Quick 5-Minute DIY Gift Ideas For Any Occasion!

Lifestyle

By Faria Ahmed

I absolutely enjoy giving gifts, but I enjoy personalizing them even more! Living on a young adult/student budget makes it hard to buy beautiful gift items from the store all the time, so I make up for it using a tad bit of customized creativity! Here are some of the super quick and super affordable Do-It-Yourself gift ideas for any occassion.

1.Handmade Personalized Ornaments

Whether it’s to hang from your Christmas tree or simply to be hung up on the wall or used as coasters…these personalized gifts are an all-time staple for affordable gifting! All you need is:

  1. Slides Wood (I got them for $1 a piece from a local farm where some trees had to be cut down this year)
  2. Twine Rope
  3. Hot Glue Gun
  4. Sharpie or Etching Tool
  5. Scissors

Cut up about 2 inch of the twine rope. Use the hot glue to attach the rope to the sliced wood coaster. You can also glue on embellishments to make it even more fancy. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes. Use the sharpie to write the gift receiver’s name or a cute message to them. Ta-da!

2. Goodie Jars

I love how sustainable these gifts are and how you can practically customize it for absolutely anyone. For some friends, I filled these jars up with candy, for others with popcorn, and for some diabetic friends- I added cute little tea candles from Ikea! Again, this can be used for christmas, a new year gift for coworkers or clients, as a lootbag item for children’s birthday parties and so much more! Here’s what you need:

  1. Small glass jars (I got them from the dollar store for $2 a piece)
  2. Twine Rope
  3. Paper, Sharpie, Scissors
  4. Goodies to fill up the jar (candy, cookies, candles, potpourri etc)
  5. Hole puncher

Fill the jar with whatever goodies you have chosen. Wrap some twine around the jar and before typing up a bow add your note. For the note, fold up some plain white paper into a little card, white on and in the note as you wish, then punch a hole in the corner so you can slip it into the twine rope but tying it up into a pretty bow.

10 Reasons Millennial Travelers are LOVING Chennai

Travel

Written By: Arkapriya Dhara

Chennai is truly a bustling destination in South India that has almost everything- starting from colonial architecture, century-old temples to golden beaches. Although known for its old historic sites,Chennai actually has a perfect balance where its ethnic culture and metropolis lifestyle are thriving hand-in-hand. It’s absolutely amazing how you will still find young girls adorning fresh flowers in their hair on their way to the temple while technology and international brands keep life as comfortable as anywhere else in India. As a Millennial Traveler out to explore all of Asia, I’m glad I made this one of my first travel destinations. It was truly a dreamy escape from regular life.

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

1. The Temples

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

The medieval temples will blow your mind and try to visit in the evening to see the actual magic happening with all the rituals. Parthasarathy, Vadapalani Murugan, Kapaleeshwarar temples are some of best temples that you should check out.

2.  The Churches

As I said temples are for nights, days should be used to visit numerous churches both in Chennai and Pondicherry. In Chennai St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica should be top of your list.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png
Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

3. Chennai lighthouse

The landmark lighthouse is just beside the Marina beach and takes the elevator up to get a panoramic view of the sea and the city.

4. Affordable Shopping spree

Go straight to Tnagar for budget shopping and you can pop by malls for international brands. Chennai is truly a Saree heaven and leaving Chennai without buying at least one Nalli Silk Saree will be a grave mistake.

5. Beaches

 Among the beaches, the Marina Beach is the most significant one and it is the second-longest beach in the whole world. Try to take a morning stroll by the beach and observe historical building which will remind you of old Madras.

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara
Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

6. Local Food

Chennai is known for a mix of cuisines along with the authentic Idly, dosa and vada. You should pay a visit to Saravana Bhawan and Ratna Cafe for typical South Indian vegetarian dishes.

7. Flowers, Dancing, Music and Culture

The flowers are the true essence of Chennai and truly it is an integral part of their culture. Try to buy flowers to put in your hair while visiting temples. Chennai is maybe the only city where you can always attend a high-quality classical dance performance and these are mostly free for all. Bharatiya Vidya Bhubaneswar is really the place to experience the culture here .

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

8. Mahabalipuram

While visiting Chennai, it’s absolutely necessary to visit mahabalipuram on the way to Pondicherry. The rock sculptures beside the sea are astonishing. The Shore Temple, Arjuna Penance, Cave Temples, etc are some of the must-visit places.

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

9. Pondicherry

You just cannot I mean cannot miss Pondicherry while visiting Chennai. It’s only two and a half hours away from Chennai. The French colony called ‘White Town’ will make you feel as if you are not in India at all. Other than that Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Rock beach, French war memorial, and different churches are worth the visit.

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

10. Instagram-Worthy Spots Everywhere!

There is a certain charm to the authentic culture that still exists in Chennai, while the busier cities like Delhi and Mumbai are lost in the fast-paced globalized lifestyle. As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…so if you have an eye for it, you will find endless spots in this city for striking instagram photos! The colours of the buildings, the smiles of the street vendors, the drippy deliciousness of curries and street food…all make for an amazing travel destination.

You can check out Arkapriya on her travel adventures in South Asia and beyond by following her instagram account here!

Photo: Arkapriya Dhara

8 Tips on Building Credit for Beginners

Adulting

Written By: Tiara Lynn

Growing up, building credit was the last thing on my mind. I avoided anything to do with loans and credit cards. It wasn’t until I took an “Introduction to Business” course that I learned about all the good and the bad when it came to credit. As someone with no credit history at all, I didn’t know where I should start. With all the knowledge I had gained from my own research and the course, I am here to share with you some tips that helped me build my credit score.

Photo Credit: Tiara Lynn

1.Take Out A Small Loan

My first step when it came to building credit was taking out a small loan. I was only working for nine months when I first applied for a small loan of $500, and so I needed a co-signer. I was lucky enough to have my grandma’s help with that. If you are working for over one year then chances are you won’t need a co-signer. Taking out a small loan helps you establish credit. 

2.Always Pay On Time

My first loan came with a lot of stress when it came to making the payment. I was always confused as to when I should pay and what not. You need to know that payment history plays a big role on your overall credit score. If you are late once, it may affect your credit score and can stay on your credit score for up to seven years. What I like to do is find out exactly when it’s due and pay my bill a couple of days before the due date. If possible, set up automatic online payments because it’s really convenient.

3. Paid Off The Small Loan…Now What?

It took about five months for me to finally pay off the loan. Even if I could’ve paid it off sooner, it’s never a good idea. Your goal is to build credit and paying it early won’t improve your credit. Keep the loan open for the length agreed and watch your score improve. What happens after you pay off your small loan? For me, I decided to apply for a credit card because it’s not borrowed money. I planned on using it to pay bills and then pay the credit card. Sadly, I needed to continue to build my credit. The bank offered me an secured credit card. 

A secured credit card is where you deposit the amount of the credit card limit as kind of like a security deposit. I decided to just do $500 limit. I kept this secured credit card for about 7 months before applying for an unsecured $500 credit card. Once I applied for an unsecured credit card, I got approved for a $1,000 credit limit. I know, it doesn’t seem like a lot but these are really great for someone who isn’t looking to go into debt. If you want to build your credit to prepare for the future of buying a house or something. Keep your accounts in good standing. 

4. Don’t Go Purchase Happy When Applying For New Accounts

Don’t apply for new credit cards or loans all at the same time. I get that you may be trying to see different options, but doing this can make your credit score decrease. Normally, each time you apply for a new loan or credit card it’s considered hard inquiries. What you want to do is be mindful when picking places you want to apply at. I normally look at the interest fee and annual fee when it comes to credit cards.

5. Monitor Your Credit

I recommend Credit Karma because it is what I use, but it’s not necessary accurate. My credit score on Credit Karma is significantly lower than what the banks pull. However, it has been really helpful when it comes to keeping track of payment history and credit card utilizations.

6. Keep Credit Card Accounts Open

Even if you don’t use your credit card often, it’s always good to keep it active. The longer the age and payment history, the more chances you have on improving your overall credit score. 

7. Keep Credit Utilization Low

A lot of people had suggested to keep credit utilization below 30% and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you have multiple credit cards, I believe it’s 30% across all cards. I’ve been doing just that and my score continues to improve daily. However, sometimes ‘life happens’ and we may find ourselves with quite a bit of credit card debt. If you’re trying to find a way out from a whole lot of credit card debt, this is how you can do it!

8. Don’t Take On More Than You Can Manage

I know a lot of people have multiple credit cards because they believe that they can manage but it can get overwhelming. If you overuse and are unable to make a payment, it will affect your credit score. That’s why I will always suggest to be mindful when committing to new loans and credit cards.

Photo: Tiara Lynn, owner of LifeWithTiara.com

These are just some tips that have worked for me. Within 10 months, I went from NO CREDIT to GOOD CREDIT. All within that time frame, I was able to get my own car and an unsecured credit card. I have learned that credit can be good and bad, but it all depends on the way you manage it. Please be advised that I am not a professional. Although these tips worked for me, I can’t guarantee the same results.

Tiara is a twenty-seven year old from the Island of Guam. She is a blogger sharing all things inspired by personal experiences, interest, growth, and development on her website https://lifewithtiara.com.

5 Tips for Millennials Seeking a Legal Career from a Millennial Lawyer Herself

Career, People

Written by Virginia Ng

As you grow up, the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up” turns into “What are you going to do for the rest of your life.” If you’ve always known what you wanted to do, then great, if you didn’t then that’s okay, too. I didn’t think about becoming a lawyer until almost the end of my undergraduate studies. If you ever thought about or are thinking about pursuing a legal career, then I have a few tips to you.

Image of young lawyer Virginia at her Call to the Bar, Law Society of Ontario.

1. Volunteer or get work experience as soon as you can

One of the things I am most grateful for is having gotten to work one summer as an intern and assistant at a small law office before finishing my bachelor’s degree and deciding to study law. You should try to get a feel of what it is like to be in a legal work environment before committing to a legal career path. There are some who have watched television, maybe dreamed of becoming a paralegal or lawyer, and then realized that the job and the environment isn’t what they thought it would be like. I wasn’t someone who initially thought I would become a lawyer when I was younger. I was someone who was still figuring it out. It was during my undergraduate studies of psychology, when I thought about the connection to law and had the opportunity to work with a lawyer, when I decided to go to law school. This work experience is especially important if you are thinking about going to law school or becoming a lawyer, and are concerned about your financial situation, as not only is tuition of law school expensive but there are many other fees in addition that you will have to pay for (more on this below), and so you should know what you will be working towards after your degree beforehand.

2.   Have a financial plan or significant savings. Do not carry debt going into law school if possible

The legal profession is an expensive career path, and do not assume that you are going to be able to make up for it all right away once you become a licensed legal professional. Yes, law school is expensive, but so are licensing fees. What’s that? Yes, there are more fees after you graduate. Whether you are becoming a lawyer or a paralegal in Ontario, after you graduate and want to become a lawyer or paralegal, you will have to pay for fees upfront to join the legal professional body, licensing exam fees and more. Law school doesn’t really give you that much time off to have a job, and the expenses you will be paying for will be a lot more than how much you can earn part-time at any minimum wage position. Unfortunately, for us millennials, you probably know that there is already a shortage for university graduates obtaining meaningful career positions after they graduate that pay well, and the legal field is no different. To become a lawyer, after you have your law degree, each province has their own licensing process, you will have to apply to the law society of the province you want. In Ontario, you will have to pay for another application fee to get put into the licensing process, then you will be required to write two bar exams, and complete an experiential training component, either “articling” which is a supervised internship for 10 months or the Law Practice Program. You may have heard some positive stories of students who were well paid working at a large law firm after graduating, but that’s not always the case, and many smaller firms often can’t pay you a significant amount. In fact, you will be lucky to work for the minimum wage at some smaller firms. The Ontario bar exams with the required materials will cost you over $2000, and for your experiential training component, you will have to pay over $3000 (I don’t remember the exact numbers). That’s right, you must PAY to have your work or internship recognized. If you fail a bar exam, you will have to pay to do it again. These exams are also 7 and a half hours each filled with a lot of material, and many people must take some time off work to study. After this, you will have to pay for the bar ceremony, possibly buy/rent barrister robes, and then when you do get licensed, guess what… MORE FEES! Within the first few weeks after getting called to the Bar, congratulations, you will be handed an invoice from the law society asking you to pay for the remainder of the year as a licensed professional, even if you aren’t working. If you are not practising law, you can apply to change your status with the law society to pay less fees, but you are still required to pay something more than a few hundred dollars just to maintain your license, otherwise your license may be administratively suspended for not paying. If you are practising, you will have to pay much more, and in addition, it is mandatory for licensees to have practising insurance coverage. In Ontario, we use LawPro Insurance. A new call has a 50% discount, but surprisingly that’s still over $300/month currently for a new lawyer in their first year. Thus why, I would suggest you plan out a financial plan or figure out how you will survive financially for several years (not a few, not for just when you’re in law school, but after too), and you do not want to be in debt before starting this career path.

3. Maintain and build your support system

If you have great friends, and people you have met through work experience before law school, you will want to maintain their friendships to help get you through any mental struggles you may face throughout your career journey. In law school, don’t be afraid to make friends, not everyone will be amazing, some become too competitive, and you may want to stay away from those, but if you find some great friends in your class or in another class above or below you, then you will have an advantage over those who are just competitive and want to do everything alone. It’s great if you can find people who can share with you notes or would be willing to build notes together with you or provide other tips. The people I attempted to befriend in the beginning did not become my friends I later had.  Friends I later had in law school, were people that I eventually became close with and still stay in touch with. When I first started at law school, I lived in a studio apartment, and this girl who lived two doors down from me who was a semester senior to me ended up becoming one of my best law school pals, and that was not something I expected. Although we were in different semesters, we attempted to compete in various legal competitions such as moots, client interview competitions, and negotiations. I later took a few courses with her as I took a few courses out of order, and she later introduced me to my roommate I moved in with 2 semesters later. I was able to form a study group sometimes then. I also got to know someone else who was senior to me, who I would regularly meet in the library who taught me Microsoft Word tricks for formatting my exam notes that I will forever be thankful for.

4. Don’t try to be a “Shark” or super competitive going into law school or college

There is this falsehood with a lot of new law school students who believe that they need to be as competitive as possible, and perhaps even sabotage other students or should not help anyone else. I don’t really blame anyone for having this initial view as many do and it can somewhat feel encouraged by schools that curve class grades. However, in the real practising world, legal professionals often need to work with each other, and rely on asking each other for help, guidance and advice to do better, and so you should start building your relationships early on. You never know when you may need someone. Try to help others when you can.

Image of young lawyer Virginia of Canada, in front of the faculty of Law, Bond University in Australia.
Photo in front of the Faculty of Law, after my first law school presentation

5. If you’re thinking about going to law school abroad, do your research and plan.

I went to Bond University in Australia, but before applying, I attended an information event for their law programs in Toronto, and some of their webinars where I could ask them questions. You should find out whether the school you are thinking about is planning any information sessions nearby or if there are any international university fairs. At international university fairs, you can get some information, and find out about various law school programs but you should then do further research into any schools you are then seriously considering, and then see if they will host a specific information session for the law program.

There are often also consultant agencies that will help you with informing you of information sessions and sending your applications. I signed up with KOM Consultants, which is based in Hamilton and asked them about universities they communicate with. Another popular agency for helping students interested in studying in Australia is OzTREKK. Both agencies can provide you with an abundance of information if you are interested in studying abroad. You should research into whether the University is recognized by the National Committee of Accreditation (NCA) (the Canadian association that assesses legal education and professional experience outside of Canada) or whether they have had students come back to Canada and what their experiences have been like in the past.

After you have completed your legal education abroad, if you plan to come back to Canada to practice, you will have to be assessed by the NCA. This process can take a lengthy period, so you should also be prepared for an additional time period spent completing the NCA process. The NCA requires a final transcript from your school to be sent directly to them. Towards the end of your studies, you should enquire into any forms you may have to fill to have your transcript sent. You will have to apply to have your education assessed by the NCA, which you can do so on their website: https://nca.legal/process/application/ . Once your transcript has been sent to the NCA and they have assessed your application, then they will tell you if they require you to write any additional exams, or to take any courses at a Canadian law school. When I applied, I think they had up to 12 weeks to assess, and you can’t start signing up to any of the NCA exams until they have properly sent you back your assessment. Once you have completed the NCA requirements, they will send you a notice and ask which law society (province or territory) you are planning to join. They will then send your Certificate of Qualification to that law society and send one copy to you. After this, then you will have to apply to the law society you intend to join, e.g. the Law Society of Ontario, and you will start the process with them and pay for all the fees noted above in my second tip. Oh, also you should be prepared to have to pay for NCA fees as well if you plan on going abroad and coming back to Canada.

Photo of Bond University, Australia where I attended Law School

If you are interested in staying abroad and practicing in another country, then you should ask about possible VISA options for staying after your studies that other graduates have applied for at your information sessions or to your consultant agency (E.g. KOM consultants or OzTREKK).   

Bonus Tip 6: Connect with fellow students and graduates

Lastly, if you plan on embarking on a legal career or know someone who is, you should join the social media community or follow and subscribe to Ginny Law Blogs at www.ginnylawblogs.com, a resource for new lawyers and those seeking a legal career.

I hope you enjoyed this article if you’re a millennial who is thinking about going to law school or are seeking a legal career.

About the Author: Virginia Ng aka “Ginny” is a new millennial lawyer, blogger and creator of Ginny Law Blogs, a blog that not only explores various interesting legal topics but is also a blog that discusses the journey of navigating the legal professional world as a young female lawyer, giving insight, motivation and tips to other upcoming or aspiring legal professionals.  

Website: www.ginnylawblogs.com 

Email: ginny@ginnylawblogs.com

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Gifts for the Man in your Life this Christmas 2019!

Lifestyle

Compiled By Faria Ahmed

Wishlist by Jordan Johnstone

For some reason, I have always found it way more difficult to buy gifts for men than for women. Maybe because I am one, and I know all the range of books, beauty products, clothes, accessories, gadgets, home decor items, and other lifestyle products that women in my friend circle and immediate family will like. On the other hand, buying anything for my dad, my uncles or my boyfriend is quite the chore. All I can think of are nice socks and ties or the occasional book that they might like. That’s why this year, I decided to ask my boyfriend to help me figure out what kind of items he would love to get as a Christmas present. I promised to get him any ONE item off that list, and he promised to do the same for me based on my wishlist!

Canadian young man in Perth, Ontario. Posing with coffee cup in early winter.
Jordan at a park in Perth, Ontario

Here are the top 10 things on his Christmas Wishlist for 2019. I hope this helps you guys to figure out what to buy for the men in your lives too! If you like anything on this list, you can click on the image and see the actual product that I am talking about online. 

1.A Classy Wooden Watch

I found a bunch of different types on Amazon, and most were reasonably within my budget of $150. So, this is definitely in the running among the things I might actually get him for Christmas.

2.Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

God know he has a bunch of the extra large wireless headphones that he uses for gaming. However, he has been meaning to get the smaller sort that you can use with your cellphones when you are out. I found this one that looks kind of sleek and again it was within my budget, costing only $69.

3. New Release Video Games

So for this one he said we would be fine with any of the three recently released video games that he does not have for his Xbox. Now, my only advice for buying video games for the men in your life is to first be sure of what device he owns. Find out if he plays his games on a gaming PC, XBox One, Xbox 360, a PS4 or something else because these games are all device-specific.

4.Golf Clubs

When he started telling me about the type of golf clubs he wants, I thought he was speaking Hebrew because I didn’t understand a single word. He said something about having started off with Wilson’s but now he would like to get a nice one from TaylorMade and that the type of club would be an Iron. I noted down the specifics and looked it up. Amazon had some sexy looking ones around $300-$800. It’s a bit over my preferred budget for this Christmas since I’m also travelling, but it’s good to keep in mind for the next big occasion.

If the men in your life enjoy a sport, find out what they need and you can get them something they will love for a very long time!

5.Gaming/ Live-Streaming Equipment

If you haven’t figured it out yet, he is quite the video game nut. For several years he has wanted to set up a live stream but never gotten around to it. So this year he has been looking into the technology behind live streaming and I found this high-end Sling Studio Hub which can be used for multi-camera production, switching between cameras and live streaming. Seemed really cool to me but it is a bit of an investment.

6. NFL Cowboys Apparel

Jordan already has a ton of Cowboys merchandise but clearly the obsession does not end with getting a simple jersey. This year he wants the pants from NFL to go along with the rest of all this Cowboys merch.

7. Whiskey Glass Set

This neat set contains a set of two whiskey glasses, Irish Bourbon Whiskey Stones, Scotch Rock Tongs, and chilling stones. It seems like it will be a nice addition to the man bar he is trying to build.

8.Winter boots from Timberland

This was possibly the one and only practical item on his wishlist this year! He wants a pair of nice winter boots from Timberland and if you live in Canada, you can never have too many of those. The price seems quite reasonable at around $130 and I will be sure to keep this among the top things I want to get him this year.

9.Cell Phone Case

This is one more of a stocking stuffer so I might get it along with the main gift. Once remember, remember to find out the exact model of his phone. Jordan specifically wants a cover with a front flap so it doesn’t scratch his screen so I’ll be keeping that in mind as well.

10. Xbox Controller

Yes, yes you guessed it right. He keeps wearing down his gaming controllers and ofcourse there’s a sexy new one out now called the Wireless Controller Series 2 Elite. I might not get it but I can only imagine how happy he will be to get one of these so definitely keeping an eye on it for the next big occasion.

Don’t forget to share what you are getting for the men in your life this Christmas 2019 by commenting below! Would love to know so I can broaden my options too. Happy Holiday Shopping!

11 Locally Owned Ottawa Stores to LOVE this Christmas! #BuyLocal

Lifestyle, Travel

By Faria Ahmed

Canadians are now more aware than ever before about the kind of footprint their consumer choices leave behind on the planet. Not just the environment, but health, labour rights, humane treatment of animals and ethical production of goods are now being taken into consideration before jumping into a prickly bed of roses with blind capitalism. The good news is that we can still enjoy our long list of Christmas shopping and have all our unique requirements met – by buying local! Not only will you be supporting your fellow Ottawa folks and giving them a chance to have a happy holiday, but you can also shop guilt-free by not giving more to corporations to are underpaying their workers and harming the environment on a large scale. Check out these 10 local businesses we thought had some of the coolest goodies to offer this Christmas!

1. Aux Delices Bakery

Photo Credit: Aux Delices Bakery

Visit Aux Delices Bakery at the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market for a whole range of sugary goodness in adorable Christmas themes! They are located at : 32 ByWard Market Square, Ottawa, ON.

2. Wiser Meats

I love Wiser Meats because it gives me an easy option to have meat with little to no guilt. Wiser Meats is an online service that delivers raw, fresh cut meats in the Ottawa area. They produce fresh meat every Monday at noon and deliver from Tuesday to Friday. They have highest quality locally raised meat packaged in Federally inspected facilities. And the best part is that all of their products are free of antibiotics and steroids, and the cows are all grass-fed and ethically raised. You can find a wide range of options from aged beef, free-range & air-chilled chicken as well as certified halal meat. You can order online at wisermeats.com.

3. Good Grazes

Photo Credit: Good Grazes

If you are planning to host friends and family this holiday season, then Good Grazes will blow your mind! This amazing catering service makes custom spreads for your budget and party size! “The Holiday Graze & Go box” is great for 1-4 people, the “Gather & Graze table” for about 10 people, and the “Party grazing table” is awesome for a large group of 30-40 people. If you live in Ottawa, just order at GoodGrazes.ca! They do deliver to your doorstep for a small fee but pickup is always free. The week before christmas is already almost full, so big groups should try to book quick! Small boxes can be ordered as late as 24 hours before the event. Good Grazes can accommodate your dietary needs and do nut free, gluten free options and even a vegan board with items like roasted mushrooms, chick peas, olive tepanade, and vegan cheese caprese skewers, Cashew dip, etc. They work with mostly biodegradable utensils and with local suppliers as much as possible. For Pick-up, the location is in Orleans.

4. Aromesso Cafe

Photo Credit: Aromesso

This little cafe and bakery all the way in Tangers, Aromesso will surprise you with its dainty cheesecakes (From The Cheesecake Factory) and deliciously colourful donuts! With options for sweet, savory, halal items, they are bringing the A-game to that part of town! They are located at: 8555 Campeau Dr., Unit #852Ottawa, Ontario

5. Sweetlegs Orleans

Photo: SweetLegs

SweetLegs is the first Canadian leggings company to have their own in-house designed signature line. These comfy and adorably printed leggings are available in dozens of unique and beautiful prints and sizes! SweetLegs have a four way stretch and a kitten soft finish which makes them adored by all ages and genders! You can now buy from their local vendor in Orleans, by visiting SweetLegs Orleans with Sania!

6. Anna Stubbe Chocolates & Confectioneries

Tired of eating the same old flavours in mainstream, mass-produced chocolates from factories? It is time to go local and taste these dainty and delicate chocolates made with choco-expertise, love and care! If you love all things chocolate and would like the ultimate chocolate experience, then you need to visit Anna Stubbe Chocolates and Confectioneries! High quality ingredients and a super classy presentation are matched with really creative designs. You won’t be disappointed! Everything they sell is handcrafted right onsite. Located at: 500 Hazeldean Road, Unit 108Kanata, Ontario.

Photo: Anna Stubbe Chocolates & Confectioneries

7. Beetle Bug Baby

Beetle Bug Baby is your one-stop shop to get custom Stay on Baby / Toddler booties, play mitts, and more! This locally made store takes care of both mommies AND babies with nursing arm pillows, scrunchies, santa sacs and so much more!

Photo Credit: Beetle Bug Baby

8. Canoes & Creativity

Photo Credit: Canoes and Creativity

At Canoes and Creativity you need to load up on beautiful handmade stocking stuffers and gifts! They offer a wide range of rustic woodburned home decor items all designed by hand. There is a 12 Days of Christmas sale happening from November 26 – December 8, featuring 24-hour daily specials. All custom orders are guaranteed by December 20.

9. Sofi’s Silly Slime

Martine, the owner of Sofi’s Silly Slime started making handmade slime after her niece Vanysa introduced her to his fun little thing. However, once she had discovered the fun and therapeutic effects of making and playing with slime, she got super creative with it and now is ready to spread the joy with you all! “What I create is enjoyed by both children and adults and nothing makes me happier than to put a smile on someone’s face because of something I have made”, shared Martine. At Sofie’s Silly Slime, you will find a super creative and fun range of slime – the ideal gifts for children this year! You also get amazing courteous service in both French and English!

Photo: Sofi’s Silly Slime

10. Clutch by Pat Durant

Everyone needs a nice leather clutch, even vegans! That’s why Clutch by Pat Durant is offering incredibly stylish clutch purses in her Seasonal Clutches collection. Some are made with brushed wool plaid and quality vegan leather, another with lace and vegan leather to move easily from daytime to nighttime events. The third in the collection is a is a classic envelope clutch made with a gorgeous brushed wool plaid reminiscent of the Burberry check. All are on special for $75.

Clutch by Pat Durant

11. Crazy Cat Witchy

Photo: Crazy Cat Witchy

At Crazy Cat Witchy, you can find something spiritual, artistic and beautiful for that whimsical friend in the group! They make custom energy alignment tools using high quality gemstones and each dome comes with a full write up of healing properties, how to use and an identity. They range in price from $60-$150 with delivery options anywhere in North America for just an additional $15. You can make requests and get custom ones made within a week.

If you are done with the main Christmas gifts and just need a few more stocking stuffers within a few dollars, don’t forget to check out our list of 10 items you can get for under $10 as a Christmas gift!

10 GIFT IDEAS UNDER $10

Lifestyle

Whether it’s Christmas, new year’s or a birthday, we are all a little crunched for gift funds this time of the year. Apart from the few big gifts for loved ones, there’s always a whole bunch of stocking stuffers, secret santas, and workplace gifts that we need to get within a very tight budget. This year, I decided to take time to sift through the dozens of cheap-looking things at the Dollar Store to find the few great ones that are way under-priced for their quality and looks. Here are the 10 amazing finds from the dollar store that were well below my $10 budget!

1. Wooden Christmas Decor Item

2. Wooden Hanging Tags

3. Unicorn Loofahs

4. Wooden Letterboard

5. Cookie Jars (Filled with candy/candles/cookies)

6. Stuffed Toys

7. Reindeer or Santa Mugs (For Hot Cocoa!)

8. Photo Frames

9. Artificial Plants

10. Seeds & Indoor Herb Plant Pots

This Millennial Photographer is Shattering the “Us versus Them” Stereotypes with these Powerful Images

People

Nasif Imtiaz is a 26-year old photographer from the small city of Narayanganj in Bangladesh. The young boy who passionately and obsessively took interesting photos using his low resolution phone camera, managed to teach himself the basics of photography off of free youtube videos. True passion and the hunger to learn something requires neither professional training nor a structured career path, and Nasif is an example of exactly that. From amateur photography to a rising freelance photo documentarian locally and internationally, Nasif is always seeking stories he can share through his work.

A Madrassa or Islamic School Teacher and His pupils are taking a group selfie on a smartphone camera.
A Madrassa (Islamic School) Teacher and his pupils taking a groupie (group selfie) photo on a smartphone.

Nasif believes that far more important than high quality cameras and lenses is the concept and story behind each photograph. That is why he spends significant parts of time seeking out interesting, rare, moving and awe-inspiring stories which he can capture. In the photo above, Nasif was able to capture a “groupfie” which is a millennial term of group photographs taken in the selfie style. What is unique about the photo is that the photo is being taken by an instructor at an Islamic school, smiling with his pupils. In his own words, Nasif says this is the one project that makes him the happiest when he thinks about it. The image is remarkably powerful because of how Islamic schools (also known as Madrassas) and Muslims in general have been targets of Islamophobia and alienated in mainstream media on the global platform. The “us versus them” mentality has been steadily growing, often making people forget that we are not so different just because of the differences in faith or faith-based school systems. It also shows the uniting impact of technology and modern technological trends which surpass intangible barriers of community, faith, geography, and so on.

A Madrassa (Islamic School) Teacher and his young pupils sitting on a floor mat and enjoying a virtual reality experience on a VR eye device.
A Madrassa (Islamic School) Teacher and his pupils enjoying a virtual reality experience.

When asked which photo makes Nasif feel most sorrow in hindsigh, she says”It would be when I took a picture of an old mother crying at the scene of death of her daughter, who had just passed away in a fire at Chowkbazar area of Old Dhaka”. It is sometimes said that photographs and art are meant to incite emotions in people, and this image definitely does that. Anyone looking at the photo would have a stabbing pain in their heart and share in mourning with the mother who lost her child.

A mother crying for the loss of her daughter at Chawkbazar, Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Nasif’s photodocumtaries have a unique way to capture joy, sorrow, love, and laughter in places where we least expect them. Below is an image of a blind couple, both of whom have visual deficits, smiling on their wedding day. This image, captioned “Blind Love” shows the innocence of a newly married couple and their expression of pure joy and genuine affection. The attire and background of the image show a humble background but the emotions of the moment transcend material needs. Another interesting aspect of this image is how it makes us question physical attractiveness and beauty. Love can clearly exist without the visual image of a lover. How beautifully they must picture one another in their minds!

A Blind couple pose on their wedding day in Bangladesh.
“Blind Love”: The Image shows a newly married couple, both of whom suffer from blindness.

Not only do Nasif’s images help us fight internal prejudices about religion, gender, and class, but his work also works to humanize those who we are quick to label and forget. In 2019, we continue to live through multiple refugee crises in different parts of the world. Nasif decided to interact with Rohingya refugees who are a tribal citizens of Myanmar, currently struggling to find a new home in and build a new life in Bangladesh.

Asma, a little girl who is a rehongya refugee living in the refugee camp in Bangladesh
“Asma” – A Rohingya Refugee Girl at Cox’s Bazar Refugee Camp in Bangladesh.

This young girl named “Asma” who was photographed at the Cox’s Bazar Refugee Camp in Bangladesh has the most expression eyes. Her remarkable eyes speak volumes about how lost and uncertain her life has become.

A little boy taking a breath at the water surface in a pond at Munshiganj, Bangldesh.

In this image we see a little boy in Munshiganj town of Bangldesh, coming up to the surface of water for a breath of fresh air. You can almost feel and experience that relief and gust of air as his head rises above the water surface, surrounded by floating water vegetation. It is so refreshing and familiar a feeling for anyone who has been underwater swimming before, yet to strikingly different than the tile-and-cement pools most people are used to swimming in. We can be millions of miles apart and still share some very common experiences and joys of life.

A little boy is annoyed while his mother scrubs his face and gives him a bath

Mothers across the globe will recognize that expression of sheer annoyance on their child’s faces when forced to take a bath and wash their faces. Halfway across the world this Bengali woman is doing the same to her son by the village lake. Nasif’s work truly brings out the common experiences of human experiences and relationships and reminds us that we all way more similar than we are different.

A Day In The Life of A Gen X Entrepreneur

People

As someone who works both a full-time corporate job and has several entrepreneurial businesses, my days are rather busy. My day starts early and ends late but not too late. I totally believe in self-care and make it a weekly habit. Check out what a normal day for me may look like. 

Morning Routine

My day starts at 5 am most days unless I’m scheduled to be at work for 5:30 am; then my day starts at 4 am. I start every single day with prayer and devotion. It’s imperative that I do that in order to maintain balance and fuel my faith to get through the day. Whether working for my company or myself, things will come up to distract and disrupt my day so I must be armored up. I normally spend 30 mins to an hour in devotion depending on what time I have to report to work. 

Lakisha Mosley featured in the article on her daily routine as corporate employee and entrepreneur from Generation X. Article was featured on Millennial Things Blog.

Creative Explosion Time

After devotion, I begin on tasks that I can complete in the time I have allotted for that morning. I try to never leave anything undone unless I absolutely have to. I like to complete everything while ideas are flowing and fresh so I don’t forgot anything or lose that spark. Most times it’s answering emails, writing a blog post or pitching brands for influencer deals. Once I complete everything then I make a list for things to complete in the evening. 

Getting Ready for Work

Then I get ready for work. That takes me about 30-45 mins. I try to keep my hair in an easy to maintain style so it doesn’t take too much time. I prepare my clothes the night before so I’m not looking for anything to wear in the morning. 

Caffeine & A Productive Workday

My commute to work is about 20 mins with no traffic. I normally stop for Starbucks on the way to work; my guilty pleasure. I’m a manager for a grocery retail chain. My days consist of 10 hours or more of work. I try my best to stick to 10 hours because I work on my business after work. Most days I’m off by 5 pm then I have my commute home. The commute home is a lot longer due to the horrible Houston traffic. I’m home most days by 6-6:30 pm. 

Family Meals & Refueling

I take 30 mins to settle in, talk with my kids and grab either dinner or a snack before diving into work. I work my business from 7-9 pm. I have a list from the morning that I created to work from. Mid-way through this work session I will stop for dinner if I didn’t eat before starting. 

Back to Business

This work session is mainly composed of writing blog posts, scheduling my social media for the next day or two. I may take this time to listen to a podcast or to view a webinar or training of some sort. 

Mandatory Shutdown

Bedtime is no later than 10 pm every night. I must adhere to this so that I’m rested enough to get up early and start my routine all over again.  My ultimate goal is to be a full time entrepreneur again. I love working my business and blogging.  

LaKisha Mosley is the blogger in chief at lakishamosley.com, a lifestyle and business blog. She’s also the event producer at The LM Experience, an event management boutique in Houston, TX. You can connect with her on all social media platforms as @lakishammosley 

Millennial Mom & New Yorker explains how to successfully manage single motherhood, career, social life and sanity!

Career, People

As a single working mother living in one of the busiest cities ever, Nazida Syeda has to manage her time extremely well. Motherhood is already an amazing and overwhelming experience, especially when Moms are on their own, juggling work, home, and a social life on top of it. Add to that some ambition and the will to engage in the community, and you are looking at an 80-hour week equivalent to multiple jobs. So, how do you achieve balance and harmony so you can be a proud mommy in good mental and physical health and excel at life? Find out from a woman who has mastered the art of time management in all these roles!

Nazida Syeda young millennial single mother living in new york. She is posing here in a blue dress, pink purse and a background of pink flowers and water.
Photo: Nazida Syeda

1. Stick to a routine

As a mom and a professional, I have to manage my time in the most productive way I can. The most important thing to make everything work is time management. I wake up early in the morning usually at 7.30 am, take a quick shower, and then I wake up my daughter to get her ready for school. Following that, I get lunch packed and ready for the both of us that (usually prepared the night before). I drop her off to her school and I head out to work myself. After school, she is dropped off to her father’s home where she spends time with her grandmother until I am done work. We both come home in the evening, talk about the day, spend some quality time together and eat dinner while chatting. Once she is asleep, I catch up on chores, social media, and my nighttime routine. I also try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Having such a simple schedule but religiously following it on every weekday allows me to stay on top of my to-do list, both at home, work, and with my daughter. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get enough sleep and to wake up early to keep making the wheels of your life turn as efficiently as it needs to be!

2.Stay Focused at Work & Fun

I keep the weekends free for my daughter and my friends. Since my family lives in Seattle, WA I don’t get to see them often. Living in New York as a single mother is pretty tough, but I am lucky to have a very strong supportive family, work environment, and friends who are always here to encourage me to do good and make boss moves! I believe if you have a non-toxic surrounding meaning friends/family that is the only time one can succeed in life. I am grateful that I have all of that now. By using my weekends to socialize, participate in hobbies, social and community commitments and personal projects, I am able to dedicate my weekdays to work and chores. This also refreshes me so I am able to stay focused at work when I am at work and to shut it all off once I exit the doors of my office. At the same time, my weekends allow me to other things for personal growth such as signing up for an interesting course which I will enjoy or which might help further my career.

3. Reject Negativity

The most important thing with divorced/separated mothers is the negativity. It begins with negative comments and suggestions from friends and family, and before you know it, you yourself are emanating a negative attitude as well. My most important tip is to stay away from negativity! For instance, don’t fight with the baby’s father if he wants to take out his kids; look it at this another way. By letting him take out your child, your can get some well deserved alone time alone. God knows I need plenty of “me” time! At the same time, if your daughter is with your an extra day or weekend, take it as a blessing and use that opportunity to spend quality time with her too. With all that is going on in my life, I need to prioritize and for me the most important thing is my daughter followed by self care.

Photo: Nazida Syeda

4. Allocate time for Self Care & Alone time!

With juggling everything all at once, it is important that we give enough time to heal our mind and body. For that, I do a lot of meditation and praying. It helps me because I feel like I can tell all my problems to someone without being judged and ask HIM (the Lord) to solve all my problems. When I do that, I am left with nothing but peace. I also go to the gym 3 times a week after work and that keeps me physically fit and energized. I also love indulging in online shopping and get some retail therapy in there! It is the easiest way I can skim through everything swiftly and it saves me a ton of time. When the items get delivered to my doorstep, I feel like I am opening a new gift everyday! That feeling makes me really happy. These are some of the things I do to keep my mental and physical health in good shape so I can do be motivated and energized for the next day!

5. Have a goal & work towards it

My goal in life is to becoming an entrepreneur & a multimillionaire and I am currently adjusting my life to achieve that goal. I know the road will be long and full of bumps and hiccups so I am playing it slow, steady and smart. I also believe that it is important to keep my on-going personal projects to myself, because I do not want people’s negativity or pessimistic comments to effect my decisions. Therefore I do whatever I plan on and follow it through very quietly and smartly. By Allah’s blessings, I can say I am the happier now than I have ever been.

Photo; Nazida Syeda with her daughter

6. Love Wholeheartedly

In all these little things I do to stay happy and healthy, the final and most important one is to love wholeheartedly. I love my daughter, my family, my close network of friends and people in my community and that helps me remember how intangible the most valuable things in life really are. I know each of you millennial mommies out there must have your own ways of going about doing things. It doesn’t need to be meditation or prayer or anything specific that I do, but I do hope you are all taking time out of your busy days for some self-care because without caring for ourselves we cannot care for the ones we love.

Photo: Nazida Syeda

You can stay in touch with Nazia and her positive lifestyle on facebook!