December 2020

Creative Ideas for Saving Your COVID-Era Wedding
Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

May through October is normally Canada’s peak wedding time. The beautiful weather and summer fun make for a perfect atmosphere to tie the knot–but not during the COVID-era. In April, Canadian officials banned large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. Since then, the country has seen over half of scheduled weddings cancelled or postponed. While data showed a decline in COVID cases over the summer, there has been a surge in cases this fall.

If 2020 was supposed to be your year, you joined thousands of other couples who are revisiting the drawing board and rescheduling, redesigning, and rethinking their plans during the COVID-era. Wedding planners encourage moving small weddings to larger venues that will accommodate proper social distancing. Larger weddings may create health risks for you and your guests. It may be best to postpone or re-vision these big events. Before you make your decision, consider going ahead with a wedding redesign that honors your original vision while keeping everyone safe.

Backyard Micro-Weddings in the COVID-era

Even prior to the pandemic, a “micro-wedding” trend had begun to emerge across North America. For reasons ranging from saving time and money to reducing the carbon footprint, couples have begun choosing smaller venues with fewer than 25 guests. Paring down your guest list to just the essentials and choosing a backyard venue with plenty of space may be the perfect solution for preserving your wedding. You can add a larger virtual reception to include your original guest list.

Virtual Celebrations in the COVID-era

You are undoubtedly familiar with the virtual options for gatherings through Zoom and other platforms which have become the norm during the COVID-era. A few creative touches can make your virtual wedding extra memorable.

In addition to the ceremonial elements you want to include, you can involve your guests in the ambiance of the celebration by sending them a pre-wedding guest package. This could include items such as your wedding favors, non-perishable hors d’oeuvres, Jordan almonds, place cards, table decorations, themed napkins or tablecloths, and of course, champagne. Include items that are specific to your original theme and personalities.

Some couples also include optional participation items, such as writing prompts or questions for the guests to answer about their connection to you. You might ask them to share their contributions during the ceremony and then send them to you for your memory book. Virtual weddings involve less physical celebration, so you can be creative with guest participation games and exercises that focus on you — the happy couple.

Stoop Weddings

This COVID-era idea involves supportive neighbors and a ceremony out on your stoop or in your front yard. You can ask your close-in neighbors to lend their front porches and yards to small groups of your friends and family for an evening. Your wedding march may be up the steps instead of down the aisle, and a catered meal can be served to tables spread out on the sidewalks. You may want to use a microphone and speaker to amplify your voices and for the music. Tie it all together with mini-lights and themed yard décor, and enjoy that first dance. You won’t even have to leave the house for this in-person, socially distanced idea.

The Great Outdoors

If you are nature lovers, that outdoor wedding you once considered may be a solution. Outdoor celebrations can be beautiful and memorable. You will want an adequate plan for rain or wind. Multiple pop-up tents will help with distancing. You can begin by researching outdoor wedding venues in your area. From Vancouver Island to Halifax, the Canadian outdoors may be the perfect backdrop for your wedding redesign.

If you’ve concluded that the show must go on even during the COVID-era and you are forging ahead with your wedding, that’s half the battle. Maybe the date is particularly relevant, or a beloved family member is only in the country temporarily. Whatever your reason, redesigning your wedding day can become a fun puzzle for you and your beloved. You never know — your wedding remix may be even more fun and memorable than the original plan.

Are We Living in a Simulation?
As 2020 comes to a close, and COVID-19 still wreaks havoc, some people might be questioning whether we are living in an advanced simulation.

As 2020 comes to a close, and COVID-19 still wreaks havoc, some people might be questioning whether we are living in an advanced simulation.

Living in 2020 has been an adventure. Some problems like climate change, wealth inequality, and systemic racism have traceable human causes. But others, like COVID-19, seem to come completely from left field. If you’re wondering if we’re living in a computer simulation, you’re not the only one. Scientists and philosophers have tackled this issue for centuries, trying to figure out whether our reality is truly “real.”

Questioning Reality for Centuries

“Humanity has always seemed to have a healthy distrust for the nature of reality,” says tech writer and designer Donovan Alexander. Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher who lived in the fourth century B.C.E., described a vivid dream of being a butterfly. When he awoke, he wasn’t sure if he was a human dreaming of being a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming about being human. Vedic philosophy talks about Maya, or the physical world as a super-immersive illusion. Then there’s French philosopher René Descartes, who said, “It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false.”

The Basics of Simulation Theory

If you’ve ever seen any of “The Matrix” films, you’ve witnessed simulation theory. These works by the Wachowski sisters have contributed to the long tradition of questioning reality. Games like “The Sims 4” would have seemed like far-off dreams in 1990, but we play them now to pass the time or escape our pandemic reality. Simulation theory posits that we’re living in a super-advanced version of something like The Sims’ world. Proponents point to several probable pieces of evidence: subatomic particles behaving strangely, quarks that contain computer code, strange events such as the 2017 Oscars envelope mix-up, and the like.

But if we are indeed in a simulation, who’s running it? Vox writer Sean Illing mentions Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who proposed that advanced civilizations could create extraordinary simulated realities. In his 2019 book “The Simulation Hypothesis,” computer scientist Rizwan Virk speculated that we may be living in a simulation now and we’re remarkably close to creating simulated realities ourselves. Maybe the creators are humans living in a far-off future, recreating their past. Perhaps the programmers are extraterrestrials, incredibly advanced artificial intelligences, or a capricious omnipotent being like Star Trek’s Q.

The Skeptics Weigh In

We can’t prove we’re in a computer simulation, so it’s natural to find some skeptics. These aren’t garden-variety naysayers, however. Built In mentions Harvard University physicist Lisa Randall as a prominent opponent. The theory focuses mostly on humanity, which Randall finds suspect given the preoccupation with our species. Why would anyone running a high-level simulation bother with simulating humans, she asks, when there’s so much more interesting stuff in the cosmos?

There’s also the problem of data storage. Physicists Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi experimented with simulating quantum particles and discovered that it’s currently impossible to simulate an entire quantum computer. Doing so “would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.”

Bigger Questions and Ethics

In the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “Far Beyond the Stars,” Captain Benjamin Sisko has a vivid vision of himself as Benny Russell, a writer in racially segregated 1950s America penning stories about Deep Space Nine. At the end of the episode, Sisko quips, “For all we know, at this very moment, somewhere far beyond all those distant stars, Benny Russell is dreaming of us.”

Even in simulated realities, our actions have consequences. As a Black person, the pain Sisko as Russell suffered from discrimination and police brutality was very real. Yet Russell fought for what he believed in: his vision of a future that included multiple cultures and genders. Just as those around him couldn’t imagine a Black starship captain, perhaps we can’t yet imagine what lies beyond our limitations.

Simchat Torah: Scripture as a Living Entity
Every fall, Jewish congregations across the world hold joyful celebrations for one of their religion’s most important books, the Simchat Torah.

Every fall, Jewish congregations across the world hold joyful celebrations for one of their religion’s most important books, the Simchat Torah.

Scripture and sacred writings are revered in several religions. Expressions of such reverence can take many forms, including rules on the handling, storage, and reading of sacred texts. Every fall, Jewish congregations across the world hold joyful celebrations for one of their religion’s most important books. Simchat Torah conveys the centrality of the Torah to Jewish culture and faith.

When Is Simchat Torah?

Simchat Torah is a Hebrew phrase that means “rejoicing in Torah,” and it accurately conveys the holiday’s central themes. It’s celebrated on the 22nd or 23rd of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar that usually falls between September and October. This holiday takes place two days after the end of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles that commemorates the ancient Israelites’ wanderings in the Sinai Desert. In Canada, Simchat Torah starts on the evening of October 10 in 2020 and at sunset on September 28 in 2021.

In some parts of the world, Simchat Torah immediately follows another important holiday known as Shemini Atzeret. Translated as “eighth day of assembly,” My Jewish Learning explains that Shemini Atzeret was devoted to the ritual cleansing of the Temple’s altar during the Second Temple Period between 516 B.C.E. and 70 C.E. In Israel and some Jewish communities abroad, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined into one holiday.

Why Is This Holiday Important?

Simchat Torah concludes one annual cycle of Torah readings and signals the start of the next. On this day, the last portion of Deuteronomy and the first passage of Genesis are both read in synagogues. This choice of readings is significant: Deuteronomy’s final passage describes the death of Moses, and the first reading of Genesis contains the creation story. Since both readings take place on the same day, the Torah reading cycle remains unbroken from year to year.

With many Jewish holidays like Hanukkah and Passover, celebrations are centered in the home. Simchat Torah is different because its celebrations primarily take place in synagogues. Chabad describes the hakafot, a procession during which congregants march and dance with the Torah scrolls around the synagogue’s reading table. The hakafot takes place on both the Maariv evening service that starts the holiday and at another service the following day. Many congregations invite all ages and genders to participate, with some carrying their synagogues’ physical Torah scrolls and children carrying flags and smaller Torah scrolls.

The Torah as Teacher and Honored Guest

Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs of My Jewish Learning mentions that carrying a Torah scroll is considered a great honor. You’re probably not surprised to learn this, but the Torah’s importance goes beyond mere reverence for a holy book. Moment’s Marilyn Cooper mentions that it comes from a verb that means “to shoot,” “to hit a mark,” or “to direct.” Chabad also discusses the concept of The Oral Torah, describing it as insight and wisdom that is essentially “a living, growing organism that cannot be captured by the net of dry ink on a page.”

Not only that, Torah scrolls are treated like royalty. The Sefer Torah are dressed in elaborate cloth mantles or ornate silver cases and adorned with silver crowns. When a Sefer Torah is worn out, it is given a respectful burial.

The Torah Is Alive and Well

The Jerusalem Post’s Stewart Weiss recounts what the rabbi of his congregation once told him about the living Torah. “Our Torah is neither a dead document nor a sterile story,” he said. “The Torah actually has feelings, it has emotions, no less than does a human being…on this one special day, the Torah is boundlessly happy!” Thanks to the minds in which its words have lived, the human hands that have carefully copied every single letter, and the people who listen to its messages today, the Torah does indeed live on.

Running Out of Date Night Ideas? Here Are Some Romantic Options To Try
Planning a regular date night with your significant other is an important part of keeping the romance alive in your relationship.

Planning a regular date night with your significant other is an important part of keeping the romance alive in your relationship.

It is no great mystery that spending quality time with your significant other is key to the longevity of your relationship. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to figure out what to do during these sessions. While you likely spend a lot of time in the same physical space, this doesn’t mean you’re engaged in a useful way. Most couples find that having a specific time every now and again reserved for a date night is a great way to be dedicated to bonding and allow the rest of the world to fade away.

Whether you decide to partake in a unique activity or one that has been tested by time, there are many different options at your disposal. Here are a few easy angles to consider to help you find a fun fit.

No Effort Date Night

Life can be hectic. While 2020 might have taken things to a whole new level of unexpected, life before was not free from stress and anxiety. With so much to handle between shouldering the weight of the world and dealing with interpersonal and work dramas, you might not have a lot of energy to dedicate to your partner. Since canceling a date night is never a great idea, it is best to work with the mood you’re in. You don’t have to go anywhere to make your date night one that is totally worthwhile.

The easiest ways to enjoy time at home together in an active way include watching a movie you’re both interested in, cooking a meal together, or dedicating a bit of time to a project around the house. These little tasks completed together can be rewarding because of how simple they are. Plus you don’t have to spend much money to enjoy each other’s company in your own home.

An Unexpected Surprise

While a routine date night might offer comfort and predictability, romance also requires an element of surprise. Instead of simply waiting for a certain day each month to arrive, take action and figure out how you can make your significant other smile. If he or she works long hours, pop over to the workplace with a meal and encourage a quick lunch break together. This disruption of the normal routine can be a nice way to jolt a bit of excitement into life. Try to cater the surprise to the personality of your partner.

There are many ways to successfully surprise someone you love. If you catch wind of your spouse’s favorite band playing a show in your town in the near future, order tickets and arrange the plans to create a surprise night of magic. With COVID-19 regulations preventing public gatherings, you might need to get creative with ideas like this. You can still get out and have some unexpected fun without breaking the guidelines of distancing.

Nurture Nature

The couple who loves the outdoors will always benefit from finding activities to take part in outside. Recent months have seen most major campgrounds close due to guidelines related to the novel coronavirus. Instead of accepting defeat, arrange it so that you can have a glamorous camping date night right in your own back yard. If you don’t have a yard to camp in, make a blanket fort in your home. Play ambient sounds of nature, make snacks you’d normally cook over a fire, and have a bit of imaginative fun.

As long as you don’t mind thinking outside the box, there are plenty of ways to keep romance alive. The key is shaking things up while keeping some sort of routine in place for the times when you don’t have the energy for excitement. The more you actively work on this part of your relationship, the easier it will be to delve into new ideas and enjoy the time you spend together.

2020 Wedding Trends To Inspire Your Big Day
Many couples are still planning to tie the knot this year despite COVID-19, so take a look at these 2020 wedding trends to inspire your big day.

Many couples are still planning to tie the knot this year despite COVID-19, so take a look at these 2020 wedding trends to inspire your big day.

According to national statistics, more than 150,000 weddings take place each year in Canada. While this might seem like a lot, nations like the United States see close to 2.4 million in the same time period, though obviously COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in many couples’ plans. With so many couples normally tying the knot on an annual basis, it comes as no surprise that wedding trends come and go quickly. If you want to stay on top of the latest fads sweeping the world of nuptials, note that there are some interesting options on the horizon. Consider these 2020 wedding trends to inspire your own big day.

Ring Flings

Experts in the jewelry industry have noted a number of significant shifts in how couples have been purchasing wedding rings over the last few years. While it was once commonplace for one person in the relationship to select the engagement ring, for example, it is now typical for the couple to make this selection together. This is largely due to the decline in popularity of the “surprise proposal.” Couples more often want to feel prepared to tackle marriage and will come to the decision together.

When choosing your wedding band, note that a popular option at the moment is to opt for yellow gold instead of platinum. Many people are also turning away from generic rings in the search for unique pieces that have interesting histories. This has led to many jewelers offering customized options instead of the standard cuts and settings.

Sustainability Requirements

The world has been through some rough predicaments in recent years, including the current pandemic. From catastrophic fires in Southern California and Australia to massive garbage islands floating in the oceans, more people than ever are concerned with how their choices impact the global environment. Weddings are no exception to these concerns, and among the wedding trends popular now is the idea of the eco-friendly event. There are a number of ways people are going about this, including using recycled paper for invitations, going plastic-free for the reception, or working with caterers to eliminate food waste.

Flower Power

Wedding trends this year also include what floral arrangements couples are investing in. So far, florists have stated that 2020 is unique because it is all about local options. Instead of preferring a specific type of blossom, couples are more likely to work with gardens and flower shops in their communities to discover what’s in season. Outdoor weddings have also become very fashionable, especially to maximize social distance and reduce the risk of COVID-19, with a number of couples deciding against flowers altogether to allow the natural scenery to shine through. If you’re on a tight budget, these floral trends can be a great way to save money on your event.

A Piece of Cake

Cake preferences also tend to change from one year to the next. In 2020, a number of wedding planners are reporting that couples are switching away from the idea of having a single cake as the crowning dessert piece. Instead, it is more common for a wedding to feature a number of smaller confections. Not only does this add some nice variety to the event, it also provides couples with the chance to offer dessert options to individuals with dietary restrictions or severe allergies. Last but not least, it minimizes the likelihood of food contamination during the age of COVID-19.

Social Media Influence

The growing popularity of social media has also had an impact on wedding trends in 2020. Plenty of couples fall under the spell of influencers and the illusion of perfection created through Instagram. Using sites like Pinterest can also be a useful way to feel inspired and discover some clever DIY ideas. Whether you use it sparingly or go all out to copy a particular style, social media can definitely prove invaluable while planning.

Staying abreast of the latest trends can be useful when planning a wedding. Understanding the biggest fads helps you understand what you like and what you don’t want involved in your big day.

Easy Ways To Save for Your Big Day
One of the best ways to spend your time during quarantine is to think about ways to save for your wedding, especially if it was postponed.

One of the best ways to spend your time during quarantine is to think about ways to save for your wedding, especially if it was postponed.

The last few months have forced many people to postpone or cancel their wedding plans. While this might be upsetting, it is also an opportunity to take a step back and rethink some ideas. Whether you had your plans pushed off due to the current global pandemic or you were just starting to talk about ideas with your partner before the quarantine began, extra time to plan is really a blessing in disguise for some. One of the best ways to spend your time is pondering how to save money.

A wedding is an expensive event. If you want to come out of the pandemic with a clear plan and a pocket full of cash, take a look at these easy ways you can save money for the future.

Evaluate Your Current Expenses and Budget

If you want to save money on the wedding you need to have a plan. You can’t formulate a plan if you don’t have information. When it comes to money, all the information you need can be found in your life and daily habits. What is your income? What is your partner’s income? How much do you spend a month on expenses, and how much can you realistically afford to set aside without tapping into crucial funds? Knowing the money you are starting with and what you’re likely to see from your job can help you forecast.

A wedding budget is also a vital component. You need to set a limit on your spending and stick with it. This will help you control what funds you are applying to which services and evaluate whether or not you are spending too much or too little on anything in particular. The budget will depend entirely on the preferences you share. If you don’t care about the venue but love food, then put the bulk of your funds behind the catering service. Work on this part of the plan in advance, and you’ll see better results with the rest.

Take Down Your Debt

Extra time is a blessing for many reasons. Maybe your credit score is not exactly where you would like it to be. Improving your rating takes time, and time may be all you have right now. If you have existing debt preventing you from getting your financial status into a better position, try to pay down some of this right now. Make higher payments to pay off the premium over the interest, and see if you can work with lenders to get better rates based on good habits you have established over the years.

The reason this is helpful is you might want to consider opening up or using an existing credit card for wedding expenses. If you have a specific card that you use to cover a good chunk of the payments, then you will have a really easy way to both track your budget and know exactly how much you have spent and on what. While this is a great step to take for some, it might not be right for you. Putting money toward your debt when you need it for other expenses is also a fine and sensible decision.

Look for Local Deals

Going local with your vendors is a smart move because it helps you engage with your community in a meaningful and productive way. What’s more, you might be able to save money by doing this. Ask one of your vendors for recommendations, and this might lead to you finding an array of other excellent vendors that offer great rates, all because you asked a person with connections who likes to connect others.

It can be difficult to find ways to save for a wedding, but it can be a little bit easier when you have a quarantine keeping you from going out and spending. Think about your strategy and develop a plan that works for your future nuptials.

A Few Fun International Wedding Customs To Make You Smile
Even if you are not planning a wedding, it can be interesting and joyful to learn about the wedding customs of other cultures around the world.

Even if you are not planning a wedding, it can be interesting and joyful to learn about the wedding customs of other cultures around the world.

Wedding ceremonies can definitely look bizarre from the outside. From tossing a bouquet of flowers into the air to smashing a glass under a shoe, there are all sorts of interesting rituals involved that can make someone not familiar with the local traditions feel a bit puzzled. The one thing all wedding customs share is that they all have some type of meaning to the cultures of the people getting married. Learning about your own traditions can be interesting, but there is something even more rewarding in dedicating time to learning about unfamiliar customs from other parts of the world.

If you have an interest in wedding customs, now is a great time to expand your horizons. Explore these international traditions and learn something that will make you smile.

Customs On the Skin

Across the Middle East and parts of Asia, henna has been used as a dye in all sorts of customs and traditions. For brides throughout this region, henna plays a crucial part in various activities related to the wedding. It is common for young women to host “henna parties” before a wedding, which is similar to the traditional American bachelorette party in some respects. The women gather together to celebrate the bride with a party that involves food, dancing, and drinks. They will also draw temporary henna tattoos on the bride and other guests.

The beautiful and intricate designs drawn on the skin are worn with pride as a representation of the love shared between the friends and family. Some brides will wear these exact same henna designs on her wedding day; others will hire photographers to take pictures at the henna party to commemorate the event. Though common in the Middle East, these customs have spread outward and can be found in communities across the world.

Bring in the Happy Couple

All cultures have some variation of introducing the married couple after the official ceremony has ended and the reception and celebration are about to begin. In America, for example, the bridal party will often be announced by an emcee before the reveal of the new Mr. and Mrs. Another interesting custom comes out of Lebanon, where a dance called the zaffe is conducted. This dance is also done in anticipation of the couple’s entrance, often by a group of professional dancers instead of wedding-party members.

There are variations on the zaffe all around the Middle East and surrounding areas. In Saudi Arabia, where men and women celebrate the event in separate halls, the dance might be conducted twice by two separate troupes of dancers. However, this is often the only time of the night when the bride and groom are seen together by the guests. Instead, the bride spends much of her time with her female guests, who are allowed to wear more extravagant garb than normal due to the segregation of the wedding and lack of need for religious coverings.

A Quick Dip in Some Skim

Weddings can be stressful. In Morocco, some customs help brides-to-be take rest and self-care routines to another level. The Moroccan milk bath is an old tradition and one that may date back to the days of Cleopatra. On a symbolic level, the bath is meant to purify the woman and her body. On a scientific level, the fat of the milk softens the skin and helps to relieve tension. Flowers and other fragrant items are added to the bath to create an aromatic experience that allows for a bit of true serenity.

Wedding customs around the world might vary wildly, but all center around celebrations of love. Whether you’re planning for your own nuptials or simply curious to learn more about the weird and wonderful habits of the human race, there are plenty of interesting tidbits to discover.

Evaluating the Safety Risks of Outdoor Activities During COVID-19
With COVID-19 still devastating many communities, but summer time upon us, many people are wondering how and when to engage in outdoor activities.

With COVID-19 still devastating many communities, but summer time upon us, many people are wondering how and when to engage in outdoor activities.

Conflicting news reports and uninformed political leaders have led to widespread confusion when it comes to safety and preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though much is still unknown about the novel coronavirus, organizations like WHO and the CDC have been trying to offer as much information as possible on how people should be responding to this crisis. Unfortunately, the longer some people have been stuck indoors, the stronger the urge becomes to get out and interact with the world again. To avoid a resurgence in numbers, it is vital that people everywhere avoid rushing into anything uncertain, and take extra precautions when engaging in outdoor activities.

If you’re losing your mind indoors with your partner or family, you might be curious about what is actually safe. Consider these points and make a decision that will help to keep your family protected without accidentally adding to the rising number of cases.

When To Stay on Your Property

How you should be responding to the pandemic comes back to where you live. Those living in rural areas where residences and businesses are spread out might not need to be as cautious as those who reside in bustling cities or even packed suburbs. This should inform how far you go with your family and how you engage in outdoor activities. Going to a park in your neighborhood once your state allows it might be legal, but a crowded park is a crowded park.

As tempting as it might be to go to a local park or public spot, it is definitely much wiser to refrain from these activities until you start seeing hard data that case numbers are in control. Stay on your property when you need fresh air and sunshine. If you live in a city, take a walk around your block while wearing a mask and whatever other gear is required. It might be difficult, but taking these steps now helps to increase the odds of everyone being able to enjoy outdoor activities sooner rather than later.

When To Venture Out

In America, states are rolling out plans for reopening at wildly different paces. With many politicians and economic stakeholders concerned about losing capital, public health is being sacrificed in the rush to open businesses again. This hastiness is causing even more confusion about whether or not it is actually safe to go out and about. According to all major health organizations, the pandemic is in no way contained and reopening can easily lead to more complicated problems at a faster pace. If you’re concerned about your state’s decision to open, try to refrain from going out even though you’re allowed.

The politicization of the novel coronavirus has caused a serious disruption of fact-based information from informing the decisions of average citizens. To weed through the noise and know when it is safe for you to go out for more than essentials, you need to get your information from health organizations and sources that are not affiliated with major media. Though the news is trustworthy to a degree, media conglomerates will often publish material with a political slant for more internet views. Avoid sensationalist clickbait to cut to the heart of the situation and develop an informed perspective.

Why You Need To Stay Informed

Though being obsessed with news surrounding the pandemic can be quite unhealthy, you also need to keep yourself informed on developments. Until you know it is safe to resume your usual outdoor activities, limit your excursions. Places like gyms might be sorely missed by patrons, but you can easily exercise at home until the coast is clear.

Information surrounding the novel coronavirus might change on an hourly basis, but making any decisions without consulting current data can be irresponsible. While you might be eager to lazily hang in the park with friends, showing a bit of reservation will definitely yield better results for all.

Taking Extra Care of Your Family Pets During Quarantine
Read through these suggestions for making the most of the COVID-19 lockdown with your pets and making sure they get the love they deserve.

Read through these suggestions for making the most of the COVID-19 lockdown with your pets and making sure they get the love they deserve.

The COVID-19 pandemic might be taxing on human beings, but it is a unique situation for the furry members of the family as well. Cats and dogs are experiencing an unprecedented period of time during which owners are home all hours, which can bring about a mixture of excitement and confusion. Though you’re likely showing a bit of extra love and affection to your pets lately, there are specific ways you can encourage a calm, relaxed attitude when things are tense. Consider these tips and learn how you can best take care of your pets during lockdown.

Pets with a Ton of Energy

Is your dog running around the house more than usual? Have you noticed that the pup is more demanding of your attention throughout the day? Most of the time, dogs are conditioned to be chill during the day when owners are at work or taking care of errands. This is evident in the bursts of energy that a dog has when the family returns to the house. Of course, this is no longer the case for most households. With the family constantly present, a dog might not know how to react and need to suddenly work through these emotions.

While the simple solution to an overactive pup is a walk, you’re definitely not going to be able to keep up with the demands your dog is placing on you during this time. Instead, try to dedicate small chunks of time to play whenever possible. Helping your dog work through its excitement in a healthy, controlled way can limit the odds of the habit persisting throughout the entire lockdown.

A Cat With a Message

Cats are fickle creatures with seriously vindictive personality traits. If you offend a cat in a specific way, you can expect feline retribution. What’s worse, you might not realize what you did wrong. Since most cats are solitary ambush predators that don’t enjoy being in a crowd all day, your constant presence in the house might be seen as an affront. This can manifest in many ways, including a kitty who decides to forego the litter box in order to send you a specific message. Missing the litter box on purpose is a sign your cat is literally pissed.

Since you can’t talk this problem out with your cat and you can’t leave the house the way you usually would, you need to get creative with your approach. In most cases, the cat will decide to pee on items of personal significance to you. This can be shoes, a piece of clothing, or even furniture. To curb the habit, invest in a spray meant to deter cats from this action. When your cat gets a whiff of the spray, it will likely stop showing its frustration in this way.

The Loneliness Is Real

People need other people. Science shows that physical contact and emotional connection play an integral part in a person’s overall health. What most people don’t realize is that the same can be true for pets. Dogs in particular become accustomed to receiving attention from other humans during walks and outings. When this comes to a halt due to social distancing measures, the dog might feel or act depressed from this lack of contact. Showing your pup some extra love during moments when he or she seems bummed can help to distract from whatever lethargic feelings have come about.

While cats and dogs might be loving the added hours with the family, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. When you notice a peculiar habit developing with your pet, address the issue and come up with a sensible solution. Showing this level of love and attention to your furry pals can be a good way to make this difficult time easier on even the smallest members of your group.

Smart Tips for Your Wedding-Day Suit
If you plan to wear the always fashionable suit at your wedding, read on to learn more about the various options to gain a better understanding.

If you plan to wear the always fashionable suit at your wedding, read on to learn more about the various options to gain a better understanding.

Suits are a classic wedding attire choice. With the right cut and tailoring, they can be expertly fashioned to flatter a wide range of body types. If you plan to get married in a suit but aren’t familiar with their design details, take heart. Understanding the anatomy of this timeless ensemble can assist you in making the best apparel choice for your big day.

Suiting 101: A Basic Breakdown

Esquire writer Hans Aschim diagrams a suit’s components in a May 2018 piece. As a key detail, jacket lapels define the suit’s overall look. Most fall into one of three categories:

  • Notch, the classic tightly angled lapel
  • Peak, cut out and point up to the shoulders
  • Shawl, a smooth lapel with no notches

Vents are constructed in the back of a jacket and permit the wearer freedom of movement. A single vent in the center is the most common. Meanwhile, double-vent styles place one on each side seam and can be more comfortable for some individuals.

A suit’s drop refers to the difference between the jacket’s chest measurement and the trousers’ waist size. The average drop is usually 6 inches, but that number can be higher for folks with wider shoulders and narrower waists. Conversely, it can be lower in portly individuals with larger waistlines.

Finally, the “break” refers to the amount of trouser fabric hem gathering at the shoe. He Spoke Style describes the various trouser breaks typically available and the looks they create. No break or a slight break style are modern and fashion-forward, while medium and full breaks tend to be more conservative.

Looking Great Begins With Correct Suit Fit

Tailors can expertly alter a garment to your dimensions, but there are key areas in which proper fit is essential in the first place. As Art of Manliness points out, jacket shoulders are notoriously difficult to alter. It’s also hard to modify a trouser seat that’s too loose, fix sleeves attached at an incorrect angle, or make extreme adjustments to a jacket’s closure or bottom hem.

GQ’s editors discuss an ideal fit in an October 2015 article. Many wearers overestimate their jacket sizes, so you should select yours as true to your body size as possible. Your jacket’s shoulder seams should end right at your shoulder blades. Make sure that the jacket’s lapels lie flat on your chest when it’s buttoned. Ideally, the jacket should also fit snuggly around your torso. Your trousers must sit at your natural waist, with legs that aren’t baggy or excessively wide and hems ending around the tops of your shoes.

Pay Attention to Vital Details

Structure and fit are important when you’re shopping for suits. To guide you in fine-tuning your look, Martha Stewart Weddings provides some useful tips. First, you should choose items that align with your typical style. Super-trendy selections aren’t usually a good idea unless they’re already part of your everyday fashion. Next, keep in mind that neutral shades such as gray, tan, navy, or black easily complement or match other colors. Choose your fabrics according to the season, saving wool and cashmere for cooler weather and lighter options such as linen and seersucker for summer. If you find the world of alterations a little confusing, the editors recommend carrying a “cheat sheet” to help you communicate with your tailor. Jackets should nip at the waist but avoid pulling on its buttons. Ask for shirt sleeve hems that extend ¼ inch below your jacket sleeve when your arms are at your sides. Ideally, trouser hems should graze your shoelaces.

Suits are a perennial sartorial staple, with a wide range of customization options for nearly any wearer. With carefully chosen details such as cut, fit, fabric, and color, this expertly tailored garment is an important foundation of your wedding-day look.