Page 1





Simple Ways to ORGANIZE YOUR HOME Let it go: From Diet Culture to Body Positivity with Kristina Bruce


founder’s letter

Kat Leroux Founder

Sara Maginn Pacella Managing Editor & Writer

Courtney Balaz-Munn Editor

Writers Caitlyn Campbell Emily Rzeznicki Kelly Zemnickis Lauren Mackay Naima Karp

Contributors Lindsay Dent Shawna Patruno Tina Gravalos Kaarthika Sriskantha Dr. Tsasha Awong

What does transformation mean to me? When the weather changes and the season transitions into full blooms of the spring brisk air, there’s always this imminent push to transform an area in our life that we can improve on. If you’re anything like me, I always thought that I had to have these massive amazing transformations which ended up only leaving me feeling untransformed (if that’s even a word) and discouraged. Over the years though I’ve been able to take the word transformation and make it mean something more loving, more gentle and something that fits my life and myself perfectly without the pressure. There’s no judgement, no point system on how “transformed” I’ve become or no more tedious, intricate measurements to define my goals.

Special Thanks Abigail Ferreira Just Two Girls Leslyn Tungol Lindsey Low Love & Light Jewelry Sarah Singh

Interested in being a Contributor? sara@futurefemalemag.com

Interested In Advertising?

Presently, transformation exists in the simplest things. Eating a piece of cake and not feeling bad about it. Picking myself up after a rough day. Admitting and being okay with the fact that I feel my lowest. Transformation sometimes exists when you’re not looking for it. It’s the utmost intention of looking within to being the best version of yourself. I really hope this issue brings you the spark you didn’t even realize you were searching for like texting that person you’ve wanted to speak to (Read pg 24 to see the best dating and relationship tips that Toronto Matchmaker Carmelia Ray has shared with us), or that push to snap out of that victim mentality that hasn’t been serving you on pg 53. Finding inspiration when it comes to organizing your space on pg 10 or upping your snack game on pg 5.


Follow us on @futurefemalemag #futurefemalemag Future Female Magazine informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the articles of this issue belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Future Female Magazine has made a commitment to ensure that content in our issues are accurate on the date of publication. The views expressed in the articles reflect the author(s) opinions and are not necessarily the views of the publisher and editor. The published material, adverts, editorials and all other content is published with good intent for our readers. Future Female Magazine cannot guarantee and accepts no liability for any loss or damage of any kind caused by our publication and errors and for the accuracy of claims made by the advertisers. All rights reserved and nothing can be partially or in whole be reprinted or reproduced without a written consent.

Not only do we have a lot of tips and ideas to share with you in this issue, we also have incredible stories from women who have gone through treacherous roads with resilience and women who are unbelievably relatable when it comes to navigating everything life offers us. Thank you for continuously being our readers. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

Kat Leroux, Founder @katleroux




on the cover Kristine Verendia

brings us on her journey of overcoming sexual abuse, divorce and being a leader in her community, page 36

inspiration 10 Simple Ways to Organizing your Home 16 Allison Dore: Meet the Woman behind Howl & Roar 32 Shredding her way to Women Empowerment one string at a time 34 The Art of Transformation: How our darkest nights inspire our brightest moments 36 Cover Feature: Meet Kristine 44 Speaking Out: A Story of Survival and Strength 48 How to Transform from Renter to Super Saver to Home Owner 50 20 of the Best Places in Toronto to take a photo 54 How to create a grazing platter that’ll be a hit at your next bbq!

wellness 5 Upping Your Snacking Game with these delicious combos to munch on! 6 Deliciously Wick’t tells us what the inspiration was behind their brand 8 Vision Boarding 2.0: Exploring the evolution of visualizing & achieving goals 9 Getting over FOMO and living the life you want! 14 Earth care: Why your relationship with the Land matters 30 ADHD in Adulthood 35 Culture & Community Among Fierce Women: An Evolution Post Cannabis Legalization 42 Let it go: From Diet Culture to Body Positivity with Kristina Bruce 30 Small Steps to Meaningful Transforma -tion 53 How I Transformed my Victim Mentality

relationship 15 22 24

It’s OK to be Single Navigating a Toxic Friendship Breakup and Personal Rebirth Carmelia Ray: Modern Dating has finally met it’s match!


Sleep Better Naturally And Wake Up Pain Free With Our Supportive Buckwheat Pillows PHONE 1-888-727-3828 EMAIL info@comfycomfy.ca @comfycomfyca www.comfycomfy.ca



SNACK GAME Tina Gravalos is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), and a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP), who graduated with honours from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Tina is also the founder of Tina Gravalos Holistic Wellness which is a multifaceted wellness company with the focus on one-on-one nutrition coaching, community programs and more.


As a holistic nutritionist, I take snacking very seriously. The snack life is no joke over here! I’m not talking chips and candy, although I do enjoy them from time to time (hey, I’m human too). I’m talking nature’s candy, which is what I like to call healthier snacking: taking in all the goods that nature intended us to enjoy that also pack a nutritious punch. When I’m preparing my snacks, I like to ask myself a few questions:

What is my protein?

What is my fat?

What is my fibre?


Just as these macronutrients are important in larger meals, they are also important in snacks. Incorporating them into your snacks will help to keep you satiated while also balancing your blood sugar throughout the day. If you’re a late night snacker, it’s better to reach for nourishing snacks in place of snacks filled with sugar and processed ingredients, as these unwanted ingredients can disrupt your sleep and do not provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs for its basic functions. When you consume nutrient-dense snacks, you’re providing your body with essential macronutrients and micronutrients. Choosing these types of snacks closer to bedtime will help to keep you full until you break your fast the next day.




Nut butters are a staple in my house. What’s great about them is that you get protein, fat, and fibre from just a couple of spoonfuls. The apple is a nice sweet touch that also provides you with fibre. You get a hint of sweetness from the nut butter and apple without the blood sugar spikes.

Guac is extra for a reason! Not only is it creamy and delicious, but its health benefits are next level. Avocados are loaded with healthy omega 3’s, fibre, and important nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6. Add hemp seeds for protein, more fibre, and more healthy fats.

Grab an apple of your choice and cut it into slices. Grab your nut butter of choice and scoop out 3 or 4 tbsp. Don’t be shy!

If you’re looking to make this snack super quick, simply mash the avocado, add the lemon juice and sea salt, and then dip!


Chia pudding is super easy to make and has so many variations! You can add nut butters, pureed fruits, nuts, seeds, you name it. Chia seeds are truly a superfood with protein, healthy fats, fibre, and minerals like calcium, manganese, and phosphorus. Make chia pudding in advance, as it is great to have in your fridge to grab and go.


Coconut yogurt with a scoop of collagen powder, blueberries, and hemp seeds is one of my favourite snacks because even with the non-dairy yogurt, you still get protein from the collagen. I like adding blueberries or other berries because they are a low-glycemic fruit and an excellent source of fibre and antioxidants. In addition, hemp seeds provide protein, fibre, and healthy fats. What a combo!





For many new entrepreneurs, our current system of commerce is unsustainable. Excessively long hours and imbalanced efforts lead to stress and ultimately burnout in just a few short years. Know anyone like this? All of us do. Maybe you are even in the throes of this experience yourself. In a recent discussion, Victoria Goldrick of Deliciously Wickt, a candle and accessories line based near Smithville, Ontario, contributes to the much needed dialogue about shifting our businesses to align with our most closely held values and to support, rather than dictate, our lives. FF: Tell me about your business and what brought you to this work. VG: At Deliciously Wickt, I make 100 percent soy candles with the highest grade oils I can find. The candles are vegan and kosher certified. The scent is an important aspect. My mom is a person who is very scent sensitive, and I have her test everything I make to make sure that even the most sensitive people will be able to use the product I’m making. I get many compliments from people who can’t usually burn candles but say that they don’t get headaches when burning mine. I’ve also expanded to offer wax melts, room sprays, candle accessories, yoga mat mists, and my Zodiac line, which is an apparel line of hoodies in kid to adult sizes that feature each of the signs in the zodiac. I was inspired to create this line because I’ve always liked horoscopes. I started making candles in 2015. I was a single parent and looking for work I could do from home while caring for my daughter. The following year, I officially opened my business. 6 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2020


I named it Deliciously Wickt because, at the time, I was only making candles that looked like lattes in mugs. I enjoyed what I was doing, but a few years in, I knew I had to make some changes. So, I took some time off. I stopped selling after Christmas 2018 and only began again in October [2019].

FF: In looking through your Instagram feed, I noticed you mention this break. Would you mind sharing a bit more about it here? VG: For sure. Before I closed, I was overwhelmed. I had no work–life balance. I was working 90 hours a week and getting only a few hours of sleep each night. I had awful time management skills. Originally, I had started this business so I could be with my daughter, but the way it was working out, I was barely seeing her. I had lost the spark; I was questioning a lot of things, and there was a lot that didn’t feel right. I was so focused on my business that I wasn’t taking care of me. My energy and attitude were different, and I wasn’t attracting the right people to my life. I just knew that I had to close and take care of myself. I was scared customers would move on. I didn’t know how I would come back and still be relevant after time had passed. I didn’t even know if I was going to come back. But I made a gut decision. Closing at that time, I knew I had to listen to [the intuition] that “this is what my life is supposed to be right now.”

FF: Intuition is an amazing thing. I love that you listened, despite the risks. Would you mind sharing how you made the changes you did? But before we go there, do you mind if I ask about the privilege of being able to take a break? VG: I have had a lot of support. I am lucky to have my mom; she has helped me a lot. But I also got myself a part-time job as a cashier so that I could have this time to reassess and rebuild. I worked as I moved through this.

FF: How did you make the changes? VG: First, I made the decision to be honest with myself and others. Balancing my life was a huge thing I wanted to do. I examined my priorities. I had started the business to be able to support and be with my daughter and to create something I could pass on to her one day, and I wasn’t meeting this need at all. I had to get new skills and learn good habits. I had to pick one thing to focus on at a time

and take my time making shifts. For example, I decided I wasn’t going to sleep in on days I could have, and over the course of a month, I noticed a shift in mood and energy. It was about learning little tips and accepting that making change would take time — I couldn’t rush things. Within two months, I started to feel the itch to begin work on my business again. I needed to decide how to do things with my business going forward, too. I needed to define the spirit of it. How was I going to do things the way I wanted to do things? What do hoodies have to do with candles? What was my vision? Again, I had to get honest and answer these questions. I had to change my work habits. I had to define what is important to me. When people write to me, I read everything they have to say. That’s important. I always respond when someone reaches out, about anything. I knew I wanted to use part of my profit for charitable causes. So now I do. I made a lot of changes, both personally and with Deliciously Wickt, when I redesigned and relaunched my business.

FF: What has the response been? VG: It has been overwhelming. I have gotten so much good feedback. I take the business more seriously, and it is more successful than it has ever been. This whole process of growth has helped me be more confident, and people respond to that confidence. I am doing what I want.

FF: What is the future of Deliciously Wickt? VG: I want to be happy and humble and have a happy daughter. I want to continue to learn to run my business in an eco-friendly way. I want to help animals and the planet. Under the right circumstances, I could see myself with a small storefront and expanding my apparel line, maybe to workout tank tops that all women would be comfortable in. But I am not in a rush to do anything.

For more information on Deliciously Wick’t, visit them on: @deliciouslywickt deliciouslywickt.com etsy.com/deliciouslywickt



Vision Boarding

2.. 0

exploring the evolution of visualizing & achieving goals WORDS BY LAUREN MACK AY

It’s not just a new year, but a new decade.

Let’s imagine stepping away from aspirational culture. Let’s try putting down amassing physical things and seeking the nearest-to-perfect embodiment of life we can imagine. Let’s put those things down. It’s 2020. We are post-“lean in” culture; it’s no longer about having it all or trying harder. We’re also facing a post-Kondo world. We’ve edited our lives, but what’s next? In this new decade, there just might be some space to stretch out in all of our messy glory (thank you, Brene Brown) and reach for a process of self-discovery that allows us to know what we truly want and to not only achieve personal fulfillment, but also become who we feel we’re meant to be. What does that mean? Well, it’s taking up the cause of yourself, of your life. The first person to whom I mentioned that I was working on this article kind of laughed and said something like, “Isn’t vision boarding this super privileged, self-indulgent thing?” To that I say, only if you believe taking responsibility for and care of yourself is an indulgence. I get it. The process of creating and using vision boards to set a personalized course for growth is both praised and criticized. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether or not it’s a tool that speaks to you. If you live with a yearning for something you can’t quite identify, are a goal-oriented individual who wants to visualize a specific period of time, or are a creative intuitive who is looking for some guidance to capture what’s next in your path, you may enjoy this process of discovery. A vision board is, was, and always will be a device to identify, stay connected to, and maintain life goals. It can take whatever shape you’d like. You are free to use whatever materials you want in its creation, and it can be as full (or empty) as you feel called to make it. You can focus on one specific goal or several goals, target a specific time frame or keep it open-ended. The most significant aspect of this practice is that you take the time to come to know what it is 8 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2020

you would like to pursue. It takes some practice to get right down to the bottom of knowing yourself and what you need and want. It’s a worthy question. A vision board is foundationally a visual statement of intent, and in this way, vision boarding has likely been practiced for thousands of years (anthropologists believe cave paintings were created to visualize the success of a hunt prior to embarking on it). By choosing to include certain images or words, we identify where we intend to put our attention and effort, knowing that we grow the spaces in which we place our thoughts. Shifts in the pursuit of new directions take time and sustained effort. Creating a visual representation of your wishes serves as a reminder of your intention and often perpetuates your work in service of the goal over longer periods of time.

The process of creating and using vision boards to set a personalized course for growth is both praised and criticized. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether or not it’s a tool that speaks to you. Some people finish creating a vision board in one sitting, while others work over a span of weeks, and still others add to it over time, as needed. People commonly create vision boards on a yearly basis: at the beginning of a new year, around a birthday or cherished anniversary, at the beginning or end of a specific season, or around a personally significant date. Some choose to collect ideas and items they may like to include over the course of a year and, when it comes time to create the new board, pull out this assemblage to piece together the direction they’d like to go next. The possibilities are limitless, but the effect is typically the same: focused effort over time, with visualization followed by action, creates results. In fact, it’s the only thing that does.


Getting over FOMO and living the life you want tips for putting your best life into action Lindsay Dent hails from Brampton, Ontario and is the founder of Pink Crown Creative, where she inspires and motivates entrepeneurs and small business owners to launch, market and grow their business through a variety of marketing and social media strategies. Let’s connect, collaborate and conquer your business goals!

@_lindsaymitchell @pinkcrowncreative Fear of missing out (aka FOMO) is a real thing people go through when they literally fear missing out on an experience or an interaction and fear that missing out will make them feel sad, jealous, envious, or regretful. Much of the time, we may not even particularly want to be a part of the experience, but we have a false sense of fear, thinking we might be regretful if we are not present. With the rise of social media, we have conditioned ourselves to routine documentation of every part of our day, and we try to make it appear as if we are having fun all the time. It is inevitable that we see images, videos, and text about things we aren’t part of. On social media, we see and hear “highlights reels” that make us feel disappointed in ourselves for not being somewhere, even if we initially turned down the experience. But what is FOMO really doing to us? We begin to place an importance on being everywhere and doing everything, and we forget what is important to us. We give power to our egos, wanting to feel more important, accomplished, and busy. This makes us doubt our own wants and needs and holds us back from actually living the kind of life that make us feel happy and fulfilled. How can we declutter our minds of what we


think society wants from us? How can we focus on real experiences and moments that genuinely make us happy? How can we do this without making comparisons to what we think could be better experiences more worthy of our time, money, and attention?

Example FOMO Scenario: A friend invites you over for dinner. At first, you are super excited about this, and you can’t wait to catch up and indulge in some great wine and delicious food. The next day, a colleague invites you to a big party at their house with the rest of your coworkers, and you realize that you have already committed to going over to your friend’s house for dinner. You instantly feel the stress and pressure to cancel those plans. You fear you will hear all about the party at work on Monday morning and are terrified of the future experience of not feeling connected, happy, and included. When something like this happens, take some time to ask yourself these questions to reframe your mindset: •

Where is this FOMO really stemming from? What exactly do you fear you are missing out on feeling? You are afraid of not feeling connected, happy, and important.

Take a moment to realize how your thoughts are spiraling out of control and causing the opposite of that feeling for you in the present moment. Do you feel connected, happy, or important? Remember what you were excited about before other plans were on the table. Think about how your FOMO-induced thoughts are clouding the true experience you were excited about: reconnecting with an old friend. Ask yourself what thoughts you can have to get you to a place to feel those feelings right now. You will feel connected and included at your friend’s house, as you have a long history of friendship and inside jokes, and you know each well, so it won’t be as stressful or fake. It will be a relaxed, fun, and enjoyable evening that will most likely end in you leaving feeling fulfilled, loved, and connected. Although the second invitation may have a perceived higher value at the present moment, cancelling plans could damage your friendship.

The next time you experience FOMO, take the time to really feel the moment and realize that you have the power to create your own emotions, feelings, and experiences. You are in control of your own happiness. SPRING/SUMMER 2020 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 9


Kitchen Clean Up Consider purging kitchen tools that are duplicates or ones you don’t use anymore so you can place them on one layer for easy access. Also, use the Konmari method for your hand towels!




With Marie Kondo and other organizational influences on social media setting a trend of transforming spaces in their homes and for others, it only felt fitting to contact my dear friend Lindsey Low, who has started an home organizing business after her neighbours and friends alike gained interest in her amazing unique ways to not only work with what they had, but make functional simple again. No need for new and fancy storage bins, your space can be workable with what is already there. Lindsey was in the middle of working on a family condo in Downtown, Toronto and with her neighbour’s permission, I was able to document some of their great spaces and areas that transformed from the usual chaos and clutter we all go through with our homes to spaces that are super functional, neat and easy. Lindsey’s philosophy when she organizes homes is that it’s a case by case basis. Every family is different, and she really aims at not only working with their spaces that fits their family’s needs but advocates on showing them step by step on why she chose to organize their spaces the way she did so they can continue to implement the tips Lindsey has given them. I hope you can get some great ideas from Lindsey’s work and start transforming your home with these easy tips!

Lindsey Low is a Toronto Based Organizer who focuses on helping those who need a good session of decluttering, simplifying and making their home work for them in functional and effective ways.






Functional Cutlery Sometimes it’s just about reconfiguring where your cutlery goes in a different way to make it more functional!


Just The Necessities Think about what spices and other baking items you use on a daily basis and place them towards putting those easiest to reach. By grouping categories together, it will look less hectic and cluttered. SPRING/SUMMER 2020 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 11



Bathroom Basics There are many ways to organize a bathroom cabinet. His and hers, medicine on top, essentials in the bottom. Do what works for you and your fam, but don’t forget to group them to make it even easier to navigate!




Supplement Round Up At first, supplements and other medicine were placed at the bottom of the shelf which was a hard to reach area so placing them in at eye distance keeps it easy to reach and keeps the kiddos from getting in there!

Hook that Bib Tired of scrounging for your kiddo’s bib when getting ready to eat a meal? Use command strips and a hook to place behind the highchair so it’s got a designated space with no fuss!



earth care WO R D S B Y N A I M A K A R P I LLUSTR AT I O N B Y A B I G A I L F E R R E I R A

why your relationship with the land matters WO R D S B Y L AU R E N M AC K AY As we gaze out at the blank slate that is a new decade, we are faced with mounting, unavoidable evidence that our planet is suffering in unprecedented ways. In the past decade, we realized en masse that we can’t deny climate change, and the world has begun to organize and take action. Recent years have been the hottest on record, prompting ocean levels to rise, desertification to intensify, and polar ice to melt. The cascade of effects is potentially unfathomable. And yet, we are here now, faced with the question of what to do. So, how do we come to care for our Earth in the way it needs us to? How do we begin to make changes and engage the whole of humanity so future generations can thrive? Lists suggesting ideas to change the way we live, adjust consumption patterns, and reduce our personal footprint are common. And these are usually very good ideas. But what these lists all seem to miss is perhaps the one way we could create a bigger change: a widespread, concerted effort to rebuild the relationship between us and our land, remembering it as the living, breathing, life-sustaining entity it is. When we understand and interact with our environment as living, we can come to love it, and when we love it, it becomes automatic that we tend to and care for it. Maybe you live in the most urban of the urban environments. That’s fine; you still live

on planet earth. There is bound to be some green space you encounter every day. Perhaps it’s your yard, a nearby park, or a tree you notice on your daily travels. Whatever aspect of nature you are drawn to, consider paying it more attention. Over time, you will notice how this space and the beings that live in it change. And the more you are open to this little space of green, this land that you live on, the more you will begin to notice it everywhere. People the world over report increased well-being from connecting to nature. Time spent outside calms the nervous system. By simply noticing the natural environment, you become more of a part of it. When you come to know a natural space, how it responds to the seasons and elements, over time you develop a relationship. You come to feel more connected because you are more connected. When we begin to understand that there is no separation between ourselves and everything else alive, the possibilities for change are endless. There is much to be gained by viewing the living world as interconnected. We come to know that even in our loneliest moments, we are never alone. Once we see ourselves as part of the great living system that is the earth and realize that our actions and beliefs ripple out well beyond ourselves, always, we can’t unsee it. We come to understand that our responsibility to take care of ourselves


and others, in big and small ways, is more essential than we ever thought. There is also an aspect of discovery and curiosity that occurs when we deepen our relationship with nature. As we come to know and interact with the land, we find ourselves joyful and grateful. We find ourselves inspired by the land, the sky, and the sea. We want to give back because we care, and we know it is the right thing to do. Perhaps we want to learn to grow plants, whether for ourselves, to share, or for other species. Maybe it is for our health or our sense of curiosity, for our community, or for the people of the future. There is something mystical that comes from being in touch with nature, as the creative force of the universe, that spark of life that runs through everything living, becomes tangible. When we truly live in our environment, connected to the land, we can no longer make decisions without taking its well-being into account. By developing our awareness and rooting ourselves in these relationships, we can begin to transform our relationship with our planet and all life.




When I heard Emma Watson pronounce that she had “self-partnered”, my eyes rolled so hard I’m surprised they didn’t fall out of my head. I looked the story on my phone’s newsfeed and yelled “It’s called being single, EMMA!!! You’re single! IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL!!!” I probably shouldn’t have yelled this aloud in an elevator that was full of people, but whatever. It’s just so annoying to see this kind of stuff, like something Gwyneth Paltrow would have concocted. You don’t need to glam up being single. You. Are. Single. To me the term “self-partnered” turns being single from a mole hill into a proverbial mountain. Sure, YES, I am happy to see someone own their identity and be proud of being themselves, and I wish more people didn’t think that they have to have someone in their lives to make their lives complete! But “self-partnered” sounds like she’s one step away from marrying herself, and I am sorry, but when I’ve seen those articles — I mean, I just read something about a dude who married his sex-doll despite their endless arguments… okay, deep breath Zemnickis. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. But I can’t even Google articles on this without wanting to punch my laptop. Being single isn’t a bad thing, friends. If you search stock photos of “single people” online, a lot of the time, they are of someone in a field alone looking sad, or staring at a waterfall looking sad, AND AS A SINGLE

PERSON, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS. Also, sidebar, why are there so many of us stranded in fields or at waterfalls? A picture of a cool gal with a book at a table for one or a lady ordering a coffee by herself is much more relatable! Weddings can run a fine line between bursts of joy and running to the bathroom to sneak in a few extra shots of vodka, and I wonder if I’m ever going to find real love again, BUT… if you catch me using the term ”self-partnered”, please take my temperature and ask if I’m okay. It’s like, really, just do your own awesome solo thing! Make great work, put it out in the world, be kind, be a good human. Love who you want to love and if you want to have kids by yourself, go do that! Be the sole proprietor of your love life! OOHHH, that’s kinda good… but will I ever use that to describe myself ? NO. I’m sole proprietor of my business, and that’s about it. Romantically? I’m single. The right guy may come along, but you know what, he might not. I was once in a writing group with a bunch of fabulous ladies, some of whom were in relationships and most of whom were not. They were amazing to be around once a month, because they made an impression on me: that you have every damn right to be fabulous and creative and strong and to do so without anyone by your side. You still have a full life, a rich life, and a beautiful life. As someone who is not only single, but also doesn’t have kids, I’ve had my share of, “Are you sad about that? Aren’t you lonely?”

comments tossed my way. And for the most part, I’m not upset, but I’d be lying if there weren’t moments. Like when I returned from holiday with my dad and brother, and I realized that they were going home to their partners and I was going home to… well… my plants. And it made me sad. I mean, my plants need me, and I love that they help clear my air, but MY POINT is, being single sucks sometimes. It does. I’d be doing you a disservice to not admit that. That’s life, it has its good days and its bad days. I read an interview with Dianne Keaton once, who proclaimed something like, “The right guy just never came along.” She is definitely my Number One Single Lady, my go-to for inspiration in moments where I’m sad I’m solo. In classic Annie Hall fashion, I just have to mutter a “La dee da, la dee da,” when someone asks me why I think I’m still single. What a bold and rude question! Would you like me to ask you why you think you’re still married?! It is what it is! I have no plans to make my single status sound cooler or hipper. However Emma Watson wants to phrase it — honestly? — I applaud her for owning her single status. As for my single self, “I yam what I yam and dats all that I yam.” Popeye said that. I mean, the context was different, but the point remains the same.








the woman BEH IND


When people talk about a family business, they’re usually thinking of a hardware store, but for the Dore family, the family business is comedy. Thanks to encouragement from her comedian brother, Jon Dore, Allison Dore was inspired to stretch her wings beyond acting into the world of stand-up comedy. Today, in addition to her work in comedy, Allison hosts Digging In, an interview-based podcast; The Breakdown, a daily radio show on SiriusXM Canada Talks; and Allison Dore’s BroadCast on Just For Laughs Canada. In 2018, Allison founded Howl & Roar Records, a female-centric comedy recording label. Tell us about Howl & Roar and why you founded the record label.

There were two main impetuses for me to start Howl & Roar. The first came out of programming Allison Dore’s BroadCast for SiriusXM Radio Channel 168, Just For Laughs Canada, where we celebrate funny women all over the world. Basically, I’m like a DJ, but instead of playing songs, I play jokes. At first, I wanted it to be all Canadian comedians, but I would have run out of content after about four shows. Women just haven’t been recording as much, and there were headliners that have been touring the country for years that have never put out an album.

several years before me, and he was always farther down the road, with a great perspective. He is someone who leads by example, and watching him conduct himself in the entertainment industry has guided a lot of the choices I’ve made and how I interact with people. The way I look at mentorship is, if something has been hard for me, and there is a way I can make it even the tiniest bit easier for someone else, I want to do that. I’ve had people from all walks of life share wisdom with me in a variety of ways, and I want to pay that forward.

The second was a growing frustration with the comedy industry in Canada. There is very little money or support, and comedians are not treated well. I wanted to do something that would help and support comics, in whatever small way I could. Helping comics record and release quality content was what I was able to bring to the table, and thus Howl & Roar was born.

Five years from now, how do you hope Howl & Roar will have grown and changed?

Through Howl & Roar, you do a lot of mentorship; were you ever mentored in your comedy career? Why do you think mentorship is so important? The biggest mentor for me in comedy has always been my brother Jon. He started

It has become difficult for me to look farther than six months ahead because things change so fast, and right now the label is just me and a sound engineer. A lot depends on what I can handle in my day to day. I think 2020 will determine a lot of how we proceed, but I hope touring and live shows become a big part of our future.

There’s been a lot of discussion about how there are few women in comedy — why do you think that is? Are you tired of having this discussion?



I wanted to do something that would help and support comics in whatever small way I could. Helping comics record and release quality content was what I was able to bring to the table, and thus Howl & Roar was born.

The numbers are getting more balanced, but there is still a long way to go. I think it has traditionally been harder for women in two main ways: One, the perception of the audience, and two, the gatekeepers. The general perception of society still seems to be that men are funnier than women, which is not true, and we keep chipping away at that. The gatekeepers have traditionally always been men, and the boy’s club attitude prevailed for a long time. While there has been improvement on both fronts, we still have a long way to go. When I think about the trailblazing women in this industry, like Phyllis Diller and Moms Mabely, I can’t imagine what their experience was like back then if women still find it difficult today. They persevered and opened doors for so many of us, so it’s our job now to keep the conversation going.

Are there any jokes that you never find funny? No, but there are bad jokes on every topic. The more sensitive the topic, the better the joke needs to be. Unfortunately, lots of comics try to joke about sensitive topics without the skill set to make it work, and then blame the audience for being “too PC”.

You have two radio shows and a podcast — what secrets can you share about time management? What saved my bacon this year is getting to work with Tarra Stubbins. She is the founder of Take It Easy Personal Concierge service and a time management expert. She started coaching me early in 2019, and it has helped me immensely. She helped me find systems that would work for me, because everyone


is different. I was so lost and overwhelmed before her. If coaching isn’t in your budget, there are tons of great podcasts and books out there; for instance, Laura Vanderkam is awesome and has a bunch of books that help. There is no one way that will work for everyone — just be honest with yourself about your needs and abilities. The one thing that I think is universal: WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! Every appointment, due date, to do list item. The busier you get, the more likely you are to let something fall through the cracks, so write ‘em down.

Is there an interview that stands out to you and has stayed with you? In April of 2019, I got to interview Steve Earle, who is the musical love of my life. I’ve been listening to him since I was a little kid,






and I am emotionally attached to his songs. I was terrified to interview him, but it ended up being a great experience. I talked to him for 40 minutes and cherished every second. And I am proud of myself for staying professional, when inside, I wanted to cry and tell him what every song meant to me. Another one that was lovely was Jesse Eisenberg. He often plays introverts or oddballs, so I wasn’t sure what he’d be like in an interview setting, but he was very friendly and willing to lob the ball back. He wanted it to be a good time too, and I left that interview a bigger fan than when I started.

What’s one lesson that you learned about interviewing people? Listening is a skill that you need to exercise like a muscle. It’s hard to really actively listen, to focus, and to not assume you know what they are going to say. It is constantly on my “to work on” list. I was recently listening to a Keith Morrison interview, and was struck by how he listens with empathy and it seeps into his next question. I want to do that too!

One of your keynote topics is about your battle with depression and drug addiction. What do you hope to achieve by discussing mental health issues frankly and honestly? It took a long time, but now I carry no shame over dealing with mental health issues and addiction. As someone with a platform who feels able to talk openly and honestly about these experiences, I feel like it is my responsibility to do so. Not everyone is safe to share their struggles, but they need to know they are not alone, that they are worthy and have value, and that hope is out there. Also, there are people out there who have never personally dealt with these issues that don’t understand them or believe misinformation, and without people who are willing and able speaking up, those stigmas will never go away. I also want people in general to know that hope is out there. When I think back to when I was at my worst, I try to image telling that girl what my life looks like today, because it is so different and filled with everything that I was afraid I would never have. With the right tools, love, and support, people can come back from pretty much anything. We have to help each other.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone struggling with their mental health, what would it be? Never give up on yourself. I know it can be hard to keep fighting sometimes, and it can feel hopeless, but there are lots of tools out there to help you, you just have to find the ones that work for you. And new therapies and knowledge keep cropping up, so there is hope. You are worth it, you have value, and you matter. Even if you can’t see it right now, I promise you do.

You have a beautiful tattoo on your right shoulder/arm. Can you tell us the meaning of it? It keeps expanding! It started as a large phoenix on my back (not as big as Ben Affleck’s, but still a good size), representing change and emerging from the ashes. Then I started feeling like the bird should be flying somewhere, so on my shoulder is a galaxy of stars, like the night sky. Just recently we (Derek Lewis has done all these tattoos for me) added a garden underneath, from my shoulder to just below my elbow, and all the plants represent my grandparents. These were my fourth, fifth, and sixth tattoos, and I don’t think I’m quite done yet, so we’ll see what’s to come! A lot of emphasis has been placed on having a morning routine to set a person up for success. Do you have a morning routine that you follow? When I first launched Howl & Roar, I was listening to a lot of entrepreneurial and “success”-based podcasts, and the impression I got was that if you wanted to be a success, you had to be up by 5 a.m. after a maximum of five hours of sleep. I have a sleep disorder, and if I don’t get a minimum of eight hours of sleep, I can’t function. Plus, waking up is very challenging for me, and it takes a long time for me to feel awake. So, the first hour of my day is spent drinking coffee and reading or watching TV. I don’t have the ability to “get up and get moving,” and for a while I really beat myself up over it. I thought it meant I was lazy or undisciplined; in reality, my body just works a bit differently. The key for me is getting moving after being up for an hour, at which point I either go to the gym or get in the shower, depending on my schedule. The success of my morning actually depends on my evening routine, which is setting up my coffee pot, making sure I’ve got all the food requirements (I eat the same thing every morning), and going over what I need to do the next day. Once I’ve been up for a couple of hours, I start getting in the zone, so the most pressing tasks will be scheduled for late morning, because for me that’s when I am at my best. So, for me, a great day starting with a great morning is dependent on my routine the evening before. What accomplishments (personal and/or professional) are you most proud of, and why? I think I’d have to say it is my dog, Chili. I was afraid to adopt him because, even though I had wanted a dog my whole life, I was afraid I wouldn’t take good enough care of him. I think because there was a time in my adult life where I wasn’t well enough to take care of myself, in my subconscious I was afraid I wasn’t fit to take care of him. But I’ve had him for four years, and he is much healthier than he was when I got him; he is loved and spoiled and my first priority. He has enriched my life so much, and he is very well cared for.




Toxic Friendship Breakup A ND Personal Rebirth WORDS BY NAIM A K A R P ILLUS TRATION BY AB I GA I L FER R EI R A

Last year, I got married.

While I gained some of the most valuable friendships of my life, I simultaneously lost some of my oldest ones. It was as if I entered a new stage of adulthood, shedding a previous skin. I discovered that a friendship breakup is just as jarring as a romantic falling out; it was a painful rebirth, but a necessary one and without regrets. Ultimately, it was a prioritizing of self and future. This reflection isn’t to spread blame, or guilt, or fear. It’s just to share the understanding that sometimes, growth comes with new chapters filled with moments that you might never expect. 22 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2020


It took just one conversation to illuminate a past of muddied communication and toxicity. I realized that experiences I had seen as supporting each other were actually wallowing with each other in negativity. My childhood friends didn’t attend my wedding due to a hurricane of factors. After all, weddings can bring out some ugly emotions in people, and while I thought my friend group was immune, it clearly wasn’t. As a result, the shallow roots of our friendship were quickly upturned with no possibility of repair. And while this could have created deep-seated issues of mistrust in all of my future friendships, it didn’t. Instead, it was the best thing that could have happened, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. With the loss of these friendships came an unfamiliar feeling of loneliness, so I comforted myself with a new nature-filled neighbourhood north of Toronto and my steadfast pack, comprised of my husband and trusty mutt, Diesel. Our pack also welcomed some new members, ones filled with a lightness and positivity that I view with a new appreciation after shedding my toxic past. Never having been someone to be a part of a group of girlfriends, I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen myself as more of a lone wolf that connects with the occasional stoner chick, dog lover, or Megan Thee Stallion fan. Although the title of this piece seems to offer a map or a solution tied up in a neat package, no friendship breakup is the same, and every moment is part of a whiplash-filled ride over bumpy terrain. Some friendships dissipate organically, fading into the background of marriage, kids, or moving to a new city. Some are given the courtesy of a breakup talk, while others, like mine, are broken off with fragmented endings that leave you to pick up the pieces and mosaic together your own form of closure. While I lost lifelong friends, I learned to better identify my own values and the values that I search for within the community of women who surround me. Before that, I had unthinkingly slapped the label of “best friend” on relationships from the past that were comfortable but remained stagnant and refused to grow. This is probably one of the hardest things to admit when navigating a breakup. Some friendships have an expiration date, but when you’ve invested so much time in them, the stakes feel much higher when it comes time to break them off.

What we fail to recognize is that such a long, shared history can bring with it years of gaslighting that distorts our sense of reality, as well as a normalization of toxic behavior that we are gradually drawn into. Sometimes it takes a completely new person with a fresh perspective to view the world in a new light, or help you appreciate the things about yourself that you couldn’t see. Like anyone faced with these feelings in a faltering relationship, I wanted to reach out and have everything go back to normal with a snap of my fingers. But that was a childish fantasy. I had three women who were my pillars of strength during this time, my mixed-race tribe of confidence queens who inspire me every day: Jess, my friend from back in NYC, Michelle, my cannabis soul sister, and Leila, my workout-instructor-turned-BFF who taught me the true meaning of nourishing yourself. This chosen family re-taught me what sisterhood could be, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

no friendship breakup is the same, and every moment is part of a whiplash-filled ride over bumpy terrain. Jess and I had been through simultaneous tough romantic breakups in NYC, bonding us for life. While I headed north to Toronto after my breakup, we would talk on the phone almost daily to lift each other up out of the dark spaces. A girls’ trip to Denver, Colorado later that year would cement our healing. Jess’s passion is plants, and she carries a unique appreciation towards Mother Nature. She taught me to slow down and enjoy the little moments. That sometimes, what the earth has given us is enough. So much of what we stress over is noise that we must learn to quiet or hone into positive energy. I think of this sentiment often as I go on early morning nature walks with my dog and we take a

moment to let the bright sun bouncing off the snow hit our faces. I met Leila during my workouts at Lagree Studio in Toronto. While much of her clientele was superbly polished, shiny, and high-end, Leila generally taught class with no makeup, cozy, too-big sweatpants, and an open, encouraging smile. She is a radiant lesson in self-esteem, at ease with her natural self in this world, and has a steady focus on the internal and what makes us feel good, versus the external and anxieties about image. Leila is one of the kindest, most generous souls that I know, but has a clear stance on her boundaries and needs in friendships, which helped me further develop my own. I met Michelle at a dispensary she worked at in downtown Toronto when I first moved to the city. She was a fierce manager with octopus-like multi-tasking skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. Michelle is a few years younger than me, but you’d never guess it from the elegant maturity and dignity with which she carries herself. She helped me identify plenty of red flags in my previous friendships and helped me use cannabis as a true means of self-care and connection, rather than a way of isolating myself. I see her as a future business partner and a forever sister who remembers to call me out on my bullshit and reminds me not to take shit from anyone. So, while each breakup can take some windy, back-country lanes, here are some GPS points: Reach out to your friends when you’re feeling down. Don’t isolate yourself in moments of insecurity and weakness. Form a sisterhood that prioritizes positive vibes, self-confidence, joy, and getting out of your comfort zone. Surround yourself with people who live life with zeal and encourage you to do the same. Learn to thrive in vulnerable moments and don’t fear that a fragmented ending will never heal: your new community will be there to hold you up as you piece your life back together. Most importantly, don’t fall into the temptation of old patterns — the familiar can get tiresome quickly when it’s not feeding your soul the way that it should.




A Conversation With World-Renowned Matchmaker & Relationship Expert Carmelia Ray WORDS BY SARA MAGINN PACELLA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAT LEROUX







I really wanted to help people. I lived and breathed relationships, and then in 2010, I started my own business as a matchmaker and dating coach.



ports teams hire coaches to help their athletes deliver the best possible results. Driven professionals don’t bat an eye at hiring a career coach to enhance their LinkedIn profile, improve their career, and guide them through the interview process to find their dream job or excel at their entrepreneurial venture. As someone who met her husband online nearly 15 years ago, I was one of the early adopters of online dating, butting up against those who felt that online dating should be an absolute last resort. Today, meeting online has become the most popular way for couples to meet. A study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, found that modern couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner online than through their social and professional circles. Professionals who don’t have the time to swipe through a dating app and find that they aren’t frequently meeting other singles in their line of work or social circles can benefit from enlisting the advice of a professional matchmaker like Carmelia to help screen and filter potential matches. With over 27 years of experience in the business, Carmelia affirms the importance of meeting the right person by citing one of her favourite ideas from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: that finding the right partner may be the most important career choice you make. Today, Carmelia dishes on helping people find the right match and keeping that spark alive.

What Is Matchmaking Anyway, and How Has It Evolved?

Carmelia first began matchmaking in 1992, working as a telemarketer for a telephone dating service called Together. She says, “My job was to book appointments for potential daters. For me, it never felt like sales, it felt like I was problem solving. I really wanted to help people. That turned into a career path, travelling — I lived and breathed relationships, and then in 2010 I started my own business as a matchmaker and dating coach.” Carmelia looks back to the early days of online dating, when it was in direct competition with matchmaking. Today, the two are complementary services. In terms of stigma attached to matchmaking, Carmelia says, “People don’t want to ‘buy’ a match and perceive that it means that they’re buying a date. In reality, you’re investing in an introduction service and a filtering search, and I’m pairing people with their best possible matches. You’re investing in a service. You’re investing in your own personal growth, in matchmakers who have training and can provide unbiased (or at least it should be) feedback and coaching for their clients.”

Managing Expectations in an Instant Culture

Part of the role of a matchmaker is managing expectations and emotions. People want results quickly, and if something doesn’t work and there isn’t chemistry that they want on one side, they use that as evidence of things not working. Carmelia says, “What I qualify as a match and what someone else does may not match up. All of the regular dating stereotypes apply in matchmaking, and sometimes they are even amplified. Common dealbreakers that people would benefit from overcoming include age, educational background, occupation, ethnic background, and height (particularly the height of men).” Carmelia has found that communication is the foundation of all connections. Physical attraction and chemistry are key. She says, “When I talk about attraction, I am also thinking of intellectual and emotional attraction. We understand that looks will play a role in enhancing or diminishing the attraction.” Carmelia adds that finding a match can be more challenging when someone can’t see past a certain body type preference or one of their other “dealbreakers”. Carmelia helps people dive deep into items that they may have thought were “dealbreakers” to determine what they’re looking for in a partner. Carmelia adds, “People will often disregard someone based on a previous bad dating experience, and we work to help them unpack that, but at the end of the day, it’s their preference when finding their match.”

The First Connection

The first match for someone is with their matchmaker because you want the right person guiding you. Carmelia and her team’s approach to getting started includes a social media scope before working with someone and getting clarity about self-perception and what they’re looking for. Carmelia says, “We have certified relationship and dating coaches and an intake process that helps provide clarity. We look at their dating history to see if there are any patterns that we can determine are causing them to make wrong choices. Most of the time people have self-assessed, coming in saying of their past relationships, ‘This is what happened and this is what I think happened.’ We work to help clear the fog. A lot of our clients have not had to look at their relationships in the way we do. It’s a discovery for them. We work with people for six months to a year and help them identify emotions, and they look for coaching there.” Carmelia notes that there are matchmakers with expertise in a variety of clientele including silver singles, non-traditional polyamorous relationships, LGBTQ2S matches, as

well as people with specific passions and lifestyles, including everything from veganism to spiritual beliefs.

Cutting Through the Noise & Bad Behaviour Carmelia and her team are aware of the downfalls of modern dating and attribute it to people experiencing analysis paralysis or FOMO (fear of missing out), which prevents them from deciding or committing. The same goes for micro-cheating, which is when people have six or seven people they’re chatting to in order to keep cushions in case their current relationship doesn’t work out. In addition to this, the rose-coloured lens of others’ dating profiles can be overwhelming for people and reduce their confidence when they see what “competition” is out there in the dating world. Coaching and matchmaking help clients save time and put their best foot and profile forward, to better attract the right person.

Looking Forward

Riding high on her recent win as the 2020 Best Dating Coach at the 11th Annual iDate Awards, Carmelia is increasing her video content to provide timely, relevant dating advice to her clients and sharing more content to help modern daters. Carmelia loves what she does and is continuing to grow her business to help modern daters find their match through her services. In addition to her matchmaking business, Carmelia is Censio’s Chief Matchmaker Officer. Censio is the first matchmaking mobile app that focuses on its users by learning about their personality and “real life” experiences, then provides them with one match at a time. Censio is also the




COMMON ONLINE DATING PROFILE MISTAKES Using dating sites as a platform to express issues with past relationships

Including unflattering profile photos (this includes photos that are blurry or too old, photos in which you’re wearing sunglasses, and photos with an ex) Over-sharing/TMI Using an incomplete profile Lying or exaggerating on your profile in terms of height, weight, age, etc. WHAT TO TALK ABOUT ON A DATE Carmelia recommends using your own comfort level to dictate your conversation and opting for easy, fun, non-confrontational topics, such as food, travel, career paths, inspirations, bucket lists, family and hobbies. On early dates, it’s usually best to avoid politics and deeply sexual conversations (unless the date is a hookup date). CARMELIA’S DATING TIPS Have fun! Practice curiosity —be inquisitive and find out what you can learn from the person you’re on a date with. Stay positive — remember that a bad date can be practice for future dates! Work to leave your date with a good experience, even if it’s not a good match. Project that this is where you want to be, even if it’s not the match for you. It’s just a short date! Be polite — no staring at your watch or phone. Try to read your date’s body language to help keep things on track. 28 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2020



dates are great! Th intimate ink quie and thin t and g s you en to a busy joy. Don bar whe ’t go re you’ll hear eac be yellin h other o g to r where ry that so you’ll wo meone is roverhea date. Ma ring you ke sure y r ou have Sharing some pri food and vacy. beverag evolution e goes b ary psyc ack to hology. If consider you’re a going to ctive, a park, bu who is su t the pers ggesting on it sh beforeha ould sco nd to ma pe it out ke sure it Make it ’s a good somethin fit. g memora theme ca ble! Try fé during a o ff too busy hours w hen it’s n and you ’ll be ab ot le to con nect


rk A Keeping The Spa

date eliever in a strong b who s le p Camelia is to cou ng talked artp r ei night. Havi th alone with e m ti et g d time don’t arents nee ows that p kn elia e sh rm , a ner r kids,. C ithout thei ll fa ’t on D together w neous. “Be sponta that if en ev suggests, e, utin dictable ro t flannel into a pre itching ou sw e ’r u yo s n ea ight. m n y st ju turda ones this Sa meal, a y PJs for silk jo partner, en r u yo h it ia Flirt w …” Carmel dot dot dot d n a ith w ix fl Net ep flirting eople to ke p their s k d in ea m sp re d learn to n a s er n them rt their pa ’s buying whether it e, g a u greg in n l love la g a specia ate, addin ol , or oc ve lo ch e ’ll som think they meal you a to t n ie d ecial. mething sp planning so




in adulthood WOR D S B Y L AU R E N M AC K AY I LLUSTR AT I O N B Y A B I G A I L F E R R E I R A



A community occupational therapist with Alberta Health Services, Michele Hampton is no stranger to the power of community work, healing, and the complexities of human brain function. With a master’s degree and a thriving career, Hampton, a world traveller and married mom of two, is very competent. She is also part of a growing segment of society who are learning that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood. AHDH has long been viewed as a childhood struggle of hyperactive boys, but growing our understanding and sharing our experience of ADHD is starting to allow many Canadians to make sense of what it is that makes so many of us different. “I knew from a very young age, probably grade one, that I was different, but I didn’t know why. ADHD just wasn’t on the radar. I could sit still and focus well enough, so my lack of success and the lack of support really just culminated in me believing I was stupid and lazy.”

About ADHD

A highly heritable chronic disorder, ADHD remains underrecognized and underdiagnosed even though it is the most treatable psychiatric disorder in Canada. Over the past few years, Hampton noticed her daughter struggling at school. The family began to explore support options, but nothing seemed to help much. One day at work, two psychiatrists who specialize in adult ADHD did a presentation, and Hampton immediately recognized typical ADHD behaviours in her husband and daughter. “At the time, I didn’t recognize that this was me, too. But once we started moving down this path, I noticed the pattern between my daughter’s struggles in school and my own. I realized that if I was going to help my daughter manage this, I needed to get honest and own what was going on with me. So, I approached a friend and colleague who works as an ADHD psychologist and asked if she could assess me. Guess what? I have inattentive ADHD.”

What to Do With an Adult Diagnosis Some people diagnosed with ADHD as adults feel the need to seek treatment, while others don’t. Some feel they have developed the skills required

to succeed well before reaching their diagnosis. Others still struggle. Treatment for ADHD can include prescription medication, therapy, skill building to enhance executive functioning or working memory, routine exercise, and more. “As an adult, getting this diagnosis has helped me understand much of my experience, or why I am the way I am. For example, I knew early on that I was different and learned differently, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I began to learn about how I learn and have some success that way. My career path has led me into community [work] and in the direction of helping others who are struggling. And there’s a reason for that direction. People need support. We all do. I think there is a strong possibility that I wouldn’t know I have ADHD if I hadn’t had the experience of going through this with my daughter. But I am glad that I do. It’s allowed me to focus on identifying my own needs, creating my own wellness, and understanding the patterns of unwellness and how to manage that, too, in ways that I can share.” There is still stigma attached to ADHD, and there is a great deal we don’t know, but this is changing rapidly as we exchange our knowledge and experience. “When I first received my own diagnosis, I wanted to keep it close. I guess I wanted to hide it. I felt embarrassed, like it was an admission of failure. But I also realized I didn’t want to put that on my daughter. I had to really own it so that I could offer my daughter the support that wasn’t available when I was her age. I want her to know she’s a smart, creative kid whose brain just happens to work a bit differently. I knew right away that acceptance, being open and honest, would help her and that it was the only way to teach her to come to her own place of acceptance and wellness.” Sometimes it’s through the strength of connection that we find the ability to care for ourselves. Embracing who we are and being vulnerable enough to share it is how we can help each other grow. If you think you or someone in your family may have ADHD, ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist experienced in treating ADHD.

EXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE ADHD SYMPTOMS: • Problems with attention regulation • Problems with hyperactivity • Problems with impulsivity • Problems with executive functioning • Difficulty regulating emotions










The first time I saw Brigit O’Regan was when I was covering a work-related event for a local website. As I flitted around, partaking in small talk and the usual networking activities, I saw a red-haired queen playing a killer solo with fierce energy and an electric presence. Brigit has an unusual job: she’s an electric violinist who has carved out a niche in the cosplay world. After starting to perform on the violin at age 12, her parents accompanied her to wedding gigs and other events in Ottawa, her hometown, until she was 15. Growing up, she was part of an all-girls quartet called Ambernak. The name was an anagram containing parts of each of their names — a nostalgic throwback to teenage friendships. Since I met Brigit a few years ago, she’s skyrocketed to influencer status, with 13.8 thousand Instagram followers. The number of conventions she performs at, along with cosplay events and other gigs, has increased exponentially. But even though she’s an “influencer,” she’s still incredibly down to earth and retains a strong focus on connecting to her audience — especially young women.

Image Doesn’t Need to Be Everything The high energy creative isn’t too concerned about “the celebrity factor,” as she puts it, and credits the organic growth of her following to this fact. There are a lot of female violin stars with a focus on aesthetic and sex appeal, which Brigit veers away from. “I don’t want the stress of looking perfect for every Instagram shot — I just want to show my everyday reality.” Even so, she experiences daily pressure and double standards related to her appearance. “If I wear makeup, I’m ‘too fancy,’ but if I go with a more laid-back look, someone will say, ‘This is a serious event, you should try a little harder.’” Instead, Brigit emphasizes having a good time and expressing her artistic side, which often transforms her into a cosplay superhero as she shreds away on her amped-up violin. The connection between violinists and cosplayers is one that’s not often made, and that’s partly because O’Regan has unofficially trademarked the trend. For her, it all started in high school.

Cosplay, Her Way “I wanted to dress up every day outside of Halloween, which was probably encouraged by the fact that I went to an arts school. When it was actual Halloween, I would dress up and play my violin around the school, doing funny stuff like following around a guy dressed as a Tetris block, playing the Tetris theme behind him.” Brigit’s whole M.O. is about infusing her work with humour and not taking herself too seriously. In high school, she couldn’t attend many comic cons, so she saved her money for a time when she would be able to. Eventually, she came to Toronto and found out about Fan Expo, where she pulled out her Harley Quinn dress and had the time of her life. While there is a darker side to these expos, including harassment of women, Brigit says that for the most part, participating as a fan has been smooth sailing.

Addressing Problems Within the Industry For Brigit, it’s been in professional roles at conventions that she’s been harassed. “I wouldn’t go to a work event without a male chaperone because of past experiences where boundaries were crossed. Once, I attempted going solo, and a guy tried to grab my violin out of my hand

because ‘it’s a prop I wanna try.’” After that, she brought a bodyguard with her when she went to MegaCon in Orlando. Brigit has also been burned in attempts to collaborate with male colleagues. “Sometimes I’ll collaborate with producers in what we call TFP, or trade for portfolio, which is compensation free. I’ll often be propositioned with dinner or a meeting at their home to ‘discuss footage,’ which is mostly a guise for trying to get me to sleep with them because they think I owe them for being in their video for free and that they can get leverage somehow.” Despite these instances, there’s a strong sense of female solidarity in the industry. Brigit has her own “one girl production team,” otherwise known as Merissa Tse (@meruliant). Without any male pressure or expectation, Merissa and Brigit often get into the nitty-gritty of video editing (i.e., 40 hours of editing for a four-minute video), and the multi-talented Merissa is also Brigit’s costume designer, creating masterpieces like a full-on Sailor Neptune costume. Merissa is also a full-time editor at Disney.

“THERE’S A SENSE OF OPENNESS THAT WOMEN HAVE WITH EACH OTHER HERE — WE CAN SPEAK WITHOUT RESERVATION OR FEAR OF JUDGMENT BECAUSE WE SHARE THESE COMMON EXPERIENCES. AT THE END OF THE DAY, ALL WOMEN ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES HAVE THESE STORIES.” Opening up on Social Media Brigit’s Facebook page has become a social media safe haven of sorts. “There’s a sense of openness that women have with each other here — we can speak without reservation or fear of judgment because we share these common experiences. At the end of the day, all women across all industries have these stories.” After keeping in touch with Brigit via social media, I would come across her Facebook statuses. They discuss instances of online or in-person harassment but are infused with a witty or humourous tone and provide a digestible anecdote. She puts her experiences out there in hopes of providing support to other women who have experienced the same thing, and just as importantly, in hopes of relating to them. “I have an entire folder called ‘shitty comments’ on my computer, filled with sexist comments that used to bug me. I screenshotted them and put them in a folder. I’d often have other women reach out to me, asking if I experienced a negative or creepy experience of being harassed by a guy. This would lead to a connection, and I’d share my folder with them, which created a bonding experience that we could ultimately laugh over and turn into an empowering experience.” Brigit offers this wisdom to other young women looking to enter her profession: “Unfortunately, no matter what you do, someone will find something wrong with it. People have always doubted me, whether that’s for not having a music degree, wearing too much or not enough makeup, or being too young.” Although the seedy underbelly of these worlds may be unavoidable, the abundance of positive energy outweighs the negative, and the primary reason for that is the resilience of female empowerment within them.






Arizona Bell is a certified Grief Coach and Recovery Specialist. She has spent years studying and collecting scientific research on the afterlife, and speaking on panels discussing “good grief”. Arizona believes that grief is the greatest challenge of our lives, but also our greatest opportunity to expand spiritually and live the lives we were meant to. Her talks about grief, death, dying, and the afterlife—all heavy, dark topics—are light, uplifting and relatable. And mixed with tons of humor. Arizona Bell is the CEO of Spirit Guides Magazine & co-host of Spirit Guides Radio, an expansive now-age media house that has become the modern voice for ancient wisdoms. Her intention is to make spirituality accessible and digestible, especially for younger generations which are often left out of the spiritual conversation.



I am living proof that a person can sink to the furthest depths of despair, lose everything, and still come out the other side authentically happy and free. Had you told me five years ago that I would one day be happier and freer than ever in my life, I would have scoffed and probably called you a colourful name under my breath. At the time, I was suicidal and unable to see any faroff promise of light; I was frozen, stuck in the middle of a dark, cold tunnel of grief. Death came for my mom when she and I were both too young. We had the kind of mother–daughter relationship that everyone wants. I was unconditionally held, supported, and loved by her from the day I was born until the day that she died. Similarly, she was unconditionally respected, admired, and adored by me from my first breath until her last. We were so connected that when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, a spiritual intuitive said to a mutual friend, “This isn’t about saving one life, but two.” She wasn’t wrong. Unequipped whatsoever to deal with dying, death, and grief, I found myself completely shattered in the wake. I looked around at my peers, who were dealing with the 20-something problems of heartbreak and job changes, and became ferociously bitter about my bad luck. For years, I and I alone had been swirling in a black hole, watching the person I loved most in the world slowly and painfully die. It felt as if the grief of her absence would be the death of me too.

Experiencing death head-on was the anchor moment of my life, sinking me straight down to rock bottom where life no longer appealed to me. There was a long period in which I thought I would die shortly after her, either by extreme self-medication or by consciously taking my own life. I was shattered, and I didn’t know how to put myself back together. I plotted out my grand escape plan every night, but ultimately, I decided to choose life for the sole reason that my mother would have wanted me to — and there was no way I was going to disappoint her now. My journey of transformation hasn’t been easy, but it has been 100 percent worth it. Today, having successfully transmuted my grief into joy, service, and love, I can say that I view the grief I went through as the greatest gift I have ever received. From the darkest moment of my life, I learned how to reach fully toward the light. In the words of poet Mary Oliver, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

Below are three ways I’ve learned to lean into, rather than resist, the inevitable changes that enter our lives: Surrender to the natural rhythm of life. In order to truly transform, we must surrender to the natural rhythm of life. Nature doesn’t bloom all year long, and neither do we. In our winter moments, we must remember that spring is a promise and that we too


experience seasons. We will occasionally wilt in this life, surely, but we will always bloom again. Remember that life is about learning. Life isn’t out to get us. Life is always prompting us to grow, and we often learn through contrast. When we swap, “Why me?” for, “What is the lesson for me in this experience?” we adopt a new perspective that sees life as a school, and we can do our best to graduate with honours! Let life make decisions for you. I am a big advocate of the idea that when something comes into our lives, it’s meant to, and when something leaves, it’s just as intentional. The Quakers have a profound axiom that says, “Proceed as way opens.” Meaning, when a metaphorical door opens, enter. When one closes, exit. Trusting this time-honoured process helps eliminate much of the overthinking and stress associated with big changes. If you are going through a shadowy moment, remember that it takes a whole lot of darkness for a star to shine so bright. Our dark moments invite us fully into our supreme light. On the other side of my personal Dark Night of the Soul, I now see clearly that endings birth beginnings, that creation comes from destruction, and that morning bursts from night. Only when we shatter do we have the opportunity to re-create ourselves so beautifully as a mosaic.


Culture & Community Among Fierce Women: An Evolution Post Cannabis Legalization WOR D S B Y NAI MA K AR P IL L US TRATIO N B Y AB I GAI L FER R EI R A As Canada reached the important milestone of cannabis legalization in October 2018, the nation rejoiced. Not only would the underdogs of the cannabis industry finally get the credit they deserved, it would finally be a chance to shine for the true unsung heroes of cannabis: women. Capital plays a major role in the world of cannabis, which makes finance and banking as important as the plant itself. Those fields also happen to be traditionally dominated by men, leading to a “boys club” mentality that frequently leaves women out of the conversation. For this reason, only 27 percent of executive positions in cannabis are held by women. While the industry still isn’t completely gender balanced, visibility for women has improved. The fact that cannabis is a relatively new industry is a big part of that; it has the chance to be more inclusive, equal, and diverse. The women pioneering post-legalization cannabis are a resilient but compassionate bunch, and they’re all making big strides in breaking the “grass ceiling”. For Alison Gordon, a co-CEO of 48North Cannabis Corp., her journey with cannabis is personal. In 2003, her daughter died after battling a type of epilepsy disorder called Dravet syndrome. Today, Gordon is a co-founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, and many credit her with leading a new generation of breast cancer activists. She is a regular boundary breaker in the world of healthcare, and she joined the Board of Directors

for the Cannabis Canada Council in 2018. While many CEOs compartmentalize cannabis products as either medical or recreational, Gordon sees the opportunity for more integration in the health and wellness-related space. Rather than take on the jumbo overhead expenses of male CEOs running companies that try to do it all, Gordon believes in a more honedin and focused approach. For instance, a brand like Van der Pop (https://www.vanderpop.com/) even directly markets itself as “female focused” and puts an emphasis on empowerment and using cannabinoids for self-care. And although wellness is a popular marketing tactic in this field, it’s one that’s an undeniable priority for women in the cannabis consumer base in Canada. Cannabis products created by women for women are an important way for us to start loving ourselves a little better. While male counterparts have often had easy access to arousal aids like Viagra and Cialis, women have not. Women are a major demographic that Big Pharma generally hasn’t prioritized in the same way as men, especially in relation to their sexualities. However, cannabis is a highly effective way to explore self-intimacy and other forms of self-love. It encourages introspection and appreciation of the simpler things in life within a world that constantly forces us to judge and compete. Unfortunately, neither 48North nor Van der Pop offer sexual inti

macy products directly in Canada, which is likely because topicals were just made legal as of October 2019, one year after flower was legalized. With this recent turning point, we’ll hopefully see a focus on the sexual wellness lines for women and by women that have thrived in the United States, like Quim Rock (https://itsquim. com/). Its name is a gorgeous reclamation: “quim” is slang word for vagina dating back to 17th century England. They offer a range of useful products, like latex-safe intimate CBD serum and an everyday oil that is described on their website as “eye cream for your vagina.” Their products are designed for people of all ages, with products to intensify orgasm, enhance a healthy libido, and keep dryness at bay. For those who might be a bit shy regarding their cannabis education, you can always check out the women-run podcast Broccoli Talk on Spotify (https://open.spotify. com/show/1u1rvTDKKyKsinJvayxMJm), described as “casual chats with your weed BFFs.” A recent episode from December 5, 2019 is a conversation with body positive yoga instructor and writer Jessamyn Stanley, who also happens to be a 420 advocate.

Diversity and representation within the cannabis industry still have a long way to go. For women of colour, the uphill journey is twice as steep. While cannabis is trending, there are still a disappointing number of stereotypes and assumptions regarding black and Latina women working in weed. No one knows this better that Antuanette Gomez, a cannabis consultant and former director of the Toronto chapter of Women Grow. While she often mentors women hoping to get their foot in the door of the cannabis industry, many of her mentees and Antuanette herself, as she told Flare magazine, find it difficult to access anywhere near the same funding as white men in the industry. The recent legalization of topicals will hopefully open the door to cannabis in the beauty world, which will bring even more women to the cannabis space and, hopefully, to positions of leadership. Right now, the door might be open for women in weed, but it’s just barely cracked. In 2020, we expect the explosive women behind these influential companies to bust it down with a roundhouse kick.









It’s been almost half her life since Kristine Verendia officially became an adult in the eyes of her family and local Filipino community, when she entered pageant life as a part of her efforts to make her family proud. Kristina’s life hasn’t always been easy. She is a sexual abuse survivor who has thrived by making forgiveness a priority. She was married and divorced before she turned 25 years old, an added curve in the journey of trying to find herself. In the time since, Kristine has worked on defining her own personal path for success and happiness and on sharing her true self with the world. Today, Kristine shares her journey of self-discovery based on honesty, forgiveness, and knowing when to ask those around her for support. She’s also working to provide a forum and safe space for others to do the same. Today, following her work coaching at The Landmark Forum and as a board member for The Butterfly Project, she is starting a new collaboration with her sister, founder of Future Female Magazine Kat Leroux. The pair are launching Future Filipina Magazine, a publication under the umbrella of Future Female that aims to help redefine Filipina women in today’s world. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TIME PARTICIPATING IN A FILIPINO PAGEANT AND YOUR ROLE AS AN AMBASSADOR AT THE YOUNG AGE OF 18. WHAT IMPORTANT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN? For my 18th birthday I had a debut, which is a traditional coming-of-age party in Filipino culture. Honouring my family’s wish, we went all out and had a party in a hall with over 200 people in attendance. The preparation was intensive, and I even bought my dress for the event in a bridal shop. A family friend who attended my debut was involved in the local pageant as a part of the council [Philippine Independence Day Council, PIDC] and encouraged me to sign up for the next PIDC pageant, and I did. I wanted to pay homage

to my culture and make my parents proud of me, so I signed up. Within the year, I was involved with the other women in the PIDC pageant and, as Ambassadors in the community, we went to barbeques, fundraisers, and fashion shows, and I would emcee events. It felt like I was very glam; it was such a glam period of my life. The fact that someone had approached me made me feel like all eyes were on me. The entire experience made me feel nostalgia for my culture, even though the pageant lifestyle was very glam and not really “me”, or who I aspired to be. WHAT IMPORTANT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN THROUGH GETTING MARRIED AT 24 AND NAVIGATING YOUR WAY THROUGH DIVORCE AT 25? The process of divorce was a very difficult and isolating time for me. I had lived my life based on the things that I thought other people and my family would want me to do. In my culture, I felt the pressure of everything having to look a certain way and of following a prescribed order in your life for personal accomplishments; separation and divorce were shocking and not something you’d do. I know a lot of people in my shoes may put up with an unhappy marriage, but for me, divorce was inevitable. I didn’t want people to know, but this was something you couldn’t exactly hide. My family were shocked when they found out, and I felt a lot of shame connected to the divorce during this time. Because of this shame, the natural thing for me to do, right or wrong, was to isolate myself. I moved back to the city and I rented a place that was more expensive than I could afford. I remember it being so depressing because I really felt on my own and felt that isolation. I don’t remember seeing my family much at all. If I were to give myself advice from the other side, I would remind myself that even though I needed to be on my own, I wasn’t alone. I would have turned to my family during this time and allowed them to take care of me and help me more. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN SOUL SPEAK TORONTO? WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED IN GROWING THIS SUPPORT GROUP FROM TWO PEOPLE TO THREE HUNDRED? I knew what I was going through as a sexual abuse survivor, and I wanted to reach out to others for help. I had this feeling that there were other people who were going through something similar. I went online to Meetup and created a page. The name Soul Speak came to me because I felt like my soul wanted to reach out. It was my intention to share my experiences with one other person. I wanted to know if someone


was out there who’d gone through something similar. I met the first member, who was an older man who had also gone through sexual abuse. At the time, I didn’t expect men to go through it too. The experience opened my eyes. We got to talking and he wanted to invite another person to join our Meetup group, and we became a small community of people who had been through sexual abuse. When you have gone through something like this, it’s like going through war together. [The group] evolved and I completed my leadership role. The group began in 2010 with just the two of us, and within three or four years, it grew so much that it got attention in other cities. It had a life of its own, and even today, in some form (I believe by another name), it’s still helping survivors connect with each other. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE PATH THAT LED YOU TO WORK AS EXECUTIVE HEAD COACH FOR THE LANDMARK FORUM? I was referred to The Landmark Forum in 2014 by my friend at Lululemon, and when I took the course, it altered my life. My life today is a result of doing the work from the course. One of the things I got [out of it] was that it unleashed my passion for leadership and helping others. They have an instructional leadership program that I completed, and I began acting as a coach at the end of 2017 and then trained to become an Executive Education Coach for the program. That is the epitome of success to me: being someone who is committed to developing others and exercising what it takes to put yourself aside and help others to recognize their own leadership. I finished coaching with Landmark in October and am still involved [with the organization]. WHAT EVENTS LED TO YOUR DECISION TO CHANGE CAREER PATHS FROM ADVERTISING TO PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS? I was turning 30, and I had been very good at advertising, but I didn’t have any passion — it didn’t light me up. One day I thought, “I’m turning 30. Am I going to lead the rest of my life going after something I really want?” Promotional products have always been my thing, even before it was my career. Whenever I host or go to a party, I make up swag bags and host giveaways, and I have always loved that aspect of parties. In advertising, part of my job for clients was hosting giveaways, and this was the part I enjoyed the most. So, I decided to try it out and see what it was like. Little did I know that it wouldn’t even feel like a job because I enjoy it so much. I started at Core Promotions and I am so grateful for the chance to go from a rookie to someone who was a top performer



What does self-care mean to you?

It means that I’m conscious about what goes in my body, what I do with my body and how I treat it.

Holy grail product

Sat Yuga Life skin care AM and PM serums - I dont use anything else on my face except for these two products!

Fears youve conquered and fears youd like to conquer

I used to be paralyzed by the thought of driving - I was terrified of being behind the wheel, and now I can say I’ve conquered my fear of driving. Fears I would like to conquer...I would love to go on a bigger roller coaster than the Vortex at Canada’s Wonderland!

Fave memory of this past decade

I spent 5 years coaching a program at Landmark that had me travelling to New York often... the moment I stepped outside of the plane to New York was like a dream, and I have so many amazing memories there!

best dessert?

I went to a birthday party once at a nice Steakhouse restaurant in Etobicoke and ordered a tiramisu that was a blend of tiramisu and custard in a cappuccino cup. It was literally heaven.

Favourite vacay and why?

I’m gonna have to bring it back to my childhood years and say Disneyworld and Universal Studios when I was 10 years old. Our whole entire family went, including my cousins, aunts and uncles and it was super hot but it was so much fun that I never wanted it to end.



in just a few years. I am so happy that I took this leap, even though I probably could have been doing this sooner. IF YOU COULD GIVE SOME ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF ON YOUR JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? If there is a theme in my life, it would be discovering pride in who I really am and sharing that with others without fear and self-doubt — so a message of, don’t be afraid to show everyone who you are and to shine. This is something I would remind myself at ages 12, 18, and 25, because that fear of showing people who I really was held me back. Growing up, I really asserted my independence, which was also important, but there was also so much love and support and kindness around me that I could have enjoyed. Today, I try to embody and support this message with my younger cousins and my nieces and nephews. I want them to know that they get to be themselves and that they are just perfect. WHAT ARE SOME ITEMS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? There are a few items that come to mind. I would love to go back to the Philippines as an adult, as I haven’t been there since I was seven years old. I would also love to someday be in a position to buy my parents their own home. Another item on that list would be to own a property in New York City, in Manhattan proper. I’ve also always wanted to meet Oprah. WHO INSPIRES YOU? CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT SOME OF YOUR MENTORS? Audrey Hlembizky has been my mentor for the past four years. She’s a social entrepreneur who helps create socially responsible companies and support leaders who build not-for-profits and organizations that are making a difference all over the world. She has taught me so much, and she is the person who inspired me to get involved with The Butterfly Project. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK WITH THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT? I know the founder of The Butterfly Project, and I attended two of their galas and fell in love with the cause. They nominate a person, such as a single parent, and give them the resources they need to really flourish in their lives. The impact on the lives of those who were nominated has been life altering. The power of the community here inspired

me to get involved and join the board. Anyone who wants to find out more about this cause can buy tickets for the gala, volunteer, or join the board. The next gala is in May 2020. YOU HAVE SAID THAT FORGIVENESS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS THEME IN YOUR LIFE AND HOW YOU WORK TO BRING FORGIVENESS TO YOUR LIFE EVERY DAY? I always try to look through a lens from the other side. Whenever I go through anything or am examining a disagreement or conflict, I try to see the other perspective. By doing this, I have the space for forgiveness or grace. At the end of the day (no matter how cheesy it may sound), I always believe that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Everyone is strong, but inevitably, we all make mistakes, and people can learn from this. All that’s needed is someone there who can see through what happened and be in the space of forgiveness. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR BUILDING AN ORGANIZATION WITH AMBASSADORS SURROUNDING THE PRINCIPLE OF FORGIVENESS? I really believe that forgiveness is an essential part of life. There has been a theme of forgiveness in my life in that there have been terrible things that happened to me, and through forgiveness, I have found peace, freedom, and peace of mind. I believe there is an access here to a world where we can access freedom and peace for ourselves and others. I have a five- to ten-year plan to create a global organization based on forgiveness. I would train, support, and develop people in principles of forgiveness. This would include workshops, talks, and modules all around the world. The project is called “I Forgive”. TELL ME ABOUT FUTURE FILIPINA? This year, Kat and I are working on creating an offshoot of Future Female called Future Filipina. This will be a publication created for the modern Filipina woman, like me and Kat, who are Filipina women born in other countries and are redefining what it means to be a voice for their local community. The aim of the publication is to focus on specific issues we face and to give an outlet to the modern Filipina woman. *Due to the recent pandemic of the COVID-19 Virus, The Butterfly Project Gala has been postponed until 2021.

A women run boutique consultancy firm founded to provide women entrepreneurs and creatives with the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to thrive! WE SPECIALIZE IN: PROJECT & EVENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIC & OPERATIONAL PLANNING WORKSHOP FACILITATION Email today to schedule a free 30 minute exploratory consultation! sayhello@incewest.com || www.incewest.com Toronto || Buffalo



Let it go From Diet Culture to Body Positivity with Kristina Bruce WORD S B Y SAR A MAGI NN PACELLA PHOTO GRAPHY B Y K AT LERO UX

Kristina Bruce seemed to be the picture of health. Athletic and trained as a yoga instructor, she was someone people would turn to for health inspiration. On the inside, however, it was a different story. Leading a life focused on restriction and exercise as punishment for eating “forbidden foods”, she was far from happy and healthy. Two pivotal moments changed her perspective and the way she looked after her body. Reading the books Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size, she recognized her own perspective mirrored in stories from others working in the health and wellness industry who had been obsessed with keeping their bodies small and the “fit” ideal, while on the inside they were miserable. Then, when she and her boyfriend (now husband) moved in together, her time-consuming exercise program and restrictive eating kept her from spending the quality time she wanted with her partner. After gaining weight and panicking, Kristina says, “I doubled-down on controlling my weight. I became very rigid and obsessive, and then finally mentally and emotionally collapsed.” She realized the damage her obsession with trying to maintain a thin body was causing to herself and her relationships, threw out her scale, and officially broke up with diet culture.

Moving Past Diet Culture

After educating herself through self-study and going through her own recovery from dieting, she wanted to pay her learnings forward to others. Kristina trained as a life coach at The Ford Institute and complet-

ed a six-month training program through Be Nourished out of Portland, Oregon to become a Certified Body Trust® Provider. Kristina currently offers an eight-week oneon-one coaching program for people who want to end the battle with their bodies, tailoring sessions to what is most important to the individual. Kristina recognizes body positivity is a feminist movement. She says, “It’s important to understand that body image ideals have been sold to women throughout the decades that are not factual or true — they are made up. There is nothing inherently more beautiful or worthy about a thinner body than a larger one, except for the narrative that tells us so.” Kristina asserts, “Diet culture teaches us (especially women), that our body size is an indicator of our character, attractiveness, and value, while body positivity is about taking back control of our bodies and our lives and disassociating from the idea that a woman’s value is primarily in her appearance.”

Clean Eating & Orthorexia

Because disordered eating is commonplace and socially acceptable in Western culture, it impacts virtually everyone (or someone they love). Because we live in diet culture it’s seen as perfectly normal, and even necessary, to diet. Kristina adds, “We are all born intuitive eaters, and with the guidance to foster that, we would become competent eaters, finding a good balance of foods that are both pleasurable and nourishing. However, because of our culture’s fixation on ‘healthy eating’, it can be pushed too far, which is when we come into the realm of orthorexia (an obsession with healthy eating).” While


awareness of orthorexia is increasing, it has not yet been officially diagnosed as an eating disorder. Kristina warns that with the rise of “clean eating”, more people have fallen into dangerously obsessive eating habits. Despite claims from weight loss companies like Weight Watchers (now rebranded as WW) who are piggybacking off claims of intuitive eating to make money and remain relevant, Kristina reminds us that “the reality is, it’s impossible to truly become an intuitive eater if managing weight is the goal.”

Becoming an Ally

We must acknowledge internalized fatphobia, which we all have to some degree, and challenge assumptions we have about people (their health, characteristics) based on their body size. Kristina says, “If you give diet advice or weight loss tips to people in larger bodies without their asking — stop. If you work in a space where you can be more inclusive — do. Have photos on walls of offices, or marketing on websites that include people of different sizes. Have chairs that are sturdy and wide enough to accommodate a variety of body sizes. Spend your money at stores that offer a wide range of plus size clothing.” For those who witness a body shaming comment, Kristina suggests blunt but fair statements like, “I don’t think it’s okay to shame someone for their body,” or “Bodies come in all shapes and sizes.”

Avoiding Diet Talk

Kristina says you can shut down diet talk with a customized approach depending on the context and whether you want to make your stand a teachable moment. She reminds



her clients, “We can’t control what others say or change their minds, but we can set boundaries and plant seeds.” She suggests walking away from the conversation, ignoring the diet talk and changing the topic, or saying something like, “Oh I find it so much more enjoyable to just enjoy my food without worry!” For times when a firm response is necessary, she recommends being straightforward and saying something simple, like, “I don’t want to talk about diets.” For those who clap back “why not?”, Kristina suggests reminding people there are more interesting things to talk about or honestly telling someone that you are recovering from disordered eating and don’t find diet talk good for your mental health.

Coaching Herself & Others

As a coach it’s rewarding to see clients releasing themselves from the grips of body insecurities and dieting. Kristina says, “I believe that one-by-one, each individual is now more available to make a positive impact in their own lives and the lives they touch.”

Through her own journey, Kristina is armed with knowledge and body positive self-talk. She reminds her clients and herself, “Don’t listen to all the fearmongering out there about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods — eat what you enjoy and just pay attention to how you feel. It’s important to rest your body, so don’t overdo it. Just move your body so you feel good. Your value and your worth are not contingent on your body; you are beautiful and loved and valuable just as you are.”

Kristina Bruce is a Body Acceptance Coach who works one-on-one with individuals to help them more fully accept their bodies, so they can live empowering and fulfilled lives no matter what their size. Kristina can be found at www.kristinabruce.com @kristinabruce_coach





At 21 years old, Sandy Jackman was brutally attacked by a man she had been dating on and off for the previous six years.The attack on her life forced her to flee her home in Guyana and move to Canada with the goal of escaping the persecution she faced for being a queer woman and starting a new life for herself and her son. Now, with her new life in Toronto, Sandy has become a proud advocate within the LGBTQ2S+ community, hoping to inspire those who have faced violence to come forward with their stories and get the help they need to survive, escape, and thrive. Complications of Being a Teenage Mother

Sandy had her son when she was 16 years old. Still a teen and working at an internet cafĂŠ to support her infant child and family, she was approached one day by a man who had been a friend of her father before he passed away. They chatted and caught up, and Sandy told him about her new son. At the end of the conversation, the man asked her





Sandy hopes that by speaking out, she can

ENCOURAGE others to SPEAK OUT as well, particularly those in the LGBTQ2S+ community who have experienced similar situations out on a date with him, but she declined. She had no interest in him, romantic or otherwise, but the man persisted, and over time offered the promise of financial support if she was to go out with him. Reluctantly, she agreed. “When he realized he wasn’t getting my attention, he started to get it through my son. He would take me out, teach me how to drive, take me shopping, and being a single mom who needed a lot of help, I eventually gave in and started going out on dates with him.” It didn’t take long before the relationship turned abusive. He was manipulative and aggressive, and eventually he became violent. Over the course of the six-year on-and-off relationship, Sandy began seeing women and came out as bisexual. Today, Sandy identifies as queer and is comfortable with people referring to her as a man or a woman. It is clear to all that she is confident in her own skin.


The Attack

A week before the attack, Sandy had attempted to end her relatioship with the man, affirming that she wanted out. He began to harass her with phone calls, begging her to see him. Desperate to convince him to leave her alone, she agreed to meet. After he called her to change where they were meeting, he called her every minute or so to confirm where she was on the way to the new meeting spot. As she got to the street corner, Sandy noticed two men on a bike not far from where she was standing. Sandy sat down and waited. She heard the two men on the bike talking, and one said, “Hurry up and mix the thing.” Seconds later, an intense burning sensation enveloped her skin — the men had poured battery acid on her. The pain was severe, and all she could do was stand up and start running the short distance to the salon where


her Auntie worked. “I felt something cold on me, and then my eyes started to burn and I tasted the acid. I yelled out, ‘Mommy! Mommy! Help!’ while running to her.” Sandy was rushed to the hospital and admitted into the emergency department, then transferred to the burn care unit two days later. While in emergency, visitation restrictions did not exist, which allowed the man to visit her every day. At the time, no one knew that he was responsible. Sandy was too scared to speak up and tell the man to leave her alone. After being moved to a private unit, only family members were permitted to visit. One day while she was resting, a nurse came in and told Sandy that her father was there to see her. Sandy told the nurse that her father was dead and that whoever it was claiming to be him was lying. The nurse believed her, and Sandy says, “I told the nurse I don’t ever want to see that man again and I told her what had happened; so when he came back to see me the following night, the nurse told him that he couldn’t see me.” Throughout her stay in hospital, Sandy received phone calls from the man and other strange men threatening her life. Sandy filed a police report from the hospital, but never got a response from authorities, and no charges were ever placed. A couple of media outlets did report her story, though one of them, Kaieteur News, misreported facts of the case. They stated that the attack was the result of “a triangular love affair” and reported statements of hearsay that placed a good portion of blame on Sandy.

position and have better means, or you have a high status in the community, you have a better rate of success when having your case addressed.” He’s optimistic that with younger voices speaking louder and new grassroot groups doing the work to address various issues, Canada will work towards fixing our uneven playing field.

LGBTQ2S+ Rights Are Human Rights

Sandy is committed to building the life she has always strived for.Telling this story is a part of that. Sandy hopes that by speaking out, she can encourage others to speak out as well, particularly those in the LGBTQ2S+ community who have experienced similar situations, and that she may continue to be an advocate for them. “I want to have this story told because I believe that while people may not subscribe to what is considered a ‘normal’ lifestyle, they should not be discriminated against by the laws of any nation. A gay person is still a human being and should be respected and protected as a human being. I’m neither afraid nor ashamed of my life choices. I am who I am. All I want is justice, not just for me, but for all of us who are not treated equally.”

Sandy has suspicions as to why the police and media in Guyana were so apathetic. “My matter was reported in the media and to police, but nothing came of it. In my opinion, the police may have never been interested because I left a man to be with a woman.” At the time, there was no LGBTQ2S+ community support, and Sandy is confident that other cases like hers exist. “The police were corrupt; they took bribes constantly, and the man [who attacked me] was very wealthy and connected. He was known as a bad person.”

Moving to Canada

Prior to the attack, Sandy had begun the process of getting her passport. While waiting, with the dedicated help of a close friend, a plan formed to get Sandy to Canada. Her friend contacted the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and a lawyer, and together they secured Sandy’s papers, passport, and flight. Once Sandy made it to Canada and began to rebuild her life, she would come to find safety here and the confidence to live without fear of persecution. ​ ​While Canada has worked to make itself a haven for those looking to escape violence, ​it is also understood that more needs to be done concerning resource provisions and creating sustainable support for individuals that don’t privilege some people over others. Mulugeta Abai, Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Victims for Torture (CC​ VT), believes the same and notes that, “A privilege has to be not only about providing services, but about addressing and challenging the root causes of the issues. Yes, we have some shelters, an approachable justice system, and police, but those are not privileges — those are rights.” Mulugeta says more resources are needed to address the roots of violence and inequality, but we are getting there. “We need better human resources, financial resources, and legislative resources. We need to ask if our legal system is inclusive — if you are coming from a privileged




any people dream of buying their own home, but in today’s competitive environment, particularly in big, expensive cities like Toronto or Vancouver, it seems like an unobtainable goal. In December 2019, MLS® statistics showed that the average house in Toronto costs $906,179, a number that is intimidating to a lot of people. This, combined with an average cost of $2,300 a month for a one-bedroom rental in Toronto, makes it difficult to save up enough for a down payment.


This is where realtor Munira Ravji comes in. She is an expert at helping her clients focus on their goals and helps make home ownership an achievable reality. Munira is an Award-Winning Realtor and GTA Neighbourhood Expert at TOrealestategroup, and she has a proven track record of bringing together Toronto residents to build and strengthen local communities. Munira says, “For many people it can be easy to get discouraged,


particularly in this market, and the idea of purchasing something can feel impossible, but this is why it’s so important to get prepared.” Because we live in a society that focuses on instant results and FOMO, waiting three to five years can feel like an eternity; however, the reward from the pride you take in owning your own place is well worth it. Munira adds, “Like any other goal, if you want something, you’re really going to have to work for it, and the bigger the down payment you can manage, the lower your mortgage will be on a monthly basis. For some, this can work out to less than you’d spend on rent.” Having seen a variety of ways her clients have sacrificed to get the nest egg saved up for their down payment, she has simple suggestions to help people make “tomorrow” come a little sooner. Some people move back in with their parents for a year or two to boost their savings, since their parents will often charge little or no rent to help them get there faster. Others make sacrifices like moving in with roommates, taking on a side hustle, or committing to cutting down on non-essential spending like vacations, clothing, or eating out. Many families are happy to provide a sizable low or no interest loan


Muniras 10 Tips

TO TRANSFORM YOUR REAL ESTATE GOALS FROM A DREAM TO REALITY SET YOUR GOALS Think about your goal and decide what you want — write it down to make it real. Greg Reid, author of Wealth Made Easy, has a very famous quote that pops up on Instagram every day because it’s on point about transforming your dreams into reality: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” WHAT DO YOU WANT? Take a deep dive into what you want and where you want to live in terms of location, type of property, must-haves, and nice-to-haves, and research the costs associated with each. GET READY TO LEARN Educate yourself on the process, your budget, and potential pitfalls. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Surround yourself with professionals you can trust to help you navigate your decision in a way that will work best for you, even when your circumstances or market conditions change. FIND OUT WHERE YOU STAND FINANCIALLY Make an appointment to speak to a financial advisor, mortgage advisor, or your bank to get the full picture of what you can afford, and to help you build an achievable timeline and roadmap for reaching your goal. MAKE A BUDGET This is a good habit to start today and will make the adjustment easier for you when you move into your home and need to account for homeowner expenses like property taxes, home repairs and maintenance, insurance, and more. Don’t forget to research and include fees and closing costs in your budget. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS Look at up-and-coming areas and suggestions from your friends and realtor. You may just find a neighbourhood you love that you didn’t know about that will help stretch your dollar a little further. Revisit this from time to time.

to help their children afford a home, while other parents are in a position to gift their children a living inheritance. A recent RBC survey revealed that 61 percent of baby boomers plan on passing along some of their wealth during their lifetime. Other clients will look for a place that can generate an income to help them pay back their mortgage sooner (or allow them to pay back money that they borrowed from relatives for a down payment). Like any big journey, people evolve and change in the time it takes to complete their quest, particularly compared to the very first steps of their adventure. The follow-through required to save the money for a home is a transformational experience in terms of the appreciation and pride you feel when you finally reach your goal.

Munira Ravji is an Award-Winning Realtor and GTA Neighbourhood Expert at TOrealestategroup, with a proven track record of bringing together Toronto residents to build and strengthen local communities.

@TOrealestategroup www.TOrealestategroup.com

KNOW WHEN TO TURN IT UP A NOTCH Does a short-term side hustle make sense? Some people will really focus on banking overtime hours at their work, picking up a part-time job, babysitting, or even driving for Uber to accelerate their ability to purchase. FLEXIBILITY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME When you start looking, understand that some of your criteria might not fit into your budget. Find a way to compromise where you can, while remaining happy with your options. Understand that the market changes and people get priced out. Job situations change, and emergency expenses such as car repairs can put a roadblock into your plans. Adjust, be patient, and try to remain positive about your progress even if your goal date is delayed. KNOW WHEN TO ACT In a competitive market, you need to make quick decisions. Make sure you’re ready to be nimble and act quickly when the right opportunity comes up. IT’S NOT A SPRINT, IT’S A MARATHON While it can seem like an impossible dream, it’s important to remind yourself that it isn’t a race and there are no rules about the order in which you reach personal milestones, whether it’s marriage, kids, or home ownership. Some clients are in their 60s and purchasing their first home. The reality is that it’s never too late to invest in real estate.




Whether you’re out for a walk with your significant other, taking tourists around the city, or just looking for some interesting photos for Instagram or your wall, Toronto does not disappoint. Urban outdoor landscapes and exciting indoor options provide many interesting options for any photog. The best part is, most of these places offer photos with no cover charges, so get ready to get snapping.

For the Artful Eye

I Saw the Sign

Great Big Things

GRAFFITI ALLEY Enjoy urban art at its best by taking a stroll through Graffiti Alley. Rush Lane (aka Graffiti Alley) is just south of Queen Street’s Fashion District and north of Richmond Street West between Spadina Avenue and Portland Street.

THE TORONTO SIGN Do you even live here if you don’t have a photo with this sign? Located right outside of City Hall and Nathan Phillip’s Square at 100 Queen St. W., this 3D illuminated sign is photo op worthy.

INUKSHUK PARK This park is located near Lakeshore Boulevard West and Newfoundland Road. Toronto’s Inukshuk was a project created to commemorate World Youth Day 2002, bringing this symbol of Canada’s Indigenous people to the city.

KENSINGTON MARKET Shoppers and photographers can enjoy this eclectic, colourful, and fun part of the city. Try heading out to the market on a Pedestrian Sunday (which is car free) to get photos from any angle without worrying about traffic.

THE LOVE SIGN Located in the Distillery District at 24 Tank House Lane, this is the perfect spot to strike a pose with your honey


BIG RED CANOE Canoe Landing Park features a giant red canoe created by Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland for all to enjoy. The park is located at 95 Fort York Blvd. — jump in and sail away.


Urban Oasis HIGH PARK CHERRY BLOSSOMS High Park is beautiful any time of year. In the spring, everyone flocks to the park for the cherry blossoms. Visit early in the morning on weekdays if you want to capture the blossoms at their peak without a crowd. ALLAN GARDENS CHILDREN’S CONSERVATORY & CENTENNIAL PARK CONSERVATORY Allan Gardens is located on the subway line (near College Station) and Centennial Park Conservatory is in Etobicoke. Get great photos even on a rainy spring day. Both locations have bright vibrant flowers, lush tropical plants, and interesting textured cacti. SUGAR BEACH Pink sun umbrellas, check. View of the lake, check. Whether you are relaxing, people watching, or photographing, Sugar Beach has plenty to photograph and is located at 115 Queens Quay E. SCARBOROUGH BLUFFS For a good hike and two fantastic viewpoints, visit Scarborough Bluffs. Head to 61 Under Cliff Drive for the upper park or 52 Bluffers Park for the lower park.

For the Heart of the City Views YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE Toronto’s answer to Times Square is in the heart of the theatre district and is home to giant billboards, one edge of the Eaton Centre, and regular concert series. The square is located at the corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street.

Fine Line Buildings

Pay to Play Photography

UNION STATION There’s a reason why so many film crews love Union Station. Come in and explore the clock, the high ceilings, and the romance of the main old station built nearly 100 years ago. Explore the skywalk for other unusual photographic inspiration.

MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS Located at 132 Front St., the Museum of Illusions is designed to be photographed. Tickets range from around $24–$30 per person.

THE FLATIRON BUILDING Located at 49 Wellington St. E., this is one of the neatest buildings in Toronto. It’s called the Gooderham Building, but locals call it the Flatiron Building. You can also get a photo of the CN Tower at some angles.

ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Whether you’re snapping photos of the Michael LeeChin Crystal exterior of the building or getting an interior subway shot of the coolest station in Toronto, you will get something great.

BROOKFIELD PLACE Located at 181 Bay St., the interior of this building will make a stunning photo. Humber Bay Bridge Sunrise and night are great times to get fantastic views of the city skyline.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO Stunning architecture in buildings like Robarts Library and Knox College make a visit to campus (King’s College Circle) worth it, whether you plan to matriculate there or not.

CASA LOMA This is as close to a castle as you’re going to get in Toronto and is located at 1 Austin Terrace. You can attend their gardens for events or explore inside. Tickets and admission fees apply.

TORONTO ISLANDS For the cost of a ferry ticket, you can photograph the boats, the marina, the skyline, and Ward’s Island or Centre Island.






As another spring approaches, our perennial focus on “transforming” also resurges. We take on activities in an attempt to change something — anything — about the crust that winter has left around us. For instance, the big dent we hope to make in the clutter that fills our garages. But what exactly is the outcome of such apparent change? When we engage busily toward the goal of change, does a transformation actually happen? Transformations come in all varieties: there are mathematical transformations, biological transformations, statistical ones, and so forth. Good ole’ Merriam Webster, however, provides a definition that reflects our everyday understanding that when we transform, we ultimately become something fundamentally different. Most explanations of the word “transform” centre around a rather dramatic alteration. And in our minds, we link together these quasi-magical changes with betterment and happiness. Here’s the kicker: as a psychology lecturer, I often warn students that their colloquial definitions of certain terms won’t map onto psychological definitions. I also remind them not to follow intuition, but rather to understand the data with respect to particular ideas. So, what does the data tell us? When it comes to the happiness we ultimately seek from big change in our lives, dramatic shifts are not where it’s at. This is partly because of what psychologists call “the hedonic treadmill”. Life events — e.g., getting married, getting divorced, achieving your doctorate, having a baby — do create boosts (or dips) in our emotional lives. There are also internal transformations that occur as a result of external changes. We must remember that we are on a treadmill: good feelings fade, bad ones lighten up, and we pretty much return to our baseline happiness level — where we were before 52 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2020

these great things happened to us. We then wonder why our amazing achievements can’t sustain our happiness forever and end up seeking more to bring those boosts again. Researcher Sonja Lyubormirsky suggests that we don’t have to suffer this pessimistic cycle forever; although our happiness levels tend to be stable, they are amenable to change. But the key is incremental change. Life circumstances around us don’t necessarily bring inner transformation; it is intentional activity that does, according to her research. Intentional activities are those that require effort (e.g., exercise, acts of kindness, keeping a gratitude journal), and if they are the right fit for us (e.g., counting one’s blessings won’t feel right for everyone), and we have a variety of such activities, that’s the ticket to achieving gains we can maintain. Another study found that our feelings of life satisfaction are not dependent on wild changes in our emotional baselines, but on our everyday levels of positive emotion — all the more reason why engaging daily or weekly in intentional activities can ultimately transform our well-being. I’m not saying that we should live boring lives, or that we shouldn’t bother with excitement, or work toward big life goals, or even get sucked into some drama from time to time. I’m a woman who has had dramatic changes in her life in the past several years: child-rearing, divorce, dating, death, getting friend-dumped, turning 40, you name it. I am restless as my own transformation occurs, and I want some big things, believe me. I’ve sought transformation, and I continue to seek and experience. And so should you. But always keep in mind that the treadmill of life takes us back to our starting point. If we really want inner transformation, it’s got to come from the little activities that are volitional, intrinsic, and meaningful.



Victim Mentality How many of us have gotten stuck in a victim mentality, dwelling on life’s unfairness and saying things like, “I can’t believe this happened to me,” or “poor me”? Successful people won’t stay in this mindset for long. Instead they adapt, because success is built on going with the flow! It had been a while since I devoted time to writing. Then life suddenly halted me! That halt came in the form of a recent knee injury. One way to appreciate something is to lose it. Loss, whether it’s a person, a job, or a home, provides new perspective and appreciation. Ask me how I feel about my knee today? I can’t wait for this tendon to heal. Am I sad? Yeah, but at the same time, it’s only two weeks of resting, AN ACCIDENT and it seems silly to complain about IS NOT AN it when I could focus my energy instead on taking care of my knee and INVITATION TO helping myself to heal quickly.



Look on the bright side: how can this help me and redirect me towards betterment?

“Poor me… I can’t believe this happened!”

Look at any failure as a learning opportunity. How can you improve and learn?

Failure halts you and you stop trying.

“This always happens to me. Life is unfair!”

Count your blessings instead of your hardships.

Shawna Patruno is a Skin Care Therapist, Facial Expert and Model with over 10 years experience in the industry. She recently started her own global facial and wellness business and has a goal to change the face of beauty and love the skin their in.

@reawakeningbeauty www.reawakeningbeauty.com

In life, shit happens, and wallowing in misfortune will only derail you! Thankfully, instead of complaining, if I don’t like something, I’ll change it or adapt.


Today, I am going to reroute my month and the upcoming weeks. I am forced to rest, something I really don’t allow myself to do or enjoy. So much for my master plan of stocking my savings account with serious change this month! Looks like my pup is just going to have a resting partner, and I’ll have to think of ways to make money from home! Instead of throwing myself a pity party, I’ll take some online classes and learn some anti-inflammatory recipes. Finding a turmeric latte is first on my list this morning, followed by starting some online classes. I am accepting my new forced staycation/meditation retreat and taking this knee injury as a simple reminder to appreciate the blessings I have before I lose them. Stop complaining about petty things and move on! Thanks, knee injury, for rerouting me and making me learn to appreciate the small things. Thanks for teaching me that an accident is not an invitation to be a victim; instead, it’s an invitation to reinvent yourself. Now go break a leg, but only figuratively of course! SPRING/SUMMER 2020 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 53

Choose fruits that are especially in season!



ON THIS Mix and match dips that compliment the fruit you’ve picked out and don’t be afraid to experiment! You never know what combos work well together until you try!

Swap out the usual mint and parsley as a garnish and pick out fresh vibrant flowers to fancy up your platter!

Crackers and a variety of cheeses are always a hit. Consider adding different deli meats and pepperoni to give more to choose from! PHOTO GRAPHY & F O O D S T Y L I N G B Y K A A RT H I K A S R I S K A N T H A Kaarthika Sriskantha is a food photographer and blogger. She is passionate about using food as a form of self love and a way to support her own health issues. Her mission is to inspire others to care for their physical and mental health, while still having fun with food.

@mindfulnourish www.mindfulnourish.ca

Profile for Future Female Magazine

Future Female: Spring/Summer Issue 2020  

Future Female: Spring/Summer Issue 2020  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded