If makeup makes you feel good, don’t feel bad about it

Twist Me Toned - Tannis Miller
Twist Me Toned – Tannis Miller

Those who starkly protest that women who wear makeup are nothing more than vain, narcissistic, and shallow, have clearly never strolled a bookstore or a liquor mart.
Quirky labels, glossy covers, and elegantly crafted logos undoubtedly draw shoppers in and often serve as frontrunners in the battle of bottles and bindings that make their way up to the checkout stands.
It is not to say that the less glitzy variety is of lower value, but the way the products are packaged often play an integral role in the purchasing decision for the consumer, or at least the first impression.
Perhaps those of us who scrutinize our face in the mirror every morning are doing nothing more than conforming to society’s demands.
Maybe it is true that for those of us who won’t dare leave the house before camouflaging a blemish or darkening our lashes are giving in to an unwelcome, unrealistic standard we are forced to live up to.
I enjoy looking presentable, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel more confident in myself when I do.
Both literally and figuratively, I think that putting your best face forward is part of being successful. I know that looking the part is sometimes just as persuasive as acting the part – and that sometimes the former powers the latter.
But the real beauty behind makeup? It doesn’t fall so short as to end with others’ perceptions. The power behind makeup is its ability to camouflage what we don’t like and to play up what we do.
But most of all, the real power behind makeup isn’t to miss the point and live up to anyone else’s standards at all.
It’s simple: makeup increases some people’s confidence. It’s about how we feel.
Telling someone they should put on makeup? Offensive.
Telling someone they are shallow or superficial because they do wear makeup? Also offensive.
I wear makeup for a variety of reasons and none of them have anything to do with being vain.
I wear it because I like how it makes me feel and if anyone were to judge me on that, I’d think it would symbolize a whole heck of a lot more about him or her than it would about me.
Tannis Miller is a personal trainer and business owner in partnership with Ainsley McSorley at Twistmetoned.com, and an experienced self-taught makeup artist and beauty guru. Tannis’ work has been published in and on the covers of It’s Love Winnipeg, Status Fitness Magazine, and Inside Fitness magazines. 

No credit, bad credit? No problem. Or… maybe not.

By Janice Desautels

It’s been about 30 years, give or take a few, since cash was the common method of payment. Skip forward multiple generations of technology later, and cash is often never used. How has that helped us?
Would you agree that we can make decisions to purchase quicker and then make the transaction quicker? Let’s flip the coin – has it made saving easier?
Not much has changed to tip the scales from one generation to another except in terms of the decision-making process.
I’ve worked with many families who are unsure about saving their money in vehicles where the rate of return could fluctuate and even drop at times. Of course, everyone wants their savings to grow over time. However, when I look at their spending habits, there is usually considerable debt that they pay on a monthly basis where the cost of that debt doesn’t seem to be of concern – even if they have to pay an extra 20 per cent every month on the purchase. Isn’t this a contradiction of sorts?
Debt is a big business and like all businesses, there is an expectation of profit. To achieve this, the debt industry has put a lot of muscle into marketing; so while you may think you’re making an independent decision, are you really?
We live in a financial world of monthly payments, now biweekly if you follow the newest marketing ads. In my practice, it is very common for clients to picture their financial responsibilities by compartmentalizing them into pay cheque increments. This is prudent in organizing a monthly budget, however it can get out of hand very quickly if purchases exceed our ability to pay in full.
And just because we think we can handle the monthly instalments, we often make the decision to purchase. But is the real cost of that decision affordable?
The Bad and The Ugly
The simplest explanation is that debt can get real bad and really ugly very fast due to the lure of credit. We’re bombarded with messages telling us we’re pre-approved for credit, with no money down and no payments for months. No credit or bad credit? Come see us.
Before you give in to the marketing of debt, ask yourself these questions:
What would you be using the credit for? If it would be to purchase items such as food, clothing, and entertainment that you already pay cash for and that are consumed quickly – reconsider. Having a credit card for such purchases gives you a false sense that you have more money than you do and as a result, you may end up with ongoing interest charges.
If you cannot be disciplined to pay the bill in full at the end of the month, reconsider and don’t put yourself in jeopardy.
Did you do your research? The marketing may seem alluring, but what is the true cost of the credit being offered? What is the result if the item isn’t paid for in full by the end of the promotion?
Other costs not often thought about that can have a serious impact are the effects of your future decisions. A lot can happen in three to six months. If your income stream was interrupted, could you pay off your debt or sell your purchases for what you owe?
Consider the feeling of debt. What is more gratifying? Saving for something and making the purchase knowing it is yours, or buying now and paying for it long after the enjoyment is over?
Slow down
A good rule to follow is this: slow down so you can think clearly about your purchase, separate what is good for you versus what is good for the debt industry, and understand the total cost of the payment options being marketed.
Janice Desautels has been working with families and individuals for the last seven years helping educate in the field of financial literacy. She is a Certified Financial Educator with over 15 years’ experience in teaching and training adults.

Put wardrobe ideas on your mood board first

By Ally Champagne

I recently bought the new fashion book by Nicky Hilton called 365 Style. I absolutely love how she thinks.
She states: “It isn’t merely about collecting! It’s about selecting. Identifying your own personal style and knowing the essential pieces are key to not only looking the part, but actually having it all, without letting your closet burst at the seams.”
To seriously improve your shopping experience, she suggests using a mood board, which resembles a vision board, but it’s sole focus is fashion-related.
Inspiration can come from various arenas, some as obvious as fashion magazines, television, fashion shows, or shopping and taking pics of something you feel is speaking to you while you are out at a store. I find poring through home decor magazines or watching home renovation shows equally stimulating for my own creativity pot.
A mood board provides us with a larger canvas to explore and experience colour, textures and textiles on a much grander scale. You can use various boards for this – paper, cardboard, mirrors, picture frames, or even a dry eraser board.
The mood board is all about you: your preferences, tastes, and your exploration of possible new styles. You can tear or cut your chosen pics with fancy scissors, then assemble the pieces onto the board like a collage, or in groups according to your taste.
As an example, you might find a colour you really love, and look for pictures which include all types of clothing and accessories in this hue. The point is to create a look which encourages you to develop your personal style.
Once you have various hot items in your favourite new shade pinned on your board, don’t stop there. Look for accessories such as necklaces, scarves, earrings, shoes, and great handbags.
Do not limit yourself: pick out several possibilities, even if a part of you might feel it’s a little outrageous, pin them to your board. This board gives you the freedom to put together items you might generally never try on in a boutique, but you just might go for it and be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
You can try making more than one mood board at a time – one for your wish list items, one for a specific item for a special occasion such as a Christmas party, and one for your top picks which would enhance the essential pieces you already have in your closet. As you already know, accessories can completely change the look of an outfit, so try even filling a board with just those.
You might also find the mood board a great way to juggle the pros and cons of future purchases. If you find a bedazzling pair of boots and catch yourself thinking and thinking about them, add a pic of the item to your mood board. Then explore how many ways they might enhance your wardrobe.
Stick any items like this you are not sure about on there, and look at them periodically for a week. This process may help you avoid needless pitfalls in regards to impulsive buying. And it may also keep your budget intact (always an important factor in my books).
One last suggestion: do not censor anything you find appealing just because it is being modelled by someone who doesn’t have your shape, height, or hair colour.
When your board has reached a point where you are confident that it defines you, you are ready for the exciting next step: buying the item you covet most. So happy collaging! And may your board speak to the world about the creative, unique, and wonderful person you are.

Innovation Alley kicks off some of the best startups in Canada

By Marina James (photo of Dash founders David Bell & Christian Lunny)

As much as we might like to romanticize otherwise, innovation almost never happens within a proverbial vacuum. It happens when certain conditions are met that allow innovation to occur, and these conditions rarely happen by accident.
Innovation results when expertise, collaboration, and a series of novel ideas come together to create something bigger (read: better) than the sum of their parts.
And that’s precisely what’s happening in a storied part of Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District, where a blend of turn-of-the-century architecture is the setting for an inspiring new spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation taking shape along what has come to be called Innovation Alley.
This is where Winnipeg’s “creative class” both gravitates to and thrives in large part due to the complementary ecosystem that welcomes new innovators, then exposes them to the requisite peers, programs and mentors needed to take their ideas to the next level.
Scott MacAulay is a Red River College (RRC) instructor and a cofounder of Permission Click, an online tool – recently named the Most Promising Startup in Canada at the 2014 National Angel Summit – that delivers digital permission slips and payment collection for K-12 schools and daycare centres.
When MacAulay takes participants on a two-hour tour of Innovation Alley, he aptly begins at his own stomping ground, RRC’s Roblin Centre campus. This, he says, is the place where business, programming, and creative arts students (whom he refers to jokingly as hustlers, hackers and hipsters) begin journeys that steer an impressive number toward careers along other Innovation Alley stops.
Ramp Up Manitoba, a support community for startup entrepreneurs, is the coworking space where Permission Click got going, where the team behind the Cattle Track app is busy perfecting its prototype, and where many other startups are currently entrenched. At Ramp Up Manitoba, the whole idea is to begin with a scalable concept that can eventually create substantial job and gross domestic product (GDP) growth within Winnipeg.
What happens when a startup outgrows Ramp Up Manitoba but isn’t yet big enough to warrant its own dedicated office? Enter the Manitoba Technology Accelerator (MTA), which is just a short walk away in another beautifully converted Exchange District jewel. This is where ideas with real potential come to scale up as efficiently as possible.
For around $150 to $200 per month, startups can rent desk space alongside equally motivated service-based peers like Vine Multimedia, a small but full-service marketing agency fellow MTA members can access to brand their businesses to maximum advantage as they seek out angel investors, consequential clients, and anyone else interested in helping to grow their businesses.
Among other promising ventures, this accelerator is currently home to up-and-coming digital advertising firm Advolve Media and entertainment-focused Fannex, which lets spectators become an intimate part of a live event via their smartphones.
It’s at this stage that startup financing becomes a real concern for innovators like these, so where can they turn for help? As it happens, they just need to wander over to a corner of the MTA space that houses the Winnipeg branch of Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization funded both publically and privately that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39. Loans of up to $17,000 can get the ball rolling for these firms, which can then lead to further financing from other entities.
The proof is in the pudding: of the 105 businesses funded to date, Futurpreneur Canada’s local arm boasts a 95 per cent success rate.
Even to casual observers, it’s not hard to appreciate the tremendous value inherent in the Innovation Alley ecosystem, especially since MacAulay’s tours almost invariably include stops at legitimately burgeoning businesses like Skip the Dishes, just one level down from the MTA, whose proprietary online food-ordering process has seen the company grow from two employees a year ago to 57 now (with 35 more positions currently being filled); and Dash Agency, a full-service public relations and digital firm specializing in helping brands and businesses build equity in social/digital platforms, started up by teenagers Christian Lunny and David Bell, that now boasts 15 employees.
Creative capital
But the real value of Innovation Alley has little to do with the millions of dollars in equipment housed at AssentWorks, which prompts members council participant (and past chairman) Robert Elms to assert that: “We can make anything from buttons to body parts,” or with the economical office space found at Ramp Up Manitoba and the MTA, or even with the funding initiatives available from Futurpreneur Canada. Instead, Innovation Alley’s most important asset is its creative brain trust. “Entrepreneurship is a team sport,” relays MacAulay.
And when collisionability, serendipity and the incessant bumping together of creative heads can happen on an ongoing basis within a stone’s throw (or less) from each other, the results that could be achieved in the future might very well dwarf the remarkable successes already on record.
Viewed through an economic development lens, collaborative networks like these are essential to Winnipeg as we work to maintain our leading position among the world’s most progressive communities.
So let’s ensure we continue exploring these synergies together as we move Winnipeg forward.
Marina James is CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.

What is the deal with probiotics, anyway?

By Patti Sliwany (photo by Yasmina Haryono)

What are probiotics, and why should someone bother taking them?
Probiotics are a source of beneficial bacteria, or flora, that the body needs in order to maintain a healthy intestinal tract/digestive system.
We are living in a rapidly changing world where the toxins and chemicals in our food, air, and water are becoming too excessive for our little bodies to fight off. The result is the beneficial bacteria that naturally occurs within our intestinal tract is dying off, and the bad bacteria, parasites and viruses that also live within our insides, are taking over and wreaking havoc on our bodies. Probiotics allow temporary colonies of good bacteria to enter the intestinal tract and fight off the “bad guys,” all while allowing your intestines to heal themselves. This is much different than antibiotics, which kill both good and bad, further weakening the immune system.
And since 80 per cent of our immune system is located in the intestinal tract, this is the most important place to start in order to achieve optimal health. If your good flora is out of balance, all the herbs, fruits and vegetables in the world won’t help your digestive issues.
Where do probiotics naturally occur and what foods contain them?
Probiotics naturally occur in all “live ferments.” These include: kimchi, sauerkraut, unpasteurized pickles, and kefir. Kefir is a cultured dairy product that far surpasses yogurt in its beneficial bacteria content. Most of the good bacteria in yogurt is insufficient to what the body needs to regenerate itself, and often causes more harm than good to people that have a dairy sensitivity.
Since kefir is so highly cultured, the good bacteria feeds on the lactose in the milk, so by the time it reaches your lips, it is virtually 99.99 per cent lactose-free. When purchasing these fermented foods, make sure they are all found in the refrigerated section and specify that they are unpasteurized.
If a product is pasteurized, it means it’s been heated to a certain temperature to kill bad bacteria and to allow for a longer shelf life. The problem is this process kills all the good stuff too, in which case eating these foods can make your condition even worse.
What are the most important probiotic strains to take?
One of the most important strands to take is Bacillus laterosporus BOD, not to be confused with its counterpart, Bacillus laterosporus (without BOD). There are many strands of probiotics out there, but unfortunately not all do what we want them to.
This particular strand, Bacillus laterosporus BOD, has been tested and proven to kill yeast and candida, as well as more nasty bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. This is incredible considering modern antibiotics are unsuccessful at destroying these bacteria and only worsen our condition. Probiotics have the ability to kill and heal all at the same time!
What health conditions can be improved by taking probiotic supplements?
It is amazing what probiotics can do! The list is lengthy, but some common and important ailments they can help avert are: gas, bloating, heartburn, digestive issues, IBS, chronic fatigue, Epstein-Barr, mood swings, anxiety, depression, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, frequent colds, UTIs, yeast infections, sinus issues, infertility and irregular menses, and prostate infections.
Stop by a health food store and pick up a probiotic-rich product today!
Patricia Sliwany is a board-certified holistic nutritionist, and founder of Alive & Aware Holistic Health. Alive & Aware offers one-hour workshops, customized lunch-and-learn series, and three- to 12-month individual or group coaching initiatives. The programs utilize a state-of-the-art, science-based curriculum designed by physicians and nutritionists for those who want to take charge of their health and prevent disease. To find out which program meets the needs of you or your organization, please visit http://www.aliveandaware.ca, or contact Patti at patti@aliveandaware.ca or 204-997-2031.


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