Test Kitchen Videos: Chicken skewers with a twist
Charcoal is a heavy hitting beauty trend that helps keep your skin clear and balanced. We spoke to Lizz Starr, executive director of Origins global product development to get details on the popular ingredient.
If you’ve been paying attention to the beauty biz, charcoal is trending. With all the environmental irritants and pollutants that we expose our skin to every day, it’s great to come home and make sure you can get rid of all those skin stressors. Here’s what you need to know about this powerhouse ingredient.
What is charcoal?
This natural ingredient is derived from carbon and has been used for many things other than beauty. Because of its powerful absorption properties it’s been used to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses by absorbing toxins in the stomach before they can be absorbed into the blood stream. It also can be used as a filter in gases and liquids.
In beauty, charcoal is used because it has large internal pores that trap toxins and prevent their absorption in the skin. “When environmental toxins, dirt and debris get under your skin, skin’s waste-filtering system (pores) becomes congested and pores get clogged, leading skin to look cloudy,” says Starr, “Charcoal is able to absorb many times its own weight in toxins and pollution and it can easily be rinsed away.”
Who should use charcoal?
“Charcoal is particularly good for blemish-prone or congested skin,” says Starr. Because we’re all in need of regular skin clearing (we have pollution to thank for that), everyone can benefit from a bit of charcoal in their beauty regimen.
Charcoal beginner? Try a mask.
If you’re new to the ingredient, Starr recommends introducing a charcoal mask to your beauty routine once a week. It’s best to not overdo it with charcoal however. “Charcoal should be primarily used when pores are clogged,” says Starr, “overuse can lead to stripping and drying your skin so we recommend once-a-week use.”
Here are the charcoal masks you should add to your routine, stat!
Bamboo charcoal and white clay absorbs toxins to reveal a radiant and refreshed complexion.
This sheet mask features activated Korean charcoal absorb impurities and spearmint extract for a pore-tightening effect.
This cleanser can also be used as a mark, helping to draw out impurities and balance oily skin.
This hydrogel mask includes bamboo charcoal for a deep clean that targets blackheads and whiteheads.
This mattifying mask soaks up excess oil and draws out debris to leave your skin feeling fresh and your pores noticeable refined.
<p>Raina + Wilson</p>
As we usher in the fall season we also welcome changing foliage, pumpkin spice lattes and the coveted transitional coat—which depending on where you live in Canada can mean different degrees of warmth and protection. Here are 13 transitional toppers that will have you looking stylish and protected this fall, we picked one to go with every major city in Canada, related to their average fall forecast.
Rainfall isn't an issue in Calgary come fall, but temperature's sit right around 5c so keep cozy.
Oversized Suede-Like Jacket, $179.
Montreal get's a solid dose of precipitation (sometimes rain, sometimes snow) come the fall with averages hitting 4c.
TNA league jacket, $85.
Yellowknife's fall average sit at a brisk -10c with roughly 30 cm of snow projected, so it's time to break out the puffer—and snowboots!
The North Face Thermoball PrimaLoft Hooded Parka, $230, shop.nordstrom.com.
Halifax gets a hefty rain fall come the autumn, with its rainiest month being November. The average temp is 6c. Look for thin jacket or puffer with a water-resistant outer shell.
Alderwood shell, $425.
Whitehorse sits at a respectable -4 degrees come fall. Look for jackets made from natural materials such as cashmere, wool and alpaca to keep you cozy. It's a wee bit of a splurge, but if you buy a classic shape it will be a wear forever piece.
Charlotte Coat in Melton Wool, $528.
Saskatoon sits at 0 or below for 185 days a year, but come fall temps range from 18c to -7, so versatility is key—layering is also a smart idea. Try wearing a cape over a wool sweater to keep you toasty warm.
Twik Three-button cape, $70.
Iqaluit is in the Arctic, so it's average fall temperature is a chilly one: -15. A jean jacket won't cut it in these parts, look for a short parka or heavy duty puffer with a hood to protect you from the wind.
Anouk Paraka, $729.
Out east they get warmer fall's and St. Johns, Newfoundland is no exceptions, with temperatures sitting around 4c. Try layering a utility jacket over a hoodie.
Sherpa-lined utility jacket, $118.
Winnipeg has its nickname "Winterpeg" for a reason, the city's temperature fluctuates but the fall average sits at -1c. Look for an oversized stylish coat, perfect to layer over a puffer vest on cooler days or keep it open with a scarf draped around your neck for warmer days.
Cashmere-like open collar coat, $100.
Vancouver's wettest season is autumn, with an average of 450mm of rainfall and a temperature that hovers around 10c. Which means it's the perfect time to break out the rubber boots and find a slick coat to keep your warm and dry in the downpours.
Michael michael kors hooded trench coat, $149.
Toronto average forecast is sitting pretty around 12c, which means it's the perfect jean and moto jacket weather.
Cropped Suede Moto, $458.
October is Charlottetown's rainiest month, with and average of 110 mm of rainfall and temperatures at -1c.
Rains trench coat, $119.
Fredericton enjoys a sunny climate, averaging about 2,000 hours of sunshine a year however its temperatures are on the chillier side come fall, sitting around 4c.
Wane Lux Wool Waterfall Collar Jacket, $750.
If giving up burgers and cheese forever just doesn't seem possible, take heart: going mostly plant-based means you get serious health benefits and the flexibility to indulge now and then. Here's how, with tips from Dana Shulz of the Minimalist Baker.
There’s lots (and lots, and lots) of evidence on the benefits of eating vegan—but we don’t think it’s overstating things to say that making such a drastic dietary shift can be overwhelming. And we’re not the only ones, if the popularity of “vegan-ish” eating is anything to go by. A mostly plant-based approach that’s flexible enough to accommodate the occasional burger, chicken wing or slice of cheesecake, this diet plan has found fans in Jamie Oliver, whose Meat-Free Monday posts always look delicious, New York Times food guru Mark Bittman, who wrote a whole book about it, and Dana Shulz, the culinary mind behind the popular food blog Minimalist Baker.
According to Dana, whose new cookbook, Everyday Eating, features 101 easy-to-make vegan dishes (like her Thai quinoa meatballs, pictured above), a mostly plant-based diet doesn’t have to be hard work. “It’s really just about making sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other plant-based protein sources. I think when you break it down like that, it isn’t as intimidating,” she says.
It definitely doesn’t mean subsisting on a few lettuce leaves. “I am a quantity eater and was raised by two very enthusiastic eaters. Feeling satisfied by my meals is very important to me, so salads for dinner just won't cut it. My recipe inspiration comes from having a big appetite,” she says.
Want to give vegan eating a try? Here’s her best advice:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
“Meal prep ahead of time (like on Sundays), so you aren’t stuck without options during the week, when you come home starving and need something to eat,” Dana says. “Also, make sure you do research when traveling so you have some idea of where you can get vegan options.”
2. Try anything once.
She recommends doing a deep dive into vegan food blogs, flagging any dish that looks interesting. “Try a lot of recipes and narrow down your favorites, so you have an arsenal of easy, go-to meals that you love and enjoy,” she says.
3. Know your swaps.
Use flax or chia in place of an egg. (Check out Dana’s how-to.) Instead of using ground beef for tacos, season and cook quinoa, then bake until crispy. And just because you’re eating less dairy doesn’t mean Parmesan-free pasta. Make your own vegan Parmesan by combining cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt. (Here’s the Minimalist Baker recipe.)
4. Stock your pantry.
You’ll have to re-think your grocery shopping plan, but don’t get intimidated—Dana says you can’t go wrong by stocking up on a few staples: “My top 5 vegan essentials are flax seed meal, nut milks, nut and seed butters, a variety of legumes, and dates,” she says. “I don't go for things like vegan junk food or other things in the processed realm. Eating plant-based is not about fake meats, $9 organic soy milk, and sprouting your own beans. It’s about eating a variety of plant foods to feel whole and well.”
5. Choose the right tools.
“For prep, having a food processor is a must because it makes sauces and date caramel so easily, and if you have the grater attachment it can shred up carrots, potatoes and vegetables in no time,” Dana says.
©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com
Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.