We all admire couples who seem to have found the secret to keeping their sexual fires burning. Luckily, there are many ways to relight the torch. It just takes a little energy.
When trying to heal a relationship or even give it a sexual tune-up, one of the most difficult things to do is to figure out just what to do. To aid you in that quest, here is a list of my top 10 tips for adding some fuel to your fire.
1. Act sexy and you'll feel sexy. Play the part by setting the scene with candlelight and soft music, softer words, lingerie, and great smells. This creates a fanciful mood for both of you, and sex will be unavoidable.
2. Make your bedroom a romantic hideaway. Get some silk sheets and soft lights. Having a place to go when the feelings come over you is important to keeping romance alive.
3. Talk about sex. Call your partner in the middle of the day and tell them you can't wait to make love to them. Drop little sexual innuendoes and talk about sex. Conversations about love may be one of the most underrated aphrodisiacs.
4. Share your secret romantic fantasy with your partner and ask them to tell you theirs. Then make plans to play your fantasies out. Just the anticipation will add to your romance, and the gift of giving each other what you desire will be something that you will never forget.
5. Make love at least once a week. This may be the most important and most disregarded rule of sexual intimacy. Connecting in this way is something that both of you can look forward to all week long as your special time together.
6. Be creative. Relive your first encounter, kidnap your partner for a weekend getaway, have chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne in bed, or serenade your partner with your favourite song. There are so many different ways to be sexy. Just go with your ideas (or buy a book to get some). It's really hard to do it wrong.
7. Kiss often. Couples who kiss every day make love more than those who don't. One of the sexiest things you can do with your partner is to just spend a night making out and cuddling.
8. Let go. Give your partner total control in the physical romance department every once in a while. It's surprising how they will surprise you if they can give to you in any way they want. There is also something freeing about giving up control. Just say to the one you love, "Honey, I'm all yours. Do with me what you will."
9. Compliment each other. Everyone wants to know they're desirable, and we all wonder if our partners still find us sexy after a few years have gone by. Compliments should take place throughout the day. This way, at bedtime, your partner will already feel desired and you will reap the benefits.
10. Think about sex. We all think about sex, but sometimes we forget to put our partner in the picture with us. Next time your mind wanders in that direction, be sure to focus on being with the person you love.
Excerpted from Emotional Fitness for Couples by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. Copyright 2005 by Barton Goldsmith. Excerpted with permission by New Harbinger Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Forget oversize luggage—pack smart with our space-saving tips for your next vacation.
You’ve been there before: You squeeze four pairs of shoes, nine bottoms and nearly every top in your wardrobe into a suitcase. Then, during your week-long beach vacation, you end up wearing only a third of what you packed. And, of course, there’s your beauty arsenal of toners, lotions and special shampoo. Needless to say, after all that heavy packing, lugging around a massive suitcase through the sand isn’t all that relaxing.
So we turned to Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton, cofounders of WHOA Travel, a boutique travel firm that plans adventures for women (think hiking Kilimanjaro or kayaking in Costa Rica). Read on for their top tips on packing lightly and smartly for your next beach holiday.
Beauty picks: Only the essentials
To pack your beauty must-haves, head to your local drugstore and purchase a traveller’s set of mini squeeze bottles for transporting moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner and cleanser. It’s a much more compact alternative to packing full-size products.
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and an after-sun treatment. “If your skin is sensitive and you don’t know how it’s going to react to a new sunscreen, bring your own,” says Fleece. “And finding aloe vera is not always the easiest thing.” Another beauty essential for travel is baby powder. It’s perfect for degreasing hair and removing sand that’s stuck to your body. Just sprinkle the baby powder onto your legs and feet, and the sand will come right off.
Pack, then edit
When it comes to clothing and shoes, stick to multipurpose items and eliminate duplicates. You’ll never need two pairs of bright-colour shorts or two wrap dresses. Thornton recommends having a pair of flat sandals that swing two ways: comfortable enough for walking around town and dressy enough for dinner and dancing. Once you make your selections, always reconsider each item that you’ve packed. “I pack everything I think I need, leave it for a few hours, then come back to it, and suddenly I realize what I don’t need,” says Thornton.
Keeping the contents of your luggage organized will help you quickly find what you need. Resealable produce or freezer bags are your best bet for keeping smaller items, such as socks, underwear and bathing suits, at the ready; your clothes are easier to find when they’re kept together, and see-through plastic will allow you to identify them quickly. Or you can invest in a mesh garment bag, Thornton and Fleece’s must-have travel essential. “You can stuff them with scarves, T-shirts and other clothing. And pushing all of the air out saves a lot of space,” explains Thornton. If you decide to bring a few small accessories with you, empty painkiller bottles are a great place to store rings and earrings. Meanwhile, dainty bracelets and necklaces can be slipped into straws and taped at each end to prevent them from knotting.
Keep electronics to a minimum
All-in-one entertainment is another way you can keep your luggage light. Instead of packing books, download them onto your tablet. “It’s all about knowing what I’m going to need,” says Thornton. “I leave my laptop at home and get everything I need on my phone.”
Pick a souvenir you’ll wear while you’re there
Leave a little space in your luggage for souvenirs you pick up upon arrival, and opt to purchase goods that you can wear or use during the course of your trip. Fleece’s go-to souvenir is the sarong. “You can use it to lie on the beach, to wear as a wrap when you grab a cocktail from inside the hotel and in evening when the sun goes down,” she says.
Other souvenirs to consider buying when you arrive at your destination: a wide-brimmed hat, a bathing suit and jewellery. “People always comment on the stuff we buy on vacation,” says Fleece, who has a collection of accessories from the beaches of Rio and the Bahamas.
Sample packing list
Here’s our list of beach-vacation essentials (not including the obvious toiletries, underwear, cellphone and pajamas). Use it as a guide when packing for your next exotic getaway.
-One cotton T-shirt
-Two sleeveless tops (one casual, one dressy)
-One pair of trousers
-One pair of shorts
-One maxi skirt
-Two breezy dresses
-One long-sleeved shirt or blouse
-One cardigan or sweater (for cooler evenings)
-Two bathing suits
-One pair of flip-flops or pool shoes
-One pair of day-to-night sandals
-One pair of hiking boots, water shoes or sneakers, depending on what adventures your vacation entails
-One pair of sunglasses
-One beach bag
Summer grilling doesn't just brings out the best get-togethers, but also the best in barbecued steaks. Don't throw your t-bones and sirloins into the grill just yet. Our easy-to-follow recipes for marinades for steak will give your meat a hearty flavour-boost that'll please all meat-lovers in your family.
The best way to add some flavour to your steaks is by whipping together some great marinades for steak and letting the meat soak up the amazing flavours. If you love exotic spices, try bathing your steak in a Five-Spice Marinade, which is flavour-packed with Chinese five-spice powder. Or, mix together cumin, paprika, garlic and lemon juice for a hot and zesty Moroccan Marinade.
Want something simple and classic? A quick Salt and Pepper Steak Rub is a perfect addition to any barbecue.
You can also try brushing your steaks on the grill with some Sweet Smoky Tomato Basting Sauce, a delicious mix of tomatoes, apple cider and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Now get out and get grilling with some of these delicious marinades for steak.
10 tasty marinades for steak:
1.Salt and Pepper Steak Rub The classic combination of black pepper and coriander seeds is delicious on thick, juicy steaks, such as T-bones, sirloins or strip loins.
2.Sweet Smoky Tomato Basting Sauce This sauce mellows out considerably when brushed over meat on the grill, but it also packs a punch of flavour when served as a side sauce at the table. For doubly delicious results, use it to baste while grilling and serve extra sauce at the table.
3.Moroccan Marinade Got a pantry of spices? Stir together a few tablespoons of cumin and paprika with cinnamon, garlic and lemon juice for a flavour-filled marinade, perfect for grilling meat and poultry.
4. Universal Spice Rub Keep this simple all-purpose rub on hand for a last-minute flavour boost. You can rub it onto steak, ribs, brisket, chicken, fish or seafood before putting them on the barbecue.
5. Chili Orange Marinadeâ€¨ Love the taste of orange? Try whipping together orange juice, orange rind, tomato paste and chili powder for a flavour-packed marinade, perfect for grilling steaks or chicken.
6. Lemon Pepper Marinadeâ€¨ This zesty mix of lemon rind, lemon juice, garlic and peppercorns makes a delicious marinade for grilling steak and chicken.
7. Five-Spice Marinade Want add a punch of flavour to your steak? Bathe your steaks with a marinade of Chinese five-spice powder, gingerroot, onion, cayenne pepper, soy sauce and orange juice.
8. Cajun Spice Mix Add some spice to your steaks. Mix together some brown sugar, paprika, cumin, dry mustard and hot pepper flakes and lather it onto your sirloins, kabobs and T-bones. 9. Mediterranean Spice Mix If you're interested in adding a milder flavour to your steak, whip together some rosemary, cumin, oregano and cinnamon for a sweet and delicate flavour.
10. Adobo Marinade Love jalapenos? Soak your steaks with this spicy marinade, made of garlic, lime juice, cumin, oregano and a hot jalapeno pepper.
We polled family doctors from across the country, and they laid down the law on eight things they wish we'd do—or stop doing.
According to our panel of general practitioners, Canadians aren't always doing what they should to make the most of doctor visits—and skipping out on these crucial tactics could lead to a delay in diagnosing serious conditions. Here's what our experts say you should add to your patient checklist.
1. Stop feeling shy
Many of us hesitate to talk to our physicians about sensitive issues (think substance abuse or sexual health—or even gender identity). But honesty and openness are important, both for fostering a good doctor-patient relationship and for ensuring that you get the best care, says Dr. Laura Pripstein, medical director of the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto and a staff physician on the family health team. That's why it's OK to try out a doc before committing. Dr. Pripstein recommends booking an initial visit to see if your potential doctor is a good fit. "You want to see if this person seems like someone you can talk to, someone you feel comfortable with," she says. And if you don't think your doctor understands or respects your concerns, don't be afraid to find someone new. "If you feel you can't ask questions that might be embarrassing, you don't have the right provider," says Dr. Pripstein.
2. Don't come to your appointments unprepared
Get the most out of your time—and your doc's—by arriving at your appointment with a clear plan for what you want to discuss, says Dr. David Ross, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It's good to have patients think about their problems from when the issue began, then look at it chronologically to the present," says Dr. Ross. Making a prioritized point-form list in advance helps ensure that you don't forget anything or mix up the order of events, he says. Then, work with your doctor to address the most serious issues first.
3. Choose your family doc over the walk-in clinic whenever you can
Yes, a clinic is convenient, but what we gain in easy access, we lose in familiarity. "I think it's really valuable if people can connect with a family physician who they'll be able to see long term, rather than just looking for the quickest way to access care," says Dr. Maurianne Reade, a physician with the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team in Mindemoya and M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. A family doctor will know your medical history and will keep it in mind when suggesting treatment—so, for example, if you've recently taken several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, your physician will likely look for a different course of action if you come in with another infection. According to the most recent statistics, about 4.5 million Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. If that's you, contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, or check to see if your region has an online registry (Ontario has Health Care Connect, while Quebec launched a web-based family doctor finder last year). "It's important to know that we doctors are privileged to share in your stories and to help you through difficult times," says Dr. Reade.
4. Share what's happening in your life
There's a reason your doctor wants to know where you're working, if you're dating and how the kids are—and it's not just because she likes you. (Though she does, we're sure.) Physicians need a picture of their patients' lives beyond their specific health symptoms and conditions, especially when they're first getting to know you, says Dr. Stephen Wetmore, the family medicine chair at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ont. "Doctors need to know these things to understand how your lifestyle and habits may be influencing your health," he says. So when you're talking about your exercise habits, your health history and whether you smoke, drink or use drugs, mention your employment status, family obligations and intimate relationships, too, says Dr. Wetmore.
5. Be a better googler
Doctors know you do it (hello, late-night web searches), but they would prefer you to ask about good sources of information, rather than going rogue online. They also want you to be honest about your fears if you've read something particularly upsetting. Physicians can't address your concerns or point you in the right direction if they don't know what your fingertips have been up to. "The thing we want our patients to do is ask us for the most reliable Canadian websites to go to as resources," says Dr. Heather Waters, an assistant professor of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.
6. Don't think your symptoms are "no big deal"
If you've noticed you are having more headaches than usual or are sleeping more or are eating less, you might not think to tell your doctor—but you should. There's no set of rules for determining which symptoms are worthy of investigation or discussion, says Dr. Wetmore, but make a note to mention anything that is new or has changed since your last appointment. "You should bring up things like sudden weight loss or fatigue that seems excessive," he says. "It could be a sign of a larger problem, or the cause of a developing problem." Evenif it doesn't end up being serious, seeing your doctor will help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, and that's worth the visit, too.
7. Talk about what you're taking
Tell your physician about any herbal medications and alternative treatments you take, says Dr. Mel Borins, a University of Toronto associate professor and author of A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. It's important for patients to share what's working for them and for doctors to be open-minded about therapies outside their own practice or traditions, he says. This is also a concern when it comes to conventional meds, especially if you're pregnant; there are only 23 medications specifically approved for use during pregnancy— yes, out of every available drug—which can leave women feeling anxious about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs when they're expecting, says Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bridgewater, N.S. But don't stop taking your meds as soon as your pregnancy test comes back positive. "It's really important to talk to your doctor instead of stopping cold turkey," says Dr. MacQuarrie. Physicians can help you determine the risks and benefits of using different drugs, and they can let you know when the effects of not taking a medication while pregnant may be worse than taking it— which is the case with some antidepressants.
8. Avoid diagnosing yourself
You know doctors don't like it when you come in prepared with a diagnosis you've made thanks to the aforementioned Dr. Google. But do you know why? It's not because they think you're encroaching on their territory! Rather, they worry that a serious medical problem might get missed or you'll cause yourself unnecessary anxiety over something not serious. That's because not everyone has the most common symptoms of a particular condition. Plus, men, women and different ethnicities can have varying symptoms for the same problem. For instance, Dr. Reade's community has a large proportion of people with diabetes, which can affect the warning signs of cardiac disease, a major killer in Canada. Instead of the usual pain or pressure on the left side of the chest or arm, men and women with diabetes may instead have spells of profuse sweating with weakness. And, of course, women who don't have diabetes can have differing symptoms, too; sometimes, a heart attack can feel like acid reflux or come with sudden nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness. So always tell your physician if your symptoms are surprising or strange—like a headache that feels different than usual, for example. And if you're worried about a specific diagnosis, be sure to bring that up, too.
While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
Dainty and flavourful, everyone loves to indulge in tiny bites of traditional tea sandwiches. Though they appear finicky to make, these tea sandwiches are easy to assemble and entirely make-ahead.
Pinwheel Sandwiches Trim crusts from 5 slices white or whole wheat sandwich loaf, cut Pullman-style. (Ask bakery to cut sandwich loaf horizontally, or Pullman style.) Using rolling pin, flatten slices slightly. Spread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread with filling.
Place 1 asparagus spear (or 2 baby gherkins) along 1 short end of each. Starting at asparagus, roll up tightly without squeezing. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. With serrated knife, trim ends; cut each roll into 6 slices.
Makes 30 pieces. Pinwheel Sandwich recipe: Curried Egg Salad Triangle Sandwiches Spread 16 thin slices whole wheat or white sandwich bread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread filling evenly over 8 of the slices. Top with remaining slices, pressing lightly. Place on rimmed baking sheet and cover with damp tea towel; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Trim off crusts. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces.
Makes 32 pieces. Triangle Sandwich recipe: Ham Pickle Spread Square Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above except use 8 thin slices white and 8 thin slices whole wheat sandwich bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters.
Makes 32 pieces.Square Sandwich recipe: Pimiento Cheese Spread Finger Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above. Cut each sandwich lengthwise into 4 fingers.
Makes 32 pieces. Finger Sandwich recipe: Tuna Olive Salad
Choose the best-quality bread. Never serve end slices. Freezing bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
Bread should be lightly buttered no matter what the filling. Butter should be at room temperature before spreading. Sandwiches will not become limp and soggy as readily if you spread butter right to edge of bread.
Cut crusts off bread with long, sharp knife after (not before) assembling sandwiches. This keeps everything neater.
Since tea sandwiches should be delicate, cut each sandwich into thirds or quarters or in half diagonally. Or use cookie cutters to cut into decorative shapes.