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Prop styling by Jeanie Lee/Plutino Group Image by: Daniel Harrison
A well-stocked tote goes beyond basics with gear and gadgets to ensure that you're always workout-ready.
The bag: Resolute Gym Duffel, $69, mec.ca.
Get a grip: Carry it by the padded handles or use the removable shoulder strap to lug it hands-free.
Pockets aplenty: Multiple interior and exterior slots in various sizes neatly store essentials.
Durable coating: Waterproof bottom and side panels let you set it down in wet conditions.
Water-resistant lining: Stash damp towels and workout clothes in the interior.
Hang tight: Secure a yoga mat with adjustable side buckles.
Sneaker sidekick: Stow runners in their own cubby.
GYM BAG ESSENTIALS
1. Toe the line
Moisture-wicking fabric keeps feet dry. InStance Fusion RunLite socks, $20, blacktoerunning.com.
2. Tune up
This handy smartphone holder adjusts to bigger or smaller arms. Nike women's distance armband, $45, blacktoerunning.com.
3. Dry run
A quick-drying hair towel is a gym bag must-have. Aquis Lisse Luxe hair towel, $36, sephora.ca.
4. Bundle of energy
Refuel with a natural endurance booster. Endurance Tap Energy Gel, $3.50, sportchek.ca.
5. Lend a hand
Grip and lift sans calluses with machine-washable gloves. Freedom gloves, $45, propsathletics.com.
6. All tied up
Topknots and ponytails stay put with reinforced silicone grips. Scünci No Slip silicone elastics, $7 per pack of 18, rexall.ca.
Add ice and your choice of flavouring to the built-in caddy. Flavour-It-2-Go water bottle, $15, indigo.ca.
8. Body armour
Ward off blisters and chafing. Bodyglide for Her Anti-Blister Stick, $7 per pack of three, sportchek.ca.
9. With the band
A silicone strip keeps this hair band in place. Scünci No Slip honeycomb-textured head wrap, $11, rexall.ca.
10. Undercover undies
After hot yoga, you'll need a fresh ready-to-wear pair. Cheeki Sleekini Bikini underwear, $16, cheekibrand.com.
11. Good scents
Soothe muscle aches with this blend of rosemary and marjoram essential oils. Saje Pain Release analgesic remedy, $24, saje.com.
12. On the ball
Drop these odour-blocking balls into runners to stop stink in its tracks. Diadora Odour-Away scented balls, $6 per pair, sportchek.ca.
13. Spritz away
When you're short on time, dry shampoo is your BFF. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Clean & Classic Original, $6.50, rexall.ca.
14. All ears
Opt for sweat-proof buds that promise to stay put. Yurbuds Inspire 100 earphones, $30, blacktoerunning.com.
Canadian Living editor-in-chief Jes Watson shares how the food always comes first when her family reunites.
Our crew is like most Canadian families. We're tight-knit, but sprinkled across a wide expanse of geography, scattered through cities, towns, provinces and a few distant countries. We're lucky to live in the time we do, when communication has never been easier, and we stay in touch with regular phone or FaceTime calls, emails and social media. But there's nothing quite like when we're all in the same room together, 30 or so familiar faces, the same features (in our case, twinkling eyes and proud sets of buckteeth) echoing through the generations.
Despite the distance between us and the time we've spent apart, when we do meet up, it's like nothing has changed. Conversations seem to pick up where they left off, as if the months or years separating visits were nothing more than a short pause. Seeing my relatives again feels as comfortable as slipping into a favourite pair of well-worn jeans, or picking up a beloved book I've read a hundred times. No matter where we are, or who is hosting, it's like coming home.
The Watsons try to make get-togethers an annual occurrence, with a generous relation offering to host at a different location each year. Because we're polite folk who don't want to descend like a herd of hungry elephants on a poor aunt, uncle or cousin, the agreed-upon tradition is to make the feast potluck. We're each assigned a course to bring (appetizers, main or dessert), and we spend hours doting on hot stoves and ovens, prepping veggies and icing cakes. When we arrive, each of us ports our wares in casserole dishes and Tupperware from the car to doorstep like precious cargo.
It's no accident that even before the hugs and the small talk, the dish each person provided is the primary topic of conversation; the first question out of everyone's mouths is "What did you bring?" And because we've been having our reunions for as long as I can remember some of the recipes that appear are like family members in and of themselves. My cousin Dawn makes the cheesiest, ooey-gooiest lasagna that I can't ever resist having seconds of, and when I see it there on the dining table, I feel waves of nostalgia and familiarity (not to mention hunger). Some recipes are re-created in honour of relatives who have passed away or can't be there: My late Aunt Barb's trifle is a bittersweet, but mostly sweet, way of remembering her. Of course, we welcome new recipes, too, much like new babies; my 10-year-old niece wowed us last year when she made a batch of perfectly chewy yet crispy cookies from scratch.
Maybe it's not that the recipes are like relatives in their own right, but that the food we bring is an extension of who we are. Our secret recipes and special ingredients, year after year, become entwined with our personalities. They're a way for each of us to show our love for our family, and for them, in return, to show their love for us. When I look forward to our next reunions, I always vividly imagine the food that's going to be there, and each of the people I adore who'll bring them.
Want to plan your own big family reunion? Visit caltelli150.ca for your chance to win 1 of 3 Catelli Family Reunion Experiences valued at approximately $10,000 each. To celebrate its shared 150th birthday, Catelli is saying thanks to Canadian families with the this gift of togetherness. Contest runs from February 28 to April 4 and is open to Canadian residents only.
Of course you love your pet—but the bills from the vet are another matter. Follow these tips on covering the costs, and on when it might be time to let go.
My late dwarf rabbit Molly was known as the Two-Thousand-Dollar Bunny among my friends. In fact, medical bills for this fluffball—adopted for just 20 bucks—were closer to $3,000 by the end of her life, 11 months after I brought her home.
Molly had Snuffles—not as cute as it sounds. Snuffles, or pasteurellosis, involves sneezing, wheezing, runny eyes and, in my bun’s case, an out-of-control abscess needing daily draining and two rounds of ultimately unsuccessful surgery.
I was a student at the time, and when my vet was talking options and price tags, I can't say every one of the tears I shed was for Molly. Later, as the bills piled up, my then-boyfriend demanded to know exactly where I'd draw the line. I couldn't say. He saw an inversely proportional relationship between the amount I'd spent on a rabbit and my suitability as a life partner. We'd already split up by the time Molly passed away.
Alda Loughlin, practice manager of the Animal Clinic in Toronto, sees many clients struggle with emotionally charged financial decisions about treatment. Here she shares insights into handling high-cost medical care for pets.
People usually underestimate veterinary costs when they're planning to become pet owners. Loughlin relates that her clinic asks prospective animal adoptees how much they expect medical care will cost in the first year.
"How they answer dictates how we'll go forward with the application," she says. "People often think about $500 for a new cat or dog, but you may be looking—without medical problems—at $900 to $1,100, for neutering, exams, vaccinations and microchipping."
If those figures shock you, best get your fix of kitten cuteness on YouTube.
One way of being prepared for big bills is taking out pet insurance; at Loughlin's practice, 30 per cent of clients have policies. While Loughlin supports this precaution, she admits hearing regular complaints about the hoops claimants jump through for reimbursements.
"If people don’t want pet insurance, I suggest they take $30 a month and put it away, or even pay it forward to their vet," she says. Loughlin stashes $100 a month between August and April for her own poodle's annual dental cleaning. "It's good to have a cushion," she says.
Negotiate a payment plan
If you're facing a big bill and you're not covered, your vet may let you pay in installments. "Mention that a treatment is price-sensitive," suggests Loughlin.
A word of caution: Not every practice offers this option, and if they do, they won't automatically make it available to every client. Loughlin recommends establishing a relationship with your veterinarian, as this will help.
Some charitable organizations will help pet owners who are retired, on disability benefits or on a fixed low income and faced with expensive veterinary procedures. In Ontario, pet owners may be eligible for assistance from the Companion Animal Wellness Foundation (requests go through the Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Toronto) or the Farley Foundation, says Loughlin. Ask your vet about similar foundations in your home province.
Do your research
The price tags for treatments can vary quite dramatically from clinic to clinic, so it's OK to shop around, advises Loughlin -- it's a question of balancing out quality and cost. "Call a couple of clinics, ask questions, and be very candid about your pet's condition," she says. She also advises asking exactly what's covered in each quote: is it just the surgery or also the pre-op bloodwork, post-op meds and follow-up visit?
And don't just let cost be the deciding factor. Checking websites with scores and client reviews of local practices or asking your network for recommendations gives you a sense of the level of care you can expect from an unfamiliar vet.
Draw your line
While I couldn't draw a line for my rabbit Molly's medical care, I admit I sometimes felt frustrated that such sophisticated and expensive options even existed as I fell deeper into the red. And I've sometimes wondered if all the interventions were even fair to her.
I polled my friends recently on where they'd draw the line for their own pets. Most said there was no line, but one had an important insight to share, based on her experience paying a fortune to prolong the life of a suffering cat.
"I've regretted the course of treatment we gave my cat who had kidney failure, for more than a decade, but that taught me a lesson," she says. "Find a vet you trust -- one who knows you and your pet well. Just because you can do another test or try another treatment doesn't necessarily mean you should."