The best way to beat those midwinter blues? A touch of green. Read on for our guide to low-maintenance houseplants.
When it comes to decorating, we believe most spaces benefit from a plant or two, and the decor world agrees—houseplants have made a comeback. According to Jill Jensen, founder of Jill Jensen Botanicals, a Clarington, Ont., tropical-plant wholesale company, the resurgence in popularity comes down to four things: Compact, easy-to-care-for plants appeal to both small-space dwellers and novice gardeners; good-quality botanicals are more readily available at garden centres, flower shops and even your local grocery store; we now know they improve our mental health; and decorative pots have received an esthetic upgrade, with options in everything from marble to ombré woven baskets. When caring for houseplants, Jensen says the first step is having the right environment. Tropical houseplants typically do best in a temperature-controlled space—over 17°C is OK, but above 21°C is ideal. Read on for our selections and Jensen's best tips to ensure that your plants thrive.
1. Chinese evergreen(Aglaonema 'Osaka')
Great for spaces that don't get a lot of natural light, this leafy choice is also less susceptible to both pests and disease.
2. ZZ plant(Zamioculcas zamifolia)
This stylish plant is almost indestructible. It thrives in low-light conditions and needs only moderate watering, so it's ideal for first-time plant owners—or for those with black thumbs!
3. Pink paddle or pink quill (Tillandsia cyanea)
Named for its colourful spiky flower, this pretty tropical will sprout suckers, or tiny shoots, as it ages; once the shoots reach a substantial size, you can separate them to form new plants.
4. Dragon tree (Dracaena deremensis 'White Surprise')
This hardy variety can grow up to six feet tall but doesn't tend to spread out, which makes it ideal for small living or work spaces.
A succulent is any plant that stores water in its leaves or stem. Available in a variety of rich textures and colours, these trendy botanicals prefer lots of light; since they're desert plants, don't overwater them (allow the soil to dry completely between waterings).
6. Peacock or zebra plant (Calathea roseopicta)
Don't expose the maroon leaves of this plant to direct sunlight—it will cause the delicate tissue to burn
7. Dwarf fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)
This compact version of the popular fiddle-leaf fig adds visual impact without taking up too much space.
8. Moonlight philodendron
One of the few plants with the same common and botanical name, this lush pick purifies the air in your home. It's also easy to care for, as it does well in most light conditions (except direct sun) and can survive with occasional two- to three-week intervals between waterings.
9. Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
This fast-growing plant benefits from regular pruning— otherwise, it will quickly become overgrown. If the wide, flat leaves get dusty, wipe them gently with a soft damp cloth.
10. Mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis cereuscula)
Unlike most cacti, this variety is native to the rainforest, so it prefers ample moisture (ensure good drainage so roots don't sit in water) and indirect light. It produces small white flowers in late winter or early spring, followed by small berries (similar to the ones on mistletoe, hence the name). Handle with care—the stems break easily.
So you’re newly married or preparing to say “I do.” Despite modern conventions, there’s still
good reason to assume your husband’s (or wife's) last name. Just be sure you don’t fall into one of these name-change traps.
1. Waiting too long In Ontario, a name change is free if you apply within 90 days of your wedding date. If you apply after this date, the province will charge you. Similar guidelines will apply elsewhere as well. Keep in mind that it also takes four to six weeks for your new driver’s licence and health card to arrive in the mail.
2. Starting the process too soon If you leave for your
honeymoon a month after your wedding, your itinerary will need to match personal identification. Either start the process after you return to Canada, or remember to use your husband’s name when booking your vacation.
3. Forgetting the parental implications If you have children from a previous relationship, the decision to assume your new husband’s name becomes more complex. Unless your children share your last name (or they have a hyphenated surname that includes both mom and dad’s last names), chances are you’ll encounter hiccups when
travelling internationally. Never cross the border or head to the airport without appropriate
documents proving your relationship and the co-parent’s consent, otherwise abduction flags will be raised.
4. Hyphenating without going through the right channels Hyphenating your last name to include your husband’s is equivalent to dropping your maiden name. You still have to go through all the same channels.
5. Thinking changing and assuming your name are the same To formally change your last name, you’ll need to go through a lawyer, whether you’re changing it to your husband’s surname or both of you are taking on a trailblazing new name together. This means even your birth certificate will reflect the change. Assuming your spouse’s name is less involved.
6. Expecting a service to do it all for you While name-change services will help you complete the necessary paperwork in an organized and timely fashion, they can only update the documents that they know of. If you forget to notify them about a car title, alumni association or magazine subscription, you’ll have to deal with that on your own at a later date.
Photo courtesy FlickrCC/Search Influence
With the growing trend of love blending with technology, there are a variety of online dating sites with mobile apps that are helping connect more people. Whether you're looking for a casual encounter or something more serious, there’s a dating app to suit almost every need. Here are seven top dating apps for you to consider.
1. OkCupid (free for both iPhone and Android devices) This popular online dating site also has a location-based mobile app that allows you to take your experience on the go. Users can sign in via Facebook or directly through the app to find local singles. The app allows you to watch the activity stream for potential matches, "favourite" a profile and rate your potential matches through the Quick Match feature. With over five million registered users since 2010, you never know whom you might find.
2. Match (available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices) Match.com, a pioneer dating website that launched in 1995, has users based in 24 countries around the world. People can sign up through Match.com and then download the app on their mobile devices. The app allows members to view profiles, upload up to 24 images, add users to their "Favourites" and rate their "Daily Matches." Subscriptions range anywhere from a month to a year. Pick one that suits you best.
3. eHarmony (available for iPhone and Android devices) This popular online dating site launched in 2000. Its claim to fame? Over one million people who used eHarmony went on to find lifelong partnerships. Users can sign up via the app, complete a relationship questionnaire, upload photos from their mobile phones or from Facebook, and receive daily matches—all free of charge. Paid subscribers get access to email and can also see who has viewed their profiles. It's the perfect app for those of all ages who are looking for long-term commitments. 4. Badoo (free for both iPhone and Android devices) With a community of more than 208 million users, Badoo is perfect for those looking to socialize and meet new people. The free basic service allows users to chat with and message other members, and upload photos and videos. Members can sign in with a Badoo or Facebook account via the mobile app or website to connect with locals who share common interests. The app also features a fun game called Encounters, which allows users to view potential matches and then tap "yes" or "no" to indicate whether or not they would like to meet. If you're not looking to date, Badoo is also a great app for social networking and friendship.
5. Plenty of Fish (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Plenty of Fish (POF) allows users to find potential dates and perhaps even their soul mates for free! It does have paid services as well, but users don't really need to upgrade; most of the best features such as Meet Me, which allows members to flirt with locals in their areas, are free of charge. This app allows users to search for singles using filters such as education, height, religious affiliations and body type. Another cool feature is Date Night, which tells other singles in your area that you're available for a date.
6. Zoosk (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Zoosk is one of the top mobile dating apps for iPhone users and is one of the Top 10 grossing social networking apps in the iTunes store. This app is available for free and also has a paid subscription option that allows you to access more features. If you’d rather not pay, you can still browse millions of singles, create a profile, upload photos, see who has viewed your profile, and scan and show interest in another member by using the Carousel feature.
7. Tinder (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Tinder has quickly become the go-to dating app for young adults. And the best part? The app is completely free and works on the premise of anonymity. Users, who need a Facebook account to create a profile, can upload up to six profile photos and scroll through recommended matches from your area. If you don't like what you see, you can anonymously "like" or "pass" on the person. But it isn't just for the younger demographic: Tinder reports that 31 percent of its users are aged between 25 and 34, making it a great app for anyone looking to casually date or form potentially long-term relationships.
Aside from being an easy snack for the office, yogurt is chock full of ingredients that help your body run smoothly, no matter what age you are.
Although yogurt has long been a staple in the health food world, it has become even more popular thanks to Greek yogurt. Whether you eat it plain, low-fat, greek, frozen, from a tube or a bottle, or in your smoothies, yogurt has health benefits beyond good old calcium. Read on for the lowdown on its many health benefits.
1. The probiotics.
You know yogurt has probiotics because every commercial for yogurt says so, but what does that actually mean? In the simplest of terms, probiotics are good-for-you bacteria. They help in regulating your digestive system and decreasing gas, diarrhea and bloating. Research has even suggested that probiotics can aid in boosting your immune system, help you manage your weight and reduce the risk of cancer.
2. The calcium.
Just like all products in the dairy family, yogurt is a great source of calcium, which plays a huge role in the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting, healing wounds and maintaining a normal blood pressure. Some yogurts contain vitamin D, which helps the small intestine absorb calcium to its fullest potential, so finding those yogurts or pairing yogurt with foods high in vitamin D is always a good idea.
3. The protein.
Plain yogurt made from whole milk is a rich source of protein, which can increase the absorption of minerals, promote lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss.
4. The vitamins.
Yogurt made with whole milk contains every single nutrient the human body needs. Yogurt contains vitamin B12, which keeps your nerves and red blood cells healthy and can only be found in foods originating from an animal. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is also in yogurt. This helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, or 'food into fuel.'
Want to incorporate yogurt into your diet, but don't want to be stuck with buying processed, sugary yogurt cups? Check out Canadian Living's recipes: