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Back to school week: Tech gadgets

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 11th, 2016

With the fall quickly approaching, many students are headed back to school. Students are looking for the latest gadgets, and Winston Sih has the newest technology for any age group.

With the fall quickly approaching, many students are headed back to school. Students are looking for the latest gadgets, and Winston Sih has the newest technology for any age group.

Getting work done – High school and university:

  • HP Spectre Notebook – $1,699.99, HP.ca
  • iPad Pro – Starting at $799, Apple.ca
  • Microsoft Surface Arc Touch Mouse – $79.99, MicrosoftStore.ca

Stay connected to life on the go – High school:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 – $1,050, Rogers.com
  • Beyond Ink – $70, BeyondInkPen.com
  • Jackery battery pack – $59.99, Amazon.ca
  • Nest Cam – $249.99, Nest.com

Study and work wherever you are – Elementary school:

  • Kindle Paperwhite e-reader – $139.99, Amazon.ca
  • Seagate Hard Drive – $74.99, Amazon.ca

‘Must have’ items for back to school season

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Aug 10th, 2016

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The countdown is underway for back to school time. Lifestyle expert Karen Firsel gives us a glimpse into her “must haves” to get everyone (including parents) ready for a new school year. Below are some of the season’s hottest items to look out for.


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Parents dread going from store to store to try to find cool accessories for their kids. This includes backpacks, where different styles, sizes, and prices can easily overwhelm even the most prepared parent. Well.ca is one stop shop for the newest products and trendiest brands of bags like Fluf and Parkland. The design are fun and funky, and also include many selections that are eco friendly too.

Customized footwear

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Traditional “kicks” are so 2015. This upcoming school year is going to be the year of personalized sneakers! Lo + Co is run by a Mom in Chicago who paints and personalizes various styles of shoes to meet your child’s personality, and gives them the “foot up” on being cool. Orders require filling out a style profile online. In a matter of days, your shoes arrive directly to your door. Each pair is 100% unique.


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Mothers, put away the beach bag! A more functional and stylish bag is out there! Mezzi creates luxury handbags that are also functional. These stylish bags have an internal battery so that you can plug in your phone, so a cell phone never runs out of a charge. The bag also “rings” when a call comes in or a text message, which also allows the bag to serve as a speaker to play your favourite tunes.

Karen Firsel shares more of the hottest items for back to school on Breakfast Television.

4 money saving tips for university students

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 9th, 2016


University or college is a great time for one to to expand their mind and to meet new people. However, this might be the first time that young adults are responsible for keeping their finances in check. Many students struggle with staying financially responsible during their first few years of independence, however financial expert Bruce Sellery says students can take several tips to avoid heading into debt.

Make a budget. Many students are not aware of how much money they have coming in, and how much money they are spending. A budget creates much needed financial awareness for students.

Students need to pull out a piece of paper and budget their incoming revenue and outgoing expenses. A budget should include incoming revenue such as RESP money, personal savings, mom and dad, scholarships. Budgets should also include monthly expenses such as school costs  such as tuition & books, transportation, rent, phone bills, food, and entertainment. Bruce Sellery stresses that students should be conservative with their spending during the first few years of school, and to place extra money directly into savings.

Address the gap. Most likely, a student budget won’t balance the first time. Never panic! Students have many resources to address the financial gap so they can stay financially stable.

Students can do small things to address a budget gap. Instead of buying brand new textbooks, buying used textbooks will save students up to 50% on course costs. Instead of eating out, students can cook more meals at home. Bruce also recommends looking into financial aid that low-income students can qualify for through their university’s financial aid department.

Don’t be rash with your cash. Keep spending accounts and savings accounts separate. Many students blow through their entire savings when spending is within reach. By having a separate savings account or a tax-free savings account, a student’s entire income is not readily available for spending.

Bruce also says students should not keep a credit card in their wallet. Students can have a credit card, but should pay it off in full, and not carry it with them.

Be wary of marketers. Students are experiencing independence for the first time while attending college or university. Marketers know this! Many credit card companies are directly marketing young students who are financially inexperienced.

Bruce advises students to watch out for offers that seem too good to be true. Understand the risk that credit cards and monthly expenses can have on a student’s budget.


9 tips for making ‘back to school’ lunches fun and easy

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 8th, 2016

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The start of a new school year for kids means preparing lunches five times a week. With every parent wants to provide variety as well as maintain a healthy and nutritious lunch box for their child, this can be a daunting task.

Have no fear! Registered dietician Sue Mah gives us some lunchbox inspiration for the upcoming school year. Below are nine lunchbox tips will please everyone from picky eaters to vegetarians. Lunchboxes and lunch accessories can be found on Fenigo.

  1. Make a plan. Make sure you have everything you need in the fridge and pantry for the week ahead. Go to the grocery store during the weekends to verify you have everything you need to create a balanced lunch. For a homemade twist, do some home-baking over the weekend. The goodies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days or frozen, so that you will never be short of something to pop in the lunchbox.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.03 AM
  2. Pre-pack lunch boxes. If mornings are hectic, pre-pack lunches the night before then store them in the fridge. This helps parents keep their morning on track, and gets the kids out of the door on-time for the school bell.
  3. Create a balanced meal. For a balanced lunchbox, include a variety of food types: fresh fruit, vegetables, starchy food, protein, and dairy. For example, a ham and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread, with carrot sticks, a piece of fruit and a yoghurt. If vegetarian, ensure food options meed a child’s dietary needs. Include protein rich foods include roasted chickpeas, nuts, and cheese.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.13 AM
  4. Switch out sugary drinks for water. Water is the best for a drink in a child’s lunchbox. Use a refillable, easy to open, leak-proof bottle. For a fun summer-time twist, freeze up the water bottle so it will still be cool by lunchtime.
  5. Make sure your lunchbox is both tasty and safe. During hot weather use an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack to keep food cool. Wash, rinse and dry lunch boxes thoroughly after each use.
  6. Make it interesting. Try not to pack the same things every day. Spice up your child’s lunchbox with fun and interesting foods. Cutting sandwiches into different shapes can help keep younger children happy. Find cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into creative shapes. Cookie cutters such as butterfly and puzzle piece cutouts can be found on Fenigo.
  7. Ensure the food is accessible. Many food items might not be accessible to younger children. Loosen lids on yoghurt pouches if necessary. Peel and cut fruit if your child struggles with eating a whole fruit. Avoid using plastic wrap that can be tough to get off.
  8. Get your child involved in packing their own lunch box. After all, they are the one who is going to be eating it! Offer two or three options of fruit, sandwich fillings, veggie snacks and a small treat. Explore what your child will enjoy for lunch. For the kid who doesn’t like sandwiches, there are a variety of different lunch options that will please a picky eater. Examples of such are chicken pasta salad, sushi, cereal and milk, mini pizzas.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.45 AM
  9. Find something new. Ask other moms what they offer their kids for lunch. Many moms are getting creative, packing leftover homemade chicken fingers with plum sauce in a bento box, cucumber sushi with seaweed snacks, or even fruit and cheese skewers such as apple cheese sailboats pictured above.

How to save money on kindergarten costs

MoneySense & Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 8th, 2016

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When Kerry K. Taylor wrote the last $900 monthly cheque for her daughter’s daycare recently, she did a happy dance — albeit a temporary one.

No sooner had the Toronto personal finance writer exhaled a sigh of relief that 4 1/2-year-old Chloe would be starting kindergarten in the fall than she realized entirely new expenses would soon be cropping up.

“There’s going to be a myriad of other costs,” says Taylor — not the least of which is the roughly $400 a month she’ll have to shell out to keep Chloe in before and after school care while she’s at work.

While sending a child to kindergarten can feel like a welcome relief from staggering daycare fees, parents need to be aware that costs associated with starting school can add up to hundreds of dollars before their little ones even step foot in the classroom.

Parents will spend 4.5 per cent more on back-to-school spending this year than in 2015, according to a recent report from advisory services firm EY.

Still, some expenses may be altogether avoidable, meaning parents can save a tidy sum with the right type of planning.

Education experts say superhero backpacks, pencil cases filled with scented crayons and other knick-knacks aren’t necessary, and many parents may be surprised to learn just how little stuff soon-to-be scholars need.

Back-to-school advertisements, in particular, encourage parents to spend money on brand new designer wardrobes. But those duds are neither needed nor practical, said Liz Ugolini, the early years instructional co-ordinator at Peel District School Board west of Toronto.

“Children will be involved with playdough and paint and sand and outdoor play,” she said. “So it really is not for families to have children in their best clothes, but in the clothes that are best for play.”

Comfortable shoes, weather-appropriate attire and an extra outfit in case of accidents are all recommended.

For school supplies, it’s best for parents to stick to the basics, said Ugolini, like a properly sized backpack and a lunch bag with reusable food storage containers. She purchased her niece’s lunchtime kit for $11.

Moms and dads should also be aware that new students don’t need to bring crayons, pencils, markers, pencil cases or paper, Ugolini adds. Schools generally provide all those things, along with books, for its youngest pupils.

“Public education should never really be a financial hardship for families,” said Sue Pasian, the early years consultant for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in Hamilton.

All these “embellishments,” as Pasian calls them, will be provided for students in their kindergarten classes.

Even field trip costs are generally kept to a minimum at that age, she said, with most excursions running families less than $10 a child. Many school boards can also help subsidize these costs for families struggling financially or connect them with charitable organizations that can, for example, assist them with some basic school supplies.

For Taylor, back-to-school items like the “Frozen” lunch box her daughter recently picked out, are inconsequential after years of daycare costs.

Less trivial, she says, are fees some parents may not know they’ll face. Some school boards charge fees for bus transportation, she said, while other parents may have to take on the costs of driving their child to school.

Taylor also suggests parents take a close look at their kid’s school calendar and pre-arrange care for professional development days, spring break and other holidays that leave kids at home but don’t necessarily mean time off for parents. Last-minute arrangements can be difficult and expensive, she said.

Aside from child care and transportation, it’s a good idea to budget some cash for pizza days, not to mention clothes for rapidly growing children, she added.

“There’s a whole bunch of little things that can pop up,” said Taylor. “Kids are expensive. It’s crazy how expensive kids are, you know?”


Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Fall 2016

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016


Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital intern for its Fall 2016 term (September through December). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Mayor Tory takes tough stand against TTC management

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

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Toronto Mayor John Tory is asking TTC management to trim its budget, otherwise he will bring in a task force to do it.

The Toronto Sun reports his comments comes after CEO Andy byford sent a memo to the city, in response to the mayor’s demand of a 2.6 per cent budget reduction in all city departments.

According to the Sun, Byford told the city’s chief financial officer that even though the TTC has cut $82 million from its budget, it still faces a $149-million shortfall.

However, Tory told Breakfast Television on Thursday he has asked the TTC to go back to the drawing board.

“We have said to them nothing different than what we [have] said to every other organization … [they have] to go through an exercise where they review their budget,” Tory said.

“When they wrote me a letter that said […] we found a bit of stuff but we can’t do the rest, I just said ‘no, I’m sorry,’ you’ve got to do the same exercise.”

“In a $1.7-billion organization, you’d have trouble convincing me given my business experience, that there aren’t more things to find. I said please go back – they’ve got a great management team – [and] find more, and if you need some help, let me know.”

Tory said he would consider bringing in help to sort it all out, but that he would much rather have “Byford and his team, who are capable people, do it.”

Which ‘plant water’ should you choose?

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 29th, 2016

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The summer months can require some extra hydration, which makes it a perfect time to have a refreshing glass of water. But did you know there are many varieties of water to choose from that go beyond your tap?

As many Canadians are moving away from sweet and sugary drinks, Canadians want more water but want a variety of waters to choose from. Thankfully, there are many healthy choices on the market. Holistic nutritionist Trionne Moore from The Healthy Road is here to give us a ‘101’ on plant waters and what you should be looking out for.

Coconut water

Most people have heard of coconut water, or are already drinking it. Dubbed “Mother Nature’s sports drink,” coconut water is high in electrolytes and contains four times the potassium than a banana. Coconut water is a great alternative to sports drinks, containing less than half the sugar one would find in a standard sized bottle.

However, not all coconut waters are healthy. When searching for coconut water, avoid “from concentrate” brands. Many coconut waters are concentrated, and many waters add flavours to compensate. Avoid any added ingredients… the only ingredient should be pure coconut water to get the most benefits.

Maple water

Maple water is slowly becoming a popular choice for water drinkers, as it is believes it contains many healthy antioxidant compounds. Maple water is the actual sap from the tree, filtered naturally by the tree. This process that maple water is produced makes maple water naturally organic, clean, refreshing, and subtly sweet.

However, there is little research on the health benefits of maple water. Despite maple water containing many vitamins and nutrients, there is no proven claims that maple water contains healthy antioxidant compounds.

Birch water

Birch water might be the new craze of 2016. Birch water is another sap water, much like maple water, and is local to Canada. It is high in nutrients, and only contains half the sugar as maple water. Birch water contains xylitol, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, which makes birch water a good way to cleanse the body and boost your health.

Which ever water you choose to drink this summer, drink lots and stay hydrated!

All of the listed waters can be found at The Healthy Road on 518 King Street East.


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