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September Gin Sin

September Gin SinSummer is hanging on for it’s dear life. The days are still hot, but the nights are finally starting to cool down, and the days are slowly getting shorter. Summer isn’t over yet, but fall is drawing near. Soon, the leaves will start changing and long-sleeved shirts, jeans, pullovers and jackets will be making their way out of the closet. So before the green leaves start to turn to vivid colours of yellow, orange and red, and before the crisp autumn air arrives, enjoy a September Gin Sin. This cocktail has the refreshing taste of summer from the botanicals in the gin and the fresh mint, but the burnt honey sauce adds a warm, cozy character, like a roaring fire on a cool fall evening. The September Gin Sin is a perfect combination of hints from both summer and autumn.

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Burnt Honey Sauce
  • Club Soda

Fill a martini shaker full of ice. Add gin, lime juice and honey. Gently shake for 30 seconds. Pour into a rock glass. Top with club soda and garish with a lime.

To make the burnt honey sauce, combine two parts sugar, one part honey, and one part water into a sauce pan. Cook over high heat until the sugar has melted. Add in a dash of cinnamon. Continue to boil until the sauce becomes a rich caramel colour. Remove from the heat and add another part of water and stir. Let stand to cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Easy Overnight Oats

Oats

Fall weather might not be here yet but the fall schedule is about to hit. Time to start thinking about how to make the morning routine easier. If you’re the kind of person who hits the snooze button until humanly possible before being late this breakfast tip will be perfect. It’s also handy for the organized make-food-the-day-before individual. This is a sure-fire way to have a quick, fast, and very healthy breakfast on the run. It tastes great too!

Oats are a great way to start the day. They fill you up for a long time, are jam packed with dietary fiber and protein, and can be dressed up in oh so many ways. This is just one simple recipe – play around with adding different fruits, nuts, spices, and seeds.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled or steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk or plain yogurt
  • 5-6 dried pitted dates, diced
  • 1 banana, diced
  • 1 nectarine, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup mix of pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds
  • cinnamon to taste

Best prepared in a glass jar or a container with a sturdy lid. Okay, here’s the easy part. Throw everything in the jar, stir it up, and put it in the fridge before you go to bed. You’re done! Grab it on your way out the door and enjoy it on your morning commute.


Porn director, Mr Pam, optimistic about the use of PrEP in the gay porn industry

Mr Pam and Max Cameron posing with handfuls of Truvada pills

Director of film at NakedSword.com, Mr Pam, along with adult entertainment model, Max Cameron, both support the use of Truvada in the gay porn industry as a method for models to reduce their risk of HIV.

“Gay men have different types of gay sex,” says Mr Pam, director of film at NakedSword.com. “Some feel safer with condoms. There are safer sex options, and although I don’t agree with some types of porn that people produce, that their choice. I produce what I think is hot.”

Today, Mr Pam only films gay condom porn and she feels great about it, especially because she worked in the industry through the difficult and challenging peak of the HIV crisis. It’s her personal policy, but she admits that it could change over time.

“There are alternatives being tested, which is exciting,” Mr Pam said, referring to PrEP. “Right now I don’t know if I feel comfortable with shooting porn without condoms. I’m curious to see where things are going. If things change, and peoples HIV status is the same, then my position my change.”

In California, they are currently in the process of changing the laws, for more condoms, and the porn industry is going in the direction of no condoms. It’s a situation that is forcing directors and studios to really think hard about their business.

“When I first heard about it, I was really skeptical about it,” said Mr Pam, referring to Truvada, a once-a-day anti-retroviral drug that can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 99%. “You take a pill and you won’t get AIDS. Really?”

PrEP has been a heated topic of conversation and continues to increase in momentum as gay men across the world learn about and discuss the possibilities of how this drug could impact their lives and the gay community.

While PrEP is controversial at the best of times within the gay community, it’s taking the gay porn industry by storm too.

“I spoke with models, friends, sluts, etc., and I moderated a discussion panel about it and I was afraid,” said Mr Pam, explaining how she’s been trying to understand how others in the industry feel about pre-exposure anti-retroviral drug therapy amongst HIV negative models. “I actually feel like it’s great. It seems like it’s working. I have two friends that are my test studies. So far both are still negative. Knowing first hand people who are taking it and so far, it’s working is great! This is very exciting.”

Mr Pam has even spoken with her peers in the adult entertainment and they are in support. She explained how she had a recent conversation with Michael Lucas, who is very well known for is raw and uncensored gay porn, and how he thought it was the best thing that has ever happened.

“It’s similar to birth control from the 1960’s, and that it wouldn’t work, or Weinstein saying that it’s a party drug,” said Mr Pam, describing her feelings towards the negativity of PrEP. “I think it is awesome and it could be the future of HIV prevention. It’s new. It’s a revolution. It’s super exciting.”

Unfortunately, awareness of PrEP isn’t reaching the gay community fast enough and uptake has been slow. This is primarily because the drug manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, isn’t in a position today to promote Truvada as PrEP.

“I had a couple of my closest friends contract HIV three months before we heard about this,” explained Mr Pam. “Now people know about it. It’s something people should look into.”

Mr Pam remains optimistic about the future of PrEP in the gay community and especially for the gay porn industry.


2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

It is very safe to say that over the past few years, the Honda Accord has been transforming from a standard family car, into an affordable sporty luxury automobile. Honda continues to refine the Accord to give it new life, refining exterior details, packing in modern technology, improving safety, and making it feel like a higher class vehicle, but has maintained a reasonable purchase price.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

At first glance, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan could easily stand along side many other vehicles above its class and not stand out. The gentle rolling lines of the exterior portray a feeling of power, speed and graceful style. Details like sport-style rims, the rear spoiler, two-toned grill, and metal trim all add to the excitement.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

When it comes to bells, whistles and all the fun toys we are coming to know and appreciate in today’s technology era, the Honda Accord stacks up against the competition. Details like a mini camera mounted on the right side mirror displays on the centre console when the right signal indicator is turned on.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

The centre command console is divided into three areas, with a top full colour display screen, a middle digital display, and a lower manual button display. The console is a bit behind because it is not a single touch-screen interface, like many other vehicles in its class; however, the controls are easy to operate, are fast acting, and the primary digital display does offer some commands by touch. Connectivity is fast and relatively simple. Setting up a new Bluetooth device takes just a few moments. Once connected, telephone, text and music functions can be controlled from the steering wheel or the main centre console.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

The audio was a let down. While there are seven speakers, including a subwoofer, at low and mid-levels, the audio was crystal clear, but as soon as a track with heavy beat started to lay down, regardless of the subwoofer setting, the trunk and rear seats rattled uncontrollably. In addition, the manufacturer is still making CD a standard option in the 2014 model. They need to retire old technology. People haven’t used those round shiny coasters for years.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

Driving the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is extremely enjoyable. The steering wheel helps navigates corners with just the softest touch of the wheel, even when negotiating tight corners. The low centre allows the car to be fast, agile and handle well at high speeds and on quick turns. The interior is full leather, with front heated seats, a fantastic electric sunroof, a steering wheel that adjusts both up and down, but also in-and-out, and has a steering wheel that can control almost every part of the environment without hardly moving your hands or having to take your eyes off the road.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

Fuel efficiency is clearly a key selling feature on this car. Because it’s a hybrid, you automatically tack on huge fuel savings. In addition, it has a fuel-efficient engine under the hood. And for the ultra frugal, Honda has even thrown in the Econo button, which can help reduce and control excess fuel consumption during periods of high acceleration. Fuel efficiency is even reflected in the drivers instrument panel, during to green when the vehicle is operating efficiently, and turning blue when fuel is considered to be used excessively.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan

Don’t let fuel economy get confused with lack of performance. Let’s be honest, a push of the accelerator and the Honda Accord Hybrid acts just like a standard gas-burning engine does. You can feel the torque on quick accelerations, whether from a complete stop or from a cruising to passing speed.

The new transmission is pretty slick. The continuously variable transmission (CVT), is electric at low speeds, but kicks over to a hybrid six-speed transmission at higher speeds and during hard acceleration. The design is so smooth, being computer controlled, that the expected jerk of the transition from one transmission to the other is almost seamless.

Overall, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan is fun and easy to drive car, that has a great sense of style, sport, and class, and most importantly, retains maximum power while maintaining amazing fuel economy; and that’s the kind of car many of us all want, and an affordable price.


Sheer elegance at Diner en Blanc, Vancouver

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

Vancouver is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world, especially on a summer evening. On Thursday, August 21, a cascade of 3,200 people all dressed in glamorous white outfits descended on Yaletown’s David Lam Park for the third annual Diner en Blanc.

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

The pop-up dinner party spurs from the original Diner en Blanc event, which has been held for the last 25 years in Paris, France. Many cities around the world now host the famous white dinner party, including London, New York, Toronto and LA. Each must comply with certain rules to be sanctioned as an official event.

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

Guests for the Vancouver event paid $35 per person for tickets to the exclusive dinner club party. Guests are required to dress all in white and were told to be downtown by 6:00pm, and at that time they would be notified of the exact location. As expected, an ocean of people dressed in the most fabulous outfits began to cascade upon the park.

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

They came carting tables, chairs, picnic baskets, flowers, wine and other accessories for the garden party. It’s all part of the experience. For those that did not have all the supplies on hand, or wanted to make the event easier, they could pre-purchase a table and chairs, which they had to take home with them. For those that didn’t feel like preparing their own meal, Hawksworth, a local Vancouver restaurant, was the official vendor of pre-purchased dinners on a pre-fixed menu.

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

Throughout the evening there were entertainers and musicians throughout the park. There was also the traditional waiving of the napkins at the golden hour, and then the lighting of sparklers upon sunset. The entire evening was a magical spectacle.

Diner en Blanc Vancouver2014

The wait-list this year was over 35,000 people, almost three times greater than the previous year. Vancouverites may want to seek out wait-lists for alternate Diner en Blanc locations, including Whistler and Seattle.


Dedicate your run

Dedicating Your Run

Photo credit: Running Room

Some days it can be pretty challenging to get up the motivation to run. Regardless if it’s a training run or race day, finding a reason to putting your best foot forward, challenging yourself, and finding your inner strength is really important, but so is dedicating your run.

Dedicating your runs means that you are running with purpose. You are doing it for a reason.

On longer runs, especially in races, you’re often running on your own and motivation can be difficult to find, especially when you are alone. By dedicating your run to a friend, family member, loved on, or even someone you admire who you’ve never met before, you get additional emotional fuel to power your run.

Some marathon runners dedicate portions of their race to family members. This is a good way to get through the race without letting your mind wander, thinking about the pain and distance remaining.

Other people sign-up to run a specific race, and will train and run the race in honour of someone else. This is common, especially when someone has battled a serious disease like cancer, and they will raise funds for a charity. If this is you, remember all throughout your training and one race day why you are doing it. The suffering you are experiencing is often a fraction of the challenges a cancer patient goes through.

Words can also be highly motivational. If you are the type of runner who runs to eat, then think about that hamburger, pizza or other comfort food that you’ll be enjoying after you’re run.

Whatever your reason for running, always keep in mind the reason why you are running and dedicate your run. If it helps, you can keep a small personal item on you that will remind you of why you’re running. It could be a pink ribbon if you run for breast cancer, a photo of the person who has inspired you, an index card written with your bucket-list, or even a name or keyword written down the length of your arm in black marker.

Enjoy running and do it with passion!


Take a stand for change

LA Pride Parade

Bullying. Hatred. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. These are struggles that many people in the LGBT community face every single day. Many gay individuals have battled with these issues, tormented with fear and sadness, just because they are gay.

In a recent video, Kristen touches on several issues that she has personally dealt with, similar issues that youth today face. Change takes time, and it can be scary for some people, but at some point, we need to turn the page and start a new chapter in history.

As a results of change, people are going to have to swallow their pride. Many of these people will be long gone, but there is a new generation who are teaching their children to be kind, accepting, diplomatic, open, and understanding.

We should be encouraging others to grow and develop to a more accepting society. Not just in the LGBT community, but all communities. We are all responsible to foster a world of love and tolerance, and to help others in their time of need.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is an important organization working in the United States to help with the LGBT rights movement. While some progress has been made, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, especially in the United States. Canada, and many other countries around the world, set prime examples of how equal rights should be, for all people, regardless or race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, creed, etc.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst youth ages 10-24, LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide, and questioning youth as high as three times more likely, compared to their heterosexual peers. Suicide is never the answer, but many youth are driven to that point because they haven’t had a positive network of friends, peers, and even resources to help them through their difficult time.

Everyone has a story. Some people have shared their story earlier than others. For those that are capable of sharing their story can help by showing today’s youth that they are not alone, and never will be, as long as they are in a safe, loving and trusted environment.

“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou


Why your boyfriend should never give you a massage

Massage oil

Your boyfriend my think he’s one of the best as giving massages as he’s kindly rubbing the back of your legs, but unfortunately for you, it’s probably one of the worst massages you’ve ever had. After a hard workout, your tired and aching muscles want relief from the tightness and pain. They are crying out for more than just a casual rub down. What you really want is a deep tissue massage.

Even if you’ve accepted that you’re boyfriend is not that great at giving massages, or that he’ll fix your aches and pains, you let him rub you down. It’s never an enjoyable or relaxing experience, he either uses too much or too little pressure, and frequently passes over the places that you know really need worked on. Even if you do end up feeling relaxed, you always end up having to reciprocate the favour.

Besides the terrible massage you’ve just received, it turns out that your boyfriend has dripped massage oil all over your 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, which if it’s not treated and taken care of immediately, can leave permanent stains. Yikes! It just keeps getting from bad to worse with every moment that passes.

As if that wasn’t enough, you know the seemingly innocent massage is going to end up with the wrong kind of release. As your boyfriend massages you, his hands go from working on your back, shoulders and legs, into other areas which starts to feel like fondling and foreplay. Not exactly what your signed up for after a hard training session. His alleged amazing massages are a far cry from the therapeutic massage you really wanted and needed.

After a hard training session, if your sore, tight muscles aren’t being addressed, it’s time to let your boyfriend know that you’ll be going somewhere else for your massages for now on. No, it’s not like you are cheating on him with someone else, or that you don’t appreciate his good intentions, but you really do need the help of professional hands to get that kink out of your neck or knot out of your shoulder.

The days of Rub and Tug massage parlors are a way of the past, and todays massage therapists are trained professionals who go through thousands of hours of schooling at accredited institutions, passing rigorous written and practical exams.

Unlike your boyfriend, a trained massage therapist can help relieve your muscles from everything from sports injuries and headaches, to jaw pain, complications from car accidents, to complicated health conditions. Massage therapy can even help the average person feel their best with a full body massage which can increase circulation and reduce stress, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. More importantly, a massage therapist won’t get tired or distracted two minutes into your massage, unlike your boyfriend.

To get the full benefit of your workouts and overall health, it’s time to start seeing a massage therapist on a regular basis.


Salted White Russian

Stoli Salted White Russian When you’re on summer vacation there’s not a single thing to worry about. You can get up in the morning, catch up on the latest Instagram posts, tweet some of your long lost tweeps to see how they’re doing, lounge by the pool or lake, and generally be carefree. What’s even better is when you can relax with a morning iced summer cocktail and some fresh-baked banana bread; a perfect combination to start your peaceful day.

The Salted White Russian (far from being Russian by the way!), is a fantastic morning summer drink and is a quick and easy, single build cocktail. While it typically uses heavy cream, calorie counters who are worried about their perfect beach body can replace it with low-fat skim milk or even almond milk.

  • 2 oz Stoli Salted Karamel
  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 2 oz Milk or Cream

Rim a rocks glass with cocoa powder. Fill with ice. Add Stoli Salted Karamel, coffee liqueur, and top with milk.


Relive the 80’s with iRecorder

iRecorderBeing a kid in the 80’s was awesome! When it came to fashion, the bolder the pattern, the wilder the style, the more bodacious it was. Hair was feathered back, worn high, and could be crimped, perm’d or spiked. Music is what brought people together. From Cindy Lauper to Michael Jackson, Madonna to Tiffany, the beats were fun, synathyzied and pushed lyrics to the edge with catchy choruses and beats.

Throughout the 1980’s, technology was changing the way people lived their lives. Personal computers were starting to hit the market, along with brick-sized car phones, fax machines, and VCR’s. Music moved from 8-tracks and vinyl records, to tape recorders. This lead to the mixed-tape craze, which became a symbol of teen love.

Music became portable with the boom box, battery-powered players that could be taken to the beach, down the street, in your cars, or wherever you wanted to go. They ranged in size from hand-held to giant boxes the size of a small house.

In today’s digital world, music is played online, synced between computers, iPhones, and other devices, streamed wirelessly and downloaded at astronomical rates. We live to stay connected, but long for the days when things where simple and easier.

iRecorder

That’s where iRecorder comes in. It’s an amazing flash-back to the 80’s, but meets modern day technology. At first glance, it looks like an old-fashioned tape-recorder, but pop the lid and instead of inserting cassette tape you plug in your iPhone. Bam! Instantly you’re listening to today’s hits like it was yester-year.

All the buttons work, just like an old-fashioned tape-recorder too! There’s play, fast-forward, rewind, and volume buttons, giving you full control. Pop open the cassette lid to access your iPhone. The handle even slides out, just like the old-school versions.

The iRecorder is powered by three AAA batteries (not included), or can be plugged in to a USB. It uses a standard 3mm jack that plugs into your iPhone 4, 4S or 5, to control the music functions and play your tunes through the speaker.

While we live in an age of wanting the latest in technology, many people enjoy reminiscing and re-living the past. The iRecorder completely taps into that era that we all once lived and loved. It’s also a killer accessory to take to an 80’s theme party, to the beach, or just have laying out on the patio by the pool for guests to be amazed and tell their stories about how they used to have one.

The iRecorder is available online at on Amazon for $49.95CDN.

Original Style / Design: ★★★★☆

Material / Workmanship: ★★★★☆

Makes a Statement: ★★★★★

Cool Factor: ★★★★☆

Price / Value: ★★★☆☆

Overall: ★★★★☆

 

 

iRecorder


Chorizo Barley Biscuits

Chorizo Barley BiscuitsSummer farmer markets are still kicking and they have amazing choices and variety this time of year. Many stone fruit, like peaches, nectarines, and apricots, are ripe which means it’s time to start thinking about baking. Delicious, delicious baking. When the cool breezes of autumn begin blowing be prepared with a hearty and healthy biscuit recipe to impress your friends, family, and partners (or soon to be partners).

This tasty recipe is quick and easy to throw together and has a long fridge life. Bake off a big batch and have it on hand for snacking, packing, and more snacking. You can serve it as wedges with breakfast, pair it with fresh corn chowder, or heat it up in the oven and indulge in some buttery goodness.

The secret to nailing this recipe is to BBQ or grill the stone fruit beforehand. Just slice your fruit in half, remove the pit and grill the exposed inside of the fruit. Grilling stone fruit really brings out the flavours, makes it more juicy, and gives it a bit of a smokey-campfire-cabin-in-the-woods flavour.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 1 1/4 cups barley flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup diced chorizo sausage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, etc) grilled and diced

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to mix it well. Stir in the buttermilk, melted butter, and chorizo and beat briskly until mixed and smooth. Grease a 9×9 baking dish. Split the dough into two equal sized balls. Press one of the dough balls equally into the base of the baking dish. Spoon the grilled stone fruit on top and spread evenly. Press the second ball of dough onto the fruit layer, making a biscuit sandwich. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden.

Easy and delicious. Try it with a side of yogurt.


A glimmer of hope. British Columbia could be the first jurisdiction in Canada to make PrEP available!

Could British Columbia be the first jurisdiction in Canada to make PrEP (Truvada) available?The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), is a contentious subject. Some call it a party drug, others believe it promotes unsafe sex, while others believe it’s an important method for reducing the number of new cases of HIV.

Canada, a world leader in HIV/AIDS research, is heavily scrutinized for its lack of adoption of the use of PrEP in the prevention of the spread of HIV, especially amongst the gay, bisexual, and MSM communities.

Gay men across Canada are clamoring for governments and the medical community to get a plan of action together and approve the use of PrEP in Canada, despite drug manufacture, Gilead Science, not having submitted a formal application to Health Canada for the use of the drug as a preventative tool. Earlier this year, a spokesperson for Gilead Science said they are in discussions with authorities in Canada, but have not yet submitted their application. This could easily be their way of saying that their application was incomplete or that they are holding out to be the exclusive drug manufacturer in Canada, which then simply becomes a financial windfall for the company.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has been approved for use in the United States by the FDA since July 2012, and additionally both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), recommend PrEP for people at risk of HIV infection.

In Canada, drug manufacturers must submit an application to Health Canada to receive approval in Canada, and at this point, no drug companies are known to have submitted an application. This means that drugs like Truvada, the brand name of drug from Gilead Science, are available in special circumstances to patients as an off-label option, after going through a series of blood tests, consultations and getting a prescription from a doctor who is willing to take the risk.

In Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, programs are well underway to understand how the drug works are a preventative measure and efforts are in the works to make it easier for patients to access the drug.

“I have been very vocal on my position to Health Canada and have been proactive about pre-exposure prophylaxis,” stated Dr. Montaner, one of the lead doctors at the Centre for Excellence of HIV in British Columbia. “In British Columbia, we have put this to the deputy committee and guidelines are about to be released, comparable to the CDC and WHO.”

The recommendations and guidelines Dr. Montaner refers to would go to the Ministry of Health for review and consideration. This would not mean that the cost of the drug would be covered through the Provincial drug program.

“These findings will be coming out in the coming weeks or months,” explained Dr. Montaner, who has been diligently working on the recommendations and guidelines for the use of PrEP in British Columbia. If approved, British Columbia would be the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt formal guidelines for the use of PrEP. “The Province of British Columbia needs to determine if it will be covered in the drug program.”

Essentially, the recommendations and guidelines Dr. Montaner is preparing would allow the Ministry of Health to roll-out Province-wide use for prescribing PrEP, by all doctors, therefore making the drug available to any patient who choses or wants access. Again, the cost of the drug would not be covered by the Provincial drug program, so patients would need to cover the cost of the drug themselves, or look to their private health insurance for coverage.

In addition to the pre-exposure work Dr. Montaner and the team at the Centre for Excellence has been working on, they have also been focused on a large study involved of people who have been exposed to HIV, and post-exposure treatments.

“We do have a pilot program, for well over a year, for post exposure, for people who have been exposed to HIV, including homosexual contact,” added Dr. Montaner. “We are ready to analyze the data from the pilot, which was supported by the Minster of Health. Hopefully this fall we will have recommendations this fall and will move forward. I remain optimistic of some form of recommendations.”

Dr. Montaner also notes that in British Columbia, the number of new cases of HIV have decreased by 95%, spanning across multiple communities and segments, including MSM, and that British Columbia is seeing less acute cases of HIV.

The recent repurposing of the HIV ward at St. Paul’s Hospital, the leading hospital in British Columbia on HIV research, was to send a message that AIDS isn’t what is used to be, or that it’s gone, but rather that it’s not needed for new or ongoing cases of HIV. It’s being repurposed for other uses including infectious diseases and intervenes drug users. This had been under discussion for many years with the Province of British Columbia, the CDI and the Centre for Excellence.

When it comes to new cases of HIV infection, Dr. Montaner has some ideas on why the Provincial Health Officer’s recent report indicates that HIV on steady or on the rise amongst gay, bisexual and MSM segments.

“The reality is that we haven’t been as effective in the MSM community,” said Dr. Montaner. “My personal bias is that we have a significant challenge of getting to young MSM before they get HIV. Part of that is reaching MSM earlier in their natural life, to better protect themselves, being safe, using condoms, or pre or post exposure prophylaxis.”

This opens a huge debate on sexual education in schools, another extremely sensitive and contentious topic.

Adding fuel to the fire around PrEP, is many Canadians who want to be on the the drug for preventative purposes know Truvada has been approved by extended health insurance providers for years. This is because it’s a drug that has been taken by people living with HIV, which they have been covering for a long time, and insurance companies do not differentiate between people who are HIV positive or HIV negative when they cover the cost of the drug. They simply cover the cost of prescribed drugs on their approved drug list, regardless of their use.

Today, in British Columbia, there are a handful of HIV negative people who have been approved for the long-term use of PrEP, under the care and close supervision of doctors who have agreed to work with their patients who, under special circumstances, have been deemed to be high risk. These individuals had to agree to regular testing, demonstrate a high level of knowledge about the use of the drug and the associated risks, commit to taking Truvada on a daily basis, be at high-risk of contracting HIV, have a method of being able to pay for the cost of the drug independently or through private insurance, and have referrals from multiple doctors and/or agencies to a doctor who specializes in HIV treatment and who has the knowledge, willingness, and comfort of working with the patient.

In the meantime, British Columbians and fellow Canadians who are anxious to take PrEP as a method to reduce their risk of HIV, have to sit idle and wait. Many are angered and outraged that it is not already available in Canada, especially when it’s been available for so long in the neighbouring United States for over two years. Let’s hope that Dr. Montaner’s report, recommendations, and guidelines are accepted by the Ministry of Health quickly and without further delay.


Kristina Maria sings her way through summer 2014

Kristina Maria at World Pride 2014As she stepped out on the TD Welsey Stage at World Pride in Toronto, 25 year old Kristina Maria had to be full of excitement, looking onward at the crowd of thousands of people who had gathered at the gay pride event to hear some of Canada’s top talent perform. Throughout the summer, Kristina Maria has

Kristina Maria performing at World Pride 2014a

The Canadian pop singer, who was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, is best known for her 2012 single, Our Song Comes On, which peaked at number 23 on the Canada Hot 100 charts.

Kristina Maria performing at World Pride 2014a

Kristina’s debut song, Let’s Play, reached the 19th spot on the Canada 100 charts when it came out in 2011.

This summer, Kristina Maria released a new single, Where The Sun Don’t Shine. She’s expected to release a new album later this year.

Performing with Kristina Maria at World Pride in Toronto was the extremely sexy 19 year old, ARG=NTO, a pop/rap artist from Montreal.

Kristina Maria is a Canadian singer/songwriter/artist to watch for over the next few years. She’s going places!


Why people run

Marathon Training

People who don’t run don’t understand why people would want to run. They think it’s boring, hard of the body and a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth. While each person has their own reason for running, here are some of the most popular reasons why people choose, voluntarily, to run:

  1. Healthy choices. Running is an excellent way to be healthy. Running is one of the best cardio exercises to help burn fat and keep weight off. Most people turn to running in the lead up to important events where they are want to look their best, including weddings, grad reunions, and beach vacations.
  2. Accept a challenge. Friends or co-workers will often challenge each other to train to run a race, usually 10km races. This is a great way to keep motivated with training and to do your best. The stakes increase when bets are made on who will get the best time.
  3. Bucket list. Many people put race distances on their life-time bucket list. Whether it’s a 10k, half marathon, full marathon or ultra marathon, it is a personal achievement that can take months and months of training.
  4. Improve time. After running your first race, most people will tend to cross the finish line with a feeling of victory, and then go home and immediately register for their next race. Running is an addictive individual sport where you will constantly challenge yourself, race after race, to improve your time.
  5. Push the distance. Runners will continue to challenge and push themselves. After running a few 10k’s, gradually improving their time, they will look for new challenges, which will naturally lead to longer distances of half and full marathons. Full marathoners typically move up to ultra marathons and triathlons. They aren’t crazy, they just like a challenge.
  6. Be part of a community of friends. While running is an individual sport on race day, during the months of training it is all about spending time with people who encourage, support and help you achieve your goals. The running community is very close-knit and you’ll meet friends for life.

So don’t ask yourself why people run, ask yourself, why don’t you run?


10 Simple Travel Tips for Amateur Travellers

10 travel tips

People who travel frequently often have the best travel tips. It’s no secret that most people over-pack. But here are 10 simple travel tips for amateur travellers, that can take your next trip from bad to great.

  1. Pack your patience. Whether you’re waiting in line to get on the plane, check into the hotel, or see an attraction, line-ups are almost always inevitable when traveling. If you miss your connection, don’t panic, there will always be another plane. If the ATM is out of money, you can always find another nearby. No matter the situation, just take a deep breath and take control of the situation instead of letting it become an ordeal.
  2. Early bird gets the worm. Wake up early so you can get the free continental breakfast at the hotel and then head off to see the local attractions before the line-ups start. This is a great tip, because families with kids tend to take a bit longer in the morning and can really slow down your sightseeing once their out in public. Morning is also a safer time of day to explore because most criminals like pickpockets and other scammers, usually aren’t morning folk.
  3. Stash some cash. You never know where you’ll be when you’ll have run out of cash, or the ATM machine doesn’t work, or they don’t take credit card, and all the sudden you’re desperate for cash. Keep some cash cleverly hidden. Some great spots include under shoe inserts, inside your suitcase lining, in the pocket of a toiletry bag, or sewn behind a patch on your backpack.
  4. Count on the cloud. If you’re traveling with a laptop, have it sync daily with a cloud-data service or to an external hard drive. If you’re laptop gets lost, broken or stolen, at least your data and vacation photos will be saved.
  5. Digitize travel documents. If your travel documents are lost or stolen, it can be extremely difficult and a lengthy process to replace them. Before you leave on your trip, photograph or scan all your travel documents including your drivers license, passport, visa, birth certificate, health insurance, serial numbers, emergency contact information, along with hotel and flight confirmations. All of these should be saved in the cloud and / or to an online email address that you can access anywhere in the world.
  6. Photos are forever. Take lots and lots of photos. Photos will become your memories of the trips you’ve been on, the places you’ve been, the friends you’ve made and the things you’ve done. Photos are free and are way more important than any tchotchke you’ll find in a gift store.
  7. Blow the budget. It’s important to stick to your budget for the majority of you’re trip. Halfway through you don’t want to find out that you won’t have enough money. However, you need to splurge from time to time on your adventures. Take yourself out for a nice dinner, enjoy a day at the natural outdoor hot springs, or spend a few nights in premium accommodation. You don’t have to do it every day, but you can’t spend each day living off a $50 budget.
  8. Learn from the locals. Whenever you get the opportunity to talk to the locals, find out where the best place is to eat, what they recommend for nightlife, or what off-the-beaten track activity is a must-do for a visitor to their area. Locals love to help and show off their area, so take advantage of their wealth of knowledge.
  9. Pack earplugs. Sleep is incredibly important for travelers. Being awake and alert, able to think clearly and being well rested will improve any travel adventure. But sometimes you can’t avoid noise, especially when it’s noise you’re not used to like city sirens, honking horns, crying babies on airplanes, or a loud couple in the room next to yours. Earplugs can easily be tossed in a toiletry bag or a small pocket in your backpack and can really save the day (or night).
  10. Slooooow down. Don’t pack six activities into one day. It just won’t happen. Pick two or three activities so you can enjoy each one. It also allows you to make changes to your plans if you find something more exciting to do, or if someone invites you to participate in an unplanned activity.


Have smooth, glowing skin all year round; exfoliating 101

Bare Essentials Skin BarSummer has peaked and will soon be winding down. Many people are combating skin damage from long hours in the sun, while others are preparing for last minute vacations before the summer is over.

A healthy skin regimen should include regular exfoliation. Exfoliation does more than provide smooth skin; your skin will also have more hydration, be less congested and it will allow for better penetration of products including serums and moisturizers, applied afterward. Just as important, you can also slow down the aging process!

How is an exfoliant different than a cleanser?

A cleanser is either water-soluble or an oil based product that will wash away oil, dirt, population, makeup and other debris sitting on the surface and in the pore. Exfoliant is an agent that removes dead cells from the surface to reveal newer skin underneath. Exfoliating promotes new cells to turn upwards to the surface. This process is called desquamation. There are two types of exfoliant categories: mechanical and chemical. Manual normally refers to using a tool to slough off dead cells, like microdermabrasion. Chemical exfoliant normally uses chemicals or acids to dissolve the top layer to penetrate underneath, like a chemical peel.

Best Exfoliant for Aging Skin

Over time skin will not shed every twenty eight days as it did in your teens and early twenties. As cell production slows it is important to be exfoliating on a weekly basis. Key ingredients that are the most beneficial to aging skin is lactic acid, salicylic, vitamin A (Retnoil), alpha hydroxy acids, (AHA). Use a product like Priori Invigorating Face & Body Scrub, two to three times a week for rouge and very dry skin. For a mild application apply on wet face and gently massage on and wash off twice a week. For an intense treatment apply on dry skin and wash off with a sponge cloth.

Acne Skin

When skin is breakout prone, exfoliation is important to help sebum to move freely and not be trapped underneath skin. Acnic skin normally has an overproduction of sebum and skin cells that combine together and cause blockages in the pore. Exfoliating will result in less comedone and fewer breakouts. Salicylic Acid can be used to dissolve the outer skin. Beta hydroxy acids slough dead skin cells to stimulate cell renewal. Dermalogica Gentle Cream exfoliate used twice a week uses lactic acid and hydroxyl acid to stimulate cell renewal and natural fruit enzymes will detach dead skin to improve texture.

Sensitized Skin

Selecting the right exfoliant is important to prevent more sensitivity. Exfoliation will allow the skin to absorb moisture, which prevents gaps in the cellular barrier. A weak barrier allows substances to enter in to the skin that will cause inflammation. The skin will look flushed, flaky, and rough. A rice bran exfoliate will help relieve inflammation, change texture and brighten the skin.

Finding the right exfoliate for your skin type is important for long term skin health and to achieve your results whether you have acne, scarring or pigmentation. Exfoliating one to three times a week will have you prevent aging and have your skin looking luminous. You can try a variety of exfoliants at Bare Essentials Skin Bar to see which one is best for your skin type.


Improve your gym results by making an important change to your gym routine

Gym jocks need to incorporate massage therapy into their gym routineWhat gay man doesn’t spend countless hours at the gym, bulking up and toning their muscles to look their best. It’s part of gay culture. There is no doubt that after pushing yourself to the limits on the weights at the gym, your muscles are going to be extremely sore and tense. You’re muscles may look all bulked up and sexy, but the fact is, they need to recover for maximum long-term results.

Nutrition, rest and sleep are important for muscle recovery, but it’s just as important to allow your muscles to relax. When not flexed, muscles should be able rest comfortably, almost flaccid. This allows the blood to flow in naturally and remove toxins and to promote muscle repair and growth.

It’s also common to feel a knot. These are called trigger points. Trigger points are muscle fibres that have tangled and hardened together, which reduces mobility, decreases circulation, and takes the muscles longer to repair.

A quick trip to a trained sports massage therapist can help release sore, aching muscles, allowing them to repair faster. Going to a qualified sports massage therapist will help with realigning, stretching, and flushing muscles, allowing them to relax and blood to flow quickly and easily to the damaged tissues.

The result is almost instant, allowing greater flexibility, increasing range of motion, reduces pain, and giving faster recovery time to muscles, so you can get back to the gym and doing what you love. Going to massage therapy will improve your results at the gym, and it’s a simple, enjoyable way to improve your gym routine.

It’s important to find a registered massage therapist that specializes in sports massage therapy. Make sure you are comfortable with your massage therapist so you can relax, talk about problem areas, and be willing to have them work on all areas of your body. Most extended health benefit providers offer massage therapy as a claimable benefit when massage is done through a registered massage therapist, which should cover the majority of the cost of an appointment.

For the benefit of your hard gym workouts and your overall health, it’s time to start seeing a massage therapist on a regular basis.


Mojito

summer Mojito cocktail As the summer wears on, cocktails like vodka soda, and gin and tonic are starting to get real old, real fast. Even if you’re tried switching to chilled white wine and ice-cold beer, or vodka-lemonade, you’re still longing for something different, but familiar of summer.

The traditional mojito is your answer. Rum-based drinks aren’t huge in Canada, which makes them more appealing; especially as a refreshing summer cocktail. Once you perfect the basic mojito, you can start having fun with it by muddling in fresh seasonal berries, or adding different fruit juices to top it off.

This mojito is almost the classic method, but rather than using simple syrup, it uses superfine sugar, which adds a bit of texture to the cocktail.

  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 tsp Superfine Sugar
  • 1 cup Crushed Ice
  • 12 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 oz White Rum
  • Club Soda

In a highball glass, stir together the lime juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add ½ cup of crushed ice. Rub the mint leaves over the rim of the glass, then tear them in half and add to the glass. Stir for about 20 seconds and then add the rum, remaining crushed ice, and club soda. Gently stir for another 5 seconds. Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime wheel.


Skip the strip to savour stupendous spreads in Las Vegas

The historic Fabulous Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas BlvdThere are so many great eats in Las Vegas. While the all-you-can-eat buffet’s on the strip are a popular choice, there are so many great places to sink your teeth into off the strip that are to-die-for. From pizza to soul-food, here are five great choices you must try on your next trip to Vegas. So skip the strip to savour succulent spreads in Las Vegas

Top This Pizza

Pizzas are topped with lots of cheese, fresh vegetables and the best meats. Godfathers Supreme, Taco, Philly Steak, Italian Stallion, BBQ or Buffalo Chicken are just some of the crave-able flavors you can enjoy at Top This Pizza. You can eat in, order online and they even deliver. You really can’t beat the convenience. Top this Pizza is definitely “doing the most” because even if pizza is not what you are craving for the moment, there is a plethora of other options available to appease your appetite including sandwiches, Panini’s, wings, fingers, fresh salads, soups, pasta, desserts, and a host of refreshing drinks. All of the options are as delicious as the other, all equally delectable.

Battista’s Hole in the Wall

If we are going to make a quick list of some of Las Vegas’s fabulous little hidden gems of dining, then it would be appropriate to include a local legend. Battista’s Hole in the Wall is a fine dining authentic Italian treasure. It has been a family owned and operated business for over 30 years. A convenient location and amazing culinary selection make this a locals dream destination. You can come and enjoy fantastic cuisine and the vibrant nostalgic atmosphere of what was old Vegas and still remains as new Vegas. Pick an entree, soup or salad and you are almost done. Now you just have to deal with the issue of Battista’s offering up unlimited house wine and garlic bread. That little perk is quite a nice addition to a meal that has somewhat endless entree options. A very cheesy lasagna, several different pasta arrangements, chicken, veal, and fish dishes, and steak choices. Not bad for a “hole in the wall”.

Kona Grill

There are undeniably a handful of sushi places on the strip, but they are overpriced. Many locals have made Kona Grill one of their favourite restaurants because the quality is on par with other restaurants on the strip but without the high priced bill. It’s not your every day sushi spot. They put their own twist on many different dishes that gives them a cool swagger that resonates will with customers. From Kona calamari, flatbreads to full entrées that include an entire filet, there are excellent choices.

Tofu Hut

Over 24/7, Tofo Hut is the place to head to for everything from a random lunch, to birthday parties to the 4am late-night cravings after a night at the club. It’s the kind of comfort food that you crave at all hours of the day. It’s a great experience. First you select your meats and vegetables. You cook your own meats at your table on your very own grill sitting right in front of you. It’s quick and simple. It takes a regular dinner into a fun party, without even really trying. Choices range from grilled brisket, pork, chicken, beef ribs, and an endless arrangement of vegetables.

M&M Soul Food Café

You don’t have to go to Atlanta for great soul food. M&M Soul Food Café keeps it as real as can be. It’s not exactly what people expect from a Las Vegas eatery, but they shine when it comes to delicious food. Try everything from fried chicken and pork chops, to catfish and gumbo. M&M covers all the Southern bases. Sides include collard greens, candied yams, red beans and rice… along with a host of other dishes. It’s a welcoming atmosphere and a fantastic choice if you’re craving home cooking.

Eat well!

The view of Las Vegas from the top of the High Roller


Mr Pam’s advice for guys who want to get into gay porn

Mr. Pam

Working in the adult entertainment industry is a fantasy for almost everyone. You can spend hours fantasying on what it would be like to be a gay porn star, traveling all over, having sex with the hottest models and going to the best parties. Yes, it seems like a dream career, but only a select few make it. They make it because they work hard, they are persistent and they learned from the best very early on.

Guys that really want to get into gay porn need to listen carefully to the advice from one of the industries top directors, Mr Pam. She’s interviewed, recruited, filmed and helped the careers of some of today’s hottest gay porn models. She knows a thing or two about how hard it is for guys to get into the industry.

“Go to places where you look like the people on that site,” Mr Pam advised, suggesting that you need only apply where you fit in. “If you’re 6’10” and 45 years old, you shouldn’t apply at Bel Ami. You should apply on sites that look most like you.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Each day, dozens of applications are receives by the top talent managers and studios. Most people who apply either are the right type of applicant for the site. There are sites for every type of guy from jocks to bears, daddies to twinks, geeks to fetish; just find the ones that most suit who you are, not who you want to be. It’ll increase your chances of getting casted.

“Be patient,” Mr Pam said, as she explained what newcomers to the industry should to know. “Realize that the gay porn industry, just like fashion and professional sports, is very competitive. Even though you are a slut there are about one hundred people who are apply to get into one spot.”

Knowing that you are one of many people hoping to get your lucky chance to get into a scene, it’s important that you are always at your best and constantly imporving yourself.

“It’s about your face, your body, your dick and your personality,” said Mr Pam. “When they don’t have a good personality, or are shy, or if you don’t seem like you would be fun to work with, I won’t cast you.”

It’s that simple. Directors and talent agents don’t have time for fake facades and attitudes. You have to be honest, genuine and reliable. Mr Pam also expects that you’ll show up for your scenes on time, be responsible, and make sure that you’re on your flight and make each interview. Otherwise, you’ll be off her team, immediately.

“Guys can make anywhere from $200 for a quick blowjob to $1,500 for a fuck scene,” said Mr Pam, describing how much a gay porn model could make if they were casted. “Some studios claim to have paid $3,000 for a solo scene but I don’t believe that. Most are $500 to $1,000 for a scene. It used to be $2,500 to $3,500 per scene when I first started, but now there are so many online sites and studios that rates have dropped. It really varies.”

Additional advice if you’re interested in getting into gay porn, make sure you have current photos of you that are clear and at least semi professional. Don’t apply to a studio or agent unless you are serious and ready to get started. Always be honest, prepared to work hard, and to be yourself. The rest will fall into place when you work with credible people, like Mr Pam.


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