Photos C/O Katie Benfey

Kyanite crystal allows the creation of new pathways and the opening of one’s mind to new positive possibilities. Lauren Campbell was wearing kyanite when the idea for a bright, quirky store with crystals, tarot cards and other magical items came to her. The name for the store, Witch’s Fix, also came to her in that moment.

At the time, Campbell was working a full-time job in Toronto and wasn’t entirely happy being a commuter and working a nine to five job. She couldn’t get the idea of Witch’s Fix out of her head, so she decided to quit her job and try to make her dream a reality.

On Feb. 26, 2018, Campbell opened an Etsy store and began to sell spell kits and mugs. Throughout the year, she attended craft markets and hosted candle rolling workshops. Exactly a year after her online store opened, her dream of a physical store came to life. The store is located in the historic Treble Hall, which Campbell had had her eye on for some time.

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“Before I even had the Witch's Fix, I'd drive by this space in Treble Hall and I would look at it and… say ‘if I ever have a store, I want to be there because it's so cute’… And one day I was on Kijiji… I saw this space [and] I was just like oh my God… that's my dream space… I'm going to do it,” Campbell said.

“I'm going to take the plunge, take a huge risk and do it because this was the space that I always wanted. It was going to be here or it was going to be nowhere,” she added.

The store is a realization of Campbell’s vision. The storefront is welcoming, with the glass walls serving as a window to an enchanted world. Inside, the shop is charming and cozy with Victorian elements and the feel of a library mixed with a traditional witch’s shop. A playlist of hot jazz, saxophone-containing music and songs from Campbell’s favourite magical movies adds to the ambience of the store and makes it feel as if it is in another place and time.

The store sells a variety of gifts and enchanting items, several of which the crafty shopkeeper makes herself. She makes Abracajava mugs and candles and puts together mystery bags, spell kits and crystal kits. As for the items that she doesn’t make herself, like the tarot cards and zines, she tries to source from independent makers, especially those who are female and female-identifying.

She wants the products to be mostly those that cannot be found in big box stores. While they may be a little more expensive than similar products in other places, her customers know that they are supporting creative entrepreneurs. In the future, Campbell also hopes to rent out the parlour at the back of her store to individuals who do readings to make this type of magic more accessible to the community.

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Honestly when people come in the store, I really just want them to feel inspired… [I]inspiration and creativity are such huge parts of magic for me. So I hope people come in and feel like they can be curious… ,” said Campbell.

“I want to awaken a childish enthusiasm in them that makes them remember when they were a little kid and anything seemed possible, [when] they just looked at everything with wide eyes and believed in magic,” she added.

Campbell has been drawn to magic and magical items since she was a kid. As she grew older, magic became more about having a connection to nature. Campbell understands that the store might not be for everyone, but she wants it to be approachable. Having experienced the benefit of everyday magic in her life, she wants to bring a little magic to everyone else’s life too.  

Campbell put the word witch in the title of her store to help change the perception of the word. She wants to do away with the idea of long fingernails and cackling laughs and replace it with the idea of magic as ownership of one’s human nature and connection to the world around us.

I mean there are so many days where it seems like there is no magic in the world and being able to spot it in the tiniest things… [it] makes my mental health better. It can be as simple as just birds on somebody's front lawn hopping and chirping, like that is magical to me… It's just really about finding things that make me smile and are really accessible,” Campbell said.

Once the dust settles a little more, Campbell will plan a grand opening celebration to mark the fruition of this vision. In the meantime, she looks forward to watching the store grow. With the warm responses that she has received thus far the online and Hamilton community, Witch’s Fix should continue to grow and become the store for all-things sorcery and magic downtown.

 

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Photos by Kyle West

By: Graham West

Hard work, toughness and focus are the key elements that have led to Hilary Hanaka’s outstanding success at the university level. After recently achieving the milestone of 1000 career points, Hanaka is looking forward to a season filled with promise.

Hitting 1000 career points is a huge career landmark and it meant a lot to Hanaka, although she stressed the importance the team has had in contributing to her being able to achieve it.

“It’s a pretty big milestone to hit and it means a lot to hit that point,” Hanaka said. “But, of course it’s a team sport overall, so I think I’m more excited to figure out where our team will end up this season…  it's obviously nice to hit that point, but I obviously wouldn’t have gotten to this point without the help of my teammates and my coach.”

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It has not always been easy on the path to greatness for Hanaka as there have been challenges with balancing academics and being a varsity athlete.

“There are positives and negatives. Coming into first year, that was when the big adjustment hit,” Hanaka said. “Obviously, it’s a much bigger time commitment being on a varsity team and having classes every single day, practices every day and you’re away on weekends and just making sure you find the right balance to do everything.”

“With that being said, you’re surrounded by an incredible group of girls, coaching staffs,” Hanaka added. “We have so much support through the athletic department, so whenever things were going downhill, you always had someone to pick you back up.”

Hanaka’s experience with the difficulties athletes can face and her expertise on the court are some of the things that make her a great leader. Being there for her teammates on and off the court is instrumental to the success of the team and something that is incredibly important to her as well.

“Off the court is just as important as on the court when it comes to varsity sports,” Hanaka said.

“Being a veteran player, I’ve been around for five years so I’ve been through most of the things that bring you down and that go on. So just being able to be there for the girls is something that I really strive to do.”

“Just knowing that I’ve been in the position of a first-year, second-year, third-year and even a fourth-year player and things aren't always fun and games there’s always going to be those lows,” Hanaka added. "Being able to make sure the girls are aware that I’m always there for them, whether it’s something basketball-related, life-related, school-related, whatever it might be, that just because I’m a leader on the court, doesn’t mean I can’t be the leader off the court. ”

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Whenever Hanaka’s career as a player ends, it will most certainly not be the end to her basketball career. When you have a particularly knowledgeable player who is a natural leader, coaching is always on the horizon. It is something Hanaka is interested in, and given her success as a player, seems very possible.

“I would love to be a coach. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by basketball and it’s been a huge part of my life,” Hanaka said. “Being a player has been incredible, but I think I’m kinda ready to hang up the shoes and move forward. Hopefully down the road, coaching is something that I’ll be put into.”

Always one of the first people in the gym, Hanaka has had an outstanding career so far in the maroon and grey and looks to only improve. The team is one to watch as they continue to play their way to a return to nationals, with their eyes clearly set on taking home gold.

 

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By: Alex Killian/ SHEC

People tend to shy away from talking about genital health. It might be personal, but it’s important information. The vagina is a sensitive ecosystem, full of good bacteria (microbiota) that keep everything (including the bad bacteria) in balance. However, it really is a fine balance, and as soon as one thing gets out of hand, you often have yourself an uncomfortable situation.

CLEANING

Soap and other cleaning products are not necessary, as your vagina is self-cleaning. These products can actually cause more harm than good by killing off the good bacteria. This promotes the development of a yeast infection, or more seriously, bacterial vaginosis. You can purchase a pH neutral intimate area wash for the vulva, which can be helpful in maintaining pH balance and preventing yeast infection but avoid soap, douches or other cleaning contraptions at all costs.

YEAST INFECTIONS

Yeast likes warmth, moisture, changes in pH and sugar. Avoiding the following conditions that would make you susceptible to yeast growth is the best way to prevent infections:

URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are commonly characterized as pain or burning during urination, as well as frequent urinary urgency. For prevention, it is helpful to take vitamin C supplements if you are actively having penetrative sex. The acidity it adds to your urine will cleanse the urinary tract and hinder bacterial growth. Some evidence also indicates that cranberry supplements and juices help prevent and remedy UTIs. Drinking lots of water is also crucial in maintaining a healthy urinary tract. If left unattended, UTIs can travel up the urinary tract to the kidneys and lead to more serious health consequences. The suggestions here may help prevent a urinary tract infection, but will likely not help resolve it once it has developed enough to present symptoms. Usually a course of antibiotics is also required, so be sure to book an appointment with your physician at the slightest suspicion.

Soap and other cleaning products are not necessary, as your vagina is self-cleaning. These products can actually cause more harm than good.

SHAVING

For those that want to get rid of hair down there via shaving, there are several quick tips that can make it a painless experience. Firstly, investing in a good razor and keeping it clean is key. Use a razor that has three or more blades, and after three to four uses, change it up to ensure a clean shave. Shaving with the grain and using antiseptic ointment and moisturizer afterwards helps prevent razor burns and ingrown hairs. Finally, frequent shaving makes it all easier to maintain.

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By: Sophie Geffros

I tend to view having a relationship with your biological father as being somewhat akin to owning a dishwasher. It’s nice, sure. It takes some of the work and pressure off of your primary caregiver, and a lot of people have them. But fundamentally, plenty of us grow up without them and do just fine. That said, nobody assumes you will be a criminal if you grow up without a dishwasher.

In July, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said, “We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms … What we have is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals.”

I wish I could say that I was surprised. As one of four children raised by a single mother, I have spent my life being alternately outraged and depressed by these statements. I also wish I could pretend that this sentiment is simply a disease of the far right, and that good liberals are immune. However, I have heard the same poisonous sentiments from the left — they simply phrase it more gently. Liberals will praise the strength of single mothers while still implying heavily that being the wrong kind of single parent is a tragedy. That is, it’s very impressive if you are a white middle class woman in her thirties who chooses to have a baby by herself; but if you are poor or a teenager or a person of colour, it is the result of systemic failures. Often, single mothers and their children are thrown into debates on abortion in a way that feels distinctly eugenicist.

I often describe myself, semi-jokingly, as “not anti-dad, but certainly dad-critical.” As a society, we place minimal demands on fathers, and we applaud them when they satisfy the most basic of expectations. Married fathers refer to watching their own children as “babysitting”. Single fathers are treated with the kinds of accolades usually reserved for returning war heroes. Every couple weeks a story goes viral which could be summarized as “single father does bare minimum.” When men do their daughter’s hair, or play pretend, or tend to their children’s emotional well-being, we treat them as though they have done something amazing. A single mother is a whore, a single father is a hero.

Attitudes towards single parenthood are not benign. Aside from the damage it causes to children to hear the way society speaks about them and their mothers, it also forces women to stay in unhealthy relationships. My mother divorced my step-father when I was 12 after enduring years of domestic abuse. She has told me that she stayed so long because she wanted my little brother to grow up with a dad. She is not an isolated case. In the view of society, it is often better to grow up with an abusive or neglectful father than an absent one.

It feels distinctly radical to say that growing up with a single mother made me a better person. There is no better role model on earth than a loving single mother. She was determined that all of her children know that despite what we might hear, there was nothing wrong with any of us. She loved us enough for three parents, and she nearly killed herself with work to try and give us a better life. When she was my age, my mother was the sole caregiver of two small children. As of this writing, I have killed two ferns. She somehow found the time to teach us to read and ride our bikes while working two jobs and putting herself through school. I can barely manage to wake up in time for my 8:30 class on Wednesday morning.

When she was my age, my mother was the sole caregiver of two small children. As of this writing, I have killed two ferns. 

Correlation is not causation. Rates of addiction and poverty are not higher in children of single parent households because there is something intrinsically damaging about it. The attitudes of Mr. Santorum and his ilk would be far better directed to the systems, which conspire to keep single mothers in poverty and abuse, which condemn their families to bad neighbourhoods and bad schools, and which demean families like mine as “trash”. Until they change targets, they can take a hike. That’s the other thing being raised by a single mother taught me; nobody talks shit about my family and gets away with it.

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As the MSU presidential election draws to a close, candidate posters and team tables are taken down, leaving the sitting area on the first floor of MUSC to return to its natural state. Over the last two weeks, five candidates had their names and faces plastered on every wall, and they became the centre of every conversation surrounding elections. But behind every candidate are the core campaign teams, and leading the teams are the campaign managers.

Campaign managers, along with their teams, put in months of work and dedicate weeks of intense commitment to support a friend in their quest to get elected as the next MSU President. The Silhouette interviewed them to get some insight into their reasons for taking on the role, thoughts on leadership positions, and the work that goes into running a campaign.

The campaign manager experience

The campaign manager role involves planning the campaign, shaping the candidate’s message, coordinating the campaign team, and making sure the candidate is where he or she needs to be. The role varies depending on the team, but often involves keeping the team together and the campaign functioning on schedule.

“Although it’s time consuming, I still like it. I’ve never stretched myself this far. But as a campaign manager you have to help others and pick up slack. It’s a good experience. It’s skills that you need in the future,” said Kalia, campaign manager for Ehima Osazuwa.

One of the main qualities that all of the campaign managers discussed was leadership.

“Being a campaign manager gives you a leadership experience, gives you experience learning how to coordinate volunteers. I just thought it would be a really nice way to hone in on organizational and leadership skills,” said Becca, campaign manager for Corey Helie-Masters.

Similarly, Anj from Tristan Paul’s team described the campaign manager experience as one that is all encompassing.

“You gain a really great understanding of the MSU when you’re trying to determine platform points and things like that. In that capacity, it’s nice to see everything tied together as a campaign manager and get to experience the whole range of things,” she said.

Kamini, a first-year campaign manager for John Tambakis, said that the hard work really does pay off.

“At the end of it, it really does feel like this is something that you’ve made and created and put so much time into. When it’s all over you need to put it out on the table and be proud of what you’ve come up with,” she said.

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Why not President?

After speaking with the campaign managers, it is evident that they are all very competent, well-spoken, and knowledgeable of the MSU. So why not run for President?

The managers gave a variety of reasons, citing lack of interest or experience in the MSU as reasons not to run for President.

“The MSU was really never in my face. I passed through university not thinking about it,” said Kalia. “I never imagined myself as an MSU president. I got involved this year when I ran for the finance committee. [Ehima] asked me to do it and we’ve worked together before on school projects so he knows how well I can manage a team.”

Simon, campaign manager for Helie-Master’s campaign, named lack of MSU experience as a reason not to run for a leadership position.

“I had hoped to do it if I had more experience. If I had been an SRA rep last year, I may have well ran this year, but I don’t think I had enough SRA experience and enough MSU service and club experience.”

For some managers, MSU President isn’t a job that fits into their plans.

“In first year, I was sitting in [a friend’s] room in Les Prince Hall and I said, ‘mark my words, one day I will be MSU president.’ And even leading into this summer. Do I think I would make a good candidate? Hell yeah. Do I think I could win? Hell yeah. But I had to think about I wanted to do after undergrad,” said Giuliana of Clarke’s campaign.

Anj, Paul’s campaign manager, also cited this reason.

“My own personal life trajectory probably will never let me do that, in the sense that it is not what I personally want to do with my life, but I definitely see a lot of value and I love seeing the people who’ve done it in the past like Anna D’Angela and Siobhan [Stewart], they are amazing, and I’m so proud to see that.”

Advice to future campaign managers

Many of the campaign managers were eager to give their advice for future managers.

“Definitely know what you’re getting into. I thought it would be so long and would take forever, but know that it is really fast [paced],” said Simon.

Giuliana talked about encouraging women in leadership as well as running a positive campaign.

“It is possible to run a positive campaign. Our team exemplifies that. We’ve only filed one complaint,” she said. “We didn’t want to run a campaign on nitpicking and targeting – it’s not about the other candidates. If you put forth a platform that is strong and researched, it shouldn’t matter what anyone else is doing. You know that you put forward a very good platform.”

Women in leadership

While this year was an all-male race, the teams were much more diverse. Behind the scenes of the election, there’s a split of three male and seven female campaign managers. Over the last few years, the majority of campaign managers have also been women.

Anj addressed the fact that most campaign managers are women and spoke about her choice to not run for President.

“I know this is something that can be spun in the way ‘oh you’re a woman, maybe that’s why you’re not running,’” she said. “At the same time, I personally as a person, as an individual, and not as a woman, just like the idea of being in a role that supports someone else.”

The Silhouette wasn’t the only one to ask her that question though.

“It’s funny because one of the candidates actually ask me about [why I chose to be a campaign manager and not run for President] and implied that by being a manager I wasn’t doing something that was useful with my time,” she said.

Giuliana explained that although we may not have any female candidates this year, we should continue the discussion about women in leadership.

“I think it’s important for the discussions we’ve been having lately about women and groups who aren’t typically represented, showing them that MSU experience doesn’t matter. That we’ve empowered someone who might not be the typical candidate to run for MSU president. It matters that you have a vision for the future and that you care about the students.”

Anyone who has ever had a roommate has probably encountered that awkward moment when you want a little “private time” but your roommate is either in the room or in close proximity to it. When the mood hits and I want to settle down with one of my vibrators, I often find myself focused on where my roommate is and whether or not she can hear the buzzing, rather than the pleasantries going on between my legs.

I’m not a prude at all, but since childhood, I, and most other women, have been inundated with the paradox that women are simultaneously supposed to be sexual beings and lack sexual knowledge. These ideas have somehow manifested themselves in the way that women masturbate. I’m speaking directly about women because a) it’s harder for women who use toys to be quiet compared to men who prefer manual stimulation and b) men have fewer sexual expectations thrust upon them (no pun intended). We have all had that childhood conversation about masturbating where one or more of your friends denied ever doing it, claiming that it was gross, while those same conversations in groups of male friends resulted in high fives and trading secrets.

Why? I personally love orgasms and masturbating. Being a lesbian, getting in touch with my body allows me to be better in bed. It also allows me to feel more confident about myself. The more comfortable I am with all parts of my body, the less shame I feel about it. I own six vibrators, and one of my favourite places to go shopping is an adult store. For me, buying a new sex toy is like Christmas morning, but the fear of my roommate overhearing me masturbate really puts a damper on the whole hot and bothered mood.

It’s time to put the shame to bed, turn up the vibrator to the highest speed, and moan away. If you’re a vocal person, it can be hard to feel comfortable when you don’t live alone, but not accepting this taboo that has been forced on us is the first step towards satisfaction. It’s hard to completely let loose and enjoy yourself when you have one ear on the other side of the door. If you do find it hard to get off when your roommate or parents are home, try the shower, non-battery-operated toys, or go old-school and get reintroduced to your hand.

Solo time should be between you, your body, and whatever medium you decide. Clit stimulator, rabbit, suction dildo, g-spot vibrator, external, internal, bullet, whatever your vibrator preferences are, I hope that you’ll let it buzz loud and proud and have the orgasm of your life.

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