated fats, help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels contribute to the clogged arteries of heart disease, which increases the risk of heart attack.

For heart protection, it’s best to choose high-fiber whole grains and legumes, which are digested slowly and have a low glycemic index — that is, they help keep blood sugar levels steady. Soluble fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels. Refined carbohydrates and starches like potatoes, white rice, and white-flour products cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which increases the risk of heart attack and diabetes (a risk factor for heart disease). It’s also vital to replace saturated and trans fats with good fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, and canola oil.

Weight Control

Cutting out fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, while adding high fiber, filling foods can result in a lower calorie intake making it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight. This, in turn, will provide many health benefits, such as increased energy, healthy hair and skin, and the self-confidence that comes from a positive self-image.

Live longer, healthier

Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world, according to a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians. Their secret: a low-calorie diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy.

Vegans have healthier gut bacteria

The gut bacteria of vegans appear to be superior to those of omnivores, containing more bacteria that decrease inflammation. In particular, vegan gut flora tends to be higher in a species called Faecal bacterium prausnitzii, bacteria that protect the cells of the colon, and lower in harmful E. coli. A higher consumption of plant-based foods typically increases fiber and feeds healthy bacteria.

The vegetarian diet is ideal for anyone suffering from GERD, a chronic digestive disease, with acid reflux as its most common ailment. A plant-based diet is lower in the fat and less likely to trigger heartburn.

You don’t have to go all the way

You can get many of the health benefits of vegetarianism without going all the way. For example, a Mediterranean-eating pattern — known to be associated with longer life and reduced risk of several chronic illnesses — features an emphasis on plant foods with a sparing use of meat. Even if you don’t want to become a complete vegetarian, you can steer your diet in that direction with a few simple substitutions, such as plant-based sources of protein — beans or tofu, for example — or fish instead of meat a couple of times a week.

You’ll save money

And if all those reasons aren’t convincing enough, consider that you’ll also save money due to the continually rising cost of meat, not to mention all the blood pressure medication you won’t be needing!


Dealing with an Acid Reflux Flareup

Are you experiencing persistent coughing, wheezing, belching, shortness of breath, bloating or that feeling that you have a lump in your throat when you swallow?

These are common symptoms of acid reflux.

And take it from someone who has been there, it’s no picnic. I made a gorgeous decadent chocolate cream pie recently for a dinner party, and didn’t think twice when I enjoyed a piece that night, and again the following nights until it was gone! Did I mention that I’d had a couple glasses of wine too?

It had been at least a year since my last flareup of GERD, so it really wasn’t on my mind at all.  I’d managed pretty well controlling it through diet and lifestyle changes so far. But all that chocolate was just too much for me. It brought on many days and nights of chest pain, coughing, and asthma like breathing difficulty. It took me about a week and a half of medication and good habits to get better again.

Acid reflux arises when the lower esophageal sphincter, the circular muscle that acts as a gate between the esophagus and stomach, has lost its elasticity, causing gastric acid to backwash into the esophagus.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease, with acid reflux as its most common ailment.

Two standout digestive aids include ginger and fennel.

Quick relief of acid reflux flare up

These foods and beverages can help relieve symptoms:

  • bananas,
  • whole grain bread or crackers,
  • ginger tea,
  • green tea
  • apple cider vinegar.
  • Sour candy and sugarless gum can also help relieve a GERD attack, since they trigger an increased production of saliva that helps neutralize stomach acid.

Antacids are commonly used to relieve heartburn, but stronger proton pump inhibitor medication to inhibit stomach acid production may be advised when symptoms are more than occasional. Check with your doctor.


have any of these acid reflux trigger foods:

  • Mint
  • Chocolate
  • Deep-fried fatty foods
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Sugary foods
  • Red and processed meats

Keep in mind that everyone responds to foods differently, and not all of these possible trigger foods will affect you.


  • Change the way you eat. Eat smaller portion sizes that are easier for your stomach to digest.
  • Eat a predominantly low fat, vegetarian diet, choosing acid reducing proteins such as fish, eggs, legumes, wild rice and non-wheat flours.
  • Choose probiotics: Probiotic acidophilus bifidus combats the acid imbalance in your body. Take powder capsules as needed and heartburn should subside within 30 minutes.
  • Include yogurt: yogurt also contains acidophilus bifidus.
  • Take 2-4 tablespoons of raw apple cider before each meal.
  • Eat lots of fiber. Load up on fiber-packed fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains
  • Two standout digestive aids include ginger and fennel. Sailors have long touted the calming digestive powers of ginger, and research suggests it speeds up the passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine. Fresh, dried, candied, or pickled varieties are all good bets. And fennel, a high-fiber vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, is thought to relieve bloating.
  • Take care with dairy. Opt for goat’s milk dairy products, which contain less fat and are easier to digest than cow’s milk dairy. If it’s cow’s milk dairy you crave, reach for reduced-fat and fat-free varieties.
  • Wait at least an hour after eating before working out. As a general rule, avoid exercise that involves a lot of jumping around like aerobics, or stomach crunches that squeeze or jostle stomach contents, possibly causing contents to move upward.
  • Don’t lie down after eating. Most especially don’t eat at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Never go to bed with a full stomach! This is a recipe for disaster!
  • Try lifting the head of your bed up by 6 inches. This allows your body to sleep on a bit of an incline, and any stomach acid rising up at night won’t get very far.