What’s your binge-worthy substance of choice?

  Some of us (including me) binge on ice-cream or cookies. Others may binge-watch television sports or Downton Abbey. The beauty of streaming and 'On Demand' is that we can now watch what we want, when we want and that's pretty wonderful. For those of us who binge on snack foods, packagers offer individual 100-calorie serving sizes of snacks and treats which theoretically makes it easier to not binge, but that's a fool's game. We just eat several packages. Who's kidding who? I must confess to binge-watching a few television shows…

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The story behind Dr. Zhivago is as fascinating as the novel itself

It's not a coincidence that Lara Prescott, the author of The Secrets We Kept is named after one of the main characters in Dr. Zhivago by famous Nobel-prize winning writer Boris Pasternak. With the first name of one of the lead characters, Lara Prescott was obviously born with an inherent interest in the novel and its story. Boris Pasternak was one of Russia's most famous and revered poets. As a favourite of Joseph Stalin, the position came with certain benefits such as a premium dacha in a closely monitored colony…

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My Life as a Rat was not a fair sentence for an admission of truth

A rat is someone who snitches on another person—someone who breaks a moral code by revealing the transgressions of a friend or family member. In My Life as a Rat, a new novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the snitch is a 12-year-old girl and the price she pays for breaking the code far exceeds what is fair and justified or what she deserved. Violet Kerrigan was born the youngest in an Irish Catholic family of seven children in South Niagara, near Buffalo, N.Y. They're a working-class family in a working-class town.…

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It’s time to dump disposable fashion. Shop your closet

  The closing of Forever 21 retail outlets across Canada is a good news/bad news story. On one hand, it's a realization that consumers are beginning to reject the disposable clothing culture, but on the other hand, it means lost jobs for young people who often get their first working experience in retail.  One of my favourite bloggers, retired university professor and fashionista Lyn Slater, The Accidental Icon posted a piece last week Clothes and Relationship: What's Yours? about recognizing the importance of cutting back on the amount of clothing that…

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Jesse Thistle recounts his life From The Ashes of drugs and addiction to a life of helping others

When I saw Jesse Thistle interviewed on CTV's The Social and heard his remarkable story, I just knew I had to read his memoir, From The Ashes, My Story of  Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. It's an honest, horrific recounting of his journey from being a homeless drug addict living on the streets of various cities for many years and serving time in prison multiple times, then rebuilding his life to become an Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto. Stories like this always inspire me and give me hope…

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Did you ever get rid of something and later regret it?

Back in the 1970s when I was finally making decent money, living the life of a modern career gal who had to put her best fashion foot forward, I invested in a winter coat at the Your Choice store in Scarborough Town Centre, that cost an embarrassing amount of money. It was by Canadian designer Pat McDonagh. Made of black and grey wool tweed shot through with cobalt blue, it came almost to my ankles, had giant banded sleeves and shoulder pads, and a large, soft, open pleat down the…

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